How to start a freelance writing business in India

7 min read
Charu Mitra Dubey

Knotting down words in multiple styles and techniques to convey ideas, sounds like your passion? If so, then here’s a secret: you can turn your passion into your profession with a freelance writing business!

All you need is a passion for writing, a few tools, an internet connection and some patience.

The best part: you get to become your own boss and work from any corner of the world.

Learn what thousands already know

While freelancing is still at its nascent stage in India, it contributes for one in every four freelancers globally, thanks to our country’s colossal population. However, people are skeptical about freelancing because of the lack of security and irregular paychecks.

But here’s a fact: if you work hard for a few months with proper planning, you won’t need to worry about your finances. Freelance writing pays a tidy sum if done with a proper strategy, patience and consistency.

Best of all, you can start freelancing on the side of your full-time job.

The 6 steps to starting a freelance writing service

If you want to start freelance writing business in India and thrive, here’s how to do it:

  1. Choose a niche or specialty
  2. Create a website.
  3. Do guest blogging.
  4. Use social media to build a following.
  5. Invest in personal branding.
  6. Utilize freelance marketplaces.

If you have a love of words and are willing to work at it, freelance writing could be a promising new path for you. Let’s explore how to get started.

1.Choose a niche

Freelance Writing Woman on Laptop
Are you skilled in a particular field such as healthcare or tech? This could be your niche.

This is probably the most-asked question by freelance writers, to have a niche or not. The reason being, once you declare a specialty, you won’t be able to take every project. And that results in low earnings, right?

But that’s certainly not how it works. Without a niche, you may get more projects but with a niche, you get better-paying projects. Having a niche allows you to become a subject matter expert rather than being a jack-of-all-trades. And once you establish yourself as an expert, people will be ready to pay you higher than the typical freelance writers.

A niche is your area of focus or skill, such as medical writing.

Also, there are people who search for “freelance technical writing” or “freelance medical writing” rather than simply “freelance writers” because they desire an expert and not the all-rounders.

2. Create a website

When you start out as a freelance writer, chances are you don’t have any published write-ups online. And in order to land writing projects, you need to show your writing samples, every time.

So how to do that?

Set up your own website. A website will enable you to publish your articles and showcase them in front of the internet world. Also, with a website, some blog posts and proper SEO, you pave the way for recruiters to find you through the search engines.

Here are the basic steps of building a freelance writer website:

  • Choose a domain name
  • Set up pages like About Me, Services, Portfolio and Contact Me
  • Write at least three to four articles related to your chosen niche

You can find start-to-finish instructions on building a website with GoDaddy’s Website Builder here.

3. Do guest blogging

While it’s not necessary to do it, this can be a game-changer for your writing business.

Simply put, guest blogging means to contribute your write-ups to other websites to showcase your skills and knowledge in front of more people.

But how does it help? Guest blogging:

Promotes your services

With every guest post, you get to show your face, samples and services to a new and highly targeted group of potential clients.

Gets you new clients

It is obvious that the more people see your work, the more they will trust your expertise. This trust means more business for you.

Builds your own tribe

It may not get you cash, but having a following can definitely help you in the long run as a writer. Over time, these people can help spread your reputation as a reliable freelance writer.

Freelance Writing People in Coworking Space
To publish your first blog post, you could offer to write free for a blogger in your field.
Photo: Shridhar Gupta on Unsplash

But the question is, how does one become a guest blogger when you’re just a beginner?

  • Make a list of websites as per your niche that accept guest posts. For this, a little Googling may help.
  • Research what kind of posts the target website publishes. Use tools like BuzzSumo and Ubersuggest to check out their most popular posts.
  • Write some in-depth outlines of blog posts to send to the blog owner.
  • Pitch them via email or use the blog’s submission form, if provided.
  • If accepted, write a masterpiece and send it.
  • Now, wait until it’s published :)

Once your blog post is published, you have a sample you can share with potential clients. You’re on your way!

4. Use social media to build a following

Social media is no longer just a way of connecting with peers around the globe. Now it is a tool for marketing your writing business.

It’s not for building only a successful freelance writing business but any business.

Facebook being the second-most popular website after Google holds tons of opportunities for freelancers. There are many Facebook pages and groups that help freelance writers — both newbies and experts — to land writing gigs.

Apart from Facebook, LinkedIn is another great platform for freelance writers. Every day, several recruiters post their requirements on LinkedIn. All you need to do is keep a bird’s eye on the latest projects and apply to any that fit your skills.

5. Invest in personal branding

The competition is fierce in the freelance writing industry. In order to get high-paying writing gigs, you need to stand out. And that’s where investing your time and effort in creating a personal brand helps.

Now if you think that having a logo and a website is all you need, then you’re highly mistaken. Branding is much more than that!

In a nutshell, personal branding means to create an image around your name and position yourself as an expert in your niche. When you start to work on your personal brand and put yourself out there, your ideal client will come to you instead of you going to them.

6. Utilize freelance marketplaces

Freelance Writing Man Writing at Desk
Create profiles on a few of the freelance marketplaces, then take any work you get.

There are tons of freelance marketplaces like Upwork, Freelancer, Truelancer, etc. that can help you to land writing projects.

You can first take low paying gigs to get some good ratings and then try for the high-paying projects.

However, to get projects via these marketplaces as a newbie isn’t a cakewalk because the competition is really high. Yet there are many freelance writers who completely depend on these marketplaces and earning a pretty penny.

Take the plunge and start your freelance writing business

With a passion for research and writing, and the ability to meet deadlines, you can build a successful freelance writing career. It will take time and patience but once you have one good client, you will never need to look back.

Happy freelancing :)

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