So you think you can be a freelance health writer? Here’s the good news: you’re probably right!
Working for yourself is rewarding and challenging, and if you’re a passionate individual, who’s driven to achieve success, you’ll have no problems launching your freelance career.
As a first step on the pathway to freelance health writing success, I like to ask people the following question:
Why do you want to be a freelance health writer?
Is it because:
- you’re sick of working for ‘the man’
- you need a career change
- you want to work at your own hours, and be flexible
- you have a family and prefer to freelance
- you love health and writing, and want a career that combines your two passions
If you answered yes to any of the above, then you’re in the majority of successful freelance health journalists and writers who opted for this career path.
If you want to be a freelance health writer because:
- you want to make more money than you currently make in your ‘day job’
- you want to do less work than you currently do in your ‘day job’
Well, we may have a problem.
Let’s get one thing straight. Going freelance is not easy.
I’m not saying it’s difficult, but it involves hard work and dedication. Often, freelancing means putting in more hours than you’ll ever get paid for – even when your business is running smoothly years after you’ve established yourself.
So as long as you’re okay with these key facts, then power to you!
1. Set up a website with a health writer blog
As I’ve already discussed in previous posts, blogging for your health writer business is an important strategy that enables you to enhance your online presence.
It’s a key strategy because it connects you with potential clients and the rest of the writing community.
If you’re a freelance healthcare writer, you need a website and a social media presence.
I firmly believe you need a blog, too. If you want to be competitive, stand out in a crowd and find yourself new clients, you need to blog and you need to do it regularly.
If you’re unsure about starting your health writer blog, here are some tips on how to get going.
2. Promote your niche health experience
You’re not a generic writer – you’re a health writer. Something must have motivated you to make that choice. Find where your passion comes from, and use it to market your services.
Are you a health professional?
Do you have a medical degree?
Are you a dedicated yogi, or are you just damn healthy and proud of it?
Whatever your story, find what motivates you and use it to market your business.
3. Write for free
I know. The point of becoming a freelance health writer is to get paid, right?
Unfortunately, you’re going to have to do a little leg work – either free or in kind – while you get yourself up and running. That includes your health writer blog.
If you’re starting out without a portfolio, you need to build one – fast. After all, you’re competing with seasoned freelance health journalists and writers with years of published writing under their belts.
Remember what I said at the beginning about working hard and being driven to achieve results? Writing for free is exactly what I meant.
4. Be persistent
It might take weeks, months or even a year until you have a steady stream of clients, but in those quiet early months, you need to persist, and you need to believe in yourself.
If you’re getting nowhere, continue to write for free to build your experience and portfolio.
Find ways to network with writers and get tips and advice to help your business grow. Meet with a business coach if necessary, or find a writer who will agree to mentor you from time to time.
But never, and I mean NEVER, give up.
5. Join Linkedin, and join Linkedin Groups
Linkedin is a fantastic professional networking resource. Connect with as many legitimate contacts as you can find.
Join groups on Linkedin where people advertise jobs and discuss health writing, like Freelance Writers.
Get involved in discussions, and share your blog posts and other relevant content you have found on the web, as this will help you to develop you online network – which will lead to more clients and more exposute.
6. Choose your clients wisely
The best part of writing for a niche is that you get to write about your passion. The downside? It’s more work to find clients.
As tempting as it may be to dabble in another industry, you chose to be a healthcare writer, so try and stick to health writing, because a health writer with a portfolio of non-health writing doesn’t look convincing.
Make a list of potential clients who may need your services and contact them regularly.
You could start with small businesses in your local area who may need brochure writing or website writing assistance.
Also, use your common sense: if your passion is yoga, approach yoga and meditation businesses to start with. You can also try registering with larger health organisations, magazines, newspapers, and overseas websites. Be creative, don’t be shy, and persist, persist, persist.
Are you a freelance health writer? Do you have any other tips to help writers get started?