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Who Should NOT Become a Freelance Writer: Does This Ring True for You?

A couple of days ago, I received an email from a gentleman inquiring about Inkwell Editorial’s SEO writing ecourse. I advised him against taking it. The reason I decided to do a post about this because I think a lot of people may have the same questions/concerns he did, and I wanted to provide a bit more insight than I did in my answer to him. He wrote:

Hi Yuwanda Black.

I have been thinking and reading about your SEO Writers Course, but I am not sure that it would work for me with my limited education, maybe you can help. I have worked in construction all my life, I only have a high school education. I retired 15 yrs ago now, could use something to do and could use the extra money being on SS. I would not expect to earn a lot but it would be great to have an income.

A problem for me, I don’t know what I would write on an about me page??? (Yuwanda, your page is great.) How do you think that I may handle this? Do you think that I could learn to be a SEO writer? Maybe you think I would do better in some other field! Your thoughts would be much appreciated.

P. S. Oh, I read somewhere in your writings that there is a way to receive a 25% discount on the SEO Course?

Note: This post contains affiliate links. Here’s the site’s affiliate disclosure policy for full details.

My Answer


B-:

First, thanks for your kind words.

As to your questions, there is no experience necessary to become a SEO writer. All you need is to know how to read and write. SEO is not difficult, it’s just learning the rules of writing for the web—and that has nothing to do with what level of education you have.

Now, as for interest, that’s a whole other thing. You don’t sound sure that this is something you want to do. There’s a lot of work for online (SEO) writers, but you have to be proactive in going after it. So if it’s not something you really want to do, I wouldn’t advise expending the money and time it would take to get up and going. I’d say look for something that gets you excited – and can bring in extra money.

If you do decide to proceed with the course, to get the discount, subscribe to the newsletter at GetaMobileCareer.com. There’s a discount mentioned in the free ebook you get when you subscribe.

RE an about page — don’t worry about that. Many freelance writers don’t even have one. What clients will be interested in are your services and your rates. But if you do put one up, it can be very simple, ie, your name, your previous profession and listing of a few hobbies.

Again, what clients really want to know are your rates and your services. Really, the only time your bio becomes of interest to them is if it’s relevant to a niche you’re writing in.

Hope this insight helps, and good luck however you decide to proceed.

Best,
Yuwanda

That was the end of our exchange. Following are a few more things I want to add.

Is Freelance Writing a “Just Because” Career for You?

If you’re thinking of starting a freelance writing career “just because” it’s easy to get into, and it seems like something “everyone can do,” then I wouldn’t advise it.

It is an easy career to start. There’s no disputing that. If you have a computer and an internet connection, that’s basically all you need to get started.

Also, you don’t need any type of education; just the ability to read and write well. FYI, here’s a detailed article on the skills and qualifications a good freelance (SEO) writer needs these days. HOWEVER …

Starting any type of business requires a lot of unpaid effort in the beginning. And then, there are the dry spells that happen once you are up and going. So if you’re not really, really interested in this type of career from the beginning, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll stick with it in the long run.

Do You Have to “Love” Writing to Be Successful as a Freelance Writer?

FYI, I don’t think that “passion” is necessary to be successful as a freelancer. I’m not passionate about writing – what I am is passionate about the type of life it allows me to lead. For example, I’m writing this blog post from a gorgeous hotel in New Orleans, just a few blocks from the infamous French Quarter. I’ve been here for almost a week. Tomorrow, I’m off to Atlanta, then back to Jamaica.

In short, freelance writing allows me to live life on my terms. I don’t have to ask or wait for “vacation” to roll around. I can pick up and go when I want (budget allowing) and stay for as long as I want. I met one of my girlfriends here (we do an annual “girls getaway” every year or so). She left a couple of days ago because she had to get back to work. I don’t have those restrictions.

So even though I’m not “in love” with writing, I am in love with the kind of life I lead; big, important distinction.

Is Freelance Writing a Good Second / Non-Traditional Career Choice?

Freelance writing can be a great, second career – for retirees looking to earn extra money; new parent(s) who want to find a way to stay home with their children instead of going back to a traditional 9 to 5; college student who wants to travel upon graduating instead of going right into the workforce.

Freelancing is becoming a way of life for many. Proof? Consider the following from Freelancing in America 2016, a recent study commissioned by gig site Upwork and the Freelancers Union.

  • 35% of Americans (55 million) are freelancing;
  • 54% earned more within a year of leaving a full-time job;
  • 63% report that they started more from personal choice than from necessity; and
  • 79% said freelancing is better than working a traditional job.

These stats underscore two points: freelancers are able to make a go of it pretty quickly once they step out on their own (a major fear many have); and many are actively choosing “the freelance life” – and are happy they did so.

Again, if you’re fully committed to making freelance writing work, it’s a wonderful way to earn a living. Except for an 18-month stint between 2006 and 2007, I literally can’t imagine doing anything else.

Are You Good Enough to Become a Freelance Writer?

If you do decide to start freelancing, don’t compare yourself to others; especially others who have been at this a lot longer than you. I bring this up because the writer of the email pointed out how great he thought my “About” page was.

I’ve been at this a long time. Of course my page is going to reflect much more experience than someone who’s just starting. So don’t let this intimidate you.

We all have to start somewhere — and you bring a lot more to the table than you probably realize. If you have good writing skill and the ability to conduct research, you can most likely make a go of freelance writing. So never doubt that because you don’t have experience or a long list of things to put on a profile page, that you’re not good enough.

FYI, here’s some great insight about how to write a compelling “About” page. See #5 especially if you have no experience as a freelance writer, but other professional experience. It’s a great jumping-off point.

And #3 is something we can all do — whether we have “just” a high-school education, or have recently graduated college and never had a job. Remember, you exist in the world as a human being. That counts for something! Hell, it counts for a lot!

Online (SEO) Writing: STILL One of the Best Careers Around

I just wanted to point out to anyone who’s really interested in freelance writing, that online (SEO) writing is still one of the best ways to make a living online. And the reason I say that is that, thanks to content marketing, there’s so much demand for it. Following are some stats from a Content Marketing Institute post that underscores why.

  • According to a 2015 IBM Digital Experience Survey, 56% of marketers believe that personalized content promotes higher engagement rates [this makes it easier for consumers to remember – and buy from – their favorite brands].
  • Content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing, it generates more than three times as many leads.
  • 88% of B2B marketers use content marketing in their marketing strategies.
  • For every $1 spent, email [which means newsletters] gives back a whopping $38 in ROI, and offers the broadest reach
  • 73% of major organizations hire someone to manage their content marketing strategy [this means you freelancers!]

So the work is there, you just have to figure out a plan for how you’re going to get it.

How to Find Freelance Writing Jobs: Insight from a Successful Online Writer

A long-time freelancer gave some great insight in the comments section of this post on how to do it. He wrote, in part:

If you are starting now, just keep in mind that while direct email still works, you probably need to at least double the volume to get the same results. … Starting today, I would also try to use LinkedIn more. I prefer this medium to Facebook and Twitter, because these are all people looking to do business, and you can connect directly with decision makers. …

Send connect invites to LinkedIn open networkers (L.I.O.Ns) — there’s plenty of LIONs btw, then send an innocuous “thank you for connecting” message saying to let them know if you can help them with any of their writing needs. Do this consistently, and you will definitely get clients.

FYI, this freelancer starting his SEO writing career by purchasing this ebook six-and-a-half years ago. He’s carved out an amazing business for himself. He’s proof that if you put in the work, you will reap the rewards.

Conclusion

Freelance writing is an amazing career, but it’s not for everybody. And only you can determine if it’s right for you. So be honest with yourself, and if you decide that it’s not – great! Why? Because it gets you that much closer to finding out what is right for you.

But if you do decide to start and know nothing about online writing, the SEO copywriting class mentioned at the beginning of this post is a great place to start.

I hope this insight helps, and good luck whatever you decide.

P.S.: If You’re Serious about Starting a Freelance Writing Career, You Need a Website/Blog. Click here to learn why and how to start one.

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    Comments

    1. Hello Yuwanda,

      This is my third year freelancing and can’t exchange it for a traditional job. While this is the case, it has its downsides. For example, I tend to suffer from loneliness especially when I spend the entire day in my house on my own. All in all, it’s the best decision I ever made.

      • Duncan:

        First, congrats on three years of successful freelancing. You know how many never make it to that point. Quite a feat.

        As for loneliness, have you ever tried joining a networking group, eg, signing up with your local Chamber of Commerce? Not only is it a great way to get out and be with ppl, it’s a good way to drum up work too, as this post explains. This can get you out of the house at least twice per week.

        Continued success to you, and thanks for dropping by to share your thoughts.

    2. Great points you have here Yuwanda. I would answer the same thing if I was asked the question. And definitely, he needs a blog to start with! I was wondering, what is your best tip or technique in writing? I wanted to hear your expert opinion about it 🙂 thanks in advance!
      Emmerey Rose recently posted…Want More Links And Traffic? Have You Tried Reddit?My Profile

      • Thanks Emmerey for “seconding” my advice. Freelance writing isn’t for everyone, and it’s best to learn that early on, esp before putting out cold, hard cash for a class.

        As for my best writing tip — do a brain purge first. As in, if you have an idea for a topic, jot down an outline. Then, when you start to write, just write and get it out of your head first. Don’t worry about proofing or editing at this point. You can do that later.

        The reason I write like this is, I find that some of my best ideas come to me out of the blue. And with the idea, I usually have a few points that immediately come to mind that I want to cover in a piece. So, I’ll jot those down — and they invariably become a big part of my outline. This makes the writing flow pretty easily once I start — and I invariably add more than what was in that original outline.

        Hope this insight helps … and great question! 🙂

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