There are countless online job opportunities that can become a long-term career choice. Technologies and developing working culture change the way we work, making more and more people move online. While online jobs used to be treated like side hustles, people now manage to build careers out of them and earn enough money to make a living.
Writing is one of the potential online career paths. However, for a long time, I didn’t think it was true. I don’t know whether it was peer pressure and my environment or rooted stigma about creative jobs, but I’ve never thought I could earn a living writing.
I started writing more than three years ago to support my studies. I didn’t think it could grow into a full-time job until I realized that I don’t enjoy anything else as much as writing. Since becoming a content writer was full of obstacles, I want to share a few tips I wish I knew before starting.
But first, let’s understand the problem.
A lot of writers quit right before they can see results. Most of the booming online writers are the ones who stick for more than 5 years. Not only do they invest their time to turn writing into a full-time job, but they also make much more money than beginners. But if you’re a beginner, don’t get discouraged just yet, there are ways to make you kick off your career faster.
How to launch your online writing career successfully
- Time and task management tools
You’re about to enter an enchanted freelance writing field, which means you will be the one responsible for your time and task management. While you can hire someone to do it for you, I recommend a cheap and practical alternative at the beginning of your career: online tools. I use Trello to manage my work and time. It has user-friendly navigation and plenty of functions for a single person or a team. To communicate with clients, I use Slack, which is suitable for exchanging messages too short for email communication.
Although I’m all up for automated and innovative planning solutions, I don’t cross out good old Excel sheets. For basic time, task, and budget managing, Excel is an easy tool with more features than you could use in a lifetime, and you don’t have to pay for it.
Since all these tools have free versions, you don’t need to invest a lot, but it’s still worth spending your time to get familiar with their benefits for your new business.
2. Mastering the language
Even if you’re a native writer, you need to use the language to persuade readers. You want to have a rich vocabulary, an attractive writing style, and know where and when to put a comma. Since I’m not a native English speaker, it took me a while to get comfortable writing in another language. But countless books, movies, and not-so-pleasant criticism helped (and still are helping) to improve my English writing skills.
To polish your grammar skills, I would suggest getting a copy of The Elements of Style
by William Strunk. You might also find it helpful to purchase some editing software. I don’t want to play favorites, but I mainly use Grammarly premium, which gives me all the functionality I need.
I also tried Ginger editor for a while, but two editing tools were overlapping, so I stopped. Some of the other free tools to check out: GrammarCheck and Scribens. My suggestion, try the free versions to decide which one suits you best and then think of buying a premium version.
3. Courses and coaches
A successful writer has to possess a set of skills that can help him/her stand out.
SEO skills – we live in a digital age, where online presence is crucial in running a business. Regardless of your writing style or platforms you post, you need people to read your work, which is hardly possible without ranking on search engines. Basic understanding of SEO, keyword research, link building, and creating relevant and helpful content can help you find better clients and build a bigger reader base.
Web development – it’s beneficial to know how to use content management systems and website builders. It’s even better if you know some HTML and CSS to boost your website. The presentation of your work is as important as the work itself.
In addition to courses on SEO and web building, it can help ask for guidance on developing your career as a writer. Learning from other writers or hiring coaches to help you kick off your job can lead to long-term results.
4. A blog or a portfolio website
A portfolio, with your name on it, is vital in building customer trust and gaining clients. It doesn’t have to be a complicated website, a blog or a one-page website is enough to show off your work. Instead of searching for your portfolio pieces all over the internet, collect your work in one place, present yourself, and inform potential clients or partners about your services and rates.
However, in my opinion, writers should have personal blogs. First of all, you’re a writer, so you need to display your style. Secondly, blogging helps to establish you as a thought leader, an expert. In fact, each business should consider running a blog to increase organic search and gain credibility.
5. Social media
For a long time, I was scared of social media. It was like an untamed creature, I couldn’t get my way with. Social media seemed for everyone else but me. I was afraid of posting my ideas because I was worried that people would judge and criticize me. While, in fact, I was losing potential clients and readers because organic search (at least at the beginning) isn’t always enough to bring visitors.
The same as a blog or a website, social media gives you credibility and establishes you as a trustworthy source. My tip: depending on your niche, find one or two social media channels, and stick to them. Eventually, you can add more channels.
6. Setting up a home office for remote work
Being an online writer means that you will be working either from home or some cafe most of the time. You need quality equipment to make moving easy. I wish I invested in a good computer sooner, instead of wasting my time waiting for my old one to load websites or unfreeze.
Your work station is also important. Unless you’re planning to book a spot in a co-working, I recommend investing in a comfortable chair and table. When I’m working from home (which is most of the time), I often forget about my posture and comfort. Up until my legs are numb and I develop strange back pain. An adapted home office can help you avoid future back pains and eyesight problems.
For some of you, the word invest might sound like you have to have a lot of money to begin your journey as a freelance writer, but that’s not the case. Your time and patience are equally important investments in a better and more financially stable career. Most of the points mentioned above are free or need a small payment, but trust me, they could make your work as a writer much easier.