7 Ways to Make Extra Money Writing Online

If you can write well, you should feel lucky.


Well, as a writer, you have a leg up on the thousands of other moms who want to work from home.

Let’s face it – the freelance writing industry is on fire right now and this trend will surely continue far into the future.

Though there are no statistics to show exactly how many freelance writers there are, it has been noted that there are to be about 42 million freelancers in all industries in the United States alone.

Why is freelance writing so hot?

Thank the digital revolution for it. With our world wide web giving birth to thousands of new websites, blogs and social media platforms and profiles on a daily basis, the demand for content writers to keep up with the pace of the internet is enormous.

In fact, in 2008, Google indexed a landmark 1 trillion unique URLs. As of June 2011, about 150,000 new domains are registered with generic TLDs (top level domains) alone on a daily basis.

So if you possess solid writing skills and a desire to be self-employed, rest assured that you can find work on countless platforms.

Where exactly?

Below are some platforms that are, or seem to be, ones to try when you are just starting out.  This will give you a chance to build up a portfolio and some experience.  However, the best way to really grow your writing business is to focus on a niche that you become known for by writing on those topics on your own personal blog and pitching on jobs that are on those topics.  This is one way to make writing more lucrative and to get higher paying clients.

Keep in mind there are countless others but they aren’t included for one reason or another.

Option 1:  Elance.com

If you’re interested in providing freelance writing services to clients all over the world, you should consider using Elance. Elance offers a streamlined platform that makes it easy to establish a robust freelance profile, find clients and projects, submit proposals, earn a solid income and even outsource some of your own work if you need to. My friends and colleagues, who use Elance.com, never have a shortage of work, despite the massive amount of freelancers that use the platform.

The only thing you should be prepared for when considering using Elance are the fees.

Though it’s free to register, post jobs and hire, Elance charges a 6.75% to 8.75% service fee which is deducted from your earnings after the work is complete. Though it may not seem like much, it can take you awhile to be mentally okay with the chunk coming out of your paychecks. But once you get past the initial shock, you realize that it makes sense considering they are supplying you with an enormous amount of great clients that you otherwise wouldn’t be connected with.

They also charge membership fees, though a basic membership is free and provides you with a decent number of “connects,” which allow you to bid on projects.

To purchase more connects or have access to more than one category, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid membership plan.

Option 2: ODesk

Like Elance, ODesk is another awesome platform for freelance workers. In fact, it’s the largest by annual contractor earnings. However, it does take 10% of the profit from every project, though there are zero membership fees.

Also like Elance, you’ll probably never run out of work with oDesk; in the second quarter of 2012 alone, ODesk posted 444,087 jobs. They also tout brands like SurveyMonkey, NBC, AOL and Travelocity as businesses that use their services to find contractors.

Option 3: Demand Studios

Demand Studios is a virtual hub for freelance writers, filmmakers, copy editors, bloggers and experts. Though you have to submit an application and resume to be selected, Demand Studios touts recognition, brand building, compensation and variety for its users.

The great thing about Demand is that besides earning $15-$25 an article (or more depending on length and topic); you snag the byline of the article as opposed to most jobs you find on Elance which are ghostwriting gigs.

More visibility translates into more clients for your freelance business, whether it’s through Demand or through a client who enjoyed your article.

Option 4: About.com

I’m sure you’ve at least heard of or come across articles from About.com. After all, About.com articles are often among the first results you see when you type in any given query into a search engine. So you can imagine how being a guide or topic writer for About.com might be beneficial to your career.

As a guide, you are an authority on the website your specific topic. However, it is required that you complete a two-part orientation and evaluation before being selected by a site editor. If you are selected, you can either agree to and get paid for a set number of articles produced on a monthly basis, or earn compensation relative to page views.

You can also choose to become a topic writer, which essentially means you’ll write on more specific topics. As with guides, topic writers also go through an evaluation period first, and get paid either by the article within the first two years, or by page views after two years if the value of the page views exceeds the article rate.

Option 5: ProBlogger Job Board

ProBlogger is run by blogging mastermind, Darren Rowse.

His job board is a good resource for freelance writers. Though, keep in mind that due to hefty traffic, competition for posted jobs is probably mighty fierce. But it’s a great outlet to keep on your radar for freelance opportunities.

Option 6: Helium

Helium touts itself as a community of writers where members can publish, mentor and train each other. Though less streamlined than other platforms I’ve come across, Helium offers the opportunity for aspiring writers to publish knowledge-based articles, as well as apply for freelance editorial assignments.

The catch? You don’t get paid immediately. You have to prove yourself through your assignments and if you “rise to the top,” you’re eligible to earn money through Content Source when publishers use your stock, custom and editorial content.

Option 7: Media Bistro

Media Bistro is a very well-known, reputable organization and describes their mission as “dedicated to anyone who creates or works with content, or who is a non-creative professional working in a content/creative industry. That includes editors, writers, producers, graphic designers, book publishers, and others in industries including magazines, television, film, radio, newspapers, book publishing, online media, advertising, PR, and design.

The day I went to look at their jobs page, they had 1,034 jobs listed in a variety of content roles.  It is worth taking a look at if you are looking for part-time or full-time writing gigs.

The Demand for Writers Will Continue to Flourish

The web is here to stay, and therefore, there will continue to be a momentous demand for content. So if you were born with a knack for writing, feel very, very thankful. With a little bit of research and preparation, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a work-at-home mom/freelance writer.

Now to You

Have you successfully used these places or others such as Hubpages.com, Squidoo or any other writing community? 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lisa Stein owns FreelanceMom.com, is a college business professor and a mom to Gabriela and Elle. Lisa is dedicated to playing a part in helping women and moms run a business they love, help support themselves and their family and create a flexible lifestyle. You can find her online on Facebook and Twitter or at home burning something in the kitchen.