How Starting a Freelance Writing Career Changed My Life
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How can anyone make freelance writing as their career? Like others, don’t you also perceive that professional growth, hierarchy and rank define a career?
Also, when you start freelance writing, you’re not an employee, employer, nor an entrepreneur. Yet people want to become freelance writers!
The designation of a “freelance writer” in a freelance writing job always clings to you, and you don’t climb a corporate ladder. Then, how do you progress?
How promising is this way of working, if you can ever call or make it a career?
I know many of you would have some of these questions in mind, because I too had them and many still keep asking me.
Honestly, I never thought I’d start freelance writing and make it my career.
It all happened by chance. However, once I began writing freelance for my online clients, it brought happiness and totally changed my life.
Believe me; I never regret quitting my previous job and becoming a freelance writer.
Not only did I acquire another source of earning, I did not have to move out of my home. It’s the best aspect that I like about online freelance writing, especially being a working mother.
Imagine the bliss to sit at home and work! You get paid for writing online, and you can have your own work time, wear what you want, don’t have to commute, and just be your own boss!
I’ve observed progress or professional growth in terms of writing rates, so that’s the only ladder you climb. But that’s not bad, is it?
I don’t mind not having a coveted designation or not working for a Fortune-500 company. I like the fact that I’m doing something that I love doing and making money out of it!
For me, freelance writing is the best work-from-home career and I want to tell you my story so you too can benefit from it.
Of course, you should only take up this career if you’re interested and think that you’ve the writing skills, or feel you can develop them.
What is Freelance Writing
Freelance writing is writing for clients as a freelancer. Such a person is self-employed and not committed to a particular employer for long-term.
It is all about using your writing skills to create content according to your client’s needs.
Your client gives you a topic, situation, or a reason, and you create a story around it, which can be entirely creative or research-based.
Freelance writing is a skill as well as an art. It involves playing with words, choosing and organizing them in a way that impresses the reader and motivates them to take action.
You can also write freelance, yet not for anybody. Freelance writing can be paid or free as well, which depends on your decision and the type of clients you have.
Freelance writing is a full-fledged career and it has great earning potential. If you take up this profession, you’re known as a freelance writer, which is something that I’m very proud to be. 🙂
You can either write for your clients locally, on site, or online remotely – something that’s also called telecommuting jobs.
Why Choose Online Freelance Writing As a Career
I preferred going for online freelance writing jobs because I believe freelance writing online has a promising future.
Once you decide to become a freelance writer, you’ve the option to do web content writing, article writing, medical writing, technical writing, and various other forms of writing.
Even if you’re not a blogger and don’t own a blog, you can write for blogs. You know there is a boom in blogging with so many new blogs coming up daily.
Those bloggers need people to manage their blogs, if they aren’t able to do it themselves. They need content to be written for their blogs, which is where freelance writers come in.
My belief and assertion that you should start freelance writing is based on a fair assessment of the writing market:
● Bloggers need help to develop good content, which will always be a necessity to secure good search engine ranking positions. They need blog writers.
● Most successful companies also have blogs, which are a must-have feature to connect with existing and potential clients and develop a brand awareness. They need content writers.
● All websites need content. There are online web article depository or information banks that need articles on diverse topics to cater to their versatile viewers. They need article writers.
Of course, freelance writing has further scope in offline writing jobs, like print magazine writing, book writing, writing for advertising agencies, publishers, and so on.
If you choose and start freelance writing, you can decide how much you want to earn and work according to that plan. You’re your own boss and you can choose your clients, rates, and topics.
However, all this takes time and efforts. The rates might be low in the beginning, but you can set your own rates, over time once you gain more experience.
As a freelance writer, you can work for one or more than one client at a time, if you can successfully manage their work.
You’ve come reading this far, then you should know how you can begin writing freelance online and be as happy as I am. 🙂
How to Start a Freelance Writing Career Online
Like any other occupation, you need to be prepared and trained to take up freelance writing.
Although there are many freelance writing courses online and offline, the method I tried was experimenting and practicing on my own.
I’d suggest you take the following 7 steps to start your freelance writing career.
Get an Internet connection if you don’t have one. Also, familiarize yourself with the browsing software like Chrome and FireFox, and writing software like MS Word, Google Docs, and Open Office.
Google for “freelance writer”, “How to be a freelance writer”, “freelance writing career’, etc. and scan the websites that give you detailed information.
Go through the various article directories like Ezine, Articlesbase, etc. Observe and study the articles you find there with regards to their sentence structures, composition, and style to get an overall understanding of freelance writing.
Read the popular online blogs such as Problogger, Kikolani and analyze how the articles are written. You can even read posts on websites of other freelance writers like Susan, Sylviane, and Amandah to study them thoroughly and gain more knowledge about freelance writing.
Take up any topic of your choice and prepare an article of about 500 words, and submit to a few article directories. You can also write free for non-profit websites to help them and build your portfolio as well.
Contact a few blogs and write free blog posts for them. Make changes in your writing style as per the feedback, and keep writing till you get better.
Develop your writing portfolio on a free blog or static website. Your free articles will help impress the potential clients so make sure you’ve your byline on them. Also, get testimonials from your clients about your writing skills, professionalism, organization skills, reliability etc. and put them on your portfolio blog or site.
You need not have your own professional website at this stage, though it’s good if you’ve one soon.
I started my writing website very late, so I still have my portfolio on a free blog. (Don’t imitate mine, build a better one!)
You can also place your writing samples or exclusive articles on a personal blog, which serves as a freelance writing online portfolio. I started Aha!NOW partly to serve this purpose. 🙂
By now you must’ve gone through many freelance writing websites that give you all the tips and information to be a successful freelance writer.
Next you need to know is how to get the freelance writing online jobs.
Where to Find Freelance Writing Opportunities
If you feel confident that you can take up a writing assignment, then start finding freelance writing jobs.
Let me confess that this is the toughest part of an online freelance writing career.
It’s not easy to get a freelance writing job initially because there might be many other freelance writers who’re experienced and have better portfolio than yours.
But don’t lose heart because every freelance writer goes through this phase.
If it is your first job, grab any, even if it’s a low paying one. Remember, all you need is experience and to prove that you’re a good writer.
Try following these 7 places to launch your freelance writing career.
1) Freelancer Platforms
I started my freelance writing career with Odesk. Later, I continued with the same clients independently, at my own risk. I’ll tell you about the risks at the end of the post.
Track the Craigslist of your market area, and apply for jobs that meet your criteria. You need to be careful regarding the deals you make here.
I found many clients on Craigslist with whom I had long-term professional association, and they became my regular clients.
Google for “freelance writing jobs”, “freelance writer jobs”, “online writing jobs”, “freelance online jobs” or “writing jobs online”. You can also search for “freelance article writer”, “freelance content writer”, “freelance blog writer” etc.
You’ll get most of the craigslist listings that have the term “freelance copy writer” in them from all selected market areas. Of course, you can change the region and the last update setting to find the freelance writing jobs in that specific period.
4) Social Media
Create an online presence on social media. If you haven’t done this yet, join website like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, and indicate that you’re a freelance writer in your profiles there.
I received many freelance writing offers through the contacts on these platforms. LinkedIn is a great professional network, and there are many groups and communities related to freelance writing on Facebook and Google+, which you should join.
5) Job Boards
Join freelance writing forums, job boards, and websites like Problogger, Flexjobs, FreelanceWriting to keep abreast with the latest freelance writing opportunities and happenings, and to connect to other freelance writers.
You can also submit your resume and portfolio to staffing agencies that can find you freelance writing jobs as per your needs.
6) Content Websites
These either have fixed rates per article, pay on basis of page views or pay on revenue sharing basis derived from the adsense ads on the pages where your article is placed on their site.
7) Online Magazines
Apply to online magazines for freelance writing opportunities. Most magazine websites invite contributions from writers and display all their terms and conditions.
You should try your luck by sending them good pitches as per their requirement, and remember to follow-up after sometime. You never know they might like your idea and ask you to write for them!
You can search for your clients locally or choose online freelance writing, which is what I do.
I do not have any local clients – most of my clientele is International.
The key to have a successful freelance writing career is to maintain good relationships with your clients by providing quality articles on time.
You should remain in constant communication with clients for whom you write. Don’t hesitate to ask for work or let them know that you’re available.
General Freelance Writing Tips and Facts
As I mentioned earlier in the article, you need to be careful in your dealings regarding the pay and the payment.
In most cases, you can negotiate the pay, which you’ve to quote smartly to win over the client and make your ends meet.
Make sure your client is authentic, and try to ask for half the amount in advance as a general policy. I always do that and start my work after I get the upfront charges in my Paypal.
Honestly, the only drawback of freelance writing career is that there are no income guaranties. There’s no fixed monthly salary, no paid holidays, no free medical, and no surety of work too.
Like any business, there is an element of risk, and there are frequent ups and downs.
You might earn less when you start freelance writing, but you can gradually increase your writing rates.
Generally, those who outsource their freelance writing work – expect work at lower rates. If you can offer quality, you can not only bag their orders but even hike your rates with time.
Freelance writing career is challenging, but the rewards are good if you do it right. Remember to be patient, committed, and hardworking.
It takes time to settle and make your name, just as in any other field.
However, you can also be an entrepreneur being a freelance writer if you get hold of bulk writing assignments and have them completed by a team of writers. You can reap great profits this way!
I hope the above-mentioned details and tips help you have a great start to your freelance writing career, if you opt for it.
You can even start freelancing part-time and become a full-time freelance writer when you achieve success and feel it’s worth devoting more time to freelance writing.
If you’re a blogger, you can be a freelance writer simultaneously, and if you’re a freelance writer, you can be a blogger too – just like me 🙂
When you’ve the double-edged nib, your pen is mightier than the sword! So, what are you waiting for – start today!
Over to You –
Would you want to start freelance writing? If you already are a freelance writer, how has your journey been? What are your tips for finding freelance writing jobs for a successful and stable freelance writing career? Share in the comments.
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