Your blog, as well as your blogged book or booked blog, can provide the start to a freelance writing and blogging career. And writing for others might turn out to be more lucrative than trying to get your blog to pay all your bills. In this post, Beth Bauer (@JourneyofBethB), freelance writer, travel blogger, yoga instructor, and entrepreneur, offers advice on getting started as a freelancer writer and blogger.
About a year after I started blogging as a hobby, I lost my job as a software executive. As the days of my unemployment started ticking away, I tried not to panic. I thought about my skills and what I could do as a freelancer while still looking for a full-time job. That’s when I realized that since I write for my own blog, I could write for others as well.
That was four years ago, and now I earn a good income as a freelance writer. If I can do it, you can too.
Let me share some ways that you can grow your blogging income as a freelance writer.
Put Together an Online Portfolio
If you have a blog, you have examples of your work that you can share when you apply for writing work. If you’ve blogged a book or booked a blog, your book provides super proof that you can write and handle both long-form and short-form writing projects. And your published work—on your site or in a book—is an excellent place to start.
Of course, having examples of additional work published outside of your own blog helps build your credibility. That’s why guest blogs are essential.
Reach out to other bloggers to see if you can do a guest post. Then, start building an online portfolio. Then, when someone is interested in your work, or you apply for work as a writer, you can send them a link with samples of your writing.
Register with “Gig” Portals
Once you’ve developed a portfolio with examples of your work, you can start applying for freelance writing work. Many gig portals allow you to set up a profile and apply for freelance jobs. I like Flexjobs.com, Upwork.com, and Hubstaff.com.
Unfortunately, freelance writing is a highly competitive field, and you may be shocked at some of the compensation offered. However, as you start to gain experience and improve your skills, you can begin to increase your prices. Starting out, it’s not unusual to only make a few cents per word. Also, be careful to not fall for scams. You shouldn’t have to pay for anything!
Look for Freelance Writing Work
You also can look for work on traditional job boards, like Indeed and Career Builder. Just enter a key phrase, like content writer, freelance writer, or copywriter, and see what you can find. I suggest you set up a profile and automated search so potential writing jobs will come to you every day. You also can look under “gigs” on Craigslist.
Always research the company before you apply, and if it’s just an individual, proceed with caution.
Apply for Freelance Work
Now that you have a portfolio and have set up profiles on gig portals and job search engines, applying for work should be relatively easy. Here are a few more tips for landing paid writing jobs:
- Don’t use a cut and paste cover letter.
- Always customize it for the situation.
- Offer testimonials or recommendations from other clients if you have them.
- Change your e-mail signature to make you look professional.
Remember that the goal is to create a favorable first impression that makes you seem like a professional freelance writer.
Keep Improving Your Skills
Be prepared to make mistakes. It’s part of growing in any career. Things like citing references, avoiding plagiarism, remembering to send invoices, confidentiality, and meeting deadlines are vital parts of being a professional freelance writer.
Learn all that you can so you improve quickly. Buy some books on freelance writing, and follow websites that teach you how to be a better blogger and market yourself in a digital world. Go to conferences, attend workshops, and always work to improve. Finding a good mentor is also a good idea.
Here’s one last bit of advice: Look for writing gigs where you can get a byline (credit for your work) verses ghostwriting. It’s hard to build a professional portfolio as a ghostwriter unless your client is willing to write you a recommendation.
There are tons of ways to make money as a blogger besides following the usual advice, like affiliate marketing and advertising. Learn from others and try different things until you find what works for you.
Don’t get discouraged. Career change takes time and dedication. Someday you’ll look back and see how far you’ve come and realize that you’ve made your blogging and writing dreams come true!
Do you earn income as a freelance writer or blogger? Tell me about your experience in a comment below, and if you found this post useful, please share it with other bloggers.
About the Author
Beth Bauer is a freelance writer, travel blogger, yoga instructor, and entrepreneur currently working on her third novel. She has traveled to over 20 countries in just the last two years and enjoys life as a digital nomad. She is originally from the Pacific Northwest of the U.S.A., and when she’s home lives on the Long Beach Peninsula with her dog, Ozzie.