How to make money as a Freelance Writer 🖊️

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A freelance writer using their laptop

There’s a whole load of money that can be made online as a freelance writer. But for most people getting started isn’t the easiest.

Firstly, where how do you find jobs? And once you’ve found a job, how can you guarantee you’ll get paid? Well, it’s all about know where to go.

If you fancy yourself a good writer – or you’re at least willing to put in some time to better yourself – then you’ve got pretty much all it takes to be a freelance writer, and you can make a decent income doing so.

Let’s start with the best freelance site on the net.

What is the best site for Freelance writing work?

I highly recommend you start with this site.

There are other freelance sites out there, but Freelancer is by far the largest. It has the largest at any given time, and it’s an extremely well-refined platform that’s easy to navigate.

One of the best parts is that it’s easy to find repeat business buyers. Especially if your writing is good.

Sign up at Freelancer.com and then we’ll cover: types of written work, how to land your first job(s), and  some tips that will help you start making money as a freelance writer.

This isn’t a tutorial on how to sign up to Freelancer, but there’re a few things that you should know.

The site itself will give you step-by-step instruction on how to create your profile; but so you better your chances moving forward, let’s just cover a few things.

Pick a strong username

First, when you get to the username input part the site, remember your username is public.

Choose something that fits with what you want to do, instead of “mynormalusernamehere”.

User-Name
Your username matters here.

Highlight your skills

Next, you’ll end up at the skills area. Freelancer has lots of work for freelance writers so start by choosing skills in that area.

There are other freelance jobs on this site and if you have other skills choose them.

If you’re good at web design, graphic design, programming, etc., choose those skills as well. It will expand the portfolio of work that is available to you as you move forward.

skill-selection
Choose skills you have.

Decide your membership level

The last tip when signing up is on their membership levels.

To get a good start and land that job as soon as possible, you’re going to have to place some bids. I recommend starting at the Plus level. It will allow you enough bids to land your first few jobs. And once you get your first one, you’ll easily cover your costs.

membership-levels
I recommend you start with the PLUS level

Maintain a professional image

One last note before we get to your first piece of work.

When you create your profile keep it professional. Highlight any experience you have; for example, “I won a writing contest”, or “I wrote all of the content for x site”, etc.

Your profile is one of the first things buyers are going to look at before hiring you. Showcase yourself and tell them what you have to offer.

If you’ve got no relevant writing experience, you can always sell yourself as professional, or a native-speaker of a language, or committed to quality. You’re a good writer after-all, make it sound worth the buyer’s while.

What work can writers do on Freelancer?

There’s a huge array of different opportunities for freelance writers, but i’ll cover of some of the more common types.

  1. Content Writing – With millions of websites, and most of the population not being able to write decent content, you’ll find hundreds of jobs writing content for people’s sites.
  2. Article Writing and Blog Posts – Buyers will use your articles as extra content for their sites; and in some cases, to promote products and services.
  3. Ghost Writing – You’ll find ghost-writing projects for everything from Fiction Novels to 200,000-word non-fiction pieces on various topics. These can pay well, but I do not suggest you start here. Writing something in the 50,000-word range is a whole different level of writing than a 400-word blog post.
  4. Copywriting – Writing copy that sells can be very lucrative; sometimes paying as much as $1.00 – $1.25 a word for a 5000 – 10,000-word sales page (I can finish one these in a few days). These types of jobs include graphic design so you’ll either need to learn that or higher a designer to work with you. I wouldn’t take this type of project on until you are experienced at writing to sell.
  5. eBooks – Tending to be shorter than novels or non-fiction pieces. eBooks can be a good place to go when you’re ready to write some longer work. These can also pay very well if you find the right projects.
  6. Other Written Projects – Scientific reports, case studies, law papers, and more can be found on the freelance sites.

With an idea of the work you’ll find. I recommend starting with content writing and articles/blog posts. These are simple projects and can make you decent money if you take the time to find the right jobs.

How do you get your first freelance writing job then?

Okay – so we’ve covered a lot of ground here. It’s time to get to work right?

Get a few short samples to show off your skills

Well, you’ll probably need to get some a sample piece. After all, the buyer will probably want to see that you can write. And at least get a feel for how good your writing is.

You may be bidding against people who have 5-star ratings on 200+ jobs. But if your sample work is better, there’s no reason why the buyer won’t go for you.

So, choose a topic you like and spin some concise, 500-word articles. You’ll use these to help land jobs, and the work you do on these will be able to sit in your portfolio for ever.

Keep in mind that the average adult reads at a “grade 5” level, so don’t worry about using academic writing or scientific writing as samples (unless you’re bidding to write that type of work).

With some samples saved – let’s dive in! Log in to freelancer.com, browse their projects and search for your first job.

Choose a job you have confidence in completing

To begin with, choose a simple job.

Writing one article may pay a smaller amount but it will get you your first rating on the site. Once you have two or three five-star ratings, it will be much easier to find work, and as you get more ratings you won’t need samples anymore, you’ll just bid on a few projects and usually get one of them.

Article-Writing
Articles are a good place to start your freelance career.

With that said let’s talk about bidding.

First, find a project that you want to bid on. For your first project(s), I recommend that you find a topic you are interested in and that you have knowledge of. This will make it simpler for you to write your first articles, and you’ll likely do a better job.

bid
Choose a project and place a bid.

Next, we actually bid on the project. The site is straightforward on how to do this, but there are a few keys points I want to share to help you get started.

  • Always tell them about your experience on the topic (if you have any) and why they should hire you.
  • When you’re new – always give a sample of your work.
  • Finish proposals with a question. It doesn’t matter what the question is, just ask one that makes sense. If you can open dialogue with the buyer, you are 10 times more likely to get hired.
first-bid
Bidding is straight forward on Freelancer

Guess what? You just placed your first bid on a written project. You’re on your way to becoming a freelance writer.

Let’s finish with some final thoughts.

Final Tips for Freelance writers

To end this, I just want to give you a few tips.

  • Don’t give up.
    • It can take a number of bids before you land your first job, but when you get it, do you best to get that 5* rating. The next job was easier to get, and the next one even easier
  • Build relationships, don’t just finish one job.
    • I always use the chat function on freelancer to let my clients know that they can come to me if they need any other work completed. This is step one in building on-going repeat business for yourself
  • Avoid huge projects when you start.
    • You’ll end up overwhelming yourself and have a higher chance of failing at completion
  • Pay attention to Currencies
    • Freelancer.com uses the buyers’ currency on each project. If the buyer is from India and they posted a 500 INR project, that is only 7.25 U.S. dollars.
  • Try to stick with topics you know about when you’re new to the freelance world.
  • Avoid tight deadlines until you’ve written enough to know how long a job is going to take you.
  • Never upload work that someone else paid you for as a sample.
    • As soon as you got paid, you sold the copyrights to that work and many buyers will view your upload as their invitation to use the content.
  • MOST IMPORTANT – Have fun.
    • You’ve just started your career as a freelance writer. Congratulations!

And finally, sign-up to Freelancer.com.