Way back in 2012, I quit my job and figured out how to earn a living writing online.
While I don’t like to boast (I’m British), I now have global freelance writing clients and write for the largest children’s charity in the UK.
But I learned how to earn a living writing online the hard way, and I want you to learn the easy way – so here’s everything I wish I’d known right from the start…
1. You’re competing against nobody but yourself
Sure, that sounds cute. And kinda inaccurate. Aren’t you actually in direct competition with every two-bit writer on the web? That’s what I thought when I first tried to scratch out a living writing online, but nothing could be further from the truth.
Here’s the thing:
All those ‘successful’ freelance writers you read about on Medium or whereever are the same as me and you. They’re doing a hard day’s graft just like everybody else. They have the same access to writing gigs online, the same resources to work with and the same(ish) doubts, fears and insecurities.
They just seek out the writing work and do it anyway.
Simple as that. The only person you have to prove yourself to is yourself – the rest will follow as soon as you realise this.
2. Perfectionism is (sort of) OK but being precious holds you back
When I first started getting my writing out there and earning money from it, I was way too precious about my work. I took any criticisms personally, spent far too long on each piece and even held back from pitching for writing work.
Why? Well in case I was rejected of course.
Guess what I learned (pretty quickly)? That’s no way to run a freelance writing business. Being precious about your writing, taking too long to ‘perfect’ your work and being afraid of rejection will hold you back when it comes to earning a living as an online writer.
3. You don’t have to accept every offer of work to earn a living as an online writer
When you start out, it’s oh-so tempting to take every offer of writing work that comes your way. It’s in that blurry stage between newbie and when you start to gain experience when this really comes into play.
After you’ve built a bit of a writing portfolio and can prove that you’re a top-quality, reliable online writer, stop accepting every offer of writing work that comes your way. In fact, I advise turning down freelance writing work as a strategy to your progression.
4. It’s good to learn about the industry… but don’t believe everything you read
Yes, read up on what’s occuring in your niche topic(s), online marketing and writing online in general. But don’t believe everything you read.
While some of the self-appointed gurus in the online writing world are genuinely trying to help, others are simply amplified egos trying to make money and bolster their self-image. Not me, not me! (Ahem, but yeah – buy my course and tell me you love me.)
All I’m saying is: know who your are and what you’re about. If you don’t agree with something, don’t do it – even if it seems like everybody else is. They’ll have their reasons. Have your own.
5. The sooner you stop applying for work and start pitching for it the better
This where the money is. This is what all the online writers who are earning a living from this game are doing.
Again, once you can prove your worth as a quality and reliable online writer, pitch directly to clients for regular work. This is how you earn a living from online writing.
There’s more on exactly how to do this (pitching templates included) in the How to Earn a Living as a Freelance Writer Online course.
6. Confidence breeds confidence
I’ve left the most important lesson for last. When I first started out, if I’d read somewhere the words, “confidence breeds confidence” I may have nodded and moved on, thinking I understood the concept.
I didn’t. Here’s why:
To truly know why and how confidence breeds more confidence, more work and more money – in any industry – you have to experience and learn this for yourself.
How does this help you at the beginning of your writing career? Forgive me for ending on two well-worn cliches, but here’s what you do:
You fake it until you make it, and you don’t give up when the going gets tough.
Then you’ll see.
Get pitching templates, plus step-by-step instructions on how to find your niche and earn a living writing online, in the How to Earn a Living as a Freelance Writer Online course.
PS: For $20 off, use the discount code: FWOREADER
Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash