Make Money on the Side with Freelance Writing - Elizabeth Stapleton
Elizabeth Stapleton
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Make Money on the Side with Freelance Writing

I am currently a full-time freelance writer but I actually started freelance writing to make more money on the side. One of the reasons I love freelance writing is the ROI on your time and effort.

While you can get freelance gigs that pay more than minimum wage, it is usually not much more than minimum wage. On the other hand with freelance writing, you can make upwards of hundreds of dollars an hour.

Freelance writing does require a bit more effort than completing a survey or driving for Lyft, but it can pay better too. I started freelancing on and off not long after starting my blog. While some people may think of freelance writing is tough to break into, if you are willing to put in the work, you can succeed.

Getting Started with Freelance Writing

The hardest part of anything is getting started. You might think the hardest part is finding freelance writing jobs but it is applying to the jobs. So the first thing I recommend you do is to put together a resume.

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If you don’t have a lot of writing experience then you can break it into parts to include your work experience and your writing experience. I promise you that you have some writing experience somewhere in your background.

Building a Portfolio

If you are looking to build your portfolio, there are lots of things you can do. First, you can start a blog which would not only give you a link you can send potential clients but a home on the web that people can use to find and contact you.

You can also reach out to your favorite bloggers (it’s easier if they know you from commenting on their site) and see if you can guest post on their site. You’d be providing them with content and they’d be providing you with more credibility as a writer.

Make sure you are making it easy for them. Consider using a tool like Grammarly to act as your own editor. You can install Grammarly for free and it covers basic mistakes. If you want to make an investment you can sign up for the professional plan, but it is definitely not necessary when you are just getting started.

Once you have a few examples to your name and a resume it’s time to go looking for freelance work.

Finding Freelance Writing Jobs

There are several ways to find freelance writing jobs, including freelance writing job boards, networking, and referrals.

Freelance Writing Job Boards

There are both free and paid job boards. If freelance writing is just a hobby or side hustle then you can definitely stick with the free job boards.

The reason you might what to consider a paid job board is to save you time. The one paid job board I use, Contena typically pulls together all the jobs from free job boards into one place so I’m not having to waste time checking tons of different websites each day.

Free Job Boards

Paid Job Boards

Networking

Personally, I’ve found most of my recurring freelance writing jobs through networking. Networking doesn’t necessarily have to be those awkward gatherings, it could just be connecting with others through various Facebook groups or other online communities. Here are a few Facebook groups I’d recommend:

Referrals & Testimonials

Referrals and Testimonials are likely the easiest way to land a freelance writing job. A referral is where someone who knows both you and the person looking for a writer, refers you to the job, are easier to get because there usually isn’t as much competition.

If you have done some work with a client that has ended and it went well, ask for a testimonial you can share with others. You can shout that you know how to write until you are blue in the face but it will still be more powerful if someone else says you know how to write.  Share the testimonials with potential clients and on your website/blog.

Pitching Freelance Writing Jobs

First, always follow the directions on the job board. If there aren’t any directions then it’s a good idea to share:

  1. Why you are reaching out to the contact (I saw your post on x site)
  2. What experience you have (explain why you’d be a good fit for the job)
  3. Some ideas for posts/articles that would work well for the site (pitch some titles)
  4. A few examples of your work (share a couple specific links to posts you’ve written and a link to your website)

Keep in mind when you are sharing all those things, to talk like you are a human and be clear in what you are trying to accomplish.

I get pitches from people wanting to post on my site fairly regularly and they always read like spam. The most genuine pitches still do get a pass because they are unclear in what they are trying to accomplish and they provide no ideas on what they would like to post.

You can tell they are sending a template to several people and not personalizing the pitch at all. It’s okay to start with a template but be sure to customize each pitch to the site you are pitching.

Learn More About Freelance Writing

If you want to learn more about freelance writing then I definitely recommend you check out Gina Horkey’s 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success Course. I took the course and it has had the biggest impact on being successful at freelance writing.

It walked me through everything step by step and prepared me to be successful and it comes with a community of other freelance writers. Anytime I have a question or need a second opinion on something with a pitch I just ask the community and they are quick to answer.

Gina Horkey also shares her own journey to becoming a full-time freelance writer at Horkey Handbook – She gives great advice that is very applicable and helpful. 

Hustle tools & resources i recommend

GRAMMARLY (BE A BETTER WRITER) I use Grammarly as a second pair of eyes to help me clean up and proofread my writing/typing. The best part is that it is free to use. You can install an extension on your web browser and it will check any writing you do online. While there is a paid premium version, you can get by with the free version for a long time. I only recently upgraded. If you want to know more about Grammarly, you can read my review.

30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success (to start freelance writing) Personally, I found the course, 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success extremely helpful to get me started with freelance writing. It breaks down everything you need to do, step by step, so that by the time you get to pitching for jobs, you are prepared and successful. For me, the course paid for itself when I got my first freelance writing job. I now earn between $2,000 - $4,000 per month (check out my income reports) with freelance writing.

Lyft (to make money driving) Driving with Lyft is a great way to earn some extra cash. I love how easy it is to just turn on an app when I feel like driving and make some money. I wrote an entire post about driving for Lyft. It includes what you can expect during the application process, what it's like to actually drive and the many perks of driving with Lyft.  Get started driving for Lyft.

BookScouter (to make money selling your books) BookScouter allows you to enter your book's ISBN number and it compares the prices it would get from various sellers, making sure you fetch the most money possible for selling that book.

Contena (for Finding Freelance Writing Jobs) I used Contena when I was working my 9-5 and getting started freelance writing. It made it easy to find freelance writing jobs to pitch. While it's not a cheap Contena is definitely worth it if you don't have a ton of time to spend looking for freelance writing jobs to pitch. Contena pulls together pretty much all of the available freelance writing jobs out there into one place and will  notify you via email of ones in your niche. 

Rover (make money hanging with dogs) Rover is a website that connects pet sitters with pet owners. I did a video tutorial on how to use the site as pet sitter and the accompanying post goes over what makes Rover a great side hustle. Read and watch the post or get started petsitting.

About the Author Elizabeth Stapleton

Elizabeth Stapleton is the founder and voice behind Less Debt More Wine and ElizabethStapleton.com. She is a Pinterest marketer, online entrepreneur, and recovering attorney whose writing has been featured on Entrepreneur.com, The Huffington Post, The Penny Hoarder, Budgets Are Sexy, Credit Sesame, and Magnify Money. Additionally, she has been quoted in articles on Business Insider, Student Loan Hero, and Nerd Wallet.

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