How to Turn Your Love of Writing into a Full-Time Job

By Holly

This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, take a look at my disclosure policy.

This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, take a look at my disclosure policy.

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    Plenty of people want to replace their income with an online side hustle – whether that hustle involves writing, working as a virtual assistant, editing, or harnessing some other talent they have. But, how can a person go about it when they’re already working full-time?

    This is a question I asked myself a million times when I started writing for pay in my spare time. I was working 40 – 50 hours per week at my job and miserable as a result. Plus, I had two small children under the age of three and chronic back pain to boot. Most of all, I had no time to do anything fun with my life, and certainly no time to write, right?

    Somehow, I moved forward anyway. At first, I worked nights and weekends on my hustle. Eventually, I started getting up early – sometimes 5:00 a.m. early – to complete client projects or write blog posts for clients.

    If I thought I was miserable before, all this extra work only made things worse. But something kept pushing me towards the end goal – leaving my job to write full-time from home. And eventually, it happened. After writing on the web for a year or two, I had fully replaced my full-time income with side hustle funds. This was 2012.

    Fast forward to 2016, and I’m still writing for a living. And now that the website I created in 2011 with my husband – ClubThrifty.com – is more profitable, my husband is able to work at home with me as well.

    Over the years, I have had hundreds of people ask me what it takes to create meaningful web content people will pay for. And more than that, they ask how they can possibly get started when they’re already busy with work, kids, and everyday life.

    I always tell people the same thing; first of all, you have to want it. Second of all, you have to be willing to do things other people aren’t. For me, that meant working those dreadful hours – nights, weekends, and early mornings – in addition to my full-time job. For you, that could mean more of the same – and maybe even giving a few things up for a while.

    I have to say though, the payoff is more than worth it. Once you get your writing career off the ground, it’s not that hard to get paid enough to replace a moderate income. When I left my job in 2012, I was paid an hourly rate that worked out to around $38,000 per year. Now that I’m a writer and freelancer, I’m earning well over six figures and only working around three weeks per month.

    All of it started with a few years of writing web content and copy that eventually led to a gig at Get Rich Slowly. From there, I moved on to clients like Lending Tree, The Simple Dollar, U.S. News and World Report Travel, Frugal Travel Guy, and many others. So, if you’re wondering “who in the world this person is,” just google me; you’ll definitely find me.

    5 Ways You Can Build a Freelance Writing Career from Scratch

    People ask me how I did it all the time, and I give some of the same advice over and over. Here are some of my best tips for anyone who wants to turn their writing skills into a part-time or full-time gig:

    Tip #1: Start a blog or create an online portfolio website.

    While you don’t necessarily need a full-fledged blog to work as a freelancer or writer, it helps to have an “online home” where people can find you. For some people, it’s a blog they update several times per month. For others, it’s more of an online business card that showcases their best work. Either option will help your career; the choice is up to you.

    Tip #2: Build a brand and a social media following to match.

    In addition to an online home, you need to start building your social media presence. It doesn’t have to reach hundreds of thousands of people to be profitable for you, either. With just a few thousand followers, you’ll have a much better chance at standing out.

    Tip #3: Find the perfect niche.

    A lot of people can’t figure out what to write about, yet it’s almost always right under their nose. My advice: Figure out your passions and skill set, then figure out which businesses revolve around those ideas. {You can learn more about finding your niche by signing up for EarnMoreWriting.com}

    Tip #4: Be yourself.

    While it’s easy to imagine you need to tone yourself down to get paid work, that couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, certain clients love it when your writing sizzles a bit. If you can inject your personality in your words – at least sometimes – you’ll be a lot better off.

    Tip #5: Learn the best way to pitch clients and secure paid work.

    Getting and keeping clients is the hard part. Not only is it hard to figure out where to find them, but it’s intimidating to imagine contacting strangers and putting yourself out there. The best thing you can do is learn how to create the perfect pitch, network like a pro, and avoid the freelancing mistakes I see others make all the time.

    Introducing My Course, EarnMoreWriting.com

    If you’re ready to get your freelance writing career started, I’m here to help. After trying to find the time for a year or longer, I finally created the premier course for newbie freelancers on the web – EarnMoreWriting.com. Basically, I took every question anyone has ever asked me and compiled it into a nine-video course with other resources that can help new writers find their voice. I also give ongoing webinars on the topic, even offering a Q&A session at the end.

    Save 10% off the course by using the coupon code LAUREN10, just register for the course here.

    If you love writing and don’t know how to get started, the most important thing you need to do is figure out who – and where – you are in the process. After that, you need to determine where your expertise and talent is needed, and what steps you need to take to turn your dream into the real thing.

    Whether it’s starting a blog, creating an online portfolio website, reaching out for a guest post, or taking a writing course to improve your skills, that first step is usually the hardest part. But, here’s the thing – that first step is the most important.

    If I hadn’t taken that first step many years ago, I would still be plugging away in a job that made me miserable, suffering from chronic back pain, and earning a lot less than I do now. That’s not good enough for me, and it doesn’t need to be good enough for you, either.

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    Holy Johnson is a writer and entrepreneur who leveraged her online business to quit her 9-5 job, spend more time with her family, and travel the world. She enjoys writing about topics like budgeting, frugality, and investing. With her husband Greg, Holly co-owns two websites – Club Thrifty and Travel Blue Book. Find her on Pinterest and Twitter @ClubThrifty.

    Holly Johnson

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