Those looking to work from home have far more opportunities available than they may initially think. Freelance writing in itself, for example, offers dozens of shots for freedom to the right individual. Every blogger and website owner needs online content, after all. In today’s Internet Age, there are plenty of freelance writing jobs for beginners to choose from. Good grammar and research skills are all that is needed.
From product descriptions to blog posts to expert articles and eBooks, there is a little something for every aspiring freelance writer.
Skills Required for Freelance Writing
You must have above par English and grammar skills. In addition to being able to write well, you also need to be organized and self-motivated to work at home.
I highly recommend signing up with Grammarly. This tool will help detect grammar and spelling errors. It also includes a plagiarism checker.
It is also a good idea to start a website or blog to share links to published articles with those interested in your services. A service like clippings.me can provide a free alternative until if and when you are ready to invest in a blog of your own.
Google Drive is a popular choice for word processing and sharing files with clients.
You need some type of accounting system to keep track of money in, money out and money owed. Our favorites:
- Quickbooks Online – $12.95 per month, unlimited invoicing
- Freshbooks – free invoicing for one client, $19.95 for 2-25 clients – one bonus here is the ability to avoid some PayPal fees if you set things up correctly
Getting Started Writing Online
Make it easy on yourself and avoid trying to appeal to the masses. It will be far easier to market yourself and demand a good wage if you can offer specialized services. That applies to writing as well. Assess your knowledge and identify your specialties.
If you come from an educational or medical background, there is a large demand for that knowledge online. If you have a passion for travel, fashion or food, there is plenty of room for you too. Anyone can rehash general information. Website owners and bloggers are looking to hire those that know what they are talking about and can connect with readers on a personal level. Don’t leave anything off the table! If you are great at coupon matchups, there is a job out there for you.
Get Writing Clients
There are a number of places to find writing opportunities. First and foremost, reach out to your personal network. You likely know a few bloggers or small business owners, ask if they need help (or know someone who does). A few places to find clients online:
These Sites that pay for guest posts is not necessarily ongoing work, but it is a great way to introduce yourself to those in need of your service while getting paid.
Demand Studios is considered a content mill by some. They don’t provide content to small publishers however. Their clients include sites like eHow, LIVESTRONG, Garden Guides and more. They generally pay in the $25 per article range. Experience in your chosen subject matter is required. The editing process can be frustrating for some. The good news here is you can come and go as you please. There are no minimum requirements. Keep this one in your back pocket for the slow times.
Network with bloggers in your specified niche as was mentioned in this previous post.
There are a lot of job boards are the web providing new leads daily:
- Problogger Job Board (recent good finds)
- I regularly update my Work from Home Leads board
- journalismjobs.com – Select “Telecommute” for Location
- Writer’s Market
- Online Writing Jobs
- Freelance Writing Jobs
- Absolute Write
Fiverr is where many freelance writers get their start. You will start out only being able to charge $5 (you keep a little under $4 after fees). For that reason, you should keep your article offering short, many Sellers start at 300 words, and within your area of expertise. You want to be able to churn out several quality articles within an hour. Once you complete 20 gigs you will have the ability to add on Extras which is where the real money is at. Check out our list of Fiverr tips here.
Reddit has a hopping r/ForHire subreddit. Make sure you read the Get Hired info in the lower sidebar.
Freelance broker sites like Elance and oDesk are an option, but many beginner writers feel they can’t compete with the cutthroat rates starting out. The upside with sticking it out is that many clients here are loyal. They want to work exclusively with one person they just like the security that comes with these platforms. You have to pay the bills first and foremost however. If you can’t find anything worth your time, move along.
Be Careful with Content Mills. – There are many beginner freelance writing jobs to be found at so-called “content mills.” These are essentially sites that act as a middleman between the writer and the client. While there may be plenty of work at sites like Textbroker and HireWriters, you may be starting out at around $.01 per word. That is $5 for a 500-word article. That may be acceptable if you stick within your industry of expertise and can whip out articles in 10 minutes. But if it is taking you one hour to research and write an article, that isn’t such a good deal. WritersDomains.net claims to pay $20 for each accepted article.
Even when you have plenty of clients, continue marketing and creating a prospect list for future reference. And always ask happy clients for referrals and testimonials to place on your portfolio.
No free samples – one good reason to start that blog or portfolio is so you can provide examples of your writing style without having to create custom samples which occasionally seem to be mistaken for free content by the requester.
Follow the application instructions – provide links to examples, share your background and keep if brief. Watch for immediate disqualifiers like “Put ‘Color Me Bad’ in the subject line.” Clients do this to ensure you can follow directions. Miss it and your email is going straight into the Trash.
Continue Learning and Growing
In addition to ongoing marketing, you also need to keep up on the industry. Follow freelance writing blogs and forums. Commit to honing your craft and moving up. A few popular, trusted sources of freelance writing information:
- Yahoo! Style Guide
- Make a Living Writing
- Freelance Folder
- Freelance Switch
- Be a Freelance Blogger
- Udemy offers several courses on starting a freelance writing biz
- 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success
Check out these other popular posts on freelance writing: