Freelance SEO Writing: Insight into How to Start This Career While Working a Full-time Job

How to start a freelance writing career while working a full-time job?” I would rank this question, or some variety of it, in the Top 5 I receive about freelancing. This post discusses this in detail. After reading it, you’ll know exactly what to do to get started.

Before I get to the answer, I just wanted to say — as is so often the case, this question was sent in by a reader, which I love. Why? because it’s really easy to write a post when you’re answering a question a reader sends in because I know it’s something that you too may want to know about. So if you have a question, send it in. If it’s “universal” enough, I’ll definitely answer it.

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

I promised to give the reader a thorough answer, so this post is long and contains a lot of detail. Following is what she wrote:

Hello Yuwanda,

I understand that you are busy. And you may not respond to this message. However, I thought I would just throw it out there. This may be a topic that appeals to a lot of part-time freelance writers.

I work a full time job [in the hospitality industry]. So, it is very stressing, I try not to take things personally. … I am on the phone with a guest for 5 minutes because they only hear what they want to hear. I play all the tricks of the trade; put a pink cloud, kill them with kindness, hold your blue rock, etc, etc. And still no budge!

By the time I finished my 8 hour shift I am mentally drained and just want to clear my mind from all the negativity.How to Write a Novel in Just 10 Minutes a Day

I know Seo articles [writing SEO content] is the way to get [freelance writing] clients in the door. However, you say write 10 a day. I can’t wait for the day that I can do that with ease. I really want to quit my job because I am like you: Type A personality, wanting to dance to my own tune, travel and write, etc, etc.

I know if I jump right in I will be a success, but I have to be practical, because I have no savings. If it wasn’t for my SCORE mentor, I would have taken the leap already, but he keeps me in check. You say you are going to work 10-12 hour days, I can’t wait to the day I can do that as well. I am curious to know if you will be willing to share exactly what you do for 10-12 hours a day. (emphasis added)

I have [a couple of days during the week] off from my job. However, I use that time for Networking (takes more time since I gave up my car and bussing it everywhere). So, it will be very helpful for me to find out how to structure my 10- 12 hour days with my limited availability.

I understand that you are busy, but as always thank you for all of your time and knowledge. You are truly an inspiration to me and other writers as well.

Thank You

Note: This post was originally written in 2010. I updated it in 2018. As I was taking a look back, it made me realize how much some things change (how my work days have changed) — and how other stay the same (financial self-sufficiency from my own projects).

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A Day in the Life of a Freelance SEO Writer: An Hourly Rundown

As a SEO writer, my days have changed dramatically from when I first started doing SEO writing. That’s because I’m working towards different goals.Diversify Your Freelance Writing Income with Affiliate Marketing

I covered what my days as a freelance SEO writer used to look like when I first started writing online content in a blog I used to write for back in 2008.

I started to rewrite this content, but figured that linking out to it is better because I was “in the fire” then, so to speak. Hence, I probably had greater clarity then.

One thing I want to point out is that marketing for SEO writing work was the first thing I did each day. This is particularly important when you are just starting out because, as with any new venture, marketing is going to eat up the bulk of your time. In fact, it should take up 50%-75% of your work day.

If you don’t have clients, all of the other “busy stuff” you may preoccupy yourself with doesn’t mean a hill of beans because without clients, it’s all for naught. So make marketing the first thing you do every day. And, commit to a certain number.

Freelance Tip: One way to stay successfully employed as a freelance writer is to diversify your income. One way I do it is with affiliate marketing.  Here’s some insight into how and why.

Why I Stopped Marketing for SEO Writing Jobs Consistently

When I first started, I made contact with at least 20 new contacts a day. The busier I got, the more I cut back. Why? For three reasons:

I. Steady Clients

I had about 30 clients I worked with back then; about a dozen of them were very regular. They kept me busy enough to pay my bills, but not so busy that I didn’t have time to concentrate on other work, which brings me to the second reason I stopped marketing for SEO writing work regularly . . .

II. Retiring from Writing Client Copy

I had my own projects I wanted to concentrate on, so my goal was to retire from actually writing for clients and step into a full managerial role at New Media Words, my SEO writing company. That had been a dream for a few years.

I contracted with four SEO writers, but I still did a lot of writing myself. That meant my days were really, really crazy with everything on my plate . . . which brings me to the last reason marketing for SEO writing work was not a top priority.

III. Hands in Many Pies

I had my hand in so many projects, it was ridiculous. For example, I was co-authoring a line of real estate books with one of my sisters, who’s also a write, in addition to:

This was in addition to still writing for clients. I felt soooo scattered. So something had to give — and o longer writing content for clients was it, because it fit my overall life plan – which is to derive the bulk of my income from my own products and services, instead of writing for clients.

Why My Schedule as a Freelance Writer May Not Work for You

I’m single and I don’t have children. I could literally work around the clock if I want to, so don’t get discouraged if you’re thinking, “I can’t possibly keep up!” You can. You just have to find a schedule that works for you.

An Inspirational Story of “Making It Work Because You Have To”failure_is_not_an_option

I have several girlfriends who are single moms. One went back to nursing school in her early 40s, right after she had her son. She was broke, with patchy childcare and she had a job. But, she found a way to go to school.

She said she’d get up at 4 am to study every morning; two hours before she had to get her son up to take him to the baby sitter’s, or pre-school (once he got old enough).

I couldn’t study chemistry and biology at 21 with enough sleep and no child responsibilities. Can you imagine:

Working at a minimum wage job you hated;

Then going to class (and staying focused);

Then picking up your child from day care, feeding and caring for him;

Then sitting down to study for an hour or two after you tucked him in . . .

AND getting up and doing it all over again – for four years (it took her that long to finish because she had a child) – averaging four to five hours of sleep per night, if you’re lucky?

My girlfriend used to say, “I have to make it work Yuwanda; I have no choice. No one else is going to take care of me and my son and I can’t make it on minimum wage.” For years, she’s held ahigh-paying job as a nurse at top medical facilities in her hometown. Her son is almost off to college — with athletic and academic scholarships to choose from, thank you very much.

She owns her own home, and even won a prestigious industry (nursing) award. So all that hard work and perseverance paid off. This is why to me, single moms single parents are God’s angels on earth. I literally don’t know how you all do it, but my hat (and scarf, and gloves, and pants, and shoes and underplunders!) are off to you. You make the rest of us look like lazy slobs!

My point is, if you want it bad enough, you will make it work.

Before I sat down to write this post, I received the following email from another reader. It dove-tailed with the first reader’s question so well that I knew that this post was meant to be (I believe God works in mysterious ways, and this was an issue that obviously needed addressing).

Social Media Consulting, SEO Writing, Small Biz Marketing Ebook Package

More Questions from Another Reader about SEO Writing

She wrote:

I’m considering purchasing your SEO writing ebook. With your system for getting seo content writing jobs:

Could someone working full-time use the system? You mentioned that you received a request for 10 articles that were completed in 5 hours. Not sure how I would handle this working full-time. When working with these SEO firms, are you able to refuse assignments without penalty?

To answer her questions:

Could someone working full-time use the system [outlined in my SEO writing ebook]? 

Yes, if you’re employed full time you can use the system I outline in that ebook to start out part time. You just have to realize how much work you can take onand still meet deadlines.

For the record, most don’t expect a 24-hour turnaround. Three to four days — even a week — is somewhat of a norm these days. When I first started in 2007, a 24-hour turnaround is a tactic I used to use all the time to hook clients because many of them would “batch order” like this. And, I wanted them to use me again and again and again, so I’d work through the night to get a project done if I had to.

These days, clients tend to order longer (long-form) content (750; 1,000; 1,500 words), and the turnround times are very liberal.

Remember, I’d been downsized out of a job and needed to make bank quick in order to keep up with my bills. Also, don’t forget, I was single and I didn’t (still don’t) have children. Lesson: Know your limits.

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When working with these SEO firms, are you able to refuse assignments without penalty?

As a freelance writer, you can take on any projects (or not) you want. Just starting out though, you’re going to want to say yes to most clients simply because you don’t want to give the impression that you can’t handle the workload.

Clients don’t “penalize you;” they just may not call on you again (which many may consider a penalty). The only reason I turned down work in the beginning was if someone couldn’t meet my SEO writing rate.

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Start a Freelance Writing Career While Working Fulltime: 3 Timeless Tips

Boing it down to the bare necessitieis, following is what you need to do to one day be able to quit your full-time job to freelance full-tkme.

Find Time

As the previously linked-to post by six-figure freelancer Laura Pennington illustrates, there are pockets in your day you can use to start freelancing. In the morning before you go to your full-time job. On the train/bus to work. At night after family responsibilites have been handled. Weekends. Holidays. Sick days. Vacation days.

Whatever and wherever those pockets of time are, find them and once you do …


Even if you can only find 30 minutes a day, have a dedicated task you’re going to focus on during this time. Even at a snail’s pace, you’d be amazed at the results it can yieled when used consistently in a focused manner.

Tie It to a Future Dream

Many give up because they get frustrated and dont’ think they’re making progress, or that it’ll never work because they simply don’thave time. But if you tie your freelance dreams to a bigger, important dream (ie, I will be able to be home when my kids get out of school every day), then you’ll be more liekly to stick with it.

I hope I’ve given you enough food for thought though, and shed some light on what life is like as a freelance SEO writer, and how to get started while working a full-time job.

P.S.: Crave Freelance Freedom?

There are a wealth of freelance business opportunities brought on by the digital age that you can turn into a  successful freelance business. Here’s one freelancer’s inspiring story of how she went from being fired, to earning over $200,000 (not a typo) — per month! Her mission now? To help you do the same.

P.P.S.: Start a High-Paying Online Writing Business: Free Ecourse

There are so many online writing opportunities these days. And with the right knowledge, it’s an excellent way to earn a living from home – on a PT or FT basis. Get trained to get started!Get trained to become a highly paid SEO writer. Start for free.

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