Freelancers will all say the same thing. It’s either “feast” or “famine.”
They are either so overloaded with work that sleep is just a fleeting thought; or they are watching re-runs of NCIS waiting for something to pop. Freelance writers are no different – they face the same problem, often on more exaggerated scale.
And if a writer’s only source of income is his/her freelancing work, keeping the head “above water” during these dry times can be pretty challenging.
If you find yourself in these situations sometimes, there are several options which can generate decent income until you are back writing in your regular niche again. Most will require some advance planning, so think about them now, before the need hits.
How to Make Consistent Income as a Freelance Writer
1. Keep a List of Blogs and Other Sources that Fit Your Style and Content Topics
There are lots of blogs that pay for submissions they accept. Make a list of those that are “right” for you. During down times, write, write, write, and submit, submit, submit.
You can even do this in advance when you have the time, and start submitting as soon as your income begins to slide. A great clearinghouse site for websites and blogs that pay at least $50 a post is Make a Living Writing; opportunities are divided into categories for easy examination.
Another great resource is BloggingPro Job Board. Again, jobs are posted by categories, and new gigs are posted every day.
There is also an e-book titled, “50 Markets that Pay Freelance Writers 10-cents Per Word.” The price is $4.99, but well worth it once you get one 500-word gig.
2. Sign Up With a Tutoring Service
While tutoring kids may not be your “thing,” the pay is pretty good, and you can be selective about the assignments you take. One national service that is quite popular and busy is Varsity Tutors.
The application process involves an online form and then a Skype interview. Be prepared to scan your transcripts to prove your degree, because you will only be allowed to tutor in certain areas. One writer with a degree in political science was able to sign up to tutor in history, government, and in English.
While she did not have a degree in English, she was able to pass the grammar/composition test that the service required.
3. Sign Up Now With Online Academic Writing Services
Again, this may not be your most desired type of writing, but there are literally thousands of online writing services that employ freelance writers to produce essays and papers for students, from high school through the graduate levels.
If you don’t mind academic research and writing, you can make some decent money. Most of them also have work for editing and even for copywriting jobs. Sign up for a bunch of them – then you can pick and choose from among the tasks you want.
If you go to www.topwritersreview.com, you will find a listing of the top writing companies that are reputable and professional. Access those websites and go through their application process.
4. Contact Current Satisfied Clients and Ask for Referrals
Clients who typically use you when they have need and who are pleased with your writing are a great source for referrals. Ask them for help – most are very willing to give assistance
5. Join a Business Networking Group in Your Area
There are both local and regional networking groups that meet regularly. Most members are small businessmen. These are perfect potential clients. Many may have websites, but do not have blogs on those sites. Offer to set up a WordPress blog on their sites and to maintain it.
You are then in charge of posting and the amount you charge and bill. Others of them are terrible writers or have too much going on – they may need e-books or other projects that require good writing. At each of these meetings, there is a round-table opening, during which everyone gives their 30-second pitch. Get creative with your pitches.
6. Advertise on Craigslist
While this is not an ideal place to pick up writing jobs, writers do get gigs by advertising themselves on this site. If you really need work quickly, you should post and advertise all the types of writing you will do.
One writer, who is quite creative, regularly advertises admissions and scholarship writing at the write times of the year and always gets a number of “takers.” She charges up to $150 for some of those essays and is able to write them pretty quickly once she has the personal information from the customer. If you could write two a day for a week, there’s $1500.
The bet time to advertise for writing these essays? The fall of every year. And, if you advertise on Craigslist for this type of writing, you need to post your ad every week.
7. Write Posts/Articles and such for Some of Your Current Clients Who Have No Need at the Moment
You probably have regular clients who use you exclusively. The fact that they do not need anything right now does not mean that you cannot take the initiative. Write an amazing piece for a client and send it over – chances are s/he’ll take it!
8. Develop a 30-second Elevator Pitch
You may attend weddings, bar mitzvahs, and other large gatherings. Mingle with the guests. They will all ultimately ask you what you do. Have your 30-second pitch ready to go and give it with enthusiasm and confidence. Have a business card to hand out.
9. Engage in Some Guerilla Marketing
Learn how to “crash” events attended by business representatives. Act like you “belong.” You can then use all kinds of tactics to market yourself. Walk up to the registration table (they are usually quite long) and place a well-done flyer advertising your writing services. Attach a card to the flyer. If you are at a convention, stand next to a really popular booth and speak to people as they leave that booth to move on. 30-second pitch and card.
Freelance writers tend to prefer to work alone, in solitude, as they focus on their writing. But the ones who tend to make good money and to have that money consistently coming in are those who also take an aggressive approach toward finding jobs, gigs, and clients wherever they are. Having a website and a blog will not always get the job done.
Get yourself out there, if only online at first.