You’ve decided that you want to start freelance writing. You’ve thought about what kind of writing you want to do and maybe you’ve even made an account on a freelancing platform.
There’s just one big question left: how do you get started?
Well, after learning how to write a great cover letter and before jumping into the unknown, it’s a good idea to think about the practical things you need to start a freelancing career if you’re serious about it. One of the great things about freelancing is that you can start doing it whenever you want, but there are some materials you can begin to gather that will ensure success as you embark on this new career or side hustle.
It took me almost three years of freelancing to put together my almost-ideal setup and let me tell you, it really does make a difference in your productivity. Something as simple as having a neck pillow for your desk chair can encourage you to work longer because your neck isn’t aching and yelling at you to quit.
So, what are the essentials you need for freelance writing? Let’s check them out, and make sure to pay attention; some on this list are no-brainers, but others might not be as obvious.
1. A Good Computer
Look, I said that some of these were no-brainers, okay? You definitely need a good, reliable computer that’s fast and up to date on software. You’ll be completing a variety of tasks for clients on a strict timeframe, so it’s important that you know your computer won’t crap out on you or take an hour to boot up.
2. An Office Setup
If you’re going to commit to working as a freelance writer, you’re going to need your own space where you can focus. Depending on where you live, it may not be possible to have an entire room to yourself (though it’s great if you can because you can get a tax break!) but you should at least have a partitioned-off area to avoid any potential distractions. Maybe look into getting some room dividers so you can have your own little office space.
You’ll also want your own desk, ergonomic chair, keyboard, mouse, mousepad, and laptop stand. While desktop users can obviously omit the last item, laptop users will need all of the things on that list. Yes, I know you already have a keyboard and mouse built into your laptop, but if you’re going to be freelancing for a few hours a day or more, you need a good setup for the sake of your posture. Laptops used just as they come aren’t conducive to good posture (as I found out the hard way after a year of awful posture that killed my neck and back).
This is where the laptop stand comes in, as well as the separate keyboard and mouse. Make sure to do some thorough research online about good typing posture and purchase all of your office supplies accordingly. Even your mouse matters when it comes to your posture!
If you don’t have this all set up right away, it’s not the end of the world, but it does need to be at the forefront of your mind. Consider asking friends and family if they have any of these things sitting around and would be willing to give or sell them to you. You’d be surprised how many people have old office furniture and supplies sitting around!
3. Writing Software
You can use whichever writing software you want, though be aware that if you take up any editing jobs, many clients will want you to use Microsoft Word. My personal favourite software is Pages on the Mac, but really choose anything that you’re comfortable and familiar with.
You may also want to purchase extra software like Grammarly, ProWritingAid, Scrivener, etc. Just make sure to once again do your research because certain writing programs are better for certain types of writing. In some cases, upgrading to a paid premium membership might not even be necessary. For example, I’ve found the free Grammarly version to be completely sufficient for my needs.
Do note, though, that if you decide to pay for any of these things for freelancing work, you can deduct them from your income come tax season!
4. Reliable Internet
If you don’t have constant good internet, then being a freelancer may not be possible for you right now. You need to be able to easily access the freelancing site of your choice as well as search engines and anything else you need to do research. You’ll be messaging and talking with clients frequently during business hours, so you have to access the internet pretty much all the time.
While it may be possible to do your work at a cafe or something similar that has WiFi, you need to consider if you can really be there every day and factor in the money you’ll be spending on food/drinks while you’re there. Would it really be worth it? And what happens if a client contacts you when you’re not there?
Good internet is an absolute must for freelance writing.
5. A Planner
If you prefer using digital calendars, then do whatever works best for you! The important thing is to have something to record due dates, meeting times, and to-dos on so that you don’t miss a thing. Remember that as a freelancer, you’re managing everything. Clients aren’t going to remind you that something is due; you need to take responsibility and turn it in on time.
Start Your Freelancing Career Right
These are just the basic items you need to get started with freelancing. Down the road, you may want to get more equipment like compression gloves for your hands, a keyboard tilt stand, a big water bottle, a digital notebook, etc., but make sure you start with these things first. Not too bad, right?
Once you’ve got this stuff—or as you’re saving up to purchase some of it—it’s time to get your first client and maintain a good professional relationship. Tune in next week to find out how!
If you enjoyed this post, I hope you’ll consider donating to the blog, reading my stories on Vocal, and/or taking a look at my RedBubble shop so I can continue to produce free content!
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When you write as much as I do, you have to take frequent breaks from sitting. A standing desk (not a whole desk, but a mini desk that will sit on top of my current desk with my laptop, keyboard, and mouse and extend upward) will allow me to continue working while maintaining that good blood flow to my brain. Thank you so much for your support that allows me to keep producing free content. God bless you! ♥️ E.J.Donate