Are you a budding writer? Would you like to get paid to write? There are a number of avenues you could go down to achieve this, but you might not know where to start. Here are my tips for getting started.
I have been getting paid to write for almost two decades. I was always been very clear in my mind that I’d like to be a writer (in some form) and I ended up studying and getting a degree in English. However, it wasn’t my academic record that led me to get paid to write and university isn’t a key part of the formula that you need to get paid work.
I decided to focus on getting paid to write when I found myself unemployed. If you’re in the same position, then you should check out my article about coping with redundancy: what to do when you lose your job.
Confidence is key
If you want to write then you need to be confident. This means working on your skills (every day if you can) and learning to accept knockbacks.
My first professional job was in sales for a magazine publishing company. However, I knew I wanted an editorial job, so I offered my services to the editorial department and through a combination of luck and hard work, I ended up with a job in that department. But the job didn’t find me, I didn’t answer an advert, I went out and found an opening. I was able to do that because I was confident in my abilities.
My confidence has been knocked at various points over my career. But to succeed, you have to learn to accept positive criticism, to learn from your mistakes and to dust yourself down and try again.
Creating a portfolio
You might be wondering how you can create a portfolio if you’ve never had a writing gig before. But you can still showcase your work. You could create a blog, but if you’re keen to start earning as soon as possible, then I’d recommend choosing an area that you’d like to write in and creating 8 samples of writing. You can save them on GoogleDrive and create shareable links to send to prospective clients. As soon as you have published work though, I’d recommend creating a free portfolio. You should also consider setting up a lifestyle blog as this will act as a portfolio and it could earn you some cash too.
Continuing to learn
You might think that you have what it takes, but in order to grow and improve, you need to continue to invest in your development. The Elements of Style and Eat, Shoots & Leaves are two books that I’d personally recommend. I’ve also completed a number of courses on LinkedIn Learning; you can get a free month if you’d like to explore what’s on offer.
There are plenty of websites that you can use to find paid writing work. ProBlogger, PeoplePerHour and Fiverr are just some of the options. On these platforms you can either bid for jobs, or advertise your skills. If these sites seem overwhelming and you’re looking for a guide to help you get started, then check out LookingAfterYourPennies.
Word of mouth
If you’ve decided to start selling your writing skills, then let people know. You’d be surprised by how many people need help with writing promotional material or website copy and if somebody knows you, they’re more likely to give you the gig if they have a need.
Consider another form of payment
I will never recommend that anybody works for free and it’s especially important to push for a fair wage if you’re a woman. But what if I told you I’d once received a pushchair worth over £900 in exchange for a review? Or if I explained that I’d eaten free food worth over £1,300, by working for a mystery dining company? There’s more than one way to get paid to write. If you’re interested in opportunities like these, then sign up to both HGEM mystery dining and CissonJobs.
Is it worth it?
Is it worth attempting to get paid to write? I think so. There are other ways to make money, but if you enjoy writing then I’d say that it’s worth trying to make it work.
If you’re serious about getting paid to write, then I’d also recommend you check out RuthMakesMoney for loads of other tips about breaking into the copywriting industry. You might also be interested in the article I wrote about working from home productively.
Do you make money through writing? What tips do you have for others? I’d love to read about them in the comments below.