How to Become a Freelance Content Writer: One Mom’s Story

I’ve always enjoyed writing, but I never dreamed that I would make it as a freelance content writer.

Before I became a freelance content writer, I had recently completed an Associates of Applied Science in Paralegal Technology. Finding work as a Paralegal was not easy. This was in-part due to the economy at the time, and in part due to my lack of experience.  

I also had experienced the birth of my first child, and I did not want to place him in childcare—neither could I afford to do so.

So, I began looking for freelance paralegal work.

Those opportunities were rare and only available to paralegals with experience—and I could not get my foot in the door anywhere, Online or otherwise.

What was I going to do?

Can I Make Money Online?

In desperation, I began to wonder if I could make money Online doing something other than paralegal work, so I delved into the depths of work-from-home job postings, how-to articles, and educational YouTube videos.

After sifting through dozens of pyramid schemes and get-rich-quick scams, I came across Elance, an online platform for freelancers.

Could this offer a real opportunity that I could trust? I hoped so.

Getting Started as a Freelance Content Writer

I created an Elance account and browsed the platform for jobs. Freelance content writing caught my eye. I had never written professionally before, but I had entered writing competitions in the past and did very well. Writing professionally was a dream that I kept in the back of my mind, but it never seemed realistic.

Was it possible to use my natural writing ability to make money? Or was this just another pipe dream?

I applied for several jobs, refined my proposal-writing skills, and finally landed my first client as a website content writer. I got my first real, paid writing gig! I was so excited—and maybe overly so.

The pay was a whopping $0.01 per word. So, yeah. Next to nothing.

An article of 500 words paid only $5. If it took me two hours to write the article, then I was making $2.50 an hour.

The pay stunk, but I was happy. Why? Even though I was basically working for free, I was gaining experience.

Learning the Tools of the Trade

I learned a lot about website content writing and blog article writing, and my writing skills improved due to the on-going practice. This experience also inspired me to learn all that I could about website content writing and SEO—which gave me the skills necessary to land better jobs.

I took on a few odd jobs here and there. Some were great. Others were not. Most importantly, I learned a lot along the way while building a solid reputation.

Establishing Myself as a Content Expert

Before long, I was hired for a ghostwriting position with a Florida media agency, and this time I was getting paid $0.04 per-word. So now, an article of 500 words paid $20. Not amazing, but worth it, and especially considering I was self-taught and had only two years or so of experience at the time.

This job was a lot of fun because I wrote for all sorts of businesses ranging from bakeries to real estate agencies, SaaS, Montessori education, and so much more. I also got to write telephone on-hold scripts and email newsletters.

As time passed, my skills improved and so did my clientele. My first big-name client was Martindale-Hubbell, a legal software company. My Paralegal degree came in handy after-all! I created website content and blog articles for attorneys and law firms of all scopes, and I was getting paid well to do so.

I held other long-term clients including a Christian counseling company and a home-service industry marketing agency. These clients taught me a lot. I learned about conversational writing and the artform of conversion copywriting. I love using these skills as a freelance content writer, and my clients appreciate it too!

Where I Am Today as a Freelance Writer

Today, I maintain my online account through Elance (now Upwork) as a Top-Rated freelancer with a 100% job success rate. I also gain clients through my personal website and through LinkedIn—one of my favorites being wfhjobs.us!

I love writing about life as a work-from-home mom. I understand why many mothers opt to work from home, and I sympathize with the many challenges we face. Finding steady work is a challenge. Growing your online brand is a challenge. Getting organized and meeting deadlines is a challenge. Finding work-life balance is a challenge.

My hope is to share my experiences with other WFH moms, so you can be encouraged.

Do I make tons of money? No. I hear of other freelance content writers who make it big, but that is not my story. Maybe I don’t have a mind for business, or maybe I don’t’ invest enough time into growth because raising my kids has always been priority.

Maybe one day I will start a content writing agency of my own, create an online content writing course, or take a content management position. Although I haven’t achieved wealth or grown a huge business, I am thankful.

I am thankful because I get to be home with my kids.

I am thankful because I have achieved a moderate level of success as a freelance content writer and copywriter, even though I don’t have a formal education in these areas.  

I am thankful because I have learned a lot and there is room to grow.

Do you want to be a freelance content writer? If you do, then stay tuned. In my next article, I will write about the most important lessons I learned as a beginner freelance content writer. This includes things like, finding your niche, avoiding scams, setting your rates, managing clients, and goal setting.