There’s a large number of ways to make money as a writer. With the Internet giving us access to clients worldwide, opportunities have never been more numerous. But where do we begin? In this article, we’ll take a look at eleven ways that freelance writers can make money online.
11. Article Writing for Publications
This may be the most familiar approach for anyone who has spent time getting their work published in print and/or on a publication’s website. Considering that email is now the de facto standard, your queries will be submitted almost exclusively online. It’s your job to craft a compelling article idea that an editor would be happy to have as part of their publication.
Once a query is accepted, you are then obligated to create a finished product. Often, this will start as a one-off project until you form a reliable working relationship with the publication. After successfully completing this first project, you essentially have your foot in the door. From here on out, you can pitch additional ideas and create a long-term relationship with the publication.
Additionally, if your work proves to be popular, you can parlay your freelance career into a staff writing position that can guarantee regular work. Some writers shy away from this, while others welcome a little bit of job security. It all depends on your personal goals and how you want to run your freelance career.
10. Working Remotely
If you’ve managed to secure a regular job, you may be able to negotiate working from home. With the burgeoning “gig economy,” the commute, work-appropriate attire, and office politics may be a thing of the past for you.
The advantage to working remotely is that you can supplement this steady gig with other work and do them simultaneously. Often, this is what entices freelancers who don’t want to have their income capped off and moderated by infrequent pay raises.
Working a remote gig in this fashion, however, does mean you have to adhere to office hours and availability for meetings (usually via Skype), so it may not be a solution if you have the freelance version of “itchy feet.” Still, the security and benefits of a regular paycheck can’t be overlooked.
9. Ebooks for Others
If you have the knack to publish your own ebook and can prove that you can do the same for potential clients, you may not ever have to look for another job again. These days, ebooks are highly in-demand from clients, as they form passive-income streams that entrepreneurs just love. Think about it: after a book is published and it is in the public consciousness via marketing, it can continue to pay for itself (and beyond) for years.
There isn’t one type of ebook, of course. Fiction, instructional, erotica, advertising—there’s an entire gamut of ebooks that are always available for freelance writers to assist clients with. Some are just happy to have a finished product, while others devise a large-scale marketing campaign and online courses around a methodology.
It helps to be specialized when it comes to ebooks. Writers that create fiction may not be able to transfer those same skills for a client’s non-fiction book. Of course, this depends on the client; some are happy to just have a warm body typing on their behalf.
Before getting down to work on ebooks, make sure you have the parameters of the book fleshed out beforehand. Some like to undercut freelancers, expecting you to not only handle the words, but also the layout. If that’s your forte, then more power to you. I’ve had clients provide strict word count guidelines but only give minimal direction on just what the book should contain. It’s not unheard of to see “writer needed for 10,000 word ebook on ketogenic fitness.” That’s it; everything else is based on your discretion.
8. Online Courses
Monetizing your freelance business in different ways is a smart way of keeping your writing career fresh. If you’ve managed to learn a bunch about certain topics, you may be able to craft an online course that teaches in-depth knowledge to the curious.
It’s mandatory to have a website set up for this purpose with a paywall. If someone wants the good stuff, they’ll have to pay for it. To entice people, you’ll have to create content—written and otherwise—that conveys to the reader that you can bring value. Often, a free ebook with sample material can be enough bait to snare those on the fence about your ability.
The nitty-gritty of creating online courses is that you will have to structure your information much in the same linear way that teachers do. I’ve seen online courses that offer subscription services with a host of material (i.e. inspirational emails, access to exclusive forums, etc.)
You can also offer Skype one-on-one meetings (or “online classrooms”), where you can help explain your course material and offer personalized advice. It makes sense to charge more for these meetings, as your time is locked down to this activity exclusively. Some online courses are conceived with this as their end-goal. So, it’s really just how you want to structure your business and time.
7. Academic Papers
If it’s not the price of college that’s exhausting, then it must be the workload. It’s hard to tell whether students are lazy or overworked—either way, if you’re looking for a ripe market to explore, consider cruising school-related forums/websites and offering your services to lighten their load.
If you’ve attended the college beforehand and have a current knowledge of what each teacher is looking for, you have an advantage over other freelancers. It may also be helpful to have your old college access-credentials to stay on top; assignments are often given out on private servers, so being able to verify what the assignments are and when they’re distributed can give you an advantage when looking for work.
Be aware that students may view your efforts with suspicion (the stakes are high if they’re caught outsourcing their work), so aim to create contracts that explicitly state a non-disclosure agreement to protect their identity. Also, try to match the tone of the student’s previous work—a spike in quality can put teachers on alert, especially if the student had been lagging beforehand.
Overall, academic papers pay more than standard market rates for content, as you have to adhere to a strict type of style and short deadlines. Professors are notorious for having stringent guidelines that are particular to each course and you may run the risk of crafting a great essay, but getting a bad grade for your student-client because you didn’t use “double-spaced 12pt Times New Roman with ½’’ margins.”
Finally, plagiarism is especially frowned upon when it comes to academia, so writing academic papers may be a far cry from some of the ad copy and blogs that you may be used to.
There are many more ways that you can make money online. Click here to read the rest of this article.