Jennifer's books

Goodbye, Vitamin
American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land
Mrs. Hemingway
Poetry Will Save Your Life: A Memoir
The Princess Diarist
Watch Me Disappear
Hello, Sunshine
Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success
A Man Called Ove
The Heirs
Our Souls at Night
White Fur
Confessions of a Domestic Failure
The Map That Leads to You
The Little French Bistro
Love the Wine You're With
Always and Forever, Lara Jean
Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore
The Party
New Boy

Jennifer Curry's favorite books »

Monday, December 11, 2017

How This Mom Started Making Money by Freelance Writing

How I Started Making Money by Freelance Writing

This is not an official guide or anything like that. It is merely a brief walkthrough of how I, very suddenly, started freelance writing and earning money from it. I do not think I am a super great writer (as the phrase “super great” should show), but I can string a few words together after doing some research on a topic.

Today's Office

Since several people have asked me for more information, here are the steps I suggest using my own experience as an example:

1. Take a risk
A friend shared a Facebook post looking for writers for a local parenting website. I figured, “Hey. I’m a parent. I live here. I was an English major.” So, I decided to take a chance and sent a resume and a writing sample.

2. Have at least one writing sample
The writing sample was just a few paragraphs about my son.

3. Get the first writing job
They hired me to write a piece for them. I wrote about something I know and love – the local youth theatre and its upcoming production.

4. Start a blog
At this point, I decided to start a blog. Blogs scared me, but I knew that most people who get into freelance writing have a blog. First, the blog allows them to practice writing on a regular basis. Second, it becomes a portfolio of sorts they can share with their potential clients. While the whole blog thing sounded too techie for me, I quickly learned that if I mastered “MySpace” back in the day, I could at least put together a simple blog. A simple blog – nothing fancy.

5. Get solid advice from a trusted friend
Next, I reached out to my extraordinary friend, Julie. Julie is a freelance pro, and she was quick to answer any questions and offer support. She pointed me in the direction of various freelance platforms like Upwork. Get yourself a Julie.

6. Sign Up for Freelance Job Sites
Then, I signed up for Upwork. Upwork is an online platform for all types of freelancers and those looking for freelancers. Here’s the thing – When I signed up for Upwork, I treated it like I would any other job. In other words, I didn’t just put together a quick resume. I took time to write a professional profile. If you want to see what a profile looks like for Upwork, here is my Upwork profile.

7. Apply and apply and apply…and apply
Applying for jobs on Upwork means you “bid” on a job listing. Upwork allows you to respond to job questions, post a cover letter, and add files. From my past experience helping students write cover letters, I knew the importance of “selling yourself.” Applying for jobs is not the time to be humble. It is just the opposite. You must explain to the client why you are the absolute best for this project. Don’t hold back.

8. Once you get the first job on the Upwork platform, it becomes easier to get more.
If you do a good job, that is. In the beginning, I specifically applied for writing jobs dealing with parenting or Christianity since that is what I knew. Start with what you know (or at least what interests you). The first job I landed on Upwork was writing for a Christian supply store and the next was writing for a parenting website. Your clients rate you, and good ratings will lead to more clients.

9. Develop your portfolio
As I started writing more, I began to develop my “writing portfolio.” This comes in handy because potential clients want to see your previous work. With online content, I can easily share a link to a piece. This is also when the blog helps to show my more personal writing and how my tone shifts (from professional to casual).

10. Learn to say “no.”
In the beginning, I said “yes” to everything because I was afraid nothing else would turn up. And, it led to some pretty cheap and unfulfilling writing gigs (such as “whether erect nipples are signs of pregnancy”). I have since learned to say “no” to anything that undervalues me or to anything I am uncomfortable writing.

Final Thoughts

It’s been almost a year since I started, and it has gone better than I ever imagined. I never thought I would make enough money doing this to continue staying home after the kids went to school, but now that is a real possibility (and likely). To be fair, my husband, by far, is the breadwinner. But, my contribution helps. 

I love working in pajamas with the noise I want in the background. I love working at whatever time suits me. I love learning new things – and I am learning so many new things. Plus, I love getting free books. So, if you have ever considered it, I encourage you to give it a try.

Note - I do not make money from the blog. I am not a "paid" mommy blogger. The money I make comes from writing jobs like the ones below. I've found many people are confused about what I am actually doing for money and think it is from the blog - hahaha - NOPE. 

Here are some examples of the writing I do when the kids are in school:

If you are curious about what I am writing about outside of pieces for Kidding Around Spartanburg, here are a few of my pieces from various clients:

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