Sounds pretty simple doesn’t it? Write a few articles and you make money. Anyone who has attempted freelance writing, knows that the easy part is writing the words. It’s the making money part that is a little more difficult. Or, to qualify that statement a bit, making enough money to live on, is the hard part.
In 2010, I earned approximately $2,000.00 from my writing, and that included sales of books, calendars and framed poetry. Thankfully, I was working a good paying, full time job at the time. But it was during 2010 that I began pursuing freelance writing with the goal of making it a paying career. Already having a job to bring in the income I needed gave me the freedom to explore different options and learn more about the ‘business’ of writing.
I explored sites like Suite101, OnDemand, Yahoo Contributors, Triond, Helium, e-How, Examiner.com and About.com. I wrote articles and earned a few dollars on the Yahoo Contributors and I also wrote articles for Examiner.com and earned nothing. e-How and About.com are the only two of this group that I might recommend to writers wanting to get started. They are much more stringent about who they will accept for their writers and the quality of writing expected.
I also wrote and earned some money on a site called Textbroker.com. I gladly recommend this site, not so much for how much money you can make, but as way to learn and get paid for it. Your technical writing skills are critiqued before joining the site and rated accordingly, in a 1-5 star rating. I rated a 4 star with my application sample. The jobs offered on the site pay per word, with the pay rate based on the star rating requested by the employer. Most articles were short and required SEO (search engine optimization). Through writing Textbroker articles, I learned how to include SEO keywords into my articles in a natural flow. My articles were also checked by the editors on Textbroker after each assignment. They told me where I had missed commas or used the wrong tense of a verb. Because of this, my writing improved. All the while, I was earning $4 here and $6 there on my assignments, but still not enough to make a living on.
It was the online bidding sites that I saw as having potential, and still do. I created profiles on two of them, Guru.com and Elance.com and began bidding on projects. I think I managed to win two bids in the first three months on the sites. Since I was new to the sites, I had no ratings or prior feedback for employers to judge me by. It was a risk for them and there were plenty of experienced writers on the sites to choose from. But I kept searching the new projects daily and bidding on several jobs a month, winning a few occasionally for small amounts. Each of these jobs provided me with great positive feedback, which was extremely important when I finally did bid on a good paying project that could also provide me with ongoing work. That took about nine months.
If you click on the links above to Guru and Elance, they’ll take you to my profiles on those sites. They’ll tell you how many clients I’ve had and how much money I’ve earned on their sites. You’ll also see the feedback I’ve gotten from my clients.
Write words – make money? Yes, you can. But don’t plan on overnight success. There’s a lot of competition in the freelance writing market. You need to understand what your assets are, where the buyers are for those assets and pursue them consistently. And last, but certainly not least, you better be able to deliver the kind of quality writing that your clients are expecting.
Nobody’s paying me for these words, so I’ll end it here and get back to writing that pays.