A career as a health writer

How to find your first freelance writing job: 10 experts share their tips

Are you keen to be a freelance health writer but do not know how to begin or where to find your first freelance writing job?

Or, are you caught in a freelance market battleground and getting nowhere?

The excellent news is that there’s plenty of work out there for freelance health & medical writers. And, here’s slightly secret: Freelance work isn’t all the time marketed on-line.

I’m speaking concerning the ‘hidden job market’ – a term referring to jobs that exist however aren’t advertised.

In the freelance business, you’ll be able to find hidden jobs by means of any of the next:

The hidden job market is a key theme that emerged once I spoke to ten profitable freelance health writers about how they found their first shoppers.

The first shopper tales of those numerous freelancers clearly show that there are lots of pathways to freelance success. No two journeys are the same, and I hope you find these anecdotes as fascinating and galvanizing as I did!


“My very first client was the agency I had previously been employed by.”

Dr Sarah McKay is a Sydney-based author, neuroscientist, ABC Catalyst TV presenter, writer of ‘The Women’s Mind Ebook’, founder of the Neuroscience Academy, and a TEDx-er.

Sarah says: “My very first shopper was the company I had beforehand been employed by before I went on maternity depart. They requested me to complete a couple of tasks I’d labored on previously, and I took on new work from them over time.

“My second shopper was my manager and the agency who moved to a brand new job. My third shopper was an previous colleague who went to work for a health communications company.

“As you can see, my first few clients all came from my pre-existing networks.”


“It happened by accident … I saw an interesting job posting for a healthcare content editor and decided to apply.”

Lisa Buffington is an experienced healthcare ghost blogger and net author based mostly in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. As the proprietor of Buffington Editorial Providers, Lisa specialises in blogging and writing net content material for hospitals and well being techniques.

Lisa admits she found her first well being writing shopper accidentally. “I was working at a full-time, non-healthcare-related job and was looking for a way to transition to being a work-from-home mom so I could spend more time with my kids,” she stated.

“A journalist by commerce, I subscribed to a freelance job board and began in search of writing jobs. I saw an fascinating job posting for a healthcare content material editor and decided to apply. The shopper gave me a few modifying assignments and asked if I needed to attempt writing some net pages and blogs.

“I gave it a attempt to both the shopper and I have been very proud of the association. I give up my full-time job about six months later and continued freelancing.

“After a couple of years of working with this shopper, I felt that I discovered sufficient about healthcare to focus my enterprise on providing consumer-facing health writing providers. It’s been 5 years since I stumbled into this line of labor, and I’m nonetheless working with this shopper on a consistent basis.


“I was bending the ear of my best friend backwards again about my frustration with agency life … two days later, I had two retainers.”

Rebekah Lambert is a Wollongong-based content creator, concept juggler, freelance stigma stomper, psychological well being advocate and creator of the Freelance Jungle web site and Fb group.

Rebekah discovered her first shopper shortly after bobbing in the waters off some calm place in North Sydney, bending the ear of her greatest good friend backwards again about her frustration with agency life.

Rebekah recollects: “He looked at me as his dogs bobbed around and simply said “what are you prepared to do about it, Bex?” That was his means of claiming my whining was making his tolerance thin. I considered it for a second and stated, “Give it a shot, I reckon”.

“Two days later, I had two retainers. One was admittedly from my bestie who was operating a kid’s instructional start-up on the time. The opposite, from a food and wine group. 6 weeks after I give up my job and commenced, my bestie’s funding ran brief and I used to be first in, first to depart.

“From right here, I received nimble. I acquired two shoppers from writing them love letters on how I might help them. I setup a barter product and commenced a group Twitter, both of which received me future paying shoppers for their difference and group involvement.

“I frolicked at networking events on collaborative consumption and social justice and received extra shoppers. I beloved up the shoppers I had and received much more by way of referral. As soon as I obtained an internet site, I blogged my arse off.

“The moral to the story? It doesn’t have to be expensive or involved. You need to leverage your connections and your talents wisely. It’s also about making people remember what you can give to them. Do the odd weird thing to stand out from the crowd. But also answer the damn brief too because no matter how many bells and whistles you want to wow them with, if they want coffee and eggs, you gotta give it to them.”


“I got the contact from the health communications officer at Emory University where I was attending grad school.”

Based mostly within the Higher Atlanta area, Emma Hitt Nichols, PhD, ELS, is the founder of Nascent Medical, LLC and teaches a well-liked 6-week course in freelance medical writing.

Certainly one of Emma’s first shoppers was Reuters Well being, for which she wrote news pieces, particularly on CDC points.

Emma says: “I obtained that contact from the well being communications officer at Emory College where I used to be attending grad faculty.

“I like to recommend that folks moving into the sector have an internet site, create some samples, and make as many in-person connections as attainable as well as to sending out emails.

“Also, if you have contacts in academia or in healthcare that might need some writing assistance, that would be the very first place to start.”


“I met the HR director of a biotech startup at a networking event … a few weeks later, we had a coffee together to discuss the details, and I was given a chance.”

Based mostly within the Netherlands, Jackie Johnson is an American freelance medical writer supporting biotech, healthcare, and pharmaceutical industries with premium medical communication providers.

Jackie believes that networking on-line and offline performed an enormous position find tasks. She stated: “One in every of my first shoppers was a biotech startup in Amsterdam. I had met the HR director at a biomedical networking event, and though her company wasn’t in search of any full-time communications professionals, they have been about to launch a brand new web site that needed ad hoc strategic communications deliverables.

“A number of weeks later, we had a coffee collectively to talk about the small print, and I was given a chance. One other early shopper was a pharma company that found me via LinkedIn and needed some congress coverage work and press releases.

“I worked with a small team of their in house writers to do the coverage. Another client was an old colleague who had started a company and needed advice on copywriting for his web presence. He heard that I was looking for writing projects and was happy to take advantage of my ‘start-up rate’.”


“A LinkedIn connection had an immediate requirement for his client.”

Sathya Meonah, from the Bengaluru Area in India, is at present working as a freelance scientific/medical author with a give attention to planning, analyzing and publishing medical and medical analysis documentation.

Sathya admitted that getting into into freelance writing was an unanticipated coincidence. “I did my doctoral research in pharmaceutical microbiology and was waiting to be placed in a scientific position,” she stated.”

“Soon I received a suggestion as a medical author in a pharma company. I did not settle for the supply as my child was just a few months previous.

“Right now one among my connections on LinkedIn got here up with an instantaneous requirement of a medical writing task for his shopper. I completed the work in every week and acquired a great deal of appreciation from the shopper concerning the work.

“That’s where I developed an interest in freelance medical writing. As my kiddos were very young I thought this was the best option. Soon I did a PG Diploma in Medical Writing from IGMPI (Institute of Good Manufacturing Practice India) to strengthen my core skills in all types of medical and health writing.”


“My first client was a friend of a friend.”

Sarah Morton is an web optimization Copywriter and Content material Strategist based mostly in Sydney, with more than 17 years’ expertise working with manufacturers in the government, healthcare, nonprofit, know-how, finance, tourism and shopper way of life industries.

Sarah’s shopper was a good friend of a pal, who she met once they have been out for drinks.

“I had only simply determined to grow to be a copywriter and was nonetheless working full time, but I confidently advised him I was a copywriter and explained how I might assist small enterprise house owners like him.

“Earlier than I knew it he was asking me to redevelop content for his entire web site. I feel it’s essential to keep in mind that everyone you meet (and everyone they know) is a potential shopper.

“Have your elevator pitch ready and above all, express confidence in your ability to help.”


“I have always been actively involved in my profession.”

Kate Marsh, additionally based mostly in Sydney, is an Superior Accredited Training Dietitian and Credentialled Diabetes Educator, who at present divides her time between medical apply and well being and medical writing.

Kate believes that the recommendation “it’s who you know that’s important” rings true.

“As a health professional, I have always been actively involved in my profession, volunteering my time on committees, working groups and chairing interest/discussion groups, as well as regularly attending continuing education events,” Kate stated.

“I believe that most of my health writing work opportunities have stemmed from this as it has given me the chance to meet and become known to those who might need my services.”


“A friend contacted me to write their allied health website.”

Kylie Saunder is a Melbourne well being author and copywriter who writes partaking medical and well being content for Plastic Surgeons, GP’s, Dentists, Dermatologists, Psychiatrists & Psychologists.

Kylie stated: “Once I started web optimization copywriting I pretty much wrote for any business together with finance, regulation, retail, engineering, telecommunications, logistics and eCommerce.

“When a pal contacted me to write their allied well being website, I jumped at the opportunity as I’d all the time been enthusiastic about well being and wellbeing.

“Throughout this venture, I realised I used to be ‘in the zone’ as I was writing. I felt like the messages I wrote might help individuals who have been looking for the appropriate therapeutic massage therapist.

“Soon after at an SEO meetup, I met a friend who was setting up an agency and needed some medical copywriting done. Through word of mouth I got more health and medical writing gigs. I then updated my LinkedIn profile and tweaked my website to show that I liked to write health and medical content.”


“I changed my marketing tactics to focus only on the niche area of medical technology.”

Anne Watkins is a UK-based freelance well being author, medical content material creator and the founder of Thoughts Physique Ink.

Anne stated that she tried taking a broad brush strategy to turning into a health author initially, although she discovered herself getting exhausted and dispirited in a short time.

“It seemed as though everyone was applying for a similar few alternatives online. I then realised that I wasn’t making any use of the various years of specialist nursing and midwifery expertise I had.

“I changed my tactics to focus only on the niche area of medical technology. That’s what turned things around for me and I found it much easier to get high-paying work such as creating educational materials and writing white papers.”


Your flip

There you could have it – 10 first shopper stories to encourage you to achieve your freelance objectives. Heck, let’s make it 11: Permit me to share my first shopper story, too.

I discovered my first freelance health writing shopper by means of Facebook. I’d just arrange a Fb business page, and I was connecting with potential shoppers. My timing was impeccable because one shopper messaged me several hours later and asked me to quote for writing a press release. I – identical to the other ten writers above – took the plunge and put myself on the market.

Finding shoppers doesn’t have to be difficult, but I’ll admit that it does take confidence and braveness to start.

Now, what are you ready for? It’s time for you to write your first shopper story!

Should you need just a little help with these steps, my How To Turn into A Freelance Well being Writer course may help. The course is out there on-demand, so you’ll be able to enroll and begin learning immediately!