You’ve often wondered whether you could make a full-time income writing.
And you’d settle for a side hustle, too, some part-time work to supplement your passion for writing fiction.
Like most, however, you’ve played it safe, internalizing the common horror stories about content mills and low-paying writing gigs.
Still, you’re fascinated with the idea of remote writing.
Thanks to a world-wide pandemic, record unemployment levels, and evolving work models, remote employment continues to increase around the world. At the same time, companies realize the value in outsourcing specific roles—roles that don’t require a cubicle or nine-to-five personal interaction.
Due to quarantines and “essential only” businesses, you may have lost your primary job and benefits package in the mix.
It’s a sign of the times.
Companies save on overhead while they’re waking up to the power and potential of digital employees.
And, after finding out just how vulnerable their brick-and-mortar operations really are, these companies are finally recognizing the need to expand their digital footprints.
This creates unprecedented opportunity for writers like you.
There’s never been a better time to explore remote writing as a career option.There’s never been a better time to explore remote writing as a career option. Click To Tweet
The best part?
You can make your own rules, and you won’t have to abandon your current works in progress: your dystopian sci-fi novel, your romance novella, your latest collection of poems.
Let’s begin our discussion with an overview of the industry.
Remote Writing Jobs: The Basics
Remote writing jobs are writing jobs that don’t require you to report to an office each day. You can work from home, a coffee shop, the balcony of a beach house, or anywhere else you’d like.
There are lots of different types of remote and/or freelance writing jobs, including the following:
- Copywriting: Copywriting involves creating persuasive marketing and promotional materials, including landing page copy, ad copy, and product descriptions
- Technical writing: Technical writers create materials for businesses in technical fields (engineering, aeronautics, medicine, etc.)
- Blogging: This type of writing includes promotional or informative blog posts for businesses, as well as writing personal blogs
- Scriptwriting: Marketing videos, podcasts, and other types of media can all benefit from scriptwriters
- SEO writing: SEO (search engine optimization) writing makes businesses more visible on search engine results pages.
- Transcription: Transcription involves writing captions for videos and audio content (like podcasts)
- Editing and proofreading: Many remote writers also earn money by editing and proofreading others’ work.
In the wake of COVID-19, remote work of all kinds, including writing, is on the rise (over 1 in 4 Americans will be working from home in 2021) as people work hard to social distance and keep each other safe.
Right now, copywriting and SEO writing are some of the most popular options among remote workers. Approximately 70 percent of these jobs are full-time, 20 percent are part-time, and 10 percent are project-based.
When you stop and think about it, it makes sense that copywriting and SEO jobs are on the rise.
Lots of businesses have had to shift their offerings online, after all, and they’ve worked hard to build out their websites, add content, and improve search engine rankings. All of these are tasks that remote writers can help them accomplish.
Are You Up to the Task?
What does it take to be a successful remote writer? Every position has different requirements, but the following are some of the most common:
- Prior writing experience: In general, this is the most important thing that clients will consider when they’re looking to hire a remote writer.
- College degree: In some cases, clients also want to know about your education; if you have a degree in a writing-related field, like English or journalism, that can give you a competitive edge.
- Industry-specific experience: If clients in a specific industry are looking for remote writers, they’ll appreciate if you have experience with that industry (for example, a supplement company will be more inclined to hire a writer who has studied nutrition or worked in the nutrition field).
- Portfolio: Often, people will ask for samples of your past work or to see your portfolio to figure out if you’re a good fit for their company.
In addition to meeting these requirements, you might want to consider whether you possess the right mix of “soft skills”:
- Timeliness: Can you turn projects in on time, or do you see deadlines as suggestions?
- Communication: Are you good at staying in touch with clients and asking questions when you need clarification?
- Discipline: When you’re working remotely, you don’t have a boss looking over your shoulder all day; you need to be disciplined so you can get projects turned in on time
- Organization: When you have lots of projects going at once, it can get overwhelming; good remote writers are well-organized
Can you check the boxes listed above? If not, you might have a harder time being competitive as a remote writer, at least at first. You can still practice and develop your skills over time, though!
How to Find Remote Writing Gigs
Do you think you have what it takes to become a successful remote writer? Are you unsure of how to find writing jobs?
It’s important to note there are lots of scams out there. If you’re not careful, you could end up working for fake “businesses” that advertise great pay without delivering on their promises.
When searching for writing jobs online, here are some of the most reputable places to look:
These job boards are frequented by tons of freelance writers and editors (as well as other types of freelance workers like videographers, video editors, and web developers).
Because the gig economy is growing, there is a lot of competition when it comes to applying for online writing jobs on these and other sites. It is still possible to get noticed and get hired, though.
Here are some tips that will help you stand out from other applicants:
- Complete and update your profile (include references from past clients and a relevant bio that contains keywords like “blog writer” or “copywriter”)
- Update your portfolio regularly.
- Read job postings thoroughly before writing proposals.
- Keep an eye on postings and apply as soon as you can after they go up.
If someone reaches out about working with you, it’s understandable that you’ll want to jump on the job right away. Remember to be on the lookout for signs of potential scams, though.
For example, if the job promises exposure but no pay, that’s a red flag. If they ask you to pay them before you can start writing, that’s also a sign that they’re illegitimate. On the other end of the spectrum, if the pay for a job seems too good to be true, it likely is.
The Truth About a Career in Remote Writing
There are a lot of perks that come with remote writing, but there are also some downsides. Before you decide to embark on a career as a remote writer, it’s important to understand the ups and downs of the job:
One of the most noteworthy benefits of remote writing is that just about every business, regardless of industry, needs talented writers. There are tons of job opportunities, and new ones pop up every day.
Remote writers also enjoy a high degree of flexibility. They usually get to set their own schedules and even, to an extent, determine their own salary based on how much and often they want to work.
Remote writing allows you to get creative and challenge yourself in new ways, too. Every day is a bit different, and there’s always room to learn and grow.Remote writing allows you to get creative and challenge yourself in new ways, too. Every day is a bit different, and there’s always room to learn and grow. Click To Tweet
At the same time, remote writing isn’t all rainbows and unicorns.
It requires a great deal of discipline, and some people find they don’t have the right temperament for it. If you’re not good at setting and sticking to a schedule or staying organized on your own, you may find that remote work is more stressful than it is rewarding.
When it comes to payments, remote writing can also be a volatile choice. The average freelance writer earns $10,000 or less per year and only does it as a side job.
If you want to make this your full-time career, you can earn a decent living (average is about $40,000 per year), but it takes time to build up a clientele. It also takes a lot of effort to ensure you always have enough work to make ends meet.
Final Thoughts about Remote Writing
The time is ripe for freelance and remote writers to start making names for themselves. Experts estimate over half of all writing work will soon be done by freelancers.
Let that sink in…
More than 50% of all writing work will be assigned to freelance/remote writers.
Companies of all sizes need help from talented, professional, dependable writers—writers like you.
If you work hard on marketing yourself, practicing your craft, and applying for jobs regularly, there’s no reason why you can’t succeed, even if you’re a total beginner. As for seasoned writers, the field is starting to get more competitive, so these tips are universal.
What do you think?
Are you ready to take the plunge?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.