Nasdaq predicts that 43% of the workforce will be freelancers by 2020. Additionally, Upwork expects the number of freelance workers will continue to grow year-by-year, and that the majority of the workforce will be freelancers by 2027.
With rapid advances in technology making freelance work more plausible, it’s no surprise that more of the workforce is moving towards freelancing. In fact, from 2014 to 2018, there was an increase of 3.7 million more freelancers, and that number is skyrocketing.
If you have a special skill and a desire to make extra cash, freelancing may just be the side hustle for you. While there are several different options for freelancing, this article will focus on everything you need to know to break into one lucrative type of side gig—freelance writing and how to create a website for your business.
Why Is Freelance Writing a Good Side Hustle?
Before diving too deep into how to get your freelance writing side hustle up and running, you may be wondering, “is freelance writing even worth it?”
The answer is a resounding yes. Let’s look at some of the top reasons freelance writing is a good side hustle as well as some insight from successful freelance writers.
You can start out slowly, and scale when you’re ready.
If you have the freelancing writing itch, you’ll be happy to know it’s easy to scratch. There are so many ways to build a freelance writing portfolio including participating in SEO writing, signing up for a content mill, reaching out to your current network to ask for clients, and building your own copywriting website.
You can even start out moonlighting on the side as a way to make extra money, and scale when you are ready, just like Amanda Ashcraft did.
Amanda Ashcraft is a seasoned professional who felt she had “zero career or retirement options 5 years ago.” Now, she says, “I’m an independent business owner who makes my own hours, has time to be a mom, and doesn’t fall asleep at night scared about how I’m going to make it when I’m too old to work anymore. My side hustle changed my life.”
But how did it all happen?
Amanda Ashcraft originally started a home business to teach English as a Second Language, but that wasn’t a strong enough income source. So, she started writing more SEO content.
Unfortunately, she became ill back in August of 2018, and didn’t have the energy required for both teaching English and freelance writing.
By this time, she already had over 500 articles, blogs, and web pages for her portfolio. As a result, she decided to scale her business and make her freelance writing side hustle her full-time career.
Ashcraft says, “It’s ironic as I’m a published author but never thought of writing as a full-time career. Boy, was I wrong about that! Now I will eventually have a career I adore in a field I’ve had a passion for since I was a small child.”
Like Ashcraft, you can take your freelance writing business slow and use it as a side source of additional income. When your portfolio is ready and you’re making more money, you can scale your business, take on more clients, and start doing what you love 100% of the time.
Freelance writing requires only a small investment for a large return.
If you’re a talented writer and want to try your hand at writing, it’s easy to get started. The best part? It’s virtually risk-free as it requires little financial investment on your part.
Amanda Ashcraft agrees. She says, “My side hustle did not require a big investment. I spend less than $100 a month for everything I need including internet, advertising, and my website. Additionally, I was able to devote more time to developing my business than I realized I had because of the tools available through HostGator.”
When it comes to expenses, starting a freelance writing side gig isn’t going to break the bank. In fact, all you really need to get started is a love for writing and a website. The crazy thing is, though, as you become more and more successful, you’ll notice your return on investment is significant.
Matt Weik has been writing in the health and fitness niche for the past 15+ years.
Like Ashcraft, he started out slowly with the goal of making some extra income. However, he quickly experience high enough returns that it made more financial sense to turn his side hustle into his full-time career.
Weik says, “My side hustle started making me more money than my actual ‘job,’ so I started my writing business and said goodbye to the 9-5 for 80 hour work weeks (yes, I’m working more but I’m also having WAY more fun than I was at my old job).”
He continues, “My side hustle started out as a couple hundred extra dollars each month (writing around 3-5 articles per month), and has now turned into an extremely profitable business seeing huge profits and growth year-over-year. The 3-5 articles per month has now grown to around 5-10 articles per week, which does not include the added ghostwriting and copywriting work I do for clients.”
Starting a freelance writing business isn’t expensive, but it provides the opportunity to drastically increase your ROI.
Why You Need Your Own Freelance Writing Website
We’ve already said it. To get started with freelance writing, you need a website. It’s true. A freelance writing website is potentially the single most important tool you can have in your back pocket as you start freelance writing. Here are some top reasons why you can’t do without a freelance writing website.
1. Your website is your portfolio.
When you land a new client, the first thing they will ask you for is writing samples. Your website is the perfect place to build an online portfolio to show off your best work.
It’s easy to add an online portfolio to your website. All you need to do is create an extra “portfolio” or “samples” page, and provide links or PDFs to your work. This helps potential clients see first-hand how good you are at writing and what you can do for them.
2. Your website showcases you as a professional.
It may be standard practice in other industries to send a resume to a potential client. That’s not how things work in the world of freelance writing.
Clients want to see who you are, learn about you, understand your services, and read your writing samples. With the help of a killer website, you can provide all the desired information in one branded, beautiful website that shows you’re a true professional.
3. Your website will help you land clients.
The first place a client is going to look for help with content marketing or copywriting is the internet. If you don’t have an online presence, you can kiss work from potential clients goodbye.
Furthermore, keep in mind your website works for you, even when you’re off enjoying coffee with friends or retiring early for the night. Your website is up around the clock. This means potential clients can browse your website anytime and send you an email via your contact form expressing their desire to work with you.
How to Create Your Freelance Writing Website
Now that you know how lucrative freelance writing can be and why you need a website, let’s talk about how to get a website up and running with Gator Website Builder.
If you’re intimidated by the idea of building a website on your own, you’re not alone, but also don’t need to worry. HostGator has you covered.
Don’t believe it? Amanda Ashcraft was nervous about creating her website, but found it easy with the help of HostGator. She said, “the biggest issue I had was creating a website that gives background about myself, offers an updated portfolio with live linking, and that is easy to incorporate SEO and EAT principles. I found all of that with HostGator’s many hosting options and tools. It made life a lot easier.”
The goal of Gator Website Builder is to make creating a website easy. To get up and running, all you have to do is follow six intuitive steps.
Step 1: Pick a hosting plan for your freelance writing website.
Gator Website Builder includes three plans: a starter plan, a premium plan, and an eCommerce plan.
If you’re starting a freelance writing website, the starter plan is the best option. It includes a free domain, 200+ templates, a drag-and-drop editor, cloud hosting, and website analytics.
If you are nervous about building your own website and want priority support, then opt for the premium plan.
Once you’ve picked a plan, click “buy now” and you can set up your account.
Step 2: Pick a domain name for your business.
Every Gator Website Builder package includes a free domain. To pick your domain, all you have to do is type something in the “get domain” box. If your top choice isn’t available, select another.
When it comes to building a freelance writing website, it’s smart to use your own name as your domain name. Many freelancers will build their own personal brands. In the event your name is common and already taken, and you need help selecting a domain name, here is a list of ideas for how to choose the perfect domain name for your business.
If you already have a domain name, you can connect it to your HostGator account by clicking “connect it here.”
Step 3: Create your account.
Once you have a domain name, you’re ready to connect your account. All you need is an email address or Facebook account to connect. Then, enter your payment information, and you can get started.
Step 4: Pick a template that matches your niche.
Of of the biggest draws of Gator Website Builder is it comes with over 200 templates. This means you don’t have to know how to code to get your website up and running. All you need to do is pick the theme that you like best.
To pick a template, go to the “choose a template” page. You can scroll through the professionally-designed templates, and select a template.
Step 5: Add content to your website.
After you have decided on your template, click “start editing.” This is the step where you can add content, edit content, and add or delete pages.
Gator Website Builder’s drag and drop builder makes it easy to make your website look exactly how you want it to look without needing to code.
In the event you have any questions, consult the free and easy step-by-step guide that explains how you how to set up the different sections of your site.
Step 6: Review your content and launch your website.
The last step is to review and launch your website. By clicking “preview,” you can see your freelance writing website in full. If you need to make any changes, go back to your dashboard and make the necessary changes.
If everything looks great, then click the “finish preview” button at the top. When you are ready, you can select “publish website” at the top of the dashboard, and you’ll be ready to go live.
Build Your Freelance Writing Website
Freelance writing is a killer side hustle. It’s flexible, it pays well, you get to be your own boss, and it’s fun. Not to mention, you can easily scale a freelancing side hustle into a full-time job.
To experience true success as a freelance writer, it’s critical you have a strong online presence, and that starts with building a website. For more information on how to get started, check out Gator Website Builder today.
Ashley R. Cummings is a professional freelance writer specializing in SaaS, tech, and advertising/marketing. In a previous life, she was a Russian teacher at Brigham Young University, a corporate trainer, and a grad student—all at the same time. When she’s not writing, you can find her traveling the world with her 2 kids and husband, reading poetry or taking a deep dive into the fabulous world of comedy. Connect with her on Twitter at @ashleyrcummings.