Getting Started in Freelance Writing Jobs from Home the Right Way

Working from home is a matter of necessity or convenience, that much everyone knows. Having a good career, though, depends on the core basics. As such, how one gets started in doing freelance writing jobs has an influence on the future. In essence, the right fundamentals result in a thriving profession.

Before getting started, understanding where I come from is essential. Hence, let me share a little bit about my experience with online content writing services.

Being brought up in a traditional Chinese family, a future in business was a given. No, my dad never implied that I would take over his business, but he did ask me to work with him. Even so, I had the freedom to explore opportunities, which I did.

Until retiring from business a few years ago due to personal reasons, I look at the world as a business. To be honest, I still do, and that is why I view freelance writing jobs from home as a business.

Back in my younger years, I used to agree when people say that happiness is more important than money.

All is good, until the reality of economics sink in.

It is not the money itself that matters but the benefits it brings. For that reason, I brought up the businessman mentality.

Is it not true that many of us tend to complete tasks for the sake of doing so?

Unfortunately, doing enough is not conducive to growth. Without progression, there can be no excellence. I have nothing against feeling contented. As one HR 3.0 expert told me, a vast majority of white-collar workers in the Philippines no longer seek promotion. But ask anyone if they could use a little more income, and the answer is a resounding yes.

So, what is my point?

Freelance Writing Jobs as Home Business

Because it is a house does not mean it is not an office. For two decades, our house was not only our abode but also a place where we ran our business. And that is how I experienced the convenience of being home, but it also can be a hindrance.

Freelancers have the freedom to work anywhere and anytime they want to.

I learned how to be a freelance writer in a coffee shop. For most of the first few weeks, it was all learning while looking for blog writing jobs. So, yes, it is possible to work anywhere so as long as there is connectivity.

Where I am having trouble reconciling is with freelancers working anytime they want to. At least a couple of elements must be present for that to happen. One is having a stable source of income other than freelancing. Another is that freelance writing gig is only a sideline where the income is not a necessity.

Other than the reasons above, thinking of working only when one wants to is, for lack of a better word, laziness.

As a businessperson, one has to take ownership and responsibility. During working times, it is all business. Earlier, I alluded to people having the tendency do the least amount of work in completing tasks. Such attitude is typical of many employees hence there is no further growth.

Writing articles online is a job, or it can be a service. As such, freelancing can be a profession or business. If we are to view content writing jobs as nothing more than that, then it is impossible to see how far it can take us. But seen as a business, it is in our best interest to nurture and keep it growing. For that reason, having an ownership mentality is the key to greener pastures.

Getting Started in Home-Based Freelance Writing Jobs

Becoming a freelance writer for hire is as easy as 1-2-3. Find clients, get paid to write online, and then do it again. Of course, the reality is that it is not as easy as it seems. In fact, beginners will have to go through the process of second-guessing themselves. While most decide to call it a day, others go on to become successful as web content writers.

Often, the reason for all the difficulties is the lack of preparation. Without the fundamentals of a good beginning, the foundation of growth is weak. As a consequence, article writing service becomes unsustainable and an unrewarding experience.

Are you willing to do whatever it takes to set yourself up for a lucrative career in writing for the web?

1. Essentials

Before getting started in freelance writing jobs, there are necessary preparations. Not only do we need the tools for writing, but we also need to work on changing our attitude.

1.1. Ownership Attitude

The decision to become a freelancer and accept content writing jobs from home depends on the WHY. It is not enough to cite income as the reason. No, we have to be more specific than that.

Anything we pursue has a reason, and if it is not enough, then the chances of succeeding are nil.

Being adults, most of us are not accountable to anyone. Children are answerable to their parents while employees are liable to their bosses.

Are we accountable if we did not do whatever it takes to become good at our craft?

Here is how I view freelance writing jobs as a service. Regardless if it is full-time or freelance, there is no employer/employee relationship. Instead, it is a business that caters to the needs of clients or customers.

Because I am the owner, then it is imperative for me to take care of the customers. In fact, it is normal for forward-thinking businesses to go the extra mile for clients. For me to take my service to the next level, then I need to work on improving my skills.

It is not easy, and most of us do not have the habit of learning. Often, we begin a new activity with enthusiasm and then lose the motivation after a while. Be that as it may, we need to draw inspiration from the WHY, the very reasons why we started in the first place.

Another thing where many of us have a difficulty with is consistency. Most people do their best in the beginning but fail to maintain the same standard, let alone exceed.

Is that in the best interest of the clients?

Is that in our best interest?

1.2. Time and Schedule

In an office, the working hours are already fixed. Of course, transportation time and costs are also a given. In that sense, the convenience of working from home sounds enticing. Also, some people need to stay at home like moms who have to take care of their kids. As such, the only way for them to earn an income is doing online jobs.

Aside from the lack of accountability, a hindrance at home is the absence of a weekly schedule. Working only when there is time is a disservice to the clients and one’s self.

The most abused excuse is time. Of all the precious things in life, time is the most under-appreciated.

Before looking for freelance writing jobs from home, writers need to have schedules. Otherwise, they cannot have goals and create a proper plan of action. As a matter of fact, freelancer content writers could be working at a loss.

Once, I spent hours discussing a blog writing job that pays $3 per hundred words. After agreeing, it took me four hours to finish writing a thousand word article. Factoring in the cost of electricity, depreciation of computer, cost of connectivity, it does not look good. Accounting for the time spent in discussing and finally completing the article, it turns out that my pay rate was abysmal. If I were to consider other expenses, I might as well be a garbage collector.

It was a mistake I made as a beginner which is why this early, I am telling you to account for your time. And it begins with having a weekly schedule for work.

Speaking of time, writers and especially the beginners must make time for learning. Stop the nonsense of learning only when there is time. Personal growth is a part of the process that sets one up for landing great clients.

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1.3. Computer and Software

It is rare for people to think of working from home as an article writer without having a computer. In fact, many families with children going to school today need to have one. Still, there are a few who have yet to buy a desktop or a laptop.

So, what kind of computer does one need for freelance writing jobs?

My answer to that question is any computer will do. But two things are preferable, and these are having a larger display and memory.

For desktops, having at least a 19-inch display allows for two windows side-by-side. One window can have the word processor while the other has the browser with web references. As for laptops, consider 13-inch the bare essential as 11-inch is too small and harder to work with.

It is common for writers to open tens of tabs on the browser while researching. Each tab, as well as other programs loaded, uses memory. One thing that can break the train of thought or cause a slowdown is when the computer starts crawling. While 4GB is workable, having 8GB is better.

For a word processor, Microsoft Office and Word remain the best in the world. I do not support piracy so please, do not use a pirated copy. If the price is prohibitive, a good alternative is the free open-source LibreOffice. Depending on the client, some may want to use Google Docs.

In the Philippines, we are so used to using Facebook as our primary social media platform, at least most of us do. For working, most if not all foreign clients prefer to use Skype. For obvious reasons, that is another software we need to install and use.

1.4. Connectivity

It is not that the connection speed in the Philippines is slow but rather, it is expensive. In most cases, having a DSL subscription for 3 Mbps suffice provided the service is stable. As we are all aware of, the providers here are not perfect. In some places, they work well, but in others they suck. As a rule, the connection speed should allow for video calls without any noticeable lag.

One more thing. When choosing a plan from any of the providers, pick one that does not have a data cap. We do tend to use a lot of data during research and self-learning. Although most freelance writing jobs do not seem to need much, it is the other things we do which may require more.

Aside from having a primary provider, article writers also need to have a backup. For instance, one could use mobile LTE in case the DSL connection goes down. Because our work is online, we cannot afford to lose our connectivity.

1.5. Work Space

It is a given that we need the cooperation of everyone in the household. If it is working time, no one is to be a distraction.

Writers with young children may have a hard time in the beginning. But we have to understand that not only do they learn, we can also train them to respect our working hours.

One advantage of being strict about keeping the time with children is the value we pass. If they keep seeing us being serious in our work and keeping the time, it becomes their habit too. But if we keep letting distractions hinder us, then we are not encouraging the right behavior.

Even when working at home, it is preferable to have a space dedicated to working and nothing else. In fact, I can also say that writers should not only post their weekly schedules but also have a vision board.

Why is having a dedicated working space for content writing needed?

Of course, having a working area is dependent on individual living spaces. For some freelancers, that is not an option at all. If it is possible, though, then here are some reasons.

1. As soon as we sit down, we shift our focus to working.

2. Other people in the house soon learn to leave us alone once we start working.

3. Because the home office space is for working, it must not have anything else that can be a distraction. Instead, having a weekly calendar helps in managing time and deadlines.

4. Finally, a vision board helps brings our focus back to productivity. Work can become tedious at times, hence seeing a reminder of the benefits helps us keep going.

A working space does not have to be a spare room. In fact, it could be a small table in the corner.

2. Recommended

Like how one must manage time and put some for learning, so it is with earnings. Even if it is a necessity, so is the cost of freelance writing jobs from home. In other words, there are investments to enhance the quality of the articles we write.

As much as I like Microsoft Word, it is also a bloated software that comes with countless features which I do not use. Of course, that did not stop me from purchasing the Home and Student edition. At any rate, LibreOffice is an excellent open source alternative.

I can also recommend Hemingway Editor. Writers can use it online for free. It is, without a doubt, the best editor to start with when writing web articles. By following its recommendations, the finished article will have a good readability score. As a result, not only is it easy to read but also conform to at least one SEO ranking signal.

One disadvantage of the free online version is that users cannot save the document. Of course, copy-pasting is a workable solution. I do recommend purchasing the program for $19.99, which allows writers to save files on the computer.

As an aid to proof-reading, Grammarly is a decent service. Article writers can sign up and use it for free. While not perfect, it does help in spotting mistakes here and there. After using it for a long time, I finally subscribed to the premium plan. It can be costly on at $29.95/month, so I opted for an annual plan where it costs me $11.66/month.

One other thing I like about Grammarly is that it comes with a plagiarism checker. From experience, it is comparable to Copyscape. Using such tools is a part of what we do in freelance writing jobs.

Successful Freelance Content Writers Started the Right Way

No one ever said freelancing is easy. Be that as it may, it is only hard in the beginning. By putting in the time to learn and having the ownership mindset, it becomes easier.

People working in offices do not have to provide their own tools. In our case, we have to invest in computer and software. Not only that, but we also pay for the Internet connection. With that in mind, freelance writing jobs is a business service we do for clients.

For us to grow our business, we need to add more skills as well as continue to strive for excellence in writing. As a result, better opportunities come along.

One of the richest people in the country is Henry Sy. Instead of looking at the shoes he is selling, what we need to do is to see how he sold them. In other words, let us take inspiration from successful freelancers. But it is more important to learn the fundamentals to set the foundation for growth.

In the market, individuals have lamented about the difficulties of working online. From getting hired by ideal clients to work itself, each step can be challenging. It is up to us to make it easier in due time, and that is through preparation and starting the right way.

ROBERT LEE

Content Manager, Article Writer, Blogger

12 Comments
  1. I have been a freelance writer for like five years now, and I do agree with everything you listed here, sir. Time management (although we can control our time) is very important like in my case; I need to distribute the 40 hours required working time for the whole week. So, I decided to have at least 7 hours work per day so the last day would be my day off.

    Internet connection is also very crucial as everything relies on it. Having a good working environment is also ideal to set the right mood for writing.

  2. I have observed that when someone says that he or she is an online freelancer, many people think that it is the kind of job that is easier than the offline jobs, which require a lot of preparation such as the clothes, allowance, transportation, etc. While it is true that online freelancing gives us the chance to earn while at home, it does not mean that it is easy. It requires commitment, discipline, and patience just like other professional jobs out there. Without these traits, someone cannot stay long in the world of online freelancing.

  3. Thank you for this beautiful insight about freelance writing and those awesome tips! Been doing freelance writing jobs for over 6 years now and the key really is to keep challenging yourself and keep on learning and striving to improve your craft. Money is not enough motivation to do this job. At the end of the day, it is most fulfilling to realize you have written something you have not done before or finished an 800-word article and have beaten your deadline.

    Love those tips, too! I am planning to convert a small corner of our living room into our tiny workstation and I hope to accomplish this before the year ends. I am eyeing to get a big enough table with shelves for books, and yes, another cork board to put my vision board in! I am also checking Hemingway Editor now! ^_^

  4. I’ve always thought of starting a freelance job. It has been hard for me since I’ve been maintaining a lot of bills for the family. Is there a way to start this part-time? I really want to start because I feel that having a day job is really stressful.

    1. Jullian,

      I think the most important step to take before one decides to become a freelancer is a couple of things:

      1. Account for your time. Know first the time you can afford for freelancing.

      2. Account for your skills. It means writing down the things you can do and then cross-checking with freelance marketplaces. Pick the top three skills you now have, and it does not matter whether you rate yourself excellent or not. The idea behind picking a few skills is that these are the jobs that you see is needed by clients.

      If you are qualified, go ahead and make a pitch. Otherwise, learn and improve on the skills you picked. Of course, all these are dependent on time. It is for that reason that you have to know your schedule. Only then can you plan and use time effectively.

  5. One of my first jobs online was being a freelance writer. I was also a first-time mom then. It was perfect for me because I loved writing. I was happy to be paid engaging in my favorite past time. But I only wrote about topics close to my heart and within my expertise. As a mom of a toddler then and now a mom of three small kids, I don’t have plenty of time to research if I write on topics unfamiliar to me. So, my strategy is to write on subjects I am familiar with. That way, I finish faster, and I have credibility.

    However, as I’ve mentioned to you before, I had to be realistic and practical as well. I needed to balance passion with practicality. I earn more giving talks, training, and workshops compared to writing. Thus, I make sure that I spend more time on the tasks that give me higher returns for my time.

    Writing will always be part of my life, though. I love writing. I write even when I am busy. I do my best to make time for it. =)

  6. I just hope I could showcase what I’ve got in creating a story. I have a story, but I don’t have materials that can be used to reproduce my own story, but I really love to show my habit of writing and composing a story.

  7. I also work online as a freelance acquisition specialist, same benefits as a writer but with a different job. I manage my time, I can work whenever I want or wherever as long as I finish what needs to be done. But I’m also thinking of expanding my knowledge through writing. I never thought that writing could be a career for me but I might take that path soon. But I totally agree, working from home, no hassle of commute is totally a dream job most Filipinos should try to pursue, it might not be for everybody but it’s a dream job for me. 🙂

  8. Managing my time can be the most challenging factor that I need to work on. These are spot on insights that a beginner needs to check before deciding to leave the corporate world. I’m still in the process of learning – honing my skills to be fit for a content writing job. I am always planning to do this, but I don’t know where to start. Again, there’s this self-doubt if I can do the job.

  9. This article shares really helpful tips for freelance writers.

    When I left my job a few years ago, I started working from home. I found freelance writing as a great way to earn income as a mom. But as you said, moms with kids face the difficulty of finding the time. It is sometimes a struggle to concentrate on a topic.

    During the daytime, I complete my drafts. Then I go through another round freely to make the article sound good. Anyway, I write construction related articles/documents apart from my blog. Such articles always need more research and time.

    In the beginning, I also made some mistakes on low-cost orders and never-ending discussions. But nowadays, I don’t go for low rates. I also avoid clients who ask for a lot of things while offering low prices, because they will do the same when I deliver the order. It is not easy to satisfy them with submitted orders, so it’s better to reject such clients instead of spending time. 🙂

  10. Again, this is such a helpful tip for all the freelancers, especially for bloggers that are planning to quit their corporate job and delve into freelancing. Truly, it is not easy. It takes a lot of determination, and if you start it in a right way, you will surely go far as I have read a lot of stories about freelances that became successful.

    Ownership attitude and being strict on the schedule is something I should learn from your blog post. Thank you so much for sharing your brilliant insights on this matter Sir. This will surely be a great help for me as I have just started my career online.

  11. Everything you’ve written is so very true. Having and following through with that ownership mentality is a key element toward freelancing success. Another thing I really related to is the point of having a workspace. For me, I don’t need much, but it has to be a neat and well-lit space where I can concentrate and focus without distraction.

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