I am one of the estimated 152 million bloggers online today. As with many bloggers out there, I write fairly consistently, but not as much as I should. I cover the topics that you see every day on LinkedIn: social media, marketing, young professionals, Millennials, careers, and branding, but I’m not breaking any new ground.
But this month, I crossed over into a world that many bloggers never experience – the world of paid blogging. Is it because I write better than other bloggers? No. Is it because the subjects that I write about are totally unique? No. Is it because I just got lucky? Maybe, but I don’t think so.
I crossed over into paid blogging because I put myself out there, was willing to fail, and had the experience to back it up.
You have the opportunity to get paid for what you love to do as well. Whether it’s blogging, programing, designing or marketing, what you do in your 8-to-5 isn’t the only way to bring in some extra cash.
Here’s an non-official guide on how to do it.
Start Blogging or Learn Blogging
The only way to begin to make money as a blogger or freelancer is to just start doing it. And do it consistently.
If you’re interested in blogging, pick a topic and write about it at least once per month. If you want to design websites, learn as much as you can about programming or WordPress and put it into practice.
Build yourself a personal portfolio page or offer to work on websites for friends and family (free of charge, of course). Ask 97% of bloggers or freelancers and they’ll tell you that before they got a paid gig, they did it for free. Not many people will pay you to do something that you don’t have any real experience with.
I blogged once a month at Go.Work.Life. for two years before any paid opportunities came my way.It’s not about the money anyways, right?
Build a Portfolio
The reason it’s a good idea to work on as many things as you can get your hands on is because you are building a portfolio.
A portfolio that you can eventually show to prospective clients as proof that you know what you’re doing.It also gives you an opportunity to iron out the kinks and find your niche. When I startedGo.Work.Life. I must have changed what I wanted to write about a hundred times.
After several posts and feedback from family and friends, I finally found a topic that I could speak about intelligently and one that I was passionate about. You’ll change your mind too. It’s all part of the creative process.
Get Your Work Out There
Once you’ve added a few projects to your portfolio and you’re ready to start adding hours to your day job, it’s time to reach out. Here, persistence is key.
As I alluded to in the title, I found my paid blogging gig on Twitter, but you can use any digital channel to reach out to a potential company (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, email, etc.)
You may not know it, but there are hundreds of companies out there looking for freelancers. My advice is to start small and work your way up. Don’t reach out to Apple expecting them to hire you on as a freelancer.
Find smaller companies within your niche expertise. Send them a brief email or message on social media about how you can help their company and provide a link to your portfolio.
Let them know that you’re willing to complete a couple of free projects at first. This provides the company with a low-risk opportunity that’s hard for them to pass up.
Follow Through on Blogging Opportunities
The most important thing you can do for your freelance career is to follow through when presented with an opportunity. Doing so will help you build a positive reputation from the very beginning.
As the cliche goes, over-promise and over-deliver. Complete tasks ahead of schedule. Check in with your client throughout the project. Turn in work that is error free. When finished, ask how you can improve on your work next time.
If you’ve always wanted to know what being a freelancer is all about, now is the perfect time to start. Forbes predicts that by 2020, 50% of the workforce will be involved in some sort of freelancing role.
Why not get in on the action?
I’d love to hear about your freelancing career. How did you get your first opportunity?