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How to start your own writing business

Discussion in 'Copywriting' started by variannas, Dec 22, 2015.

  1. #1
    Starting a writing business online is easier said than done. I remember back in the day when I used to write for O-desk and grew an article base of 300 articles. I started with two a day. I would write one early in the morning and another just before going to bed. I enjoyed writing but I never once thought of becoming a freelance writer online. I recall stumbling across DP long ago and this is how I discovered how I could write articles online for clients. Here are some tips on how to earn trust as a writer and find clients.

    Regularly post in the forums
    Don't just post everwhere. Post in places related to writing such as DP's copywriting section. This way things stay relevant. Furthermore, people will see your signature and want to know more about you. This is especially true when you answer someone's question. They see you are a helpful person and want to know more about you. It´s called giving to the community.

    Give instead of taking
    Sure, you could easily make threads or post services but this won't do any good. It's better to offer something unique within your services. Give something the client wasn't even expecting. I remember my first gigs on Fiverr that I had as a writer and I would often throw in a freebie. Clients really appreciate this and they will leave you good reviews in return.

    Spread out your services
    Focus on two different places to begin with. For example, you could use DP and also Fiverr to sell your writing services. There are tons of places online. Each client is different when it comes to shopping for articles. Some prefer chatting with someone who is established and has been on the forum for while. Others just want a good deal, despite if that person is new or not.

    Build a portfolio
    The majority of clients that you write for will be posting articles on their blog. Ask if you can link to their blog to show off your work. They will be getting free traffic and you will be showing off your portfolio. This is clearly a win-win situation here.

    Write about topics you love
    The best type of article is one that is written with passion. Those are the ones where you completely lose track of time, focusing on the article only. You may have traveled outside of your state to go to New York and want to write about your experience. Put together a few different articles which focus on different places within the state that you visited. You can always save these in your own article library. Offer them to people who have travel blogs. Better yet, you can even put them in the article marketplace of DP.
    SEMrush
    Always be available
    Try to be available on Skype or e-mail. Most clients will want to reach you for an urgent project and discuss the details. Some are busy and have 9-5 jobs so they can only contact you at a certain time. Others also work in freelancing, often using you to outsource the work so they may be extremely busy with other clients.

    Anyways, I hope this helps a few of you just starting on here. Good luck and wishing all the freelance writers success!
     
    Solved! View solution.
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2015
    variannas, Dec 22, 2015 IP
    Digital_shubhi and -bank- like this.
    SEMrush
  2. Valdenheath

    Valdenheath Greenhorn

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    #2
    I have a friend just about to take this step, will pass this on to her. Thanks for posting.
     
    Valdenheath, Dec 22, 2015 IP
  3. redesignunit@gmail.com

    redesignunit@gmail.com Banned

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    #3
    good idea for starting and learning writing content.
     
    redesignunit@gmail.com, Dec 22, 2015 IP
  4. tomarmstrong

    tomarmstrong Greenhorn

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    #4
    My main focus on any business is to focus on if you can outsource it.

    If you can outsource it and it's profitable then pursue it, build a reputation, train your VA and bring in the ££
     
    tomarmstrong, Dec 25, 2015 IP
  5. ViolentAJ

    ViolentAJ Active Member

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    #5
    These are all great pieces of advice, but sometimes we have to write about topics that we are not so fond of if we want a steady stream of income. Either that or diversify our interests.
     
    ViolentAJ, Dec 25, 2015 IP
  6. variannas

    variannas Member

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    #6
    That's true ViolentAJ. You have a point there. Sometimes I stumble across clients who require articles that are not within my topics of interest. This means I will need to do the research. It doesn't bother me too much as I am learning about new topics I've never written about. Soon, I will be a live and walking human Wikipedia. Hehe, just kidding. But seriously though... sometimes it is good to learn about new topics.
     
    variannas, Dec 28, 2015 IP
  7. Valdenheath

    Valdenheath Greenhorn

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    #7
    Another plus point of research - you are always on the winning team at a pub quiz!
     
    Valdenheath, Dec 29, 2015 IP
  8. charlesgan

    charlesgan Well-Known Member

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    #8
    Good articles, and thanks for sharing your experience and timeline with progress. Its good to see people getting committed with their job and get to build a successful life online and fully independent on their own. That is what Internet should be, offering opportunity and people who willing to work are able to make sure of their time to produce "product or services" and offered it to anyone at anywhere.

    iwriter is a good place for you to join too, you can become pro in there and the article usually cost $10-15 per writing.
     
    charlesgan, Dec 29, 2015 IP
  9. asiogroup

    asiogroup Well-Known Member

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    #9
    I've been on the both sides. I've written for clients and have hired people to write for me as well.
    Hiring good writers is still a pain, there is so much work.

    Finding good clients is also tough but not as much as finding good writers. Nice Post.
     
    asiogroup, Jan 2, 2016 IP
  10. Erwin A

    Erwin A Greenhorn

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    #10
    I've been dabbling in freelance writing for the past year, but I've really only just gotten my feet wet. The biggest job I've done is a $30 for magazine article. If I had more of those, I'd be set. The reality is I am still looking for more work and finding a lot of content mill work at $5 or so per article. These articles aren't hard to do, but I would rather be doing more interesting work.

    Thanks for the tips, I'm preparing to launch a personal portfolio site soon to get more tips. The dream is to be a full-time writer.
     
    Erwin A, Jan 5, 2016 IP
  11. #11
    One thing I wish I knew and avoided years of doing: Do not be cheap. You cannot make a living off of cheap clients. It's not possible. They constantly come and go, the payment schedule is iffy at best and there's not enough work to go around for cheap writers.

    No matter how cheap you think you are, there's always someone willing to go lower than you and spew out some garbage no one will want to read.

    Marketing yourself to respectable clients is the one piece of advice I wish I had gotten years ago. I spent years trying to make money writing for cheap people.
     
    coreygeer, Jan 10, 2016 IP
  12. Leviathanos

    Leviathanos Greenhorn

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    #12
    This is probably the biggest mistake that almost everyone does when they try to get into freelancing.

    Sure, do work cheap for a month or two so that you build a massive portfolio, but for heavens sake, don't think those customers will make you an income in the long run. Marketing yourself will virtually allow you to charge almost any price.

    A protip is to really target your writing. Market yourself as a SEO writer that specifically works in a specific topic, this will turn you into an "expert" of sorts which will make people more willing to pay 20-30$ for 300-500 words.
     
    Leviathanos, Jan 16, 2016 IP
  13. variannas

    variannas Member

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    #13
    I agree with you on this one. Many of the people who are looking for cheap content aren't concerned about the quality. If they don't focus on quality, they probably aren't making enough money for their blogs or current websites.

    Personally, I would prefer to have one 1000 word article without any grammar mistakes as opposed to 15 articles of 200 words with horrible spelling and punctuation.

     
    variannas, Jan 16, 2016 IP
  14. Shohel

    Shohel Greenhorn

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    #14
    That's sound great information about start writing for income source who are gonna initiate journey on online writing.
     
    Shohel, Jan 17, 2016 IP
  15. Karri

    Karri Greenhorn

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    #15
    It's really quite simple. I started by finding a company that gave me 1 cent per word. Once I had written enough to cover my living costs I made sure to get a client who paid 2 cents per word, or actually multiple clients. Once that was enough to cover living costs, and some extra thanks to getting used to writing 4000-5000 words a day, I moved to asking for 3 cents per word. This allowed me to quickly build an impressive portfolio as well.

    Though I don't get this "I don't write for that kinda money" thing. If I have no client asking for articles, except for someone who pays 1 cent, then I'll write those one cent pieces. It's all about what you make per hour, and if you got nothing to write then you make nothing. Now I am getting contacts from those 1 cent clients as well, and most of them are agreeing to new prices. Make sure that yo

    The most important thing: get clients. I don't so much care about marketing, as it pertains to online presence, blogs and other nonsense, I simply contact companies directly. Or via these forums. I spent two weeks at the start of the year, when everyone was recovering from hangover, browsing through every platform(freelancer, fiverr, upwork, iwriter, countless forums like this one) and website I could find, and it paid off. You of course need to have the skills necessary for all this. Research, write and edit. Ask for more money. Repeat. And of course always deliver on time, so make sure you can keep the deadlines you promise.

    As for companies, I wish they would keep their own deadlines. Pisses me off to write 10 000 words in a few days, because it's so extra super important and busy, and then wait for a month for them to pay. Nothing is more annoying than writing those "hey, maybe you could pay this bill, you know that I sent ten times already".
     
    Karri, Jan 21, 2016 IP
  16. niksto82

    niksto82 Member

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    #16
    Lol, in my country, everybody is doing business like this. In fact, this is precisely the reason why I was forced to go international. And to be honest, now I am living a cozy life and I'm the only guy among my friends who is getting money in advance (as unbelievable as it sounds).
     
    niksto82, Jan 22, 2016 IP
  17. variannas

    variannas Member

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    #17
    Karri, I really enjoyed your post because it looks like you have learned how to start your business the right way. Actually, this is a great business plan.

    Most clients are willing to pay a writer more if they have been working with them for a long time. They trust you and know you will deliver on time so the price is just right. Testing out a new writer is a bit scary... Although I am a writer, I have done this myself in the past. The results weren't very satisfying actually but I did run into a few good writers which I stayed with for my website projects.

    I agree with you about large companies that give you ridiculous deadlines like having 20 articles ready in 24 hours. I have worked for companies like this before and the problem with them is that once you deliver, they take their sweet time to pay you. I remember waiting a full three weeks to get paid after I had delivered so now my rules are different.

    I always offer new clients the option of paying after work is done but not for bulk orders. For example, after I have written a few articles then payment is required. My general rule of thumb is having them pay after 1,000 words have been written. No exceptions to this...
     
    variannas, Jan 22, 2016 IP
  18. Karri

    Karri Greenhorn

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    #18
    It's not so much the right way as the only way, I had absolutely no savings so I couldn't do anything else than make sure I got the money for rent somehow. I mean, I could have taken on some 8 to 5 job, but I really don't want to do that again. Turned out well though.
     
    Karri, Jan 25, 2016 IP
  19. JudySlean

    JudySlean Greenhorn

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    #19
    I absolutely agree with you! Also, you can use different social networks and discuss your articals! Try to be more open for others and satisfied it! If you want to be a good writer, you must be yourself and have your own style! Only then you will have your own audience and everything will be great!
     
    JudySlean, Mar 21, 2016 IP
  20. ahmedwaqas92

    ahmedwaqas92 Member

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    #20
    Reading through the preceding nineteen posts, I somewhat have mixed feelings for the topic at hand; it might be the case that I am too out of touch of how things operate in today's day and age but clearly we have come a long way when you look back at how things were done - let's say 5-6 years ago. I started a writing business when I was in grade 10 (High School), this may sound prehistoric but I am talking about almost 2007/08; these were the days when Blogging, Tumblr and other stuff we're still in their infancy.

    My initial breakthroughs were presented from writing email templates for Russian clients but once when I discovered that I could have a good turn around writing promotional articles I started marketing myself as an article writer through freelancing platforms :cool: (Odesk to be specific) and within a span of two months I landed healthy projects concerning the health and fitness niche.

    With the inflow of constant work I had to find collaborators to distribute the work load - fast forward 8 months later I was managing a team of 9 people (including an administrator) and churning out project after project for clients from literally every major country. The income was quite decent, I was in the final year of my O'levels and making almost as much as anyone out there; put it simply life was good.

    In the above span of almost a year I had made decent enough contacts to ensure that the inflow of work was there to:

    (a) Make sure my employees were covered - payroll
    (b) Expenses of the label to be covered - expenditure
    (C) Profitability for me
    (d) Generating Capital to reinvest into the Business for Growth

    Mind you at this point in time I didn't even have formal high school certification; I was completing my senior year and barely an 18 year old. This particular feature of my life lasted maybe for another 6-7 months and as it is with every good thing in life, the latter period diminished when due to some personal family issues I had to sell this setup for a surge in cash. One of the collaborators that I worked with previously offered a good price; it was exactly what I needed on an absolute urgent basis but in return I had to walk away from two years of my gut busting hard work - I had no other choice so I did what was needed.

    When my personal family crisis was over (It almost took a couple of years) I turned to writing once again; the rules had changed quite a bit with new Google updates, better indexing algorithms and what not so initially I was quite suspect of whether or not I would be able to reinvent the wheel - like how I did two years ago. I was quite demotivated, to be honest, hence instead of going towards article writing I jumped ship and started with academic literature.

    Having no prior experience, and no idea where to begin I had to literally pull all nighters in learning the art of conjuring academic thesis and papers; One thing I noticed right away was that academic writing, although quite challenging pays relatively handsomely when compared to article writing therefore seeing a lucrative assurance in investing my time for the next 1 year I took up the said occupation on a full time basis.

    Now these kind of writing gigs were not my cup of tea hence I wasn't doing that well individually. It was just enough to pay the bills and feed me by the skin of it's teeth. I was really not happy with where my life was headed so I dropped everything, picked up whatever savings I had and migrated from Karachi, Pakistan to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in the mid of 2013; primarily looking for greener pastures. Ever since (Two and half years to be exact) I have been working here - doing other things (not writing business) when until very recently I realized that I should come back and give article writing another go.

    The first contact that came to my head was the guy I previously sold my label to; I picked up the phone and called him directly. To my surprise what I found out was that the business had gone bankrupt almost 3/4 years ago due to some Google Panda update and they packed up shop somewhere during mid of 2012 - Right now the dude is working for a private studio (facepalm). Hearing this from someone who I literally left a budding business I decided to dig deeper and contact other competitors from that time; eighty five (85) percent of the companies that offered article writing or marketing services in 2009/2010, in Pakistan had literally gone out of business - The survivors we're distributed in two categories.

    (a) Businesses who trickled down from other major establishments - Such as leading software houses, web development companies etc
    (b) Businesses who targeted a single niche / area of expertise and stuck their guns to become the brand associated with it

    The second trend [labeled (b)] I believe is the true reflection of how a writing business can survive in the long run i.e. take up a single area of expertise; that you genuinely know stuff about - develop something that is original, massively filled with quality facts and figures and is something that you can consider the back of your hand while having an absolute passion about it.

    Once you develop content of such quality, your articles become relevant for longer periods of time and therefore a label gets more depth as a business; I understand that it narrows down the horizon for a writing business but I believe that same business would survive longer since becoming an expert on a given genre helps market your content better. Basically you're bottling the spectrum of what you do as a business so that irrelevant clients are filtered through and you work with people who

    (I) Are looking for content that you have expertise in
    (II) Will be willing to negotiate with you better

    Another plus for this kind of tactic could be the pricing that you can demand from the client. Since these articles / content would be as intensive as anything the client might find for a good price or two - you can literally dictate on how much one particular piece of written material is worth for. If the client really really needs what you have to offer; there isn't any doubt that he/she would be willing to pay - to get that unpublished, original and high value content.

    As an individual I do not believe that becoming the jack of all trades is something that would bring in more business; for the short term yes, it could help create new revenue streams but at the end of the day, a label would be sacrificing quality for more work inflow which in the long run can potentially damage a writing business's image and henceforth - profitability.

    Develop content that you're really good at and make sure it's highly original and can fully relate to the target market - you do this correctly; you survive the ups and downs of the industry and ride the way until shiner and merry days come along.

    P.S. I myself am planning on resuming article writing for the things that I love i.e. (Cricket - The Sport); Been watching, playing and breathing this game since I was 4 years old and now my plan is to do something that I love and am a diehard fan off.
     
    ahmedwaqas92, Mar 23, 2016 IP