Since 2006, I've been an online freelance writer. I've written for Associated Content, Digital Journal, Shared Reviews, Examiner, Helium, and Demand Studios. I've probably left out a few other sites. By my best estimate, I've got over 1, 400 published articles, one e-book about freelance writing and another on the way. Needless to say, I've been around the freelance writing block. What amazes me is that my friends don't believe me when I say that to be a freelance writer you don't need a ton of experience or a literature degree or even a creative writing degree. My education is actually in psychology. And for 10 years I was in the military fixing jet engines. Currently I process background checks and go to grad school. Yet I've made a decent part-time living off of freelance writing with none of these attributes. I don't want to give away my income, but 2009 was definitely the first year I've had to pay back Uncle Sam.
So if I can be a freelance writer online, anyone can. But if you decide to take this job on fully part time or full time, here's a few things you need to know.
You are an independent contractor. You don't "work" for Shared Reviews or any other company; you work "with" them. You accept their guidelines; they pay you for following them. When tax day comes, you'll truly understand this relationship.
Freelance Writing is not always creative writing. You might have that creative itch in your soul, to use adjectives and adverbs and metaphors freely like the wind on a spring breeze day. But much of freelance writing is like made-to-order meals for a customer. They want it THEIR way, and that's what you get paid for. Since the customer is always right, don't argue if you want to get paid!
Promotion is YOUR job, not theirs. You are really the biggest promoter. You're already on Twitter, Facebook, Myspace and other sites. Even if you aren't, you're probably e-mailing people. Promote yourself and draw traffic to the company. You'll reap the financial rewards and earn respect.
Your words are timeless. Everything published in your name on the internet can be there forever. Take heed and take pride. I've certainly created articles I regret and I've hit a few bumps. But I take full ownership of my work, and you should, too.
Freelance writing is one of the best jobs you can ever have. By understanding the foundations of your work and what you do, you'll spend more time writing, making money, and enjoying what you do- all in your pajamas!