Freelance Writing Opportunities for College StudentsOne of the biggest joys of having a freelance writing blog for me are the e-mails and comments that I get from readers. Not only do I love the idea of giving fantastic freelance writing advice to beginning first time writers, but the encouragement I receive from others is great - as well as direct requests for post topics. If you e-mail me a specific topic request for a blog post, I'll probably run with it. That is if I have anything to share - while I take a pride in being a jack of all trades, I'm not going to fake it if someone asks a question about a field of freelance writing that I simply don't have a lot of experience in.
So Jared, this post's for you. And anyone else with similar questions. But make sure you don't have any classes for an hour, because this is a monster sized blog post that might even make the legendary Grizz groan in disbelief.
That said, if you're not a college student looking to become a freelance writer, that doesn't necessarily mean that this isn't good information for you. A lot of the professional writing advice that I would give for college students looking for a part time income is the exact same information that I would give to any individual looking to get started as a freelance writer. Especially if that person had the time, assets, and ability to look at freelance writing (and especially freelance writing online) as a long term goal and part time gig.
The ideal situation is if you are a freshman going into college, or a sophomore, but that's nothing close to being necessary. It's just ideal because the best way to start a great online freelance writing career is with time. Time is definitely your friend, and if you have four years to build up a successful freelance writing business, this is a lot easier than if you only have two years to do so. I'm not saying that you absolutely must have four years to make a great career as a freelance writer, but having the extra time definitely helps.
For those of you not in college, this is the equivalent of being able to start your freelance writing business as a part time thing as opposed to having to jump right in shooting for the full time work.
One of the biggest reasons for this is that I am a firm believer that the best set up of a freelance writing business, particularly one where the freelancer is setting up a career around writing jobs found online, is one that involves both active AND passive income. Back when I was just getting started, I wasn't even aware of passive income, and that's a shame because your biggest supporter when building up a solid and consistent passive income is time. Passive income is definitely the way to go in order to fully realize your long term goals and dreams, but it also takes longer to build and takes more determination.
For the college students looking to get started with a freelance writing career, I strongly recommend a mixture of active income with passive income. Active income is easy. You get a job, you do it, and you get paid once for it. This is how most jobs work. But you don't get to use your writing again, you have to start over and find new work. Repeat this cycle endlessly.
Passive income is different, and has become much more viable because of the advance of the Internet and what that has done for freelance writing markets of all types. Basically passive income is when you do some work (set up an AdSense website, write some HubPages, or write some articles) and then with little or no extra work, you keep getting paid week after week, month after month, even year after year once you're finished. This doesn't mean that there isn't a LOT of initial work (especially when building yourself up in the search engine rankings), but once there, your work isn't one $10 payment and that's it - your work keeps making money for you.
For example, let's just say that hypothetically, maybe, I had a weird fetish for post apocalyptic movies. So maybe a few years ago, like in the fall of 2007, let's say that maybe I was in the middle of one of the biggest mistakes of my life (graduate school) and while trying not to go crazy during another long Alaska winter, that I started writing for Associated Content just to have a place to write what I wanted (this was before I discovered passive income as an option). So in September I write an article on the Top Ten Post Apocalypse Movies. This article ends up getting a lot of monthly traffic, so since AC pays money per every 1,000 views, this article earns me money every single month since I posted it over two years ago.
In fact, this article makes me $10-15 each and every month without exception. This article has made me somewhere between $240-$360 since posting it. I have never gone back to edit it, never re-wrote it, and yet I know that as long as this article is in the search engine rankings for some high traffic terms, I will keep making $10-15 a month, every month, for as long as Associated Content is around.
That is passive income. Now instead of having one article making me $15 a month, every month, that I never have to work on again, imagine if I had 200. That would be $3,000 a month, every month, that I would never have to work to maintain. That is the intrigue of writing for residual income online.
The Problem? Well it's not a problem for driven writers so much as a reality check. It's not that easy to create passive income. If you're willing to learn and work and not give up, then eventually you will make it as an online writer/Internet Marketer. Take a look at this free teleseminar by Jeff Herring to see someone who agrees: If you don't give up, you will make a living online.
The problem is that building a solid online residual income takes a lot longer than getting the one time work-one time pay jobs. So how much time you can split between active income and passive income is going to depend a lot on what your specific needs are as a writer. Do you need to make a lot of money now? Or at least enough to have a little bit extra each month, or do you have time to really spend the majority of your time building a passive income (going the "Internet Marketing" route as opposed to the more conventional freelance writing route) because you have three or four years and no big income concerns except maybe $10 for the next kegger?
Even if you need to make some solid income from your freelance writing relatively early, like a part time or even near full time income, I still strongly suggest to any college student freelance writer, or any other beginning freelance writer, to sow the seeds for the passive income. This type of income takes a long time to cultivate, so the sooner you get started, the better. And no matter how much you love freelance writing for a living there will come a time when you get tired, burned out, and might think about needing a break, or God forbid, quitting altogether before you reach your full potential.
If you don't have any passive income, then you're stuck finding a new job without any income coming in while you want to take some time off. If, on the other hand, you're making $2,000 month in passive income then you have the ability to take time off and relax without worry, or even looking at taking the next step to go further towards full time passive income.
So the hardest part for you will be creating the best balance of active and passive income based on your needs and/or goals. If you need the equivalent of a part time job in immediate income, then more time is going to be spent on more traditional freelance writing resources because you will need to make more money now and so less time is going to be spent on passive income, which has to be looked at as a longer term goal when you're beginning from scratch. If you're a freshman who has student loans and scholarships to cover everything, then you can spend the majority of your time on passive income development: basically setting yourself up with more security than other college graduates can even imagine.
This is the point where a lot of controversy can come up, because there is a very distinct difference between freelance writing online and Internet marketing. The best teachers I've found about passive income fall somewhere in the "Internet marketing" category, or they call themselves something else, but most won't call themselves freelance writers.
Being someone who has learned about several types of Internet Marketing first hand from several "professionals," as someone learning from Grizz about making money online, and as a long time freelance writer I can certainly understand both points of view, and I have a special sympathy for any young freelance writers reading this whose heads are spinning because they thought freelance writing was all about writing - so what's all this passive income Internet stuff about?
The good news is that there are many ways for pure writers to get started with passive income while still learning the ropes The following are a list of sites where writers can get started writing and getting paid via AdSense clicks on their pages. I recommend starting with HubPages because it's easy to get an AdSense account through them, as well as an Amazon Affiliates account through them. These starting places are:
There are advantages and disadvantages to all three. HubPages does a 60/40 impressions split, and allows you to make money not only from AdSense, but also from selling Amazon.com products. HubPages is an authority site, meaning it is much easier to get readers and visitors than from starting your own blog from scratch. This makes it easier to earn money, and helps you learn how Internet Marketing and search engines work while still displaying your natural skills: writing. If you want another long read, this is the best page I've ever seen on making money with HubPages.
Xomba is a website that allows writers to post articles and they get a 50/50 split of the AdSense. Xomba doesn't have the authority of HubPages, but they are building some good authority, and an easy way for beginning online writers to start making money writing articles for AdSense. If there's an opening for a featured writer position, take it. It's a nice extra boost every week or two. One downside is that while links in the articles are allowed, they're "no follow" links as opposed to "do follow." If you don't know what this means, learn. It's a critical part of SEO and learning to make money online.
InfoBarrel offers 75% of every AdSense click to their writers. The good news is that links from InfoBarrel articles or signatures are "do follow," which is very good - but at this point they don't have nearly the search engine authority as the other two sites mentioned. A good way to look at InfoBarrel is as a place where you can gather some great back links, and you just happen to get 75% of any AdSense profit that those articles generate.
There is also a pure writing website not tied to AdSense that you can use to make passive income. The eHow website is one of the best I've found for this. Google "WriterGig" to find out more if my eHow review isn't enough for you. This site they give you an unspecified percentage of the profits that your articles generate, and it did not take long for me to get up to over $100 a month in purely passive income. This was before I was smart enough to apply keyword research and start building links to my eHow articles, as well. If a writer works hard, maximizes their articles' potential, and does the necessary SEO & keyword research then it's not out of the question that in a year someone could be making many thousands of a dollars in passive income a year. A few writers even make that in a month.
So what's left with passive income? Learning. I have several friends online who have taught me almost everything I know. I say almost because after enough time I've begun learning a lot of things on my own, which is the way it should be. If you want to know about passive income, here are the guys to learn from:
Make Money Online for Beginners
Passive Income Online
Video Blogging (Allyn Hane @ Blogger Illlustrated)
The Keyword Academy
-Even if you just scan the free content, it's an amazing tool. The members area is definitely worth every monthly penny.
Read, learn, and repeat. Heck, just look at how I linked to these three sites. I could have said "Grizz's blog" "Lissie" or "Allyn's Blog," but I didn't because those aren't going to be highly sought after terms. However, "make money online" "passive income online" and "video blogging" are terms that people will search for. There's lesson one for all the noobs on what to learn.
This post has already gone on way too long, so I'm going to show some restraint (I know, you don't get much restraint on this freelance writing blog, but here we are), and cut myself off. The passive income lessons are still, in my opinion, far more important than the making money right now - because I know that many people who want to be freelance writers imagine a lifestyle that will be far more achievable with passive income.
So part 2, making money freelance writing now, will be back in less than a week. Until then, I've given you plenty of reading, and plenty to start on. If you're waiting for the next post, get started with HubPages and eHow now. The earlier you get started, the sooner you will reach your goals.
That's it for now. Thanks for reading!
Freelance Writing Blog Update: Instead of doing a traditional part two, I made a monster blog post on what I would do if I could start over again as a college student. You can find that blog post here: The 4 Year College Freelance Writing Passive Income Plan. Beyond this, there will be many website reviews posted on this blog, so just have a look around to find what you're looking for.