Don’t waste time learning about writing.
Let’s be frank, making money online is competitive because most of us struggle to overcome that first barrier — getting a full-time income.
Even I spent my first 6 months grinding and sending pitches everywhere trying to get consistent work to pay my bills. It was hard, but I did it. Now, I expect to make $50,000+ in my first year as a full-time writer (more than I made at any of my old jobs).
I’m not trying to sell you the idea that you’ll make six figures a year and create another online course to sell. Tons of friends have asked me if that’s my goal and it’s not. My goal is to make a consistent amount with my work and share my advice with people who just want to find a job that makes them happy.
Not everyone wants to make $1,000,000. Shocking I know, but I don’t. If I did I don’t even know what I would do with it. Buy more boardgames? Donate to charity? Never do laundry or vacuum again? Actually, yeah that one I’d probably do the last one.
Writing does come naturally to me, sure, but I also spent years learning how to write before I became a freelancer.
As a Research Assistant, I wrote the newsletter for a psychology lab. In high school, I designed the pages, wrote content, and created the cover of my yearbook. I also published my first comic in our school newspaper. At a bar I worked at, I taught myself about lighting and photography to help produce social media content.
Then, in university, I studied creative writing and storytelling. In my courses, I wrote everything from comics to podcast scripts. Those creative skills might not seem useful, but they did.
Drawing comics allowed me to enhance my drawing capabilities. Writing podcast scripts taught me to engage my audience in the beginning with things like in medias res. My poetry class taught me to be concise and stop talking so much… granted I am still working on that last one.
I’ve been doing all this for years, and you probably have as well. If you sat down and thought about it, you’d see how you’ve learned plenty of skills at jobs that you didn’t realize were marketable and sought after by all kinds of businesses.
There’s more knowledge in your head than you realize and you can leverage it to get clients and make money while wearing a cat onesie and drinking coffee with baileys (shh don’t tell my clients).
As I’ve been learning a lot more about marketing and running a solo freelance business, I’ve come across a lot of sketchy freelancers promising millions of dollars with their “business secrets” and expensive courses. While those can help you get a leg up and make connections, you don’t actually need them to start writing.
So, here are my two pieces of advice (spoiler, the same “secret” doesn’t apply to everyone). Most new writers fall into two camps and I have one tip for each of them.
If You Suck at Writing
A lot of people lack those basics and that’s why they struggle.
Now, for this type of person, I can only say that maybe you should try something else. If you stink at writing, then being a freelance writer is not your jam — but that’s okay!
Thankfully, you can do all sorts of jobs remotely now, from being a virtual assistant to a project manager. So, if you can’t write, don’t worry about it.
Instead, find out what you’re actually good at before you try getting people to pay you to do it. So many people dive in without a clue or just try to copy other successful freelancers, and that’s why they never get anywhere.
If You Suck at Business
This is the other issue I see other writers face. For these people, I’ll say this:
Invest in a course on marketing and business instead of a writing course. That’s where you can learn about the customer journey, how to find clients, and run your own freelance business.
I took one marketing course online, and it made everything click for me. That gave me a new mindset to actually understand what I’m worth, how my businesses, and how my clients’ businesses work.
Those are my “$50,000 dollar secrets.” I say that because I’m not making a million dollars as a freelancer. The writers who do that have contracts with large companies or run an agency and hire other writers to do their work for them. They also make money selling courses, doing affiliate marketing, partaking in creator programs, and plenty of other ways.
All that is a ton of work. Right now, I’m just happy writing for my clients and paying my bills. Will I make a course or start coaching people? Maybe someday, but not right now.
And that’s okay.
Freelancers come in all shapes, sizes, and incomes. The idea that everyone needs to grow and dominate their market niche is excessive and unnecessary. Find what you’re good at, and learn about business before you start freelancing and you’ll be miles ahead of most people.
About the Author
Victoria Fraser is a freelance writer from Vancouver, Canada who works with clients doing all things copywriting & content marketing. You can learn more at her website to work with her or say hello on Twitter!