I’ll be honest, I am not a tech-savvy nurse. When the internet goes out, I turn to my fiance for help. If my computer isn’t working, I power it down and hope for the best. When I was deciding to pursue entrepreneurship, I was really nervous about the tech part.
I just imagined having to understand these complex systems that would do my billing. I imagined coding my website from scratch in a dark room lit only by the 1’s and 0’s on my computer screen.
I am incredibly pleased to report that you don’t need to be a tech genius. You don't need to be coding at midnight to run a successful freelance writing business. So what tech do you need to run a successful freelance writing business?
A working laptop and Internet
A laptop that turns out and reliable internet is the very basics you’ll need to start writing. And it doesn’t have to be fancy. I used the same laptop I used in college. It wasn’t the fastest, but it was able to load my google docs and keep up with my open tabs.
That’s really all you’re doing. You’re not running any wild software that takes up a ton of space on your laptop. It’s really just you, your open word processor, and several tabs of research from medical journals. Most basic internet packages will be able to keep up with that.
As you move up in the business world, you can choose to upgrade your systems. You may want to splurge on that billing account. Or maybe you want to download some software to help you keep track of your tasks at hand. That may need a faster computer.
But you don’t need to. And when you’re starting, those shiny programs can become a distraction from writing. I always recommend mastering the basics and upgrading your systems later. You should know how to write, have enough clients to pay the bills, and then upgrade your systems.
I live by my Gmail account, still to this day. I could go on and on about this platform, but I’ll keep it simple. First of all, it’s incredibly user-friendly. Once you set up your freelancing email, you can access your google drive from any computer. This means you don’t have to worry about saving your work to a single computer. You can access it from anywhere.
You can also write in google docs. This word processor saves your draft as you go. So you’ll never feel the panic of writing for two hours, and realizing Microsoft Word never saved your draft.
Website(if you want)
I wrote all about websites earlier in my blog. They’re incredibly useful, but they’re not necessary for you to be a successful freelancer. I didn’t have a website for the first 3 years of my career. If you’re just starting, you don’t need to worry about making one right away.
But as you advance in your career, it is nice to have a place to send your leads.
You can host your portfolio, services page, and contact page all in one place. When you go to bed, your website can keep attracting leads through the “contact form” page.
And websites are easier than ever to build. I made mine on “Wix”. They have pre-built templates where you can just drag and drop your content where you want it. No more coding is needed here! And Wix even has a free helpline that you can call 24/7 for support. I’ve called multiple times and they were really helpful.
Every freelance writer should have a LinkedIn, plain and simple. LinkedIn is a professional gold mine. This platform lets you chat with editors, coaches, and other freelance writers. You can also find jobs straight from networking, public posts, or the job board.
LinkedIn is intuitive. Once you get the hang of it, it’s like any other social media site, but way friendlier. I don’t usually recommend social media, but I do recommend LinkedIn to everyone.
Hemingway and Grammarly
Hemingway and Grammarly are two artificial intelligence (AI) editing apps. And before you say “Whoa AI?!”, hear me out. Not all robots are complicated machines. These are browser-based tools that offer suggestions on how to improve your writing.
So, you can copy and paste your finished article into these websites and receive feedback. These tools can tell you if your writing is hard to read, or if there is a more accurate word choice for your sentence. But, like all robots, they’re not perfect. At the end of the day, it’s just an algorithm. I recommend double-checking all the edits to make sure they make sense.
As a freelance writer, you have to get paid, but you don’t have to have a fancy payment platform. Paypal works just fine. Paypal does take out a notable fee, but you can build that fee right into your charge for your customer.
For my first two years as a freelancer, my publications had their own payment platforms. I was paid through direct deposit. I just had to fill out the tax information and their accounting department handled the rest for me.
If you want to use a different payment platform, you can. Quickbooks is a software that will help you create and send invoices. It also tracks taxes and any pending payments. Some other options are Stripe or Square.
Some qualities make some people more adept at owning their own businesses. You should be organized, prompt, and able to prioritize. But, being tech-savvy isn’t one of them. You don’t need to code your own website or own a complicated billing account to be successful. Running your own business is more attainable than ever.