Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Freelance writing and blogging jobs

Have been getting queries from a reader Sudha Gopal on how to go about starting a career in freelance writing. Sudha I have definitely been wanting to post more often however, with the present commitments unable to do so. Anyway promise to be more regular from now on.

This blog was basically started to share my experiences so that those desirous of starting to work from home could benefit from my experience. To begin with in the online world you do not see your potential client and so you need to be a little wary. Although this does not mean not working. Be sure to start work with a reputed company or individual. Make the terms of work and payment clear right from the beginning. It would be better to agree for a daily or weekly payment till you know your client and his/her intentions for sure.

Here are a list of sources where you would find ads for freelance writing, proof reading and blogging posted and updated on a regular basis.You could send out your resume for what you deem fit as per your interest and qualifications. Do not expect results overnight. Although there is a common perception that it is easy to find a job online, it is really not so. To begin with :
- - Darren Rowse also known as the king of blogging offers a job board wherein new blogging and writing jobs are posted regularly.
- here you would find a compiled list of blogging opportunities.

I am sure for a beginning these sources would be of use to you. Would from time to time post new sources as and when I do come upon good ones. Please do verify each opportunity and potential employer thoroughly before going further ahead.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Freelance writing -qualifications and income

With the outsourcing trend gaining momentum by the day and India turning into an attractive market the demand for freelance writers is only growing. However, in a market where there are so many writers you must definitely have something in you that makes you different.

Freelance writing has a whole lot of possibilities and you can choose the field most comfortable for you depending on your personal interest and qualifications. From resume writing, medical writing, technical writing to general writing which can include writing related to travel, health, internet marketing, movies (be it Hollywood or bollywood), food, lifestyle and any other topic of general interest. Identify your skills sets and choose the field you are most comfortable in. You could enter any branch of writing depending on your specific skill sets and qualifications.

Like any other job, freelance writing too requires you to have certain qualifications and skills or talents. The qualifications that most companies advertise for is a English literature graduate or post-graduate or someone with a mass communication background. If you do not belong here, there is nothing to be disappointed. Even if you do not have a English or mass communication background, if you do have a flair for writing, companies are ready to give it a try. Some pre-requisites:
• Good knowledge and command over the language you wish to write in.
• Good and thorough knowledge of your chosen field or subject.
• Internet knowledge that would enable you to gather information and carry out your research quick and easy.
• A sincerity and devotion to work that translates into timely completion of work. Deadlines here are of prime importance and you build a reputation by providing quality work that meets the deadline.

The general pattern followed once you submit your resume is that they short list candidates on the basis of their qualifications or any sample articles submitted. Most companies then interview you online or conduct a tele interview and you are asked to submit a sample article on their desired subject. If you qualify this then you are on your way to a career in writing. The success mantra is to keep applying to positions that you think you fit and writing as much as possible. It is important to build up a portfolio of sample articles that you can forward to the prospective employer. Starting a blog with your writings is also a good idea. You get better with every piece you write. Read up a lot side by side this is what would help you evolve.

Once you get on to a writing job you may really find that time is a very limited resource. However, it is important to keep brushing up on your skills to move ahead. Just writing one article after the other can get monotonous. It is important that you read a lot, this would help improve your writing skills and also keep you abreast with the industry trends. Learn the keys to search engine marketing (SEM), this will stand you in good stead in the days to come. Will deal with SEM, SEO and writing tips in the coming posts.

Yes, I remember am still to talk about the income aspect of it. Have not forgotten that. To me the money aspect is the motivating factor. Just for the reason that I feel no one in today's world would give you anything just like that and if someone is ready to pay you for your work, it is only because you are good at it. So keep your head high and work your way to a great writing career. On an average if you are ready to spend 4-5 hours a day for 5 days a week you can easily make anywhere from 10 to 15k a month(taking a conservative estimate). This is without the troubles of commuting long distances to work everyday and also being able to be there for your family. You are the boss and can fix your schedule for the day. You do not have to take leave to attend a PTA meeting or go out somewhere. This is not the end all. The earnings increase as you gain experience and are able to command better rates for your work and also if you are ready to take it up full time.

For students, retired personnel,housewives and anyone else willing to spend a few hours and has a flair for the pen this sure is a great field and you can work at your own time. It is important however, that you work with a good and reliable company as I mentioned in my earlier posts. So here’s to a great start. You can contact me at the email id in my profile for any doubts or clarifications.