The Risks and Rewards of Freelance Writing

As with any profession, freelance writing has its pros and cons. Before you quit your job to become a freelance writer, you need to understand what it’s like to be one.

It’s three years since I became a full-time freelance writer. I dabbled with freelance writing assignments for about two years before I quit my job.

I have no doubt in my mind that in freelancing writing I finally found what I was meant to be doing. I love working for me, and I am a happier person now than when I was as a banker earning the fat monthly cheque. Yet, I would be lying if I said all was hunky-dory. I do at times miss the comfort and security that come with holding a steady job.

Remember those times when you fell in love but were not sure whether the person was right for you or not, and you made a list of positives and negatives, to help you make a decision on the relationship? Well, that’s what I have done with my “love, but not so sure” relationship with freelance writing.

I hope the analysis will help you make a better decision about your pending decision to turn freelancer.

THE PROS OF BEING A FREELANCER

As a content writer bidding for jobs, it’s exciting to get a new contract, work with international clients, write for different businesses, earn in dollars while working from home, and to see your writing help businesses achieve their goals.

I no longer have to contend with long commutes to work, attend business meetings that seem never ending, or go through the dreaded annual appraisal. And oh did I mention the office politics?  That seemingly harmless colleague who is secretly harbouring a ‘pull you down’ agenda, well, there’s certainly none of that. I choose whom I want to work with and how much work I want to take on.

Enterprise mobility may still be a nascent initiative in many companies, but  I already enjoy that as a freelance writer. All I need is a computer and an internet connection. Web-based applications such as Writebox and Dropbox give me access to my work files from any computer. I can work from anywhere and anytime, which really suits me as a young mother and an Army wife. All this while having minimum overhead expenses.

Freelancing is exciting. There is always something to do or learn. When I am not working, I am busy looking for new work and catching up with old clients. I am always learning new ways to improve as a writer and online marketer. I now have a much better grasp of various facets of business,  especially when it comes to product development, branding, and social media management.

Doing my own thing gives a satisfaction that no 9 to 5 job can match. Come to think of it I always had a hard time truly agreeing with the approach the boss would take; I’d much rather do things my way. Wouldn’t you?

THE CONS OF BEING A FREELANCER

When you choose to become a freelancer on the World Wide Web, you take on the challenge of competing on a global stage. You compete with freelance writers from North America, Asia, Australia, Africa and Europe. The bidding war revolves around each writer’s skills, experience, price and proposed delivery date.

With the thrill of being a business owner, comes added responsibility. You are the strategist, salesperson, marketer, social media specialist, customer service, and operations specialist. You have to know it all and do it all.

You are continually seeking new clients and trying to bring in more work from existing clients. You are lucky if your sales pitch conversion rate is more than eight to ten percent of customers.

Saturday and Sunday are no longer sanctimonious as days where you can take off. There are days of no work, followed by days where there is more work than you can So you work when you have to, which may include weekends. Yes, there is greater flexibility for fulfilling personal commitments, but time is as scarce as ever. As a freelance writer, you are multitasking for most of your work day and time just flies. You need to cross-check your planner continuously for delivery schedules, making sure you stay on track.

Quitting the comfort of a well-paying job to start your venture is fraught with uncertainties. As a freelance writer, if you aren’t working, you aren’t earning.

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So should you jump on the freelancing bandwagon? Having weighed the pros and cons of life as a freelancer, this is a question that only you can answer. Although you will receive well-meaning advice from family and friends, it has to be ultimately your call. If you can cope with the ‘uncertainty’ of how much you will earn by when (especially in the initial phase), then freelance writing offers you an exciting opportunity to be the captain of your ship. But, if you aren’t motivated enough to stay focused and work all by yourself, then you will find the going rough in the turbulent world of freelance writing.

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Guide to Becoming a Freelance Writer

Download eBook for Free – Guide to Becoming a Freelance Writer: Use Freelancing Websites to Source Content Writing Jobs and Make Money from Home!

Answer these questions –

  • Have you always had a flair for writing?
  • Do you pride yourself on being a good communicator?
  • Do you have a knack for presenting facts in an informative and logical way?
  • Do you want to be the boss of you?
  • Do you want to make money from home?

If you just nodded your head in agreement with most of these statements, then freelance content writing is a viable work from home option for you.

My eBook ‘Guide to Becoming a Freelance Writer’ will help you break into the competitive world of web content writing by teaching you everything you need to know about freelancing websites.  Here you will find a step-by-step approach to –

  • Starting as a freelance content writer
  • Getting content writing jobs with international clients through freelancing sites, and
  • Building your freelance writing business to give you a steady stream of income.

Based on my experiences as a freelance writer, the eBook is loaded with practical tips on creating a freelance writer’s profile, bidding for content writing jobs, determining your writing rates, keeping clients happy, using online tools to boost your productivity, and much more.

There is also an eBook summary with takeaways from each chapter, to keep as a ready reckoner long after you have finished reading it.

As a freelance content writer, you are your own boss – choose whom you want to work with, and how much you want to work. Best of all, you can make money working from the comfort of your home with negligible overheads.

Download this eBook now, as a first step to starting as a freelance writer and making money from home! The eBook can be downloaded for FREE between 18th and 20th April on Amazon Kindle Store.

Guide to Becoming a Freelance Writer

freelance writing tips

3 Simple Steps to Start Freelancing

Congratulations on choosing freelance writing as your entrepreneurial venture.  Being a freelance writer is akin to being a business owner. You are responsible for every aspect of your work – from strategizing how to market yourself, to creating and delivering the actual product (i.e. content) and ensuring that your customers are happy.

You have a fair understanding of the risks of being self-employed and are determined to make a go of it. Now it’s time to create your writing business.

Here are three steps to get started as a freelance business writer.

Step 1: Understand how to write content for the internet

Since you are mostly going to be writing content for the internet, it’s important to understand an important differentiation – how writing for the internet is different from writing content for a print publication.

The internet has an abundance of information on any topic, which means that the average internet reader spends only a few seconds on any website, before deciding to continue reading or clicking the back arrow to move on to another website. Because you have very little time in which to make an impression, you need to ensure that the content is both easy to read and engaging. This means choosing the right article header, presenting content in succinct blocks of information ( with subheadings and bullet points), and ensuring that each section moves seamlessly on to the next.

In contrast, a person who picks up a magazine is more likely to be doing so at leisure and is willing to spend more time reading what you have to say.

Then there is the SEO (Search engine optimization) aspect of writing content for the internet. SEO techniques improve the likelihood of search engines finding your content when someone types the relevant phrase on search engines such as Google and Bing. Including keywords, tags, and a metadescription are basic SEO techniques.

Learning how to write for the internet is an art in itself. So here’s what I want you to do. Go to your preferred online shopping website and order this ultimate guide for writing online content.  It’s called – The Yahoo! Style Guide: The Ultimate Sourcebook for Writing, Editing, and Creating Content for the Digital World. Priced around 12 USD, this book is the best upfront investment to kick-start your freelance writing career

Step 2: Build Your Writing Portfolio

You know you can write, but to bag your first writing project you need to prove that to your future clients. So before you start looking for work, write at least 5 articles/ blogs. These articles and blogs then become your writing portfolio, which you will submit as writing samples along with each writing project that you bid for on freelance job portals.

Write on topics that you are comfortable with. For instance, if you have worked as a banker, you could write tips on money savings tips or improving your credit score. If you are a new mom, write about your recent pregnancy experience. If you know a lot about keeping dogs as pets, write about that.

Remember to keep the writing style easy. Use words that you would normally use when speaking to someone. Avoid jargons.

Writing your first five articles shouldn’t take more than 7-10 days.

Step 3: Start Bidding for Writing Assignments on Freelance Job Portals

Now it’s time to put your writing skills to the test by bidding for paid writing assignments.

Freelance job portals like Upwork (formerly Odesk), Elance, Freelancer, and Guru, have clients from all over the world posting their content writing requirements. Here’s how you can start sources writing assignments through freelance job portals:

  • Develop your contractor profile – Write a  brief about yourself, services you offer, take skill tests available on the website, and update your writing portfolio
  • Select a contractor membership plan – Depending on your membership plan, your account is credited with ‘connects’ on a monthly basis. You need to have connects to apply for any job.
  • Set up a payment withdrawal method – You can withdraw the money you have earned on the freelance portal through PayPal or a direct transfer to your bank.
  • Start bidding for projects

The cost of using these websites to source work has two components – a monthly membership fee and project commission (deducted as a fixed percentage of your earnings on that project). To circumvent this fee, add the website commission to your article fee rate. So if you want to earn $10 per article, bid at $12 for each article.

becoming a writer

Seek and you shall find, bid and you shall be rewarded. 

Starting something new is often the hardest part. Yes, there are scores of more experienced writers than you, which means that bagging your first project won’t be easy. But don’t give up. Keep sending in those project proposals, tailoring how you sell your writing skills as per the requirement of the project.

There will be a lot of questions as you start writing for clients.

This is the beauty of freelance writing –  you are always finding ways for improving yourself as a writer.

Write as much as you can. When you don’t have writing assignments, write for yourself. Every piece of writing will make you a better writer.

And the better you get at your craft, the better you get paid.

All the best!

Image1 credit: Anusorn P, freedigitalphotos.net

Image2 credit: Stuart Miles, freedigitalphotos.net

Two Cool Web Apps for Freelance Writers  

Hi  all! As a freelance writer it’s always a joy to discover apps that make your life simpler.  Over the last few days, I have discovered two great writer’s resources and so I want to share them with you.

adamr

Life just got easier with these two tools

1.Writebox    – Distraction free text editor

An MS Word document as helpful as it is, prompts you to edit your content as you write.  I am referring to those dreaded ‘green underlines’ which appear as your type, urging you to either write in the correct voice or change the sentence structure.

Only last week I wrote about learning how to write faster. One of the ways to do that is to write uninterrupted as if you are conversing with someone. One of the writers suggested writing by hand as a quicker way of writing.

Writebox, is an online tool that allows you to write as if you were writing on paper – no spelling or grammatical corrections, no fancy formatting, and no need to save your document as you type. The screen only shows you the number of lines, words, and characters typed. Using Writebox improved my writing speed by at least 25% .

Writebox also allows you to save your work directly on Google Drive or Dropbox, so you can access you resume working on your content from any device anytime.

2. Canva – Easy to use graphic design tool

Canvas allows you to design beautiful graphics and posters for blogs, social media, presentations, survey results and posters.  You can edit the text in existing layouts. This site makes it incredibly easy to develop creative updates for your social media sites, including designing your FB page cover and Twitter header.

I used this website to design a cover for my Facebook page ( image below) and I was pleasantly surprised with my maiden effort at graphic designing. I am sure I will get better with practice.

Image 2

Both these apps are free (as of now), so go ahead and give them a try!

Which website do you use for hassle free writing and designing graphics? Have you discovered any new writer’s tools recently? Please do share in the comments box below.

 

Photo credit: adamr, freedigitalphotos.net

 

 

 

10 reasons to go freelance

10 Great things about being a freelancer, versus being employed by a company. So true!

Remember, if your work does not make you HAPPY 90% of the times….something’s got to change.

Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you know what happiness is to you
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like that’s what you wanna do