I’m excited to feature my friend, Sue, who has made a living making money as a freelance writer. In this guest post, Sue reveals how she has done it, even though she started with no tech skills and no experience in the “make money online” world. Enjoy!
Note from Sue: Uh-oh… Ryan got me started on a topic I get super-passionate about! He’s been promising he’d share some ways you can make money online even if you’re a tech doofus (OK, that’s my term, not his – but you get the idea). So, from a girl who can’t even work a VCR (and yes, I still own one!) – here’s how I went from zero to a full-time income online in less than six months.
While we’d all like to take some sort of Internet marketing genius pill and instantly, intuitively know everything there is to know about HTML, shopping carts, autoresponders, and backlinks, it’s not going to happen. Success as an online marketer has a learning curve that can’t be completely eliminated no matter who you’ve got as a mentor. There’s tech stuff to learn, entrepreneur stuff to learn, business stuff to learn, management stuff to learn, and even personal development stuff to learn. If you got started today on all of that, it wouldn’t be too soon.
But that learning curve doesn’t mean you’re doomed to being chained to a desk or otherwise stuck in a job you hate in the meantime… even if you can barely figure out how to right click.
What do you see when you go online? Words, right? Websites, articles, blogs, forums… tons and tons of words.
Who writes all that stuff? (OK, sometimes it looks like monkeys wrote some of it, but let’s just go with the stuff that’s actually good, valuable, readable content.)
I do! (OK, so maybe not ALL of that stuff – but some days it feels like it.)
That’s how I’ve earned a full-time income for the past nearly five years – and I’ve taught lots of people how to do the same.
Can we play Journalist for a sec here? I’d like to give you the scoop on writing for the web as a way to make money online – we’ll go through the whole who, what, where, when, why, and how so you can get enough info to see if it’s a fit for you.
Who can make money writing online?
I used to say ‘anyone’ – until I saw some really, really bad writing samples. So, let’s just say, if you love reading, if you love writing, and if you’ve been told you’re a good writer, you’re probably good enough. You don’t need an English or Journalism degree. You don’t need paid writing experience. You don’t need any of that. You do need to love learning about stuff, being able to communicate, and be willing to work (sometimes hard).
What would you write?
Web writers create everything from articles to white papers. Most business owners are so busy running their businesses that they don’t have time to write all the content they need to build an online presence. They know how important it is to be found online – whether they’re selling information products, shoes, or plumbing repair – and getting good content written is a huge part of success online.
Where do you find clients?
There are two basic places you can find clients – online and offline. Online, try sites like Guru and Elance to start (you’ll have to sort through because you’ll find some awful gigs as well as great ones). Offline, the businesses you do business with are a great place to start – every business needs a website, every site needs words.
When can I expect to make money from this?
It probably won’t happen overnight, honestly. But it MAY happen way faster than you’d ever imagine. I’ve got one student – a college student doing this on the side – who landed a couple thousand dollars worth of projects within weeks of getting started (no, not writing papers for classmates). A lot depends on how diligently you go looking for work.
Why is this a good way to make money online?
Because other than a computer and Internet, you don’t need much to get started – and you can be earning the whole time you’re building your own online business as an affiliate or info marketer. It might turn into a business that’s bigger than you (I’ve got about a dozen writers on my team now… never thought that would happen!), or you might just want to earn a few hundred a week – it’s really flexible, and you can do it from anywhere.
How do I get started?
First, I beg of you, check with people who love you enough to tell you the truth. Ask them whether you’re a good writer. If they say yes, start off by building a portfolio of articles. Write about stuff you know well. Throw in some affiliate links if you want so your portfolio can make you money while you look for paid gigs. Then join a freelance job site and start sending proposals. I recommend sending five a day, five days a week while you’re getting started. Learn all you can about how to do the writing projects business owners want most, and you’ll keep your project calendar as full as you like.
Building a business writing for the web has been a huge blessing and opportunity for me – I hope if it’s a good fit for your skills and talents that you’ll dive in and do it, too. There’s plenty of work to go around!
If you’d like more info to get started as a freelance writer, read my free report called “How to Make Money Writing.”