5 Cheeky Myths That Keeps You from Becoming a Freelance Writer

The idea of cold pitching or being on Upwork wasn’t appealing.

Photo: Andrea Piacquadio

I started freelance writing a couple of months ago.

Before I jumped into this world, I had a lot of doubts. I didn’t want to do it for a couple of reasons: I wouldn’t know how to do it and I wasn’t in love with the idea of pitching to clients.

But, I wanted to learn how to make money writing, and freelancing seemed like the most obvious next step.

My first project landed on my lap, but I decided to take this as a sign to take this career path seriously. I hired a freelance coach to teach me about the ins and out of this world.

By working together, I learned how to cold pitch, know the kind of clients I want to work with, and I shifted my old beliefs about freelancing.

Here are five misconceptions about freelancing that keeps you from becoming a successful freelance writer.

Myth #1: You have to use Upwork or Fiverr

I landed on my first freelance project because I made friends with someone on Twitter.

Through DMs and genuinely building relationships online, I landed a sweet gig. When I started engaging with people, I didn’t know that I was building solid connections. After a random zoom call with one person, they connected me with someone that needed a content writer.

If you don’t want to be on Upwork or Fiverr, you can directly pitch to the brand that you work for.

Cold pitching involves writing them a precious email to showcase what you can do for them. This includes writing your article ideas and samples. If you don’t have a sample, start writing today.

I learned that brands don’t care about your previous experience, but they care about how you can help them.

At first, it may seem daunting to reach out to the company directly. When you do this, the brand you’re reaching out to will appreciate you as you hand them your ideas on a silver platter. All they have to do is say yes and pay you to write your ideas for them.

It might not feel like it, but it becomes a win-win situation.

Myth #2: You can’t charge $250 for your first article

I charged $250 for my very first freelance writing project.

When my first client asked me about my rate, I didn’t know what to say. I looked up the salary of a typical content writer online, and there were no clear guidelines. Most people say that you should start charging $20/hour. But the thing is, I didn’t learn to write online so that I could get paid less than my nursing job.

My dream is to make a great income doing something that I love.

If I wanted to make more money, I’d keep suffering in my nursing job by working full-time and overtime. So while I figure out my next career move, I promised myself not to settle for things. I charged $250 because a freelancer once mentioned in one of her stories that she charged the same for her first writing gig.

I remember thinking, “I want to learn how to do that.” So, when the opportunity came, I did the same.

I wrote a test piece for them, and they gave me a three-month writing contract. The beautiful thing about freelance writing is that you get to decide what your prices are. You can start charging $500 for your first article. But just make sure that you’re comfortable delivering an article worth $500. If not, start somewhere where you feel comfortable.

I always believe what’s possible for others is possible for you and me.

Myth #3: You have to write about things you don’t care about

I didn’t understand the concept of freelance writing in the beginning.

I learned how to write first on this platform. I learned how to write using ‘I’ statements a lot and using my experiences to back up my points. I couldn’t wrap my head around how to use my writing skills to write for other people.

But one day, it clicked for me. When an editor asked me to be a weekly contributor for their publication, I got the gist of it.

I cared so much about the target audience of that publication that it was easy for me to come up with the topics because I was the target audience. My test piece involved writing a topic on customer service for business owners, and I didn’t know how to do that.

But I knew what “good” customer service is from a customer perspective. All I had to do was come up with my points and back them up with research to educate business owners on how to serve their customers better.

Freelance writing forces you to be creative while helping the person you are talking to.

Myth #4: You have to work with random clients

I made my biggest investment on a coach this year.

She’s helping me set my freelance writing business from the ground up, and teaching me how to land clients. My biggest takeaway from the program is that I have a choice of who to work with. Again, I’m fortunate enough to pick and choose because I can afford to.

If you afford to, I suggest taking your time.

In the first week, she made sure to switch my mindset that getting clients as a freelance writer is simple. Freelance writing is about choosing the brands and companies you want to work with, not the other way around. As I move through the program, I realize that freelance writing isn’t a service like “I’ll write this for you.”

Freelance writing is art.

You are asked to write on a certain topic. You somehow have to come up with the words, structure, voice, and format to make it all work together. You are going from a blank page to a coherent message using your imagination.

Freelance writing gives you the chance to choose who to make your art for.

Myth #5: You have to jump through hoops in the freelancing world

I thought I had to struggle to become a freelance writer.

Granted, hiring a coach made things straightforward. I also know that most people can’t afford to invest in a coach. But this is why I’m writing about my personal experiences so that you can learn the possibilities.

I don’t believe that you need to struggle to make good money online.

Making good and ethical money online is a combination of hard work, luck, and smart work. I work hard as I build my presence here and on Twitter. I work smart by investing in online courses and coaching programs to make my journey easy. And you have the power to create your luck by showing up consistently.

Once you accept that these three things need to work together to become successful, you can put your time and energy into making them all move together.

Final Words

I’m still learning how to shift from “freelancing is complicated” to “freelancing is simple.”

But so far, my experience with it proves to me that it can be simple. There are a thousand ways to make money writing online, but this is one of the ways that I wanted to try. If you’re wondering if this journey is for you, I hope that this post gives you the courage to try it.

Even if it doesn’t work out, the life skills you learn will be so valuable and applicable to other areas of your life.

Learn how to live and create in a simple and intentional way.

Jerine Nicole

Jerine Nicole