Freelance writing is one of the top careers on the web, and it is one that can be highly profitable under the right circumstances. You don't have to be a genius or an English major to be a good writer online, but there are some characteristics that most successful writers share. Before you make this your profession for the future, you need to make sure that it is right for you. Once you get involved with it, you may never leave. I have been a freelancer for the past three years now, and I have seen good and bad writers throughout that time. I know what it takes to do well in this profession. Here is a simple analysis to help you determine if you are cut out for this field.
Do You Like to Write?
This may be obvious, but you have to have some sort of passion for writing if you want to be a freelance writer online. I'm not saying that you have to slave away at your keyboard 24 hours a day, but you need to at least be able to tolerate this process. I'm actually not a big fan of writing, but I do well at it. It's just a natural talent I have always had. Nevertheless, I am able to at least tolerate it enough to generate a paycheck every week. If you think you can stifle your vomit long enough to type for a few hours a day, you should do fairly well in this career.
Can You Stick to a Schedule?
Most freelance writers work at home, which means they have the ability to make their own schedules. This definitely has its advantages, but some people struggle to keep themselves on schedule. The internet is run on deadlines, and you have to be able to make every single one you commit to. Otherwise, you may lose clients, get bad feedback, or go through a lot of other negative effects that come along with procrastinating. You will only succeed in this career if you have enough self-control to stick to a timeline that you set for yourself. If you think you can do that without a problem, you should be in good shape.
Can You Manage Your Money Well?
Some freelance writing jobs pay on a scheduled basis – every week, every month, every day, etc. For the most part though, you will probably get paid whenever someone decides to pay you. That is one of the crappy aspects of working online. You never really know when you're going to get paid or if you are going to get paid at all. I don't want to scare you away from this career because there are a lot of trustworthy clients out there. I just want to make sure you know how to manage your money, in case you have to put back for projects when you don't get paid right away.
If you do manage to divvy up your money properly, you could make a very good living as a freelance writer. Here is a look at some of the average pay rates for freelance writers in America, courtesy of PayScale.com.
Salary by Years of Experience
- <5 years: $12,800 - $60,000 per year
- 5-9 years: $30,521 - $81,559 per year
- 10-19 years: $34,521 - $98,092 per year
- 20 years or more: $56,982 - $75,629 per year
Hourly Rate by Years of Experience
- <5 years: $12.02 - $42.71 per hour
- 5-9 years: $14.88 - $55.18 per hour
- 10-19 years: $21.50 - $75.00 per hour
- 20 years or more: $26.00 - $91.48 per hour
Do You Communicate Well with Others?
Above all else, you need to be able to communicate with your clients to deliver the right articles from the start. If you don't know how to talk to people, you run the risk of writing an article under a different set of terms than what the client requested. You have to keep your clients up to date on the status of your writing projects so they know they are getting what they paid for. If this and the other topics above are not an issue for you, you could be a great freelance writer in the future.