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Freelance Writing  

Besides technical jobs, writing projects are one of the most common work-at-home jobs I see posted on the Internet. According to Peter Bowerman, author of the Well-Fed Writer, "...if you are thinking about this field and have no formal experience or writing background, rest assured it’s no hindrance to success." With that said you should have some skills in writing or at lease be willing to take a course (there are many free and low cost courses on the Internet). However, freelance writing offers flexibility, variety, and a potential for good income.

Think of all the written materials you come across everyday; newspaper articles, magazine articles, advertisements, brochures, websites, letters, flyers, manuals, newsletters, and so on. The sources for writing projects are endless which makes writing a great home business. Further, you don’t always have to write on assignment. People get paid for writing on topics of their choice, writing personal experience articles, and even writing the little filler articles in magazines.

To Get Started:

  1. Because this is a business, you will need find out about getting a business license. Your local government business office or Small Business Administration should be able to help you with this. You may even want to come up with a business name. If you decide to do business under a name besides your own, you will need to file a fictitious name statement. Your local government business office should be able to give details about this.
  2. Identify the types of writing you want to do. To start with, you may want to have a fairly narrow list of services or focus on a niche market. For example, you could offer brochure, newsletter, and other written material services to just doctors, or small businesses. On the other hand, you can focus on one type of writing service such as grants, newsletters, technical writing, or copy writing. To see what kinds of writing projects are posted on the Internet visit Inkspot, Avalanche of Jobs or any of the job search sites listed at Work-At-Home Success.
  3. Create your business plan. This will be your road map to starting and building your business. For more information on writing a business plan visit Business Basics
  4. Create a marketing plan. Who will your clients be? How will find them? Besides searching for jobs on the Internet, you should develop a local client base. One way to start is to send out a letter of introduction to people who would be potential clients. Follow-up the letter with a phone call. You may even want to offer a free service just to get your foot in the door. Sources of clients are conveniently listed in the yellow pages of your phone book. You can get more information on developing a marketing plan by visiting Business Basics
  5. Decide how much to charge for your services. Will you charge by the hour? Or by project? To see what your competition is doing, call them up and inquire about services and rates. You can find freelance writers in the yellow pages under ‘writing services’. You will need to take into account your experience, the speed at which you can complete a projects, and how much your time is worth. You need to charge enough to cover your overhead (computer, printer, toner, supplies, etc) as well as pay yourself.
  6. Since you are writer offering commercial writing services, you should have a brochure and written materials to market yourself. It goes without saying that your materials should be clear, concise, and free of errors. You should also create a resume and begin a portfolio of pieces you’ve written.
  7. Consider marketing your services on the Internet. You can post your services, resume, and portfolio material in a website. I read about one writer who was a leader of an online community who referred potential clients to her online community as a source of her writing samples. Places such as About.com, Suite 101, Terrashare, and others are often looking for leaders. You can visit them to get a list of available topics.
  8. If you’d like to write articles for publication in print and online media, consider getting a copy of the Writer’s Market. It is a great resource of information about publications, sending in queries, and more. The Writer’s Market has also prepared a book listing online publications. This is due to be published at anytime now.
  9. Get organized. Writing is more than putting thoughts onto paper. It involves research, interviews, writing, editing, re-writing, etc. Without a method for organizing your projects, it will be too easy to miss deadlines, produce substandard work, and ruin your reputation as a freelance writer.


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