If you think you are missing the credentials or qualifications to be professional blogger or article writer, you are not alone. There are many like you who feel proper credentials are mandatory for a successful career in this field. While writing, per se, in terms of creativity and expressing ideas in a logical sequence has little to do with qualifications, certified writers with graduate degrees or diplomas from online or other college courses have an edge over other writers and make them more employable. [Read more…]
The freelancing world continues to grow each year. Statistics have indicated that up to 50% of the workforce in the near future will be made up of freelancers. This is because of the opportunities that have come up as a result of increased global connectivity via the internet. Freelancing is a great way to earn money, but it is not always an easy path for beginners. Freelance writers especially have it tough trying to get legitimate clients as beginners. If you are a beginner in the writing industry, there are a couple of tips you can use to land your writing jobs.
Here are a few of them. [Read more…]
So you discovered freelance writing and you want in because it will help you earn extra money. You did what any curious person would do so you typed various keywords online to learn more about the tools of the trade and what websites offer work that will help you hit that target income because really, that’s what it’s about come day’s end. The fact of the matter is, you barely earn anything when you write for freelance websites because aside from the fact that the rates are low, the numbers decrease further once the fees are deducted. Not too encouraging for newbie freelance writers, right? [Read more…]
Freelancing is a thrilling yet terrifying line of work. Getting started as a freelancer is the most difficult and challenging step. Especially if you’re coming from the stability and predictability of full-time work, freelancing can seem vague, threatening and terrifying. When you’re just beginning, you’ll be on a constant hunt for freelance writing jobs. Let’s consider some popular ways to can find freelance writing jobs for beginners and get your career off the ground. [Read more…]
Author: Kenneth Waldman is a freelance writer and content creator. He draws his inspiration out of the traveling. Get in touch with him on Linkedin.
You might be surprised to learn the number of freelance writing aspirants out there. However, many don’t dedicate time to fulfilling their dream. Alternatively, they go about their 9 to 5 traditional work routines, take orders from irritable bosses, and get paid less their worth.
If you wish to be a freelancer and your current situation is similar to the one outlined above, it’s high time you make a change. You’ll only waste time if you keep procrastinating.
Just remember that it takes some time to grow a successful freelance writing business. The steps to actually start are simple. They do not guarantee that you’ll be swimming in cash, but they will set you on the right path to gaining a solid income in the near future. [Read more…]
- A lack of purpose and passion
- Working a dead-end job
- No one is investing in you
- Insufficient compensation
If you’re feeling any or all of these symptoms, you may be ripe for a change. The launching pad for this monumental shift? A bit of wisdom from Confucius: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
Whether you’ve freelanced as a side-gig or are just jumping into the ring, taking on a full-time freelance career is not a decision to be made lightly. Full-time corporate employment offers paid time off for vacations, illness and holidays. Medical, dental, vision, disability and life insurance are often part of a benefits package. So, too, is a guaranteed minimum income.
So, how do you leave all of that security? How do you transition to freelancing as your main source of income? How do you budget and plan? Very carefully.
Be a Business
Transitioning to full-time freelancing means you are going to be a business all on your own. If freelancing is your main source of income, you can’t be casual about it. You’ll have to start thinking like a business owner, even if your only employee is, well, you. By giving up that secure spot in corporate America, you’ve taken on the following roles (in no particular order):
- Head of Sales & Marketing
- Account Receivable
- Creative Director
- Client Services
- and more.
Are you ready and willing to manage both big and small picture details? Gone are the days of throwing receipts into a shoebox. Here are the days of detailed financial record-keeping. Gone are the days of, “Sorry, just saw this email from two weeks ago.” Here are the days of, “Please see attached for all deliverables due tomorrow. Please contact me with any questions.”
Don’t take this to mean you can expense everything and go on a spending spree to outfit a new office. You have to think about overhead costs, billing cycles, positive cash flow and more. Find a reliable and usable accounting platform. Learn it inside and out. Use it.
Research and apply for credit. American Express has some of the best business credit cards with benefits ranging from purchase protection to flexible payment schedules. Using a card (and paying it off monthly) is a great way to keep business expenses separate from personal expenses. It will make it easier for you to reconcile business expenditures by comparing the statement to your accounting records. You’ll also be building credit for your business. That way, if you’re ever in a position to seek out investors or loans for expansion, you’ll have a credit history.
Set Yourself Up for Success
After years of marching to another’s drum beat, it can be tough to stay productive without oversight. By now, you know what helps and hinders your personal productivity. Does a clean workspace keep you sane? Find and maintain a dedicated and orderly space for your business. Using the kitchen table might seem convenient, until someone spills fruit punch all over a very important piece of paper.
Start with a schedule. Until you’ve found your stride, it’s important to commit to a scheduled workday. It doesn’t have to be eight to five, but you must be fully engaged in work during whatever schedule you choose. Don’t let distractions like daytime television destroy your productivity.
If you need Internet to do your job, do you have a plan at home with adequate bandwidth? What happens if you lose access? Do you have a back-up plan? It wasn’t a big deal when your Netflix was down for a few days, but if your livelihood is resting on reliable email access, that changes things.
Every freelancer wants to be “too busy.” A freelancer’s best problem is having such an overflow of work that turning projects down is necessary. So, how do you get there? You have to make a name for yourself. Relying on a small client base would be nice, but what if the work dries up? Know who you are and what you do. Distill that into an elevator pitch. Imagine this: you run into a friend at a restaurant, and they introduce you to a potential client on the spot. What would you say? Will you have a business card at the ready? You’d better. You don’t have to plaster your face on a billboard like an aspiring realtor. You do need to constantly seek out business opportunities and be ready to pitch yourself at any moment.
Still ready to ditch the suit and forge out on your own? Have fun and stay organized!
This post was written by Amanda Kohn, a bookworm from Phoenix. Although a fashionista at heart, you can find her head in a book or online reading up on the latest headlines. Follow her on Twitter.
A former student of mine graduated with a degree in theater and set off to Hollywood to make her way in her chosen world. She soon learned an interesting twist about the requirements of Hollywood: in order to land a part you need a SAG (Screen Actors Guild) card. But in order to have the coveted SAG card, you must have acted in a legitimate production. So in the logic of the glittery world of movies, you can’t get a card until you’ve had a role, and you can’t get a role without having a card first. It’s a vicious cycle! Short of being “discovered”, she was going to have to pay her dues by acting in productions that earned her points towards her card, but were less glamorous than Hollywood.
Writing is very similar. Often, in order to write an article, an editor wants to see clips – or examples of material you’ve published in the past. But, it’s hard to get clips if no one will publish you without them. Just like acting, we writers may have to pay our dues.
For writers, “paying your dues” may mean writing a few articles that either don’t pay or pay in copies (sending you five copies, for example, of their magazine) or contributing to an online site or blog or searching out smaller markets. I have a couple stacks of magazines – copy payments – I don’t necessarily have a use for (other than making my mother proud), but now I have hard copies of clips I can scan and send along with my queries.
Get Those Clips!
So how do you find ideas and potential markets?
- Spend a couple hours at a local bookstore or library scanning the magazine section. Don’t limit yourself to the big names; there are almost as many magazines as there are interests: sports, kayaking, mountain climbing, dogs, cats, biking, literature, cars, farming, cooking, ranching, eco-living, art, etc. Let the magazines and their topics inspire you!
- Be sure to check out local and regional magazines. My first articles were published in a local arts journal and a regional interest publication.
- Writer’s Market is a well-known writer’s resource book. Flip through the thousands of pages of trade journal and magazine listings. Consider people you know who you could interview for articles. A few of my first publications in national magazines were written interviewing a local dog trainer, another came from spending a day with friends who grew organic, heritage potatoes.
- Go on the internet. There are a plethora of online magazines and blogs you can write for – they count as clips too! Many are very open to new writers. Are you a caregiver? Parent? Traveler? Athlete? There are sites for every interest you can think of.
- Look at job boards. They are an excellent resource to find publications, websites and businesses actively seeking writers.
Let your imagination and creative juices flow and come up with great ideas. Mine all your life experiences for topics and ideas – you’ll be amazed to find there is a market for almost anything. Now that you have a file full of ideas and potential publications, it’s time to sit down and write. Start gathering those clips, even if it means writing a few pro bono articles. You won’t have to do that for long. Soon, you will be savoring the satisfaction of producing and seeing your writing in print.
About the Author
Julie Luek is a freelance writer living in the mountains of Colorado and is published in dozens of regional, national and online publications including Farm & Ranch, Dog World, Vibrant Life, Today’s Christian, Colorado Central Magazine, Arts Perspective, Coaching and Athletic Directors and others and is the author of two blogs, A Thought Grows and In Fine Company. She is also a biweekly contributor to the international writing site, She Writes and appears as a guest blogger on sites like WOW (Women on Writing), Author Spaces and others with writer-based content. She can be found on Facebook and Twitter and enjoys supporting the community of writers.
Image via Brandon Giesbrecht
You’re just starting your journey into the world of freelance writing. Maybe you are looking to make it a career, or maybe you are looking to make a little Target, I mean, grocery money while you stay at home with the kids. Either way, that first step can be intimidating. Where do you start looking? How do you approach potential clients? How much time should you spend writing each day? And the questions go on and on.
As you become more and more confident in calling yourself a freelance writer, you will find your own answers to these questions – paving your own way is kind of the nature of the beast. And while I would still consider myself in the paving process, I think there is something to learn from a person who is just starting out. So, check out Lessons on How to Be a Paid Writer, and then read more about the beginning of my freelance career:
The First Steps
Consistent writing started for me when I became pregnant with our first child. I wanted a way to document the pregnancy and share information with family, and, the easiest way to do this was with a blog. In addition to starting my own blog, I began reading other people’s, and I saw how it could become so much more than a diary. So, I started out dabbling in other genres by just writing guest posts for writers I enjoy following. I did this either by responding to requests for guest posts or checking submission guidelines for various sites. This was a low stakes way to get my writing out there and receive feedback from someone who was considering publishing it.
Then, I started looking online for more. I found a few sites and programs that list various opportunities and have good information. Some offer paid positions while others do not. Either way, I consider being published a great way to boost my career.
- Freelance Writer’s Den
- Make a Living Writing
- Freelance Writing Jobs Blog (of course)
- Blogger Link Up
Use Your Talents
A lot of my family and friends know I am an English major and a former teacher. They also know that I edited and helped write papers and resumes in college, so I get a lot of business from recommendations. If someone is in need of a service like that, I usually work out a price with them based on what they need.
Think about what talents you naturally have. Find a way to incorporate that knowledge and make it work for your writing. Are you great at marketing your work? Do you already have a small business you could use as a venue for clients? Do you have specialty knowledge that others might benefit from learning about? Use it. Write it.
My blog and portfolio continued to grow, and I started finding new ways to get my name into the market. I created a LinkedIn account, and I also added a tab to my blog so others could see my work and see what I am capable of. After doing this, I received emails from a few sources asking that I write for their site or publication. This doesn’t happen as often as I go out searching for opportunities though.
When I am hired to write for a publication, I make sure I make use of all of the social media resources I have on hand. I tweet it out, post links to Facebook, pin posts, and have even been known to post to Instagram after writing something my followers might love. By doing this, not only do more people see my writing, but the publications I am working with appreciate the marketing. They are more likely to rehire someone who will tout her work and drive in traffic.
The Bottom Line
If you want to make a liveable salary freelancing, be ready to put in well over 40 hours a week. A lot of it is writing, but a lot of it is searching out and getting the opportunities. If you’re looking to make a little extra cash on the side, check out some of the resources above and start practicing. And, don’t forget subscribe to Freelance Writing Jobs – they have connected me to a lot of work!
About the Author
Jenna Hines is a former HS English teacher turned stay-at-home-mom. She spends her days taking care of her kiddos, creating content for her blog, Call Her Happy, and freelance writing. Find her on Twitter and Facebook or check out her portfolio on LinkedIn.
These are those all important dates that you never miss. It’s when an article is due, when the editor wants it in and when excuses will be tough to take.
A quickie summary of what an article is about, it usually is placed in the table of contents or under the article headline.
The theme and publishing calendar for a publication. Most print publications have calendars set far in advance, some as far as six months which is important to remember when sending queries. Writers also use an editorial calendar to schedule their work and organized deadlines, blog posts, etc.
The yummy, meaty articles that are ‘featured’ in the main part of the magazine. These articles are longer and are an impressive feather in the cap of any writer.
FOB (Front of Book)
Newbie writers are always told to aim for the smaller front of the book (magazine). These articles are shorter pieces designed to get a writer’s feet wet with the publication. Front of the book is sometimes used interchangeably with filler which are short pieces, but they can be located throughout the magazine.
The silent voice that gives the zing to a piece without byline credit, but earns the income. Often writers sign a confidentiality agreement with their clients and the terms vary from project to project.
Have you ever come across those freelance writing jobs that are “perfect for students?” Me too. I don’t necessarily appreciate ads that target moms, students or retired people because it usually indicates to me the hiring person is trying to justify extremely low pay. However, that doesn’t mean that freelance writing isn’t a good way for college students to earn money over the summer.
Who should consider freelance writing as a summer job?
We all know freelancing isn’t for everyone. If you hate to write and can’t grasp basic grammar and usage, it’s probably not something you should consider. However, if you’re a journalism, English or communications major or if you love to write and happen to be quite good at it, there’s no reason you shouldn’t give it a shot. Most students haven’t really established an area of expertise and can’t speak as authority on topics, but there are some good generalist gigs out there. Also students into technology, gaming, and music might find enough work to keep them busy.
If you’re planning a career in writing, getting your foot in the door now might help you to have steady work and clients once you graduate. Just be sure to research freelance writing and freelance writing jobs before getting started. Learn as much as you can about the business end, types of gigs, and types of pay. Potential clients are going to be leery enough of hiring a student, if you can show you know what you’re doing you’ll have a better chance of landing gigs.
To get started, read our Frequently Asked Questions About Freelance Writing Jobs.
What are the benefits of freelance writing for students?
When you think about it, freelancing is the perfect summer job. When I worked summers, I missed out on specific outings and good times because there was a clash with my hours. Freelancing is flexible, so if you want to go to the beach with your friends you can, as long as you have good habits. You can make your own hours and work as much or as little as you want. You can also work anywhere there’s WiFi – home, the coffee shop, a hotel and even some National Parks have free WiFi hotspots. Also, depending on the types of freelance writing you do, you can earn anywhere from $10 per hour on up. Mind, you, ten bucks is on the low end, but it’s comparable to many college summer opportunities. Most freelance writers earn much more.
Beware: What to look out for
Ok, so here’s the thing, there are definitely people who look to take advantage. Always make sure the ends justify the means. For example, if you spent an hour writing a blog posts and you’re only earning fifty cents in residual change for your time, there’s something wrong. Now, if you spent 45 minutes to an hour on an article and it pays $20, and $20 per hour works for you, the end justifies the means.
- You don’t have to pay for jobs. Some “clients” tell you that for a fee they’ll send work your way each month. Don’t fall for it. You wouldn’t pay an employer for a job in the real world, why would you do it as a freelancer?
- Be careful when offering freebies. We’ll get to writing samples in a few, however, sending samples of your work in order to get a gig is one thing. Being asked to produce writing assignments on spec, or for free without the promise of a job, means someone is trying to get something for nothing and looking to take advantage.
- There are arguments all over the web about the best kinds of writing and what you should and shouldn’t do. Aside from ensuring the end justifies the means, only you know what’s best for you. Don’t let other freelancers on forums, blogs and social networks bully you into making decisions. Only you know what writing works best for your situation. Read everything you can and make informed choices based on your own personal situation.
Some things to keep in mind
If you read this far, it probably means you’re still intrigued and want to learn more about this freelance writing thing. Ok, then. We’ll keep going.
You can’t just jump into freelance writing. There are a few things you should know, a few things you should research and a few things you need to take care of before you begin.
- You’re going to need writing samples: Freelance writing isn’t like a department store job. You can’t walk in, fill out an application and hope you’re called. You have to perfect a cover or query letter and have writing samples to present with your letter. You see, a client wants to know you can write and also be sure you’re a good fit for your project. Even if you’re looking for content sites as a summer job, you’re still going to need some killer writing samples. If you haven’t been published your best recourse is to create some sample articles on your own. It might not hurt to have a trusted teacher or fellow writer look them over to make sure they’re good enough to land work.
- You’re going to have to make a good first impression: Your cover letter and writing samples must be absolutely perfect. You’re being judged for your writing from the very first sentence.
- You’re going to be rejected: I’m sorry to tell you but most writers are rejected at some point in their career, many in the very beginning. Don’t take it to heart as it’s nothing personal. It doesn’t mean you’re a poor writer, it’s more likely your writing style didn’t match what the client was looking for or you weren’t a good fit for the gig.
- You’re going to meet with some fierce competition: Every time I post an ad for a blogger for my blogs I get between 200 and 500 applications. That’s a lot of competition. What can you do to stand out in a potential clients eye?
- You’re not going to have a boss looking over your shoulder: When you freelance you have to be accountable for you. That means finding time to work, turning in clean work, and meeting your deadlines. You won’t have a boss reminding you something is due and you have to practice your own good customer service. You won’t be part of a team. It’s just you and a client who is counting on you to be responsible.
- Certain types of writing are considered unethical: Term paper mills, misspelled SEO writing, article spinning and plagiarism (stealing another writer’s content) are considered unethical. Steer clear of this type of writing, especially if you wish for writing to be your career. You don’t want to have any bad marks on your record.
- There are different types of writing: Newspapers, magazines, blogs, web content, copywriting, grant writing, and technical writing are only a small portion of the writing opportunities available today. Each has different rules and formats. Do yourself a favor and learn what you can about the types of writing that interest you.
Get your freelance writing foot in the door now
It takes time to establish a freelance writing career. However, if you start now, then maybe by the time you graduate you’ll have enough clients to keep you busy while you either look for a job, or launch a full time freelance writing career. There are so many opportunities available for freelance writers of all levels. There’s no better time to do this than now!
OK, FWJ community. What is your best advice for college students wishing to become freelance writers?