This is a post by Lorraine Reguly of Wording Well.
Hi. I’m Lorraine. I used to be a freelance writer. I still am… but I rarely write for others now.
I mainly edit and help others become authors. I also give presentations to other entrepreneurs.
There are other ways I earn money online, too.
I am sharing my journey as a freelancer with you so you can expand your horizons as well as learn of other career opportunities.
Why I Stopped Freelance Writing
I quit freelance writing (mostly) because I hated looking for jobs. I also hated spending my time reading through job board ads that weren’t right for me. There always seemed to be something that simply didn’t fit – either I didn’t have a specific qualification they were looking for, they wanted too much in exchange for not enough pay, or the job was writing about a topic that simply didn’t interest me.
I got frustrated. I felt like I was wasting my time. I also thought that they didn’t deserve me OR my skills.
Have you ever felt that way?
Being a freelance writer can be tough, sometimes. It can mess with your self-esteem and lower your self-confidence.
That’s one of the reasons why I rarely do freelance writing now.
But I am still a freelancer! I have learned how to diversify myself and my skills, and earn money while doing things I love!
Today, I’m going to open your eyes to a few possibilities that will allow you to re-think your own freelancing path, if you are having doubts about your ability to make it as a freelancer writer… or simply want to increase your earnings and diversify yourself as a freelancer.
Use Your Skills to Sell Other Services
I am an excellent writer who has a fantastic grasp of the English language – I am a certified English teacher, after all – but I prefer writing about things that interest me. I once ghost-wrote an article about ant farming (snore!) and vowed, from that day forward, never to accept a job I knew I would not like EVER again!
So what did I do?
I took a look at my skills. I have many, and editing is one of them.
I decided to offer editing services in addition to my writing services. (I also increased my writing fees to $0.25 USD per word, to either deter people from hiring me OR to be paid the minimum amount I felt I was worth. After all, I’m an excellent writer and everything I write is edited to perfection!)
I love working with words, and I always edit the books, and blog posts (and whatever else) I read. I do this naturally and instinctively, because I am a perfectionist and can quickly spot grammatical errors and typos (and most people simply write with many of these!).
Because I also love reading, I connected with many authors online. In the beginning, I offered to write reviews of their books in exchange for an autographed copy (in addition to many self-published authors such as Jen J. Danna, Karen Dodd, Patricia Sheehy, Elaine Pereira, and Melissa Bowersock, I also received novels from some famous authors too, such as Lisa Jackson and Lisa Gardner, two of my favorite mystery authors!).
I also did this as part of my blog audience-building strategy.
What I noticed, however, was that many of the authors did not have their books professionally edited (or if they did, their editors did not catch all of their writing errors). So I offered to edit their books for free in exchange for a testimonial about my stellar editing skills. Several authors took me up on this offer. Some even credited me as their editor in their books! (That article is where the screenshot came from.)
Eventually, I started to be paid for my editing services. The majority of the money I earn now is as an editor.
And I love it. 🙂
So… find something you excel at, and turn that skill into an income stream! Maybe you are exceptionally good at creating blog post images. Maybe you have awesome editing skills, too. The beauty of living in today’s digital age is that you can sell almost ANY service online! So go do it! Just take a good, hard look at the skills you have and enjoy using, then market them to others! You know how the old saying goes, “If you love what you do, you’ll never have to work a day in your life.”
This is finally true for me, now. It can be true for you, too!
Add More Services to Increase Your Income Streams
In addition to editing, I’m also an author assistant. I help people become self-published authors.
Did you know that ANYONE can become an author these days? It’s true! There is a thing called “self-publishing” and I learned all about it back in 2013-2014. While it is actually easy for a person to become an author, there are a few steps involved, which can be daunting to a person who is just learning about this.
To ensure I learned all the steps correctly, I released my first book – Risky Issues, a book of short stories – as both an e-book and as a print book. Both turned out great, affirming that I did everything right. (Hooray!) I actually had to publish this book to ensure my first author-client was satisfied!
I then helped a blind man publish his first book.
Then I helped him publish his second.
Then I helped a lawyer publish a book.
Then I wrote my second book, and published it. (Publishing From Nope to Hope is also how I got into the self-help industry.)
I also edited ALL of these books!
Because my clients were so thrilled at having perfectly edited and published books, they bragged about my services on social media. I also wrote blog posts about my accomplishments. Other people started linking to my site, featuring me in their blog posts, and one even listed me as a go-to person for editing in certain genres in the Master Guide to Selecting the Best Book Editor.
Eventually, word got around about my editing and author assistant services… so much so that I DO NOT LOOK FOR JOBS now – they simply come to me!
I get emails on a regular basis, and many of these inquiries turn into editing jobs. It helps that I offer a free sample edit, so that the potential client can see the quality of my work and become convinced I am the right person for the job (before parting with their hard-earned money). I use the Track Changes feature in MS Word so they can see all the changes I make to their document (whether it’s a blog post, an e-book, an essay, or a book).
When you are deciding what other services you could offer, it helps if they are connected together, like editing and author assistant services are. If you are currently a freelance writer (which you probably are, as this is Francesca’s blog about being a freelancer writer – DUH!), then you could consider offering to create images for blog posts you are hired to write. You could also offer social media sharing options (where you’ll help promote their content to your followers). You could offer to handle their social media accounts (as their Virtual Assistant) – or you can simply become a VA.
Another thing you can do is create different-sized packages for your clients so they can buy all of your services as a bundle. You can even offer discounted prices if they agree to hire you long-term. (For example, $2000 a month VS. $10,000 for six months – if they choose to hire you for six months, they will save $2000!)
You can also start charging your clients for all the extra things you do (for example, uploading blog posts directly to their site).
Earn Passive Income
So far, all the ways I have mentioned for how I earn money have been for how I earn active income.
There is one other way I earn actively, and that is by charging for link placements on my websites.
Passive income is totally different. This is how many people choose to earn the bulk of their income (and in a perfect world, we would all be doing only this!).
Passive income is income that is earned via minimal effort on your part. For example, if you install AdSense on your website, you can earn income every time a visitor clicks an ad.
Another example of passive income is affiliate income, which occurs when you promote someone’s product through a specialized link (an affiliate link) and someone buys that product after clicking on that link.
I earn money both of these ways. I signed up for AdSense when I realized that many of my posts ranked high on Google. And I promote freelancing courses. Elna Cain and Gina Horkey both offer affiliate programs that pay a high percentage of the total purchase cost. Their courses are really, really good, too.
In addition to including my affiliate links in blog posts that mention freelancing, I also have widgets on my website and promote their courses in my sidebar.
The following image shows 3 courses I currently promote:
A word of caution: Don’t promote something you wouldn’t use yourself OR promote products that are sub-par or garbage. Think of your reputation. If someone buys a fantastic product from you are extremely happy with it, chances are they will buy from you again, because they trust you. However, if you promote a product that is awful, they will NEVER buy from you again!)
The final way I earn passive income is through book sales. Many people are becoming authors nowadays for this reason (well, for this reason and others!).
It’s a nice surprise when you open your email and get a notification that Amazon (or PayPal) has just deposited money into your account!
Look for Local Opportunities
In the introduction, I mentioned that I give presentations to entrepreneurs. It’s true. I do.
In my city, there is an organization called Paro. It’s a center strictly for females who want to become entrepreneurs. They help women start their business, offer funding, and so much more!
They also hire people to give presentations to their clients. I am both a client and a presenter of theirs. They have helped me start Wording Well, have been supportive of all of my business (and even some life) decisions, and have gone the extra mile to make me feel like a valued member of the community (my worker, Linda, attended an event at one of our local libraries, where I joined another author, David Belrose, to speak about our books).
Here are two pictures from that event, both taken by the table where the books were sold:
I have, to date, given six presentations. I am currently scheduled to give two more – one on February 7, 2018, and other in April 2018.
There are two great things about doing this: 1. I get to meet new women in my community, and 2. I can leverage these presentations by turning them into blog posts AND SlideShare presentations, which results in more traffic to my website! (So far, I have done this with 3 of them – Branding Your Business, How to Find a Good Work-Life Balance, and How to Succeed Even When You Feel Like Giving Up.)
And I get paid for each presentation. 😉
So… look for local opportunities where you can earn extra money as a freelancer, like I did!
If you cannot find any, then create one! Hold a seminar or workshop where you teach others (how to do something) and sell tickets to that event!
Summing It All Up
In today’s online world, it’s easy to earn money online. You can increase your earnings by diversifying yourself as a freelancer and adding more income streams.
You can even find opportunities locally to earn extra money.
The key is to be happy with whatever it is you are doing!
I love hearing from people who read about me. Did what I shared today give you any ideas about how you can diversify yourself as a freelancer and earn more?
I’d love to hear your thoughts! Please don’t be shy, and share them in the comments!