If you google Am I too old to become a freelance writer or Is it too late to write, you’ll see tons of similar questions in writing communities.
The most striking thing?
You could assume the people asking those are 60, 70, 80, or above, but no! They are 30, 35, or 40, in general.
Age is indeed a bothersome thought for many. However, it shouldn’t cause worries at all. Read why below.
This guide will also help you take your first steps to launch a freelance writing career in the senior age.
Is Aging an Obstacle to Freelance Writing?
Can your senior age really destroy your freelance writer career?
Age restrictions work for some jobs and hobbies, and age matters greatly.
Take sports, for instance.
But then, there are age-oblivious careers. And luckily, freelance writing is on this list. Age is just a number, as they say.
Let’s turn to some examples to confirm a freelance writer job is age-proof.
Read the short stories of three authors who started freelance writing at the age of 50+.
Marilyn R. Wilson (Freelance writer starting point – 50)
Marilyn R. Wilson is a freelancer and the author of The Wisdom of Listening and Life Outside the Box.
When she turned 50, she got into the freelance writing business by answering an advertisement. Then, she started writing for a New York magazine with zero experience behind her back.
Ken Mathews (Freelance writer starting point – 62)
Ken Mathews is a freelance copywriter of emails and guest author of numerous blog articles.
He discovered a new road by being a freelance writer at 62. Now, Ken Mathews works under the nickname Mr. Wordweaver.
Bill Graf (Freelance writer starting point – 64)
After working as a commentator, journalist, and news editor, Bill Graf opened a new professional chapter of freelance writing at the age of 64 on page 64.
Then, the next question arises: Is freelance writing immune to discrimination by age (ageism) in recruitment?
It’s not a matter of age when it comes to hiring. It’s a question of who creates better content. If you are an excellent writer, nothing can stop you from landing a job.
Now, you need an energetic start and a break into the profession.
How to Start a Freelance Writer Career as an Older Adult
What is Step #1 for seniors in becoming a freelance author? Where should you begin?
The following tactics can help you gain a firm footing in the competitive freelance writing market.
1. Nail down your niche
If you run after two hares, you will catch neither.
It’s better not to try to be a professional writer in every sphere. Instead, know your niche and stick to it.
“Finding your particular field of expertise is a card up your sleeve when you start freelance writing at an older age,” believes Shawn Plummer, CEO at The Annuity Expert. “Specialization in a specific freelance writing niche lets you focus on one thing and stand out from others in the industry. At The Annuity Expert, for instance, we have financial content writers who cover only the topics of retirement planning and annuities,” he mentions.
Actually, finance and banking are among the top profitable freelance writing niches you may start focusing on. If you are a walking encyclopedia in the financial sector and have a knack for finances, go for it.
Need an example?
Look at this web page of Keith McGuinness, a freelancer specializing in investment and FinTech writing.
You may enter practically any area: education, travel, book reviews, lifestyle, healthcare, medicine, etc.
2. Learn SEO basics
“A basic understanding of search engine optimization, aka SEO, contributes significantly to launching a freelance writer career for seniors,” says Fernando Lopez, Marketing Director at Circuit.
“It can become a super-advantage, bringing more clients. Nowadays, SEO writing skills are highly valued, and freelance writers possessing them are paid considerably more, as a rule,” he notes.
Fernando Lopez enumerates essential SEO skills necessary to succeed as a freelance writer at an older age:
- Performing adequate keyword research
- Choosing an optimal density of target keywords
- Effective headline writing + meta descriptions
- Adding internal and external links
- Creating an article structure with headings: H1 – for the title, H2 – for every main heading, H3, H4, H5 – for subheadings
- Optimizing all main headings with keywords
Let’s suppose your article is about book translation.
Then, your article structure may look like this with all the headings and keywords:
H1 (Title) The Art of Book Translation
H2 The Benefits of Translating Books
H2 How to Get Your Book Translated
H3 Method One: Hire Professionals to Translate Your Books
H3 Method Two: Translate Your Book Yourself
H2 Wrapping Up Your Book Translation Tips
For high-quality SEO content, it is also beneficial to increase content readability with short paragraphs and strengthen your text with bulleted lists, so much loved by Google.
3. Fight your technophobia (if you have any)
Technophobia is the fear of technology, which is common among older citizens. People with this techno-fear typically steer away from innovations and technologies. In fact, only 6% of senior adults aged 74+ use the internet nowadays.
Gerald Lombardo, Head of Growth at Popl, says, “Technophobia is a huge psychological barrier to effective digital life. It can become a noticeable obstacle for building a freelance writing career in senior years.”
To overcome this fear, Gerald Lombardo recommends using social media as a freelance writer, particularly LinkedIn. “LinkedIn is a go-to platform to connect with freelance writing clients,” he notes.
For example, check the LinkedIn profile below. It belongs to Mark Ray, a freelance editor and author aged 50+ specializing in healthcare content.
Consider the best tools for freelance writers:
- For planning: Calendly, Basecamp, Todoist
- For time tracking: Clockify, StayFocusd, Toggl
- For SEO: Surfer SEO, Clearscope, SEO Writing Assistant by Semrush
- For unique image designs: PicMonkey, Stencil, Visme
- For editing, proofreading, and grammar: Grammarly, Proofread Bot, Hemmingway App
- For plagiarism checking: Copyscape, PlagScan, Originality.ai
Don’t be afraid to use writing tools powered by artificial intelligence like Jasper AI, ChatGPT, QuillBot, etc.
4. Think like a business founder and brand yourself
Thinking like an entrepreneur is one of the professional hacks for freelancers.
What would a company creator do?
That’s right—take care of personal branding to showcase one’s unique identity, expertise, and trustworthiness.
Let’s explore the most vital elements in your freelance writing brand: a brand name and web page, design, and your story.
💻 Brand name and website
Your real name may coincide with your brand and website domain name. Alternatively, it can be something different. Compare the freelance writers’ brand names and websites:
- Amy Suto → AmySuto.com
- Eric Rosenberg → EricRosenberg.com
- Liz Green → GreenGooseWriting.com
- Fay Smith → YourFinancialCushion.com
💻 Web design
An effective writer’s website must have an up-to-date design to lure more clients. It also gives all the information clients want to find at a glance—freelance work, book, short fiction, and bio.
Look at this freelancer landing page of an author and editor, Dave Pasquantonio.
Don’t hesitate to use the power of storytelling in your bio and add pinches of humor and fun to it. The most significant thing here is not concentrating on your age but rather evoking interest in hiring you.
A freelance content writer, Saba Kozinska confesses that she is “an untamed volcano of ideas.” Afterward, she tells a few fun facts about herself.
5. Start small and showcase your freelance writer portfolio
How do babies learn to walk?
By making small, incremental progress.
Do the same and take baby steps toward becoming a freelance writer at a more mature age.
“Freelance writing in late adulthood, you should start slow and small without pushing yourself too harshly into the career. Once you have at least five to ten published articles, you can build a portfolio showcasing your work samples and apply for jobs,” emphasizes Stephan Baldwin, Founder of Assisted Living.
Empish J. Thomas, a disability blogger and freelance writer, shares photos of her articles in newspapers and magazines.
Another freelancer, Marijana Kay, provides links to her best content pieces in the freelance writing portfolio placed on the website.
It’s possible to build a reputation as a freelance writer without a portfolio by registering on freelancer marketplaces.
List of writer marketplace sites:
- Constant Content
Below, you can see the profiles of ghostwriters with their hourly rates on Upwork.
6. Brush up on your writing skills continuously
Pursuing a career as a freelance writer at an older age, you should always stay on top of trends and expand your skill set to renew your creativity and make career advancements.
- Improve and modernize your vocabulary
- Take writing classes
- Participate in writing contests
- Never stop reading
- Join social media groups
Connect and communicate with other freelance writers on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Quora, or Reddit, and participate in discussions over your topics of interest.
For example, you can join subreddits on Reddit. These are forums dedicated to certain topics. In your case, these can be:
Where to Try Freelance Writing as a Senior
New freelance authors, whether younger or older, often need help finding their first writing project. The following paragraphs discuss the best ways to land a freelance writing gig in the current competitive market: guest posts, websites that pay authors, writer job boards, and local publications.
Guest posting on blogs
Freelancer guest blogging is often the most preferable method among aspiring freelance authors.
You can easily find blogs accepting guest posts by typing one of the following search queries in Google:
- [Niche] “Submit a Guest Post”
- [Niche] “Guest Post Opportunities”
- [Niche] “Become a Contributor”
- [Niche] “Guest Post Guidelines”
- [Niche] “Write for Us”
For example: healthcare “Write for Us”
Sites that pay writers
A couple of websites that pay for writing are:
Check out our complete list of websites that pay you to write.
Start with our freelance writing job board and filter jobs by category, location, work mode (part-time or full-time), and other parameters.
Local magazines and newspapers
Have you checked any local newspapers or magazines?
They could be willing to feature your creative piece in their next issue.
Tom Purdom, a 79-year-old freelancer and science fiction writer, contributes monthly reviews to Broad Street Review, a local arts publication in Philadelphia.
Take a look at our list of print magazine jobs.
Becoming a Freelance Writer: Never Too Late
A freelance writer’s career knows no age limitations. The beauty of this profession lies in its inclusivity. It can be pursued at any stage of life, and it’s never too late to become a freelance writer.
So, if you want to write as a freelancer but hesitate to give it a push forward, there’s no better time than now to do it. Following these guidelines, you can achieve success as a budding freelance writer, no matter whether you’re in your sixties, seventies, or eighties.
Take your determination and courage and go forth positively. Explore the endless possibilities that lie ahead and let your words shine.