When I first decided to make the leap into freelance writing, I found myself a bit lost. I knew I wanted to be able to work from home and set my own hours, and I knew I wanted to be my own boss; however, I didn’t know where to begin. I was faced with the classic problem involved in starting a new line of work: You can’t get a job without experience, but you can’t get experience without a job. It took a bit of time and research, but I was able to locate a number of excellent opportunities to build my portfolio and make money at the same time. These freelance writing services and other writing opportunities are ideal for beginners who are just starting their writing careers. Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to break into the world of freelance writing.
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What Does It Take to Be a Freelance Writer?
Many people are afraid to take the plunge and try freelance work, worrying that they just don’t have the qualifications. The truth is, you don’t need to be a professional to earn money writing online. All you need is a good grasp of basic grammar and language and the ability to research a given topic. If you happen to have a strong interest in the topics you’re writing about, you’ll probably enjoy the work more, but it’s not necessary to be passionate about the subject matter. Over time, you may end up developing a specialty in a particular subject area, but it’s best to take a broader approach when you first start out. I enjoyed the process of researching and learning about a wide variety of topics when I began my freelance writing career, and I continue to learn new things every day through my work.
Online Writing Sites
One of the easiest ways to gain valuable writing experience is to write online content. A number of freelance writing services exist that take the guesswork out of finding work and getting paid. With these reputable websites, you don’t have to send countless pitches to editors or waste your time hustling to land gigs. You can work as much or as little as you want, and these sites are usually very reliable about paying their authors. My first experiences as a freelance writer were with these content sites, and I still rely on them to provide steady work when I want it. A few of my favorite freelance writing services include:
Textbroker: Many freelance writers get their start on this site. The work tends to be plentiful, and I’ve always received my payment promptly. You’ll be assigned a quality level between two and five stars after your initial evaluation, and your pay rate will be based on this rating. It’s common to start out with relatively low pay on Textbroker: I began with a rate of one cent per word. The site re-evaluates authors periodically, and it’s not difficult to improve your rating and earn more per word.
Demand Media Studios: This site is a bit more selective than Textbroker in their application requirements, but the starting pay is higher. Demand Studios also provides content for fairly well-known clients, including Livestrong, eHow and the Nest. The website’s editing processes can prove frustrating for authors, but writing for Demand Studios is a great way to build a body of work.
Fiverr: This site isn’t exclusive to freelance writers, but many successful online writers get their start here. In the beginning, you can only charge $5 for a writing gig, so it’s best to offer short assignments. Once a Fiverr seller completes 20 successful gigs, they can add “Extras” to their gigs: That’s where sellers have the potential to earn real money. I’ve found that I’ve had the best luck on Fiverr offering 300-word articles on topics I know well; under these conditions, I could complete several gigs per hour and maintain a decent hourly rate.
iWriter: Like Textbroker, iWriter serves as a middleman between authors and clients, and it assigns an initial quality level to its authors. It’s possible to advance to higher levels by completing well-written assignments, but iWriter does make it a bit more difficult to move up than Textbroker. One of the key advantages of iWriter is its payment flexibility. Payments are made through Paypal, and the site allows authors to choose their pay schedule: weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. Clients also have the chance to add an optional “tip” to your payment, although I’ve been told that doesn’t happen frequently.
Don’t get discouraged if you’re not making as much money as you hoped at first: Content writing sites tend to pay lower rates to newer authors, but it won’t take long for your earnings to increase if you consistently submit quality work. Writing for revenue-sharing sites also doesn’t yield much money in the beginning, but you can build a surprisingly good income once you’ve accumulated a large body of work. Patience and persistence pay off when you’re just starting out as a freelance writer.
Creating a Writer Website
In addition to getting paid work through content-writing sites and earning money through revenue-sharing sites, you might want to consider creating your own writer website. Having a professional website can help you land private clients and other lucrative gigs once you’ve gained some experience. You can add samples of your best work to your website, and you can demonstrate the different types of writing that you’ve done. A writer website makes it easy for potential clients to contact you and learn more about your qualifications.
Whether you’re looking to earn a bit of extra money or you’re planning to make a career of freelance writing, you can use freelance writing services to help achieve your goals. The world of online content is filled with opportunities for aspiring writers: product descriptions, blog posts, in-depth articles and even eBooks. Try the online writing sites I listed above, and launch your own work-at-home writing career.