How to Start Freelancing: 6 Helpful Pieces of Freelancer Advice

We know it can be very daunting to get started as a freelancer. The industry is known for its volatility, and it can be very difficult to get your footing and motivate yourself to make the connections necessary to maintain a truly freelance lifestyle. Lucky for you, we’ve been doing this a while and have some advice to share. Here are six pieces of advice on how to get started freelancing.

1. Do your homework

When pitching an assigning manager, make sure that you’ve done your research to know exactly what type of content they are looking for. If they have one, check out their OutVoice editor profilewhich details exactly what their publication needs from a freelancer or content creator. “One quality pitch is worth more than 100 junk pitches,” wrote our founder Matt Saincome in a recent blog post. The last thing you want is for your pitch to completely miss the mark, wasting not only your own valuable time, but also the editor’s.

2. Advocate for yourself

When you’re working for yourself as a freelancer, it’s fair to say that no one else is going to look out for you. In fact, many of the businesses that you will be pitching base their whole business model around the exploitation of freelance talent (sorry to say). It’s extremely important to take the time needed to truly understand your worth. Make sure that you are doing everything in your power to get compensated fairly and promptly. However, make sure to toe that fine line between self-advocacy and self-entitlement!

3. Community and networking is key

The most successful freelancers get a majority of their work from networking and establishing a community. Twitter is a great resource for finding like-minded creators and seeing where their work gets published. After you place a pitch, you have an opportunity to establish yourself as a reliable, efficient resource for the assigning editor or project manager. That way, the next time there is a need for freelance work, you will be the first call they make.

4. Keep track of your project progress

Many freelancers juggle multiple projects at once, often at varying stages of completion. Keep a detailed list of your progress for ongoing projects, and make sure to document all milestones you hit. This can include “Piece Filed,” “Invoiced,” or “Payment received.” This will be helpful to make sure nothing falls through the cracks and that you have all the information you need to make strategic decisions.

5. Maintain a portfolio

When pitching new publications, it’s important to have an easily-accessible portfolio of work that succinctly showcases your talent and is also pretty to look at. Your work should be presented in a ranking of your personal points of pride. This can vary based on the credibility of the publishing outlet, impressive interview subjects, or pieces that you feel are particularly indicative of your unique talent and voice.

6. Rejection is a stepping stone

Here’s a hard truth: more often than not, your pitches will get rejected! This happens for a variety of reasons, including budget restraints, brand relevancy and more. It’s easier said than done, but don’t take a rejection personally. Instead, use it as an opportunity to re-craft your pitch and try again with a different outlet.

One of our goals in starting OutVoice was to build tools that make the freelancing process more streamlined, from pitch to payment. Want to know more? Click here to schedule a demo with our founder.