I’m always surprised that I don’t see more blogs talking about freelance writing! As a college student, it’s a super easy way to boost my resume while making decent money. As of right now, I make more money freelance writing than I do with my blog. Hopefully, that’ll change soon as I hope to monetize my blog more in the future. If you’re interested in starting a profitable blog of your own, check out my step-by-step tutorial here. I have been very successful with freelance writing online these past few months! So successful that I was finally able to quit one of my day jobs! In this post, I’ll answer some of the common questions about freelance writing, as well as explain how to get started.
How much can you make?
The best part about freelance writing is that you can make as much or as little as you want. This is in no way a get rich quick scheme, and it’s certainly true that you might have to work for very little money at first, but if you keep at it the possibilities are endless. As of right now, I make about 500$ a month through freelance writing. I don’t just write for one client, it’s usually several at once. The more you write, the more you make! Some writers will charge a standard rate per article while others choose to charge by the hour or a set price per word (like $.05 a word).
Do I need an English degree?
Not at all. You don’t need any fancy qualifications or advanced studies. You do, however, need to have decent grammar and spelling skills as well as the ability to proofread yourself. When freelance writing, you often do not have an editor who is proofreading your work for errors. This is something you should be comfortable doing on your own. Resources like spellcheck and grammarly help make editing much quicker and easier! Writing takes practice! If you’re not perfect right away, no worries!
Is freelance writing right for me?”
If you love writing and are an efficient writer, then I think freelance writing can be a great way to bring in extra money (or even a full-time income!). However, if you quickly get bored of sitting in front of a Word document, or if the thought of producing 2,500 words from scratch gives you anxiety, then this is not for you. Also, you should be a relatively quick writer. If you are being paid, for example, $25 for a 500-wordd article and it takes you 5 hours to complete this article, then that’s only $5 per hour. That’s likely not going to be worth your time. If you’re a speedy writer who can produce a 500-word piece in a quick sitting, then 25$ is a great price!
How do I get started?
Before you begin, you’ll want to have a few different things prepared: a rate and a portfolio. To determine a rate, consider your experience. Do you have a BA in English? Have you published for other well-known blogs or publications in the past? Or is this your first time writing outside of school?
Pay can honestly range anywhere from one cent a word to a couple hundred dollars per article. If you are entirely new to writing you will likely need to write your first few pieces for little to no pay in order to get a few samples. You can also use work from your college classes that showcase your writing abilities. BONUS TIP: Do you have a blog? These make THE BEST virtual resumes! Share your blog stats and popular posts with your prospective clients to show them just how successful your writing has been in the past!
Finding writing gigs
There’s a lot of different ways to find writing jobs, and often times you’ll need to reply to several before you hear anything back. At first, stick to writing in areas that you’re comfortable with. For example, I love to write about lifestyle, health, books, and travel, so I always look for these kinds of opportunities first. There are a lot of different job listings you can check daily for openings. Here’s a list of my favorite to get you started:
Once you’ve found a job that seems like a good fit, you can go ahead and email/message the appropriate person. Here’s an example template for messaging a prospective client.
My name is Samantha, and I am responding to the job posting for a health writer on ProBlogger. I am really impressed with your blog HealthProPost, especially its commitment to excersize and lifestyle choices. I have been blogging about health on my lifestyle blog Samanthability.com, which helps college women make healthier choices in their college dining halls. I recently recently earned my BA in English, and I am always looking for opportunities to share my passion for health with others! I am particularly knowledgable about vegan food and yoga, which I would hope to write extensively about if I am accepted for this position.
Here are two blog healthy living blog posts from my blog that I think fit the writing style of HealthProPost: Link1 + Link2.
I think prospective emails should be short and direct! The client is likely receiving several emails in response to their posting and is struggling to wade through all of them. Be sure to emphasize your experience, whether it be blogging or writing for another publication. If you have limited experience, focus on your interests that align with the publication. Next, be sure to explain what you can offer to the company. It’s easy in messages like this to focus on how this position will benefit you, but that’s not really what matters to the client. As you can see in my template, I emphasized my knowledge of vegan food and yoga, which will give the client some ideas for how I could bring my valuable information to his or her readers.
Finally, only include RELEVANT samples in your email. If you are including a word document with your samples, compline all of them in one document rather than three separate because editors usually don’t like to open separate works. Make everything as easy for them as possible!
Other ways to find freelance writing work
Job boards are easily the most legitimate ways to find freelance gigs, however, they can take a while, especially if you don’t have much experience yet. In the meantime, you can always write for content mills or submit posts to an online publication.
Content mills allow you to ghostwrite content for a variety of different sources instantly. The pay on these is undeniably low, but you can get paid quickly and easily depending on your skill level. Most of these websites require you to submit a small sample (I use the same one for every mill!) or a short quiz to determine your writing skill. You are then paid based on this score. These mills can sometimes be really frustrating as the client usually is vague in their instructions and there’s sometimes a level of research needed. However, I can usually make some easy cash in an afternoon writing for these. My favorite content mills are Textbroker and HireWriters which allow you to get paid more based on your skill level.
If you are looking to build a strong portfolio while making some cash, here are a few websites which pay writers for guest posts:
- FlockU – A super fun college blog
- Listverse – Publishes list blog posts
- WorldStart – Tech blog
- Tuts+ – Photoshop tutorials
- HowlRound – Artists magazine
These are all my tips and tricks for getting started freelance writing online! Let me know in the comments if you’ve got any questions or ideas! Freelance writing is great for millennials and college students looking to make some quick money on the side while boosting their career skills! I hope you found this post helpful, happy writing!