How to become Freelance Writer for a Living
Freelance writing is a fairly popular way, used by millions of people around the world to make money online. After all, it’s probably one of the easiest things one can do to make money online, and it hardly requires one to very skilled. All you probably need is decent English writing skills, and the willingness to work hard and research the topics that you write on properly.
Problems faced by freelance writers
However, it exactly isn’t as simple as it sounds, despite not being one of the most demanding online jobs. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, as it’s one of the easiest online jobs, a surprisingly large number of people try to do it. Due to this, the level of competition is rather huge, taking a toll on the rate one can achieve, especially if they are someone new to it.
Secondly, there also seem to be a lot of programs out there that look to scam people looking for such jobs. After all, due to all the competition they have to deal with, they may already be feeling a bit too desperate, and this is what such scam programs capitalize on.
Such programs offer very lucrative content writing job opportunities, luring a ton of content writers into paying them a hefty amount upfront, or making them work for free initially. They try to target the new writers though, who aren’t much aware of how things work, and hence, instead of starting to earn online on genuine freelancing platforms, they end up losing a lot of money without getting anything of value in return.
Finally, let’s touch upon one of the biggest issues associated with freelance writing, which is a horribly low pay. Anand Mishra CEO of Star Infranet correctly points out that although the experience and specialized writers may get paid a considerably high rate for their services, the new ones are usually offered peanuts, especially if they don’t know the right persons to work for or the right places to search for work.
With that said, this article will serve as an in-depth guide to help you start out on your freelance writing career. We will try mentioning everything you need to know about working as a freelance writer, including tips to help you cope up with the numerous challenges involved in this rather one of the most common online jobs, finding jobs that pay well, types of places to avoid looking for work, things you need to work on to turn into a better writer and fetch a higher rate, and so on.
Things you need to be good at
Although we mentioned earlier that you aren’t required to be very skilled to work as a freelance writer, there are things you should have, or need to work on, in order to be a really successful one. Some of the most important of those things are mentioned below.
Command over the language
This is actually pretty basic, and sets the foundation of your freelance writing career. Online jobs related to freelance writing require one to have a great command over the language they are offering to write content in.
We know this may seem a bit confusing to some of you, especially those who are pretty new to freelance writing. You may be thinking that when we say freelancing writing, we mean online jobs related to writing content in English. However, that’s not exactly the case.
As a matter of fact, there is a pretty decent sized market for content in other languages as well, such as Spanish. Furthermore, one may come across a fair few online jobs that are looking for freelance writers to write content in French or German, though their frequency is rather considerably low.
In other words, against the popular belief, it isn’t necessary for one to be able to write content in English only. If they know other popular languages such as Spanish, or even French or German, they may manage to get work for writing content in those languages as well. This point is well argumented by Kartikeya Sharma of iTV network.
However, the bottom line is that regardless of the language you will be writing content in, you need to have a great command over it. This is tremendously important, as it has a huge effect on the quality of content you can come up with.
Impressive writing skills
Some of you may feel a bit surprised to see this point just under the one mentioned above, as it may seem that both of them are almost similar. Indeed, however, they are not. This is due to the fact that one may have a great command over the language they write content in, but may be lacking the required writing skills.
Let us explain it in a better way. There are writers which are native English speakers, or people who are born and raised in an English speaking country, with English being their first language. Now though such people are usually preferred as the ideal writers by many clients, a lot of them still struggle to impress their clients, simply because their writing skills aren’t good enough.
In other words, content writing requires quite a bit of creativity, thinking, and the ability to engage readers too. Having a great command over the language is obviously something that will be valuable, but unless you have great writing skills too to supplement it, the overall result may not turn out to be very impressive.
For example, writing a sales copy may require a different approach, while writing for a health site requiring completely informative and helpful content on health matters may require a completely different one. Both these different projects would require a writer to possess the required writing skills to change their approach and get both the jobs done in an impressive way.
Ability to research different topics
Well, being able to research topics well, too, is something that’s highly necessary to become a successful freelance writer. However, this is also one particular aspect of freelance writing which many writers don’t manage to take care of in a way they are required to.
Research helps a writer to come up with content that will be actually helpful and useful for the readers. Furthermore, having a lot of well researched content helps a site establish itself as an authority in their particular niche, and this is the reason clients always look for well researched content.
If you think you are capable of doing a good amount of research for every project you take, by reading related information on other similar websites, understanding the topic, and writing engaging and easy-to-understand content based on that information, you may manage to become a really successful content writer in the long run.
Best places to look for work
As mentioned earlier, being able to earn online by working on one of the online jobs out there may seem too easy, but it actually isn’t. So before you even start looking for places offering content writing work that are genuine, trusted, and reliable, you need to understand that in order to earn online, you need to work hard. In other words, contrary to the popular belief, it’s far from being easy money.
In fact, if you are pretty new to this whole “make online money” game, you shouldn’t even expect to make money online for the first few weeks of starting out at the least. This is due to the fact that it takes quite a bit of time to start out with anything related to the make money online niche.
With that said, let us take a look at some of the best places to look for online jobs related to content writing.
UpWork is a platform that connects people looking to get different types of job done, with people who are looking to do such jobs. Ranging from programming to website development to content writing, one will be able to find almost all types of online jobs posted on this website.
It’s also probably worth mentioning that it used to be two different companies, namely Odesk and Elance, which have merged recently to form UpWork. What this means is even more work opportunities for freelance writers, as content is usually always a primary requirement of people in Internet marketing.
However, a lot of work still doesn’t ensure “easily-available” work. In fact, most of the online jobs related to content writing that are listed on the site get a lot of job applications almost immediately. This is due to the fact that just like the online jobs available, there are also a huge number of freelance writers on the site looking for work on a regular basis.
But that’s not really a reason to be worried about, especially if you know how to go about dealing with the competition there. We are mentioning some highly effective tips that are sure to give you that much needed edge, even if you are new on the site.
- Fill up your profile completely, it helps you look genuine.
- Take popular tests related to content writing offered by the site, and score well. They help your reflect your skills well, and prove to a certain extent that you are actually a good writer.
- Upload a portfolio, or samples of content writing work you have done in the past. If you haven’t done any, consider writing a few high quality articles and posting them to your blog or article directories. Most of the genuine and long-term clients want to take a look at the samples before awarding a job to someone.
- Describe yourself in a clear, transparent, and detailed way. It helps attract clients, as not many would like to work with someone who isn’t even willing to write about themselves in a detailed manner.
- Always strive for those precious 5 star ratings. They are gold when it comes to your freelancing career on your site. Never get into an argument with any of your clients. Regardless of whether your client wants you to charge less, or do extra work, try to do it. It’s way better than getting a negative review.
- Look for clients that are established on the site, and have offered a considerable amount of work in the past, as they tend to be more reliable and genuine. Also consider checking out the type of reviews they leave. You may not want to work for someone who is too demanding or leaves bad reviews for no good reason.
The above given tips are sure to help you get started on the site in a great way, and find your first client in a very short period of time.
This is actually a much different platform than most of the other freelancing sites offering online jobs. However, working on this site allows one to earn online considerably easily.
It’s based on a fairly simple concept. Clients who need content come to the site, deposit funds, request content, fill the required details, and a job is created. This newly created job can be taken up by almost anyone, regardless of their rating, though it also depends on the type of content they have ordered.
The starting pay, however, may be pretty disappointing for many, as it’s just around $2.5/500 words or around half a cent a word, hardly allowing one to earn online in a way they would like to. The good thing is that once you get 30 great ratings, or an average rating of over 4 stars, you are promoted to being a premium content writer, which offers around $4.5/500 words, a considerably higher rate.
Furthermore, if you get an average rating of over 4.5 or 4.9 stars, you will be promoted to the elite or elite plus level, allowing you to pick up work at a rate of $8.1 or $32.4 respectively, a really impressive way. However, the catch is that your articles can get rejected if they aren’t liked by the clients, which means that you won’t get paid anything for them. So though easy, this can be a bit challenging way to make online money.
With that said, here are some highly useful tips to make money on the site and succeed as a freelance writer.
- Never try to copy or spin content available on the Internet, as the website uses Copyscape to check if the content is unique.
- Try to deliver a bit more than required till you get your first 30 ratings, as they can help you go a long way in achieving a higher pay.
- Pick work from clients with a high acceptance rate and good reviews, while avoid ones with a low acceptance rates and bad reviews. They may reject your content even if it’s good quality.
- Ask more details if you want, but don’t leave room for improvement on the research front. It impresses clients and they leave a higher rating.
- Try finding someone who sends work regularly, as besides ensuring a great regular way to make online money, this will also ensure that you keep getting high ratings.
iWriters is specifically recommended for writers who aren’t very experienced, and looking to get started in the freelance writing world to make online money in a consistent way.
Fiverr is actually a website that allows people to buy and sell services for just $5 or more, allowing anyone to make online fairly quickly. There are a ton of content writers there, and you can join them too. However, the amount you will be receiving per job, or per gig, as they call it, will be just $4 as Fiverr takes $1 per gig as their commission.
You can get a ton of content writing work on Fiverr, and hence it can be a great way to make money online. However, you need to stand out from the lot in order to beat the competition. The below given are some tips that will help you do that.
- Ensure your profile is completely filled, impressive looking, and optimized for what you are offering.
- Listing gigs with detailed description, and ensuring they contain keywords such as “article writing”, “content writing”, and so on.
- Uploading a high quality video describing your services.
- Putting tags related to what you are offering for higher exposure.
- Uploading high quality pictures for your gig, as well as set one as your profile picture.
- Striving to get those much needed first few positive reviews for your gig. Such reviews, in turn, will help you get a ton more orders. Hence, this ensures that you will be able to make online money for a long time to come, thanks to the reputation you build through such positive reviews.
- Offer to do more than what your competitors offer, so that they feel tempted to try out your services. After you start getting orders regularly, you can stop offering the extra stuff.
Sites to avoid
Well, as mentioned earlier, there are a lot of scam programs out there looking to make a quick buck by scamming people and not offer anything in return. You obviously need to avoid such sites and programs in order to avoid ending up losing a lot of money.
So, how to recognize such sites?
- Anything that offers $50/500 words or a similarly higher rate to even the new writers may turn out to be a pure scam.
- They offer a lot of work, regardless of how good or not-so-good a writer you are.
- They mention things like exclusive, premium, secret, get rich quick, and so on.
- Finally, you can simply do a Google search for finding reviews on the particular service, program, or site you are planning to work with.
A final word
The above mentioned information may turn out to be more than enough for anyone looking to earn online as a freelance writer, as well as establish them for achieving long term success. Just make sure you always keep them in mind, follow them, and don’t let the short term failures get in the way of your long term success potential.