When I set out to make money writing online I did it because I wanted the freedom to be my own boss, work from home, and do something that I already loved doing to begin with. I just had one problem – I had no clue how to get started. It actually took me a good five years until I had enough steady work coming in to keep myself financially stable and continually improve my standard of living.
In this article, I’ll provide you with some of the things I found in my quest to live an independent life and do something I love for a living – writing.
1. Pick a Niche
When you say, “I want to make money writing online” there are so many options available, it can actually be quite confusing. There is blogging, copywriting, SEO writing, branding, article writing, ghostwriting, technical writing, and more. I’ve done each and every one of these things throughout my freelance career, and it’s safe to say that most people will eventually end up branching out in order to develop a more well-rounded portfolio and client base. However, it’s extremely important to make sure you have a niche when starting out.
I had no niche when I started out, which means that I was applying for every type of job I could possibly find. However, later, when I developed a niche, I found it was much easier to get jobs. My particular niche centers on branding and marketing copywriting – this includes writing promotional copy such as brochures, scripts, advertisements and more as well as coming up with slogans, tag lines, business names, and product names.
I found that I enjoyed writing short copy much more than I enjoyed writing long articles or ghostwriting entire books. Eventually, it got to the point that I could charge a lot more money for small projects that didn’t take me too long because I grew my reputation in that particular niche.
When you’re starting out decide what you want to do. If you want to write articles about things you have an interest in, then develop your portfolio in that direction and concentrate on getting those types of jobs. If you want to write scripts, then develop your portfolio in that direction. Just make sure you aren’t one of those people who says “I’ll do it all” because being selective is better – the riches are in the niches.
2. Bid on Jobs Every Day
Of course, in order to make money writing online you have to find jobs, and that’s the biggest problem most people face, so I’m going to give you a list of sites I use every day:
*Elance: Elance is my number one resource and that’s why it’s on the top of this list. It is the absolute best place to get writing jobs online. If you’ve never been on Elance it’s pretty simple – people need a job done so they post up what they need and they provide a budget (between $500 and $1,000 let’s say) then people like you submit proposals for that job.
One of the biggest reasons freelancers don’t get the volume of work I get off of Elance is because they don’t bid every day. They’ll get on for a few days a week and bid on a few jobs. If you really want to be successful, you have to bid everyday because there are new jobs being posted every day.
*Guru: Guru is my second in line. I have memberships on both of these sites. I don’t get as many jobs on Guru as I do Elance, but I bid on both of them every day. Doing this ensures that I have a consistent stream of clients and income coming in daily. Without this steady stream of projects, you will never be able to make a comfortable living at home.
When it comes to making money writing online, it doesn’t matter if you’re brand new to the writing game and only have a small idea of what you’re doing, the only way you’re going to make money is to start bidding on jobs and gaining consistent clients. As your portfolio improves and diversifies, then you want to begin increasing your prices. Eventually you will increase your Guru and Elance member rankings, clients will begin approaching you due to references, and within six months you’ll have the consistent work you need in order to be successful and truly make a living writing online.
3. Stay Away From Bulk Writing Jobs
Many people recommend that you write for sites that will pay you somewhere around $2 to $10 per 300 to 500 word article. At first this sounds great – they’ll say pump out 20 articles a day and you’re making $200 a day.
This is the worst thing you can possibly do. First of all, the money isn’t worth the time. Writing is a creative field and your creativity can’t just pump out ideas like an assembly line. I tried these types of jobs for a while and they burned me out and made me hate my work. Unfortunately, many people who want to make money writing online think this is the only option available. It’s not. As a writer, you should be able to make $200 for an hour’s worth of work.