Becoming a Freelance Writer

I love writing.  From my earliest memories, I was reading and writing, spending summers in the library and developing what would be a lifelong love of words.  Becoming a freelance writer was something I longed to do even as a child.  We had one of those first Apple computers and I’d sit at the keys, idly tapping them without any idea what to do with them, just knowing I had a yearning that couldn’t be defined.

Here we are, just a couple 😉 years later, and I’ve made thousands of dollars off of various freelance writing projects.  While not necessarily farm related, becoming a freelance writer is a solid way to make income from home and there are numerous opportunities out there for talented writers who have the ability to follow through.

Good Writers are Hard to Find

If you ask many businesses about their content writing, you’ll begin to hear a pattern: “We just can’t find good content writers.”  If you have the skill or the willingness to learn, you can find work as a freelance writer.  This content can range from blog posts and informational articles to technical writing, books and product descriptions for major retailers.  In my own experiences looking for writers to work for me, I’ve discovered that talented, committed writers really are worth their weight in gold.

Becoming a Freelance Writer Quick Facts
Initial investment: <$100
Turnaround time: <6 months
Daily time required: 1-4 hours
Profit potential: $$$

Becoming a Freelance Writer: Where to Find Work

Freelance writing work encompasses a great diversity of projects.  Think of what you’re interested in and work your way out from there.  Do you have a passion for a particular topic?  Farming, maybe?  What type of things do you think you’d like to write, or already have experience writing?  Here are some types of writing jobs:

  • blog content and web articles
  • newsletters
  • product descriptions
  • technical manuals
  • forum posts
  • product reviews
  • ghostwriting books
  • self-publishing books
  • recipes
  • magazine and newspaper articles
  • small business websites

Blog Content and Expert Web Articles

When I was writing for others, I mostly wrote blog content and expert articles.  These articles are generally to help websites get indexed higher in search engines and must be written with SEO standards in mind.  The easiest way to get started doing this is through a content broker, such as Textbroker or The Content Authority.  In fact, I self-published a book on Amazon about how I made $1,100 in my first month freelancing and much of that came from work I found at Textbroker.

Blogging is something you can do on your own website as well, which allows you to keep all of the income but takes a lot longer to reach a payout.  Expect six months or longer to see a return when you build your own website.

Newsletters

In order to engage their readers and customers, many companies publish regular newsletters.  These can be informational or purely promotional, i.e, “Save 10% Now with This Coupon Code!”  If you can write in an engaging, friendly tone, you may find you excel at newsletters.  These types of writing gigs are often gained by approaching businesses directly.  Have a portfolio and a plan for how you can solve problems that businesses are having – that’s how you get clients.  Learn the major newsletter publishing companies, such as MailChimp and Constant Contact, to give yourself a marketing edge.

Product Descriptions

Internet retail is big business and growing by leaps and bounds every year.  One of the differences between products that sell and products that flop is the web copy.  Can you describe a product in a way that makes readers forget they aren’t seeing and touching it in person?  If so, seek out gigs writing product descriptions by approaching individual retailers.  I’ve seen jobs for descriptions on Textbroker too.

Technical Manuals

Writing clear, concise instructions is a talent not many people possess.  If you can write technical pieces, such as installation instructions or specifications, you can position yourself in a field where true talent really shines and companies are willing to pay.  This is another area where approaching companies directly is your best bet, armed with a portfolio and a great intro letter.  Think of all of those illegible instructions from Chinese made products – reach out to those companies, solve a real and genuine need, and you could potentially make a living from this one source.

Forum Posts

New websites and existing companies alike need good content for their forums.  Start by searching for topics you’re already interested in or approaching the owners of forums you already frequent – there’s often a network of forum owners who can point you in the right direction.  Paid forum posters are genuinely not paid a lot per post, but if you can get paid for posting where you want to be anyway, it’s a win!

Product Reviews

Many excellent writers are making money by trying and reviewing products.  These reviews are not confined to simply written reviews; add a YouTube channel and attract even more traffic.  The best reviewers often find that companies will send them products for free in exchange for a fair and honest review.  Revenues in this line of writing are typically from advertisements and affiliate marketing, typically on your own website.

Ghostwriting Books

Ghostwriting is when you write content but someone else gets credit for it.  Even our President uses ghostwriters for his works.  Look for high profile websites and personalities in areas you excel, then send letters offering your services.  The Content Authority markets their writers’ ghostwriting services well; this can be a way to get some experience under your belt while pursuing your own ghostwriting business.

Self-Publishing Books

Self-publishing has become so easy and user friendly that you can become a bestseller with nearly zero technical knowledge.  All of my books are published through Amazon’s Kindle and the process couldn’t be easier.  Owning and selling your own content is often more profitable than working for someone else, so this is one writing avenue every writer should look into.  I wrote a little book about Selling on Etsy that brought in over $800 its first month.  It still brings me a bit of passive revenue income every month.

Recipes

Who uses cookbooks anymore?  Most people search online for recipes, so if you have any culinary skill, combine that with a blog to get in on a market that garners over 1 million searches every month on Google.  Not up for creating a blog?  Submit your unique recipes to magazines, both on and offline.  Many will pay for unique, quality submissions.

Magazine and Newspaper Articles

Speaking of magazines, good marketing combined with excellent writing skills can land you some really great gigs with magazines and newspapers.   Pitch your idea to your favorite publication and, if it’s published, you can see a tidy payout.  Here’s Mother Earth News’ writer’s guidelines to give you an idea of what to expect.  Getting published in print can really add value to your portfolio.

Small Business Websites

It’s a standard now to have a website if you own a business.  Not all business owners have the time or inclination to build their own websites and fill them with great content.  I’ve found this is a niche with a lot of need for quality writers and if you’re familiar with publishing platforms, such as WordPress, Weebly and other site builders, you can offer an all-in-one service, building and putting together a website and also filling it with content.  This is another area where you could build an entire, laser-focused business that caters to busy small businesses needing websites.  Add on newsletters and other marketing for even more income potential.

How Much Can You Make by Becoming a Freelance Writer?

The income potential from writing is virtually unlimited.  Think Stephen King or Debbie Macomber.  If you’re writing simple Textbroker articles, you can expect a pay of $2-$10 per article generally, depending on word count and your level.  At my peak, I made $40 an hour writing for others, but it wasn’t enough to work full time.  It is, however, an excellent supplement to existing streams of income.

Self publishing, I’ve found, has a larger potential.  There are fiction writers producing small books every couple of months and seeing monthly royalties in the four figures without a lot of effort.  The time you spend, your writing skill and your marketing abilities all affect your income potential.

The nice thing about writing is that it doesn’t require a lot of up front capital.  If you have a computer and the Internet, you can write.

As a part of a well balanced small farm business, becoming a freelance writer can offer you work when farming is slow and a healthy supplement to your on-site endeavors.

 

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