I’ve now been in Nicaragua for a week. I decided to leave the frenetic city of New York in favour of the slower pace of life on-the-go. That sounds ironic but New York really doesn’t sleep. Plus, I was lonely, it was getting fucking cold, I wasn’t making enough money to stay and realised: WAIT WHY PUT MYSELF THROUGH THIS? I can do freelance work online in place with a much lower cost of living.
For now at least, an office 9-5 just isn’t what I want to do. So knowing that I had enough contacts and freelance work from working in London and NYC, I thought I’d take that chance…
Here’s how I did it.
How I make money writing
There are a few ways I am making this life of travel possible and it’s a combination of; networking, freelance work online, and persistence.
I was writing regularly for Bustle- the US women’s lifestyle website. They pay £85 ($104) per three posts, which goes a lot further in Nicaragua than it did elsewhere – but then again it’s not much.
However, writing for Bustle has given me a lot of exposure and, has helped me build my own brand.
I was fortunate enough to be invited on a press trip to Vietnam recently which was incredible.
Although I wasn’t paid to go on holiday, I was able to get paid for writing about the trip and land a whole lot more freelance work from networking with other US journalists too.
I also do content marketing for a couple of brands; one role has recently arisen after a company approached me (yay) and the other is a place I intern with, years ago. With this I set my own rates – with one company that’s £65 per hour.
It sounds good but I need to stress this work isn’t regular; I’m constantly pitching ideas and trying to get people to believe in my creative vision (lol), and commission me. Overall though, content marketing is great because business people tend to treat you like some kind of genius, wordsmith guru, instead of an over-emotional, gif-loving blogger with too much to say.
The corporate world also pays waaay more than news sites and since working more in this field, I’ve actually discovered that I’m probably better at content marketing and long-form features than I am at news stories.
Some sites that publish my work, I have also interned at in the past, meaning it’s lot easier to get feedback on my pitches if I know the editor.
Writing for actual magazines nets me the most, (my most recent magazine piece brought in £500/$612) and it took me three hours. But sometimes for an online piece, it can be a tenth of that.
To help turn pitches into published pieces I would say be persistent, be polite and don’t take it personally when you get a knock-back which is all the damn time for me.
Hustling your way to the work is bad enough but you’ve got to do it again, for your pay check afterwards. It’s an annoying part of freelance writing and getting paid is a nightmare all the time. I nearly always have to chase up companies for invoicing details after I’ve completed work for them – and sometimes this can take months. Again, get some back-up money in your account or a large overdraft before you leave!
In order to ensure you keep securing work you’ll also have to promote yourself incessantly and annoy the hell out of everyone on your timeline. It is kind of a prerequisite. The more you put yourself out there, the more people will ask you to write for them and when this happens, I play some samba music, do a little dance in my bedroom and thank the blog-gods.
I also learned in NYC that having a professional-looking presence online everything – even if it is all fluff. Just buy a domain and sell yourself. If there’s actual talent behind the fluff then you’ll keep securing work.
Finding freelance work online
If you want to get freelance work online as a writer for a big website, it can be tough at first. Editors who don’t know you probably won’t reply at first – even if you have the Best Pitch Ever. If you have zero experience, I would actually advise approaching corporate blogs or small companies with a content section, with some ideas before you hit the big titles and start a blog to prove you writing skills.
Having SEO knowledge is also necessary but there are plenty of online resources for that if you search. Try sites like freelancewritingjobs.com and indeed.com. Other times just google “freelance work online jobs” to see what comes up.
If you’re persistent and creative, there’s every chance you will be commissioned.
Do you write and work as you travel? What tips do you have? Let me know on Facebook
Images; Pixabay; Giphy