When you’re first thinking about finding a work from home gig you may not think writing is a good bet.
Because you see loooots of websites not paying a cent to contributors.
Or you scope out the job boards and see things like $20 or $50 per 500, 700 or 2,000 word post.
And if that’s all you’re seeing then you’re right, writing makes no sense because there’s no money in it.
Except, there is.
SIDEBAR | Want to work from home as a freelance writer?
I was interviewed about writing for the Publishing for Profit podcast. If you’d like an introduction to what earning a living from writing can look like make sure to check it out.
Transcript: Robyn Roste | How to Become A Freelance Writer
Freelance writing work from home ideas
If you’re feeling at a loss for how to make money from writing I understand. I felt the same way back when I began freelancing.
Because I was approached by agencies and PR firms every now and then to pitch their products on my website, I knew it was possible…but how?
You can spend a lot of time Interneting on this topic. My advice? Do a bit of prep work before you jump down the rabbit hole of research.
I’ve mentioned this a few (hundred) times before so forgive me if I’m getting repetitive. But I’m going to say it again anyway.
If you want freelance jobs that pay a living wage, your best bet is to position yourself in a niche (or market) and become an expert in your field.
Think about these areas when considering your niche/focus/target market
- Your background, experience, passions, skills and talents
- Your network (Who do you know? What do they do? Do they need a writer?)
- Consider the types of clients you think you want to work with. Would you enjoy working with/for them and the topics you’d be writing about? (If not, switch it up)
- Ask: do my target clients need help explaining and marketing their products and services?
By the way, I’ve created a worksheet to help you answer these questions. Just pop your email address into the form below and I’ll send you the password for my resource library. When you’re there, navigate to the freelancing category and download the “Freelancer Positioning Worksheet.”
Simple, but not easy
For many of us, we think of work from home gigs and freelance jobs like a bit of extra money. And when you think of it like that then maybe you’ll be fine with a few bucks here and a few bucks there.
And if that’s you, no shame. You’ll find many, many outlets to write for.
But if you want to earn a living, or even bring in a part-time income, while working reasonable hours then do pay attention to your positioning before you enter the world of content mills and racing to the bottom.
While I have tons of advice for building your client roster and positioning yourself as a freelancer, today I’m going to focus on my BEST tip for getting started fast.
Want to work from home? Tap your network
In my experience, most freelancers get their start from someone they know.
So it’s worth considering that your first client may be either someone you know or a referral from someone you know.
This is so stupid-simple that most people bush it off, but think about it. We have huge, inter-connected networks of friends and family who are employed in various industries across the globe.
SOMEONE knows SOMEONE who could use a freelance writer.
And why not go to the community where you’ll get the absolute warmest reception to start?
A place where people already know, like and trust you—and WANT you to succeed?
Start small, focus your efforts on “connectors”
Connectors are the people in your network who know a lot of people and enjoy introducing people to each other. This is the type of person you need right now!
Reach out with a short message explaining about how you’re thinking you’d like to work from home and do they know anyone who works with freelance writers or needs a writer.
Be honest and upfront, and don’t expect too much on this first interaction.
Here’s an example from a different industry to make my point about why this works
A couple winters ago my area experienced a brutal ice storm, which damaged several trees on my property. We cleaned up what we could but there were these scary, spindly half broken branches hanging from the top of two birch trees, maybe 50 or 60 feet high.
We knew they were sketchy, but we didn’t know what to do. Who do you call when you need a service that you don’t know anything about?
The first thing we did? Asked our network.
A neighbour responded and took a look, giving us a few ideas. One of the options was calling a guy he knew who works as an arborist (tree surgeon) and freelances on the side.
We went with this suggestion for two reasons:
- We value our neighbour’s opinion and put a lot of stock in what he recommends
- When possible we prefer working with entrepreneurs or small businesses rather than large companies on our house projects
My husband hired the guy and he came over the next week, taking all the scary, dangerous branches down while leaving the rest of the tree in tact (that was important to me).
We didn’t price shop or check references because we had such a high opinion of our neighbour’s recommendation. He told us to hire the guy, so we did.
Now, this absolutely could have backfired and in other stories I could tell, I’ve had that experience. But this is what I mean when I say there’s power in your network.
If you know a connector who is well-regarded in your circles, imagine the power of their recommendations.
Now imagine them recommending you.
When someone comes to them saying they have this content problem they need to solve and your connector friend knows you’re looking to work from home as a writer, THEY WILL MAKE THE INTRODUCTION.
And, it’s possible your experience will be just like mine when hiring an arborist. That person may trust the connector’s recommendation so much that they don’t think twice before hiring you.
It’s not a guarantee, but it’s a place to start.
Referrals are the lifeblood of freelancing. Networking is essential. But you won’t get a single gig if you don’t put yourself out there and let people know you’re available for hire.
So let’s get going on that.
If your warm leads don’t pan out, then move on to cold leads
You can learn more about that in cold pitching tips to get clients fast.
But really, try the other thing first.
One more thing. I think you’ll enjoy my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.
This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.