getting started as a freelance writer?

by peteJ
20 replies
So I have been trying to make some money as a freelance writer but as of now have still yet to make any. I have been looking on 2 different sites where you bid on projects, but cant seem to get any jobs. I mean between me the new writer with no feed back, or the experienced writer with over 800 projects done and all positive feedback who looks more attractive? So i need to know what I can do to get around this disadvantage and make people want to take the risk on me instead of them. What can I do to make myself seem more appealing to others? any help is welcome.
#freelance #started #writer
  • Profile picture of the author JonMills
    Yeah problem is pete your up against countries like pakistan, india and romania where they will write for pennies.

    But having said that if you can provide extremely good articles and I mean bloody amazing then you may be able to make a go of it by being involved in the various elance, scriptlance, rentacoder, guru, odesk, getafreelancer etc.

    But competition is stiff my friend, I know as I post to have articles done for me every month and I see tons of people bidding on my projects... from high to insanely low.

    It makes it tricky for usa, canada, australia and uk folk to compete unless they can deliver super high quality, and on time.
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    • Profile picture of the author kittyd
      Originally Posted by JonMills View Post

      Yeah problem is pete your up against countries like pakistan, india and romania
      i have a little problem with this statement as i live in Romania and you are very wrong. I have tons of friends that had quitted in their pursue of a freelancer career because of the price the asian freelancers work upon, indeed...

      but in case you haven`t heard, Romania is an EU country for 4 years now. And believe it or not, we HAVE EUROPEAN PRICES!!!! So we`re not actually the ones that crush the price market with our low fees. It is no win for us to beat asian prices. We do, as any noob USA freelancer does, lower the prices for getting the first reviews.

      fo example, 1 pack of cigarettes is 3euro, rent for 1 month including utilities is around 400 euro, 1 breat is one euro, and 0.33 oz of cola is 1$, and a beer goes to 3$ in a bar.

      maybe i`m a little off topic, but i really hate to see my country criticized as many times as possible. Even if we do have alot of real flaws, seeing it taken the fall even when it is not the case or guilty in any way is not something i can let unanswered.
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  • Profile picture of the author Pragun
    I know this might not sound legible to some, but there's this concept known as "perceived value".
    See, currently, you do not have much rep on the said site, so you have to increase your perceived value, which you can increase by the way you present yourself and your services.

    You're new. But instead of trying to push that fact to the side, say that you're new to that particular website, but are otherwise a very experienced writer. Setting your prices high will make people think that you're different from the whole bunch of crappy writers out there. What's more, you can set your price high, and then dole out discounts and you can tell people you're doing that because you're new and you're trying to make your mark.

    That should help you get started with some projects. But do remember, if you're actual work does not live up to your perceived value, it isn't going to take you very far. So, work hard !

    Also, there's this product on WF known as "Freelance Article Writing Secrets". It's pretty nice, and you should check it out.

    ~ 2 cents
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    • Profile picture of the author Barry Unruh
      The first question should be "Are you a good writer?".

      If so, then post an ad on the Warriors for Hire section. Setup a blog with samples of your writing for Warriors to review.

      Choose a few Warriors you see are buying articles and are people you respect what they are saying on the forum. Offer them a few free articles for an honest review of your writing requesting permission to use it as a reference.

      This should get you started.
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      • Profile picture of the author jbsmith
        If you are really set on being a freelance writer, then...

        1. Get some writing projects outside of the freelance boards first, through the Warrior Forum is one good place. This will build a few samples of your work

        2. I haven't tried this, but it may work. Run a WSO with very good rates on writing projects, but direct them to your freelance writing page so they must order from you through the freelance writing site. That way you get some feedback & please your market.

        3. Finally, if you really do have a talent for researching and writing, then consider spending at least half of your time each day on packaging your own products to sell online. That is where the bigger, more passive money is to be made. Do this now and 6-months from now when you are chasing down your next freelance gig, you will be happy to see the profit you are making with your own ebook, report or infoproduct.

        Jeff
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        • Profile picture of the author jennypitts
          Originally Posted by jbsmith View Post

          If you are really set on being a freelance writer, then...

          1. Get some writing projects outside of the freelance boards first, through the Warrior Forum is one good place. This will build a few samples of your work

          2. I haven't tried this, but it may work. Run a WSO with very good rates on writing projects, but direct them to your freelance writing page so they must order from you through the freelance writing site. That way you get some feedback & please your market.

          3. Finally, if you really do have a talent for researching and writing, then consider spending at least half of your time each day on packaging your own products to sell online. That is where the bigger, more passive money is to be made. Do this now and 6-months from now when you are chasing down your next freelance gig, you will be happy to see the profit you are making with your own ebook, report or infoproduct.

          Jeff

          I have to agree. You may want to get your feet wet by joining some freelance sites. They are free to join and you can start placing your bids for projects. It will take time especially if your prices are higher than most writers on those sites. You will be appalled to see people offering to write 500 word articles for a $1.50. That is not only an insult to people who are good and make a living off writing, but it also makes it harder for you to get hired. YET do not get discouraged. Eventually you will find people willing to pay what you are bidding. A good suggestion, say for example you decide to charge ten bucks for one article, and you come across someone asking for ten articles, you may negotiate a price per article of 9 or 8 dollars to help close the deal. This is only of course until you start getting good feedback. HOWEVER, as someone else said, make sure your work is worth the price.
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  • Profile picture of the author PCRoger
    Look into getpaidwriting.org. New site, but I have heard about a lot of good content coming; maybe sign up for the list.

    Regards,
    PCRoger.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      Because you are new - make sure you send sample of your writing with each bid and underbid the big guys for the first few jobs to get some feedback.
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  • Profile picture of the author Alex Mensah
    Hi pete,
    i would definately take the advice of becoming a freelance
    writer for the warrior classified section. I know I did that myself...and made
    good money doing it to.

    first create your ad like you would a WSO highlighting your qualitifications and prices etc. Pretty much make us want to work with you in that part of your ad. Then
    offer the first few articles free for a review back.

    Then close that offer after you tuck about 3 or 4 reviews under your belt and watch the sales come in. you can do something diff than the rest like e.g. order 3 and I will throw in one free.

    Also as a tip pete...get a software called "Dragon naturally speaking" if you don't have it because it will greatly boost your article writing speed and turnaround time.

    If you need any more info PM me...
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    • Profile picture of the author LaLaLives
      Nathan,

      I don't have enough posts to PM you, but I'm interested in how you use the Gales directories for publishing.

      PeteJ,

      Try Constant-Content. There, you can sell your articles for a 65/35 commission split. I advise you to thoroughly explore the site, including the forums, before submitting work, though.

      I offer the following info along with extreme caution. These sites are low-paying and most do not offer bylines, but if you're looking to turn a quick buck, they can help. DO NOT, however, allow yourself to get stuck on these. As a freelance writer, you can make a lot more and these sites are generally frowned upon by freelancers who command a higher rate. However, if you're in a tight fix and need quick cash, try:

      Need-an-Article - (email Scott at scottfoster dot info to actually apply as there's no link to do so on the site. Also, be prepared to have to email him more than once, since they're never really actively hiring and sometimes "looking for work" emails get lost in the shuffle). They pay weekly $5 per article. Terribly low, I know, but whatever work is completed by Friday is paid on Saturday.

      BreakStudios - Pays $8 per article every 2 weeks.

      QualityGal - Pays $12 per article (I think every week)

      Demand Studios - Pays between $15 and $20 per article (not sure about their pay dates)

      BrightHub - Pays $10 per article, plus performance bonuses monthly.

      I cannot stress enough the importance of only using these for temporary cash streams. It is VERY easy to get caught in a cycle of writing for these because the pay is pretty fast. It's not unusual for a writer to intend to use one of these for a one or two month stepping stone only to one day wake up, burned out, and discover they've been writing like a mad person for peanuts for a year or more! You've been warned.

      To search for more jobs, also check out freelancewritinggigs or the jobs section of the ProBlogger blog. Daily, freelance jobs are posted in a variety of genres at each of these. There are a ton of other places, which offer jobs, as well. These are just two that come to mind off the top of my head.

      Also, regularly search CraigsList and Google. A good suggestion for searching Google, is to use keywords that encompass the pay you're looking for, such as: "$50 per article" or ".10 cents per word". If you use Google's options to narrow your site even further to only give results from the last 24 hours, you're likely to get the best results. (You may also want to search "Write for Us", "Looking for Writers", etc.)

      Cold-calling is also a good idea. Even without published clips, create a few samples of what you can do, post them on your own site or blog (create one if you don't already have one) and begin contacting local businesses. Directly ask for work and don't be afraid to show them what you can do.

      Hope this information is useful to you.
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      • Profile picture of the author Chris_Oakley
        Originally Posted by LaLaLives View Post


        PeteJ,

        Try Constant-Content. There, you can sell your articles for a 65/35 commission split. I advise you to thoroughly explore the site, including the forums, before submitting work, though.

        I offer the following info along with extreme caution. These sites are low-paying and most do not offer bylines, but if you're looking to turn a quick buck, they can help. DO NOT, however, allow yourself to get stuck on these. As a freelance writer, you can make a lot more and these sites are generally frowned upon by freelancers who command a higher rate. However, if you're in a tight fix and need quick cash, try:

        Need-an-Article - (email Scott at scottfoster dot info to actually apply as there's no link to do so on the site. Also, be prepared to have to email him more than once, since they're never really actively hiring and sometimes "looking for work" emails get lost in the shuffle). They pay weekly $5 per article. Terribly low, I know, but whatever work is completed by Friday is paid on Saturday.

        BreakStudios - Pays $8 per article every 2 weeks.

        QualityGal - Pays $12 per article (I think every week)

        Demand Studios - Pays between $15 and $20 per article (not sure about their pay dates)

        BrightHub - Pays $10 per article, plus performance bonuses monthly.

        I cannot stress enough the importance of only using these for temporary cash streams. It is VERY easy to get caught in a cycle of writing for these because the pay is pretty fast. It's not unusual for a writer to intend to use one of these for a one or two month stepping stone only to one day wake up, burned out, and discover they've been writing like a mad person for peanuts for a year or more! You've been warned.

        To search for more jobs, also check out freelancewritinggigs or the jobs section of the ProBlogger blog. Daily, freelance jobs are posted in a variety of genres at each of these. There are a ton of other places, which offer jobs, as well. These are just two that come to mind off the top of my head.

        Also, regularly search CraigsList and Google. A good suggestion for searching Google, is to use keywords that encompass the pay you're looking for, such as: "$50 per article" or ".10 cents per word". If you use Google's options to narrow your site even further to only give results from the last 24 hours, you're likely to get the best results. (You may also want to search "Write for Us", "Looking for Writers", etc.)

        Cold-calling is also a good idea. Even without published clips, create a few samples of what you can do, post them on your own site or blog (create one if you don't already have one) and begin contacting local businesses. Directly ask for work and don't be afraid to show them what you can do.

        Hope this information is useful to you.
        Very useful info LaLaLives - thanks for the links.

        Does anyone have actual experience writing for any of these sites? Are there limits on the number of assignments available? Do they pay on time? Is there a catch? (other than the low pay)

        That kind of detailed feedback would be a huge timesaver for the OP and anyone else reading this thread...
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        Regards,
        Chris Oakley

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        • Profile picture of the author Rikki_Fawkes
          Hi Chris and LaLaLives,

          I've worked for Demand Studios since last year and can personally attest that they are a great company to work for. They pay me 2-3 times per week and offer 195,000+ $7.50 and $15 article assignments on a daily basis. I work part-time, five days a week here, and it provides very steady income.

          Beginning writers are limited to 10 assignments at a time. Once you've written a couple hundred articles, they increase your limit to 15. They also offer Revenue Sharing articles (where you only get paid based on the amount of page views your article receives once it's published), but I don't usually mess with these.

          The only catches to working for Demand Studios (and it's not really a catch) is this:

          1. You do need a resume (nothing big, just something showing a little bit of writing experience)

          2. Sometimes your articles will be sent back for a rewrite. It's often hard to please some of the editors.

          If you have any other questions, feel free to DM me or reply in another post - I'm happy to help.
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  • Profile picture of the author H.Miller
    Just put up some of your work so people can see it. I started out on Guru.com doing freelance graphic work. I just showed people examples of my work so they could feel at ease and know that I know what i'm doing. I quickly started getting invited to do projects.
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  • Profile picture of the author LaLaLives
    Thank you for this tidbit, Nathan. In your opinion, besides being free, is this method better than using Writer's Market?

    Originally Posted by Nathan Segal View Post

    It's a bit tricky to talk about how the directories work on a forum without actually showing you, but you would go to the library and ask the librarian for help. There are 4 directories, blue books that are quite heavy and full of information. I recommend you look for the section on magazines and concentrate on both consumer magazines and trade journals. The latter pays more.

    In the directories there are many categories that will match your interests. By scrolling through the listings, you'll see different magazines with basic info and a number attached to each. From that main directory, you'll have to find the corresponding number in the other volumes, which will give you a lot of information about the publication, such as circulation, paid or free, what the pay rate is, by word or page, etc.

    This gives you info on what you need to do to contact the editors. That's a huge subject in itself. Plus, you'll need a structured query letter to make it all work. I have one that I developed over time. It's easily worth about $200K to me, so you can appreciate why I won't give it out here. I eventually want to create a WSO that shows exactly what I do, but that will take some time.

    As it is, I just finished a book about how to quickly generate content with methods that I've used for years. I hope to put out a WSO about that soon.

    Cheers!
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  • Profile picture of the author TSCarter
    As others have said, post samples that are UNRELATED to what they want.

    I as an American hold myself to a certain level of quality in what I buy, and more importantly, what I sell.

    I am a programmer, and have to compete against those from India who (like mentioned above) will work for pennies on the dollar. In most cases (not all), I end up getting the job anyway, and end up charging more than if I were to code it myself. Why? The time it takes for me to go through their code, fix the errors, upgrade the GUI, test and retest...takes more time than if I were to code it myself.

    When I purchase something, I don't mind paying the extra amount, if the quality is there.

    When 2 employees are up for the same raise. The employer gives the raise to the better employee. They both do the same job, work the same amount of time, but the better employee does it..better. Hence the quality is better.
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  • Profile picture of the author Glenellis
    Find one or two people who would be likely to hire someone like you, and offer to write something for them for free. Something they can actually use. Tell them all you ask in return is that they consider you for future projects, and if that isn't possible, at least give you a nice testimonial (you can even write THAT yourself and have them sign off on it).

    I got my first job out of college this way. I offered to work for free for two weeks just so they could see what I could do. At the end of the third day, they offered me a contract. No matter how overused it might be, the word FREE will still open a lot of doors. What you do after that is all up to you.
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