Internet users spend 7.8 hours a day consuming digital content, with millennials browsing the online world for a staggering 9.6 hours. That’s compared to the mere 6.8 hours that an average American spends sleeping. The demand for content is massive, and the need for personalized and thoughtful blog content is ever increasing. Although freelance writing is yet to be classified as a real career in universities or when filling out forms, it can be a lucrative source of income. That’s not to mention the fact that bloggers can work remotely and therefore, enjoy the freedom of location independence.
As a freelance writer and full-time traveler, I am always wanting to help others achieve a similar lifestyle. It isn’t for everyone, but if you are passionate about writing and have the independence to get started on your own, then this career path is achievable. In fact, it isn’t that difficult or risky if you know how to get started.
Begin BloggingA writer has to write. Whether you have paid work or not, it is the only way to get any good. Being a competent writer isn’t sufficient for success, but it is necessary. There are many free platforms like Blogger, Medium, and Tumblr to choose from. Set one up and start adding content. The chances are it will be bad and ill-thought out, but over time you will get an idea of what you enjoy writing and what you don’t.
Like me, you might begin by incoherently rambling about topical or philosophical issues. However, it is crucial to put the work out there and to make it public. By sharing on your social media, you are ensuring you put the effort in to produce something readable and entertaining. Just writing a few sentences on a regular basis is enough to keep the creative juices flowing and build your talent as a writer.
Take a Course
There are two things you need to understand to make it as a professional writer: how to write well and how the industry works. There is no point in being a great niche writer for a market that doesn’t exist. Both of these things can be taught, and finding the right course can kickstart your career and put you on the right path.
I stumbled upon the British College of Journalism course in Freelance Journalism. I paid the fee, despite having no income and being almost completely broke, and was assigned a tutor with years of experience. They taught me how to pitch an article and write good copy to a deadline while staying in the good books of editors. They give detailed feedback and issue you with a diploma and media pass. The qualification is less important than the industry knowledge and writing skills that are taught. Courses like this also give you the belief that if you want it enough, you can achieve full-time remote work as a writer. Before the course ended, I’d been paid £10 for an online blog with my name on it. Nothing quite beats that feeling of being a paid and published author.
Browse the Job Boards
The demand for written content is enormous, but it can be hard to know where to look. Start with job boards. The best freelance writing sites are dedicated solely to blogging, such as ProBlogger and The Freelance Writers Den. Sometimes they are free, sometimes they cost money. Generally speaking, you should be able to find work without paying. You can also check out more general remote work job boards like FlexJobs and Craigslist. Then there are Facebook pages dedicated to connecting content writers with site owners.
Sure, these places are full of spammers and scammers. However, mixed in among them are genuine employers looking for talented and hardworking writers to provide valuable blog content. Over time, you will become more efficient at finding work until you have a steady income stream.
Dedicate Half Your Working Day to Finding Remote Work
Depending on your circumstances, you may feel that you simply lack time to discover writing gigs. At first, there will always be a risk to take. If you are unemployed, then you should spend half of your day looking for remote work and the other half searching for location-dependent jobs in your area. If you are working part-time, then spend the time away from work on building a freelance writing career. About four hours a day is bound to get you making progress towards full-time remote work.
Finding freelance writing opportunities isn’t just about browsing job boards and sending off pitches. You should be building a portfolio for when you are inevitably asked to provide samples and keeping an eye out for exciting publications. If you see a site providing genuinely inspirational and well-researched content, then the chances are they are paying for that. If you find content that you’d be passionate writing about, then dropping them a cheeky Facebook message could just land you on the team as a regular contributor.
The demand for writers far outweighs supply. Once you understand this, becoming a freelance writer suddenly seems achievable. As with any profession, it requires dedication and passion. However, the creative freedom and sense of fulfillment is incredible, so don’t give up on your dream of becoming a full-time remote writer.
Written by Thom Brown