How to Find Freelance Writing Jobs in India 2020

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So you want to learn how to become a freelance writer? 

It sure is a great way to earn some extra cash, and maybe even make a living out of! I’ve done both. Freelance writing was a ‘side-hustle’ while I worked my first job and then I plunged into it full time.

What I realized is that freelance writing could be a fantastic option for college students, folks looking to make some extra cash apart from their full-time jobs, housewives/househusbands, or just people who don’t want to work a 9-5. And it’s quite profitable!

I’ve written this guidebook for such aspiring folks based entirely on my own experience, so if you are somebody who enjoys writing or want to experiment with writing professionally – this will help you get started! 

freelancing writing intro

But first, what does it mean to be a freelance writer and what do you do as one?

A freelance writer as the name suggests works on content writing projects on a self-employed basis. Freelance writers typically work with more than one client at a time, on a short-term or long-term basis.

What kind of writing projects can you work on? This mostly depends on what kind of writing you’re good at or what you enjoy. I love branding so I most often take up website content and social media writing gigs. 

Some choose to write blogs. Some choose to write copies for social media. Some go into technical writing, SEO writing, ghostwriting, scriptwriting and more! Some even choose to become Content Strategists and focus more on the planning and managing part, rather than writing.  

So why should you pursue freelance writing, anyway? 

You must have questions. Is freelance writing the right career path for you? Is this a good time to pursue writing?

Absolutely! The world is going digital, and content is and will always be a requirement across sectors, be it e-commerce, healthcare, SaaS, tech, or even gaming. 

There is the emergence of new technology and new social media platforms at a rapid pace. Everything requires content. The opportunities you have if you become a freelance writer, therefore, are endless. 

Another fantastic thing about freelancing is that how much you earn is entirely in your hands! The more you work and the more projects you take up, the more you earn. It is entirely in your hands. 

But just to be clear, no, it’s not all that luxurious and relaxed a lifestyle as I made it out to be in the start. You’re going to have to work quite hard, ‘hustle’ as Gen Z calls it. But your grind’s going to pay off eventually and lead you to the lifestyle you dream of. Freelance writing, in the long run, is quite lucrative a career path.   

why become a freelance writer

But wait, do you need a degree for freelance writing? Who can become a freelance writer? 

In order to succeed in this field, do you need a degree? NO! 

A lot of freelance writers I know come from very different backgrounds like tech, finance and so on.

You do however need to have decent writing skills. That goes without saying. This includes having good grammar and punctuation and a decent vocabulary. Simply put, the ability to put words together to frame meaningful sentences to convey ideas. 

If you find it difficult to express your thoughts on paper or in words, this line of work may not be for you. 

But whether you’re still in college, or you have a full-time job like me and are looking to make some extra income, or you are considering getting into freelancing full-time, with the language skills, just about anybody can do it!

Now, how do you become a freelance writer and start working on freelance writing projects?

1. You’ve got to learn to write for different platforms

As a freelance writer, you’d be creating content for various platforms – blogs, websites, different social media platforms and more. A single type of content does not work well on all, so you need to learn to write for different platforms, for instance when to use short copy and when to use long-form content, understand what tone works best for a business and what works for an individual, and adapt. 

My one tip here is that when you do get a client on board, spend some time trying to understand the tone the client wants to put across. You can avoid hours spent going back and forth on emails trying to nail what the client wants to put across!

writing for different platforms

2. Write, write, write! 

Remember, good writing skills come with practice and without creating any actual content, you will land any gigs. So write on trending topics, on things you’re passionate about, on topics that a potential hirer may be interested in. 

If you want to write for tech companies, write about the latest gadgets, new technological trends, and so on. Not only will these serve as writing samples to send clients when applying for freelance writing jobs, but it will also help you hone your writing.

As mentioned in the beginning, when you are just starting out, getting paid shouldn’t be your primary focus — it should be building your writing skills and work experience. 

My first client was an NGO in my neighbourhood. It wasn’t a paid freelance job, but I did it for the experience. I approached them to help them with their social media but I volunteered to contribute more and set up their blog too! 

What was the result after three months of working with them? I now had actual work samples to show for Social Media and Blog writing!

practise writing

3. Even basic SEO skills can go a long way in ensuring your content’s more impactful

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is as the name suggests, optimizing your content for better visibility on search engines. SEO helps you make the content you create easier to find. You know how whenever you search for something on Google, some pages pop up first, even though there may be millions of websites answering the same question? That’s courtesy optimization!

Knowing the basics of SEO, therefore, helps you create more powerful content, that essentially markets itself. 

As you build some experience and start upskilling, SEO is definitely a skill that will add value to your profile and help your content. When you’re just starting out, it helps to know the basics — writing SEO-optimised titles, adding alt-tags to images, maintaining a keyword density of above 0.5 per cent and so on. 

freelance writer SEO

4. Put yourself ahead by learning to create and edit images for your work. 

Some clients you work with may not have a design team at their disposal. Therefore by learning to make basic graphics, you get a chance to contribute more and hence, earn more. 

Websites like Canva have made this easier than ever. It comes with completely customisable templates and elements such as shapes, illustrations and frames for images that you can add to images. With tools like Canva, anyone can design!

What’s great about learning how to design images is that you can offer this as an add-on service to your clients. It also gives you a natural advantage over your competition since you can offer the complete package, from content writing, SEO, to basic graphic designing.

design as an additional skill to freelance writing

5. Edit your writing ruthlessly

When you’re a beginner, delivering world-class content is going to be difficult. This only comes with experience.

But one thing that is entirely in your control is ensuring you don’t send sloppy work with silly grammar and punctuation mistakes. Ensure you proof-read it before sending it to the client! Make use of editing and proofreading software such as Grammarly and ProWritingAid

Once you’ve completed the first draft, take a break, and then review it. You’ll be looking at it with fresh eyes, so you’ll have newer perspectives to add and be able to edit better.

upskill as a freelance writer

6. Publish your work!

Since you are creating content, make sure you put it out too! 

Here’s the thing, if you can set up a website for yourself, amazing. Nothing like it.

These days there are also a large number of free website builders you can use to set up your own website without knowing a single thing about coding. WordPress is a popular choice for the same. Your website can feature a blog, where you publish what you write for yourself and a portfolio, where you can feature all the work you do for others. 

Any client, before giving you a project would want to see your writing samples and previous work.
Now when you’re a beginner, you may not have any, so having a  blog will help in giving your clients an idea about what your writing’s like. 

You could also publish your content on a self-publishing platform such as Medium if you’re not too keen on creating a website for yourself.

publish your work

7. Guestpost 

Guest posting or “guest blogging,” is when you contribute content to someone else’s website. There are many benefits to guest posting — you tap into other people’s traffic, you position yourself as an authority, and you build a good reputation. 

On most online publications, there’s a little option called “Write for Us”. If you have a relevant blog post idea for that you’re pretty proud of, go ahead and pitch it to them. If the option isn’t there, do your research on what kind of topics are regularly featured on the website. Develop a unique angle around it. Then, write a pitch email to the content curators or editors (the ID is usually provided on their site).

Here’s a sample template:

Hi {NAME},

I was on your website today and I see that you accept guest posts.

I’ve read your guest post guidelines and I’d love to have my post published on your blog.

Please find below three possible article ideas.

Article Idea #1

Working Title: [Your Title]

Intro: [Your Intro – about 150 words]

Word Count: 1,500 – 2000

Article Idea #2

Working Title: [Your Title]

Intro: [Your Intro – about 150 words]

Word Count: 2,500 – 3000

If any of them are suitable for your blog, I can have a draft for you within a week.

Thanks for your time.

Best regards,

8. Create a portfolio 

Your portfolio is one of your first touchpoints with potential freelance writing clients. This doc essentially introduces you to them — who you are, what you do, what to expect from you, and how to get in touch with you. And in this line of work, the first impression is everything.

You can go about creating a portfolio in two ways.

You could have a page dedicated for it on your website, where you display your best writings, work you may have done for clients, testimonials you may have received, your services, contact information, and more.

Two, you can make use of an online portfolio site to create one.

Today there are many portfolio sites for freelance writers:

Here are a few more tips for creating a winning portfolio.

freelance writing portfolio

9. Time to start pitching! 

You’ve learnt the skills, created a portfolio, built a network —  now you find actual freelance writing work. 

Remember, you’ve got to capture your potential client’s attention, so make sure the pitch is impressive and convincing. Introduce yourself first, then tell them about your services and how you can help them. Your pitch should immediately be able to convey the value you can provide your client.

Here is a simple, sample template. Customise it to include your strengths and skills.

Hi [Name]

I'm reaching out to see if you need a writer who can help with content at [Company Name].

I'm [Your Name], a freelance [niche] writer. I've been featured in [Publication Name].

Here's what I can offer you:

[List all your services] 

Here's the link to my website with my work samples and testimonials from happy clients. 

[Your Website] 

Shall we jump on a quick call to see how I can help your business? 

If yes, please contact me on [Your Contact Details/Call Scheduler link] 


[Your Name]

10. LinkedIn is your best friend.

There are many ways to go about this. 

For me, LinkedIn was a lifesaver. It’s where I found the most success.

I’d made sure my profile was properly updated, provided my portfolio and work samples. This way so any potential clients that landed on it could see my work immediately. 

I also made sure I was active on LinkedIn. Recruiters won’t magically land on your page, so commenting on others’ posts and making your presence felt is an easy way to increase your visibility. 

I also recommend having a LinkedIn pitch template handy. You may not always have clients approaching you, sometimes you’ve to make the first move. 

I regularly checked LinkedIn Jobs for this. When I saw companies post requirements for Content Writing jobs, I’d email them asking if they’d be open to working with freelancers. 

But again as your first step, ensure your LinkedIn profile is filled to the brim with any and all details a potential client may be interested in! Here are a few more tips on how to go about LinkedIn Marketing when you’re a freelancer. 

social media writer

11. Regularly check out freelance platforms!

Freelance Marketplaces have also made the whole process of connecting a business with a freelancer easier than ever. Companies looking for a particular service can simply list their requirements and folks looking for freelance writing jobs can apply and take up the project. 

This certainly saves the hassle of hours spent approaching clients having no idea if they have a gig for you or not. A lot of effort and time can thus be saved!

The two platforms I tried while I was freelancing were TapChief and Upwork. 

On TapChief, you get access to hundreds of live projects that you apply to. TapChief also takes care of payments and invoicing for you. This way, you can focus all your efforts on completing the project and not waste time on anything else.

Basically, signing up on a gig marketplace saves you the hassle of finding new leads, negotiating rates, drawing up contracts, invoicing and following up for payments.

apply to freelance writing jobs

12. Socialize online and offline 

Never underestimate the power of networking! Meet people — other freelancers, accomplished writers, content marketers, folks from companies you’d like to work with and grow your network! 

A freelance web designer or a web developer will need content or know someone who does! A freelance writer may have a project they cannot personally take up but could perhaps refer you for! That’s what comes with building good connections.

The easy, obvious way to go about it is by meeting people online – on LinkedIn, Facebook and so on. 

I once connected with the Marketing Manager of an organization on Instagram and started engaging with her regularly on social media. A month into this, she reached out and asked me if I’d be interested to take up a content writing requirement her company had. I was and I did! 

And all it took? Some genuine interaction. 

Another way to network is to attend offline events. You can find events in your city by checking out websites such as Meetup and Eventbrite.

networking for writers

13. Upskill! 

If you don’t want to remain stuck in terms of remuneration or quality of projects, you’ve got to keep updating your skillset.  

I already mentioned basic SEO and image editing, you could start by getting better at these. ANY organization would benefit from a writer who can provide them with SEO optimized content complete with images. 

Some skills you could consider picking up as a freelance writer are — digital marketing, social media marketing, scriptwriting, app store optimization, email marketing, Chatbot marketing, and so on. Ultimately, it comes down to what you enjoy and can envision doing long-term. 

But remember, the more supplementary services you can single-handedly provide to your client, the better your rate card would be!

upskilling for freelance writing

Wrapping Up

These were all my top tips and the steps I personally took to kickstart my journey as a freelance writer! Eventually, after doing several projects on TapChief, I joined the team here full-time (long story, keeping it for another time).

But if you’re looking to get into this field, these should help. Good luck!

If you have any questions, do share them in the comments and let me know, I’d love to address them to my next article.

Karthika Anand

Karthika is a Content Creator and Community Manager at TapChief. When not found writing, she's most likely to be found at the gym.