Expanding Your Horizons (Income Potential) As a Freelance Writer

One of the most common complaints that I see among writers online is that no one wants to pay for writing anymore and that it’s hard to earn a decent wage when so many business owners are outsourcing their work to other countries.  While there may be some merit to the complaints, innovative writers and creators thinkers know that their income potential is not limited by how some business owners decide to have their content created.  If you have found yourself in this situation and feel you are not making enough as a freelance writer, then you earn more by doing what writers do best – thinking outside the box.

Someone’s business model should never be allowed to dictate your worth as a writer.  There are markets for all types of content.  If you know that the content you create is worth more than the pennies a potential client wants to pay you, then move along to the next client.  There is always a market for excellent skills.  If you have specialized skills, many times you can capitalize on those as well.

Remember, never allow someone to tell you what your time and talent is worth.  While some clients are unwilling to pay more, there are many others who will.  You just have to learn how to seek them out while also making yourself as visible as possible.  Yes, your main job is writing, but marketing yourself is crucial as well.

Positioning Yourself to Earn More As a Writer

The writers who earn the most are those who position themselves well.  You can help increase your own earning potential as a writer by:

Creating a Stellar Portfolio

Every writer should have a portfolio.  Your portfolio is crucial in helping you to achieve the income you desire.  Make sure that your portfolio displays your best work and includes samples of all the types of content you can create.  If you have expertise or specialize in a certain area, make sure your portfolio reflects this experience as well.  For example, if you are a nurse, you might emphasize your ability to create health related content based on your credentials.  Such expertise is in high demand.

Ideally, you will want to register a unique domain name and obtain hosting for your online portfolio.  While you can use a free host like Blogger or the hosted version of WordPress, it is so easy and cheap to have your own website these days that it makes sense to brand yourself right from the beginning.

Blog About It

Since you have your portfolio online, you may as well have a blog also.  Don’t worry, there is no need to blog every day.  A well written post once a week should do the trick.  Your blog will give potential clients the opportunity to get an even better idea of your writing style and creativity.  So definitely consider having a blog.

Keeping Social Profiles Updated

Social websites are HUGE right now and you should take full advantage of the trend.  Create detailed profiles on all the top social websites (Facebook, Google +, LinkedIn, etc.) and interact with those in your field.  Join groups and contribute useful information.  You will be surprised how many opportunities will often arise because of your social visibility. Make certain that you go above and beyond when completing work for any clients you obtain as you will open yourself to even more opportunities.  If someone is extremely happy with your work, they will often recommend you to their associates.

Consider Publishing Ebooks and/or Affiliate Marketing

To boost your online income potential as a freelance writer even more, consider creating your own ebooks and/or affiliate marketing.  With the proliferation of e-readers, there is an enormous market for electronic content.  Not only can you sell your content directly from your own website, but Amazon and Barnes and Noble have HUGE markets with the Kindle and the Nook e-readers.

Affiliate marketing is another consideration for those wanting to earn more with their writing.  Basically, you are marketing someone’s product and earning a commission.  Creating content rich niche sites is an excellent way to accomplish this.  So, being a writer, you already have an advantage over many other beginning affiliate marketers.

 

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Finding Focus As a Writer

One of the main issues that I deal with as a writer is focus.  I tend to become distracted easily and time gets away from me.  I find hundreds of excellent sites to visit, tons of articles that I simple MUST read right now, and of course, I just have to look up new recipes before I forget about it.  Before I realize it, I have wasted hours on nonproductive activities that are of no help in finishing up ‘the assignment’ that is due in two days.

Over time, I have come to believe that if I want to be successful as a writer, then I must become a bit more focused.  Here are a few things that I have found to be helpful in maintaining my focus on writing:

Treating My Writing Like a Job – While I find that I am most productive in the afternoons, evenings, and nights, I still strive to treat my writing with the same respect that I would treat any other job.  I get up in the mornings around 9 or 9:30 AM – I definitely AM NOT a morning person – and dress as I would for any other job.  Although most days, it is jeans or slacks paired with a nice shirt, it helps to remind me that I have work to accomplish while also helping me to establish some structure, albeit loose structure.  Yes, it is GREAT that I can take care of other things if I need to, but for the most part, I find myself needing some structure in my day to accomplish anything.

Making Prioritized Lists – Though everyone does not require them, lists work VERY WELL for me since I tend to become sidetracked.  I make a list of all my writing associated task and prioritize them.  I like a physical list that I can keep right next to my computer, but I absolutely LOVE voo2do.com as well.  There is also a HUGE list of excellent list making resources on Mashable.

Pomodoro Technique – This has helped me manage my time much more efficiently.  The idea is to work in increments of 30 minutes at a time.  25 minutes are dedicated to actual work and 5 minutes are for taking a quick break to avoid burnout.  I used the 5 minute breaks for my mindless surfing.  This technique is so wonderful because it only requires a simple kitchen timer to get started. I prefer the excellent electronic version, though, that is available at Focus Booster.

Minimizing Outside Distractions – Okay, I really LOVE my family, but they tend to be a massive distraction (especially my mother) when it comes to my writing.  First, they tend to not take my writing seriously, and I have to constantly remind them that just because I do not go to an office every day does not mean that I am not working.  Therefore, I have to physically leave the house many days to get any work done.

 

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Understanding Your Abilities as a Freelance Writer

With the ongoing recession and increasing numbers of people losing their jobs, more people are searching for alternative ways to earn extra income. Desperation tends to bring out the resourcefulness in folks. However, when you are looking for ways to earn extra income, you must remember to recognize and play to your strengths. The quickest way to earn extra income is by performing work in areas in which you excel – which brings me to the point of this post.

Since working online has its allures, I notice many people recommending it as way to earn to way to earn extra cash to make ends meet. It is certainly true that you can earn an income online, but many people forget to mention that you actually need some type of skill to earn any appreciable income quickly, especially in the area of freelance writing.

Disturbingly, I am recognizing a trend where freelance writing is being touted as one of the top ways to earn money online.  It makes sense.  There are millions of websites online with more being created on a daily basis, AND all of these websites need content.  Therefore, fresh content is constantly in demand.  So, it stands to reason that the demand for writers is at an all time high.

Before I get ahead of myself, I will say that yes, there are plenty of opportunities for writers to earn extra income online.  However, before you decide that you are going to make extra money online writing, you should first be able to recognize and understand your abilities as a writer.  If you struggled in your high school and/or college English classes, odds are that you maybe should choose another way to earn extra income.  This is called “recognizing your abilities”.  There are many opportunities to earn online, so be sure that choose the one that works best for you.

As a freelance writer, make sure that you are accentuating your strengths.  If you have specialized, in demand knowledge or skill, be sure that highlight it in your bios and portfolio.  Writers who have specialized knowledge or skill command more income when that skill is marketed properly.

On the other hand, make sure that you are not limiting yourself.  For instance, while writing brief 500 word pieces is fine, you will need to expand your repertoire to ensure you are commanding the best rates.  Despite what you may have read, there are other types of writing in demand.

Take some time to research your craft.  Check out the websites and portfolios of other writers.  This will help you gauge your own abilities as well.  You should understand that creating website content is different from creating article content.  Sales page copywriting is different from press release writing.

Keep in mind that freelance writing requires just as much effort as any other job or career.  Therefore, you should treat it with as much respect as you would treat any other job.  Doing so will help ensure your success.

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The Importance of Respect When Writing Online

This morning, I was thinking quite a bit about respect, especially when you are trying to make money writing online.  These day, so many people hide behind the guise of the Internet to spew their vitriol – I find it all very distasteful.  While I expect people to disagree, it seems that we have gotten away from doing so in a respectful manner.  For some reason, the Internet seems to turn perfectly rational people into raving lunatics.

However, it is important to remember to be respectful of your clients and potential clients when you are building your online freelance writing business.  You must remain calm, rational, and most of all respectful even when they are occasionally irrational.  And trust me, if you do business for any length of time on the Internet, you will come across some crazy folks.

You must believe that you have what it takes to be a successful freelancer.  This extends beyond mere talent – you must have some type of business acumen as well.  Running a successful online writing business is more than just providing a stellar product.  It is about about providing stellar customer service also.  Being respectful of your clientele is a huge part of that equation.  You will definitely need to remember this when you run across the less than sane folks.

The funny thing about the Internet is that your words and actions can spread like wildfire, doing more damage than you intended.  While no expects you to allow yourself to be disrespected, just remember to be respectfully polite in all situations.  How you handle a potentially explosive situation can make or break you sometimes.  That’s just a part of life.  Being respectfully polite in such a situation may make a difference between whether you fail or succeed online as a writer.

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Do You Have What It Takes to Make Money Freelance Writing Online?

With the economy on shaky, uncertain ground, there has recently been a huge surge of people looking for ways to supplement their income.  For some reason, many of the forums that I frequent suggest that these folks should try their hand at online freelance writing/producing content for others online.  After all, information is the driving force behind the Internet.

The problem with this scenario is that many of the people who are looking to earn extra money online are not adequately equipped for the job.  There… I said it.  Hate me if you like, but I’ve simply stated the obvious truth.

Now, let’s get something straight.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with writing for your own blog and producing colorful, grammatically incorrect ‘content’ filled with spelling errors if that is what you want to do.  After all, I enjoy different getting to know you through your blog – it does not have to be perfect.  Plus, I understand that English may not be your first language, and that does not negate the fact that you may have something important/useful to say.

However, no serious business owner (the ones that pay the big bucks) wants you to produce that type of ‘content’ for his/her website.  There are two kinds of content produced for the Internet – search engine fodder and the serious, professionally written stuff that is actually meant to be read by real people.  Guess which kind pays the big bucks?  You guessed it… the kind that is meant to be read by real people.

With that being said, you have to be honest about your ability to write.  Even if you are already a decent writer, there is always still room for improvement.  You should be constantly perfecting and improving your craft.  Also, an ability to discern what types of content work best for your target audience will help to separate you from the crowd.

What I mean is that there are many people who write well.  However, most do not have the natural ability to connect with their target audience.  But this skill can be developed and honed over time.

Freelance writing online can be very lucrative if you are willing to put in the time and effort.  If you are really committed to making money writing online, then you need to understand that you have to set yourself apart from the other ‘writers’ online.  Writing online is becoming increasingly competitive and those who stand out by producing impeccable content and offering superior customer service are the ones who are able to demand the best rates.

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