Over the course of my short but active life, I’ve come across a lot of people who claim to have no talent and regularly complain about being broke. Yet, when asked what they love to do, they tell me that they love to write and they do so very well. Needless to say, I’m always left with my head whirling whenever I come across people like this.
As someone who believes you can make money with anything provided you’re creative and inventive enough, trust me, to be able to put words on paper in a way that makes people fall in love with you is a prime ability in this day and age.
Currently, the world thrives on the written word. Printed or virtual, there are always content chasms to fill, and we’re currently at a time in our history where there can never be too many writers. Thousands of websites are created daily and they all need written content on them to invite readers, so if you can hone your writing skills until they’re razor sharp and learn how to market yourself properly, there will always be a demand for you as a writer. Forget websites, there’s magazines, publications, journals, e-books, and a lot of materials that require written content, you only have to be willing to get off your ass and start doing something.
If you’ve got the ability to write well, you’ve got a skill that can make you thousands of dollars monthly if you learn how to use it well, and this article will show you exactly how. Stay with me.
Sharpening Writing Skills And Building Portfolio As A Writer…
I’m going to assume you’re a complete newbie and haven’t written professionally before, meaning, you’re probably rusty and clueless, you don’t understand the difference between I’m and Am, just yet, and you need to start sharpening your writing skills. Even if you’re not a rookie, remember, learning never stops. There are tons of free and paid learning materials online that you can use to brush up your writing skills. Do a quick google search. You don’t need to spend months on this or wait until you perfect your writing skills (for your mind) until you start. You’ll get bored easily and quit, besides, you’ll keep getting better as you write, so just take a week or so to brush up your writing skills, work on grammar, punctuation, tenses, the works. Max, two weeks, then move on, you’ll get better on the way.
Then choose a writing niche…
As a would-be freelance writer, you have the choice of being a general content machine who can write about any topic with a couple hours or minutes of research, or you can choose to be more specialized and focus on a single niche to write on e.g you could be a sports writer, health writer, tech writer etc.
Rule of thumb, just pick one of the popular niches, because you don’t want to limit yourself too much before your start. Usual, y this step (picking a niche) should come before the one above (brushing up your skills) so that you can learn about your chosen niche as you brush up your skills and learn about writing, but this is Topsy-Turvy land so roll with it. Once you’ve decided what type of writer you want to be, we move on.
It’s time to start looking for writing jobs online…
Problem is no one knows you exist and frankly, we don’t want to know. So if you want to get jobs, you’ve got to be able to show what you can do and put it on our faces, that’s why you have to build a portfolio.
While you’re trying to bring your writing skills up to speed in those first weeks, start writing. Pick any topic and write articles of at least a thousand words. I advise at least one article per day to get used to the routine. Always keep in mind that your articles must be unique, relevant and they must add value to whoever reads them.
These three qualities are what mark any piece of writing as high quality and that is the distinction you should always strive for. In the beginning, it may be hard to always achieve this, but hey, that’s why we’re practising first, right?? My magic number here is 20, try to write at least 20 high-quality articles in your brushing up and portfolio phase. If you’re a general content writer, then strive to be as diverse as possible and if you specialize, also try to touch as many topics as you can within the niche. Again, this is not a hard and fast rule, if all you can manage is 5 or 10, then write them and move on. If you keep shooting for 20, you may never end. So do what you can and let’s move.
Put yourself on the radar – to make money online
Once your website is up, add a blog to it so you can showcase all your work and rank on search engines at the same time. At this point, my advice is to find about 5 to 10 blogs that will accept guest articles and allow you to link back to your website. You won’t get paid for it but it’s great exposure and if you write really well some of these blogs may as well hire you.
My advice to newbies is to skip this whole step if it’s starting to feel too daunting. Most of us don’t want to do anything if we can help it, it’s our wiring, and the brain is constantly looking for excuses not to work, so the moment you start feeling like this website thing is holding you back, skip it and move on to the next step, you’ll come back to it later. You can still guest post even without having a website so if you can, do it. It’s always nice to be able to tell clients, “I’ve written for that blog before”, blah blah blah. One way or the other, we’re done with this step, let’s move on.
Bursting Freelance websites that pay writers…
These are the absolute favorites to start making money online as a rookie writer because they cost absolutely #0 and you can still make a decent income online from there. Websites like Fiverr, Upwork etc. connect clients with freelancers and help you land jobs easily without stressing yourself much on marketing and publicity.
My advice, start with Fiverr. Unlike other freelancing websites, it’s easy for newbies since you don’t have to worry about writing proposals so you can focus on improving your writing skills. As you become more experienced and get better in the game, you may branch out to other freelancing websites to expand your reach. So hit Fiverr now and sign up. Don’t do it tomorrow, do it now!
Freelancing websites (Fiverr especially) are a whole new ball game and if you want to be successful there, you have to learn the rules of the game. Check out this article on some of the best Fiverr Seller Tips.
The golden rule here, don’t overreach. Don’t sign up to more than two websites to start off or you’ll be doing yourself more harm than good as you’ll be unable to focus. If you can, stick with one website (Fiverr is good enough) but if you feel you can handle the challenge of two freelance websites, okay, go with upwork as well. Just make sure you get a full guide on how to get the best out of any website you choose to use (search Google for material). I would advise you to refrain from buying any guides yet, so just look for general info online. If you feel you have to buy a guide later on, then go for it.
There are loads of people who make a full-time income online from writing, I mean thousands of dollars monthly on Fiverr and other freelancing websites. Have you heard of Bamidele Onibalusi? Owner of WritersInCharge.com. is one young Nigerian that makes millions online from writing.
So if you were to stop reading now to start your freelancing career, you could make it work with dedication and hard work. But why stop when you can go the whole way??
Top Websites That Pay Writers…
This is another major way to make money online as a freelance writer who’s just starting out. There are several websites on the internet that will pay you $50+ to write articles of about 1000 words or so. Some of these websites pay immediately, some pay after a transition period and some practice content revenue sharing (you get paid based on the number of page views you get). Doesn’t matter which, just get started on any of them. Pick a few and start writing for them. As you get more experienced, you may decide to expand your reach and add even more but that’s totally up to you.
See some of the websites that pay writers here.
Most of these websites have their own terms, and some random conditions you have to fulfill before writing for them and their payment structures also differ. Make sure to familiarize yourself with all of this information before writing for any website. You can do a quick Google search for websites that will pay you to write or you can check out this mega list of 101 websites that pay you instantly to write for them. The clock’s ticking, start writing, start making money.
About Magazines that pay writers…
There are loads of online and offline magazines that are always on the lookout for good writers, you only have to be tenacious enough to find them. Learn how to use Google really well. Write good pitches and send them to publications that you think may be in need of good content. You might want to stick with freelance websites for a while before you branch into this category. This will give you valuable experience working with paying clients and you’ll learn a thing or two about marketing along the way. These types of jobs often pay more but might be more difficult to land than other traditional freelance jobs. Once you become more experienced, this is where you want to find yourself.
Cultivate work ethics and relationships…
That I left this point until this far in this article does not mean it is less important. In fact, it might be the deciding factor between success and failure. Unless you can cultivate good work ethic early on in your freelancing career, you might be heading out to join the thousands of unsuccessful freelancers out there. Don’t treat writing like a side hustle because it’s not, it’s a full-time career and you have to handle it like one if you want to make money online as a writer. Create time to write every day even when you have no writing job on board, and learn to respect deadlines. Learning these skills will cement your career as a writer who can be trusted, ergo, happy clients.
Another point worthy of note is that while you may be a good writer, you’re not just a writer anymore. You’re a writer as well as a freelancer, so you need to learn what it means to be a freelancer. Client relationship, deadlines, marketing yourself, these are all skills that you need to learn as a freelancer. Don’t skimp, learn them. Truth is, no matter how good you are as a writer, if you have terrible freelancing skills, you won’t make it far. Learn how to build relationships, connect with people and retain clients. Consider these as survival skills in the wild west of freelancing as a writer.
Become A Pro…
Can you think of all the other jobs related to writing and all the several types of writing that exist?? Proofreading and editing are the most popular services related to writing, so learn to offer these as well. Becoming a pro also means you learn every form of writing there is. I’m talking résumés, e-books, journals, CVs, autobiographies, reviews, brochures, sales copy, website content etc. Learn what differentiates every piece of writing and how to write them well. Then and only then can you claim to be a pro.
On your way to become a pro, you have to remember that your learning curve never ends, so follow popular writer’s blogs for info, tips, how-tos and materials on how to constantly improve as a writer. Some recommended blogs to follow are; WritersInCharge, Copyblogger, Daily Writing Tips, Problogger, and Wiperchill. Keep learning and keep improving, then, you’re on your way to becoming a pro.
Here is also where you come back to creating your website if you haven’t done it before. Remember, you’re going to be a pro now, so you need to start looking like one.
You’re almost at the end of the trail now. I’m going to take a leap of faith and assume you haven’t just been reading my words like a primary school storybook, rather, you have been practising everything I mentioned as we go. So now you’re on the last leg of the race. And that last leg is learning how to market yourself properly.
First off, embrace social media. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn are all places where you should learn to promote yourself and connect with clients. Connect your social media accounts to your website, and promote, promote, promote. There are tons of people out there who need your talents as a writer so you gotta learn how to reach them.
You might also want to give cold mailing a shot. It works. Hit Fiverr and get an email list of bloggers or website owners who might need written content, write them a short email introducing you and telling them how you can help them grow their business, blast away, then go to your Mommy’s church and pray. If you’re lucky, you get clients, if not, you move on.
Take home point; learn inventive ways to market your skills and introduce yourself to the world. Do this right, and you’re headed to the top.
It’s been an exhaustive journey so far. A lot has been said and a lot remains to be said, but if you have the drive and are proactive enough, this article should have set your foot firmly on the path to a freelance writing career. Remember, quality is the key. No matter how well you promote yourself, if you can’t produce high-quality work to retain your clients, you won’t last long. So stay woke and keep learning.
See you at the top.