Question: Forget the endless hype and "over the top" promo crap. Can a person REALLY make money as a freelance writer (in the real world)?
C.P. Loveland CO
Answer Marc Charles:
Yes. Anyone with a basic understanding of communication and language can make money as freelance writer.
And forget about typing and grammar ....that'll come in time.
Here's an article I wrote for Early to Rise and Profit Center Dispatch on the topic:
I’m going to show you how to make money as a freelance writer, without the smoke and mirrors.
You’ve probably heard this line a thousand times!
Here’s the difference:
I have the inside track on one of the most lucrative writing markets in the world. I’ve revealed all of the details below!
On top of that, I'll show you how to start landing projects by the end of the week.
Granted, if you’ve never written a word in your life, then it might take a couple of weeks to land your first deal.
But believe me, you CAN make money as a freelance writer without journalism training or an English degree. And you won’t have to beg on your hands and knees for a job.
Still not convinced that you don’t need the “right” degree to make big money as a writer?
Well, contrary to popular opinion, best-selling authors do not always make big bucks. And the most educated writers don’t fare any better.
In fact, I had coffee recently with a best-selling children's book author who lives on the coast of Maine. He told me “large advances are a thing of the past and royalties are shrinking, too.” This author didn’t reveal whether he was struggling or not, but he wasn’t thrilled with his publisher!
Anyway, when I talk about making money as a freelance writer, I'm not talking about writing novels.
There are hundreds of other ways to make money as a writer - and most of them are more lucrative than writing books for the top New York publishers.
If you can write a simple letter like this one, you're in!
I stumbled into the writing business. But I’ve always treated it like a business. And if you want to make real money as a writer you should do the same. If you approach the writing business like most writers do, you'll go broke.
I'm not kidding! Here’s what I mean…
Most of the writers I’ve met had almost no marketing or business savvy whatsoever.
Most writers talk about the “big break” and a deal from the top New York book publishers. But in most cases the “big break” rarely comes true for these writers for three reasons:
1) They’re in the wrong market (newspapers, magazines, poetry, novels, and technical writing to name a few).
2) They’re clueless about the principles of direct marketing and persuasive copy (not only in their actual writing but also when it comes to selling their work).
3) They approach writing as a job rather than a freelance business.
My foray into freelance writing went like this…
In 1994, I read an article in The Wall Street Journal about three college kids who were getting paid to write website reviews. There was this frenzy at the time over a thing called the World Wide Web!
The article talked about publishers paying college kids to write website reviews. There was a growing interest in the Web, and people wanted to know more about websites.
I had a profitable business at the time but I thought it would be fun to write website reviews "on the side." As you know, I'm always looking for new profit centers, so these reviews (which I could do quickly and easily) seemed like a nice fit.
I contacted more than 30 publishers who specialized in Internet and Web-related content.
All of the publishers turned me down (or ignored my letter)… except one.
This publisher asked for some samples of my website reviews. But get this… I had NEVER written a website review in my life!
So, I scoured the publisher’s website and read dozens of website reviews. These reviews served as my “template.” Then I copied “the formula” or structure of the featured reviews, added my personality, and sent them to the publisher.
Three weeks later, I received a FedEx letter from the publisher with a two-year freelance writing agreement enclosed!
Don't get me wrong. This project was NOT big bucks. I was only paid ten cents a word! Can you imagine? Most so-called professional writers would be laughing hysterically at an agreement like this but not me!
This was my first paid writing assignment. And it convinced me there was a market (and business opportunity) for freelance writers.
My assignment was on the low end of the freelance pay scale. But the experience opened the door to a boatload of very lucrative writing assignments and projects, including Yahoo! Unplugged.
I still receive e-mail from people about my Yahoo! Unplugged column almost 15 years later!
But I’m not living in the past. Let’s fast forward to this week!
I just completed a freelance writing project that consisted of writing a few comments and critiquing a sales letter for a software product. It took about an hour and half. I’ll receive $500.
I realize $500 is not going to break the bank. But you only need a couple of projects a month, and a steady stream of qualified clients to make a really good living at this.
If you have dreams of writing a New York Times best-seller, go for it! Although rare, it's not unheard of for people with no experience or uniqueness to secure lucrative book deals from the “Big Boys.” But don’t put all your money and time into making this dream come true. You won’t make a living chasing a dream.
But by approaching freelance writing in the way I’m telling you about today there’s a good chance you’ll have the time and the money to make a very good living on while you write a best selling book “on the side.”
Anyway, the type of freelance writing I'm talking about promotional writing is different than what you’re probably used to. But you’ve seen this type of writing every day of your life, probably without realizing it.
And there are many, many opportunities for freelance writers of this type in hundreds of industries. For example, the multi-billion-dollar travel market.
If this market and type of freelance writing appeals to you, you can find out more by clicking here.
And get this: there is a market that dwarfs the travel market! It's called direct-marketing copywriting.
If you want “Navy Seal-type” exposure to the world of PROFITABLE direct-marketing copywriting, I only have one recommendation. And my recommendation has not changed in almost five years!
The program I’m talking about offers the best and fastest way to make money as a freelance direct-marketing writer – end of story!
You can search Google until you're blue in the face or burn through books from Amazon until your fingers bleed. But you’ll never find anything close to this program and course:
AWAI's Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting
I’m serious. This program will change your life. It changed mine!
If you apply 20 percent of what you learn in the first 72 hours, you'll be making money in no time flat. I ordered the program five years ago, and I made $50,000 in the first 12 months with small "side projects."
The travel and direct-marketing industries are not the only places to make money as a freelance writer. They just happen to be the most lucrative! Now, let’s get down to the nuts and bolts of this baby.
Great Ways to Make Money as a Freelance Writer
Check out Writer's Market, a book which retails for about $20 (I found a used copy on Albris.com this morning for two dollars).
Writer’s Market features more than 4,200 listings of publishers, magazines, editors, newspapers, websites, and literary agents. You can also find used copies on AbeBooks for about $10.
If you've never written a word in your life (which is hard to believe), and you'd like to make money as a freelance writer, you'll need three things:
* A basic understanding of how to communicate an idea or concept in writing. I'm not talking about spelling and grammar. I'm talking about communicating a simple idea with words.
* A pool of qualified prospects willing to pay you for articles, reports, sales letters, promotions, special reports, etc. Not every publisher is a "qualified prospect." You really need to understand this otherwise you'll be waiting for publishers to respond to your submissions when you are 100 years old!
* A strong commitment to deliver projects on time, preferably BEFORE the deadline. You should deliver more than you promised, too. I haven’t missed a deadline in 15 years! And I’m busier than most people. And I still have kids at home.
A Wake-Up Call!!!
Writing projects are not going to drop out of the sky. They're out there - tens of thousands of them - but you need to go after them.
This is what I mentioned earlier. Most writers wait for the phone to ring or for publishers to pound down the door. But you’ll never get a gig that way.
And don’t think you need to know everything about the subject before you get started. If you don't feel qualified to do a particular project, act like you are!
I was paid a hefty sum recently to write a 20-page special report on Russian oil companies. I’ve never been to Russia, and I don’t know anything about Russian oil companies (other than that the principles have a lot of money). But you can bet that after getting the job I learned as much as necessary to get the job done.
Imagine having to close a writing project deal in order to eat or feed your family. How would you proceed?
Most of us are spoiled and lazy, which is fine if you don’t want that much out of life. But sometimes we need a “pit bull” attitude.
A friend of mine auditioned for a Broadway musical. The only problem was she couldn't dance very well (and her singing was marginal).
When the producers asked if she could sing and dance, she confidently replied with a huge grin, "Of course, this is a musical." She was hired, and the show ran for more than two years.
Broadway producers do not always hire the best dancers, singers, or actors. They hire the people who can get the job done. Publishers do not always retain the “best” writers either! They’re not looking for someone to write the next great American novel. They need people whose writing can sell.
Here are some of the markets and projects which desperately need freelance writers (I found these this morning):
* Direct marketing
* Website copywriting
* Search engine copywriting
* Financial products and services (this market is HUGE!)
* Ad agencies
* Newspapers (I’m always giving newspapers a bad rap… and they are in serious trouble. But they can’t survive without writers, especially when it comes to those that can increase ad sales and subscribers!)
* Magazines (same thing as newspapers)
* News portals
* Market commentary and advice (stocks, bonds, futures, precious metals, currencies, and commodities)
* Restaurant reviews
* Sports writing
* Educational publishing and tutorials
* Screenwriting (I know. This is another hard market to crack, but Paul Lawrence will show you how to do it!)
* Nutritional product marketing (Can you say $10 billion market?)
* Book reviews
* Travel blogs (travel publishers are launching these in droves. Check out the WrittenRoad for a quick snapshot into this market)
* Grant writing (non profit companies and foundations pay grant writers big bucks IF they can close a deal)
* Career advice
And the list goes on!
The opportunities for freelance writers have never been better.
The best markets are the ones you’re excited about (or could GET excited about). If you're not excited about a topic, market, product, or service it'll be hard to write about it with passion and enthusiasm. And believe me, people won’t read it enthusiastically either!
For example, I was not doing back flips about Russian oil companies when I first accepted the “special report” project mentioned earlier.
But I was excited about how entrepreneurs exploited business opportunities. It became easy for me to write with passion and enthusiasm about this sector because business opportunities are right up my alley!
Now, go and do thou likewise!
***** Fast-Start Tip *****
If you want to jumpstart your freelance writing business, then enroll in AWAI's Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting today.
This is the only copywriting program I have ever recommended.
Order a copy of Writer's Market. Then familiarize yourself with some of the available projects and ventures.
Go to CraigsList.com (under the Jobs or Gigs category). This place is a wellspring of legitimate projects, ventures, and opportunities.
You can also find hundreds of freelance writing projects at MediaBistro.com. (I counted more than 30 freelance writing opportunities this morning.) You can also post your availability on MediaBistro (you can do this on CraigsList under the Resume section).
Enter the words "freelance writer needed" in Google. Now you'll start to see the tip of this iceberg.
There are thousands of freelance writing opportunities and projects available (more like tens of thousands). Make the decision to pursue them.
You'll find an endless flow of publishers, website owners, and portals willing to “accept” free content. Don’t waste your time on projects like this. You’ll have plenty of time to “leverage” your content down the road.
I provide an article or two each month under one of my pen names to a publisher for free. My articles reach more than 15,000 hardcore financial traders in every issue. More importantly, I usually attract new subscribers for a trading service I manage.
But your main objective is to secure paying gigs as soon as possible. Set a two-week goal.
And don't forget about writing opportunities with royalties. I'm talking about writing eBooks, sales letters, promotions, and other projects.
In many cases you can receive a small retainer or upfront fee in addition to a percentage of sales.
Your Resourceful Editor
Profit Center Dispatch
P.S. As always, if you have any questions about today’s issue, or comments on Profit Center Dispatch, I’d love to hear from you!
Just drop me a line at Marc@ETRFeedback.Com.
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