Freelance Writing: Is It a Good Way to Make a Living?
Everything you read online was written by someone just like you. Everything! It wasn’t uploaded by NASA or typed in by a roomful of intelligent monkeys. (Although sometimes it does sound like it.) Someone has to write all this stuff, and if you enjoy writing, it might as well be you. Briefly, because it’s a huge topic, here are some ideas to help you make money freelance writing online.
Start Your Own Blog
If you haven’t already, you should start your own blog. From my own experience, having your own blog isn’t necessary and it doesn’t need to be your main focus, but it does help in the following ways:
Writing samples: Your blog posts are your writing samples. Until you build up your reputation most clients will want to see samples of your writing before they hire you. Don’t forget to include links to work you’ve published elsewhere on the Web.
You’ll learn more about SEO: Since most of your clients will be looking for blog or website content it’s important for you to learn how to optimize content for the reader and for the search engines. Having your own blog and monitoring your own results will help you learn what works.
Easy Contact Point: Having your own blog just makes it easier for potential clients to contact you. No matter where you’re publishing or how you’re connecting with clients, you can always send them back to your blog. Typically, when you’re working in one of the freelance job sites, you’re only allowed to connect with clients via the site’s own messaging system and certain topics of conversation will be monitored or blocked. Trust me, you’re going to need a reliable, confidential way to communicate with clients.
Step Away From Your Blog
If your blog is getting tons of traffic and the jobs are rolling in faster than you can keep up that’s great. But that’s rarely the case, especially if you’ve just set your blog up. Now that you’ve got one, it’s important to step away from your blog.
Go Where The Clients Are: There are several freelance websites where webmasters go to find freelance writers. I recommend Elance.com, for starters but there are plenty of others. Most of these sites offer basic services for free, which is all you’ll really need to get started.
Clients come to these sites and list their jobs. For example, they may ask for someone to write 10 articles about Baby Care. In some cases the buyer will list the price he’s willing to pay for the articles. In other cases you may be asked to bid on the job and the buyer will base his decision on your price, your writing samples, your ability to deliver in his required time frame, and your reputation on the site.
Start Out On Fiverr: These freelance sites are a great way to start building your reputation and even start building a client base but it can be difficult to get those first few jobs because you’re a newcomer. If you really want to get started fast, try Fiverr.
With Fiverr, YOU list the gig, you tell buyers what you’re willing to do. If they like it, they buy, if not, they move on. You don’t have to wait out the bidding process and you don’t have to worry about losing out to a more experienced writer. You can literally book your first gig the same day you join the site.
Now, writing for 5 bucks a pop might not seem very attractive but it’s a client and it’s money. If you manage your business properly and you do a good job, you’ll quickly get repeat clients who are willing to pay more for larger writing assignments. Personally, I recommend Fiverr.com over the freelancing sites. It’s a different type of client but you can build your business much faster.
Let Clients Find You: If you spend all your time hanging out in the freelance sites or Fiverr then you’re really limiting your options. You have to write what your clients want you to write, when they want you to write it, and at the prices they’re willing to pay. You’re literally at their mercy.
However, what if the tables were turned? What if clients came to you and asked you to write for them? What if they said, “I’d like you to write something for me. I don’t care what it is, I don’t care when you write it, and I’ll pay you whatever you ask.” Wouldn’t that be sweet?
It takes some time and effort and lots of hard work, but if you get off your blog and start publishing content all over the web, those clients will find you.
Submit guest posts to high-profile blogs: Build up your own library of articles at a few of the high-profile content sites. Submit articles to online magazines and news sites. And always, always include a byline that explains that you’re a freelance writer and links back to your contact information on your blog.
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