How to Get Started Freelance Writing Online

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In the freelance writing community, and often elsewhere, you often hear the catchphrase “you gotta be published to get published.”  Quite the paradigm.  Perpetual motion, it seems.  So, how do you get published if you’ve gotta be published to get published?

I find you have to sell your soul a little bit, just for a few weeks.  Meaning, write for free.  Or “on spec,” as the pros like to call it.  Offer up some work without payment.

Many places will let (just about) anyone write. 

1) Sign up.  Websites such as eHow and Bukisa both let anyone sign up and submit content.  Both of these work on revenue share, so you won’t be getting a paycheck anytime soon. Write about what you know.  Make it easy to understand.  And start each step with an action word (verb).

2) Submit your “application” to sites such as textbroker.com.  They basically just want to know that you’re legal and can complete a sentence.  This site pays per word.  Literally.  You have to write a quick intro when you sign up, and this will place you in a “classification.”  The higher the classification on a 1-5 scale determines your pay rate.  Many people start at “3” and receive between $0.007 to $0.014 per word.  This is not a way to get rich, but can start bringing in a bit of income.  Articles average between $2 and $5 a piece.

3) Spend your time wisely.  Don’t spend thirteen hours researching Cambodian wildlife preservation if you’re never going to use the information again. 

4) Research hot topics.  What’s trending on Twitter?  MSN?  Google?  If people are searching it or talking about it, they want to know more.  Get versed.  The glory in this, is once you know the information, you can write a multitude of articles on the same topic for different sites and get paid for each. 

5) Keep separate baskets.  Don’t put all your eggs in the same one.  Writing for textbroker.com will get you some income, but writing for sites like eHow and Bukisa will give you something to link people and companies to samples of your writing.

6) Look for bigger and better opportunites, and don’t be ashamed of selling yourself or your business.  If you don’t sell yourself, you’re going to go hungry and homeless.  Companies like Demandstudios.com can be hard to get into, and often take more than one try, but are worth it because they pay no less than $7.50 an article, and up to $15 or more.  And if you work up to writing 2-3 articles an hour, that’s anywhere from $15 an hour to $45.  I think most people can live off that if you make this your job.

7) Remember, there’s more fish in the sea.  Keep looking, networking and researching different opportunities that come your way.  You and your work are going to get rejected, don’t take it personally.  You can’t make everyone happy.

8) Write! No matter what, don’t quit writing.  To keep in practice, it’s a good rule of thumb to write at least 500 words a day, be it an article or for yourself.  Keep submitting pieces and practicing.  Practice really does “make perfect” and the better you get, the more you will be sought after for your work.

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