Creating a Side Income with Freelance Writing
by Mark Plets – Author of Content to Cash
Let’s face it, 2020 changed how business works. Perhaps the most amazing aspect of the major shifts in the working world was the fact that remote work does in fact… work. If jobs can indeed be accomplished remotely, why continue to drag oneself to a stuffy office?
Tons of people lost their jobs and there are plenty more who have had their working conditions turned upside down to create an intolerable environment where employees have to work under frustrating parameters.
This “new norm” makes their jobs far more difficult and the customers they have to deal with far more impatient and ready to unload their own frustration on those employees whose hands are tied.
Whether someone lost their job or wants to escape their current one, the situation has led to an explosion in remote work, much of which can be done as a freelancer.
Indeed, many companies hire third-party freelancers to crank out a lot of work that does not require in-person employees.
Like any freelance work, writing has its share of challenges, but with some practice, one can tap into this sea of potential income.
One of the most common—and thankfully perpetually available—types of freelance work out there is writing.
Writing, writing, writing! Technical writing, ghostwriting, blog writing, webpage copy, ad copy, resume writing, there’s even demand for creative bios.
The need for good writing is everywhere, and it ain’t goin’ nowhere.
Like dirty dishes, companies, websites, brands, internet personalities—you name it—can’t keep up with the endless need for written material on their sites, social media pages, and everywhere else. That’s where we writers come in.
So, is it effortless to get freelance writing jobs?
Yes, and no. It’s a word jungle out there and can take some exploring to develop your freelance trailblazing skills.
On the positive side, yes, anyone can find mountains of writing jobs online through platforms such as Upwork, Thumbtack, etc. So, how does one go about securing some “better” freelance writing work? Let’s explore some strategies.
Niche Your Writing Services
To find more lucrative freelance writing jobs, niching your service is a good place to start. Think about the knowledge you have.
Did you work in a REALTOR® office in the past? You already have an advantage for real estate writing then.
Do you have a background in finance? This is a perennial hot topic.
Do you follow fashion trends? Many blogs and companies are looking for freelance fashion writers.
You already have some niched knowledge and just don’t know it.
Brainstorm the various topics you know about or are interested in. Don’t worry about how they will translate to writing work just yet.
Simply cultivate a list of potential subjects and then browse around for writing work related to any of those interests and skills.
Craft a Quality Resume
Honestly, just having a resume is an advantage as a lot of freelancers neglect to include any kind of past work, testimonials, and other qualifying details when they pitch.
Taking a little extra time to cultivate a concise yet powerful resume will further set you apart from your competitors. If you don’t have testimonials, reach out to past, satisfied clients for a little love.
Because I freelanced teaching ESL, writing, and other varied subjects, I would pull together about three of the best and most relevant testimonials for a given resume I was creating.
For example, if I was pitching for a writing job for a client who was located in Eastern Europe and the topic was tech-related, I would include my best writing testimonials and throw in one from a former ESL student who was from Ukraine and in the field of tech.
Things don’t always work out that smoothly, but where I would ordinarily not include any ESL student testimonials for a writing job, having experience with Eastern European accents, language, etc. would likely give my potential writing client greater confidence knowing I was at least familiar with interacting with language structure similar to their own and could make the final product sound natural in English.
Likewise, honing a cover letter to a particular writing job can bolster a potential client’s confidence in your credibility.
It adds a few minutes to pitching, but making specific cover letters for each job you apply to can go a long way in snagging that writing job. Since these clients generally receive many bids, having that little extra qualification can be the tipping point in your favour.
Keep Those Queries Moving
Rejection can be discouraging, but securing freelance work is often a numbers game. Sometimes the right job just falls in your lap, but most often it takes several pitches to get that gig. Where this is concerned, I believe it’s more important to crank out queries than it is to agonize over every potential job you are interested in.
I know, I just got done talking about crafting quality resumes and cover letters. It might seem contradictory to what I said above, but I recommend taking the time to do quality pitches to the jobs you most want to get and ones that are most likely to cultivate a long-term working relationship with a client who has a perpetual need for your services.
For gigs that are one-offs such as resumes, bios, etc. I wouldn’t obsess over every pitch as it will slow you down and become morale-crushing to spend hours on only a handful of small jobs that don’t pay much and don’t promise additional work in the future.
Devote Your Time Where It Counts
It’s not always easy to know where your time is best spent, but a good general rule is to devote your best efforts to writing gigs that at least deal with a subject matter you have some interest in or have a higher potential for better pay.
Does this freelance content writing concept pique your interest? Learn how to get your freelance writing career off the ground from start to finish with my brand new book Content to Cash.
About the Author
Mark Plets is an award-winning author who writes fiction, non-fiction, web content, and blogs.
With a love of writing combined with a passion for languages, Mark’s life is driven by the power and beauty of words.
Follow Mark on Facebook @MarkPletsAuthor