Start locally, not online. Offer your services to local businesses. You can put up a site or keep a blog, write any kind of reports they need to put into plain English for their clients/ customers. You might find inhouse writing for a company newsletter. Create a resume/ portfolio for yourself and don't even start looking for online writing work until you have a few clients in the local market. That way you have experience when you try for tougher markets with more competition.
The best way to make money on the internet is to give stuff away for free. I know both from a business stand point and logically this doesn't make sense, but it works. You are competing against millions of other people, so before you can actually charge for your service, you need to prove yourself. Writing on here is a start, but for the most part people who find your hubs won't be looking to pay someone to write for them.
I would suggest starting a website, add an email signup, and in return for signing up, give them a free 500 word article. Not only does this give you an email list for marketing, but also gets your work out there.
The other thing you can, and should, do is sign up on fiverr.com. See what other people are offering in whichever category you want to write in, and offer more. I want to say the going rate is a 500 word article for $5, so offer to write a 800 word article, or 2 500 word articles for $5. Once you get to a point that you've made a name for yourself, you can lower to what other people are offering.
Either direction you want to go, the biggest thing is to deliver your articles on time. If you think it should take you 2 days to research and write a 500 word article, say you'll deliver it in 7. It looks really good on your when you deliver faster, and really bad when you're late.
I would stay away from fiverr. Would you write an article for 5$? Most often the article on fiverr are spun versions of published articles. Sure, if you want to go that way it's doable, but I am not sure if this is Cathy's market....
What does how other people write have to do with how she writes? As far as the cost, I would never pay more than $1 per 100 words for an article. There are tons that are even cheaper than that. Maybe some would, but not to an unknown writer. Also, nobody spins articles anymore, that ended years ago.
Honestly, my best tip is to go make a LinkedIn account, add writer as a skill, and join the Freelance Writer groups - lots of advice there.
I am one of your followers, and I enjoy reading your articles. Freelance writing is a tough business to get into. Yow are competing with people that write for a lot less that you consider a decent pay. That being said, when you make a name, after you refine your writing skills to match the market's demand, you can get permanent clients for a decent price per page.
If you tweak your articles, choose your subjects carefully, you can still monetize your own articles, but it is going to take time until they start making money.
I started my freelancing business totally online.
I searched, read reviews and asked questions of the sites I found. Personally my favorite site is Elance and I have had success there.
The key things to remember are that this is a business and should be treated as such. Each job you get must be done exceptionally well and you must keep the highest standard. Also be true to yourself and never sell yourself short.
I remember my second job on Elance and I bet very low because of the previous bids. My client actually ended up offering me more when he saw my work. So I ended up getting much more than the previous bids I was trying to beat. He told me I should never bid low because of competition for some clients will see that as you offering mediocre work. So stay true and only accepts jobs which are worth the price.
It takes a while to build your portfolio and online presence but you do have a head-start here with your HP articles which you can use as your portfolio. Having a couple of good blogs also helps when making references to your work online.
If you need help, feel free to contact me.
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