So, what makes people think they can do my job? The apparent misconception that working as a freelance content writer is easy.
At least once a week I have a conversation that goes something like the following:
Person A: How do you get involved with doing work like you do?
Me: Freelance web content writing?
Person A: Yes. I have a son/daughter/friend/co-worker who wants to start.
Me: Do they have experience writing? What makes them want to get involved with writing?
Person A: They need quick money and it looks easy.
These people see a job that requires me to sit in front of a computer, type a few words here and there, and earn easy money. Add in the extra “perks” of not dealing with rush hour traffic, the ability to take naps whenever I want, and working in my pajamas, and I have the world’s easiest job—at least in their minds.
The Reality of Freelance Content Writing
Only a small—very small—portion of what people believe freelance writing to be and what the daily reality I face overlaps. There is a lot of work involved if I want to make enough money to buy food and keep a roof over my head.
Let me take you on a quick look behind the curtain of freelance writing and dispel some of the common misconceptions of my profession.
- Wearing pajamas all day – There is certainly no dress code for freelancers, but if I wore pajamas every day I am pretty sure over time it would be hard to distinguish me from a caveman/cavewoman. I get up and dress in casual attire every day just like everyone else.
- Daily nap time – I am my own boss, so no one will be around to yell at me if I take a nap at 3:00 p.m., but thanks to deadlines and the constant need to find clients/work, daily nap time usually gets put on hold.
- Slap words down and get paid – If freelance writers just “slapped” stuff down, the Internet would be filled with even more incoherent and useless content. Many freelance content writers need to pitch ideas, write a high-quality, meaningful article, and adhere to all those grammar rules you learned back in grade school. And those words? It actually requires thought to write them; there is no magic hat dispersing useful content.
The Multiple Skills Required to Be a Successful Freelance Web Content Writer Who Actually Works
On the outside looking in, freelance content writing is just about writing “fluff” and getting paid. The truth is, writing is just a small fraction of the skills that are required to succeed as a content writer.
A successful content writer needs to perform the following jobs, in addition to the writing:
- Marketing/Promotions (it is the only way to find clients and have them hire you!)
- English Teacher
- IT Tech (someone has to fix the computer when it goes down)
- Communications Expert
- Project Manager
Freelance content writing, just like any profession, requires a very specific set of skills—and while it may look easy, it isn’t. It takes hard work, determination, and recalling all you learned in high school English class to succeed.
Cindy H is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.