A couple of years ago, I burned out. I was studying for my degree, and working crazy hours at my job. I also still had two years left in school and I needed a change. That’s when I decided to jump into remote work. Once I applied to a handful of paid internships, I had calls with different companies every week. Before I knew it, I was building a writing career and earning my college degree at the same time. Now, I’m a full-time freelancer. In this article, you’ll find the steps I took to launch my freelance writing career. I’ve also outlined 4 steps you need to know to follow this path as well.
1. Finding paid remote internships
You’ll find paid remote internships almost anywhere you can look for a job online. I found all the remote internships that I did on Internships.com. The application process is similar to what you’d do for a traditional job. In general, you’ll need to submit both a resume and a cover letter. Note: Most of these internships won’t be full-time commitments so you may be able to take on a few different roles.
2. Here are some red flags to look out for:
~They don’t want to talk pay
Sometimes, you’ll find roles listed as “paid” without details on compensation. If you can’t get a clear picture on how much money you’ll be paid, don’t waste your time.
A contract is just as important in this case as it is with any other gig. Don’t start working without a signed contract.
~They want your credit card information or bank account numbers
Scammers prey on people applying for jobs all over the web. However, this is especially common with remote internships. Don’t give sensitive information out to anyone that you engage with on these sites.
3. How to use an internship to your advantage as a writer
There are two important things that you need to do if you want to use internships to your advantage. The first is to gather and save ALL your clips. Take it from me: I interned for a blog for about six months and lost every clip I had. When they did a relaunch, all the posts I wrote suddenly went offline. Take time to collect live links, but also save your clips as documents or PDFs. Then, put together your portfolio or writer website.
4. Launching your business after an internship
Once you have clips, it’s time to get out there. When an internship wraps up, ask your contact at the company if they can refer you, and apply for other internships in the meantime. You can also pitch others’ blogs, and market yourself with guest posts. I did this for about a year. By the time I graduated, I’d finished a handful of internships, and had clients of my own.
I found that this method was successful because it’s not the common route. I was eager to jump into the writing world but I didn’t know how to build a portfolio. For a lot of writers, this can be a vicious cycle and it results in good writers doing free work. Don’t let that happen to you! If you’re in school or a recent graduate, try this out. It’s a great way to put your degree to use, get paid for writing, and launch your own freelance writing business.
- The Accidental Entrepreneur – How My Blog Became A Business (And Yours Can, Too!) by Jennifer Brown Banks
- How to Get Lucrative, Steady Work Doing Executive Ghostwriting! by Annie Mueller
- Technically Speaking: How To Break Into Technology Writing by S.E. Batt
- Advice for All Writers: Enter Writing Competitions! by Stevi-Lee Alver
- CHECKLIST: 13 Ongoing Marketing Tasks for Successful Freelancers by Tatiana Claudy
Alyssa Goulet is a freelance technology and marketing copywriter. Her past clients include Demoflick, Focus@Will, and Chegg. Find out more by visiting her website, copyoncue.com or say hi on Twitter: @alyssagwrites.
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