I’m really enjoying connecting with all of you, keep reaching out, I love networking and I need friends (just kidding…not really). So I was thinking about some ways I could make some extra money to pay off some debt and my mind immediately went to two possibilities: 1) grabbing an evening job in retail which I actually love but probably wouldn’t work for me because I’d spend all of my money on clothes and 2) Freelance writing, which I should have thought of first because my background is in writing and editing.
Freelancing is not for the weak. You have got to be on your hustle to build a freelance writing career and the market is competitive! However, if you stick with it, freelance writing can give you the freedom to work from home and the income you are seeking whether you do it part-time like me or full-time.
Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your freelance writing:
1. Read! Read newspapers; magazines books anything! In grad school one professor made us keep a scrapbook of our favorite articles as an idea generation exercise. This works! Other people’s ideas will inspire and motivate you, and don’t worry, you can’t copyright an idea, but make sure not to plagiarize!
2. Write, a lot! You don’t need any experience to become a freelance writer, but you do need to be passionate about writing and you need to know how to edit a little bit. Pay your writing dues by hooking up with some online freelance writing sites. The newest sites aren’t content mills but are crowd-sourced writing platforms. Clients go to sites like BloggingPro.com, Upwork.com, and Guru.com and post their writing assignments. You compete with hundreds of other freelancers for these gigs but there is work to be found if you are persistent. You won’t get rich but there will most likely be a byline and you will make a few dollars. I found a science writing gig on Guru and made about $1,400 for three month’s work. Like I said, you won’t get rich doing this but, you will be able to pay your cable bill and the better you get, the more money you can make.
Other freelance writing platforms are the ProBlogger Job Board, where you can find writing gigs from some well-known blogs and MediaBistro for a wide range of jobs from industries like TV, PR/marketing, magazine and book publishing and social media.
Some freelance writing authorities will tell you to stay away from content mills that only want to pay you a few cents per word, but I say try it out if you want to, especially if you’ve never been published before and want to get in the habit of writing regularly. Honestly, I tried one of those sites for a little while and made about $3-$5 per 300-word article. Payouts usually start once you’ve made $10 and it’s not a bad way to kill a few hours if you’ve got the time.
3. Get a website/start a blog. A professional website goes a long way towards getting high-paying freelance gigs. This is also a great place to show off your portfolio and list past clients. Drive traffic to your website with a blog, ads, guest blogging and via Pinterest.
Don’t wait to get started with your freelance writing career. Employ these tactics, be patient and persistent and the money will come.