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Become a Freelance Writer While Still in College

Washing dishes. Flipping burgers. Stocking shelves. Ringing up purchases. These are some common part-time jobs for college students. Restaurants and stores offer evening and weekend hours that don’t interfere with class schedules.
Have you considered working from your dorm room instead? If you’re good at English, you can become a freelance writer while you’re still in college. All you need is your computer and an Internet connection. Here are some tips to get you started.

Brush Up on Your Writing Skills

Even if you’re pretty good at spelling, grammar, and punctuation, there’s a lot more to high-quality professional writing. Online content might need to be coded with header tags or peppered with search-engine-friendly keywords. Effective ad copywriting requires a good knowledge of marketing and psychology.
If you haven’t had an opportunity to take writing-specific courses through your English department, you can find plenty of short online classes at a relatively low cost. Clients like to see good credentials when they review your profile, so adding a writing class or two can get you noticed.

  • Lynda.com offers short classes in e-learning, social media marketing, and many other modern fields that require professional writers.
  • Udemy offers a number of writing classes, from copywriting to comedy writing.
  • About.com and similar sources offer many free articles, so you can refresh yourself on grammar or learn new skills.

Obtain the Style Guides that Pertain to Your Niche

Today, many clients expect freelance writers to serve as their own editors and proofreaders. Here are the resources you’ll need when checking your work.

  • The Chicago Manual of Style is appropriate for literature, such as fiction and creative nonfiction.
  • The AP Stylebook is best for journalism and most online writing, such as fixed web content and blog posts.
  • Ask your client if he or she has a house style guide or sheet. This list of specific preferences and special terms supersedes the style manual you’re using.

Check Out Online Freelancing Agency Sites

You may be able to find some local jobs through a Craigslist ad or word of mouth. However, so many clients hire freelance essay writers through online agencies that you’d be doing yourself a disservice not to sign up with one.
Take a few minutes to set up your professional profile, and then wait for job alerts to come to you. If you have time, you can spend time actively searching for opportunities.

    • Fiverr is a great place to get started. Freelancers offer a number of services that cost $5. You could advertise, say, a product description, tagline, or short About Us webpage for that set amount.
    • Guru is the virtual workplace of choice for more than 1.5 million members.

Competition is tough, as it’s a global marketplace. People from other countries may bid on the same jobs at a far lower rate. Be confident and persistent, and eventually, you’ll win that first assignment.

Bookmark These Commonly Used Tools for Writers

  • Copyscape is software that checks your writing for plagiarism. Even if you haven’t knowingly copied anything, you’ll always want to run your work through this software before submitting it. Many clients reject content that is flagged by Copyscape—even for one sentence. The Premium version of the software is very inexpensive and worth every penny.
  • Readability Score lets you check your content to determine the level of reading ease (or difficulty). Don’t assume that everybody is as good a reader as you are. Most newspapers and online content should be easy enough for the average eighth-grader to comprehend.

Freelance writing may sound like an easy or glamorous job, but it’s just like any other job. Sure, you might be able to work at 1 a.m. in your pajamas, but you’ll also have to deal with undercutting, rejection, and some difficult clients. If you’re passionate about writing, though, get started in a freelance career. It will be a great experience to add to your resume when you graduate.