How to become a freelance writer in Canada

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It is easier than ever to become a freelance writer in Canada; all you need is a computer and access to an internet connection. However, becoming a successful freelance writer requires more thought and dedication. Continue reading to learn how to launch your freelance writing career successfully.

Evaluate your skills

Before you can start freelance writing, first you need to determine what kind of writing you want to focus on and are good at. Do you excel at writing more formal pieces like press releases, or marketing-focused pieces like email campaigns or social media posts? It could be a combination of a couple of different areas. Determine if you prefer research-based writing or enjoy a more creative outlook. List the different kinds of writing that fall under these categories – this will help you determine what writing opportunities to look for.

Determine your niche

Now that you know the writing you want to focus on, your next step is determining the niche or niches you enjoy writing in. Focusing on specific topics or industries, such as blog posts about cosmetics, can narrow down the kinds of clients you target to send your pitches to, and allows you to customize your portfolio a bit more.

Build your portfolio

Once you have determined your niche and what skills you want to highlight, it is time to build your portfolio. Ideally, this should involve selecting past freelance writing assignments that fall under the categories you previously selected that are targeted toward your niche. If you are just getting started with freelancing, you may have a limited amount of past work or any past work to pull from. Luckily, that does not mean you cannot build a portfolio; it just means you need to do a bit more work and create example pieces. Pretend you are a potential client and write a press release or blog post, which can be included in your portfolio. You should have a separate portfolio for each niche if you are targeting multiple niches.

As you build your portfolio you should also establish how to store future freelance work for reference and updating your portfolio. Depending on the work, you should redact the client name from the pieces in your portfolio. Likewise, you may want to take screenshots or photos of your freelance work if it is for a social post, for example, so you truly capture the finished piece. For any website content, you should also document the live URL. Pulling statistics on how the page performed through Google Analytics can also help your portfolio stand out from the competition, especially if you are looking for SEO-focused writing jobs.

Learn how to sell yourself

It is easy to be modest and diminish your skills, but to be successful at freelancing in Canada; you need to learn how to sell yourself and what your skills are worth. There are many free YouTube videos which can teach you not only how to sell yourself but also how to negotiate to ensure you are being paid what you are worth. Remember, when you freelance write in Canada, you are often responsible for writing, sales, client management and marketing.

There are a wide variety of ways you can find potential clients: through online freelancing websites such as Words of Worth, networking sites like LinkedIn, or even reaching out to local businesses. Depending on your niche, you may want to look for publications that target your niche and see if you could write a guest article for them to help increase your reach or see if they have any paid writing opportunities.

To help sell yourself, you may want to consider setting up a website with a blog and social media channels focused on the niche you are targeting. Not only will this help you build your portfolio, but it will also help increase your reach within the industry in a more organic way rather than cold calling.

Set a schedule and build sustainable processes

The key to being successful at freelance writing in Canada is to set and stick to a schedule. You should have dedicated time to finding and meeting with clients, time for researching your assignments, writing them and editing them before submission. For example, you could block off mornings for sales and marketing-focused tasks, finding new clients, meeting and responding to emails for current clients and working on your marketing, building your portfolio, networking on LinkedIn, and building your marketing materials such as on your website or social media posts. The afternoons may be focused more on completing your writing jobs.

It is important to find a balance between your writing jobs and your sales, marketing, and administrative tasks. Utilizing scheduling software can also be helpful, especially if you get a flood of new assignments or a larger assignment with a short deadline. Booking in time to complete different tasks can make it easier to become a strong Canadian freelancer.

Don’t forget your bookkeeping duties

You must not allow your bookkeeping to slide. Keeping clean records of your freelance income, expenses, and which invoices have been paid or not is imperative for your success as a freelancer. In addition, make sure you are setting aside money for your taxes. Depending on what region of Canada you reside in and how much freelance income you make will determine what percentage of your freelance income you should set aside.

Ultimately, the only thing stopping you from becoming a freelance writer in Canada is you. Anyone with access to a computer and internet can become a freelance writer, you just need to have the dedication to follow the steps outlined above.

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