Freelance Writer Business Idea

Diary of a Debut Author: How to Become a Freelance Writer #1

jessicaburkhart87 6/1/2008

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Business Summary:

Anyone can write, right? Sure, but can anyone make money as a freelance writer? Or better yet, make a living solely by writing and typing words on a page? Although establishing yourself as a freelance writer can be challenging, it is not altogether difficult with the right skills and determination.

Most freelance writers earn their keep by writing about non-fiction subjects for different types of publications, such as newspapers, magazines, website content, and corporate publications. The greatest things about becoming a freelance writer is that you get to be creative and be your own boss, make up your own working hours, and write about subjects that interest you and that you are passionate about. But, it also means you need to be disciplined in keeping those hours and completing projects before assigned deadlines.

Start Up Cost: $2,000 – $10,000

Can Be Home Based?: Yes

Can Be Operated Part Time?: Yes

Skills Required:

You don’t need to be an MFA graduate to become a freelance writer. What you do need, however, is a good grasp of basic writing skills, including proper grammar, syntax and sentence structure, and presenting ideas clearly.

You will also need to convince editors and content producers that they want to hire you, and thus, you must become your own promotional and sales manager as well. Use previous clips and writing samples that show your ability to write and communicate effectively. Convince magazines and newspapers that hire freelance writers that you have an exciting idea with a fresh angle for their publication.

How Much Can You Earn:

What do you want to earn? A few extra dollars per month? Money to pay the rent? Enough to live comfortably and afford a car & house, medical insurance, and retirement fund? Determine what you need to earn and figure what your hourly rate would need to be. The more you become practiced as a freelance writer, the easier it will be to estimate how long you will need to complete a project.

Beginning freelance writers usually earn less as they begin to slowly generate clients. But once you become proficient and efficient at producing freelance writing content, you will be able to earn more and accept more clients. Most professional freelance writers can earn between $40 and $150 per hour on average.

Understanding Customers:

Again, it’s important that you write about subjects that you care about and interest you. There are many areas that need freelance writers:

  • Online magazines and blogs – Many businesses and blogs need short articles and content on their website added frequently.
  • Corporate or Business Publications – Many businesses hire freelance writers to produce content for newsletters, annual reports, or business plans.
  • Newspapers – Write an interesting article that affects the local community.
  • Magazines – Local, regional, or national magazines usually accept queries for inclusion in their magazine publications. Learn and practice query letters to get a foot in the door of this lucrative market.

Marketing Strategy: To get an start in the business and get an idea of the types of freelance writing jobs that are available, check out the online marketplaces where clients advertise their projects and freelancers bid on them. There are a number of online marketplaces like Elance, Get-A-Freelancer, Odesk, and Guru.com that have immediate freelance writing job opportunities.

Requirements: You may already have some of the essential equipment you’ll need as a freelance writer, such as a good desktop or laptop computer. It depends whether you want to write primarily at home or if you prefer to be mobile. Many freelance writers choose to take a laptop to a quiet coffee shop or library where they can get away from the distractions of home. Also you’ll need word processing software, a good ink jet or laser printer, and reference books, such as a dictionary, thesaurus, and writing style manual. Other helpful equipment includes a fax machine and a high-speed internet connection.

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