The day I started writing this I got hired on at another marketing agency. I had room in my schedule for more work so I put the word out to some people I know in the industry. I also applied to several other places with no real luck (more on that later).
During the phone interview the co-founder and myself talked about our mutual connection. She told me what he had to say about me and shared her excitement in finding help she could trust.
Then she said, ‘I don’t know if you listen to rap music, but there’s a song out called No New Friends and that is how we feel around here.
This business is our baby and we can’t risk bringing on anyone who is not somehow connected with our circle.’
I know this is a frustrating sentiment when you are looking for work writing online but have no connections to the industry. But stop for a second and look at it from the business owner’s point of view. The things you are writing will become a part of the online identity of their clients or their business. In addition, if someone they hire fails to deliver content on time it can cause everything to get behind. The things you do can impact whether or not they keep a client. And, when you are working with a small business or startup, losing one client can be devastating.
It’s typically worthwhile to consider the other POV but the question remains, how do you break into online writing when you have no connections in the industry?
One of the first places I started writing online was on a friend’s blog. When she initially offered to let me guest post we didn’t know each other well – our kids were friends. But when I said out loud that I wanted to write she offered to let me post on her platform. One conversation in an ice cream shop after school and I was writing.
The position I got today came from a new member of the band at church. It happened in the natural flow of “What do you do?” “Oh really? That’s similar to what I do.” In this case, he is a website developer who also deals with content when necessary. When we first met he wasn’t at a job that involved content. But when he switched jobs a few months later he remembered our brief conversation.
The point I am trying to make with these two stories is that you may know people who can connect you to writing jobs. But you will never find that out if you are too scared to mention your aspirations to anyone. So, start talking about your writing goals – you never know who might be listening.
If you have spent any time searching through my content then you know that I recommend writing for free as a way to build experience and a portfolio. You are not going to get hired unless you have writing samples to show. The way to get these writing samples is to write for free.
You can start your own blog on WordPress or Blogger for free and get some content online. You can also offer to write content (for free) for organizations you are involved with that have websites but may not keep up with creating content. There are a variety of ways that you can go about this. I created a brief guide that goes more into depth on this topic. You can download it for free here.
Writing for free will give you valuable practice. And, when a potential employer asks for writing samples, you will be able to provide them right away.
Don’t let the fact that you do not know anyone in the writing business be your excuse for never getting started.
I thought that I knew no one and ended up getting my start in the business from one conversation. If you are willing to put yourself out there you may find that you actually do have some old friends with connections to the new world you are trying to break into.
As you start talking to others and trying to find those connections, be sure and get started writing for free. This is a must, even if you find that you have friends in the industry. Potential employers need to see samples of your work before they will be willing to hire you – there’s no way around it.
Now that you have discovered some of my content you can consider me a friend in the online writing business. I will continue to provide as much valuable information as possible on the topic. Feel free to comment on the blog, send me an email, or connect on social media if you have any questions.