Freelance writing online is a way to work from home or some place other than a traditional work environment. It’s a way of selling your services by the hour, day, job or something other than a salary. Instead of working for one employer, you work for many, but only for a limited time. Freelance writing is a career choice, not something you’d want to do as a part-time job, although it might start out that way. For example, if you’re a stay-at-home mom, you may not have enough time to do it on a full-time basis until your children are older.
Freelance Writing Jobs
If you consider the number of people online at any given time, there isn’t a lot of competition for freelance writing jobs. Right now, Elance (a large source of freelance talent) only lists 177,900 people as “writers”. In my few experiences with freelance writers, a large percentage of them write in English as a second language. They don’t have a good grasp on the intricacies of the English language, especially American English. If you have good command of the English language, especially in writing, you can go far in the freelance writing market.
When you’re writing freelance articles, you’re selling your services as well as something equally important – yourself. When you first start out, it’s difficult to get people to hire you. They want to see what you’ve already had published so they can make educated choices. There are some things you can do, which won’t make you money in the same way, and I’ll get to those shortly.
How to Write Freelance Articles and be a Freelance Writer
Way back in November of 2009, my friend Monika Mundell sent me a complimentary review copy of her freelance writing guide. The e-book is based on experience and it’s still available. It includes:
- How to get started as a freelance writer
- What to expect from freelance writing
- Online writing job sites exposed
- How to attract high-paying clients
- Regular writing vs. SEO writing
- Regular writing vs. copywriting
- How to enhance your language and writing skills
- How to get regular clients and stable income
- How to get paid as a freelance writer
I’m thinking of becoming a freelance writer to supplement my online income. I’ll have to reread her e-book thoroughly (if I can find my copy) before I even think of starting. In the meantime, I’ll continue what I’ve done all along.
Building a Reputation in Writing
There are two ways to build your reputation in freelance writing circles. One is to continuously write articles on your own website. The other is to write guest articles for other website owners. I prefer writing articles on my own websites because I have complete control over them. It’s easy to get started.
If you want to build websites to show off your writing talent, you can set them up on wordpress.com and blogspot.com and it doesn’t cost you anything but time. You can even place advertising on them to earn a little income while you’re adding your articles (but you should have at least 15 or 16 articles in place before you do that). More creative writing tools are available to you if you decide to self-host or use wordpress.com as your platform.
Writing guest articles is a better idea if you want to skip the website thing and simply build your reputation. Unlike your own websites, other website owners usually want search engine optimized articles. When you write on your own websites, you can write search engine optimized articles to earn money as well as write articles that aren’t. You can write articles in different styles to attract different types of clients.
Work at Home Work Ethics
Writing freelance articles at home requires the right kind of work ethics. After all, you won’t have a supervisor looking over your shoulder and you won’t be punching a time clock.
When you strive to become a professional freelance writer, it can become quite lucrative. I have many online contacts who make way more than $100,000 a year doing it. They work as many hours as they want to work, but most of them work longer hours doing this than they would at a regular job (but not all the time). The kind of money you can earn is attractive. My contacts tend to work hard for a time and then take a lot of time off, living on the nest eggs they’ve built up. Then they repeat that process over and over.
If it sounds like something you want to do, you have to get your work environment at home in order. You need a specific place to work, set specific hours to work and set rules for the rest of your family (unless you live alone). If you don’t take these basic steps, you’re going to fail before you really begin your freelance writing saga.