Course Description

Freelance writing and editing can be lucrative, high-demand careers. This course will help you discover whether freelancing is the right choice for you and learn how to launch and run a successful freelance business. The course covers best practices for freelancers and gives you the knowledge and tools to avoid common mistakes. You will create a vision for your business, determine what “success” means to you, and develop detailed plans for running the business and marketing your services to clients. This course is for students pursuing both the Medical Writing and Editing and the Editing certificates. The course is applicable to all freelance writers and editors, but examples and some content focus on freelance medical writing and editing.

Online self-paced”: Refers to course start and end dates. “Online fixed date” Refers to synchronous session schedule fully available under “Section Notes”

Course Outline

MODULE 1: Is Freelancing for You?

Learn what freelancing is really like and what experience, skills, and personal qualities you need to succeed as a freelance writer or editor. We’ll cover the keys to freelance success, help you discover what success means to you, and describe how to avoid common mistakes when starting a freelance business. Learn about freelance writing and editing opportunities, the benefits of specializing, and how to choose your specialty when starting out.

Objectives: At the end of this unit, you will know:

  • What will be covered in this course
  • How freelance work differs from full-time employment and whether you are suited for it or want to pursue it
  • What experience, skills, and personal qualities are most helpful in starting a freelance business
  • How to explore different types of work
  • Your personal freelance business vision
  • The mindset for freelance success

MODULE 2: Setting Up Your Freelance Business

Learn the essentials of setting up a freelance business. No business experiences? No problem! We cover the basics and tell you where to find more information if you need it, so you can set up a business that looks and feels professional from the start. Learning what is involved in creating a small business will also help you make an informed final decision about whether and when to start freelancing.

Objectives: At the end of this unit, you will know how to:

  • Find the information to calculate what you need to earn, and set earnings goals
  • Develop contracts and handle payments
  • Set up your banking, billing, bookkeeping, and taxes
  • Evaluate business structure options (sole proprietorship, limited liability company, S corporation, partnership)
  • Decide if freelancing is right for you

MODULE 3: Running Your Freelance Business

Running a business from day to day can be nerve-wracking if you’re not prepared. This module helps you design an office that allows you to be your most productive, maintain a realistic schedule and workload, and understand the value of essential operations tasks. We’ll also discuss activities that support your business, including vacations, sick leave, networking, and professional development.

Objectives: At the end of this unit, you will know how to:

  • Set up a work space, filing system, and equipment
  • Manage work on a daily and weekly basis, and the importance of downtime
  • Create a network of other freelancers who can provide advice and support
  • Continue building your freelance business through professional development

MODULE 4: Creating Client-Focused Marketing

Do you dread the idea of marketing or wonder how you’ll ever do it? Marketing your services is essential to building a freelance business, and we’ll teach you the methods that works best for freelancers. Learn how to attract clients by focusing on their needs and how you can meet them. In this module, you’ll start developing your marketing foundation and key tools to use in your new business.

Objectives: At the end of this unit, you will know how to:

  • Set your marketing goal
  • Choose your ideal clients and focus on their needs
  • Get your first clients through networking and direct email
  • Develop your email signature and LinkedIn profile

MODULE 5: Building Trusting Relationships with Clients

Did you know that steady work and word of mouth marketing from satisfied clients are the easiest ways to build your freelance business? Most clients are looking for freelancers they can trust and work with regularly, and those relationships can form the basis for your future business. Satisfied clients are likely to give you steady work and to refer you to other clients. Learn how to build trusting relationships with great clients – and how to identify and avoid or even fire bad clients.

Objectives: At the end of this unit, you will know how to:

  • Evaluate clients before working with them
  • Turn new clients into steady clients
  • Deal with difficult clients and when necessary, fire them

MODULE 6: Setting Your Business Apart with a Strong Brand and Continual Marketing

Did you know that clients perceive freelancers who have a brand and do continual marketing as providing more value and being more professional than other freelancers? Build on your marketing foundation and stand out from other freelancers by creating a freelance brand with client-focused marketing messages, mastering direct email and your freelance website, and building a strong network. Learn the difference between active and passive marketing and when you should be doing each.

Objectives: At the end of this unit, you will know:

  • The parts of a freelance brand and how to develop one
  • How to create client-focused marketing messages
  • How to use your brand and marketing messages to attract clients with direct email and your website
  • The keys to building and maintaining a strong network
  • The right amount of marketing as your business evolves

MODULE 7: Implementing Your Freelance Success Plan

This module helps you put everything you’ve learned together in a simple business and marketing plan for the next 12 months. We’ll also cover an easy-to-follow process to achieve your goals, as well as how to develop the freelance success mindset.

Objectives: At the end of this unit, you will know:

  • How to complete your freelance success plan
  • A simple step-by-step process to set and achieve your goals
  • How to build confidence and resilience

MODULE 8: What Comes Next?

How will your freelance business evolve? In this module, we’ll discuss the changes you can expect after about the first two years; where freelancing fits in your long-term career goals; and how to continue building your business. We’ll help you be strategic and plan to take your business where you want it to go.

Objectives: At the end of this unit, you will know how:

  • A freelance business typically becomes more focused over time
  • Success builds confidence and enables freelancers to attract better clients and make more money
  • To plan your freelance career for the next 5 or 10 years and beyond


Applies Toward the Following Certificates

Enroll Now - Select a section to enroll in
Section Title
Freelancing in Medical Writing and Editing
Online, self-paced
Aug 26, 2024 to Oct 23, 2024
Online, fixed date
6:00PM to 7:00PM
Aug 28, 2024 to Oct 23, 2024
Schedule and Location
Contact Hours
  • Online
Delivery Options
Course Fee(s)
Tuition non-credit $1,800.00
Section Notes

Synchronous sessions are conducted on Wednesdays from 6-7 p.m. CDT.

Specific dates: August 28, September 4, 11, 25, October 2, 9, 16, and 23.

Required fields are indicated by .