Free Freelance Writing Guide – Just a Reminder!

For those of you that have just started visiting FreelanceWriterGuide.com, I’m so happy you could join us here! I started this site to help people that are curious about writing for money online with a guide to freelance writing, links to freelance writing sites, and a list of freelance writing scams to avoid to maximize their efficiency and earning potential. I wrote a little e-book about the process that I’ve posted for free: Free Freelance Writing Guide so that everyone has a fair glimpse ‘behind the scenes.’

A picture of a logo banner that reads freelance writer guide.com write your own destiny.

Here’s the lowdown, if you wanted a Cliffs Notes version:

  • What is Freelance Writing?

Articles, product descriptions, press releases, blogs, you name it. It generally will not be stories, poems and other things of an overt creative nature, although sometimes freelancers will take a creative tone at a client’s urging. The stuff I talk about on this blog is generally all done online, and generally all paid through Paypal.

  • How Do I Write For Money?

In a nutshell? Be fast, be accurate, and create something worth reading. If you can’t produce more than 300-400 decently-constructed words in an hour and don’t think you’ll ever work up to (and beyond) that number, you probably won’t be able to sustain writing as a viable income or side income.

Good Freelance Writing: Cats are beautiful creatures that have a wide array of talents that work well for survival, communication and adaption.

Bad Freelance Writing: Cats are good animals because they can do a lot of really cool stuff.

To start with, you need to find a site to write for, as just writing something and trying to sell it is really hard, and will likely cost you far more time and energy than just accepting a job from a client will. You’ll find my list of freelance writing websites in the navigation bar above – those that I’ve done in-depth reviews for are also noted and linked.

Then, you need to work, be patient, and be willing to devote time and energy into checking for new jobs and staying on top of deadlines for the job(s) you’re currently working on. Essentially, if you’ve ever bid on something you really wanted on eBay, keep in mind that down-to-the-last-minutes type of refreshing/checking and you’ve got a good idea of the attitude you’ll need to really knock it out of the park, freelancing-wise.

  • How Fast Can I Make Money Writing Online?

If you already have a Paypal account, build in at least two weeks to get accepted on almost any site. While you can turn around a good chunk of change in a hurry on the sites that pay weekly (Textbroker) or daily (Crowdsource), you’ll still need to go through the application process and get accepted before you can start getting at it. (If rent/electric/cellphone bills are due NOW, don’t worry – check out my suggestions for how to make money online right now.)

  • How Much Will I Make Freelance Writing?

My general guidelines are .01/word for new writers that are just starting out – this doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of work out there that will pay you less, it means that I strongly advise against accepting it. “Cheap” clients tend to bring a lot of problems along with their cut-rate wages, and, oddly enough, are often so demanding that they’ll send newbie freelancers running for the hills. You’ll take assignments as articles or blogs, writing anywhere from 150 words (or less) to 400-500+ words at a time for a set amount. Overall, it’s better to be over the given max word count than under, unless you’re on a platform/site like Zerys that restricts overcount or the client has specifically called out that s/he needs a certain number. Don’t blow past the max by 100+ words though, try to rein it in at 50ish or you’ll be giving away a lot of work for free and giving the client the wrong idea about what to expect for their money.

Over 40,000 people have started their freelance writing journey on this site by researching my free freelance writing guide and reading my freelance writing blogs – come nudge that count even higher by discovering the earning potential waiting to be unlocked in your mind. Write your own destiny with the Freelance Writer Guide!

 

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Why Hourly Rates are Not a Freelancer’s Friend

Speed is one of your greatest assets as a freelancing writer – how quickly and accurately you produce an article is essentially how you determine what you’re bringing in. In some industries – graphic design, site construction, etc – it makes sense to work by the hour, because your tasks may not be straightforward in the overall scope of a project. In writing, though? Hourly pay can put a huge dent in your earning capability, because you’re likely shortchanging yourself by either betting against your efficiency or your talent. Hourly pay benefits the client the vast majority of the time – not you.

I produce about 800 words an hour, provided the subject isn’t overly detailed. Business landing pages, a series of product descriptions, an informative article: these are my typical targets. Just this morning I wrote 800 words between 10 and 11 am and pulled in $60 for my troubles. Later, I received an unexpected message from an Odesk client, inviting me to work on their project. This is the (admittedly, a bit snarky at the close from yours truly) exchange that followed when I submitted a bid of $16/hour. Bear in mind that my profile is also set to $20/hour as a default, specifically to prevent horrible clients like this one from interrupting my work day.

A screenshot of a conversation between ThatWordChick and a potential client.

Admittedly, I could have been a little more polite about brushing her off, but how would you feel if a corporate headhunter had invited you to an interview, assessed your skills, took up your time and then told you that you were being overconfident if you didn’t lower your salary expectations by at least 80%? This is why some unscrupulous clients choose to offer only hourly pay for what should be a task-based payment expectation. Mind you, I have no problem with ‘batch’ payments or set weekly paydays, but work should be ideally priced by the word, and at most by the piece – never by the hour in our industry, at least in my opinion.

Remember: a client that’s looking for good work should have the work itself as the focus – not how you produce it, so long as you check in at the specified times and your progress is to their standards. While there may be some honest hourly-preferring clients out there, by and large hourly ends up being a raw deal on this side of the pen. Set up guidelines for work-centric payments, not time-centric, and you’ll likely be a lot happier and more profitable.

Memory Through Humor

An illustration of a blue aardvark in one panel with an arrow heading straight for his behind, stating that "the arrow affected the aardvark." The second panel features the aardvark jumping up in pain with stars coming from the rear stating below that the "effect was eye-popping"

With special thanks to Grammar Girl at QuickAndDirtyTips.com šŸ™‚

When I consider my skills, creativity has it all over grammar. I have a decent grasp of grammar thanks to a series of very talented grade school teachers, but the smallest things trip me up sometimes. Commas are my own particular brand of white whale, a combination of enjoying the way they look and a background in choir singing hammering into my head that “a comma on the page means a breath in the lungs.” I tend to be a visual learner, so when I reach out for guidance, cartoons are a huge help!

For today’s blog post, I thought I’d share a few that have been instrumental in getting my writing in shape. Please note that these use a bit of adult humor, so they aren’t for the sensitive!

The Oatmeal

 

Hyperbole and a Half