The Written Word and Freelancing: 10 Jobs to Pursue Online

by WorkFromHome on November 22, 2011

Perhaps the single largest freelancing occupation online is that of “writer.” But writing is an extremely broad profession, with uses and applications for small businesses, big advertising firms, online search engines, marketing websites, and even magazines. In an occupation that is this broad, what are the ten best ways to put sound writing skills to work?

  1. Resumé Writing
    To some people, writing a resumé is just about the most straightforward thing you can do: list your objective, your education, your skills, and you jobs. Save it, send it, and wait to hear back from a potential employer. But it simply is not that easy for a large number of Americans who have never had any formal education in preparing the best resumé and cover letter. They’re the people who expound too greatly on their skills, creating a packet of papers out of what should be just one or two pages. And there are the people who don’t know which skills are relevant, which are extraneous, and which ones are “bonus points” for employers.

    For those with a solid business or hiring background, and a knack for writing well-constructed sentences, resumé writing online is a solid freelancing opportunity that can be quite lucrative. Typically paid per resumé completed and accepted, these freelancers will overhaul a candidate’s existing list of qualifications and make them ultimately worth hiring by the largest number of employers possible.

  2. Research Writing and Documentation
    One of the biggest things that big corporations do is conduct research. Their goal is to expand their business into new areas, cater to new types of markets and demographics, and stay up to date with current trends and technologies. They simply cannot do this on their own, and it’s the reason they have such large research budgets. Rather than pay in-house employees, which can be a costly proposition in a world with skyrocketing benefit and health care costs, many business now simply prefer to hire researchers on a freelance basis.

    The company in question will assign the topic, the number of sources required, and the number of pages of content required for their needs. They’ll then post these research projects on online freelancing job boards and pay per completed research document. Their big research budgets result in lucrative opportunities, and the motivated freelance researcher can easily make a solid primary income by spending their workdays conducing corporate research and documenting it appropriately.

  3. Speech Writing
    The experienced speech writer has a major opportunity when freelancing online: large numbers of people are now contracting with freelancers to write their speeches. These jobs used to require working for well-regarded public officials, whether corporate or political, and spending long days in an office. That is no longer the case, as many professionals now find it more affordable and more practical to contract with online speech writing freelancers.

    These opportunities are frequently posted in employment ads as well as freelancing job boards, and they’ll require some proof of your prior experience. With the right resumé and prior speeches in your portfolio, however, these positions can demand some of the loftiest salaries in the freelance writing world and you’ll have the added bonus of hearing your work spoken in public.

  4. Writing Annual Reports
    There’s no denying that writing annual reports can be an absolutely tedious task for most businesses. For this reason, they’re now inclined to delegate this task to the freelance community. It’s no more exciting for freelancers than it is for corporate professionals, but it’s a solid source of income. And the best part is this: a satisfied company is likely to be risk-averse and hire the same freelancer each time an annual report is required. They want to know they can count on your quality, and once you’ve proven yourself, you’ll easily win a well-paying corporate client that will be along with you for the long-term.
  5. Answering Frequently Asked Questions
    Nearly every reputable website has a help section that contains a list of frequently asked questions. These questions are simply displayed in a question-and-answer format; answers are written plainly and in easy-to-understand language, with special attention paid to the thoroughness of the response. The goal is to keep corporate phone lines and email inboxes free of the simplest questions.

    For the freelance writer who knows how to break complex topics down into simple language and easy-to-understand tidbits, this writing position is practically limitless. Companies are always creating new help sections, and adding new questions to their FAQ section, meaning the work is practically limitless for the right professionals.

  6. Legal Writing Opportunities
    For those with a law education, or professional legal background, legal writing is a fast-growing freelance area that pays considerably higher rates than many other forms of freelance writing. As a legal writing freelancer, you’ll be in charge of writing case briefs, legal documents, legal research papers, and even contracts. These documents are relatively easy to write and most of them follow the same basic format. For the amount of work put into it, legal freelancing is an extremely solid occupation.
  7. Other career options within freelance legal writing focus on legal blog entries. This is perhaps the biggest and newest area of freelance legal writing, as many law firms seek to promote themselves through the use of informative and marketing-friendly blogs that are easily linked to from their firm’s homepage. They seek to connect with customers while maintaining a professional and informative tone — something the adept freelance writer is nearly perfect at doing.

  8. Writing eBooks
    The future of books is almost certainly electronic, and a well-written electronic book can be sold in online marketplaces for a pretty penny. And not only do you get the up-front earnings associated with publishing a book on a certain topic, but you’ll also earn consistent residual income on every copy purchased by a customer who finds your unique take on a subject to be entertaining and informative.

    The good thing about writing eBooks is that no topic is off limits; you can expand your published works to cover any number of topics in which you’re an expert, or you can simply publish an ongoing series of books that cover each aspect of some topic in-depth. Either way, you’ll earn residual monthly income that is perfect for supplemental means.

  9. Press Releases
    Let’s face it: a tough economy means that things are even more competitive among existing businesses, let alone their employees. And with online access to press releases via sites like PRNewsWire, there has never been a greater need for companies to promote themselves strongly through the use of press release documents. There’s a burgeoning market for a well-written press release, and freelancers would be well-advised to come prepared with a strong resumé, an even stronger portfolio, and perhaps even a college degree, when pursuing these opportunities. It’s worth it, however, when freelancers keep in mind that writing press releases pays better than many of the more menial freelance writing gigs available online.
  10. Writing Business Plans
    The freelance writer with a strong business background is a natural fit for business plan writing. These plans are essential for new businesses owners, especially when they’re trying to qualify for a loan or other capital, as they lay out exactly what a business will be doing, how they’ll be doing it, and what their plan is for the next several years of operation. Someone with experience in the business field will know exactly what to say in order to clearly lay out a business’ master plan, and their expertise will earn them a lucrative income among entrepreneurs who so desperately need to properly convey their ambitions to those who will be funding them.
  11. Advertising Copy
    If you’ve got a strong background in sales — or you just find yourself quite persuasive in the written word — advertising copywriting may be the best field for you. Companies are willing to pay top dollar for a good advertisement, flyer, or brochure, because they get to skip the costs of retirement and health care benefits when contracting with freelancers. Their goal is to make their product or service look as good as possible, so you’ll want to back up your skills in writing with examples of your persuasive copy, sales experience, and marketing knowledge. A degree wouldn’t hurt, and this job pays well enough to virtually require a college degree for all of those hired.

Get Started Today

While freelance writing is certainly a burgeoning occupation, the writers of the world have begun to take notice. And that means that any time wasted will mean less opportunities for the work at home freelancer who is late to the game. Whether it’s corporate annual reports, a website’s support section, or even resumé writing, these positions must be snatched up quickly, or they’re gone forever. There’s simply no time to waste — especially in an environment where each job directly contributes to an individual’s annual salary.

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