Get Into Freelance Business Writing in 6 Easy Steps
When it comes to freelance writing, lots of writers want to get into freelance business writing.
However, it’s somewhat of a vague term and you might not be sure what the actual workload entails.
We’ll go over what business writing is, what kind of assignments you can expect, how you can get into this field, and how much you can expect to make.
What is business writing?
Every business out there needs clear communication and hiring a writer is the easiest way to make that happen. Whether they use the writing for their own internal discussions or to communicate with people outside their business, it’s something that is always needed.
Most business owners don’t have the same passion for writing that you might, so they love to outsource this work to someone else when they can. As a professional, you can put together written material that is not only clear, but you can often do it in a fraction of the time, saving time of the people working for the business.
Compared to fiction writing or other creative types of writing, business writing is much more clear-cut and direct. You’ll often be pushed to remove any and all “fluff” from your writing.
You might also choose to go a different route and become a writer who only chooses to focus on writing about businesses. Many publications out there (think: Forbes and similar publications) keep up on businesses and what’s happening in various industries.
However, for the most part, business writing is what the next part of this article covers.
What do you do as a freelance business writer?
As you get into freelance business writing, you might find you’ll be brought on for all kinds of different projects.
It will be up to you if you choose to specialize as you try out different assignments or if you want to stay as more of a generalist.
If you choose to stay general with your writing, you might be given a wide variety of projects, depending on what the business needs at that time.
Some kinds of writing you might be brought on to do:
- Email writing
- Press releases
- Training materials
- Internal documentation
- SOPs (standard operating procedures)
- Advertisements or social media posts
It doesn’t mean you’ll need to know how to do every single one of them, but you should at least pick a few to learn about and practice before you pitch any companies.
Qualifications needed to get into freelance business writing
Often, you’ll need a writing or business degree to become a freelance business writer.
However, this isn’t always the case. You could gain experience by taking on smaller projects and gaining the trust of clients.
There are also some business writing certifications you can choose to get instead of a traditional education.
More than anything else, you’ll need clear and direct writing to succeed as a freelance business writer. It’s often not creative writing, so you’ll need to make sure your writing samples match that type of style.
You won’t want to send in poetry and journal-style writing to convince a business to hire you as a freelancer.
For example, you’ll want to pick simple words instead of long, complicated words or sentences. You’ll need to assume that the person reading your writing doesn’t always have the same industry knowledge as others. You might need to take complicated ideas and make them as simple as possible.
You’ll need to define acronyms or insider information so they understand what you mean. It sounds easy, but this can be a hard skill to develop.
On top of all of these qualifications, you’ll need to be someone who is on top of their deadlines. The business world takes deadlines seriously so you’ll need to make sure you can manage your own workload.
How to get into freelance business writing
So now that you know what types of writing you’ll need to learn and what you’ll need to start, let’s dive into the practical tips to get your foot in the door.
#1 – Pick an industry (or don’t)
Sometimes it can be easier to grow your career if you choose to specialize in either a certain type of industry or a particular kind of writing. It’s not required, but it can help you narrow down the specific businesses you want to pitch to and the work you do.
For example, you might only choose to do press releases for technology businesses.
#2 – Start working on a portfolio
If you don’t have any writing samples, you’re going to have to put some together.
Not every piece in your portfolio has to be a piece you’ve been paid to write, you can create spec pieces on your own to demonstrate your skills.
Depending on what you chose to do for the first step (industry and type of writing), that will guide the samples you’re going to create.
For example, if you choose to focus on SAAS companies to write for, you’ll want to create samples that are under that niche and are something that potential clients would want to pay for.
#3 – Spend time learning about the options
Even if you choose to specialize as a writer, you might be asked to do different types of writing for a business. It wouldn’t hurt to spend just a little time per week deep-diving into the different types of writing.
Plus, you never know if you’ll end up passionate about a whole new type of writing unless you try it out.
#4 – Start networking
Once you’ve done all of the steps above, it’s time to get out there and start meeting potential clients.
All the networking steps and tips could take a whole article to explain, but the main thing you need to think about is where are the business people you want to target?
You’ll want to start following businesses you would like to write for and see what they do online. When it makes sense, you can reach out and send them some information about your skills. Depending on the industries you’re targeting, it might be worth it to also attend networking events.
#5 – Focus on the business and their needs
Above all, business writing is much more about what you can do for the business and what their needs are versus your particular writing style or how creative you are.
If you’re coming from a world of creative writing, this might be a huge shift in how you approach your work.
You’ll need to think deeply about the business and what they’re looking for before you begin to pitch any of them.
#6 – Stay on top of trends
When you choose to get into freelance business writing, that means you’ll need to stay on top of any business trends. Clients expect you to know what’s happening in any given industry when you can and also have creative ideas to bring to the table.
You’ll want to spend some time subscribing to people, newsletters, and events to stay current on the trends in your industry.
How much can you make doing freelance business writing?
For the most part, the answer to this question depends on what kind of business writing you choose to do.
Let’s first take a look at what salaried business writers make. According to Zippia, the average business writer salary is $77,617, or $37.32 an hour.
Of course, these are with salaried positions. As a freelancer, you will most likely be charging by the hour or by the project. Your rate might vary greatly depending on the industries you write for and the type of writing you do.
This article is helpful when it comes to sitting down and doing the math to figure out what exactly you should charge.
Let’s get your freelance business started!