The following is a guest post by Lisa Shoreland, currently a resident blogger at Go College, where recently she's been researching chemistry scholarships as well as business administration scholarships. In her spare time, she enjoys creative writing, practicing martial arts, and taking weekend trips.
At the beginning of my freelancing career, I knew nothing of the online writing world. SEO was a typo for CEO. HTML was something I learned to personalize my MySpace page in the 8th grade. Blogs were online diaries for people without friends, not potential sources of income. Obviously, I know better now.
The online freelancing community has experienced an explosive growth in the past several years, especially since the economic recession put countless workers out of jobs. Because the webosphere is only growing with no sign of petering out anytime soon, jobs are always available for practically everyone, even a college graduate with very little experience in “the real world” and armed with an economically unviable major like creative writing (yours truly).
Although my major serves me in my career as a fiction writer and novelist, I never thought anything would come of it in the online community. That was until I stumbled across hundreds of creative writing blogs within my first few months of freelance blogging. Not only has my passion given me the tools to put a decent sentence together, it’s given me a commonality amongst others in the blogosphere. Even if you don’t have professional experience in writing, having expertise in something (or a willingness to learn about it) is often enough, such as personal finance or fashion.
Perks of Freelancing
As a freelance blogger, I have the daily opportunity to:
· Make money to put bread on the table,
· Gain experience in a growing industry,
· Add to my résumé, and
· Network amongst countless people from across the globe from my own desk chair, opening windows to new opportunities.
Whether you want income from a job separate from your office gig or you want work from home, freelancing is a valid and potentially lucrative neighborhood to explore. Here’s how I got started.
Steps to Freelancing
1. First, look at the water before taking the dive. Check out some websites like Freelance Writing Gigs to see what jobs are out there. Copyediting, content writing, blogging, and proofreading are skills often requested on freelancing websites.
2. Consider what marketable skills you have to offer. Are you proficient in HTML and SEO? Do you have experience in copyediting? Did you major in English or writing in college? Even fiction writers like me can use their skills as bloggers, content writers, or even technical writers for sizeable companies.
3. Decide what your standards are. I didn’t have any when I first started. I just wanted to make enough money to survive. Freelance Writing Gigs has some great advice on the matter:
· Decide how much money you need to make in one month and how much you want to make in one month. Add them together and divide by 2. (Ex: need $5,000 + want $10,000 / 2 = $7,500.) This is your target price.
· Then, take your target price and divide it by 22, which is the average number of working days a month. This number is how much money you need to make in a day of freelancing (if you’re hoping to go full-time).
· Stick to this number, and don’t stray, or you’re going to be doing your bank account a huge disservice.
4. Start small. It’s not exactly realistic to quit your day job on Friday and start earning the same as your previous paycheck by Monday. Start with an “this is just extra income” attitude and work your way up from there.
5. If you do decide to freelance full-time, make sure that, whatever you’re doing, it’s stimulating in some way. Sure, you can make considerable money writing instructions for working your sponsoring company’s microwave, but this isn’t terribly scintillating stuff. Remember that whatever skill you’re marketing should always be improving. If you find yourself treading in still water, change things up.