Having started to lay a nice foundation of digital marketing articles here gleaned from my own ten years working as a professional digital marketer for agencies and companies around NYC.
We’re next going to start looking at some of the different fields that are most amenable to setting up an online business.
And since we like to talk about what we know around here, I’m going to kick it off with freelance writing.
Now first, total transparency: Currently my freelance writing income makes up less than 10% of my income.
But you know what? I don’t care, partially because I’m able to pay the bills with my marketing skills.
Another reason is that writing is something I take incredibly seriously and I never ever dreamed I could actually make a living from it (well, I mean, I dreamed about it, I just never thought it would happen!)
And while I may not be at the full-time freelancing writer level, I’m getting closer and closer and here’s how to get on the track.
Become A Freelance Writer Online
1. Building Your Own Site to Showcase Your Work
OK, so we get that we may often start with this step, but when you’re a writer it works a bit differently.
No, not the part about building your own site and setting it up on a structured content calendar so that you’re regularly pushing out new articles and writing examples.
Branding and especially building a personal brand with which people can identify is central to become a freelance writer online.
Who would you hire that’s posting an ad for a writer for your blog about affiliate marketing?
The person with a couple good articles in doc format? (always ask for live links).
Or the one with a good-looking site boasting numerous examples of their writing online, be it product descriptions, ghostwritten blogs, eBooks, or other materials demonstrating at the very least that they could learn to do the type of writing that you need doing.
Now let’s flip it around.
Have you ever published online before? If not, do not worry…it is not a hard thing to do.
If not, do not worry…it is not a hard thing to do.
There is no more difficult piece to write than your first blog or first article accessible to the whole world and it takes a whole of bravery and confidence to just publish your own writing, let alone to publish on others sites.
So start small and keep working at it and in a year you’ll likely have a portfolio that you’d never anticipate otherwise!
2. Hone Your Pitch
If you’ve done some writing before, you may be familiar with the idea of a pitch letter.
If not, well, it’s time to learn.
A pitch letter is what you will soon be writing hundreds of as you send out the exciting pitches for your different articles to editors at blogs and sites around the world.
Additionally, if you’re using job boards like Upwork, then you’re going to be pitching against other, more experienced writers.
Get used to rejection and learn to love it because getting rejected is an opportunity to learn how to not get rejected again.
It is totally common to write between twenty-five and fifty pitch letters at first before even landing your first client.
Even then, that doesn’t mean your pitch is the best it can be. It just means it was good enough.
Good enough is never good enough, whether in writing or whichever other professional niches you choose to target.
Don’t get discouraged and greet the challenge as by only hearing “no” will you learn how to get people to say “yes.”
3. Stay Sharp and Flexible
A term that gets thrown around a lot these days is that we are living in an age of “peak content.”
As you’ve likely noticed, T-Mobile is now running the electronic music site Electronic Beats and countless Fortune 500 articles are purchasing articles that are only tangentially related to their brands.
Content is everywhere and it’s only growing.
While this means that there are more opportunities than ever before for a freelance writer to catch a break.
It also means that you’re going to be expected to be able to write in a wide variety of styles on an even wider number of topics.
You don’t have to be an expert to be a freelance writer, but you do need to do your homework.
If you get hired to write a short script, make sure you know the fundamentals of screenwriting.
If you struggle at writing think pieces but that’s where the big bucks are, start reading lot of them and learning what makes the most popular ones do so well.
Ultimately, there are many steps to becoming a writer and to earning an income from home, but by starting with the above three, you can at least build a strong foundation upon which to establish your own career.