Freelance writing is the dream way to make money for anyone with a passion for the written word. You can do something you enjoy while working from anywhere, at any time of the day, fitting it in with your studies, work schedule or home life. If you know what you’re doing, it can also be a well-paid venture to bring in some nice money on the side or even act as your main source of income. Freelancing in general is one of the top business opportunities to try in 2020.
After four years of being a self-employed freelance writer, I have been able to travel the world while meeting my deadlines and opened up door after door of career opportunities. All while being very kind to my bank account. If you’re also keen to get some extra cash while pursuing your vision as a writer, here are some tips I learned from my experience.
Don’t Rely On Bid Sites
These platforms are made to connect businesses with freelance writers, whether they need press releases, product descriptions, website content or entire brand identities conjuring up. In theory they are a good way to get started on the freelancer bandwagon, but the sheer quantity of writing contributors on sites such as Upwork and Fiverr has created rates so competitive that it’s almost not worth competing. If you are happy to earn a few dollars per piece just to give your portfolio a boost these sites may do the trick, but don’t rely on them for making any steady income. It’s worth noting that the biggest problem businesses have with freelancers here is effective communication, so if you do make a profile be sure to emphasise your language proficiency and outline a delivery strategy that includes regular updates to your clients.
Focus On Blog Writing
Before you switch off, this doesn’t necessarily mean creating your own blog. For sure, a successful blogger can bring in some big bucks with product placement in their content and ad space on their website. But if you’re not up for playing that long game, there are plenty of existing blogs you can ghost-write for which pay well. Research the top blogs for subjects that you know well and can write about, whether it’s social media marketing, parenting, video game design or amateur cycling. For every hobby, interest or area of knowledge you have there will be numerous communities based around them which need constant content producing for their online readers. Many blogs have a “Write For Us” link where you can pitch your article ideas or ask to become a regular contributor, and they usually pay at least $50 per piece. Here are a few examples.
Land And Wave is looking for people to share their experiences of the outdoors and give advice on anything from seasonal preparation to planning school trips. They pay £50-100 per article.
A Fine Parent is dedicated to helping the parenting community learn from one another’s personal anecdotes, ideas and perspectives. They pay $75 for blog pieces between 1500-3000 words.
Great Escape Publishing publishes articles about getting paid to travel, whether it’s through writing, photography, giving tours or any other profession. They pay between $50-200 depending on your assignment.
iWorkWell is on the lookout for HR professionals, employment lawyers, consultants and academics with expertise in managing people. They pay between $20-195 for instructional, action-oriented articles for their readers. The rate depends on the quality of your writing.
Self-Publishing School is willing to hear from anyone passionate about writing, publishing, marketing and business who can help inspire others to accomplish their goals. They pay $150 per article and send you a list of topics to choose from once you apply.
If you are going down the path of creative writing and storytelling rather than corporate, there are also numerous fiction blogs which pay well for contributions such as One Story, Zizzle, Flash Fiction Online and The Sun Magazine.
Cold Pitch to Clients
Cold-pitching to your own clients may sound like a lot of effort without guaranteed reward, but it can be the most effective way to create a steady stream of work from businesses or individuals who you are actually interested in writing for. The key is ensuring you have all the right assets ready and a pitch formula which you can easily copy-paste-repeat to all the clients you are approaching. Here’s my simple checklist when it comes to this strategy.
- Pick the niche topics which you have experience and expertise in
- Collate samples of your writing on these topics (if you don’t have any, you may have to start by giving away some for free to businesses or blog pages)
- Put your work and services into a portfolio file or a website
- Get pitching!
Join Freelance Writing Communities
Being a freelance writer may have a lot of perks but it can also feel lonely and daunting, especially during dry spells of work. Joining online communities for people just like you, with the same ups, downs and obstacles to overcome, can really help you stay on track during the tough times. As well as being a space to share and listen to advice, writer forums can also be a great place to find new clients, collaborate on projects and do some very beneficial networking. There are numerous sites and Facebook Groups that you can be a part of, and finding the right one for you is a case of trial and error, but here are a few examples to check out.
The Cult of Copy for persuasive marketing copywriters in all industries.
Creative Freelancers Unite for freelance writer tips and tricks, live Q&A sessions and heaps of other support.
The Write Life Community for writers to come together, connect and help each other earn.
Writers Helping Writers is exactly what it says on the cover, bringing writers in one space to share their wins, fails, motivations and advice.
Ask A Book Editor for answers to any questions about the publishing process, help editing your written work and solutions to common writing obstacles.
Get Freelance Writing!
It’s not always going to be an easy ride but with blog research, a cold-pitching strategy and support from writing communities you can be on the right track to living your dream life. What are you waiting for?