Guest author: Michael White
Why? Quite simply, freelance writing affords you the opportunity to get paid for what you enjoy doing and provides a strong degree of flexibility. Whilst the prospect of paid employment brings security of income and associated benefits, it is also littered by a plethora of drawbacks – namely rigid working hours, limited earning potential, travel and restrictions on creative spirit.
Given the option, I am sure the majority would agree that earning your corn by writing articles you are passionate about, from a boat sailing around the picturesque scenery of Halong Bay, certainly trumps staring out of a soulless office window pelted by rain!
Good & Bad Experiences
There are a number of freelancer sites, varying in terms of ethos, fees and clientele. My experiences have most certainly been wide ranging:
PeoplePerHour is a UK based website offering freelance work in a number of different trades. The writing section on the site is very active and projects pop up regularly throughout the course of each day. Being from the UK, this is the site I have found the most fruitful in terms of work awarded and hourly rate achieved. The main positive would be that buyers on the site are legitimate and typically price up jobs reasonably in relation to their expectations. The main drawback of the site are the service fees and withdrawal fees. These could be lower, but at the end of the day, PPH are a business and not a charity!
Elance. Experiences of this freelancer site have been negative. Again, a multi-purpose freelance site with a strong writing section, Elance is a worldwide platform, with jobs priced up in jobs and endless new projects offered on a daily basis. From personal experiences, I have found the competition to be extremely hot and the buyer’s budgets for their required work to be stingy.
Personal Website. For a short period of time, I had my own freelance writer website offering bespoke services. Unfortunately the benefits of being able to charge more and not pay any service fees upon completion of work were quickly outweighed by a lack of traffic and unpaid hours spent trying to get Google ranked.
Tips & Advice
It is my personal opinion that you can either write…or you can’t. Some freelance websites such as Copify etc. require a very rigid structure and style with their articles, constraining creativity in the process. ‘Programmed’ writers can get away carrying out work on these sites, where individual input and stamp are not a prerequisite – indeed they are discouraged. However I believe to be successful as a freelancer, you must enjoy writing, be good at it and it is imperative to write about subjects that are of interest and ignite passion – that way the articles are engaging and intriguing to the reader.
Next piece of advice. The three P’s. Persistence, Portfolio and Pitch.
Personally, I found it difficult to break through as a freelance writer with no previous work. You may have to set your hourly rate to an uncomfortably low level to obtain those first few projects (I know I did!), but after the positive feedback comes in and the portfolio grows, the work flows more readily. Your pitch for each project needs to be sound, relevant and eye catching and it is worth spending some time on.
Does Freelance Writing Provide a Good Income?
Pulling the splinters out of my behind…but it really does depend. Initially, perhaps not. As mentioned, you may have to compromise financial expectations in order to obtain favourable feedback. However, as the feedback grows, so can your hourly rate and income. It may not make you famously rich, but freelance writing can give you a nice income whilst allowing complete flexibility in terms of location and schedule.
If you can write, can deal with the prospect of a variable income and are prepared to be persistent then freelance writing could be for you. The work is not always guaranteed to be steady as it all depends on the number of length of projects required by the client, however having the power to bid on jobs enabled you as a freelance writer, to dictate the amount of hours you feel comfortable working.
Guest post by: Michael White