It’s tough being a single mom, managing your kids, while making a living. Putting in a 9-5 is tough. Putting in a 9 to 5 with kids in the mix as a single parent is incredibly tough. However, imagine you could work from the comfort of your own home at your own hours, doing jobs that interest you. I’m talking about making money writing of course.
Now before you throw up your hands and say you are not a writer, bear with me for a minute while I make the case.
There are different types of writing. When the word ‘writer’ is tossed around, you may be thinking writing novels or some such. And yes, that is one way to be a ‘writer’ but it’s not the only way to make a living. There are a lots of easy-to-get writing gigs online that you, as a speaker of native English who presumably has a decent high school level of writing ability, can get.
How to Get Started Freelance Writing
Freelance article writing is sort of the Mcdonald’s of the writing world. It may not be the best quality, the most enjoyable, but it’s stable and you know exactly what you are getting. As such, freelance article writing will probably be your bread and butter writing work if you want to make money writing.
Make sure you read our How to Make $1000 per month as a freelance article writer which talks very specifically about becoming a freelance article writer.
Ok so you want to make money as a freelancer — what should you do? Well first think about about what you know. Is there a subject you are passionate about or know a lot about? If there is, then you could try and find work as an “expert writer” on that specific topic. If you have real world experience in a field and can write quality articles about that topic, you may be able to land yourself a well paid writing gig on a place like elance.com. Companies will pay a premium for expert writers.
1. Figure our Your Pay Rate
Expert writers can command anywhere from 10 dollars per 500 words to 200 dollars per 500 words, depending on the company/entity hiring you AND your experience. Don’t expect to get 100 bucks per article right off the bat, however. You’ll need to have a lot of references and have built your portfolio up over time to get that sort of wage!
Some examples of some expert writing topics might be:
- You are photographer and you can write photography articles
- You have a fitness degree (or are an expert on the subject) and can write quality fitness/ health articles
- You have a degree in finance or work as a financial advisor in a bank and can write about mortgages and bank-related topics in great detail
If you are NOT an expert at a field, that’s Ok. You can write general articles too. Generally, the pay scale for non-expert articles might be anywhere from $3 dollars per 500 words to $10 dollars per 500 words.
Remember, if you want to make money as a freelancer, you are going to have to start small. Don’t expect to be making instant big money. Start off (if you have no skills) writing cheaper articles, learn the ropes, then as time goes on increase your rates. You may end up landing a few employers that consistently give you work. If you have enough of these, you could make a full time income. As you become a better writer, you can command more money.
2. Are you a Descriptive or Expert Writer
Difference Between Descriptive Writing and Analytical Writing
Typically, when it comes to freelance article writing, there are two types of writing categories: descriptive writing and analytical writing.
Descriptive Writing: It’s important that you understand that there are different types of writing and different pay scales associated with each type. DESCRIPTIVE writing is when you write descriptively about a topic. You have to research about the topic, but you are basically describing the topic. Often you are just looking at previous information on the web and reformatting it into your own words. You are not “creating” anything new. These type of articles are fairly fast to write and you don’t need to wrack your brain writing about a subject. As such, the pay rates for these types of articles should be lower — anywhere from 3 dollars to 10 dollars per 500 words.
Analytical Writing: This type of writing is a LOT more intensive than descriptive writing jobs. You basically have to come up with NEW information about a topic — either from your own personal knowledge about a topic (likely you would be an expert on the topic) or through serious research. Some examples of this might be: essays, creative articles, fiction, articles for magazines, articles that require heavy research about a topic — that sort of thing. These articles might take you all day or a few days to complete which is why you generally would charge anywhere from 50 to a few hundred dollars per article. This is what we class as ‘expert writing’ where you are usually an expert about the topic and writing articles for a specific audience. A fitness writer, a science writer, etc.
Keep in mind that most people looking for a freelancer are looking for descriptive writing and not analytical writing. Magazines, corporations, and webmasters looking for expert-written articles may be looking for this, but the average person won’t be.
3. Find a Freelance Website and Apply for Writing Jobs
Once you’ve established that you do want to be a freelancer, you know what type of articles you can write, now it just comes down to applying for jobs. Fortunately, there are entire websites just set up for this sort of thing, which makes it easy.
Freelance Job Websites
Here are the main websites that allow you to sign up then start bidding on writing jobs:
Freelance Writer University: Freelance Writer University offers free training to potential writers. Even if she has never done it before, a single mom may apply to the University and gain immediate access to their training program. After training writers have access to a job aggregator from which they can select as many jobs, and as many times as they wish.
Freelancer.com: This is the job aggregator associated with Freelance Writer University. Here, writers are able to bid on jobs, known as projects, which have been offered by prospective employers. The employers choose potential writers and award them the projects. Strict rules of communication have to be observed between bidders and project owners. Freelancer is great because you can operate pretty easily as a one-woman show. There is always work available here and we suggest you start off looking for writing gigs here first.
Elance.com: Elance is another job aggregator which offers potential jobs. Jobs are not limited to writing, however, as there are several categories from which different kinds of jobs may be selected. One category is offered free of charge, but additional categories attract a small monthly fee. Elance typically will reward QUALITY writers who know their stuff with more money. There are a lot of large companies willing to pay fair prices for high quality writers, especially if you are an expert at a particular topic (you have real world experience in a field you write about).
Academia Research: Academia Research accepts writing request jobs from clients who require writing assistance on academic projects. Each project has its unique set of instructions and specifications for delivery, including style of and deadline for completion. Payment is made by the page, and the number of pages required for each project is specified.
London Brokers: London Brokers is another company which offers training to prospective writers. Prospects showing potential are given a comprehensive training package which should be read before jobs are taken on. Jobs involve writing articles in a specific format which must be strictly adhered to. The payment rate for jobs is specified, and payments are made after articles have been accepted.
Freelance Writing Jobs (FWJ): Freelance Writing Jobs offers information and writing tips, to new and experienced writers alike, regardless of where they may be in their careers. The organization supports thousands of writers by providing job leads, business help, and any assistance needed to advance their careers. FWJ has partnered with Squarespace to make a very powerful blog and website publishing tool available to users. Squarespace enables users to faster and easier build blogs that are of a professional standard.
Craigslist: This is another way to get writing work. Simply post your job availability or respond to writing ads. It’s not at organized as some of the freelance job websites, but people do land writing gigs here.
Additionally, there are websites that produce cheap build articles for websites on demand. These are often referred to as content farms or content mills. They typically will pay anywhere from 1 to about 10 bucks per article. This means they pay less than if you were to become your own freelancer. The work is also very niche specific, you are often writing specific niche-related articles for websites about highly focuses topics. Think ‘best shaving razors’ or r’ed shirts for women’ type articles. While the work is not glorious, if you get hired here it can be a steady source of article writing work for you. Just don’t expect to make a full time income here with the low pay. Unlike the freelance websites, you are going to be getting a set rate (whatever rate the website gives).
Some of the more popular content mills:
A Sample Look at Some Freelance Job Categories
Jobs are offered in different categories. Below are samples of real jobs offered in the following freelance writing jobs. This should give you an idea what to expect when you apply for jobs.
- Online Dating Site – This advertisement is for someone who can write and edit for a new online dating site that is just being launched. The person required needs to have an interest as well as experience in online dating. Compensation is to be decided between the parties involved.
- Astronomy/Telescope Related Articles – A project owner needs articles relating to astronomy written in about 1,000 words. Needless to say, they have to be original. Writers can be in Sacramento or anywhere, and compensation for the articles is negotiable for each article.
- Articles for Product Website — Someone is needed to writer 500 word article reviews about various products in a certain niche. Pay is $5 per 500 words.
- Celebrity Blogger – This job opening is for contributors in Los Angeles or anywhere, for a Celebrity blog. The proposer is willing to pay $10 per post, but that price is negotiable. He, however, needs writers with some blogging or writing experience who are able to do multiple posts monthly, and requests a sample for scrutiny. Compensation is not specified.
- Social Media Blogger – Here, an established blog which focuses on social media and business is seeking to hire more bloggers, from anywhere. Two to three in-depth articles on startups, social media, new media, venture capital, and other related topics are needed every day. Compensation is per post.
- Freelance Packaging Copywriter – This job is for an experienced freelance copywriter with at least five years’ experience in merchandising, packaging, and retail copywriting, in Chicago. This is a one-off assignment, but there are possibilities for future jobs.
- Copywriter of Tech Content – A proposer of a fast-growing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) company, in Los Angeles, searches for an article writer of quality articles and how-to guides for various in-house sites. English majors or Journalism students are preferred but not required. The articles should be at least 300 – 500 words, including images or screenshots, which are required. Compensation is $5-15 per article.
- Editor Fluent in French – Here, an individual is seeking a fluent French speaker and writer, in Los Angeles, to edit a piece of writing containing several French sentences. The invitation is for that person to sit with the proposer at a coffee shop, for about two hours, and rewrite the sentences. He is willing to pay $15 per hour.
- Freelance Writer/Editor – A company is looking for a writer or editor, in Atlanta, with solid experience, to write national periodicals that advise university research lab scientists and administrators in all fields, on various matters. The writer should be able to produce monthly story budgets for approval, find and interview – in specific detail – many credible experts. She should also be able to write and edit useful, practical stories for monthly issues of 8-12 pages, as well as short weekly ezines. If the writer has newspaper and graduate science experience that would be an advantage. A competitive salary is offered for a diligent, proficient, and fast producer.
- Editorial Writer – Another company is seeking an experienced writer for magazines and newspapers, with some knowledge of technology and writing skills from a strategy context. A background and education in journalism, with corporate writing experience and an understanding of content management tools, are strong pluses. The job can be conducted 100% remotely, or on a part time basis.
- Technical Writer – A company seeks an experienced technical writer, in Chicago, for a short term project involving writing help for seven or eight functions. Samples and bill rates are requested, compensation is according to the market, and payment is immediate upon the acceptance of the work presented.
- Meditech NPR Report Writer – Five positions are available with an organization. One position is for a report writer for a prominent healthcare organization. Candidates may work virtually or directly, and should have solid experience in producing clinical and financial NPR Reports.
- Grant Writer – An international non-profit foundation seeks an experienced grant writer, in Los Angeles, to write grant proposals, find funding sources, and help with the application process for a new project. Compensation would be five percent of the amount funded from the submitted proposal.
- Professional Proposal Writer – A consulting firm requires a temporary executive, namely, a Proposal/Sponsorship Writer, for a period of one month. The writer would work alongside the founder to identify sponsors, create pitch letters, research the companies identified, and put a presentation together. Writer can work virtually, but must be prepared to attend weekly meetings in Manhattan. The project is scheduled to be completed in 50 to 100 hours, and compensation is at a rate of $20-$25 per hour.
- Expert Writer for Cover Letter and Bio – A New York resident is desirous of pursuing and securing a new senior level position in a targeted company. As such, he requires a compelling and interesting résumé, and so is seeking an experienced stay at home mom, a freelancer, or someone professional who is available in the evenings, to put together a personal biography for him. Compensation is not specified.
General/Miscellaneous Freelance Writing
- Online Shopping Gift Editor – FindGift.com – A leading shopping site that categorizes as it collects great gift ideas on the web, desires a creative writer, from anywhere, to join its team and write interesting blogs with a view to pitching them to online shoppers. The most suitable writer should be experienced in marketing and the Internet industry, and be able to find, categorize, and write about outstanding gift ideas for various recipients on a variety of occasions. Compensation is not specified.
- Writer to Adapt Short Story – Here, a producer is looking for a writer who is able to take a short story that was written by a Pulitzer Prize winning writer, and adapt it into a screen play that will eventually be made into a short film. This writer has to be living in the NYC/Tri-State, however. Compensation is not specified.
- Screenplay Writer – Another producer seeks an experienced screen play writer, in Sacramento, for a very compelling story that is a comedy. This writer is needed immediately. Compensation is negotiable, and depends on experience.
- Call for Submissions – Millennium Magazine – A Magazine is working on its July and August issues and needs stories and photographs for these issues. There are entry deadlines. The stories need to come from New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey, and should be on the topics of fashion, health, business, music, beauty, night life, politics, etc. The invitation is open, and the stories will be reviewed and the best ones chosen. The stories should have a word limit of 750, with a minimum of three to five photographs. The rate for the stories is $50, while a set of five photographs is valued at $25.
- Freelance Skincare and Beauty Writers for Online Magazine – This job is for beauty and skincare writers who are willing to telecommute, and are able to write well-researched articles for an online magazine. Writers must be passionate about cutting edge skincare and beauty products, and must be flexible and willing to adapt to the magazine’s specific writing style. Compensation is not specified.
4. Land the Work
There’s not too much to say about this here other than once you sign up and apply for jobs, you will eventually land a writing job. It’s a bit of a numbers game — you will need to apply for as many jobs as possible. Don’t expect to get the job right at the start, it can take time. Apply for as many jobs as possible (some websites call this ‘bidding’ where you put in your job bid). Again, make sure you figure out how much you are willing to work for. If you underbid, you could find yourself working a lot more cheaply on a job than you are willing to. If you bid too much, you won’t get the job. So there is a fine balance here.
5. Start Writing
Once you’ve gotten the job, now comes the hard work — the writing. Here are some tips for writing better articles.
Where to Get Ideas for Writing Articles and Blog Posts
Once you start writing, you will need to research your topics so you can write about it. Many of the article topics you will be told to write on, you might know nothing about. The onus is on you, as the writer, to do research on the topic before you write about it. Keep in mind that you have to factor in the ‘research time’ into your article writing time. The research can arguably take nearly as long as the actual writing, especially if you are producing high quality work.
The following are sources that can be used to generate ideas for writing articles and blogs:
- Google Blog Search: Reading blogs written by other writers can be inspiring, as ideas for articles may spring from something that was read. Blogs may also contain controversial viewpoints which present opportunities for writing rebuttals, or varying viewpoints.
- Google Search: Do a search for the topic and see what comes up on the first two or three pages. Chances are you can find some high quality sites about the topic and learn what you need to know about the topic.
- Forums: visit reputable forums where people genuinely give their opinions. The questions that persons ask may be examined. The answers could be researched if they are not known immediately, and articles that are well written could provide answers for them. The forum visitors could then be directed to the location of those responses.
- Twitter Search: Twitter is a great resource because people give their opinions on a variety of topics, regularly, and the viewpoints are always up to date. Reading tweets allows the creative juices to flow, so that ideas for articles are generated.
- Ezinearticles.com: The Ezine articles web site is another good resource for writing articles. Research can be done by categories and even sub-categories. The most popular topics and articles can be clearly seen, and these could provide ideas for other articles. An article’s popularity is usually indicated at the bottom of the article.
- Newsletters: Subscribing to newsletters by email is another great resource for ideas for articles. Single mothers with websites on particular topics could subscribe to similar websites. They are likely to receive regular and numerous emails on various related topics. Since such information is not likely to be on the other websites, an opportunity is presented, on which the mother can capitalize to generate ideas for new articles.
- Wikipedia: Pretty much the number one source for real academic information. The info is usually very accurate and probably about as indepth as anyone could want.
Here are some tips for writers who want to produce quality writing. Obviously, if you are being paid by the word count, you want to write as fast as possible. But there may be times when you want to really research your topic, to understand it fully, so you can write a better article about it. You’ll have to justify the time spent researching the topic, but IF you are trying to produce high quality, it’s time well spent.
Know Your Audience
It is important to know the audience that is being targeted. It is quite possible to write blogs and articles that are great, but there is no readership because those particular readers are not interested in those particular topics. There are sites that can be visited to learn about who is visiting specific websites or reading blogs on specific topics.
- Go where the target audience is. This may involve going to forums, Twitter, Facebook, and anywhere else the audience that is being targeted visit on a regular basis. The writer might want to become a member of those communities and so ‘become’ the target audience. This can take a lot of time, but for some writing gigs OR if you are writing for your own websites/book, this may be a good idea so you can learn about the topic.
- Interact with readers. This is key, and it helps even more if the interaction is done on their terms and not just on the writers’ sites. That action could spur the readers to check out the writers’ sites.
Write Down Ideas in a Cheetsheet
It’s a good idea while doing research on the web about a topic to write down some of the key things in an outline format. This can help you put together the structure of the topic you are writing about. When you start writing your article, you can go back to your ‘outline’ or cheatsheet article .
Writing is a skill — you have to use it or you lose it! The more you write, the better you get at it. If you don’t already have a personal blog, you should. You can easily download wordpress and get some cheap hosting and start your own blog. If you make a habit of ‘writing’ daily, you’re writing will vastly improve over time. When it comes time to writing for clients, you’ll be a better writer for it.
For your personal blog, here area few tips:
- Be original. If a writer’s blog just repeats the things that other successful and well established blogs present, then that blog is heading for extinction. The competition is likely to gobble it up. Instead, a writer should do something original and give the blog a direction and a goal. These factors are likely to keep an audience interested.
- Give consistent postings of high quality. This involves frequently writing very good content, which keeps search engines happy and bring a lot of traffic to the site. If visitors have a good reason to, they will keep returning to the site.
- Have a great design. The first thing visitors see on a site is its design and, unfortunately, they use it to judge the site. With that in mind, a good aim should be to have an attractive look for the site, so that the great content on it will not be bypassed through indifference. A great design makes a site stand out so visitors take notice.
- Keep visitors coming. This, too, involves the social media like Facebook and Twitter. The trick is for the writer to make the contents and updates relating to her site available where her visitors frequently visit. That makes the material within easy reach, so they are kept in contact with her site and, hopefully, want to keep coming back to it.
Write UNIQUE Content
You may be tempted to copy information from the web and pass it off as your own, but DO NOT DO THIS. There is a very high chance the person hiring you will check your work with COPYSCAPE.COM and find out the content is not unique. You’ll destroy you’re reputation by doing this and your employer won’t pay you (and won’t give you any more work). So make sure you are writing unique content.