How To Become A Freelance Writer & Make Money (In plain English)

– Hey guys, what’s up?So, another day and another
good content is here. Well, guess what, today
I’m with a freelance writerChintan, and Chintan has
worked with ShoutMeLoudand he has also worked
with many brand like Foundrand what else? – Native Ads. – Native Ads. And, he also worked–
– Neil Patel. – Neil Patel. So, he has been, like, into
the freelance writing businessfor quite a long time,and today, you know, we
are going to pick his brainto understand about how you can alsostart freelance writing businessor become a freelance writer. If you are already a freelance writer,you can learn how you can
actually grow your businessto, you know, four figure, five figure,or six figure, in fact. And if you’re somebody who’s actuallysitting on the sideline thinking,what are the online business
opportunity you have,freelance writing is
one of the opportunitythat can open a lot of doors for you. So, we are going to look intoall those thing today with Chintan. So, straight away,
let’s go to the Chintan. – Hello, people, what’s up?It’s Chintan here. I am a writer and content-marketer. I started my writing journey
as a freelance writerin 2014 after passing
on from BITS Pilani, Goaas an engineer. Before that, as well, I was writing forvarious media publications
and I was workingas a technology blogger,
as a sports blogger,and engineering didn’t
make much sense to me,so I thought, “Okay, let’s give
this writing thing a shot. “It started with writing
gigs at iwriter. com. Iwriter. com is a content millwhereby you can write articles
for clients at like $5, $3. I remember my first article
was at thesportsmirror. comand for that I was paid,
almost like, 50 cents,a dollar, and from then on,then I have built my profileand I have worked my way up to easily getmore than 100 to $200 per article. So, it’s been a journey for meand I have thoroughly enjoyed it. – In which year did you start?- Writing?- Yes. – So, I started my writing thing,I think in 2010 as a sports blogger,and that time I was just
like exploring things,it was an internship. I didn’t have anything in mind thatI want to do thisand this is going to be
something that I’ll pursue,but it got me interested in writing,and from then on, I had
various gigs as a writerwith various companies
and various media houses. – Okay, thanks for
your introduction, Chintan. And now, let’s bring the
conversation to our audience,who are thriving to find an
online business opportunity. So, my first question to you ishow can somebody who has zero experience,who is probably okay at
writing or good at writing,how can they start making thisas a money-making business for that?- Alright, so practically, what you can dois start with applying at job boards. The best job board, I think,
is jobs. problogger. net,where you will find decent
earning opportunities. Besides that, you can go to websites likeelance. com or iwriter. com. These are all content mills. You won’t get paid much,
but you will get the idea ofhow freelance writing works,
how to deal with clients. And, from then on, you
can gradually start intobuilding your own brand,
building your own profile,and for that, I would recommend
guest posting at websites. So, you can decide on a particularniche, like say suppose, if
I’m interested in lifestyle,then I’ll target publications
that are well-knownin the lifestyle niche. If suppose if I’m interested in marketing,then I’ll target websites like ShoutMeLoudfor getting my name up on their blogs,like, getting my articles
up on their blogsand proving my credibility. So, once you get your name,it’s all about the
first major publication. So if you get into one publication,from then on, it becomes much easier. Getting that first
publication is, I think,the major challenge,
and for that you’ll needgood ideas and good writing
skills and some luckto work in your field. – Okay, so, you
said, like, number one,go to the content mill,
find freelancing gigs. Second, get yourself published
on the top media houses. Anything else, like,
what about the website?Or, what about having a blog or a websiteor a page where people can contact you?- Correct. So, I think, many
writers, what I’ve found,many writers when they’re starting out,they’re not very
well-equipped with WordPress,although WordPress is not as difficult,but it depends on the person,so if you are more of a creative bent,then I don’t think technology might,it might seem a little daunting. So, what you can do is simply
create your portfolio pagewith something as simple as Contently. So, Contently allows you
to create a page likeI have my own page at
chintanzalani. contently. com. So, there you can add your own articlesand build a portfolioand you can share that with clients. And you can also create an about me pageand there, you can also
mention the same thingthat you can hire me by doing this. So, that is a quicker way to,if you have the goal clear that
you want to become a writerand you want to offer your services,then I think that is a
quicker way to go about it. Obviously, having a writer’s websiteand building your own
audience really helps,but, for your first few weeksmaybe you can just go ahead
with building your profileon about me or contentand from then on, you
can build on your websiteand that can come in the third monthor the second month, then on. – Oh, solid stuff. Okay. Now, next question is so, of course,I believe, like, you
know, there is of course,money doesn’t come easyand freelance writing is
not just another thing,it’s a serious stuff. The question is how much
money one can expect,like none the lower and
the higher to make fromfreelance writing in a day
or in a month per article?Whatever way you want to add. – Okay. So, I think for making,if you talk in terms of making money,I think content marketing
is a really great way toget some nice extra income. When you think of yourself as a writerand when you just start
with the love for writing,it’s a great place to start atand you can get paid $50 per
article at decent publications,$100 per article, as well. That is a great way to start. But, if you want to increase your income,then, building your own audienceand understanding content marketingand how the writing that you’re doingis going to affect the
business which is hiring you,that will really help. And, that is what content
marketing is all about. So, I think it really helps to understandthe business angle of writing. – And, how much time does it taketo understand that, like, if
somebody is starting today,like in months or in years?- I think it’s really subjective. I cannot say that it will take
you this much amount of time,but, if you put in the effort
and if you keep it very simpleand if you refer the right sources,like say, if we want to
understand content marketing,then, maybe you can go to
Content Marketing Instituteor if you refer a good guideor a course like Shout Universityfor understanding blogging, for strategy,then I think a couple of
months to three monthsis a good space. And, it is something that
you can do on the side. Invest some time every
week in understanding it,as well as time in writing
and pitching publicationsas well as. . . Pitching is the main thing,so, you cannot stop cold pitching,you cannot stop marketing yourself. That is the main thing as a writer. That is the main thing
as a service provider. So, unless you’re putting
yourself out there, it’s nothing. Nobody knows what you knowand what is your writing skillset, right?So, you can do the content marketing,understanding thing, on the side. Take two months, three
months, maybe six months,but meanwhile, you have
to keep cold pitchingand keep targeting publicationsand keep reaching out
to clients, prospects,that, okay, I’m offering content services,I’m offering writing and this
is what I have done so far,so, if you’re looking for someone,then I would love to come aboard. – Okay. Thank you for adding
all the value, Chintan. And, I believe this
question, a lot of bloggersand lot of writers or aspiring writersor aspiring freelance,
people who want to get intofreelance writing can connect to. How do one go about improving
their writing skillsand I’m not talking about
just, you know, getting onlineand writing, I’m talking about, like,becoming a prolific writer just like you. – I’m not that prolific, by the way,but yes, to improve your writing skillset,I think a great way to go about it isstarting with reading books. One book which will really
help you is “On Writing”and maybe you can do a course at Udemy. So, I started with a course by Shani Raja,who’s a Wall Street editor. So, that really helped me
understand the nuances of writing. So, everybody says that they are a writer,and everybody is a writer,
everybody can be a writer,but understanding that what
are the subtle nuances,like, the simplicity of writing,the elegance of writing,
the flow in writing,how you can put together your
ideas in a coherent mannerand form a compelling narrative,that is something which
will come with practice,but at the same time, you will
first have to have the lensto view that in your writing. So, I think a course will
really help you to get startedand then, it’s the generic advice,which you must avert everywhere,
that you have to read more,and you have to, you know, write more. That you have to do it consistently,but, if you have the
lens to understand thatokay, this is how good writing looks like,then, I think you’ll be
in a much better placeto get started. – Cool. So, at this question, what are the thingsthat you do everyday to, you know,keep honing your writing skills?- Alright. So, on a daily basis, the
first thing is I write. I write for clients, I write for myself,I journal, and I think writing morereally helps you to
get your ideas on paperand it improves your writing skill. So, writing is essentially
getting your ideasin a good, compelling
narrative format, right?So, it can be non-fiction,
it can be fiction,it can be journaling, it can be anything. So, writing more is one
simple thing that I rely onand the second thing is, I think, ideas. So, I rely a lot on
something which is called isassociative thinking,
forming associations. So, it’s really subjective. Creativity is a lot of typesand for me, what comes naturally
is when I use a conceptfrom a different industry in my industry. So suppose if, say, there’s
a concept in psychology. Then, maybe I can use that in my writing,in my marketing writingand make the argument more compelling. If there’s, say, an
exercise in method acting,and I’m exploring method acting,then I can use that in my
article on self-improvement,because that is something which is coming,which I formed an association with,and which is coming to me. So, basically, learning more
and learning diverse thingsis also what really contributes
to my writing skill. That’s what I feel. – And how do
you go about improvingyour word dictionary?Like, you know, instead
of using general word,how do you start making those power wordsa natural part of your writing?- Alright, so, I think the first pointthat I really want to make issimple writing is the most difficultand simple writing is something
which is for the masses. So, unless you’re really
writing for a niche audience,say, if you’re writing for
Harvard Business Review,or a very niche audience of, say,artificial intelligence technocrats,you don’t need to be very technical. And essentially, in
journalism, and even the novelsthat are bestsellers,
generally tend to contain,and this is research-proven,
this is data-backed that,you need to keep your writing very simpleand it’s not really
about having a better. . . It’s not about word play,it’s about having more compelling ideas. So, that is first thing
that I really want to clear. But still, it really
helps to have diversity inthe words that you use and
being very specific with,maybe, your emotional vocabulary or. . . So, if you’re writing for
a very particular audience,then obviously, having the
technical understandingof the terms is really helpfuland using that is something
that will come by reading more. So, say, suppose if
I’m writing on bloggingthen, content strategy,
conversions, email marketing,these are things that should
be a part of our vocabularyand I should understand them in-depthand I should read about them. At the same time, if I’m
writing for a general audienceand if I’m, say, targeting
a very beginner audienceon these subjects, then, I’ll
keep it very simple, as well. Now, if I want to create a
vocabulary, one actionable tip,use all of this thing that
I’ve talked about is, like,negating building a vocabulary. But say, if you want
to build a vocabulary,something that I have personally tried,so I hired a intern to work with meand I gave her, from whatever
literature I was reading,like, maybe it was at The Economistor maybe it was a novel. So, if I found some words,then I just noted down
those words in WorkFlowy,which is a free tool, and from there onI sent that to my intern and
she prepared some questionsto go about learning it in Anki. So, Anki is a app which
helps in active learningand it’s something which you can usefor learning words with contextand then, they can naturally
flow into your writing as well. – Cool. Okay. So, alright, so, you know,
you have given some tipswhich personally, I think I’m
also going to pick them up,but, here’s a question. So, these are the things that
you already did to reach here. Now, what are the things, what
are the writing techniquesor the things that you are
looking forward to integrateinto your writing, moving forward?- Alright, so the thing that
I struggle with right now isI genuinely, like, each day, sometimes,there’s always this underlying
feeling like an imposter,like I’m not really a writer,
I’m not really writing well,because what I tend to do, my writing,obviously it’s a creative
process and it’s very subjective,but my writing process
has been very haphazardand it’s more like I
collect a lot of informationand then I try to make sense of itand put it in a compelling narrative. So, that is what I do,but that is not how writing generally is. What writing process
looks like for most peopleis when they create an outline,which is something which I also do,but after creating that outline,they just shut down the Internetor shut down the external thingsand just let it flow. So, that flow thing comes to me,but then, it’s not as compellingas my research-backed writingwhich I do with the Internet on. The Internet is in the on mode. So, that is something
which I am struggling withand that is something which
I really want to work on. So even you recently tried an experimentto go on a metro line
where there’s no Internet,and I’ll just sit with my laptopand I’ll have an article with meand for that period of two to three hours,I’ll just sit and write. Nothing else. So, that is something
which I’m working on,and that is what I really,the place that I want to be in,that, then when the writing just flows. – Yeah. I believe, you know, for you,since you write a lot
of technical articlesand stuff where you
definitely need to researchon every single thing,so, for those kind of article, yes,that kind of flow will
take a lot of time to come,but, I understand what you mean,and yes, that’s a nice place to be. Okay, so, what are the writing toolsthat you use day-to-day?- Writing tools, I would say,Grammarly is something
which I absolutely loveand it’s responsible for
fixing all my grammar mistakes. I commit a lot of them. And it even helps with writing’s clarity,simplicity, and elegance. It offers really great suggestionsand I recommend people which
are struggling with writingto definitely give its
premium version a shot. It’ll really help. And, the second tool is Google Docs. So, I keep it very simple,I don’t really create an
outline in a different tool,and something like that. I have a very simple way to go about it. I use Google Docs for my writing bitand then, I use Grammarly for editing. That’s it. – Okay. Do you use Hemingway Editor?- Yeah, I have used
Hemingway Editor in the past,but I think a lot of the legworkthat Hemingway does is
already done by Grammarlyand now, if you are at a placewhereby you use really long
sentences or complex words,then you should really use Hemingway. But, now I think I’m in
a place whereby mostly,my writing is at the
place where I don’t needHemingway’s functionalities. – Okay. Alright, Chintan, it’s
the last three question. And the first one, like,
you already mentionedabout the website, like,
iWriter and two more,where one can find the writing gig. What are the some of
the unconventional waysof finding the writing
opportunity which actually pays?- Alright, so, one thing I really feel isthe best way to go about this,maybe it’s on your own
blog if you have a website,maybe it’s for a client. I did this for a client. You do an influencer roundup. So, what is an influencer roundup?It’s essentially an article which listspeople in your industry
who are thought leaders,like, Harsh Agrawal is a thought leaderin the Internet marketing industry. So, if, say, suppose you’re
writing in the lifestyle niche,maybe you can target companiesand you can target the marketing managersof lifestyle brands. Or, if suppose you are in the
artificial intelligence nicheor if you are in the lawyer niche,then you can target companiesthat are doing content
marketing for lawyersor you can target lawyers directlyand you can get relevant piecesof value-adding advice for themand compile that in an
article and do a roundup. So, my article that I did was
35 blogging thoughts leadersthat you should follow for
the best blogging advice,and it compiled resources from
all of these thought leaders. And through that, I didn’t
even have this in mindwhen I was doing this,
but, as soon as I did that,I got, like, four to five
inquiries on my writing services,just because I had already
shown my credibilitythat I can do this thing
and I’m good at writing. And, there was a proof of
that writing piece that was,that just knocked it out of
the park for most people,because it was a very
intensive, extensive, sorry,an extensive resource
which I had put togetherwith a lot of hard work. And, I had mentioned this
in my email signaturethat I’m a copywriter, so I got inquiriesand even Harsh contacted
me after that articleon inquiring me about my writing services,and from them on, I think
it was a snowball effectthat started from, all
because of that articleis why my writing career kind of began,because, from then on I got to know to,I got a few clients, a couple
of them were consistent. Then from there, Harsh hired me. Harsh referred me to my other clients. And so, the referral
engine sort of started. So, I think influencer roundup
is a thing which is usedrepetitively by many service providersand it is something that you shoulddefinitely give it a shot. – Oh, fantastic. I mean, that’s a very
unconventional way, Chintan. Now, let’s say, somebody
is doing freelance writingfor two, three years, and
they have a consistent rate. Now, how do one go about
increasing their rate?What is the approach that
they don’t end up losingtheir existing client or new clients?What is that you would recommend?- Got it. So, as I have already mentioned,you need to understand content marketing. Content marketing is how
can you drive revenuefor the business through your services,through your writing. In this particular case,
it’s writing, right?So, you need to understand
that at the end of the day,the person who is paying youshould not look at you as an expense. If you are an expense, then,
you’re not an headache,but you are somebody who is replaceable,who is a commodity. So, you have to come across
as someone who is valuable,who can give a return to the client. So, if you can understand the businessthat you’re working forand how your writing is
adding value to them,and you can always attach numbers to this. So, I’ve personally done
this with a couple of people. I think I remember doing
this for Harsh, as well,and I have done this for
my other clients, as well,and I always try to go
through that approach ofokay, how do I calculate that my writingis generating revenue for themand how much of revenue will it generate?And, from then on, you
can anchor your priceaccording to the revenue
that you’re generating. So, obviously, this
will require a clienteleor a pool of clients which
have that mindset, as well. But, those are the clients
you should be working forin the first place, right?They have the growth mindset. They are the people who
are wanting to invest. They’re not just looking at
it as a one-off commodity gig. So, you have to be in that mindset. And, as for your existing clients,so, it cannot be a jump of 100% directly. Obviously, it cannot be a jump
of 50% also, in some cases. But, it’s all about performing well. So, if you’ve performed well for a whileand suppose, if you’re hired
just right now by someone,then, maybe you have not
had that conversationbecause you didn’t have
writing inks in your beltto have that negotiation dialogue. But, now you are in the
place that you want toincrease your rates and
you want to justify itto your client. So, it’s something
which is really natural. You have to understand it’s
a business relationship,first of all, and you
have to treat it as that,and then, the way to go
about it is by telling them,giving them a timeframe, of say,suppose three months to six monthsthat hey, if suppose if it’s Harsh, then,”Hey Harsh, my rates are going
to increase in three months”and you have been a consistent client”and I really value that,
and in three months,”this is going to be my rate
and I’m informing you right now”so, if you can please accommodate that”then I’ll be grateful
for your partnership. “This is one way to go about it. Another way, if you are with a new clientand maybe he’s not paying you your rate,then you can tell me, okay then,can we please re-discuss the ratesat the end of three months
or at the end of six monthsand let’s keep some performance metrics,like, suppose say, the number
of shares on your articleor the number of leads
that you’ve generatedor the amount of traffic
that your articlesare getting on the website,and the number of backlinks. Many of these are vanity metrics,but if you can attach it to the metricthat really relevant to the businessand that will help their bottom line,then it can be a conversation
that you’re havingas a consultant and not just as a writer. So, that is what I recommend. – That was pretty
awesome because I don’t thinka lot of people actually think that way. They just think this as
one-off opportunity that,okay, I’m getting paid $100
and $50, that’s all good. But, yeah, I really like
the way if you actually,not think just as a
writer but as a, you know,like, what’s a value that
you’re adding to the business. – Yeah. Yeah. – And yes, so, you
basically get paid for the valueand not just for the writing, which is,I think a very unique way of thinkingand probably, that’s why,
I think I kind of likeyour way of doing things. Alright.
– Thank you. – So, now the last one,and I think, like, this
is something, you know,will come from your own experience. Is freelance writing job
or, you know, businessor the laptop lifestyle that you live,is it glamorous?- It definitely looks so from the outside. That is the first thing
that comes to my mind. So, yes, I think, like, as you yourselfhave been traveling around the world,I have had month-long stays
in Bhagsu in Himachal Pradeshand in Kausani in Himachal Pradesh. So, I have, I can keep on traveling. I have tried other career
avenues like method acting,music, and all of that has been possiblebecause of having this
laptop freelance lifestyle. I’ve moved across cities. I’ve never been in one city. I’ve lived in Bangalore,
I’ve lived in Mumbai,I’ve lived in Delhi and various places. So, yes, obviously it
has both pros and cons,so that is something, if travelingand meeting new people and
this is something that you likeand even the solitary lifestyle, like,because you will mostly be on your laptop. That is something that people miss. And, you might be most
likely working alone. And even if you have a team,
it might be very remote. Like, they’ll be in a different cityand you’ll be conversing
maybe on a phone callor something like that, right?Or maybe on a Skype call or
maybe chat or maybe email. So, in that sense, it’s
not very glamorous. For me, as a person, I have
a strong foundation of,I have friends in most citiesbecause they are software engineers,so they are everywhere,
scattered across the country. And then, my family is,I have a strong support system
in the form of my familyand friends, as well. So, that is why it’s okay,but definitely, I think the con of it isthat most people don’t realize,they just see that it’s not time-boundand you get to have all
the fun, you get to travel. It’s also sometimes very lonely. And for someone like me, it
can also become a routine,so, beyond a point,
everything is a routine,and beyond a point, it can be interestingand you can have the sugar
rush kind of that feelingin the initial bit, but I
think pros and cons to it. It’s glamorous, but it has
it’s own drawbacks, as well. – Okay, so yeah, I believe, like,what you mean to say is
yes, there’s bright sideof doing your own business,but then the discipline is the keyand understanding how we work
and finding the right wayof doing thing is the key. – Definitely. – Alright, so, I think
that was freaking awesomeand Chintan, you added
a lot of value here. You added, I believe, like,
lot of you who actually wantedto get to know about freelance
writing or already therehave got a lot of meat here. Meat is actually, you know, the real stuffwhich actually help you to grow. Now, if you have any other question,feel free to ask in the
comment section belowand Chintan will come
and, like, will you reply?- Yes, definitely, man. Please, I would love to.
– Cool. Do that, like, this is
your time to actually learnfrom somebody who’s
actually doing something,so, please go ahead,and if you know somebody
who’s into freelance writingor planning to start an online businesson becoming a freelance writer,send them this video, let
them know about, you know,what they can do, what
are the possibilities,all the challenges, and I
believe all this questionhas covered that. So, with that, I will see
you in the next video. Thank you, Chintan, for for this. And
– Buh-bye. – Buh-bye.