There’s no question that when it comes to work-from-home jobs, writing tops the list. Becoming a remote writer doesn’t require special skills, a degree, or expensive equipment. Even today, with algorithms and chat bots, most online content is written by a human being. Of course, there’s also a lot of competition. As just one example, the number of self-published e-books in the United States alone is approaching two million a year. Still, if you love the idea of working with words, it’s an excellent way to earn some extra money.
Writing is my passion. It’s a huge part of my career identity –– something that has been a part of my life since I was a little girl. I won’t lie. Getting started as a writer isn’t easy. For one thing, the career path is far less defined than it is for an attorney, say, or a computer programmer. Education helps but it’s hardly a barrier to entry. Plenty of the world’s best known and most successful authors never graduated from college. Neither did a number of TV writers who traded college for comedy stages and now earn six and seven-figure incomes. The hardest part of becoming a working writer is overcoming a classic Catch 22. You need published samples to get a job but it’s hard to have published samples without one. So here are four of the best work from home writing jobs for beginners.
This is often the first paying gig for many writers. In fact if you already are publishing a blog about your life and experiences it could lead to paid work. You may find that it’s an adequate sample for an entry-level blogging gig. Besides, most of the companies that use bloggers will ask you to produce a sample –– regardless of your experience. They will want to see that you can follow their instructions and stick to their company guidelines. This usually means seamlessly working selected keywords into the copy.
That’s one of the most important lessons about blogging –– it is driven by Search Engine Optimization. This means that by utilizing popular keywords and other techniques, the blog you write will do better in search results. Producing content that meets specific guidelines and uses pre-selected keywords may seem more challenging and less creative than other types of writing. However, learning to be a blogger will help you develop discipline and meet deadlines. I recommend that you write about subjects you know and love. Not only will this reduce the time you spend researching –– or at least make it more enjoyable –– but your passion for the topic will shine through.
Blogging is one of top work from home writing jobs for beginners because starting pay is often very low –– as little as five bucks for a 500 word blog. Don’t let that deter you. As you gain experience (and samples) your pay will increase. Flexjobs and UpWork are popular destinations for remote writing work opportunities but there are literally dozens of sites that can help you find blogging jobs.
2. Social Media Posting
What’s your favorite platform? Chances are it has plenty of sponsored content. If you love social media, this could be a great place to start. Large companies have entire departments devoted to producing favorable posts and short blogs. However, you could get started by helping build an audience for a small company. If you have a friend who’s an entrepreneur you could do some pro-bono work with the agreement that your name will figure prominently on their page. Your own socials should be professional and pristine –– they are your online writing billboard after all. Keep in mind that most posts are short and compelling –– the goal is to attract customers not just readers.
3. Community Newspapers
Although print journalism is often described as a dying profession, that doesn’t mean it’s disappeared entirely. There are still hundreds of small newspapers that publish across the country. From alternative weeklys to shopping guides, these publications rely on freelancers. Whether it’s covering a county meeting or a band’s performance, you’ll be able to earn a few dollars while honing your craft. Although much of the work can be done from your home office (or a nearby coffee shop), you may have to venture out occasionally to interview subjects or attend hearings. I know of one writer who during his time in Vermont earned more in mileage from driving than he did producing articles for one small business paper. Getting started means checking the masthead or landing page for the editor’s name and sending an email along with clips or links. If you love your community, this is one of the best work from home writing jobs for beginners.
4. Ghostwriting and Editing
Although larger publishing houses and ghosting firms require that their writers possess extensive credentials and experience, beginners can also earn money as ghost writers and editors. Although Christopher Hitchens pointedly said, “Everybody does have a book in them, but in most cases that’s where it should stay,” as I noted earlier millions of authors have turned their ideas into self-published e-books. Their work can be greatly improved by an editor.
As a ghostwriter, you’ll need to subvert your own authorial voice in favor of the clients. This is a skill that can be developed — although you’ll need to spend time speaking with the person who hired you or perhaps reading their original manuscript. One of the best sources for editing and ghostwriting clients is Craig’s List. If you find someone who needs your help, make sure you either get a small advance or bill them frequently. Do not wait until the project’s end or weeks down the line to get paid. It’s one thing to write for free by choice, it’s quite another to do so because your client won’t pay you!
Many editors and ghostwriters bill by the hour. Billing by the page is often a mistake. That’s because while industry standard is 12-point, double-spaced text inexperienced writers often deliver manuscripts in ten-point single-spaced font or in cramped text files. Billing by the word is likely better — if they have an 80,000 word manuscript you can quote a rate based on that. It can help to research rates online. Just keep in mind that although editors and ghostwriters have a wide range of billing practices and fees –– from under $20 an hour to thousands for work on a standard manuscript.
Writing can be an awesome side gig. You may even find it so fulfilling and financially rewarding that it becomes a full time job.
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