Freelance Writing – What You Need to Know

If you’ve decided freelance writing is the best work at home job opportunity for you, then you probably realized you need a plan to get started. If you are just getting started working at home or even have some experience, but looking for something new, I’ve been where you are. Over the years I’ve tried a lot different work at home jobs and businesses, including writing.

My first real experience in freelance writing was for Demand Studios.  This was during the height of content mills when 100’s or 1000’s of freelance writers were making money with these sites that published loads of articles.

Then Google got smart and changed how these websites showed up on web searches. Overnight these website company let writers go. One day I had a decent part time gig and the next nada, zilch, zip, zero. I move on to other things, but recently I learned a whole better side to freelance writing and am super excited to share it with you today!

If you’ve decided freelance writing is the work at home job opportunity for you, then you probably realized you need a plan to get started. Help is here!

Getting Started in Freelance Writing

Fortunately, there is no shortage of job opportunities in freelance writing. It all depends on where you look and how much research you are willing to do.

Freelance writing is broken down into different categories. Before you begin looking for work, decide whether or not you want to get credit for your writing.

Byline or Ghostwriting?

Insisting on having a byline increase the difficulty of finding a lot of paying jobs. Byline jobs are out there if you look. However, a large number of freelance writing opportunities are for ghost writing.

Many freelance writers find success with ghostwriting. When you work as a freelance ghostwriter you provide writing services for clients who will then use the work as their own.

Ghostwriting is a lucrative opportunity, especially when you focus on freelance writing for online publishing. Companies and individuals who run websites constantly need content for their website or blog. Instead of writing their own content or spending money to hire staff to writer for them, they hire freelance writers to write for them.

Lost Cost to Start

A freelancing writing business only needs a computer, Internet connection, e-mail address and word processing program to get started. Having a website to advertise your services is a plus, but it’s not completely necessary when starting out in freelance writing.

Tip: Use a professional looking email such as your name or a name you choose for your business.

Pick a Niche

There are several different niches (categories) of freelance writing. Choose a few to focus on looking for available work. Consider niches you enjoy reading about or have knowledge about already. Use past work or school experiences. This will be a plus in both your ability to write and to show potential clients you know how to write about the topic.

Your Task as a Writer

When you see the term “content writing” you will normally be providing text for an existing or new website. Your writing will have to be engaging and clear for website visitors. Article writers concentrate on providing articles for websites, newsletters and blogs.

Generally, freelance writing includes a few different types of writing. A common one is writing for company blog posts or website pages. Another is copywriting emails, web pages, or social media posts.

Companies also need freelance writers to create ebook or even assist in writing a book to be published in print. There are even greeting card companies needing creative writers to write for cards.

Stay Professional

Getting started in freelance writing requires professionalism online. This means spell-checking all writing, including e-mails to clients. Watch what you post and share on social media.

Respect your client’s needs and requests. Keep track of deadlines. Be careful not to overload yourself. While it may be tempting to accept as many freelance writing jobs as you can get, you don’t want to be so busy you can’t get work done well or on time.

Writing for the Internet has a few differences from writing essays in school or writing for print magazines. Readers online have short attention spans, and you’ll need to keep your sentences short and your paragraphs clear.

Keep your client’s guidelines in mind. They may want you to write in a certain style or include particular key words. Don’t get upset if you get negative feedback. Freelance writing requires patience and a willingness to bend your writing to fit your client’s needs.

Two Ways of Earning

There are two main kinds of freelance writing work. One is working for company as an independent contractor. Some of these are known as content mills where there are many writers producing large amounts of written content.

Pay isn’t high; sometimes not even minimum wage. Some recommend these because they can be fairly easy to get hired and let a writer get experience. Or they allow a writer to start earning quickly while they lay other plans into place.

Before you start accepting $5 per article jobs on Upwork or some content mill read on…

Then there is freelance writing as a career. You treat is like a business, seeking clients with whom you write for on a limited or ongoing basis. They are not your boss. You are your boss providing a service to other businesses.

FACT: As of May 2011, freelance writers earned a mean of $97,300 per year (or $46.78 per hour), according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Experienced trainers, like Gina Horkey, has proven that it is possible to replace or exceed a corporate income through freelance writing.  Her Freelance Writing Course is wonderful! Gina takes brand-new and struggling freelance writers through a day-by-day process of becoming a successful freelance writer. She has a free course available, too! She went from $0 writing income to over $6000 per month within her first year of freelance writing.

Where to Find Work

There are a number of resources where freelance writing opportunities can be found. Remember there is power in numbers. The more potential clients (or companies) you inquire about, the more chances you have to land a client (or job). Make sure you read research their writing style before submitting samples.

Some favorite places to seek freelance writing jobs include:

Once you’ve gotten a few web writing assignments under your belt, you can decide what type of web writing suits you best. Then you can focus on those topics and continue growing your freelance writing business!

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