What is freelance writing?
It is not a new occupation. Successful freelance writers have been selling their work to magazines and newspapers for decades. But today, it usually means writing articles for websites, online magazines, and commercial sites.
To be a successful freelancer, you should have excellent writing and editing skills. You should also enjoy researching and writing content on a wide range of subjects.
If you would like to broaden your writing career, becoming a part-time freelance writer might be an option for you. Another great advantage is that, in time, you can turn your writing into a full-time work-from-home job with no more traffic jams or commuting.
How do you get started in freelance writing?
Don’t jump into looking for paying freelance work to earn money.
You should hone your article and content writing skills first.
The best way is to read a lot of articles by talented freelance writers and professional bloggers.
Darren Rowse at Problogger is a great example.
You can also check the many writers and contributors on CopyBlogger.
When you read a blog post on sites like these, take notice of the writing style, reading level, and layout of each one.
As a tip, you can copy snippets and paste the writing samples into the Hemingway Editor to check how the writing and grammar are structured.
Also, note that online articles are much longer these days and are usually well over 1,000 words.
You can put what you learn into practice by writing new articles for your blog.
Then you can move on to freelance writing.
The right tools for a freelancer
Don’t rely on your memory of your high school knowledge of grammar and spelling.
There are so many great tools and software available for writers to make sure your writing is up to standard.
You can check our list of free writing apps and software for some ideas for blogging tools and apps that you might need.
The most important tool you will use is a quality grammar, spelling, and writing checker.
Accuracy in your writing work is the number one priority if you want to work as a freelance writer.
When it comes time for you to find jobs, it will be much easier if your writing is 100% error-free.
To achieve this level, don’t rely on only your eyes. Use a quality tool to help you check and double-check.
Learn entry-level SEO
If you want online writing work today, you need a basic understanding of search engine optimization (SEO).
It is not as difficult as it sounds.
All it means is that you need to include specific keywords in the article body and the title of any article you write.
Writing around keywords is a skill that you can develop very quickly. As soon as you feel comfortable using main and semantic keywords, you are well on your way.
When you find writing with keywords easy, you are almost ready to sell your writing.
Prove you can write
Before you start looking to freelance as a writing opportunity, you need to blog a lot.
If you don’t have a blog, it is easy to start a blog on any of the free blogging platforms.
But if you don’t want the hassle of a blog, you can also write for free article submission sites.
Potential clients are going to want to see proof that you have the necessary skills.
The best way is to write articles on your blog that you can use as a reference.
Another great idea is to write for other blogs. Look for high-ranking quality sites that have a Write For Us page.
These sites are not going to pay you for these articles. But once you have successfully had a few articles published, they will help you prove your worth as a content marketing writer.
Not only that, but they might attract the attention of people who are looking for freelance writers.
A bonus of both is that you can share your articles on social media.
The best social network to use is LinkedIn. It is an ideal medium to showcase your work as a competent content or technical writer.
At the same time, work on increasing your connections on LinkedIn. You never know what you might find.
Another big plus is that you can search the Jobs section. Do a few job searches each week and stay on the lookout for writing jobs that might suit you.
Write for free for other blogs
What? Give away my writing?
Yes, you can make money from free writing.
If you don’t want to invest your time and money in setting up your blog, you can offer to write for other blogs.
It’s the same way that bloggers make money; you can include affiliate links in your articles and have them published on high-ranking sites.
Another popular income source is to be a writing service. You write content for paying clients to promote their businesses on high-traffic blogs.
Many popular blogs are looking for free quality articles for their sites because it is so time-consuming for them to write a lot of new content.
You will always need to agree with the site owners on a topic and a suitable word count.
But it’s a win-win situation.
Pros of writing for other blogs
- No upfront investment
- Ideal for part-time work
- No technical knowledge needed
Cons of writing for other blogs
- You are not in control of your content
- It takes time to find regular clients
Pro blogging for an income
Without a doubt, blog posts and online articles are where the money is for writers.
Setting up your own blog gives you the freedom to work how and when you want, and you are in full control of your writing.
You will definitely need a self-hosted WordPress blog, which will cost you less than $200 per year for hosting and domain name fees.
If you are not using a premium online grammar tool, then, depending on your choice, it will range from $60 to $120 per year for a license.
When you are more advanced, you could look at professional SEO software to help you get more traffic.
But it is quite expensive, so it is better to wait until your income is high enough to take the step.
It takes more time to set up a new blog than to find freelance work. But the long-term benefits are substantial.
Traffic is always king when it comes to making money online, and nothing attracts traffic more than a fantastic blog post or article.
You can target your writing to suit the result you want.
If you are promoting an affiliate link for fashion accessories, you can fine-tune your text to attract readers interested in your products.
It works similarly with Google Adsense PPC advertising. Google will display ads in your blog posts that are relevant to the topic of your article.
Because you are the publisher, you can choose what and when you publish. You can accept guest writers, sponsored content, or even pay writers to write content for you.
On the other side of the coin, you can still write and sell content to other sites.
When you are the boss, and in control of your writing, the possibilities are almost endless.
Pros of pro blogging
- Regular income streams
- You can build a business
- Full editorial control
Cons of pro blogging
- Slow to establish
- Requires good technical knowledge
How to find freelance writing jobs online
When you first start looking for work-from-home writing jobs, you will most likely end up on job board sites like Upwork.
There are hundreds of similar sites. But you need to be careful because many of them are content mills.
These sites rarely pay fairly. There is no future in taking hours to write an article for $50.00 or even less.
Don’t waste your time job hunting on these types of sites if you are serious about starting a freelance writing business.
There are many great articles online that give you better ways to find opportunities. If you do a Google search for “freelance writing jobs,” you will find a lot.
But you need to be selective. Here are a few links that might help you get started.
One of the best places to start is the ProBlogger Job board.
It specializes in writing jobs, and you can set up alerts for any job ad that might suit you.
The Write Life has a great article listing many sites that are worth considering as well as those that you should avoid.
If you want the view of an experienced freelance writer, you should read this long article by Elna Cain.
It covers everything you would ever want to know about how companies hire freelancers and about getting paid to write.
In the end, though, making freelance writing your full-time stay-at-home business will be about building a regular and reliable client base.
Getting to know the needs of your clients and having them return over and over again is how you will generate a reliable income.
Pros of freelance writing
- No investment
- Work at your own pace
- No technical knowledge necessary
Cons of freelance writing
- High-paying offers are hard to find
- Can take time to find regular clients
Freelancing writing is not a job for every writer, but it’s a great way to earn a passive income.
If you are already blogging, you might want to consider monetizing your blog to earn more passive income.
But for many writers, the technical side of managing an income-producing blog is not an easy skill to learn.
Learning how to use WordPress, HTML, CSS, function coding, and maintaining site security issues can take a long time to master.
If this is the case for you, then yes, freelance writing could be an ideal way for you to earn an income from your writing.
But like any new venture or small business, be prepared to be patient at the beginning and accept that it will take a little time for you to find your feet and high-paying assignments.
Related reading: How To Write A How-To Guide