It seems, at first glance, the perfect career choice for all those with a college degree in English and/or a love of the written word. You work wherever you want, whenever you want, wearing whatever you want, and there’s no need to apologize for any of it!
The Internet’s vastness means endless opportunities to write, right? Well, yes and no. In theory, it’s easy enough to find writing jobs, but finding ones that can actually help pay the bills is another matter altogether. A freelance writing career takes, what I like to call, the “Three Ps.” You need to be Prepared, Persistent, and Positive.
Prepare a Portfolio
Sure, we all would love to write only a couple of hours a day and make a gazillion dollars; certainly be wary of any websites that promise such results. Successful freelance writers started small, built an impressive portfolio, and attracted higher-paying clients over time – it’s all very gradual.
You’ll find that many writing clients, whether they’re looking for newbies or for seasoned writers, ask for writing samples – that only makes sense. Before you start applying to jobs, take some time to research and write three articles (or more, if you so choose) of around 400 words each. Write about things you’ve always had an interest in or wanted to learn about. Above all, write with confidence.
Tip: Get your own .com website to put these articles on. It doesn’t have to be expensive to buy hosting, but the website does have to be your first and last name. Name already taken? Add “writer” to the address. Example: JaneAustenWriter.com
Your website, complete with articles, a biography, and a resume, is your key to the freelance writing world.
Important: don’t write completely new samples for a prospective client unless you notice one or a combination of the following:
- The website is well-known and trusted.
- There’s some mention of them never using it beyond evaluating your writing skills.
- They say you get to keep the sample should you not get the job.
Unfortunately, as with any industry, there’s a lot of dishonesty. Sometimes, scam artists will post jobs asking applicants to write sample articles with very specific parameters. Those articles, once submitted, are subsequently spun into different articles or posted in their original form to revenue-generating websites. Unsuspecting writers simply never get an application response.
Persist in Your Quest for Writing Glory
When you start small, you earn small. Some freelance writers have particular niches that they’ve found profitable. At the time of this writing, for example, tech articles tend to pay more than lifestyle articles. If you have a background in the former, then you could be at a real advantage when it comes to having a very financially viable freelance writing career.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) articles are usually where writers start. If you can write quickly and consistently provide fresh copy to the editors of reputable SEO/marketing websites, chances are that you’ll be noticed and offered projects that are reserved for top-tier writers. How fast you get there has to do, of course, with the company climate and the competition. It could be as little as a few months, or more than a year. As you gain experience and time management skills, you might consider having several distinct projects going for various clients/websites.
Keep That Positive Energy Flowing
Freelance writing can be a game of luck and timing. You might apply for a job, never hear back, then apply again months later and get it immediately. Along the way, keep a bright outlook. Consider placing inspirational quotes around your work space.
Yes, there are a lot of would-be freelance writers out there trying to get their feet wet. Don’t get daunted; there’s a place for you, too! Remember that, just as everyone looks at things in a different way, so too does everyone write in their own way. Look at it all as quite the creative adventure.
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