Last February 2012, I was finally able to finish all the stuff I needed to get out of the way before my planned attempt at part-time freelance article writing. Although I’m not a professional writer, and have not been involved in any form of writing or editing at any time in the past, I believed that my inherent and insatiable passion for books qualified me for this venture. That said, I still had a “semi-fulltime” job that left me with free time to write every other week, and since my siblings had already begun earning varying amounts of cash online, I decided to give it a shot.
The sites in question are oDesk and Elance, popular freelance sites that offered earning opportunities not only to writers but also to graphic designers, computer programmers, translators, among others. Basic membership is free, and all you need is an email address and a payment provider such as Paypal. The sites earned by levying a nominal fee of 10% and 8.75%, respectively, on your earnings.
After registering at oDesk on the February 5, I immediately applied for several jobs, but was not hired until the 16th of the same month. My first job was actually a mistake of sorts, since the client messaged me about the particulars of a job totally different from what I actually applied for. Instead of merely rewriting articles, I had to write a certain number of articles based on certain keywords, and adhering to a set format and word count. He still decided to give me the job, and was more than satisfied with my efforts, and thus I earned $2.50 ($2.25 net) for each 500+ word article I submitted. He maintained an open contract, and since feedback could only be given upon completing a successful job, I knew that to gain the all-important feedback, I had to look for simple, short-term jobs. Luckily, I was able to convince a few prospective clients to hire me, and got the necessary feedback.
At the moment, I have six jobs in progress, most of which are part-time jobs, and I have earned a modest $300 since then. Upon further reflection, several reasons have contributed to the delay in getting hired. For one, since I didn’t want to upload official documents required for identity verification, my profile remained incomplete. A lot of clients consider the writer’s profile when making the decision to hire. Second, I failed to immediately create a portfolio prior to job applications. How could you expect prospective employers to hire you if they cannot gauge your writing abilities via your article samples? I was lucky enough to apply for jobs that required test article writing as part of the interview. Needless to say, I passed with flying colors. Lastly, I only took two skills test to establish my proficiency in the English language. In this case, the more tests you take, the better your profile will look, and the greater your chances for employment.
Although I am far from making a decent living writing these articles, at the moment, it remains a sort of hobby that I allot less than 20 hours a month to. Full time writers who have the drive and determination will definitely be able to support themselves with just freelance article, provided that they have the writing skills to do so. Why not give it a shot?