Get Paid to Write: How to Become a Freelance Writer

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How to become a freelance writer

Freelance writing is not always easy. But it can bring more freedom and balance to your life. Plus, with seemingly unlimited earnings, it has the potential to change your financial situation for the better. If you are curious about how to become a freelance writer, read on. We have all the tips to need to get started. 

The earning potential of a freelance writer

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median income for a writer was $62,170 in 2018. From personal experience, I know that the number can be much higher. I earn more than that each year. But I also know many other writers in the field that are earning thousands more than I am. 

The earning potential is truly what you are willing to put in. If you are willing to work tirelessly to build your writing career to reach its full potential, then you stand to earn more than the median. Plus, there are perks like flexible hours and the ability to work from anywhere that make this career path very enticing. 

Should you become a freelance writer?

First, you need to find your reason for becoming a freelance writer. Without a solid reason to pull you through the long hours, it can be difficult to make your dream a reality. 

The benefits of becoming a freelance writer can be absolutely amazing. You have the opportunity to build your freelancing business from the ground up. You have the option to choose how much you are willing to work, when you are able to work, where you will work and how much you will charge for your services. However, you need to determine why these benefits matter to you. 

Would you use the newfound flexibility to spend more time with your kids? To pursue a new passion in your free time? Or to make your own schedule while you travel the world? 

You’ll need to understand how these benefits will play out in your life. Find something to hold on to. As you start to build your business, you’ll likely need to put in long hours on top of your regular job. As you get closer to the tipping point of being able to afford to quit your regular job, the longer those hours might get to you. You’ll need to draw on the reason why you are doing this to find the self-discipline to carry on. 

How I became a freelance writer

When I found out about freelance writing, I knew it was something I wanted to pursue. I craved the freedom that writing could give me. Honestly, I wasn’t completely sure that I could make this dream a reality. After all, making a living from the comfort of my home with my old laptop seemed too good to be true. 

But I decided to give it a try. I started out with job boards to get a few small gigs. However, I was discovering that many refuse to pay writers more than a penny per word. Needless to say, I was discouraged. That’s when I decided to take a freelance writing course. By investing in myself and was able to build my freelance writing career from a few hundred dollars a month to over $6,000 each month. 

With this new career, I’ve been able to put more money toward financial goals like retirement and our first home down payment. Plus, I have more control over my income and time. 

This career transformation is possible for anyone. Believe me, if I can do it, so can you. It requires a lot of hard work and dedication, so if you can put in the work it is possible. If you are worried that you aren’t a good writer, don’t be! You’ll become a better writer with each article. The key is to open your laptop and get started. 

How to get paid to write: 8 Tips to becoming a freelance writer

Before we get started, let me remind you. This is not a get rich quick scheme that requires no effort on your part. In fact, it is a career that will require a lot of time and effort, especially in the beginning. It can be difficult to get your freelancing career off the ground with the many obstacles life throws your way. 

Take action on the step below to make your dream of freelance writing a reality.

1. Decide what you want to write about

First, you will need to decide what you want to write about. Luckily, there is no shortage of options. You can get paid to write about a variety of subjects, so choose something that interests you. Otherwise, it can be difficult to stick to the plan. 

Ask yourself some questions. What lights you up? What could you talk about, or write about, for hours? Is there a subject that you are already an expert on? Do you have an educational background that would allow you to break into a particular area of writing as an authority?

Think about what you can see yourself writing about for years to come. Of course, it is okay to evolve your writing niche over time but you need a place to start. A few ideas for niches include parenting, personal finance, travel, and scientific exploration. These are just the tip of the iceberg! You can find the opportunity to write about almost anything, so make sure to find something that excites you. 

2. Set a schedule

Making a living through writing is a serious undertaking. With that, you need to decide on a schedule and stick to it. While you are still working a regular job, this might include working early mornings, late nights, or weekends to get the ball rolling.

Although it is not very fun to wake up before work to work on your writing, the long-term benefits are well worth the effort. Make the decision to set a schedule that will allow you to meet your goals. Obviously, the more time you can commit to writing, the more quickly you will be able to grow your business. 

3. Build your writing portfolio

If you are starting from scratch, the idea of creating a portfolio might sound daunting. It doesn’t have to be! You can start to build your portfolio piece by piece. If you are having trouble getting published, then consider starting a blog to showcase your writing abilities. Not only will this give you the opportunity to build your portfolio but also hone your writing skills. 

Once you have a few pieces live, start to reach out for guest post opportunities. Typically, bloggers in your niche will be happy to post a quality story. You’ll earn a byline and they’ll receive content, so it is a fair trade. 

Choosing to offer your writing services for free at the very beginning can pay off in the long-term. Future clients need to see that you are capable of writing stand out pieces. However, you should not continue to offer your writing service for free for long. Once you gain some experience and have a portfolio to share with future clients, then start charging for your talent. 

4. Practice

Practice makes perfect. Although you don’t need to be perfect to excel as a writer, more practice certainly helps. Make the time to write every single day. You don’t have to write a full post every day. Even just a pitch email or fun restaurant review can help to improve your skills. 

5. Start pitching to freelance writing jobs

Once you have a portfolio, it is time to start pitching potential clients. Do some research in your chosen space to find the outlets that might accept your work. When you have a lead on a website or magazine that you want to write for, then reach out!

Let the editor know what you like about their site, what you can offer, and share your new portfolio of work. Include a story idea that you know would fit in well with their content. Don’t be afraid to pitch editors, the worst thing they can say is no. Remember, not every pitch is going to work out and that’s okay. All you can do is keep trying and over time you’ll build a worthwhile business. 

If you are having trouble finding emails to pitch, then consider using Hunter.io. It is a free tool that can help you find emails for editors and other people within the company that could point you in the right direction. 

6. Find jobs with the best freelance writing websites

In addition to cold pitches, you can apply to freelance writing jobs around the internet. A word of warning, these job boards are highly competitive. Every writer in the world seems to be out there competing for a handful of advertised jobs with adequate pay. Be aware that the competition is fierce, so you’ll need to put your best foot forward. 

With that said, these job boards can be a great place to get your career started. 

  • Upwork: Upwork is a platform that will allow you to get paid to write relatively easily. The site is a marketplace for people in need of your skills that are willing to pay if you are able to submit solid work on time. However, Upwork does take a percentage of your earnings which can get old very quickly. 
  • Fivver: Fivver allows you to post your services starting at $5. You’ll choose the terms of the gig and negotiate with the interested parties through the platform. 
  • Listverse:  As the name suggests, you would be paid to create listicles about a wide variety of topics. Generally, you’ll have to include at least 10 items on your list. If your list is approved, then you will receive $100 through PayPal. 
  • Problogger: This job board has a wide variety of writing opportunities. I’ve seen everything from romance writing to writing about learning a foreign language. The range of postings on this site makes it a great place for new writers. Not only will you be able to apply to jobs but also see what types of jobs are available. 

7. Invest in yourself

Freelance writing is a low expense business. If you already have a computer, then you will need very little else to get started. However, I highly recommend making the leap and investing in the tools and courses that will help you succeed. 

I can honestly say that taking a course is the reason I was able to make this career a full-time reality. Without the step by step guidance, I was struggling to get my career off the ground. 

Find a course that you can identify with and take action on. Making this kind of investment can put you on the fast track to success. 

8. Just keep going

At some point, I can promise that you will want to give up. With school, work, and family obligations, it can be a challenge to find the time to work this dream. It will require a lot of time and effort to make a full-time income as a freelance writer. Just because it will require hard work does not mean it is not a worthwhile goal. In fact, most good things require hard work and dedication so freelance writing is not any different. 

When you feel like giving up, dig deep and keep going. Remember why you started and keep moving forward. Even if you can only set aside a few minutes a day to pursue this goal, make it a priority to make your dreams come true. 

Summary

Freelance writing can be a life-changing career. Not only will you have the potential to earn a high income, but also regain control over your life. You will be able to set your schedule and income goals to build the life of your dreams. 

Will you pursue a career in freelance writing? 

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