I bet by now you’ve heard me harping about the importance of getting yourself a steady side hustle more than once.
So…do you have one yet?
If yes -> pat yourself on the back, young padwan. You have done well.
If no -> why the hell not???! Don’t make me fish-slap you. I know where to get real big salmon.
Maybe you’ve heard me talk about my own good (and sometimes pee-pants inducing) experiences with freelance writing. Some of you have come to me asking how to get started as a freelance writer. Here’s the truth: it’s simple, but not easy.
What it’s like learning to be a freelance writer?
It’s simple because you just write words. They don’t even have to be good words at first. Check out this gobble-de-gook mess that was my only qualification to start freelance writing:
But, simple doesn’t mean it’s necessarily easy. It’s not easy because it does take a bit of knowledge and a bit of backbone that they just don’t teach you in college. You can do it, it just takes a willingness to learn and push past obstacles that really do seem like getting fish-slapped.
When I first started out, I found several courses to be extremely helpful to bridge that knowledge gap. I’ll go over each of the freelance writer courses I took and give you my two cents on what they cover and who would be helped by them.
Here’s the kicker: while these courses do cost a bit of cash, it ain’t nothing like your college tuition bill. I’m still carrying $55,000’ worth of student loan debt and I don’t have a job as a wildlife biologist. I probably spent about $500 total (spread out over many months and paid for with prior freelance writing earnings) and I’ve made far more money as a freelance writer than anything I’ve ever done in the wildlife field.
Be A Freelance Blogger
Level: Total newbie
The BAFB course was the first one I ever took. I was fed up after Thanksgiving weekend 2015 about having to go back to work to my shitty job (literally…I was a lab animal poop janitor) and I was desperately searching for something online that I could do for extra cash.
My favorite thing about the BAFB course was that it was structured as a series of emails with homework. You do the homework each day for one month, and boom! At the end, you’re a freelance blogger. True to the words of the course, I had landed my first client by the end of the first month.
I rate this freelance writer course for total newbies because it gives a broad overview of all the really important things you need to know to be a freelance writer. Writing an actual blog post, setting up your writer website, paying taxes, drafting a contract, getting your first clips, pitching clients, setting your rates and working hours, etc…
Write A Blog People Will Read
Level: Anyone, but mostly total newbies to intermediate
To be a good writer, you have to…well…write good.
If you’re not a good writer, don’t worry. No one starts out that way. You’ve gotta write a lot of shit before you can figure out how to write good. First, you go to the Derek Zoolander Center For Kids Who Can’t Read Good And Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too…just kidding.
If writing isn’t your strong suit and you want to get better, you can do two things: learn about good writing, and write like the wind to cement those skills into your fingers and brain.
Veteran blogger and journalist Donna Freedman knows how to write good. I took her WABPWR course last year and learned tons of helpful things that kicked my writing style up a notch. Her course is so helpful that I refer to it frequently so I don’t forget the tips and tricks. Plus, Donna offers coaching packages if you need one-on-one support.
The Freelance Writer’s Den
The Freelance Writer’s Den isn’t just a freelance writer course you take, per se (although they do offer one-off freelance writer courses). It’s a community you can join, but enrollment is only open for a brief period a few times a year.
I joined TFWD right as I was starting out as a freelance writer. There were tons of helpful, friendly people in the forums who were able to answer the twenty-thousand newbie questions it seemed like I had. They also had tons of recorded trainings and courses that I could access for free or a reduced price, which was also extremely helpful.
I eventually dropped out of TFWD because I just had too much work to do, and not enough time to fully use all of the resources in the Den! But, it was invaluable just starting out.
Earn More Writing and Earn More Travel Writing
I just finished this awesome course that Holly Porter Johnson released not too long ago. I was a bit leery because I’m not a total newbie when it comes to freelance writing. I’ve made over $35,000 so far, with just the power of my fingers and my mind (and I’m going to make a lot more)!
Related post: How Much Can You Earn As A Starting Freelance Writer?
Earn More Writing does include some basic information about getting started. However, I found that the freelance writing course really shines in specific strategies that writers who have at least a few clips under their belt can use to grow their income further.
My favorite thing about Holly’s freelance writer course that I have seen nowhere else is that she uses actual examples of correspondences between her and her clients. It’s all well and good to tell someone to write a pitch letter or to ask for more money, but how the hell do you actually do that? I loved seeing Holly’s own way of addressing the situation (she’s feisty, yet friendly!), and it’s given me the nerve I needed to kick my income up a notch.
EMW also had a really great bonus section on ghostwriting—something for more intermediate and advanced writers to consider to earn even more money. I had no idea how this worked. I only heard mystical whisperings through the grapevine about it being extremely lucrative. After taking the course, I know now how I can do this, and how to make sure my clients stay happy so that I can get a long-term gig from it.
Holly also recently launched a side-freelance-writer-course called Earn More Travel Writing. It’s designed as an add-on for more intermediate/advanced writers because let’s be honest, the pay kinda sucks but it is a lot of fun (Holly gets free trips all around the world!).
Other Freelance Content Writer Courses
I’ve only reviewed the courses and products that I personally have used and benefited from. These aren’t the only courses that are out there, however.
Here are a few more that you can consider:
- Write Your Way To Your First 1k
- 30 Days Or Less To Freelance Writing Success
- The Complete Freelance Writing Online Course: Beginner To Pro (Udemy)
Freelance writing isn’t rocket science. Anyone who has enough gumption can make money doing this. The only question now is—will you be brave enough to try?
Have you ever thought about trying freelance writing? What’s holding you back? Or, what’s your favorite freelance writer course? Leave a comment below!