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Why Bloggers Should Freelance

This guest post is by Sid from GeeksMakeMoney.

Blogging can be a richly rewarding experience, and bloggers can sometimes get carried away by their success. I personally know bloggers who look down upon freelancing, but unless you are one of the top league bloggers known the world over, you should probably expand and diversify.

Freelancing gives you plenty of ways and opportunities to grow beyond the confines of being “a blogger,” and it can be of great help in your blogging career.

Whether you are new to blogging or have been in your field for long, freelancing on the side can open up opportunities and avenues that are not always available to ordinary bloggers. You can always tie your blogging activities into your freelancing activities—it’s not hard to figure out how one feeds off of the other.

The trick is to be open to trying out something new, taking risks and learning in the process.

Monetary flexibility

Well, straight to the point: freelancing pays. Blogging might or might not pay.

If you are a new blogger, this is a fairly obvious point. You can freelance on the side and earn some additional income while your blog is still growing and yet to produce significant income itself.

If you already have a blog that earns money, remember that earnings for most bloggers can fluctuate a lot, especially for the medium-sized blogs. Can you honestly tell yourself that you would earn as much or more from your blog a couple of years from now as you are earning today? There are so many factors—Google algorithm changes, established competition, shifting preferences of the audience and plenty more can devastate small bloggers (think Shoemoney or John Chow—if such A-list bloggers can lose audience, so can you).

With freelancing, you have the flexibility to scale up or down your activities and thus maintain your current income streams even if your blog’s earnings fluctuate.

Success story; Oni of YoungPrePro ties his blog and his freelance writing together really well. In fact, he’s now at a stage where he earns tens of thousands of dollars a month only through freelancing. Even though his blog is hugely popular, he prefers to earn money through freelancing because it is stable, reliable, and better paying.

Branding and publicity

If you can contribute your work to a more popular medium than your own blog, and people like your work, you are building your brand by investing in yourself. Freelancing is also a good medium for publicity, and I love any method that pays me to publicize myself!

Freelancing gives you the opportunity to produce high quality content under your name that others will like, and appreciate and present yourself and your expertise to the world. This, of course, is going to be of immense help to grow your blog as people recognize your authority.

Success story: Carol of Make A Living Writing is a prolific and well-known writer, and has written for Entrepreneur, Copyblogger, Seattle Times, and plenty of other popular blogs.

Many can instantly recognize her and her top-quality work, so freelancing helps her grow as a writer and helps establish a higher credibility for her blog at the same time.

Testing new waters

As a freelancer, you get to work on different fields within your area of expertise. If you are a writer, you can write on a variety of topics. This is a great way to explore new areas that interest you and learn more about different niches. You can pick up ideas that you think a blog in this niche should cover and then present your own perspective.

Many bloggers work for bigger publications, then branch out to start their own blogs once they understand the business and topic much more intimately.

Success story: Starre of Eco-Chick was a writer for popular fashion magazines before starting her own successful blog, which is in line with what she wrote for magazines, combining fashion and sustainability.

When she started the blog Eco-Chick, everything was already in place—she knew the field better than anyone else. Isn’t that a solid start for your blogging platform?

Tricks of the trade

In addition to these points, you can also learn insider tricks of the trade when you freelance. When you work as a freelancer and are getting paid to do so, chances are, you are working at a company that is at least moderately successful. You can learn why, and they would be more than happy to teach you because they want your work to be put to best use.

This is a great way to learn how things are done and what works for successful businesses. And that knowledge can prove invaluable when you are actually starting your own blog.

Do you freelance and blog at the same time? Why? And what benefits does it give you? Tell us your stories in the comments.

True to his word, Sid is a blogger and freelancer and has written popular freelancing guides including oDesk Review and Elance vs. oDesk. He is starting out a number of different blogging projects, from understanding fashion to using python in finance. His oldest blog is about penny auctions.

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Comments

  1. I totally agree with you here, and we are a team of bloggers too. We offer blog writing services at affordable prices to businesses and companies who can’t blog. I appreciate your efforts Darren, you truly are the king pin of blog world =)

  2. Lisa Pluth says:

    Excellent article. As a professional writer for almost a decade (books, blogs, magazines, freelance) I can say that this article hits the nail on the head. A writer is always at the mercy of readers and the publishing industry. Freelance is one of the best ways to keep your writing fresh, alive and profitable. No matter how many people follow your blog it is important to always grow. Impaled, burned out writers are scattered throughout the cafes of New York and along the Internet highway. Freelance will keep you on your toes and making the grade.

    • Sid says:

      Glad you liked the article. Freelancing is definitely a great way to stay on your toes and feel the industry’s pulse, know your strengths and weaknesses and improve. I know all too well about the cafes of New York and the internet highways and I think just freelancing and writing on different projects lets your creativity flow and gives you ideas from a diverse and different background.

  3. I have been blogging for many years and willing for freelance also. The greatest hurdle I have been facing that I belong to such a beautiful country where there is very hard access to Internet and electricity. Although being novice in English, some published science articles in my blog gives me self satisfaction.

  4. Such a great collection of reasons why bloggers should freelance, Sid. I especially like the idea that it can help you learn tricks of the trade. I’ve been consulting for a decade and still learn so much from each of my clients–what’s more, when you work with a bunch of clients you start getting a feel for the nuance behind what works and what doesn’t. On the surface, two approaches might seem so similar they could be twins, but when you get that kind of behind-the-scenes look you start to see exactly why one approach might work and the other might not. That’s the kind of discovery that takes forever through trial and error, but can happen in a week or two when you’re working closely with clients.

    • Sid says:

      Thanks Jessica, I am glad you liked the post. Learning the tricks of the trade is definitely one of the reasons I freelance! There is a lot to learn and when you learn from people who have ‘been there done that’ it is just an easier learning curve for you. Besides you get to learn things you never knew existed! Consulting for a decade, I am sure you have a whole repertoire of knowledge and expertise at your disposal!

  5. Graham Lutz says:

    With my full time job, 3 kids, blog, and full time study, I have no time for freelancing. Every spare minute I have goes into writing really good articles, putting together products, marketing, or other work on the blog. I am working with an expectation of success.

    • Sid says:

      Fair enough, it is for people with more time on their hands and who value long term benefits that come with freelancing, like, lets say, branding yourself by writing for a well known magazine.

  6. Rachel says:

    I actually got a freelance gig because of my blog- however it is unpaid. But still great for experience!

    • Sid says:

      Good for you, congratulations! Unpaid gigs aren’t great but if you think it provides value in terms of branding and experience, by all means go for it. Always good to know how blogging can lead you to several different paths and choices.

  7. Samuel says:

    It depends.

    If one feels the need for more cash, he can do it. But remember, time equals money.

    Many just don’t have much time to write for others when you can write for yourself and monetize it.

    • Sid says:

      That’s true to a limited extent. Although freelancing is primarily for money, it isn’t the only and end goal of freelancing. It is the other benefits that one should consider. Things like this pay off in the long run.

  8. Philos Mudis says:

    Freelancing could be a useful and rewarding to bloggers who aren’t that established in their niche yet. I don’t mean to say that when one becomes an authority figure, he should go ahead to ditch freelancing.

    For every blogger looking down upon freelancing, I guess there are thousands out there cashing in on it while still keeping their blogs fresh and full of life.

  9. Ken says:

    Great post. I love blogging but also know that I need money now…so I use freelancing a lot. Trying to get a content writing business going in this environment today is ROUGH! Way too many people working for pennies and too many site owners not realizing that a penny per word post is usually crap.

    Ken

    • Sid says:

      Glad to know of your efforts to move into content writing. The trick is to provide more value than penny per word writers. Think of value-added services like copywriting – people don’t want to cut corners there.

  10. Freelancing has become quite popular in recent years and is an awesome way to break out and get noticed. I never knew freelancing was so frowned upon.

    Now, sticking to dirt-cheap articles and not doing anything different is another matter.

    • Sid says:

      Well, freelancing isn’t frowned upon if you move in the right circles :) It can be an enriching experience.

  11. Binny oinam says:

    Great post Sid. But how do you go about or where to start if you want to freelance!

    • Sid says:

      There are many ways. One of the easiest ways is through freelancing sites like oDesk and Elance (check out the reviews on my site) but they are not necessarily the best kind of jobs. However, I would say it is good enough for beginners until you understand what it takes, and then move on to more lucrative opportunities once you learn the tricks of the trade. Good luck!

  12. Joanne says:

    Hi, I highly agree that we should earn multiple source of income but not depending on one only. Websites like odesk, elance, Fiverr are great avenue for freelancing. It can be a great way for building up skills and reputation at the same time.

  13. Ayaz says:

    Hi Sid!

    Certainly great tips and doing freelancing along with the blogging can learn few new things as well as its a great idea to keep generating income from the other source and I believe doing freelancing give you a chance to get to know about how other bloggers are working on their own blogs and that’s help you to work on your own blog to great effect.

  14. Sarah Evans says:

    For me, freelancing depends a lot on what commitments you have in your life. I’m coming to the end of working for four years as a freelance writer and am about to move into a full-time ‘proper’ marketing job. I loved freelancing but now I’m a little older, the security of a regular wage means more to me than the freedom of freelancing. Perhaps one day I’ll go back to it!

    • Dani says:

      Sarah, I think you are on to something. Freelancing is great when you seek more freedom but it changes a lot of things and can bring on stress. I’ve been doing it a few years and supporting my family of three doing it. Some day I do find myself longing for regular pay.

  15. Sandy Coops says:

    That is exactly what it is. Freelancers do not really have to give their heart and soul but make use of their leisure times. By freelancing you can learn and experiment to your will. After all blogging is not something you can do for your living at least if you are a starter.

  16. Anshu says:

    I have been freelancing for a while. I have written for multiple fabric, sewing, carfting companies and stores and am in the process of discussions with more. I haven’t been paid in cash but I have got paid in kind in terms of sewing, crafting supplies, reimbursement for supplies etc. The best part is that most of these companies are happy to let me reuse my aticles on my own blog ( after certain time). So basically I’m generating content for my blog (for free) and using it to post on other websites.
    But that wasn’t the primary motivation to do it for me, I did it for some of the other reasons you pointed out:

    1. Recognition – Some of these companies do a great job of promoting their blog, websites etc. and if I guest post over there it adds a lot of weight to my designing resume. Not to mention the traffic I get when I write on one of these blogs.
    2. Networking – Its good to know some of the people in the niche I’m so interested and invested in. One of my pitches for writing for a company, actually reached its CEO and she forwarded it to one of her staff to follow up. So I think my name gets out there a little more with each such effort.
    3. Flexibility to experiment – I have a very modest crafting budget to get supplies and they can get really pricey. With each of these freelancing posts, I get the option to pick and choose my supplies. While working with one fabric company – I got to pick some really nice imported designer fabric. Once I made items with them I realized what an impact it has on the finished product. I now try to get the best fabric for my projects. I could have never realized it if I hadn’t been offered the free supplies.
    4. Brand Value – I now try to be picky about companies I work with and try to add newer to my repertoire, rather than posting at the same ones again and again.

    • Sid says:

      Anshu,
      Thanks for such a comprehensive summary of your reasons to freelance and sharing your story.

  17. Rajib Kumar says:

    Few days ago I also join oDesk as a freelancer. It’s really helped me to promote my blog as well as my blog helped me to get better project.

  18. A. Kayastha says:

    Totally agree with you Sid.

    In case of failure of blog we can still can generate income with freelance utilizing the skills we have.

    The success stories you’ve mentioned in the post is really inspirational.

    Thank you so much for sharing.

    • Sid says:

      That’s very true, not every blog goes on to make good money for the blogger. Freelancing is a nice way to complement whatever you make from your blog. I am glad you liked the success stories I mentioned – there are lots of people doing interesting and nice things, and it is always good to learn from their lessons and what they have to offer.

  19. Stacy Reed says:

    Great advice! I’d love to get into freelancing, just don’t know how. My budget fashion blog is very new and I’m not sure if I have enough ‘credibility’ yet.

    • Sid says:

      Stacy,
      There is no one way to start freelancing. It depends on your niche, your expertise and what kind of work you’re looking for. Your blog seems fairly well-written. You should approach websites/magazines based on the work on your blog – it is alright if it is new as long as you know what you are talking about.

  20. Adrian says:

    * online freelancing rocks. i’m doing it since 2004 but things changed a bit. you need to be flexibile and expand your knowledge. always be ready for more info. anyway i’m thinking more and more to find an alternative offline way of doing business. tired of being behind a computer and miss all the fun :)

    * blogging is cool but you really need to stand out. if you blog for money… it’s crap, you’ll give up in no time. the english natives have an advantage that they have a chance to be discovered. in romania, for example, even if you are top blogger you get to make few ks per month. in us a top blogger which might write the same quality stuff makes 6 figures. same effort but less cash :) the un-material satisfaction is the same.

  21. I’ve found that free lancing provides me with a little extra cash on the side while I work through school and gives me valuable experience. I’ve also acquired several professional references this way too.