Can you start a Content writing business from home and profit within 3 months?
Content writing can be an extremely profitable business. As a Content writer, you are responsible for writing content for use on blogs and websites. There are thousands of websites publishing content daily, all of which need writers!
Imagine, making enough money in your spare time from freelance writing. You no longer need your 9 to 5 job, because of the income you’re making.
Thousands of people are looking for a supplemental income. Writing is one of the many ways people are making money from home.
So what actually goes into a Content writing business? Is this something you can actually do?
Luckily for you, I’m going to show you the steps you need to consider. With enough hustle, you could be earning your first thousand dollars from home.
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Selecting your Niche
A niche is a certain topic which a website produces content around. Niches focus on a specific topic to generate loyal readers. A good website provides content which people want to come back and read.
For example, this blog is a personal finance blog. I write about making money and helping people with their personal finances. My goal is to help people have more money at the end of the day.
At the end of the day, I want people to come back to my website. I want people to be thirsty for the information I provide.
Selecting a niche topic helps me build a topic centered audience. People know they can come back and see content that they will love.
You should select a topic that you are interested in writing about. You have to stay interested in your writing. If you lack interest then you’ll burn out.
So before you begin as a Content writer, what do you want to write about? Do you have experience which can provide value in any certain area?Click to Tweet! Please Share!Click To Tweet
Setting up your freelance writing portfolio
A good content writer will need a freelance writing portfolio. Your portfolio showcases your work and highlights any benefit of working with you. You won’t use your portfolio very often, but it can certainly make the difference of winning work or not.
Where will you host your portfolio?
Most freelance writers have their own website to showcase their work. Obviously, you are going to write content for websites. Therefore, it is important to have a clear understanding of how websites work.
Keep in mind, having a website is not a requirement. I have seen freelance writers showcase their work in Google Docs. You can also go the free route of hosting your work on websites like Blogger.
Personally, I am more likely to hire a freelance writer who owns a website. I gain most of my traffic from search engine optimization. Therefore, having website experience is a plus.
However, there are many websites which gain their traffic from social media. Having a website to them is not nearly as important. These websites may prioritize amazingly written content.
Your first step is to set up your portfolio. Pretend like you are writing a Blog article for your selected niche. Have at least three samples of your work in your portfolio.
Understand what clients are looking for in a writer
Clients are looking for content writers that understand online article writing. You need to set yourself apart from the rest of the freelancer crowd. Set yourself apart by showing experience with Google, excellent grammar, voice, content flow, at an affordable price.
Let’s take a look at what your potential client may be looking for in a freelance writer.
Finding content writers who have experience with Google search optimization is difficult. It’s easy to claim that you have SEO experience, but difficult to actually find someone that does. Finding a Content writer who can repeatedly rank number one on Google is worth their weight in gold.
The easiest way to prove you have SEO experience is by owning your own website. You could then share your Analytics for social proof.
However, building a website from the ground up takes a lot of time. Therefore, ask your clients to let you know when your article ranks on Google. You can then add these articles to your portfolio.
Most beginners in freelance writing will not have Google experience and that is okay. Add Google experience to your portfolio when you have something to show.
Most content writers do not have a degree in English. Having a degree is not a requirement to be a freelance writer. However, you will be judged based on your grammar and sentence structure.
Nobody starts writing with perfect sentence structure and grammar. However, the more you write the better you become.
Your writing may start off kind of clunky when you are first getting started and without any experience. Sometimes, I shake my head at things I published a year ago. You are always improving your writing.
In most cases, you are your own worst critic. That being said, you do have to provide well-written content.
Beginners may want to use editing apps such as Hemingway or Grammarly. Both apps help edit your writing and can make some recommendations for improvement. It’s the next best thing to having a family member who is an editor.
After a while, you can stop using the apps. Some people take comfort in the fact that something is checking their work.
Freelance writers will also know how to construct an article. Think of an article as a guide that walks someone through an answer. Ideally, you are taking the reader on a guided path to understanding, without getting lost.
Setting up a great article outlines can help. You want to make sure that the reader leaves the article with a clear understanding.
For example, let’s say you are writing an article on baking a pie. Does the article walk you through the steps for making a pie. Or, does the article go off topic and tell you where you purchased the ingredients and why you are making the pie?
Writers tend to go off topic in their writing. If I came to an article wanting to know how many quarters are in a dollar, did I leave with the answer of how many pennies are in a dollar?
If so, the article did not answer the question. Make sure your reader gets the answer that they are looking for. Ensure the article has a natural flow from beginning to end.
Depending on your client, adding in your personality is a great idea. Your unique voice it’s what separates your article from the rest on the internet. It is okay to talk about your experiences, as long as, that’s not the only thing you talk about.
Remember, someone is coming to your piece of content for a reason. The article needs to answer that reason. However, you should make the reader laugh or invoke some emotion.
If you state a fact, can you give your opinion on it?
For example, A sit-to-stand station can greatly improve your posture while working. Personally, I love my sit-to-stand station and I feel better at the end of the day. Purchasing a sit-to-stand station has been one of the greatest purchases I’ve ever done.
With the above example, I’ve added my personality in only a few sentences. I’ve given my opinion, but it supports the overall topic.
One of the biggest reasons freelancers will lose work is over cost issues. You are here to make money, but so is the company you write for. At the end of the day, you both need to have a good arrangement.
I will talk about cost in more detail later. However, you need to understand that when you’re just starting out, it can be competitive. You may need to set your rates lower than you are expecting to win work.
Having a little confidence goes a long way when it comes to freelance writing. You’d be surprised at the number of Freelancers who reduce their rate because of confidence.
At the end of the day, you are providing a service. You provide a website content and they provide you money. People who are confident in their work tend to make more than those who aren’t.
It’s easy to get flustered when you are just starting out. Just relax, know that there is plenty of room for error.
As I previously mentioned, I look for freelance writers who have website experience. Someone who has operated a WordPress blog knows more about what I am after. I am looking for people with SEO experience which usually comes from operating a website.
At the very minimum, consider checking it out. However, there are plenty of work opportunities for Content creators without owning a website.Click to Tweet! Please Share!Click To Tweet
Determining your freelance writing fees
The great thing about content writing is that you can set your rates. You can charge enough to make $300 per hour, but you have to be able to justify it. There is a delicate balance of winning work and profit until you are a well-known freelance writer.
So let’s take a look at how to set your rates as a new beginner in freelance or content writing.
Balance between winning work and profit
As I’ve mentioned, there are thousands of freelance writers available. There are many freelance writers willing to cut their rates just to get some work. However, you can still make great money when first starting out.
From my experience, freelancers who charge around $0.10 per word win work. The company that I get this information from does get bids from Freelancers at $0.30 per word. However, the company cannot justify pain an extra $0.20 per word.
The Freelancers who charge $0.10 per word are producing good quality work. I’m assuming, the Freelancers charging $0.30 per word also produce great quality work. However, the company does not want to pay three times the amount.
Larger companies may be willing to pay the $0.30 per word. Only you can decide if you want to take lower pay with guaranteed work. Alternatively, you can move on to find companies willing to pay your rate.
You can always start out with a higher bid. If the company says you are too expensive then you can ask what they usually pay. Sometimes, they may come back with $0.20 per word when you were willing to do it for $0.10.
Just remember, the higher your rates the more difficult it will be to find clients.
So what are the most common rates for Content writers?
Per word writing is one of the most common forms for freelance writers. A company can specify they want a 1500 word article and have an idea what they will pay. Most companies don’t care if it takes you 1 hour or 10.
So what are content writers charging on a wordly basis?
- 33% of beginning freelance writers charge $0.01 to $0.10 per word.
- 27% of writers charge between $0.11 and $0.25.
- 23% of writers charge between $0.26 and $0.50.
- 17% of beginners charge more than $0.50 per word.
Personally, paying per word is my favorite way to make money as a freelance writer. I will share with you some tips on how to crank out writing quickly later.
When you charge per word, the goal is to crank out the article quickly. However, you do not want to sacrifice quality.
For example, I could write a 1500 word article in one to two hours. at $0.10 per word the article would make $150. Therefore, my hourly rate is anywhere from $75 to $150.
I don’t usually recommend charging an hourly rate. You can earn far more by charging per word or by project. Your customers will not have any idea on how long it takes you to write an article.
Some content writers will take 10 to 20 hours to write a simple article. As a company, I cannot pay you for 20 hours of work when someone else can do it in three.
Personally, I would much rather pay a freelance writer $0.10 per word. I know it would cost $150 for a 1500 word article.That same article could take you 10 hours to write at $40 an hour, costing me $400.
Nothing says let’s continue this business relationship by charging me more than double.
So how much do Freelancers charge hourly?
- 26% of freelance writers charge between $1 to $20 per hour.
- 32% charge between $21 per hour and $40.
- 20% charge between $41 and $60 per hour.
- 11% charge between $61 and $80.
- 7% charge between $81 and $100.
- 4% of content writers charged over $100.
As we continue through this article, you’ll find it is much better to charge per word or by project.
Per Project Rates
You should calculate your per project rates based on your worldly rate. Per project is simply another way please specify per word rate. For example, if you charged $0.10 per word then you should charge $50 for every 500 words.
There really isn’t much of a difference between the two. Usually, the freelance manager you are working with has a preference. Therefore, when bidding work, just convert your rates to the format they prefer.Click to Tweet! Please Share!Click To Tweet
What services do content writers provide?
Content writers provide a variety of services ranging from blog articles, email newsletters, social media content, and copywriting. You may even be asked to write an e-book or write a sales page.
You should know that the majority of your work will be blog articles. However, you can always market yourself to specialize in a specific area, like copywriting.
Content writers need to be proactive about finding work. Nobody knows you exist when you just start out. Therefore, you need to connect and network in the social circles where clients are hanging out.
The more places you look, the more work opportunities will present themselves. Let’s take a look at some of the areas you should be checking.
Job Boards for Freelancers
Job boards are one of the best places for Content writers to find work. A job board allows someone in need of content to post that they have a job opportunity. If you are familiar with indeed.com, then you already know what a job board is like.
There are a lot of job boards available for you to use. Generally, most of these job boards are free and make their money charging businesses to post.
- Freelance Writers Den
Make sure you are regularly checking these job boards. Apply for any jobs you are interested in. You should also do some more research and find job boards. The more job boards you are a part of, the easier time you’ll have finding work.
Groups for writers
You should also find social media groups for Content writers. Facebook is an amazing opportunity for people in the freelancer world. There are many Facebook groups which share freelancing opportunities.
Most people use social media for keeping up with their friends. However, social media is one of the best tools we have as Freelancers.
Just like job boards, the more groups you are part of the easier time you’ll have finding work. You may even learn a trick or two.
I would also encourage you to get on Twitter. Twitter is another networking tool used by numerous freelance writers.
Twitter also allows free talk between bloggers and Freelancers. Usually, bloggers are more themselves on Twitter. You never know when networking with your favorite bloggers will turn into a paid opportunity.
There are also many Twitter pages dedicated for finding freelance work. I recommend following these Twitter pages or adding them to a Twitter list.Click to Tweet! Please Share!Click To Tweet
Service Agreements are very important when you begin freelance work. A service agreement is essentially a contract between you and your client. The agreement states your scope of work and the terms which apply.
You should consider including the following in your service agreement:
- Who the service agreement is between. Obviously, this would be between you and your client.
- Length of the agreement. How long is this agreement good for? does it expire at a certain date or is this an ongoing relationship? Will this service agreement only apply to an initial test to see if this is a good working relationship?
- Agreed upon price. How much will the client owe you for what services? For example, my services will provide written content at $0.10 per word.
- When payment is due? How long are you willing to give your client to pay you? I would say anywhere from 2 weeks to 30 days from invoicing is acceptable.
- Who owns the material? Generally, your client will own the material you write.
- Independence. You clarify that you are not an employee, but an independent contractor.
Stop Freelancers choose not to have a service agreement. A service agreement can protect you against a client who goes outside of your agreement. As much as you would like to trust people, you may have to defend your service agreement.
For example, your client might say that you owed him a 2000 word article. However, your service agreement clearly stated your work was to be for a 1500 word article. Generally, these are small issues that can be avoided, but you want to be prepared for something larger.
Creating an Invoice
As a Content writer, you also have to focus on billing. An invoice lets your customer know how much they owe you and for what services. You need to send an invoice if you want to be paid.
Personally, I recommend making money from home. I would consider PayPal an industry-standard. You can send an invoice through PayPal which your client can pay with a credit card.
PayPal is only one of many invoicing tools. You certainly don’t have to use PayPal, but it makes the whole process super-easy.
As of right now, PayPal charges a 2.9% + $0.30 transaction fee. While annoying, I would much rather pay the fee for the ease of billing.
You also need to consider how frequently you will invoice. Generally, I would recommend invoicing once every two weeks or monthly.
It is really annoying when a freelancer bills after every article. Essentially, you are multiplying the work for everyone involved. Instead, it is much easier to send one invoice and expect one payment each month.
W-9 and 1099
Should you decide to continue a business relationship then you will be expected to making money from home. A W-9 is required when your payments have reached $600 or more from an individual company. The company uses your W9 to report tax information to the IRS.
On your W-9 you have the option of entering your social security number (SSN) or an employer identification number (EIN). For individuals, you would simply enter in your social security number. If you formed a company then you could provide your EIN.
Come January, the company will send you a 1099. A 1099 is a compensation statement from the company which will be used to pay taxes. You can give your 1099 to your CPA or use it when you pay your taxes in TurboTax.
Should you send your invoice through PayPal, then PayPal will handle your W-9. Therefore, you only have one 1099 at tax season. Another reason why you should invoice through PayPal.Click to Tweet! Please Share!Click To Tweet
Managing your freelance projects
Content writers will get busy when they have a lot of clients. You need to find an organizational system that works for you. Nothing looks more unprofessional then sending an invoice twice.
Therefore, determine your system which can be as simple as Google Sheets. List the project title, who the client is, amount to be billed, and have you sent an invoice. You may also choose to list a status of the document. For example, is the first draft with the client or are they still waiting for you to send it?
Some people may need a software like monday.com. Regardless, determine what your organizational system will be. Organization will be your best friend.
How to write quickly to increase profits
Content writing can be very profitable. However, you can waste a lot of time when you are not experienced. Therefore, you need a system which allows you to type quickly.
The goal of content writing is to provide quality work in a short period of time. It only matters how much you do and how fast you do it.
I highly recommend freelance writers grab a quality microphone. Speech-to-text is the quickest way to crank out an article.
Personally, I write my articles using Google Docs. Google Docs has a speech-to-text option. Generally, I can crank out a 1500 word article in less than an hour.
What freelance writing apps should I use?
At the very least, freelance writers should have Google Docs, Sheets, and PayPal installed for freelancing.These three apps are the Cornerstone for freelance writers. However, each freelancer has their own process which allows them to be productive.
Other recommended apps include the following:
- Trello – A to do list for personal and business uses.
- Google Drive – keep everything organized in one file sharing location.
- Grammarly – Editor app.
- Hemingway – Editor app.
- Quickbooks Self Employed – tracking your money.
Your clients may have their own apps they wish you to use. Like I said, you will need to stay organized.Click to Tweet! Please Share!Click To Tweet
Summary: Start a content writing business from home
As you can see, there is a lot that goes into starting your own content writing business. However, a Content writing business can be very profitable.
The first steps are to select your niche. What topics do you want to write about? Your niche should be something you know about and have an interest in.
You will then need to set up an example portfolio. Your portfolio can be a website or Google Docs. Either way, get three pieces of sample writing up. You can set yourself apart by showing experience with Google, excellent grammar, voice, content flow, at an affordable price.
Generally, I have found that beginner freelance writers should charge around $0.10 per word. However, you can set your own rates. The higher your rates the harder it will be to find companies willing to pay.
The majority of your work will be blog articles. You can find work by searching job boards and hanging out on freelancer groups on Facebook and Twitter.
A service agreement is essentially a contract between you and your client. Some Freelancers choose not to have a service agreement, but it never hurts. I like to know that clear expectations have been set.
You need to invoice for your services. PayPal invoicing is one of the easiest ways to do so.
The trick to making a lot of money with content writing is speech-to-text. You can create a lot of content quickly. Creating more content means more cash!