How to Make $3,000 Per Month as a Mediocre Writer
Tom: The following is a guest post from Minh Nguyen. I was initially not keen on the title of the post, as I think Minh is a good writer, but that wasn’t always the case. The following is an inspiring story about how Minh transformed himself from a mediocre writer into a successful freelancer. Fast-forward to present day and he’s going from strength to strength!
Before I stumbled upon Tom’s blogging course and his blogging tips, I was a pretty mediocre online writer. Actually, I was terrible.
My blog posts looked like a high school essay – no images, no informative links and no stylistic formatting to make the content look visually pleasing. The paragraphs I wrote were monsters to read.
Even though I didn’t know how to write for the web just yet, I still made a pretty decent living as an online freelance writer. I made my first dollar online submitting an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) article – a type of article that puts SEO ahead of readability. A few months after that, I was making $3,000 per month.
This post is for those who:
- just started freelance blogging and are unsure of their writing skills
- don’t have stellar English grammar skills but still want to become a freelance writer
- want to diversify their workload by adding in a type of writing that doesn’t require creative skills
- want an alternative to working for a content mill
In this post, I am going to tell you, step-by-step, exactly how I did it. If you follow what I describe here, I am confident that you can replicate my results, regardless of your writing ability.
What the Work Consists Of
When I first got started as an online freelance writer, I had no idea that top-tier bloggers were making $200+ per post. I only knew of gigs that fetched $10-$30 per article.
Fortunately, the amount of time and effort that goes into this type of writing is much lower. The majority of my gigs consisted of these three types of online writing: SEO articles, article rewriting, and cookie-cutter blog posts.
SEO writing mostly consists of articles that are written for the search engines. This comes at the expense of readability. Clients who are looking to hire you for this type of writing generally don’t care how well the article is written as long as certain factors are accounted for, such as keyword density.
You can find out about how to write SEO articles here and here.
There are two main instances when people would want to have their articles rewritten by someone else:
- Since Google changes its algorithm regularly, people need to have their SEO articles rewritten to keep the search engine happy.
- Those who outsource articles and blog posts to foreign writers will often end up with writing riddled with errors.
This type of job is very easy. If you do a good job of cleaning up the articles and making them readable, your client will be happy.
Cookie-Cutter Blog Posts
Clients who are looking for cookie-cutter blog posts aren’t generally looking for exceptional or spectacular writing. They just want something that is ‘good enough’ and don’t want to have to shell out hundreds for a standard post.
An example of this is a blog post I did for a motel company in Utah. The post outlined upcoming events in the area and listed the motel’s amenities. Nothing too fancy.
As you can see, there’s not much to it when it comes to the skill involved in these types of writing. If you passed high school English, you are automatically qualified.
How to Land These Types of Jobs
SEO companies are going to be your best bet when it comes to landing these jobs. Just do a Google search and you will find hundreds upon hundreds of companies to pitch.
They are always in need of reliable writers. Notice the emphasis on reliable. If you can prove that you are fast and reliable, they will have you write hundreds of articles for them in one batch.
That is the jackpot and the key to making this work. You need to be able to secure a mass amount of articles and blog posts from a reasonably small amount of clients in order to make enough money without being overwhelmed.
You can either cold call the SEO company and ask to be directed to the proper person, network with proper people in-person, or send cold e-mails. I chose the cold e-mail route. In retrospect, cold calling would have been the quickest way and would have yielded the best results.
For inspiration, take a look at my pitch:
Dear (SEO Company),
As an experienced SEO content writer and native English speaker, I understand how difficult it is to find writers who actually know English and can submit articles without typos or grammatical errors. When you contract for writers, you need content that your clients will be happy with – and you need it fast! I am reliable, responsive, and exceed deadlines.
If you are in need of SEO content articles that will keep the audience reading and make the search engines happy at the same time, contact me today. Rates and samples are available upon request.
I appreciate your time, and I look forward to hearing from you!
In other words, if I was able to be successful with that pitch, you can definitely succeed with a better pitch.
Here are two resources on how to word your pitch.
Of course, tailor your pitch to reflect the job you are trying to land.
Always Make Sure the Pay is Good Enough
After you get a few responses, you need to make sure that you are going to be paid a reasonable amount of money for your work. Most SEO companies are going to look for dirt cheap rates, so be patient. There are many companies out there willing to pay the rate you are looking for if you can prove your worth.
I only accepted the job if the client agreed to at least $20 per 500 words each article (or four cents per word).
(Optional) Outsource the Work to oDesk, eLance, or Fiverr
After those batches of hundreds of articles start queuing up, you’re going to want to outsource the work to one of these three sites. Fiverr is for freelancers who can post ‘gigs’ of what they are willing to do for $5. For oDesk and eLance, companies and individuals can post projects of what they need done and how much they are willing to pay for it.
This is the time you will build your team of writers. It will take some time, but you will need to exercise patience and caution when looking for writers to add to your team. Some will flake out on you and some will be very slow and unreliable. It is part of the process.
The outsourced articles will probably not be 100% ready to submit to your clients. It usually takes me about 10-15 minutes to proofread and correct minor grammar mistakes here and there.
You will want to let your clients (the SEO companies) know that your team of writers have the capacity to complete hundreds of articles. As you build trust with your clients, they will give you more and more regular batches of work to complete.
Because I was writing for SEO companies on an as-needed basis, each month differed in terms of what types of articles I was writing and editing. I started online freelance writing earlier this year in February, and May was the first month I managed to break $3,000 per month:
|Number of Articles||Narrative||Income|
In May, I had two large batches of articles that I was working on. I also had some miscellaneous pieces of work. I worked about 4-5 hours each day proofreading, editing, and writing articles. After that, I spent 2-3 hours doing administrative work.
Eventually, I burned out sometime in August. I could not continue proofreading and writing hundreds of articles every single month. It was a happy coincidence that I happened upon Paid to Blog. Now I’m working on building my blogging skills and portfolio in order to move away from the low end of online freelance writing.
For this reason, I’m not advocating this type of work as a long-term career. It’s a good confidence booster or even just a way to put food on the table. However, after you feel that you can take on more difficult types of online writing, there are much more lucrative gigs out there to be had.
The bottom line is: there’s always a way to make it work as a freelance writer regardless of your English writing ability.
So what are you waiting for? If you are sitting on your butt because you don’t have enough clients to fill up your freelancing schedule, start hitting up SEO companies and pitch your services! And let me know if you have any questions in the comments section below.
Photo Credit: Quinn deEskimo