As I mentioned during the reflections on my recent blogging break, freelance writing has recently become a big part of my life as I’ve continued looking for ways to earn extra income to pay down my debt faster. Although this blog gives me a fantastic opportunity to connect with other people on my journey, develop my writing skills, and explore the possibilities for online sources of income it just wasn’t giving me the immediate results that I really needed financially. As it turns out, however, this blog proved to be instrumental in allowing me to make money when I started freelance writing!
Within a couple of months of when I started freelance writing, I went from $0 to over $1,000 per month all because I was able to use my personal blog as my portfolio!
My Misconceptions About Freelance Writing
After learning what I have in the past several months, I often kick myself that I started freelance writing so late in my journey. Despite the fact that I have been writing in one way or another for quite some time, including here on this blog, I have never earned any money by writing for someone else. To be successful with your writing, I always thought that you had to have a bestselling book, a popular blog, or write for a big newspaper or magazine. Surely, there was no in between, right?
As with most things, the vast majority of work and income occurs somewhere between the very top and the very bottom. You don’t have to write for the New York Times to earn money with your freelance writing. Yes, you’ll make more money there, but it is by no means the only option! There are plenty of smaller publications and blogs that hire freelance writers every day to provide great content for their readers.
Separating Work from Work
Also, because I have my own blog, I had a hard time untangling “freelance writing” from “growing a blog audience.” Here at Family Financier, I am working tirelessly to become debt free faster by finding ways to earn more income and save more money. Part of that journey involves sharing my story here with my readers so that they can help avoid the mistakes that I have made and save them time and effort in the future. The biggest part, however, is actually becoming debt free! By putting the cart before the horse, I lost a little perspective on what I should be doing:
MAKING MORE MONEY!
In fact, if you look at most bloggers, many of them were big freelancers before they ever made any significant blog income. As they grew, their freelance time decreased or went away entirely when their blogs started to gain traction. It’s truly the perfect companion to building a blog!
Freelance Writing is a Great Way to Earn Extra Money
If you have any interest in writing, freelance writing can be a great source of income for you either on the side or potentially as a full-time job down the road. The single biggest perk of freelance writing has got to be the flexibility. What other gig offers these features:
- You can work full-time or part-time
- Get paid by the word, the hour, the article, the project, or something else
- Work whenever you have the time (after work, before work, off days)
- Develop writing skills by writing to different audiences
- Improve research skills
- Learn about new topics outside your niche
- If you don’t like your “boss,” leave after the project is complete and find something else
Depending on the type of gigs that you find, freelance writing can be easily molded around your corporate job and family life and can be easily adapted to personal situations as they change over time. For instance, my two primary writing gigs allow me to write more or less during the month depending on my other time commitments.
When I go on vacation for a week, I write little or none. If it’s slow at the office or the kids are in school, I can write more. It’s an excellent fit!
What I Did to Get Started Freelance Writing
Like I mentioned before, at once point I thought that the only way I could really write freelance was by writing an article on another blog under the Family Financier name. This was not the case. In fact, there are tons of resources out there to help a new writer start learning how to get paid for their work. Initially, I tried a few different places out, but ultimately I settled on Upwork to find my first projects.
This won’t be a review of Upwork, but suffice to say that there will be pros and cons to working on any platform. Upwork satisfied the need I had to simply get paid for something, ANYTHING, to “break the ice” on my freelance career when I started freelance writing.
I think it’s critical, in the beginning, not to worry too much about how much you are actually getting paid to write. At this point, it’s much more important to discover the ins and outs of the process, learn what people are looking for, and then discover what type of work fits best for your skills. Once you get a bit of work under your belt, prospective clients will be much more likely to consider you for higher-paying gigs.
Think about it. Would you agree to pay someone $500 for an article if they didn’t have a scrap of work to show their skills? Of course not. You have to prove your worth by building a portfolio of work over time.
To put things in perspective, I made $40 on my very first assignment, and it felt like a million bucks when it hit my bank account. Gotta start somewhere! Once I got that first gig under my belt, with an excellent review, my next potential client would be 100% more confident in the work that I can do for them.
How My Blog Helped When I Started Freelance Writing
If you were just paying attention, you’d remember that to start getting quality work you’ll need to have some portfolio of work that you can show to potential clients to prove that you are worth their money. Without that proof, you’ll disappear in a sea of other freelancers with no way to distinguish yourself from the masses.
You might be asking yourself “How do I create a portfolio of work if I can’t find work in the first place!?!?!” and you would be understandably confused.
Building a portfolio is one of the many awesome benefits to starting a blog. Even though I hadn’t done any work for prospective clients to see on Upwork, I had written over 30 blog posts right here on my blog. These posts highlighted my writing style, proofreading and editing skills, and overall capability to produce content. For a larger blog looking for content, there is not really a better form of proof than a blog of your own!
On Upwork, and most other places, you’ll have the opportunity to submit your blog’s website as a portfolio of your work. If they like what you’ve done, you’ll be much more likely to get the job. As I said, I’m now making around $1,000 per month freelancing, and my only limiting factor right now is time. As I get more efficient with my writing and/or increase my prices, I stand to make freelancing an even more significant source of income for my family.
The good news is that you can too!
If you are interested in a more detailed look at getting started with Upwork specifically or freelance writing in general as a source of extra income, let me know in the comments what you want to know! Let me know what happened when you started freelance writing and sharing your successes and failures so that we can all get better!