Every website needs content, so if you enjoy writing, and have the grammar and research skills necessary, consider a career as a freelance writer. The versatility of topics and jobs in the freelance writing industry are endless. You could focus on technical, blog or SEO writing, expert how-to articles, fiction e-books, or even product manuals and descriptions.
The startup costs are practically nil, because all you need is a computer. The internet is your handy source of writing tools, opportunities, and communities that you can use to help you all along the way. Working as a freelancer also means you must be able to self-motivate, work and solve problems on your own, and be highly organized.
If you plan to freelance as a small business, come up with a catchy name, and register it with your local government first. Once you have your business license in hand, set up a business banking account. From there, you should get yourself a website, and start a blog to illustrate your writing style and skills.
The main thing is to start writing. Create a few blog posts to use as samples. They can be about any topic; however, focus on your area of interest and expertise for the best results. There are many options for online writers; however, some pay well, while others do not.
Potential clients and employers will request samples of your work, so the first step is to get writing and build up an impressive portfolio.
Your Website and Blog
Your website is the most important initial investment to make in terms of building your writing career. A personalized domain name will make your marketing and branding efforts more effective, as long as you can get your business name in the .com form. You can find them for as little as $15 or less. Hosting plans are inexpensive, too, costing approximately $4 per month or more, depending on your choice of provider.
Creating a website is not for everyone. If you know you can write content, but have no clue about how to make a professional-looking website, consider hiring a website developer. You could also start with a simple drag and drop website, like Wix, Weebly or Squarespace.
Most writers use an online portfolio site, such as WordPress, Pressfolios, Clippings.me and Journo Portfolio to promote their freelance writing skills. You can link your portfolio site to your personal writing business website, as well. If you decide to go with a web hosting service like HostGator, GoDaddy or DreamHost, make sure they allow you to install your portfolio site on your website easily.
If you are unsure of what you want your website to look like, examine other writer’s sites to see what’s out there. No matter what you choose, focus on a clean, uncluttered website design with links to make it easy for potential clients to access your writing samples.
Many writers start out by networking to friends and family, or on social networking sites, like Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Many people have ideas for e-books, but don’t know how to write them, so you can make a lucrative living from ghost writing e-books and other types of publications, both fiction and non-fiction.
Many blogs accept articles from guest writers, too. They may not pay you at first, but the experience and exposure is invaluable. By building up a solid reputation as a guest writer for several blogs, you can make a decent paycheck.
There are many freelancing job sites available online. As a newcomer to any of these sites, your rates will need to start on the low side, but as you gain feedback and build your portfolio, you can raise them. Some of the largest include:
- Upwork: Internet job greats, Elance and oDesk, recently joined forces to create this enormous international network consisting of more than 10 million freelancers, with approximately five million job posts per year. Upwork is free to join.
- Freelancer: Another large freelancing site covering a range of workers, Freelancer has more than eight million jobs posted annually, as well as 20 million registered users. They have a number of membership options from free to Premium.
- Contently: A relatively new addition to the freelancing job market, Contently works exclusively with experienced writers to provide content and marketing for international businesses.
- Scripted: Although their application process is a tough one, their rates are higher than most, and they offer steady work.
- ArticleBunny: Another tough writing job site to gain entry to, once accepted to the ArticleBunny team, you get to set your own rates, plus you get paid for your revisions, as well. The job availability is low but rising as the site grows.
Remember that with the larger online portals you will be competing with more people for the available jobs. Some deeper online searching can also yield good results for online freelance work. Companies like Razorfish, WhoIsHostingTh
If you are new to freelance writing, consider doing it part time at first while you keep your day job, so you can test the waters safely. Once you acquire a steady following or a couple of loyal clients, you can consider going full time. If you love to write, the opportunities presented to you are endless. All you have to do is work hard and be organized, so you don’t miss those all-important deadlines.