Today’s post is hustling 101. This article gives you the basics for starting a $1,500 to $2,000 a month business.
Over the course of this article, you’ll learn how to get started as a freelance writer, why this is a great side business, and where you can find clients.
Why Become A Freelance Writer?
(Freelance writing paid enough for me to move abroad and live in Peru)
If you’ve never worked for yourself (or have never made more than $1,000 a month off your websites/eBooks) you should become a freelance writer.
While we’ll get into the details later, here are a few reasons to consider this venture:
- Do the work, get paid – There’s no mystery about how you’re going to make money.
- Writing jobs are often simple and you can finish them in under 30 minutes.
- No start-up cost (my first freelance writing business cost me $0)
- Good learning experience (you get exposed to a lot of different business ideas)
- Great source of income (many part-time freelancers earn $30,000 to $40,000 a year)
Unlike blogging or building websites (where you’re never guaranteed to make a dime) freelance writing is straightforward. Before you pen a single word, you know exactly how much content you’re supposed to write and how much the client is paying you.
Freelance writing is great because it removes all uncertainty about how and when you’ll get paid.
Additionally, it costs nothing to become a freelance writer.
If you have a computer you have all the tools you need to get started.
Websites like Fiverr and Upwork connect you with clients. And you can use a program like Microsoft Word or OpenOffice to write all your projects. There’s literally zero investment for this business.
Freelancing Vs. “Building A Brand”
The biggest complaint against freelance writing is that you’re working for someone else.
This is true, but here’s a secret:
Everyone who ever “built their own brand” started out working for someone else.
Kayne West worked for Jay-Z. James Cameron worked for Roger Corman. And Arnold Schwarzenegger worked for Joe Weider. You need to know what you’re doing before heading out to “make it on your own.”
Lastly, how many hours a day does it take to “build your brand?” One? Two? If you’re publishing blog posts every day, or writing an eBook, you still have time to freelance on the side.
I started doing writing gigs while working a 40 hour a week job, running a website, and going to the gym every night.
Even college students can do a few freelance projects a week without disrupting their schedule.
Where To Get Freelancing Gigs
When you start out, the easiest places to find work are Fiverr.com and Upwork.com. I like both sites for two reasons: the gigs are easy and clients have low standards. Because of this, it’s rare for a job to ever take more than 30 minutes to complete.
Most assignments consist of the client giving you the topic they want written and all the materials they want you to use.
As Matt Forney explains in his book, Writing for Peanuts:
Whatever subject your clients will want you to write about, you can find out all you need from a brief Google search. In fact, much of the time the buyer will give you web pages and documents spelling out everything you need to know about the subject at hand, saving you from having to do even that.
If you could write an essay in your high school English class, you can easily write articles for your clients.
On top of this, most of the articles you’ll be writing are short. Around 500 words each. That means you can usually write two or three within 60 minutes. As a result, you’ll make about $15 to $25 an hour.
It’s not a ton of money, but it’s more than you’d make at most retail and entry-level jobs. Additionally, once you’ve gained some experience, you can find better paying clients either locally or through the contacts you’ve built up.
Quick Recap: Checklist For Becoming A Freelance Writer
(I once wrote $500 worth of articles while spending the night in Hoi An, Vietnam)
Below are all the tools you’ll need to start your own freelancing business. All required items are free, though I’ve also included a few book suggestions which are optional.
- A word-processor like OpenOffice (free) or Google Drive (also free)
- Email account for your business (I use Gmail)
- Fiverr or Upwork account (you could also post an ad on Craigslist or ask local businesses if they need written content)
- A book on freelance writing (I’d suggest Writing for Peanuts and Secrets of a Freelance Writer)
- A book on grammar (The Elements of Style is a good refresher)
- That’s it!
Like I said, freelancing is easy to get into and pays better than blogging or “brand building.” Anyone who can write at a high school English level can make money with this business.