Making money online isn’t as difficult as most make it out to seem. It does require some discipline. And while new online gigs are emerging with every dawn, the demand for freelance writing continues to surpass expectations.
And therein lays your opportunity.
The best bit?
You can work as a freelance writer while keeping your day job.
Sounds like a plan, uh?
Well, here is how to become a freelance writer, doing what’s you like and get paid!
Hone your skills
Chances are you already have excellent storytelling skills. You might even have published a couple of enthralling pieces back in the day in your school magazine.
But you haven’t written for the internet and you need to understand what captivates the online audience. Specifically, you want to learn the skills that make companies and individuals pay top dollar since they can immensely boost your earning potential. You also want to understand the pitfalls and how to avoid them.
The good news is you don’t even have to pay- a ton of websites teach how to be a successful freelance writer. Of course, you can buy a freelance writing course if your budget allows but it’s not an absolute necessity.
Either way, be sure to master how to draft mind-blowing articles, interviews, press releases, company bios, product descriptions, eBooks, how-to guides, whitepapers, product reviews, and more.
Practice, practice, practice!
Editors have no qualms paying me $100 for just 500 words, a far cry from my earlier days when I would earn $5 for 1000 words!
The difference? Practice, my dear!
Like every other art, you’ll never grow into writing unless you turn up and write- nobody will pay you for dull, ho-hum pieces.
The easiest way to get your feet wet is to spare a few hours daily for your writing practice. You will write a practical email, blog post, news item, instructional guide, and everything else with a ready market while following what you have been learning.
If unimpressed, rewrite until you’re pleased with your work. At this point, you might be wondering where to publish your (by now) delightful content.
I’m revealing this next.
Build your writing portfolio
You see, firms and other prospects will want proof that you’re a brilliant writer. And so, your completed writing ‘jobs’ will serve as samples of your writing prowess. This is what you do:
Save these finished pieces in your hard drive or on the cloud, for example, on G-drive ready for sharing. You can as well start a free writers’ wordpress.com website and upload them there.
There are other blogging platforms including Medium or guest posting with your bio on websites with heavy traffic. Whatever your pick, ensure that your portfolio showcases the best of your writing.
Start hunting for Gigs
You’re now set for perhaps the most thrilling stage in your journey to establish a lucrative freelance writing career: Gig hunting. Here are some places to target when searching for your first job as a new freelance writer:
1. Freelancing websites
These are simply platforms that connect writers to potential employers.
You only need to register (most ask for just your email address) on the website to have the doors to potential long-term Gigs flung open.
Hundreds of freelancing writing job offers are posted daily and you can rake in loads of cash within a short time.
2. Freelance Writer Job Boards
Unlike freelancing websites, job boards don’t take a cut of your earnings and can also be a goldmine when it comes to making money online from freelance writing.
Dozens of companies and entrepreneurs advertise mouthwatering jobs and you’re required to apply as detailed on the ‘board’.
With a bit of luck, you might land a well-paying monthly Gig from fortune 500 companies via these platforms. Make it a habit to scour sites like ProBlogger, BloggingPro, and Freelance Writing Gigs for the latest jobs and your well of gigs will never run dry.
3. Pitch direct clients
Truth be told, it’s not a walk in the park but this could be the best decision you’ll ever make as a freelance writer. In summary, you will identify websites/blogs/businesses with a content gap and offer (via call/email) to help them create a heartwarming copy.
Trust me, I tripled my income merely two months into a pitching challenge organized by my mentor (I captured a truly big client) and I have never looked back.
Perfect your pitching skills if you want to go places.
Pro-Tip: The easiest way to lure customers through cold pitching is by sending them links to the samples you have posted on your customized freelance writer website (and not Medium or G-drive).
4. Work for a writing agency
5. Social media
Search for freelance writing tasks on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Reddit. Jobs additionally abound in alternative forums including freelance writing Facebook groups.
Other fishing grounds include Craigslist, friends who hire writers (or friends of friends), and renowned freelancers (these occasionally outsource jobs).
How to advance your freelance writing business
Winning your first job deserves a celebratory dance.
But you must do more if you dream of living off the money you make from paid online writing jobs.
Implement the following strategies to expand your budding freelance writing business:
· Upgrade your skills
The best way to catch up with the writing gurus is by learning from them. Therefore spend your free time researching and reading materials authored by the highest-paid freelance writers. Create (and market) your own style from their best writing styles.
· Market your services insanely
The heart of any business is marketing and writing is no exception. Get the word out there about your kickass writing skills and give crazy offers for new clients. You can use free channels like Facebook and LinkedIn or opt for paid ads, for instance, on Google.
· Build a team
There are seasons when you have too much on your plate and you don’t want to lose business. Forming a team of peer freelance writers and collaborators you can outsource work to will help you overcome a potential banana skin.
How to become a freelance writer online: Mistakes to avoid
Here now are some costly mistakes I see beginners commonly make (You can ill-afford them):
· Failing to request for testimonials
Nothing is sweeter than receiving your first dollars from a client, even where the pay isn’t anything to write home about (you’re a beginner, remember?).
But for many writers, a raving testimonial is like a key to a hidden treasure- it can unlock tremendous opportunities.
For this reason, make a point of requesting reviews from clients on delivering writing orders.
· Holding on for too long
While writing is not plug and play, be bold and abandon what is not working for you early enough.
You should, for instance, specialize in LinkedIn marketing if you’re getting zero returns from boosted Facebook ads.
· Promising heaven but delivering hell
Claiming to be an expert in areas you’re not will create hordes of disappointed clients and bring a rapid downfall.
In any case, your success is pegged on your ability to over-deliver on value.
My mentor taught me to always deliver Gold (after promising Silver or other less precious metals) and this theme has served me well.
How to become a freelance writer with no experience: Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
We are almost winding up out talk on how to make money from home writing and it is important that I clarify some of your questions.
Q: How much money do freelance writers make?
It depends on many factors including your niche (some pay more than others) but the bureau of labor statistics puts the average hourly rate at $35.14 (and about $73,090 annually).
Q: What are the average freelance writing rates per word?
It again comes down to a multitude of factors but overall, it’s anywhere between 10 cents to $1 per word.
Q: How do freelance writers get paid?
You can be paid via wire transfers, checks, or online money transfer services such as PayPal, Skrill, Payoneer, and more.
Most clients are flexible so this should be the least of your worries.
Q: How else can I earn money by writing?
Once you master how to make money online from writing gigs, you could consider spreading your wings and launching a freelance writing course.
You might also create a reasonable passive income by running your own blog or by selling a freelance writing eBook on Amazon (and other online marketplaces).
You are truly spoilt for choice when it comes to making a living as an author.
That is how to become a freelance writer and get paid.
Needless to say, you might need to put in a massive effort at the beginning but the reward makes it very worthwhile.
Then, the future looks very blight considering that thousands of businesses are joining the bandwagon every year.
Indeed, Upwork projects that 73% of all teams will be having remote members by the year 2028.
Read also our post on how to make money without a job here.
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