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Today, we have yet another special interview with a lady who began to make money freelance writing in 2014.
Her hard work and dedication paid off pretty quickly. She started earning $4,000 per month after just six months of freelance writing part-time.
Eight months later, she quit her full-time job and created the ecourse, 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success. Her goal is to help you learn exactly how to make money freelance writing, just like she did.
So, who is she?
Her name is Gina Horkey, an expert freelance writer, and she shares her writing experiences and expertise in the following interview.
How to Become a Freelance Writer: an Interview with Gina Horkey
It’s not difficult to make money freelance writing if you’re willing to learn the basics from a professional like Gina.
Related: 35 Ways to Make Money Online
Please, tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get started as a freelance writer?
Hi, I’m Gina [waving], a former financial services worker bee turned freelance writer and virtual assistant turned online business owner who helps others find or become a kick-ass virtual assistant.
My career prior to 2015 was working as a financial advisor and support person to a large financial planning practice for almost a decade. I liked my clients, co-workers and some of my work, but it wasn’t “what I wanted to be when I grew up.” I was only 30 (yet had already been working in “the biz” since age 21) and couldn’t imagine another 30 years doing something that I didn’t really dig anymore.
So I started looking into freelance writing on April 15th, 2014. I set up my website in May of that same year and got my first paying gig in June. I then added my first VA client in September and launched an online course in December of 2014. It was a busy year for my family, but by the end of it I was able to quit my 9-5 and go full-time freelance!
How long have you been working as a freelance writer? And, how much do you make per month/year from writing?
I’ve been writing now for over three years, but most of the writing I do currently is for my own website and business. I still have two writing and two virtual assistant clients – between the four I make a full-time living ($5,000 per month) on very part-time hours. Of course it didn’t start out this way though!
What do you like most about being a freelance writer?
I enjoy expressing myself through writing and each article, email or sales page is a bit of a puzzle (and I like solving puzzles!). In addition to the writing part, I enjoy working with clients, helping them spot opportunities for growth and realize their business goals.
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Was it hard for you to get well paying clients? If yes, are there any other challenges you faced as a writer?
I’m not sure that it was “hard,” but rather took time, effort and a bit of business savviness.
For example, I started writing for about $.05 per word and currently command 5-10 times that! It all started with getting some samples under my belt, landing my first paying gig and then growing from there.
Pssst… Not sure what to write about? CLICK HERE for over 200 ideas!
Rejection is probably the biggest challenge any new writer faces. Fear of being rejected is actually the number one thing that holds people back from building a successful business. You wouldn’t believe how many emails I get from people that feel like they aren’t making progress and when I ask them how much they’re pitching (or putting themselves out there), they respond little-to-none.
This always baffles me, because how can you find clients if you never prospect or market your business? I.e. Just because you declare yourself a freelance writer and put up a website, doesn’t mean clients will come beating down your door.
In fact, I promise they won’t. So start pitching early and often – that’s my biggest “secret” to success!
Can anybody write? If not, what sort of training or skill set should one have before getting started
Yes and no.
Not everyone should put themselves out there to write for pay. I.e. If your writing and grammar are sub-par and you have no interest in improving them, then this business isn’t for you! If you want English-speaking clients, but you haven’t mastered the English language, it’s probably not going to work out for you either.
And again, writing is only one part of it. You may be a super strong writer, but not willing to market yourself. Since we already established that marketing is a big part of getting paid to write… you probably won’t make it.
But if you have decent writing chops to start, are willing to improve them and will market your new business, there’s a lot of potential that exists.
How much should a junior writer expect to make per month or 6 months from now? Is there any initial investment required?
It depends (of course, right?).
It depends on that whole marketing and skill development thing, but it also depends on how much time you have to invest in building your business. I.e. It’ll look a lot different for someone that has 2-3 hours a week vs. 2-3 hours per day.
For context, I was earning $4,000 per month from writing and VA work within six months of starting my business on the side of a full-time job and with two very young kids at home (so maybe 10-20 hours per week)
Did you know that writing is just one offering under the virtual assistant umbrella? Click here to learn 150 more!
It also depends on your goals. Do you just want to bring in an extra $500 per month? Or are you looking to replace a full-time income?
As far as the investment, you just need to have the skills (writing chops), a computer and reliable internet access (or access to them). You can go the purely sweat equity investment route and through research and trial and error figure it out on your own or take a course like 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success to significantly decrease your startup time.
Who do freelance writers write for and where do they get their clients or projects from?
I like to say that every business needs a website and virtually every website needs a blog. So there’s blog writing, copywriting (i.e. the copy that’s on a website), sales campaigns (email marketing) and much, much more!
You can find clients through cold pitching, networking, agencies, online bid sites (like Elance), etc. There’s a whole module dedicated to where to look for clients in my course.
I understand you have a course that teaches people how to write in 30 days or less. Can you tell us more about the course?
I’ve talked about it a bit above, but 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success is great for aspiring writers or existing freelancers that are struggling to build a successful writing biz.
There are nine modules that walk you through everything from establishing your new business, to figuring out what you want to write about (and who you want to write it for), what a good pitch looks like (and how to write your own), building out a writer’s website, figuring out your writer’s process and more!
Do you have any success stories that you can share with us?
Sure, there’s a whole page of success stories here.
But here’s an email I got just the other day:
As we close, what successful tips or advice would you give those who are just getting started?
Follow Nike’s advice and JUST DO IT!
Instead of asking “What’s the worst that can happen?” ask yourself “What’s the BEST possible outcome of trying?” And if that’s worth hard work, long hours, buckets of sweat and a few tears… go fo it!
If all else fails, steal my favorite mantras: “Why not ME, why not NOW?” Powerful, right?
Can a Freelance Writer Make Money Instantly?
There you have it, folks. Thank you, Gina, for taking the time out of your busy schedule to share with us your freelance writing experiences and expertise.
Freelance writing is a lucrative work from home job that can earn you thousands of dollar every single year. You can even instantly earn money writing from home when you land your first writing gig. Just send your first invoice and get paid before writing your first line. Just make sure to build a portfolio and offer proof of your skills before accepting a job that’s above your level.
If you feel that writing is the career path you, I highly recommend Gina’s 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success e-course. It will teach you everything you need to know to become a professional freelance writer.
About the Author:
Gina Horkey is a married, millennial mama to two precocious toddlers from Minnesota. Additionally, she’s the founder of Horkey HandBook, a website geared towards helping others find or become a kickass virtual assistant. Gina’s background includes making a living as a professional writer, an online business marketing consultant and a decade of experience in the financial services industry.