One of our recommended ways to earn money from home online is by working as an article or website content writer. In this post, we will discuss in depth how you can successfully become an online writer either as a side hustle or as a full time job.
What is freelance writing?
Freelance writing is one of the most popular internet-based careers. It is on-par with web designing jobs and virtual assistant jobs. These three are the foundations of building a website, which every business needs in order to gain fame, offer their products and services, and provide information in the internet world. Each website needs content for every page of their website to provide more information about their products and services. Most of these businesses realize the power of having a blog, so they set one up.
It is estimated that 140,000 websites are created everyday. With this many new websites cropping up, where do you think they get their content? This is where freelance writers are needed. Many business owners don’t know how to write content for there website so they actively search for freelance writers. And it is mostly a continuous project because they need to blog regularly to gain more traffic. Some SEO companies act like agencies that search for writers to complete the service that they offer.
Millions of articles are posted and consumed online, so this job won’t be going anywhere soon. Some people are even making thousands of dollars monthly with just freelance writing. Writer Help Wanted offers an in depth discussion and training on how to succeed with being an online writer.
Can freelance writing be a full time career?
Most definitely. Thousands of people have already quit their full time jobs in order to be a freelance writer. Being a freelancer gives you more flexibility in choosing the topics and niche that you want to write about. Plus you can set the rate that you are comfortable with. However, you must be able to assess your skills and pitch your qualifications appropriately to land the best jobs. More on how to find jobs later on this post.
Are there any investments needed to land article writing jobs?
Yes and no.
No because you don’t need to spend money to become a freelance writer if you already have the necessary skills. If you can write well, all you need to do is read about SEO and article/blog posting styles in order to produce quality work.
Yes because you need to invest on yourself. Being a writer needs a specific set of skills, namely grammar, spelling and punctuation. If you’re not a very good writer, you won’t be able to land any writing jobs. You also need to learn about different writing styles. Kickstart your freelance writing career with this tutorial from Skillshare.
As a Freelance Writer, do I need to create my own website?
If you want gain a leverage against other freelance writers, it is highly recommended that you build a website that will showcase your writing samples. It is also another way for you to get “found” online, making you a credible and reliable contractor.
You can create a free website in WordPress, Wix, Weebly and more. These sites offer free hosting in exchange for showing their website name in your site and in the url. Watch the video below for an overview of how to create your own website.
Once you have earned from your freelance writing endeavors, you can purchase your own domain name or even self-host your website. But for beginners, free websites are fine.
For affordable domain names and hosting, I would recommend Namecheap. As their name implies, their domain names and hosting are among the cheapest in the industry. Their customer service is fast and reliable as well.
If you need to start working as a freelance writer immediately and have no time to create a website, you would still need to create sample articles. You can just save them in a document and attach them as writing samples when applying for writing jobs or pitching yourself as a writer. Your future clients would need to know your writing style and how well you write after all. Sometimes prospective clients would ask you to write a sample for them, but it is best to be armed with a pre-written article to position yourself as a professional.
How to get a job writing articles
There are two major ways to get writing jobs. First is to apply in job listings, and the second is to cold pitch using email. As previously mentioned, there is a constant demand for website content and blog posts. If you have a good application letter and work samples, landing a writing job will be easy as a pie.
Where to find writing jobs to earn money from home online
As there is no shortage of writing jobs, there are also several job boards you can join to find such work. These platforms are free to join, but some of them take a cut from your earnings because of the additional services that they provide. Let’s go into detail:
Upwork used to be ODesk, and it is one of the most popular freelance platforms online. Upwork connects freelancers and companies that need remote services. They also work as an escrow service that secures the fund sent by the client for the project, and transfers the money to the freelancer’s account once it has be completed.
They provide safety to both clients and freelancers that the right service will be provided and the money will be paid. Upwork has a five-day buffer before your funds are actually available in case the client files a dispute.
What’s great about working in Upwork is that there is a constant flow of jobs available. You can set the rate you want for a specific job, oftentimes called bidding. Some freelancers bid very low in order to win, but per my experience, I would rather bid on the rate that I can confidently produce quality work. At the beginning though, I did accept a lower rate in order to gain experience and rating. The better rating and the more work, the easier it is to bid higher.
There is no limit to the type of jobs you can apply to, although there is a limit on the number of applications you can send in a month. This is counted on the basis of what they call connects. Per month, a user has a limit of 60 connects to use. Each project ranges from one to five connects, depending on the enormity and duration of the project. For writing jobs, it’s usually just 2 connects. If you have used up your monthly allocation for connects, you can purchase more at the price of $1 per connect. For this reason, you would have to be wise in choosing which projects you want to apply on.
As mentioned above, there is a limit to the number of job posts you can submit proposals to. If you have used up all your connects and none of the projects you have submitted proposals to hired you, then you’re going to have to wait for the next month for it to refresh. You can always buy more, but if you’re just beginning to work online, you shouldn’t have to pay for additional service until you have found it to be profitable for you (that’s my personal rule, though).
Another disadvantage of Upwork is that you really have to bid low in the beginning so as you can gain experience and rating first. If your profile shows no rating, it can be hard to find work. Some clients take advantage of that by offering a really low compensation for work in exchange for good ratings.
They take a 20% cut from your first $500 earnings from the same client. After the first $500, this cut will become 10%, and 5% after the first $10,000. But that’s with just one client. If you work with different clients and they don’t spend more than $500 with you, that huge cut won’t lower down. Plus they also charge a fee for withdrawing your funds to your bank or Paypal account.
There are thousands of writers in Upwork; you have to give yourself an edge by:
- ranking high in skills test provided by Upwork
- creating an engaging and eye-catching profile
- providing excellent samples of your work
Follow these tips above and you can easily land your first job. Check the profiles of high-ranking freelance writers and mimic them (don’t plagiarize their profiles though!).
This is a blogging job board that does not require you to join. You can easily see the writing jobs posted by various companies online.
There is no need to join, and there is no membership to be paid. You can apply to as many jobs as you want without anyone telling you to stop. You can discuss with the company about the rate and how you will be paid.
Nothing comes between you and the company you decide to work with. If the company decides not to pay you, you can’t go complaining to BloggingPro.
To eliminate these worries, I suggest working only with companies that provide legitimate company emails. For example, SampleOnly.com is looking for a writer, the email address of the contact person should be using that domain name (firstname.lastname@example.org), or something to that effect. This way, you know that you will be talking to someone who is representing the company.
Another disadvantage is that not everyone you email will respond to you.
This is one of the oldest blogger job boards in existence, and it is also very reliable.
Just like BloggingPro, you can easily apply to all the writing jobs available with no limit.
There is only a handful of writing jobs, with thousands of people fighting over them. Your pitch should be good enough to catch their attention.
Although they must receive hundreds to thousands of applications, some of the companies are very diligent in following up with each and everyone. If you don’t get a response after a week, you can consider your application rejected.
4. Follow Twitter job boards
There are twitter accounts that actively share writer openings. There are also some of the same type in Facebook, but it’s hard to filter the legit job openings against scammy offers in Facebook. These Twitter profiles are to follow:
How to Cold Pitch Businesses
Cold pitching is another way to land clients. It’s called “cold” pitching because you never had any contact with the business in the past. Applying to job boards are essentially warm leads.
Cold pitching is better than applying in job boards as you can make a personalized approach to every business that you are pitching your services to. It’s easier in a sense that there is less competition. It is hard in a sense that it is a bit scary emailing people who initially have no interest in even opening your email. Also, cold pitching means you have to spend some time on your prospect’s website to learn more about them and see if your service can be beneficial to them.
With cold pitching, you need to:
- visit your prospect’s website to understand their business
- check their website content and if they have a blog
To find a business to possibly pitch your writing services, all you need to do is search in Google. Type this:
Startups (your niche) industry
example: Startups basketball industry
(your niche) business websites
example: basketball business websites
Once you have found the businesses you want to propose your services to, it’s time to open up your email and send your pitch. To learn more about the best ways to cold email someone and get high open and response rates, enroll in the Cold Email Academy.
For a more intensive training on how to make freelance writing a lucrative career, we recommend Writer Help Wanted. They provide step by step training and samples, created by NY Times Bestselling Author Ron Douglas and Content Marketer Alice Seba. They further provide details on how to earn money from home online, coupled with case studies and video training from people who actually succeeded in writing online.
If you need more guidance, I would also recommend Gina Horkey and Sally Miller’s Make Money As A Freelance Writer: 7 Simple Steps to Start Your Freelance Writing Business and Earn Your First $1,000. It’s a great read especially for newbie writers who are looking for actionable steps.