- Apr 16, 2018
For a steady stream of income and financial security, you have to get up very early in the morning (often rudely awakened by the shrieks of an alarm clock) to avoid traffic. Then you take a shower, grab a quick bite, commute to the office, and clock in for 8 hours of work. Five days a week, this is your routine, with a bit of reprieve on the weekends and holidays. Your idea of a good weekend is sleeping in, not going on an adventure somewhere. How long will it take until you realize you’re trapped in the endless soul-sucking loop of being an employee?
Maybe it’s time to quit your 9-to-5 job as a writer (be it a copywriter, business writer, PR, or any other kind of writing that comes with a desk, a bundy clock, and a domineering boss) and go freelance. It seems like a risky decision to make, but over 50 million freelancing Americans (and counting) have made that decision in the last couple of years and seem to be happy about it.
Think about it. Do you find yourself increasingly longing for more days spent at home, working on hobbies and spending quality time with people and things you love? Then maybe it’s time to give freelance blogging a try and earn some money from it, too.
Identify your strengths then start a personal blog
First, you have to set a timeline for the transition. For this, you can use the two-week to one-month notice you sent to your current employment to figure out what you want to do. It’s time to feel unstuck and think about what you can do with the kind of skills and talents you have, minus the stress. Make a list of things you’re good at (and actually love doing), then another list of things you like but can learn more about, and yet another list of things you think you suck at.
You now have the freedom to choose what to write or talk about and what not to, along with a flexible schedule that won’t put pressure on your process the way a traditional job would. You can set up a personal WordPress blog (one of the easiest blogging platforms around), start writing posts and producing content regularly, and have close friends give you feedback about it.
The key is to write and produce content regularly like you would within a structured environment. This time though, you’re doing it because you want to share what you know, and get clients who will pay you for your experience and expertise.
Target a niche market
It’s time to think about buying a domain that best reflects your passion or area of expertise. But first, do some research. Is there a particular audience you want to target, or a specialty industry you think you know a lot about? Niche blogging works with fresh original content along with pay-per-click ads, so you’re going to be doing a lot of writing/content production about a particular topic while generating income via affiliate links.
For instance, if you’re passionate about toys, look up the toy blogs that appear on the top of lists of search engines. Read the posts objectively, and try to see if there are gaps in the content you think you can fill with your own expertise. Then think about how you can write or produce content on this “gap” in the toy niche - are there enough topics to sustain a blog, and would people find them useful and want to read all about them and share them in turn? (Doing this can also help you come up with a catchy and descriptive domain name.)
Try guest blogging to grow your audience
It’s now time to widen your audience by pitching to other blogs with similar niches as yours. Make a list of blogs you want to send guest blogging pitches to. A tip: if they have a regular feature on guest posts, they’re likely to take on your contribution. Another tip: aim for blogs with modest-sized readership, because these are more receptive to useful, original content that actually reflects their own interests.
Look for the contact info of the blog owner or editor, then send a pitch about a blog topic you think will be a good fit with their blog’s target audience. Make sure to also send your credentials and experience as a writer. Once approved and published, you now have a greater chance to get your posts shared by other blogs, and on other social media sites. This means better exposure on the Internet, a wider audience and more chances of getting potential clients!
Use social media platforms to generate traffic
After writing shareable content, you can use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and other social media platforms to create an even bigger online presence for your blog. If you create videos, infographics, and other “meme-able” content, you have a better chance of being shared and recognized for your blog.
Some bloggers immediately take the plunge from their regular office jobs straight into freelancing waters. Others try to juggle freelancing with a 9-to-5 before slowly letting go of the latter to become full-time freelancers. It might take some time before the income from freelance blogging can match what you’re earning from a traditional job, but it has happened to millions of people and it will happen to you.
So whether you’re a risk-taker or you want to be practical about transitioning, congratulations! You are your own boss now, and you can write about what you want and get paid for it.
Are you thinking about quitting your 9-to-5 job and going for full-time freelance blogging? What steps are you taking to accomplish that? Please share your tips and experiences with us.