I browsed Reddit’s freelance writer section today.
It’s Sunday and I don’t want to write a huge amount that requires brain work, so let’s just address some stuff I’ve seen.
First Of All…
If you’re going to take advice from Reddit, take it with a huge amount of salt. In almost every thread I read, there were people who clearly didn’t know what they were talking about, yet somehow were convinced of their correctness – despite clearly being wrong.
So bear that in mind.
Offers, Offers Everywhere
There seemed to be a ton of people trying to “start-up” platforms “for writers.”
This is ostensibly a good thing because ultimately most freelance platforms are rubbish.
However they’re rubbish for a reason – it’s a very hard business model to get right and at this point, you’re competing against established companies with big advertising budgets and very few moral concerns.
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And most of the people who are “thinking about creating a freelance start-up” aren’t any of those.
They’re dreamers looking for somebody else to provide the working capital.
So that’s the freelance platform thing.
Here’s the other thing: partnerships.
There were a ton of people looking for “partnerships with writers.”
Now… they wanted to “partner” with a writer but were incredibly vague about what it is they were bringing to the partnership. This is an immediate red flag, because it’s probably nothing.
Can You Write Freelance As A Non-English Speaker?
Yes, you can.
This was a common question with everything ranging from “You’ll never make it,” to, “Sure, nobody cares who you are or where you’re from!”
And obviously both of those extremes are a lie.
Now, I’ll say a few things on this:
- You should probably target people from your own language/country because this turns a weakness into a strength – especially if you can do both writing in your native language and help them increase their presence on the English web.
- If you’re looking for general write-in-English work, you will need to jump through many holes to prove you’re good to a professional level
- You should work on brand building to demonstrate your language ability in English
- There’ll be troubles getting cold clients from outside your native language on sites like Upwork
I’m not going to say you can’t make a ton of money. I know people who make a lot of money as non-native English speakers with freelance writing. It’s definitely possible but there are hoops to go through.
On the other hand, I won’t pretend that if someone sees “COUNTRY: INDIA” on your profile, you won’t have a harder time getting clients than someone from the USA, because you will. Even if your native language is English, there’s a perceived lack of English ability you have to overcome.
But you can overcome it.
JUST DO IT
Honestly, there are a million questions that are all the same.
“What do you use to get writing jobs?”
“Where do you start with freelance writing?”
“How do you get your first clients?”
“Been looking to start freelance writing but don’t know how!”
And there are pages and pages of these questions.
The answer is simple: Get started.
Create your own projects, approach some people, sign up for freelance platforms.
Don’t be afraid to fail. Fail regularly, in fact. Failing means you’re pushing yourself to try new things.
Nobody can hold your hand. You aren’t “thinking about starting.” You’re putting off starting, and you need to stop.
Just get on with it and ask specific questions later.