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Freelance Writing: What Makes You an Expert?

You have to have an English degree or be a bonafide journalist to succeed as a freelance writer, right?


I’ve proven it and so have many others. (But if you DO have an English or Journalism degree, don’t be afraid to flaunt it, mmmkay?)

And to be perceived as an expert in a certain subject matter, you better have some dang good credentials, accreditation or degrees, right?


Mind blown? (No, just nod and make me feel good, okay?)

So what makes you an expert? In today’s post I want to share with you three ways you can be perceived as an expert without lying or having a fancy schmancy degree.

Are you ready to rumble?

Side note: One of my favorite parts of blogging is that I can say what I want, no matter how corny it is…

Freelance Writing_ What Makes You an Expert_1. Draw on Your Previous Experience

This is what I did.

I had a career as a half financial advisor and half support person to a large financial planning practice. I wasn’t the most successful money manager ever, but I was semi-smart and fairly well-rounded in most areas of personal finance.

So I made that my niche and presented myself as an expert based on my former career experience.

I didn’t lie. I didn’t stretch the truth.

I just stated the facts and let prospects make up their own mind.


2. You’re Smart, Do Some Research!

The ability to research is SEVERELY underrated when you’re a newbie freelance writer.

But here’s the thing, if you can research well and you’re an okay writer, then you’ll make a fantastic freelance writer. All you need besides those two skills is a dab of confidence and a strong desire to succeed.

So maybe you don’t have a ton of experience in a certain industry like I did. Then pick a niche you’re super interested in and that pays at least okay (i.e. not a lifestyle topic) and get busy doing your research and pitching jobs.

Write a sample or two on your own blog.

Write a guest post for free. Or take on a lower than average paying gig with a byline to get some decent samples that aren’t on your site.

And work your way up from there.

3. Write Your Own Blog on the Subject

Want to know the best way to become an expert or authority on a subject?

Start your own website/blog on the subject. Post quality articles and grow an audience. Write guest posts, do podcast interviews and get in front of other people’s audiences in the same niche.

How do you think I grew this site? And became an expert in the freelance writing niche?

I start a blog about it.

Full disclosure, it didn’t start out as a blog about freelance writing. It evolved into that.

At first I wrote about “businessey things” that I thought would serve as good writing samples.

And that worked out. Then I started chronicling my journey.

And that worked out too.

Now people ask me each and every week for an interview on the subject of freelancing. Because I’m perceived as an expert.

Not to shabby, right?

In Conclusion

Most people don’t start as experts in various topics.

They evolve into experts or authorities. Sometimes it’s because they have degrees or accreditation.

Other times it’s because they research, learn and become experts by choice. And still other times it’s an evolving process that almost comes by accident.

Regardless of how people become experts, you can become one.

You can draw on your previous career experience. You can research your butt off. Or you can start a website/blog about a subject and assert yourself as such. And over time (and with quality output) others will see you as such too!

So, what are you an expert in?

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Gina Horkey

Gina Horkey


Gina Horkey is a married, millennial mama from Minnesota. Additionally, she’s the founder of Horkey HandBook and loves helping others find or become a kickass virtual assistant. Gina’s background includes making a living as a professional writer, an online business marketing consultant and a decade of experience in the financial services industry.

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