Are you thinking of becoming a writer, but don’t know how to get started?
You’ve come to the right place!
At Barefoot Writer, we’re committed to showing you how to get started as a writer and how to create your version of the writer’s life.
On this page, we’re going to break down seven simple steps to get started on the path to a well-paid writing career.
Let’s dive in…
Table of Contents
- Step 1: Know Where the Money Is
- Step 2: Find Out the Best Writing Opportunity for You
- Step 3: Learn the Simple Secrets Behind Writing Great Copy
- Step 4: Get to Where You’re in Demand and Paid Well to Write
- Step 5: Ramp Up Your Professional “Appearance”
- Step 6: Build Your Support System
- Step 7: Accept that Your Goals Will Change Over Time
Step 1: Know Where the Money Is
If you dream of having enough money in your bank account to feel secure… a schedule where you decide when to wake up, when to write, and when to take time off…
If you crave the freedom to work where you please, whether it’s at your kitchen table or in the coffee shop down the street or from a villa in Bali…
It starts with knowing where the paid writing opportunities are.
Most people think the only way to get paid to write is to draft the next great novel or work for pennies on newspaper or magazine articles…
And sure, you might make some money that way… but it probably won’t be a lot. The odds are against most people who aim for a book publishing deal with one of the major publishers.
Self-publishing is an option, but the average payout isn’t huge.
And most newspapers and magazines really do pay pennies per word.
Which is definitely not a way to earn a great living!
Here at Barefoot Writer, we believe in going where the money is — and where the demand for good writing is strong.
The key to it all? Persuasive writing.
In our article on how you can make money as a writer, we explain why the persuasive writing industry is an amazing opportunity for writers to make a good income.
This industry is growing fast, and businesses are having a hard time finding enough writers to write everything they need to promote their products and services.
Think about it… all businesses share the universal need to communicate. It’s how they attract and retain customers, and how they keep themselves in the green.
Most people think it’s the marketing departments or ad execs who attract and keep customers coming to a business. But it’s not.
Behind those advertising and marketing campaigns is usually a writer who has mastered the art of persuasive writing.
These writers are crucial to every kind of business out there. Because all businesses share one goal, and that’s to get their prospects to take action.
Whether that means they want you to sign up for something, make a purchase, pledge a donation, or simply submit your information, they all need copy that gets their prospects to take that next step.
The good news is, there’s never been a better time to get started as a professional writer, particularly in the world of persuasive writing.
And what happens once you’ve mastered the secrets behind persuasive writing? That’s where you link up with people who are willing to pay big bucks for your writing.
The sky’s the limit in terms of what you do. In fact, we know of dozens of paid writing opportunities our Barefoot Writers have pursued, where they earn a great income and get paid to write about things they enjoy.
Step 2: Find the Best Writing Opportunity for You
Persuasive writing, also known as copywriting, encompasses a lot of different types of business writing.
Although, the most profitable writing opportunity by far is direct-response writing, both for print and online publications.
But this type of writing is one of the best-kept secrets of the writing world… and that’s because it’s usually housed within marketing departments.
If you’ve never looked up close at the marketing world, you’re not likely to know that there are two main types of marketing: traditional and direct response.
Traditional advertising is how we’d describe most commercials on television…
Some commercials try to evoke a feeling or a reaction, like humor or outrage. Or they attempt to do something memorable or out-of-the-box so you’ll associate specific thoughts with their product. Think of this as general advertising.
But in other commercials — or on billboards, in emails, through letters in the mail, and on websites — you might come across a requested action — like “Call now!” or “Enter your email address.” Those direct requests are what make that type of writing direct response. It’s where marketers are specifically targeting one person at a time.
More importantly, they can count exactly how many people respond to their call to action…
Which means the strength of the campaign is measurable.
Now, here’s where writers come in…
These types of campaigns require a writer with the ability to persuade the prospective customer to take that action, typically by tapping into that person’s emotions and desires. That’s what a good writer does.
And to be up front, all of the other paid writing opportunities worth your time will somehow relate to direct-response writing. That’s why at Barefoot Writer, we firmly believe this one writing skill can take you anywhere and allows you to indulge your every passion while making great money.
Of course, it’s not just commercials that benefit from writing. The internet is full of pages written by direct-response writers. Everything from websites to lead generation to sales pages to editorial copy. All of these elements can be part of a company’s online marketing plan, and they all require well-written copy.
But that only scratches the surface…
You can also make money writing video scripts — for the type of videos you see on YouTube — or scripts for long-form video sales letters.
Or write posts for social media, and — you guessed it — get paid for it.
Now, one of our goals with the Barefoot Writer Club is to help our members narrow down the options — simply because there are so many options.
Because, really, you could write for any type of business under the sun.
That includes getting paid to write for the B2B — or business-to-business — industry. And that opens up a whole other world of writing projects, including white papers, case studies, and specific B2B-style communication and sales materials.
Of course, while we’re talking about online opportunities, we can’t forget the option of putting together your own passive income stream. You can do this by writing what we call a Money Making Website, or your own blog, or your own ebooks, or even an e-newsletter.
What do we mean by passive income? Think of it as making money in your sleep. Once you write all the content that goes into setting up one of these income streams, you put it on autopilot.
Your system — and all the writing you put into it — then sits online, earning you money whether you’re sleeping, playing golf, or working on other freelance writing projects.
Spend a bit of time getting familiar with all the different types of writing opportunities out there, and get an idea of which ones you might like the most.
Step 3: Learn the Simple Secrets Behind Writing Great Copy
The most important skill you can learn first — and the one that will help you master any of the writing opportunities we just mentioned — is the one we’ve been talking about: persuasive writing.
Persuasive writing is really the cornerstone of every other high-paying writing opportunity out there.
Instead of trying to be cute, clever, or even blatantly obvious with vivid graphics and sales pitches, the job of a good writer is to craft a message that really connects with their readers.
Unlike news or editorial writing, persuasive writing is all about getting the reader to take that requested action. And we said earlier, that action can be anything, whether it’s to click a link in an email, fill out a form, sign up for a magazine, buy a lawn mower, or donate to a local charity. Any action at all.
Chances are, you’re probably already pretty good at persuasion…
Think about it. Have you ever talked a friend into going to see the movie you wanted to see? Or persuaded your partner to try a new restaurant you’ve had your eye on?
Persuasion starts with connection, and you probably already know how to connect with — and persuade — the people in your personal circle.
The next step is becoming skilled at doing that through your writing.
That’s where members of our Barefoot Writer Club really shine. We show them how to write clear, concise, persuasive copy… and how to take that skill and turn it into a long-term, paid writing career.
Step 4: Get to Where You’re in Demand and Paid Well to Write
Once you’ve honed your skills as a persuasive writer, you’ll want to do two things: either pick a single industry to write for (or niche, as we call it), or you could focus on a writing specialty.
This is where a lot of new writers go awry…
They offer themselves up as generalists and attempt to find paid writing work from one of the 180 million companies in the world at large.
Does it work? Sort of. You’ll find paid writing work… but it’s harder to come by, and you won’t get paid as much as we believe you should.
There’s a simple reason for this: authority.
Think about the world of doctors. Who gets paid more: a generalist or a cardiologist? According to salary.com, a generalist physician averages around $198,805. Pretty good.
But a cardiologist? Average pay there is $404,688. More than twice as much!
The same principle holds true in the paid writing world. Sure, someone might hire you if you offer every writing service under the sun and write for every client that comes your way.
But if it’s a landscaping company that specializes in boutique gardening services, and you’ve focused your writing projects around the gardening industry and have testimonials from other garden-related businesses…
Then you’ll be the clear choice to hire. And you can increase your rates, thanks to your specialized knowledge.
That’s because your writing is niche-focused. We applaud that.
The other way to go is to be specialty-focused. This is where you might write for clients in a wide variety of industries, but you become an expert in a specific type of project. There’s a staggering number of writing specialties to choose from, and our wide membership of writers covers just about all of them.
Whichever direction you take, just know that picking your writing niche or specialty is an essential step in building a profitable writing career.
Step 5: Ramp Up Your Professional “Appearance”
After you’ve learned how to write persuasively and you know what type of copy you want to write, it’s just a matter of putting yourself out there in front of the right audience.
But don’t worry!
If none of those things sound appealing, know that you can absolutely land high-paid writing work without any of that. We know writers who’ve done it. We know writers who still do it, after years of working in the writing world.
And if you’re ready to go forward with those steps but aren’t sure what to put on your profile or website pages, we’ll help you out. We have loads of free resources to walk you through setting up your web presence as a professional writer.
Our goal — as with all things in this writing world we love — is to make the whole process easy and enjoyable for you.
Step 6: Build Your Support System
This is the best step by far…
We highly recommend that you become part of the writing community. Make friends with other writers. Build a support system.
Obviously, we think the world of paid writing is the best. What other career lets you live and work when and where you want, put your energy only into projects that interest you, and earn as much money as you choose?
But it’s exactly this freedom that can sometimes… well… put you in a different league from most of the other people you know.
Chances are, after you become a well-paid Barefoot Writer with the freedom to structure each day as you choose, you’ll still have friends — even family members — who are tied to their jobs. Maybe their earnings are capped, or they don’t enjoy their work.
That’s where it’s nice to have friends who understand you, who can relate to the ups and downs of being a writer.
There will be a lot of ups, as we’ve already said. But there will also be days when you get stuck on a project, or don’t get the research you need before your deadline, or need clarification about how best to write about something.
Those are the days when it’s invaluable to reach out to other Barefoot Writers. And that’s why we launched our Barefoot Writer Club years ago. We wanted to create a safe, inviting place for writers to connect, grow professionally, support each other, ask questions, and have fun.
So, how do you meet other writers? The very best way is in person, and I can’t say enough about attending AWAI’s FastTrack to Copywriting Success Bootcamp and Job Fair. Make the commitment now because that’s the place where many writing careers are born (mine included).
Beyond that, join writing groups in your community, participate in forums, and consciously put yourself out there. The more supportive connections you have, the more likely you are to succeed.
Step 7: Accept That Your Goals Will Change Over Time
Finally, one of the most important tips I can give you for getting started is this: Your goals, priorities, and abilities WILL CHANGE along the way.
I think one of the most paralyzing things for new writers is to worry about making the wrong choice. What if I pick the wrong niche? What if I’ve set my goals too high? What if I study one kind of writing but end up being better at something else?
You know what? Don’t sweat it. I’ve been there, and what I’ve learned is that worrying about making the wrong choice usually means you end up making no choice. You do nothing, and your writing career goes nowhere.
Look at it this way: Every experience you get as a writer, regardless of niche or project or client, teaches you something and helps you grow as a professional.
So decide what you like, and go for it. We give some suggestions for how to determine your writing and income goals here.
And if you change your mind along the way, that’s fine. We all grow and change. If we didn’t, life would be pretty boring, don’t you think?
A good strategy is to commit to something for six months, be it a specific industry (like writing for the health or fundraising niche) or a writing specialty (like writing autoresponders or handling social media campaigns).
Try it, learn from it, add it to your portfolio of experiences, and then reassess. If you want to stick with it, terrific. If not, you’ll have grown as a freelance writer, and you can move on to the next step.
Either way, you’ll have officially gotten started as a writer and launched your freelance writing career.
Our Goal is to Help Future Successful Writers – Like You!
You have so many reasons to get started as a writer.
Freelance writing can be a dream lifestyle if you enjoy writing and want more freedom and control in your life… or if you want to earn a great living doing something you love… or if writing calls to you, and you think you’d be good at it.
At Barefoot Writer, we’ve helped hundreds of writers get started and build thriving freelance writing careers. It’s simply a matter of following the steps I’ve outlined here and getting some support along the way.
If you’re interested in exploring a membership with us, you can check out all the details here.