My mom loves to tell the story about taking me shopping as a young girl. She says that I would walk through the mall with my nose in a book completely uninterested in the activity of shopping. Now, as an adult, I am still more interested in reading than clothes shopping. And, like so many people who love to read, I always had a dream of becoming a writer. But, it seemed impossible to break into the writing world. I tried off and on for years.
I sent in fiction pieces to random publications-all rejected-and read anything I could find on the topic. (On Writing by Stephen King is one of my favorites). I found a place online to write for free with the promise that I could make money if enough people viewed the articles-still waiting for my first paycheck from that platform. It wasn’t until my husband lost his job that I finally got serious about looking for paid writing work.
Soon after the job loss my son was invited to ice cream after school for a friend’s birthday. We went and I spent the time chatting with the mom of his friend. I said something about the job loss in the midst of the conversation. She expressed her sympathies and then asked me if I had any interest in writing. As you can imagine, I was very excited with this line of questioning. I told her a little bit about my background and then she explained that she had a blog and made money with sponsored posts. She told me I was welcomed to write some posts for her blog and eventually apply for sponsored posts of my own.
Once I started writing for her blog it was like the world of online writing opened up. Suddenly, I was able to find several places that hired writers. I set up a profile on a writing platform and got my first paying writing job. It was a small job writing 150 word paragraphs at $7.50 each. All in all, I think I made a little over $100 off of that client. But, that first paying client gave me credibility to the other companies looking to hire writers.
The combination of writing for my friend’s blog and landing a paying client also did something for my state of mind. I started to think of myself as a professional writer. When I started to believe that it was possible to find paid writing work I started to find it. By the time my husband was settled into a new job-about three months later-I was writing for three different clients. Three years later, I am still writing for one of the clients I picked up during this time.
My experience writing for free online was helpful when I finally found a paying client. I learned about important elements of writing online through trial and error on that platform. That is where I was first exposed to elements like SEO and affiliate links. When I started creating blog posts for my friend’s blog I learned even more about essential elements for online writing. She used a platform called WordPress that is user friendly for beginning writers. This time spent writing for free provided me with an education of sorts in the business of online writing. When I got my first opportunity for paid work I used the knowledge from those experiences to secure the job.
If you want to get started writing online and have absolutely no experience, my first piece of advice is to find places online to write for free. This will give you some hands-on experience with online writing and allow you to learn without any pressure or risk.
Are you hungry for more help getting started writing online? The Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Writing Online AND Getting Paid is in the works. In this training program I am going to share in much more detail how I got started in writing, key terms you need to understand before you interact with potential employers, where I found work in the beginning, and so much more. If you are interested in this type of content and potentially a course, please leave me your email address. You will be one of the first to know when the training program is up and ready for purchase.