Find out how to Turn out to be a Freelance Technical Author (6 Key Steps)

by | Nov 9, 2021 | Etcetera | 0 comments

Companies are an increasing number of looking for folks that can grow to be sophisticated conceptual ideas into simple content material subject material for customers and stakeholders. If in case you have a technical background then again are looking for a additional flexible career chance, freelance technical writing may well be very good.

By the use of learning how you can transform a freelance technical writer, you’ll transform your own boss and artwork from anywhere. In several words, you’ll turn your enjoy into a flexible, winning, and rewarding career.

Excited? Let’s go!

What Is Freelance Technical Writing?

There’s much more to freelance writing than blogging and drafting social media posts. Almost about any writing artwork can also be carried out via freelancers.

Freelancers don’t merely artwork for one company. They artwork with plenty of writing shoppers who pay you as a non-employee service provider.

In particular, freelance technical writers center of attention on creating written content about extraordinarily technical or specialized topics very similar to engineering or website construction.

Companies are looking for people that can transform complex ideas into straightforward content for customers and stakeholders. 🤝 If this sounds like you, read on! 🤓Click to Tweet

Benefits of Working as a Freelance Technical Writer

Whether or not or no longer you make a decision to freelance whole time or you want to make more money on the side, freelance writing supplies a number of benefits, very similar to the ability to artwork from anywhere on your own time.

Flexible Schedule

When surveyed, 68% of freelancers decided on this artwork style over the usual day job because of the bigger flexibility. Since freelancers aren’t regarded as an employee to shoppers, you don’t need to clock in and out every day.

Freelance writing artwork revolves spherical deadlines, now not not unusual artwork hours. This sort of agenda can give you the freedom you want if in case you have non-work duties (like raising youngsters) or just want additional regulate over your time.

Artwork Anywhere

In conjunction with agenda flexibility, location independence is without doubt one of the maximum essential benefits of a career in freelance writing. No longer extra soliciting for time without work to commute — you can work anywhere as long as you’ve a computer and an internet connection.

Higher Salary Possible

Freelance writing isn’t just a side hustle option; it’s an excellent full-time career variety. Additionally, freelance technical writers can name for the following salary because of their specialized knowledge and skills.

Variety

Freelance technical writing opens the door to artwork on a wide variety of duties during a couple of industries. You’ll be capable of to find shoppers in IT, finance, government, manufacturing, training, and drugs, to name only a few.

What’s additional, you’re now not limited to one industry at a time. Working with plenty of shoppers at once lets you add variety in your artwork and uncover the themes and industries that zeal you.

Freelance Technical Writer Salary

According to ZipRecruiter, freelance technical writers earn more than the average freelance writer. On affordable, a regular freelance writer makes spherical $61,935 annually or $30/hour. Alternatively, freelance technical writers earn an average of $70,191 a three hundred and sixty five days, or $34/hour.

Graph showing average freelance technical writer salary in the United States.

Graph showing affordable freelance technical writer salary in america. (Image provide: ZipRecruiter)

Quite a few elements affect your fees as a freelance writer, along side industry, level of enjoy, and content material subject material type. Technical writers that have higher levels of knowledge or center of attention on house of passion topics can worth their services and products higher.

Most No longer atypical Varieties of Technical Writing

As a freelance technical writer, you’ll choose from somewhat a large number of content material subject material types to provide your shoppers. Listed below are some of the most common kinds of freelance technical writing duties.

Technical Articles

Technical articles discuss with any editorial pieces excited about a specialized topic or product. The ones articles are generally published in magazines or other online publications, they usually don’t require supervised research.

You’ll be capable of to find artwork writing technical articles for almost any type of client, from robotics manufacturers to prison firms and the entire thing in between. Listed below are a few examples of technical content material subject material from a couple of of those industries:

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Technical Guides and Manuals

Technical guides and manuals are how-to handbooks supposed to lend a hand customers learn how to use a product and get one of the vital out of it.

A technical manual would in all probability include instructions for arrange, use, upkeep, troubleshooting, and easiest conceivable practices depending on the product. API documentation is each and every different same old type of technical data used by tool companies.

Screenshot of API Console's API documentation.

Screenshot of API Console’s API documentation. (Image provide: Medium)

Some same old examples of technical documentation include Salesforce’s Pardot API Guide, Blue Celebrity Cooking’s Free-Standing Range Installation, and our step-by-step guide on website usability testing.

Insurance coverage insurance policies and Procedures

Firms use protection and procedure manuals to stipulate a normal protocol for somewhat a large number of situations. As a technical writer, you’ll artwork on bureaucracy very similar to hiring procedures, work-from-home insurance coverage insurance policies, employee benefits packages, or place of business conduct guidelines.

The ones duties are in particular connected throughout the training, government, and healthcare sectors as they’re frequently matter to federal laws. A excellent example is the Code of Ethics and Business Conduct published via SHRM.

Trade Plans

Trade plans serve as the roadmap which defines a company’s goals, objectives, and strategies. Startups, in particular, would in all probability employ technical writers with acute trade acumen and product-related knowledge to draft a business plan to present to conceivable consumers.

Two great examples worth peeking at are the Culina Business Plan and the OrcaSmart Business Plan.

White Papers

If in case you have revel in working in a B2B industry, it’s conceivable you’ll already be aware of white papers. White papers are bureaucracy used by product sales and promoting and advertising teams to explain new solutions or highlight product or service details.

White papers range in length from 6 to 15 pages, they usually’re one of the vital additional winning possible choices for writers, clocking in at $3–6,000 on affordable. Most sensible-end white papers can go for $10,000 or additional; alternatively, you’ll frequently need to research and create or counsel designs for the record.

Title page of Microsoft Azure HCI white paper.

Determine internet web page of Microsoft Azure HCI white paper. (Image provide: Microsoft)

Two white papers you’ll peruse for inspiration are McKesson’s Preparing for a Medicaid MCO Transition and Microsoft Azure’s Azure Stack HCI Overview (Microsoft Azure).

Case Analysis

Similar to white papers, case studies are used to lend a hand product sales and promoting and advertising teams advertise their products. Alternatively, as a substitute of explaining product choices, a case find out about provides an in-depth check out how a product (or solution) helped a single purchaser or solved a selected drawback.

Besides Kinsta’s case studies, you’ll check out MailChimp’s How Her Campus Media Increased Subscribers by 72%, and Thermo Fisher Scientific’s Evaluating Biochemical and Cell-Based Profiles using Nexavar to seem examples.

Corporate Studies

And in spite of everything, we’ve got corporate reviews, which component a company’s financial knowledge for conceivable consumers. Corporate reviews include quarterly reviews (Form 10-Q), annual reviews (Form 10-Good enough), and reviews of important events (Form 8-Good enough).

Screenshot of ExxonMobil annual report.

Screenshot of ExxonMobil annual report. (Image provide: ExxonMobil)

To put in writing corporate reviews, you want to seize accounting basics, financial bureaucracy, and the company’s product and competitive atmosphere.

Our favorite examples of solid corporate reviews include the Oracle Fiscal 2021 Fourth Quarter and Annual Report and the ExxonMobil Corporation Annual Report 2020.

Skills You Wish to Turn into a Freelance Technical Writer

If you want to transform a successful freelance technical writer, you want to have technical acumen and the talents to build and run your own business.

Listed below are the easiest must haves and skills you’ll have faster than starting a career as a freelance technical writer.

Technical Knowledge and Enjoy

Some freelance writing niches don’t require formal training or training. Alternatively, that’s now not most often the case with technical writing. Technical writing is without doubt one of the freelance niches where you’ll frequently to find shoppers that want you to have no less than a Bachelor’s Degree.

Since shoppers need you to break down sophisticated concepts into user-friendly language, they’ll frequently seek for someone who has connected working revel in too. Or, for individuals who’re writing articles for someone’s website, you will have to know easiest conceivable practices for on-page search engine optimization (SEO).

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Written Verbal change

For any professional writer, written dialog skills are a will have to. Technical writers will have to be capable to write in a certain, concise, and unbiased style of voice. Most importantly, it’ll lend a hand if it’s good to distill sophisticated material into approachable content material subject material.

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Written dialog skills moreover come into play when dealing with shoppers. As a freelance writer, you’re now not going to be throughout the place of job along side your shoppers every day. You need so that you can arrange expectations and communicate effectively with your clients via email.

Improving

While you’re going to be tempted to team editing skills with written dialog, editing is a crucial step throughout the writing process that deserves undivided attention. Some shoppers might also hire writers and editors one by one.

Alternatively, if your client doesn’t have in-house editors, you want to hone your editing skills. Remember to have a solid grab of grammar and punctuation rules, and then learn how to proofread your artwork to check for the most efficient tone and a logical waft of ideas.

Time and Problem Keep an eye on

Every so often, freelancing involves a large number of juggling. Whilst you artwork as a freelance writer, you don’t have a manager checking in in your construction and retaining you on the right track. Accurately budgeting time is the most important for individuals who plan on retaining your full-time job while you freelance.

Editorial calendar on Trello.

Editorial calendar on Trello. (Image provide: Your Blogging Mentor)

So, to make sure to meet all of your deadlines, you will have to seize your time keep an eye on skills and learn how to use project management tools. It’s your accountability to create problem timelines, troubleshoot problems, and keep up a correspondence any important changes along side your shoppers.

Promoting and advertising

Any successful freelancing trade requires some level of self-promotion. If you want to turn freelancing proper right into a full-time career, you want to market yourself to conceivable shoppers. You will have to call to mind yourself as a small trade and put yourself to be had available in the market to look out new shoppers.

Learn how to Turn into a Freelance Technical Writer

Now, immediately to the practicals! The ones are the steps to transform a freelance technical writer:

  1. Make a selection an area of enjoy
  2. Create writing samples
  3. Create an web portfolio
  4. Contact conceivable shoppers
  5. Negotiate fees
  6. Finalize contracts

Let’s check out what each of the ones steps comprises.

1. Make a selection an House of Enjoy

For new freelance writers, there are a few techniques by which you’ll choose a writing house of passion. One of the vital easiest conceivable ways to start out is choosing industries attached in your tutorial background and artwork revel in.

For example, for individuals who’ve worked as a website developer, you’ll transition into writing technical articles about UX/UI design or guides for installing website security measures.

You’ll be capable of moreover choose to concentrate on certain kinds of duties, very similar to white papers or technical manuals. As you continue to succeed in revel in in a particular house, you’ll hone your skills and value higher fees.

2. Assemble a Writing Portfolio

Once what you want to write down down, get began writing. You’ll want to have connected writing samples to create a portfolio to share with conceivable shoppers.

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Even if you don’t have shoppers, get started via writing examples pertinent in your writing house of passion. If writing hasn’t been part of your fresh artwork, it can be helpful to take an web writing trail to refresh your skills.

The Art of API Documentation course description on Udemy.

The Paintings of API Documentation trail description on Udemy. (Image Source)

Once you have your samples, it’s time to build your portfolio. To begin out, your portfolio is most often a folder of development bureaucracy that you just’ll share with shoppers.

3. Expand Your Non-public Logo and Generate Leads

Starting with a shareable writing portfolio is a wonderful step, then again if you want to elevate in more shoppers, you will have to create your own website that showcases your work and tells shoppers exactly what kinds of content material subject material you offer.

To optimize your freelance website for lead technology, make sure it has the following portions:

  • Products and services and merchandise internet web page
  • Contact form
  • Non-public blog or artwork samples

You’ll be capable of moreover add positive reviews and ratings in your website if you happen to’ve worked with a few shoppers.

After your website goes live, you’ll want to succeed in out to connected industry publications to look out choices for customer posting. With customer posts, you create content material subject material for someone else in return for a link back to your website.

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We moreover recommend choosing one social platform where you’ll constantly share content material subject material to showcase your enjoy and succeed in exposure to conceivable shoppers. LinkedIn, Quora, Medium, and Reddit are all very good conceivable possible choices for technical writers.

4. Contact Possible Clients

In case you’re now not paying attention to from possible shoppers instantly, likelihood is that you’ll need to use some outbound contact strategies to get your first few jobs. Whilst you get began freelance writing, there are a few places to seek for your first shoppers.

To begin out, succeed in out in your present professional group, browse job boards to bid on duties, and then make a list of purpose shoppers you’ll contact.

Technical freelance writing job posts on Upwork.com.

Technical freelance writing job posts on Upwork.com. (Image Source)

At this degree, you want to learn how to pitch your services compellingly to get shoppers to take meetings with you. The good news is that plenty of successful freelance writers share their easiest conceivable pitch templates online. To find one who works for you and get began contacting folks.

5. Negotiate Fees

As you increase relationships with conceivable shoppers, you’ll uncover writing choices. If someone is fascinated with hiring you, they’ll generally ask for a problem proposal. In that proposal, you’ll outline exactly what you’ll send and when.

After you review your proposal together, it’s time to negotiate a worth. We suggest bobbing up with a value in step with problem (somewhat than in step with word or in step with hour) for terribly technical duties. Do your research on market prices and make a decision your minimum acceptable worth faster than you negotiate.

6. Finalize Contracts

All the time write up a contract on your freelance duties. Contracts lend a hand protect you and ensure that you purchased value on your artwork.

While they don’t need to be refined, your contracts will have to define the scope of work, content material subject material ownership, value words, deadlines, and revision protection. In some cases, shoppers would in all probability ask that you just include a non-compete clause or confidentiality commentary.

Listed below are some freelance contract templates you’ll use to create your own:

Getting Paid as a Freelance Writer

So, you’ve got your first client, and contracts are signed. After they’re happy with the artwork, how do you get paid?

Well, for one of the vital phase, you’ll get paid like any other trade. Most freelance writers use invoices to bill their shoppers at the end of a problem.

Learn how to Send Invoices

Your contract will have to include how so much you get paid and when. You’ll use the ones details when sending out invoices.

Remember to include the following knowledge in your invoice:

  • Invoice amount
  • Your contact knowledge
  • Issue date (the date the invoice was once created)
  • Due date (for value)
  • Line products description
  • General amount due
  • Payment methods

The usage of invoicing software helps you keep your price range organized and lets you accept additional value methods, very similar to monetary establishment transfers or credit card expenses. Usual possible choices for freelancers include Freshbooks, Quickbooks Self-Employed, Bonsai, and PayPal.

Screenshot of PayPal invoice management page.

Screenshot of PayPal invoice keep an eye on internet web page. (Image provide: Business Insider)

Working out Freelance Taxes

In conjunction with understanding the invoicing process, you want to seize the basics of paying freelance taxes. As a freelancer, you’re regarded as self-employed, because of this that your income is matter to self-employment taxes.

Accounting tool very similar to Quickbooks Self-Employed will can help you keep track of tax bureaucracy and estimated tax expenses. Alternatively, for individuals who’re starting, it’s helpful to speak about with an accountant who can explain how self-employment taxes artwork.

Want to be your own boss, work from anywhere, and have flexible hours? 💪 Becoming a freelance technical writer could be the perfect fit 👨‍💻Click to Tweet

Summary

A technical freelance writing career may well be the perfect chance for you if you want to have additional independence and flexibility. If in case you have the technical knowledge and well-trained writing skills, it’s moreover an excellent means to make more money part-time.

Freelance writing opens the door so as to artwork any place you want and to find duties and shoppers that suit your interests. All you want to do to get going is get began writing!

In spite of everything, it’ll lend a hand for individuals who had a portfolio website to show off your notable works. To get started building a website on your freelance writing trade, uncover Kinsta’s plans for WordPress.

If in case you have any leftover questions about becoming a freelance writer, let us know throughout the comments phase beneath.

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