Kickstart Your Freelance Writing Career | Jillian Richardson | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Kickstart Your Freelance Writing Career

teacher avatar Jillian Richardson, Conversational Copywriter

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (14m)
    • 1. Oh, hey there!

    • 2. Class Project Overview

    • 3. Brainstorming Ideas

    • 4. Establishing Credibility

    • 5. Using Social Media

    • 6. Job Boards

    • 7. Pitching Directly

    • 8. Farewell, friend!

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

The world of freelancing can be intimidating and confusing. It doesn’t matter if you’re an established writer or a newbie– starting your independent writing career is complicated. That is, unless you sign up for this course.

Whether your goal is to become a full-time freelancer, or simply want some extra money on the side, this course is for you. Why? It’s taught by me, a woman who covered rent and all of her expenses from freelancing.... within her first month on the job.

Do you have questions? I have answers. This class will cover a lot of the roadblocks that you’ll face when starting out: How do I think of ideas? Where can I find a writing community? What does a great pitch look like? 

You deserve to be your own boss. Get your typing fingers ready! If you get stuck, you can always email me at

For more helpful tips, be sure to check out the resources page!

To learn more about me, you can put your eyeballs on my website here.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Jillian Richardson

Conversational Copywriter


Wanna be Business Friends Forever?

You know that content creation is crucial for your company's success– but you're busy as hell. You're way behind on blog posts, hate writing those weekly newsletters, and don't have the bandwidth to search for a freelancer. As a result, your copy sounds unnatural and your conversion rates are suffering. 

Luckily, you found me! I'm a writer and event designer who  will help your audience feel appreciated and understood, both online and off.

My clients? Not to namedrop, but they include cool kids like MOO, Convene, Intel, and Ellevest. I'm even a card-carrying member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors. (And not everyone gets accepted into that. Just sayin'.)

I produce co... See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%
Reviews Archive

In October 2018, we updated our review system to improve the way we collect feedback. Below are the reviews written before that update.

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Oh, hey there!: Hi, everyone. My name is Julian Richardson, and I'm a professional, full time freelance writer. I've been published in Salon for Eclair Courts, narratively New York Observer and more. I wanted to create this class because I want to show that you can be a professional, full time freelancer and it's not a pipe dream. You can make run with words. Now. I'm sure a lot of people tell you all the negative sides of freelancing, so I'm not going to get into that. Instead, I want to be helpful and give you a much advice, as I can about how to be a professional freelancer. Throughout this class, you learn how to brainstorm ideas, establish credibility with and without clips, find jobs in pitch editors. As I go, make sure to check out the resource is Stop, which has re sources, which I didn't have time to include during the class 2. Class Project Overview: By the end of this class, you'll have what I call a pyramid of dreams. This document, what you'll find in the class notes will be the path to your byline in your dream publication. In it, you'll identify four publications that you want to target the editors that you need to get in the door and you'll develop some kick ass pitches that would make them fall absolutely head over heels in love with you. So you should probably take this class because we're gonna be friends. It's gonna be really fun. You'll learn a lot. It's gonna be great. 3. Brainstorming Ideas: The first thing that I want to talk about is brainstorming, because freelancing will be really, really hard. If you can't think of a bunch of ideas. That's because in this line of work, you need to create a lot of content consistently. But nobody's telling you what to dio. Luckily, at a few brainstorming techniques that will help you. First of all, I recommend reading newsletters every morning, some things that I recommend our Skim, the Wall Street Journal and next draft. Now you might be thinking, Why am I doing all of this reading? Shouldn't I be writing well, sassy person Number one is that you need to know what's going on in the world consistently . If you want to write content that's relatable and is up to date. But also I recommend when you go through reading an article to think of questions that the author didn't answer. For example, once I read a piece, that was about all these amazing benefits of fitness trackers, but it didn't mention any of the downsides, and I wondered if fitness trackers could possibly lead to an exercise addiction or worse in an eating disorder. And after I did some research. I pitched it to courts, and that article got accepted and is on their website now. Another thing that I like to dio when I'm brainstorming ideas is to set a time limit. For example, I try and think of 10 pitiable ideas in 30 minutes. Otherwise, you can kind of be brand storing for forever and never get any real writing done. Now, when you're done brainstorming, you might realize that your ideas were kind of all over the place, but that's totally normal. Just try and identify a few areas that you really love writing about and focus on. Those most established writers have a few niches that they focus on, and that's because one it helps them think of ideas more easily, but also it gives them credibility in those areas. Now I'll be the first to admit that there's gonna be sometimes that you write about stuff that you don't love, and that could just be from a money perspective. For example, you might read about cloud computing, and that pays half your rent. Just make sure that you don't focus on these topics all the time, or you're gonna hate writing pretty quickly. Another small tip is to use nuzzle. That's N u z z e l. This tool connects to your Twitter account and sends you a daily email with all of the news that your network is sharing the most. Nestle is a great way to cut through all the content that's on the Internet and see what people really care about. Another tip is to use the calendar to think of ideas. For example, is International Women's Day coming up or Black History Month? That'll always spark something. Also, editors really appreciate timely pitches, especially if there well in advance. And lastly, if your branches feeling really foggy and you just kind of you don't know what to Dio, I suggest going for a walk and then coming back, you'll be refreshed and you'll be ready to brand storm again. 4. Establishing Credibility: the most important part of being an established freelance writer is having a really professional online presence. In other words, if somebody tries to Google you, it should be really clear that you are a professional writer. The first way that you should do that is to establish an online portfolio. I use content. Lee in the resource is stock. There's a link that shows you how to make your own. It also shows you what my looks like. I really like content Lee, because it lays out all the pieces that you have in a really clean format. But there's also a little box in the corner that shows how many shares all your pieces have , as well as how many followers you have. In other words, that's going to give you a really good sense of credibility. If you really knew writer, you might not have any professionally published clips to show Klein's. But that's totally okay, because as long as you have something, you'll still be able to work your way up the ladder. For example, if you've written for student publications, you can put links to those like I used to work for Boston University of satire paper The Bunion, and I wrote one piece that went really viral. So I put that at the top of my profile because it has a lot of shares and makes me look really credible. Plus, people always love something that will make them laugh. But if you're looking for even more clips, you can also upload something as a PdF like a college paper or something that you wrote in print that you scan. I actually used to college paper and not got me work. Somebody asked me if I'd ever written in a book before, and I hadn't been paid for it. But I did write a really end up case study of Buzzfeed for business class. So I just uploaded that as a PdF took out the class name. It looked really good, and I got hired based off of that. Now, if you're really type ER clips at recommend creating your own writer website and publishing some stuff on there that recommend maybe using Wicks or squarespace and the reason that I say this is because if someone looks you up, they're gonna want to see that you have published them stuff online already and that you have credibility to see some great read or websites I would check out. The resource is page to see something that you might want to model your own after and lastly, and it really kills me to say this because I'm a paid writer myself. But you might want to do some work for free just to build up those clips. Luckily, there are some Web sites that have really good credibility that just currently don't have the resources to pay their writers or have a very low pay rate. I've listed some of those in the resource is Paige. I'd recommend starting out with those, but only if you're a new writer or if you're trying to branch into a new area of expertise that you haven't currently written a lot about. Now, when you have your online portfolio done at recommend adding that link to your email, sign off. That way, whenever you send anybody message that can click on it and see that you are a professional writer. And lastly, Erica men just really taking control of how you present yourself on social media. Please, just for me, never, ever, ever call yourself an aspiring writer Because you are a writer who deserves to get paid for their words. Right now you are writer. You're not aspiring. 5. Using Social Media: now, despite what you might think, Social Media is a really important part of your freelancing career, especially Twitter and Facebook. Now I apologize all the men out there, but this first tip is really applicable only to women. You're gonna have to bear with me for a second. But if I'm being honest, the most important resource in my career so far has been a Facebook group called Binders Full of women writers. This is a really great online community where people can ask questions. Brad, their bylines and network with other fellow women writers. Now underneath this group are a bunch of smaller groups called Sub Ponders at Recommend Joining three first. So the big binder of women writers. There's a bonder of full time freelancers and one more that caters to your interests. And there's everything like ponders of tech writers, binders of business writers, binders of fashion writers does everything you could possibly want, but something really important to remember. Write this down. See, my forget is that it's a secret group so that if you look it up on Facebook, you won't find it. So to join, you're gonna have to email me with your Facebook email address, and I'll give you permission to join also on Twitter at hashtag binders to your Twitter bile. That way, your fellow women writers confined you and you can follow each other. It's a really great way to increase your Twitter following. Now this typist for everybody, I promise. Facebook in general, is a great resource for writers. Just use the search bar to find whatever you're looking for. For example, if your writer in Cleveland, a science fiction writer and erotica writer, you'll be able to find public groups for whatever you're looking for. But there are some unwritten rules to these groups that you should know about. For example, don't use them to just constantly promote your services and ask for help, because it's really important that these groups are given take. So if somebody asks a question, do your best to answer and be helpful. So that way, when you ask a question, people will be more likely to help you. Also, Twitter is a really great resource. If you use the search bar, you can just type in something like freelance jobs. But when you see the results, there might be some that are promoted at the top, so make sure that you switched to live tweets to see all the jobs that are posted. Most recently. First, next up is Pinterest, which you might think is weird because you might think of Pinterest is kind of wedding inspiration. But in reality it is a great way to find clients. For example, if you're looking for TV or abuse, you can just type in TV reviews in the top, see what comes up and you'll see that there are a lot of smaller publications. So keep this in mind because it's a great tool for your lowest level of your pyramid of dreams. Now last up is linked in, which is the obvious choice. But that doesn't mean that you should rule it out. Lincoln has some really great resource is for writers, and also you don't have to feel weird about sending somebody a message on Lincoln because you're all there for the same reason you're there for Resource is, and you're there for connections so you can establish a really professional relationship right from the start 6. Job Boards: all right, I'm gonna give you guys a warning right now because I love you. If you don't have a connection to an editor, you are going to need to apply to thousands of jobs. And I mean that because there are so many freelancers that are applying for jobs at all times, and it's just really competitive. So I just really want to emphasize that networking is crucial. If you don't have a connection to an editor, it's gonna be a lot harder for you to find work. So an example of having a connection is I wrote for the content strategist, and he wrote a piece about a website called the Establishment, which is a venture capital funded website that's funded entirely by women. And I interviewed all the founders and wrote a piece for them. So because I got a lot of free publicity for me, it was a lot easier for me to pitch that specific publication. So now I have three pieces that I've written for that website, and that's really just because I took the time to network with all those people and really put their priorities first over mind so that we could really have a good, strong bond. So again, just networking should be at the forefront of your brain at all times when it comes to freelancing. Of course, there are options other than networking. For example, you confined creative freelance agencies are common finding those that are based in your city. But if you're not in urban area, you can also find freelance agencies that are based exclusively online. And if you don't want to go through somebody else, you just want to work entirely for yourself. Totally okay, because there are a ton of job boards out there, the ones that have worked the best for me personally, our media bistro Craigslist in the morning coffee newsletter. But if you're looking for a bigger list, you can find that on the resource is Paige. 7. Pitching Directly: all right, Now that you have a really great online portfolio, you can finally pitch Editors. And I say that because the typical pitch to an editor starts with Hi, my name is Julian Richardson, and I've been published in X, y and Z publication, and then you include links to the relevant content that that editor might be interested in . So if you don't have that, they're probably not gonna be interested and they won't accept your pitch. Now I'm going to give you guys a warning just because I feel like it's really important to keep this in mind. When you're a freelancer, you get a lot more rejections than you do acceptances. That's just part of the gig, and it could be kind of hard to handle. But on the positive side, you need to remember that an editor gets a Thanh of pitches all the time. So, for example, they might have gotten the pitch that you sent them just a day earlier, and they gave it to somebody else or they're just not looking for any more ideas. So keep that in mind, stay positive and keep pushing. Now, if I haven't scared you off it's time to find your editor's email address. And, weirdly, this could be half the battle. So if their email isn't listed on the publication's website, I recommend checking Twitter and then Lincoln. If you can't find it there, go to the resource is Doc. I've listed some Web sites that have the formula for different companies. Email addresses. Lastly, if you want to see what a really great pitch looks like, check out the open notebook pitch database. This website shows accepted pitches for different publications, and it's a really great resource for writers. 8. Farewell, friend!: now there's a lot of stuff that I didn't have the chance to cover in the class, so make sure to check out the resource is Page for advice on contract negotiation, invoice templates and freelancers to follow. The Pyramid of Dream stock is also in there Now. I really want to be a resource to you guys, so feel free to email me. My email is that Gillian at gmail dot com, Or you can follow me on Twitter at that. Gillian, I can't wait to see your pyramids and thank you so much for taking this class with May. It really means a lot.