Today, I want to introduce you to Laura Pennington Briggs. She is a former teacher turned freelance writer and author.
She has delivered two TEDx talks on the freelance economy and is the author of “How to Start Your Own Freelance Writing Business” with Entrepreneur Press.
In our interview, she talks about how she started freelance writing in 2012 and just a year later she had gone full-time and was making a great income from it. She also shares how this is a great way to make extra money or even as a full-time career.
Check out the interview below for more information and be sure to check out Laura's book on how to become a freelance writer – Start Your Own Freelance Writing Business: The Complete Guide to Starting and Scaling from Scratch.
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Question: Can you tell my readers a bit about your story and why you're an expert on this topic?
I started freelancing in 2012, largely by accident. My husband had been put on leave without pay by the military and I knew that we needed extra income.
I had just left my job as an inner city middle school teacher and had accepted a low paying office job to help make ends meet. I started evaluating every skill I had and launched a side hustle as a freelance writer.
A year later I had gone full time with my freelance business, which scaled to the multi six figure point, earned me two TEDx talks, and a book deal from Entrepreneur Press to help others launch their own freelance writing business.
Question: What do you like about being a freelance writer? What does it help to accomplish?
I enjoy the variety of working as a freelance writer, because no two days are the same. I often felt bored at my day job because we were dealing with the same situations day in and day out.
Although I do a lot of the same activities every day such as pitching, creating client work, sending emails and editing content, I learn something different because I'm writing and creating new material every single day.
I've also been able to branch out into other side hustles, such as working as a coach for intermediate and advanced freelancers, having a podcast and now publishing books. It has helped open a lot of doors for me, including working with clients like Microsoft, TrueCar and lots of other great clients. It has really been fun to challenge myself.
Question: Can you explain what exactly a freelancer writer is, who they work for, what they do?
A freelance writer is a copywriter or content writer on contract creating all different types of content such as sales copy, landing pages, blogs and articles, website pages, brochures, product descriptions, email newsletters, and more.
A freelance writer will typically work for a variety of companies, all the way from solopreneurs and all the way up to Fortune 500s by adapting the company's brand, tone and voice into content that will connect with their readers and even possibly help them rank on search engines.
Question: How much can a beginner freelance writer expect to make?
Most freelance writers start off with an hourly range of $25 to $50, and grow from there based on their experience, additional skills learned or certifications obtained, and as they learn more about how long it takes them to do a particular project.
Freelance writers in highly specialized niches such as technical writing or medical wiring can expect to make more.
For most freelance writers, their initial income goal will be $1,000 per month, then $5,000 and $10,000.
Question: How does a person find their first freelance writing job?
I often recommend that new freelance writers start off by looking for someone they already know. Their first freelance writing project doesn't have to be the type of project you intend to work on forever.
For example, you might be able to find someone in your network who needs a revised cover letter or help restructuring their resume. This gives you experience and a possible testimonial from someone who already knows you from which you can grow and start pitching to other places.
Freelance writers can also use job boards such as ProBlogger, FlexJobs.com, Upwork and more.
Question: What steps does a person need to take to make money as a freelance writer?
The two most important things that go along with starting a freelance writing business are developing a niche and at least one writing sample. I recommend that freelance writers have at least three writing samples. These do not have to be professionally published or anything that someone pays you to create.
Without a solid pitch offering your services and a writing sample that showcases your style, it will be unlikely that someone will present a hiring opportunity to you.
Furthermore, it's important to not give up. I hear from many freelance writers who pitch 30 times and are frustrated that they haven't yet landed a client.
It can take some people 50, 60 or even more pitches to refine their unique value proposition and start to land clients. Being a freelancer is not for the faint of heart; it involves hearing the word no hundreds or even thousands of times. I've completely lost count of how many times I've been rejected by clients, but I have never let that stop me.
Question: Are there any tips you have for someone who wants to become a freelance writer?
Educate yourself about a type of copy that seems interesting to you. I mentioned above examples such as email newsletter writing.
As a consumer of these materials, you can also find free YouTube videos or online courses at a minimal cost to learn more about writing for that particular format.
Question: Why should a person read a book on this subject? Is it hard?
It is so easy to become discouraged when launching a freelance writing business, especially when getting overwhelmed about all of the aspects of finding and keeping clients.
Reading a book from someone who has been there before lays out the steps of what it really takes to succeed as a freelance writer, explains a common schedule or way of structuring your day while working as a freelancer, and can help you navigate some of the most common obstacles that most freelance writers experience early on.
Question: What can a person learn from your book? Can you tell us about some of the people who have learned from you?
The book is a nuts and bolts approach to starting a freelance writing business. This means you will learn about setting your rates, how to write a pitch and create writing samples, where to find clients, the mindset necessary to succeed as a freelance writer, and various marketing methods available to you.
I have worked with numerous freelancers and freelance writers who have been able to start and scale their online businesses, to provide them with consistent, side hustle income. There are also plenty of people, including me, who have transitioned from working a traditional job to working as a freelance writer.
Copywriters are in extremely high demand, whether you seek this as a remote in-house position or as a freelancer working with a variety of different clients at once.
Many of my one-on-one coaching clients have been able to scale their business by adding thousands of dollars to their monthly revenue and streamlining operations by hiring a virtual assistant and learning to capitalize on their strengths.
More info about Laura:
- Book on Amazon
- Book on Barnes and Noble
Are you interested in becoming a freelance writer? What other questions do you have for Laura?
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