Freelance Writing– The freelancing trend is on the rise and it is increasingly changing the way we look at the concept of employment. The fancy idea of zero commutes, no dress code, flexible working hours and virtual office space has all come true because of this modern concept of working.
As a freelancer’s you are blessed with the opportunity to set yourself free from the strict 9-5 job that held you tight in that tiny cubicle you were assigned on your first day. Not just that. You also get to do the work you love the best while getting the money that you demand, for your hard work.
But, although freelancing is becoming the new norm with more and more businesses receiving the idea with warm hearts, there are still many people for whom this concept is fairly new and off-center.
I have been a freelance writer for more than two years now and there have been so many times when people have asked me to elaborate on the term. Not because they did not know what it is, but because they didn’t understand how the entire thing works out.
The very idea that I work for clients across the globe from the comforts of my room ( at times a cafe) and get paid for it, confuses them even more. Despite these 2 years of working, there are still many people in my circle who do not have the slightest idea what I do for a living. (I love the air of incertitude that surrounds me and my work though).
Basically, there is this big question mark about the entire concept of Freelancing. Be that a writer, a web designer, a coder or a consultant. Since I am a freelance writer let me address the questions surrounding freelance writing.
What Exactly Is Freelance Writing?
With more and more people having access to the internet and more blogs and websites coming up each day Content writing has started gaining high demand. If you are good with your words, then in today’s digital world a freelance writing career can open you a sea of opportunities.
You not only get to write for different websites but you also get to interact with people across the globe by writing for their sites. The best part is that money keeps flowing in different currencies. Now let me tell you what freelance writing is.
Freelance writing is a practice whereby the writer trades his/her pieces of writing for money. In simpler words, you give your content to your clients and get paid for it in return. It’s actually more like a business where you yourself are responsible for finding new assignments.
These assignments come from clients who get in touch with you (through e-mail or other online forums and communities) either because you have already established yourself as a good writer or you have contacted them for work. Sometimes you might also get recommended by one client to another.
These assignments are generally on a contractual basis. However, if you and the client are both satisfied working with each other, it might end up being a long-term project. For example, sometimes some clients may want you to curate content for their blogs consistently throughout the year. So that becomes a long-term thing.
The topic of the subject is either decided by you as the writer or is provided by the employee. I have also worked with clients with whom I have mutually decided on the topics for the blog.
Now that you know what freelancing is, let’s check out the skills you need to be a freelance writer.
Skills Required For Professional Freelance Writing
Being a professional freelancer means working on different projects with different clients residing in different time zones all at the same time.
Apart from having a flair for writing, you need to have many other additional skills too to be able to deliver satisfactory results to your clients.
And that’s where the challenges start knocking at your door.
In today’s perfect world, there is no space for mediocracy. You need to be perfect in everything you do. Here are a few skills that you need to have to be perfect in this field.
When you are writing for your client, you should know how to make people fall in love with your content. For that, your writing definitely needs to be well-researched and resourceful for your readers.
You should not be bored with reading stuff to know more. To be a good writer you also have to be a good reader who pays attention to every little detail.
2. Editing Skills
Merely writing down a piece does not make things work. You need to be a good editor too. The job of an editor is not just to spot errors. They also need to know how to make the content presentable for a better reading experience.
As an editor, you should have good formatting skills, a strong vocabulary, the ability to establish a tone that will connect you to your readers and so on.
Your work does not end there. A good piece of content includes much more than just words.
3. Photography and Graphics
In order to make your posts engaging for readers you need to add images, sometimes videos too. So surely one skill that comes in here is photography. This is one of the key elements for someone writing for travel sites.
Images are a major component of a good piece of content. So even for those who are not into travel blogs, images still remain vital to your work.
You may not have to click real pictures all the time, but at times you might have to make your own images. And that’s where you next skill comes in. Being a good – Graphic Designer.
4. Understanding SEO
The online community is vast. And you will often find yourself writing on the same topic as many others. And hence the competition is always rising.
If you want to survive in the field you should have the desire to constantly keep learning about new things. SEO is one thing that you should be very well aware of. Keep yourself updated about the changing trends of SEO.
If you are new to this try learning at least the basics on-page SEO to make your work be discovered by people.
5. Management Skills
Because you are handling multiple projects at the same time, you need to have excellent management skills to be able to cope up.
You should know the best way to utilize your time so you can meet your deadlines without struggling too hard.
As a self-employed individual, you should always look for opportunities to expand your base.
This means that you should be able to market yourself so well, that you never have to wait for work. It should come in automatically to you at all times.
So as part of your management skills, you should also set aside some time for the promotion of your work, blogger outreach, interacting with your readers through comments and so on.
Being a passionate writer this profession also needs you to be extremely active in the online community. By online community, I do not mean posting random pictures on your FB profile.
The interaction should be more of a professional level where you are trying to reach out to like-minded people, influencers and of course people who you are willing to work with.
Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, even Facebook for that matter offers a great opportunity for all of these.
You should also maintain a cordial relation with your clients so you can have more work from them in the future.
Being quick at responding to their emails or other modes of communication is one way of showing your professionalism.
6. Familiarity With Relevant Softwares
Technological advances have changed the way the world works today. In such a scenario you can not afford to stay behind. No matter how bad you are with technology you will have to use them someday or the other.
In the freelance writing field, your clients might need you to use various software, be it for editing, file-sharing services, collaboration tools, blogging platforms, video and image building tools or anything else. The more you know the better.
You should be able to use them for your clients whenever they need it. Some of the tools that are considered important for freelance writers are –
- Graphics Canva and Photoshop,
- Online Drafting WordPress and Google Docs
- Editing Tools Grammarly
- Keyword Finder SERPs
- Image Stock Pixabay
- SEO Yoast
- Payment Services PayPal, Payoneer
These are just a few. There are tons of them that are being thoroughly used by writers to deliver outstanding content.
Because you are doing everything on your own, you are solely responsible for taking care of your accounts.
You should be able to track and maintain the finances that are coming in and also the amount that you are spending on buying resources or paying out for services that you might take from others.
You should also be able to generate professional looking invoices to be sent to your client.
How Do Freelance Writers Get Work
The next big question about freelance writing is how do these writers get in touch with their employees or clients. The online community is huge. So finding work online is not as difficult as it sounds to be.
However, you should be able to differentiate between good and bad clients. There are several platforms through which you can find work. Freelancers, UpWork and ProBlogger are some of the most popular ones.
But let me also warn you about one thing. Even though you might land on a writing gig through one of these platforms it is no big deal that you might write for a client and not get paid for your work.
So it is extremely important that you find out the history of the employee before you start working for him/her.
You can do that by tracking him on various platforms and checking for reviews from other people who have previously worked with him/her.
Another way to find work online is by setting up your own blog and start writing great posts there. Share them on social platforms and online communities and actively interact with other bloggers.
Add a great author bio and connect your social accounts to it. If your work is good enough, work will automatically follow you.
How I Find Work With Freelance Writing
Finding work online might be tricky. Let me elaborate on how I find work online.
I started as a freelancer by writing for a very reputed WordPress blog where I would review products, write tutorials and roundups under the guidance of the owner of the blog.
As a newbie, I did not know even the basics of blogging.
I did not even know the use of space to make it look better. I am grateful to my first employee Dhiraj Das founder of SourceWP and owner of several online journals who taught me everything from scratch.
He taught me how to write to connect with people, the basics of SEO, the use, and the importance of images and a lot more. Gradually I started receiving queries from people through my author bio links and I got several offers to write for other blogs of repute.
That’s how my writing career took off. I have never personally used Freelancers, UpWork or ProBlogger to find work. To be truthful I have read several negative reviews ( although some people claim to have landed on to some really good clients) about these platforms which makes me apprehensive to even try them out.
Who Decides What To Write In Freelance Writing Assignments
Once you get an employee you will be given several topics on which you are supposed to draft your posts. Some clients might also leave it for you to decide the topics.
This differs from client to client. Sometimes both the client and the writer are seen working on the topics and then mutually agree on which ones to write.
Where Do Freelance Writers Work From
In freelance writing, you are supposed to submit all your work online.
You generally draft your work online in the backend of the site you are working for and submit your post for review once it is done. Sometimes recruiter may not want to give you direct access to their site, so they ask you to send them your draft through Google Docs.
Since your work is done online you do not necessarily have to attend any form of the physical workplace. You should just concentrate on completing your work which can be done remotely from anywhere in the world.
Most freelancers work from home. But some find it ideal to work from a cafe or any other place that makes them feel more active and productive.
Although it sounds all fancy and cool in the beginning, let me break it to you. Life of a professional freelancer comes with its own set of challenges.
If you think that by working from home you will often get to sit in front of your TV and surf the internet or listen to some good music, you are sadly mistaken.
Because like most office goers, you too as a freelancer, have got work to complete and deadlines to meet.
You can surely choose your own timings and be your own boss, but if you want to survive in this field, you have got to be professional when it comes to meeting deadlines and of course delivering quality content.
How Do Freelance Writers Handle Multiple Projects At The Same Time
Most professional freelancers are loaded with work throughout the year. And it is not easy to handle all the clients alone all at once. The best way to deal with such a situation is to seek help from virtual assistants.
I have seen many freelance writers hiring sub writers to work as their assistants. And it seemed like a good idea. So I tried doing the same. Unfortunately, it did not work out for me.
This probably happened because my clients could figure out the mismatch between my writing style and that of my assistants. Besides, I felt like it is hampering my reputation as a writer.
Often I would not be happy with their writing and the blunder would strike. With so many assignments lined up, you might at times not have time to double-check the work of your assistant.
So I stopped hiring subcontractors for writing. Instead, I think it’s a better idea to have assistants to proofread your work and help you with graphics and formatting.
I also recommend you to accept as much work that you can handle at one time. Loading yourself with a lot of work and failing to meet deadlines only brings you a bad name in the market.
What do Freelancers Do When They Do Not Have Work
Sometimes you might have times when you have no work at all. Although the break feels good sometimes, it might bother you if it stretches for long. After all, it’s the writing that’s bringing you money.
The only way to get back on track is to start hunting for new work. Now that you have worked with clients and you have your work published online it becomes easier for you to approach people because you have the sample to prove your caliber.
Reach out to people of a similar niche. It makes no sense to contact people in the fashion stream with a sample post about blogging or travel.
Getting new work may sometimes take time, especially if you are new in the field. But with the proper approach, you are sure to find one.
Side Tip: Just so that you do not run out of work, try identifying your ideal client. An ideal client is one who can give you more work and pays you well for your work. If needed work for a lesser rate for these clients and try fetching long-term work with them.
How Do Freelance Writers Get Pay
Most freelance writers work with clients from across the globe. This gives them the opportunity to earn in different currencies.
In order to get your money converted into your native currency, you need to set up an online account either with PayPal or Payoneer.
With these platforms, you can connect your bank account and your online PayPal or Payoneer accounts where your clients will make the payment.
Once the payment is made, either through PayPal or Payoneer, your money gets automatically converted to your native currency and is deposited in your home branch.
For doing this these services charges a minimal amount from you which is very much affordable. I use Payoneer for my transactions because the service taxes are lesser than PayPal.
How Much do Freelancers Earn
You get to decide your rates and your clients may or may not negotiate the amount you have quoted for the work. Some freelancers quote an hourly price, while others do it on the basis of words.
This entirely depends on the freelancer, how and what amount he/she wants to quote for the assignments.In the current scenario, a writer may charge up to $100 per 1000 words, sometimes even more.
While negotiating with your client always remember that your content will add value to your client’s blog continuously. And it is not a one-time thing. Your work is helping their blog grow and they are making money from it.
So know the worth of your work and quote a price that justifies your hard work. Do not ask for a rate that is exorbitantly high.
At the same time do not settle for some time too low. It is also recommended that you remain flexible with your charges at the time of negotiation.
How much a freelancer make, is not something that anyone can directly say. It entirely depends on the amount of work they have. But I can tell you that you can earn decent money and live a good life by freelancing.
You can easily earn anywhere between $800-$1300 ( sometimes much more) a month if you are consistent with your work.
How To Establish Yourself In The Freelance Writing Business
Branding yourself as a good freelance writer takes time. Sometimes it might take years to get noticed by people. The only way to have a steady growth in this field is to write fantastic posts that convert leads to clients.
For that you should first work on your writing style and then invest time in researching how popular writers write and their trend of working.
You can also set up your own blog and start promoting it with excellent content. Learn a bit about longtail keyword research and use it to write content that quickly gets a good search rank. This will help you get quick results and you won’t be far away from reaching your goal.
Being active in social sharing platforms is also a great way to get noticed. Make sure your author bio and descriptions on these social platforms are consistent and are powerful enough to attract people towards you.
Over to You
I hope you now have a fair idea about freelance writing and how the entire thing works. If you have any more queries related to this topic, feel free to ask us me in the comment section below. I would love to get back to you.