Aside from translating, writing is one of the most popular categories featured on freelance websites. We’re not talking about scribbling fan fictions, however, but professional writing that requires the highest expertise, just like, for instance, graphical design and programming do. Therefore, it is absolutely not surprising that beginner writers often struggle to get a foothold on these virtual work platforms.
But we are not here to discourage you from writing: by making a good impression from the start with the right samples in your portfolio you are already well equipped to make your mark in the freelance writing space. If you are a client, you need to coordinate your writers well to avoid getting articles that miss the point or seeing your employees vanish into thin air. Without further ado, time to dive into the world of freelance writing and to explore our recommendations regarding some freelance sites that are worthy of your attention.
Freelance Writing Work
Being a freelancer writer sounds like a piece of cake at first. You might be saying “writing is a skill I definitely master, since I practiced it every day at the school, right?” Sorry to be the ones telling you otherwise, but in the freelance world, clients expect extraordinary material for their money, devoid of any typos, poor phrasing or grammar mistakes. In short, if you wish to earn a living from writing alone, you better have some serious expertise behind your back.
Luckily, you don’t have to be adept in every field of writing. Since it’s an umbrella term, you can choose from various subcategories, such as copywriting, revising, blog writing and creating marketing copy. Furthermore, you may also be asked to come up with a catchphrase for a new product, or write a short summary of a popular book. Payments can be based on the above subcategories, but usually they depend on the length, complexity and difficulty of the gig. Smaller tasks usually offer easy, one lump sum payments (paid after you are finished), while longer projects, such as delivering a series of scientific articles, are paid by the hour or in installments after certain milestones are met.
Best Freelance Websites of 2020
The secret of high quality writing lies in the communication between client and freelancer, and how flexible and collaborative both parties are. Employers should have a clear vision about the basic outlines of the article, which is best achieved if they give helpful pointers to the writer. Not to mention that a good client is always open for the questions of the employee. As for freelancers, they need to understand what style, tone and vocabulary is needed for the task: for instance, you cannot use the same mindset when writing a blog post for a tech site or an academic research document. We also advise you to create milestones for longer documents, and present an example of your work to the client so he/she can suggest modifications or confirm that you are heading to the right direction.
Kicking off as a Freelance Writer
The most important thing you, a fledgling freelance writer must keep in mind is to never heap up too much work. The biggest mistakes rookies do is applying to as many gigs as possible, hoping to hit jackpot on their first week. But too much work can easily turn into a real nightmare: piling up gigs saps creativity and trying to cope with all deadlines only leads to mediocre results. This may be acceptable at your first day at a regular (desk) job, but freelance sites are far more unforgiving: unsatisfied clients leave negative reviews on your profile and/or give you poor ratings, discouraging future employers from ever contacting you.
Important to Learn
Try baby steps instead: do freelance writing in your free time while still keeping your regular job to give yourself the opportunity to further grow and gain experience as a freelance writer. It’s important to also find the time to continue learning more about copywriting early on in your freelance career. Many clients will give you search engine optimization (SEO) guidelines for the different articles you’ll be writing. You don’t need to be an SEO expert to write these articles, though you need to have basic understandings of what SEO is and how to blend the right keywords in your copy.
With blog writing projects in particular it’s also common to come across assignments where you’re asked to use HTML code for your article to be ready to be published with all the right styling.
As with other freelance work, the general rules of thought and recommendations apply with freelance writing work. To catch the attention of clients, feature attractive samples of your work that also encapsulate your skills and style. When communicating with the client, always be professional and polite, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Pick a field in which you want to specialize yourself and that you feel most comfortable in. This not only applies to the topics you choose to cover, but also for the type of copy you want to be writing.
Hiring a Writer
The main selling point of freelancing from the client’s point of view is that you can outsource any assignment you have, and writing is one of the more easy types of work to outsource. Whether you have tons of research data to be presented in an easy to understand whitepaper, a website that could use thematic blog articles, a product that needs a name or some funny lines to start a marketing campaign, freelance writers are at your service for much more reasonable prices than agencies.
However, despite being full of the next Shakespeares or J.K. Rowlings, freelance sites also have some unqualified individuals, who might end up providing poor results or, even worse, leave you in a pickle with no material whatsoever. Especially when you’re looking to award a large-scale writing project to a freelancer, send them a little trial task first to get a little taste of their style, attitude and time management. This way you can further tweak their style to match your desired writing style, and avoid that freelancers make the same mistakes across all of their articles.
Recommended Freelance Sites for Writers
After showing you the ins and outs of the freelance world of writers, let us show you three websites worth creating an account at:
PeoplePerHour (PPH for short) is a community-curated freelance talent website, where sellers and buyers can conduct business without corporal limitations. The site is open for a large variety of assignments, including many writing related ones. Clients must pay downtime before the commencement of a task, but they have the option to set payouts to fixed or hourly rates, while payments of freelancers are protected by escrow. Last but not least, the two parties’ work is made easier by the Workstream application, which manages everything from multiple assignments to live chatting.
Fiverr is a marketplace-type freelance website, where writers are able to set their own conditions via gigs that usually start with something like “I will write a 5 page document in 24 hours”. This allows people with unique skills or expertise in specific fields to advertise themselves, but clients can put out their own listings as well or just browse the impressive offer list. Another huge pro of Fiverr is the gig creation system, which is easy to master, and the option for writers to decide the price tag of their own work.
Freelancer.com is one of the best-known and most praised freelance websites of the world. They boast an attractive lineup of features for writers, such as fully customizable profiles, a stellar escrow payment system and top-notch mobile support. The site caters to an international audience, proven by such facts as the option to work with several currencies. Writers can distinguish themselves by using the skill system, while clients can monitor the worker’s activity through their smartphone or a desktop program, which also serves as a live chat interface.