7 Myths About Freelance Writing Online
You want to earn a bit of extra money. Or you’d love to be a published writer. Or you’re looking for an exciting and rewarding career. Whatever your reason, you’ve started to think about freelance writing online.
It sounds like a dream come true: you could work from home, at any time of the day (or night), and get good money for writing about topics that interest you.
Except … something’s stopping you. You’ve started believing one – or more – of these harmful myths.
Today, I want to show you that these myths just aren’t true. There’s no reason to let any of them hold you back.
#1: It’s too late to make money freelance writing online
All the good jobs are already gone, right? And blogging’s dead anyway…
Wrong. The fact that huge numbers people are making money online as freelance writers should encourage you. There’s plenty of work out there – and as more and more businesses realize the importance and the potential of the internet, new writing jobs are appearing every single day.
In fact, now is a great time to start freelancing. Writing online is a growing area, particularly as more and more print magazines fold, and as the demand for online content grows.
#2: Online writing gigs don’t pay as well as print ones
This is a gross generalization, without much truth in it. Some print publications don’t pay anything – local newspapers and specialty magazines often rely on volunteers, because of printing and distribution costs.
But online, even tiny operations can afford to pay writers, since their overheads are so low.
Some online writing gigs pay very little – but there are others which pay a hundred dollars or more for a short article. It’s up to you what jobs you take, so you never need to work for a low rate.
In my experience, online writing gigs pay very well in terms of time spent. They may pay less per word – but they often don’t require the same level of research and fact-checking that print publications want.
#3: You need technical knowledge to freelance write online
This myth puts off a lot of people. They’re convinced that online freelance writing requires technical skills like knowing HTML code or being a whizz with different systems.
The truth is, you almost certainly already have all the technical skills you need:
- Ability to use email (to send articles to an editor)
- Basic word-processing skills (e.g. using Microsoft Word or Open Office)
- Ability to use search engines (e.g. Google, Yahoo) for research
It really is that simple. Of course, there are some gigs where you’ll be at an advantage if you’re comfortable with uploading content into your client’s software – for instance, WordPress – but there are plenty of writing jobs which don’t require anything “techy” beyond the ability to create a document and send it by email.
#4: You need an English or Journalism major to be a freelance writer
Maybe you majored in math or a science, or maybe you didn’t go to college at all. It doesn’t matter. All that editors care about is your ability to write – whether or not you have a degree makes no difference to them.
If you’ve studied English, Journalism or a related subject, you’ll probably be a confident and fast writer – which will serve you well. However, you can easily develop your writing skills outside the college world – and academic writing bears very little resemblance to the sort of writing that online gigs will want!
#5: Receiving payments is hard. You’ll need an accountant and a merchant bank account
This myth really frustrates me, because it’s so out of date! All you need to receive money online is a PayPal account – almost every single online gig I’ve ever had has paid through PayPal. The one gig which didn’t, with an online magazine, sent me a check which I just deposited straight into my bank account.
Opening a PayPal account takes minutes, and allows you to receive money in many different currencies without having to pay the hefty fee that your bank would charge for a foreign transaction.
#6: Only people living in the US can become successful freelance writers
I’m living proof that this is untrue – I live in the UK, and have worked with editors in the US, in Canada and in Australia. I know of many successful freelance writers around the world.
Most online gigs will take writers from anywhere. All that matters is that you can write good English. If you live in a country with a low cost of living, then you’re actually at an advantage – as you’ll be getting paid US rates for your work.
#7: You need to be an expert in one field before you can find freelance jobs
You already have certain areas where you’re knowledgeable, just from your life experience. For instance, you might have children – and there are scores of jobs looking for people who can write about parenting.
Many online gigs are open to any writers, and don’t require any particular expertise. You might have to do extra research to begin with, but if you keep writing on similar topics, you’ll soon become a self-taught expert.
So – seven myths busted! I hope you’re feeling more optimistic about your own chances of freelancing online. Writing is a great way to make a living (or just make some extra cash on the side) and there’s always going to be a demand for good writers and new content.
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