A friend recently attended a conference where she was told that it was not possible to make a living as a freelance writer. She chimed in that she knew someone who made enough with freelance to support her family. My friend used my career as a freelance writer for her example.
There have been years when my online writing income rivaled that of my husband and his full-time teaching salary. The more time I am willing to invest in writing content and stuff for others the higher my income grows. The years when my income level has dropped corresponded with my efforts to build my own platform to expand my speaking and develop a field for my own books and products.
Finding the right balance has been my biggest struggle. The more I think about the dollar signs the more I swing to the side of writing for others. My hunger and desire to reach out and help others swings me back to focusing on doing what I know and love – encouraging, motivating and helping.
Becoming a Successful Freelance Writer
1. Define your success. I was blessed to hear Angela Benson speak at the 2011 Southern Christian Writers Conference in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. She pushed us to define our own success and reminded us that if we did NOT then the world would do it for us. Make a list of all the things you need and want to reach a place of success.
2. Build your tools. I have been following a great discussion led by John Soares over at Productive Writers . He provided his tips for finding joy in writing and those tips started me thinking about the path to a successful freelance career.
a. Type fast – the more words you can get on paper in an hour the more income you can make PER hour.
b. Type well – master the basics in spelling and grammar to help cut back on the editing process.
c. Make connections – develop online and in person relationships with other writers, website owners and content developers. You never know where your next lead might come from or where it might lead.
d. Do your best – always put out the best product that you can produce. If the job pays too little for you to care then skip the job.
3. Invest the time. Building a career happens over days, months and years. Create a solid foundation through your tools and then begin to add on with a variety of jobs. The stronger your foundation and the walls of your writing career then the more likely it will be able to withstand the storms of life.
4. Hunt down the jobs. Make finding the writing jobs a scheduled part of your day. Visit websites that post jobs and send out query letters to all of those potential employers that are focused on your niche OR that you know where you can create a great product. Two of my favorites:
5. Be daring. You will write better when you write what you love, but look at unique ways of incorporating what you love into other fields. The more areas you can cover the wider you can cast your net into the job market.
More Hints for Growing a Freelance Writing Career Online
• Avoid the jobs that require you to send in two or three “samples” unless you have some that have already been published (and make sure you mark them as previously published).
• Skip those that do not tell you what they pay UNLESS it you are really interested in the company or the subject – those are typically the ones that pay the lowest.
• Be very persistent. There have been months when I have sent out 30 to 60 queries to these jobs and not gotten a single response, and other months I send out just a few and get a response to each one.
• Know what you want to make per article and ask for it. Good pay is the pay that meets your needs (and is NOT determined by what others make). It helps if you have already thought through the income needs and the time requirements.
Growing any career requires the right tools, a strong determination, and a persistence that goes past the ordinary and expected. You CAN make a living as a freelance writer by putting these tips into practice.