If you’ve never worked as a writer before, the concept of becoming a freelance writer is probably completely alien to you. It’s hard enough for a writer to get a regular job with a newspaper, magazine, or website, so how does anyone make enough money to live from the profession without having a solid professional contract? You know it happens because you’re aware that freelance writers exist, but you almost certainly have no idea how they make ends meet.
The truth is that anybody who's able to communicate in fluent and coherent English can become a freelance writer if they want to. All you need is an internet connection, a laptop, and customers. You have two of those things already because you're reading this article, so all you need now is the customers - and we can help you with that.
Becoming a freelance writer is like opening the door to a whole new world of freedom. Because your office can be anywhere in the world, the world is yours to pick and choose from. The current generation of freelance writers has become digital nomads, traveling around the world while they’re going about their work. They pick up cheap accommodation and stay a few months in one country, and then they move on to the next, accumulating incredible life experiences and memories as they go.
Does that sound good to you? If so, read on!
Get FastYour ability to make money will rely on the speed and accuracy of your writing. With very few exceptions, freelance writers don’t charge for time - they charge their customers according to the number of words that they write. The more words you can write in a day, the higher your daily rate of pay will be. The average words-per-minute rate of a professional typist is thought to be between 50 and 80. An experienced advanced typist can type accurately at 120 words per minute or above.
Accuracy is as important as speed, though - without that, you’ll be taking twice as long because you’ll be correcting errors. Practice your typing until you’re consistently above one hundred words per minute.
Invest In SoftwareEven the best typists in the world make mistakes - especially when they're writing at high speed. When you've made a spelling error, your word processing software will identify it for you, but a word processor won't identify grammar or syntax errors. It also won't pick up on words that have accidentally been misspelled as other words, for example, typing 'cars' instead of 'cares.' You should always proof-read everything you write, but the human eye is just as fallible as the human hand. To make sure you're consistently delivering accurate, quality work, you should invest in software to assist you. Programs such as Grammarly can perform this service for free, although premium models contain more features and options.
Speculate To AccumulateIf you were opening a brand new business and you were going in search of customers, you would advertise it. As a freelance writer, you're a one-person business, and your business requires advertising. Spend money on a professional website, and identify appropriate avenues for advertising, be it locally or globally. Advertising isn't a guarantee of finding customers, but it's a helping hand along the way. It works like playing online slots.
There's no guarantee that you'll ever make money when you put money into an online slots game, but you can guarantee that you'll never win money from one if you never put any money into it to begin with. When online slots players strike lucky, it makes all the money they've spent spinning the reels worthwhile on website like Amigo Slots. When your advertising brings you the right customer, it will make every penny you spent on marketing feel like a good investment.
Be Prepared To Accept Low PayYour reputation is crucial when it comes to touting for freelance work. If you don't have any experience, you won't have any reputation to work with. In the early days of your new career, you should accept any work you can find, even if the rate of pay is less than you'd ideally like it to be. The more work you do, the more your portfolio will grow. As soon as you have a portfolio that demonstrates the range and quality of your work, you'll be able to attract better-paying customers and increase your rates.
Every time you accept a low-paid piece of work, look upon it as a step closer to being where you want to be. It isn't forever - it's just to get you started. Don't be fussy, and don't second-guess the nature of the work - just do it.
Use Freelancing WebsitesThe way most freelance writers get started is by setting themselves up a profile on a specialist website such as Upwork or Fiverr. Both websites allow you to advertise your services an offer tiered pricing structures, and allow people seeking freelance writers to come to you. The more work you do on the websites, the better your ranking on the website becomes. That, in turn, leads to more customers finding you and more work coming in. You should again be prepared to accept low-paid work during your first few weeks or months on the websites, but after a while, you'll start to attract the attention of higher-profile customers with larger budgets and larger orders.
Know When To Go DirectAs great as the freelancing websites are, they come with a downside. They take a cut of all the money that you make through them - usually in the region of 15% - 20%. When you've taken a $500 order and done all the work necessary to fulfill it, it's disheartening to see $100 go to the website, and only $400 come to you.
Look at the websites as a way to get yourself started, but once you've established a working relationship with a customer, don't be afraid of approaching them directly and asking whether they'd be interested in moving away from the website. They also have to pay commission to the site to use your services, so it often suits their purposes to deal directly with you, too. This arrangement can only work when there's trust on both sides because there's nobody to go to for assistance if things go wrong, but so long as you have the right type of customer, that generally isn't a problem.
That's really all there is to it. So long as you can write in an engaging style and work to deadlines, there's nothing stopping you from becoming a freelance writer this year. If you're bored with your job and you're looking for a new career, what's stopping you from giving it a try?
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