What to Consider When Becoming a Freelance Writer

What to Consider When Becoming a Freelance Writer


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Freelance blogging is one of those things, one of those mystery careers, that leaves a person either uncertain or wildly excited at the prospects. Because while it’s not a regular 9-5 office job, it still has the potential to be equally reliable and profitable while you remain cozy in your home office with a cat curled up on your lap.

Who could argue with that?

If you’ve been considering taking up freelance writing, there are a few things to remember:

Most importantly, do your research. Know what to expect going in, and particularly, don’t expect an instant success, whether that be through exposure and popularity, or pulling in a decent living wage. You’ll have to work hard, and long, and focused– but in the end, the pros certainly outweigh the cons through your blood, sweat, and tears.

Today, we’re going to explore some aspects of the financial side of freelance writing, including where you can expect to earn money and learning where you’re most likely to find success.

Content vs. Income

In the world of freelancing, there seem to exist three common types of work:

  1. 1

    Paid by the article, no matter what.

  2. 2

    Paid, but only within a certain threshold of page hits.

  3. 3

    Unpaid (including both Guest Posting, as well as through a personal blog).

As a freelance writer, then, you have to decide which is for you, and which path you wish to take. This all depends on an equal number of outside factors, of course, like:

  1. 1

    Freelancing is your full-time job, on which you rely for rent/food/necessities.

  2. 2

    You’re only working to build a portfolio, not depending on income.

  3. 3

    You’re guest posting just for the heck of it, for the glitz and the glam.

Of course, if your focus is on full-time freelancing where it’s your only source of income, you’re going to spend the majority of your time with those sites who offer payment or some other equally useful benefit.
Try and avoid seeing sites who don’t offer money as lesser than those who do, though– sometimes, a link back to your personal blog from a well-known site ends up being far more beneficial than a one-time payment of some 50 bucks. In that same sense, even if a blog doesn’t offer links back, including an authoritative blog on your portfolio can be just as impressive.

Social Engagement

It’s so important to prioritize your project goals and the steps needed to reach them. Don’t waste any time on sites that you’re not interested in writing for, those who don’t offer any benefits for your work, and instead direct all of your attention to those who will help lift you up in the world of freelancing.

When a site does offer you a successful wave of exposure and you find yourself with more followers, fans, and interested potential customers, be sure to dedicate a block of your day to grooming those relationships. After all, freelance authors are more likely to be approached for work if they remain active and engaged with their audience, whether that be through article comments and replies, social media, etc.

When it comes to social media engagement, the rules follow the same pattern no matter which niche you find yourself focusing on most. You could be all about fashion, lifestyle, cars, movie reviews– it doesn’t matter, your audience is interested in knowing you’re a real person, who eagerly wants to communicate with them.

All in all, it’s simple: customers and followers are more likely to return to you and your content if you are easily reachable and approachable. The more customers/traffic you have, the more desireable you are as a freelancer, which means more opportunities for making money doing what you love!

Ensuring A Steady Income

You’ve started growing your business and your freelancing network, now what?

You might have earned enough money to live on for one month, whether that be through regular guest posting or traffic to your own blog, but there’s no promising the same trend will continue into the next, and the next, and the next. This is an expected danger to living the freelance life (at least while you’re still working to build a strong foundation), but the remedy is simple:

  • Budget money wisely.
  • Open new doors for possible income.
  • Strengthen relationships with site editors.
  • Dedicate time and money to bettering your own personal blog.

For the sake of brevity, let’s dive into something that might not be as self-explanatory:

New Sources of Income

If you’ve ever been browsing through a blog and clicked on a hyperlinked word in a post, only to be taken to an amazon product page, you have experience with what is called an Affiliate Link. This is when Amazon, or some other company, pays you to include their links on your site, and any clicks through them are tracked and you’re paid a commission.

Affiliate links are different from Sponsored Links, however, which are the advertisements you might see on the side of bottom of a blog page, where the blog owner is paid by an outside company to have their ad on the blog. Google AdSense works this way.

When your blog begins receiving a good, steady flow of traffic (this is where exposure comes in more useful than one-time money payments!) sites will actively bid to have their ads on your blog, of which you will then be paid.

Be sure to look into the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to taking advantage of sponsored links on your blog, though, as too many, or those badly placed, may actually drive your regular traffic away. The last thing you want to do is alienate your audience, making them uncomfortable with the “money grab” you seem to be after. Instead, focus on being as sincere and transparent as possible, and build trust with those who spend their time on your blog.

In Conclusion…

Freelance writing doesn’t have to be a world of uncertainty and anxiety– at least, not after you get the hang of it. There will always be a certain level of unpredictability in the business, but the same exists in any sector of work you decide to pursue.

Freelance writing for a living is no less scary than working in an office, being a cashier, being a famous actress or actor– everything in life comes with potential for failure, but those failures won’t be able to get within reach of you if you play your cards right.
These cards of protection include hard work, dedication, focus, and maybe a little bit of luck– but, in the wise words of Billy Zane in Titanic“A real woman makes her own luck.”

What are some of your favorite freelance writing tips? Let us know in the comments below! While you’re at it, be sure to follow us on Bloglovin‘ to keep up with all of our future blog posts!