get paid to write as a non ntive freelance writer

How To Get Paid To Write As A Non-Native Freelance Writer.

How to get started on the road to becoming a well-paid freelance writer.

In the course of my career as a freelance web content writer, I’ve come across a lot of aspiring non-native English writers seeking to break into freelance writing and possibly get paid to write. They all have the same questions: How do I make money writing? How do I break even? Where do I start from? How do I find paying clients for my writing? Some others complain about the measly pay they get which leads to burnout.

A summary of this is that every aspiring non-native or ESL freelance writer wants to know how to make money writing. In this article, I will try as much as I can to answer these questions and possibly set you on the road to getting paid to write online as a non-native writer.

Who is a Non-native English writer? ESL is an acronym for English as a Second Language. A Non-native writer is someone whose first or native language is not English. You may have been taught using the English language all your life but that does not make you a native speaker.

You are a non-native English writer if you are not a native of, or born and educated in an English-speaking country such as America, Canada, the UK, and Australia. These countries are not without their dialectical differences but all the same, they are native English speakers.

Finding success as a non-native English speaker, writing in English for an English audience shouldn’t be an uphill task, it requires skill, resilience, commitment, and dedication. This doesn’t mean you will not encounter challenges on your way to becoming successful, you most certainly will.  Some likely challenges are:

Job specifications. Some writing jobs specifically require native English writers or writers who live in specific places. Don’t feel bad, this has nothing to do with you. It may be as a result of the hiring agency’s policies, past experiences with non-native writers, or challenges with time zones that affect deadlines. Don’t be deterred, for every one job which does not require your services, there are a thousand out there who do, concentrate on finding those.

Rates.  Different circumstances determine the amount of money which you are paid to write. Topmost on the list is the quality of your writing. Most content mills will pay low rates because there are a lot of low-quality writers vying for the same jobs. In rare cases, you may be offered lower pay because you are living in non-native English-speaking countries where the standard of living is low.

 If you are not comfortable with the rates, walk away. It may bother you when you are good and someone is offering you low pay because of your geographical location. Walk away from such people, no matter how badly you need the pay because they end up draining your energy and zeal. If you continue rolling out high-quality content for peanut, you will get burned out and eventually stop writing.

The best way to beat being offered poor rates is to be stellar at your craft and to know your worth. Low-quality content will always attract low pay, high-quality content will also attract high pay. It’s tit for tat.

make money writing
get paid to write, even as a non-native writer

How do you get started as a Non-native writer and make money writing? 

Learn the Craft from the Basics.

To be a good and well-paid freelance writer, you need to know how to write well. You need to master how to write in English, for an English audience. Learn grammar, punctuations, style, exclamations, and so forth. There is a difference between American and British English. You have to know the difference and tailor your writing to suit your audience. Resources abound online that can help you learn.

Learn the different types of web content writing and their specifications. You cannot write poetry like prose, neither can you do academic writing, blog style. You have to learn the difference and apply it accordingly

There is no end to learning as a writer, you keep on learning even when you have a good command of the English language. Start from the basics, practice, and strive to be better. What are easy ways by which you can learn the English language fast?

  1. Through interaction with native speakers. Interacting with native speakers gives you an understanding of how they speak and write. You also get a grasp of their exclamations and use of tenses. Even if you live in a country where you cannot have physical interactions with native speakers, it can be achieved by listening to them speak on TV/podcasts. Interaction can also be through books. Study their writing styles and consult the dictionary for the difficult words.
  2. Reading every day. Read good articles, not only in your niche. Doing this will broaden your scope and teach you how to write different content such as blog posts, editorials, op-eds, articles, educational, etc. Reading exposes you to new words and writing styles while writing every day creates consistency and makes writing easier.  
  3. Writing every day, consistently. You can’t be a writer without writing right?  Set a daily writing target, say, to write several words daily and gradually increase it. Initially, writing every day might be a drag, but consistency will do it for you. Set a time and place for work every day and show up. I copied and stuck up quotes by popular writers on the wall to encourage myself to show up. I read of an individual who committed to paying his friend $1,000 if he didn’t show up to write on Saturdays. The fear of losing a thousand dollars was enough to keep him at his desk. Find a way to challenge yourself to read and write daily.

What if you don’t know what to write or don’t feel like writing? Just write. Gary Herbert in one of his letters mentioned this trick which I have applied over time and it has always worked for me. Sit down at your writing table and type. Write with a pen and paper. Do anything that will get your brain functioning and in no time, you will find yourself writing.

Get mentorship.

A mentor is someone you love and respect, whom you look up to and try to emulate, someone who inspires you to action. They may mentor you from afar (by following them online, getting on their email lists, buying their courses, and listening to their podcasts) or closely through one-on-one or group coaching.Don’t just get a coach, but a paid coach. This is because you’ll be more committed if you pay. You’d not want to lose the money spent which will motivate you to learn and abide by the coaches’ teaching.

A coach kind of holds your hands and takes you through proven paths to success in your field, making the journey to success easier and shorter. They are mostly those who have walked the walk with proven successful results. A coach allays your fears, finds and sorts out your shortcomings while drilling you to be the best.

Before you hire a coach, make up your mind to follow through with the coaching. Do not abandon your coaching halfway if you must get results. Bear in mind that a successful coach does not make a great player, but a determined player makes a great coach. Your determination to succeed makes a coach successful.

To enhance your chances of success with a coach, find one like you. It makes it easier and you feel more comfortable if your coach is like you: a successful non-native writer or a native writer coach who has successfully coached non-native writers. One who is familiar with your peculiarities This is important because he/she understands the challenges you are facing, having been there before.

Working with such a person will help bring out the best in you easier and faster than someone who doesn’t. Ensure your coach has a proven success track record. It takes someone who has faced and overcome obstacles to become successful in a chosen field to make a successful coach. You wouldn’t visit a dentist for cardiovascular issues, would you?

Take Courses, On and Offline.

There are courses out there that teach the craft. Courses like Elna Cain’s Writeto1k is a great resource for aspiring and even existing writers. Apart from the course itself, it offers lifetime support via an interactive and helpful community of writers in a Facebook group. You could ask questions and get all the help you desire.

Be an Expert, Niche Down.

Niching down is about specialization. A niche is an area of writing you focus on or specialize in for greater effectiveness and expertise. You can specialize by topic: Finance, Technology, Health, Digital Marketing, or by type of writing such as blog posts, articles, White Paper, Case Studies; etc. You can further niche down by narrowing down the chosen topic, for example, if your broad area of specialization is Health, you can narrow it down to Alternative Health and CBD.

Being an expert makes you an authority in your field. Due to concentrated research on a particular topic, you are filled up with industry knowledge and ideas which you can call up at any time. It helps you write faster. You are easier to find and clients are attracted to pay you more for your writing. Clients pay higher to writers who are experts.

It is better to be a master of one type of writing than attempt to offer all types of services available. I started as a health content writer because I enjoyed health-related writings and was going through some health issues at the time. This was one way through which I could research all my symptoms and also read up on most childhood disorders, being a mom of toddlers. I took to this niche because I found it interesting and easy to learn.

To find a niche, don’t base your decision on the amount experts in the field are commanding, rather, answer the following questions. What Industry interests you or do you have a background in? Finance, Health, Digital marketing? What type of writing do you love? Storytelling, poetry, fiction, or non-fiction? Blog or copywriting? What is your academic background? Family background?

It is not uncommon for writers to have more than one niche, especially in the beginning while trying to gain experience. It is ok. As you go along, you get drawn to certain topics, you get more interested, and may just focus on them.

get paid to write as a non native freelance writer
successful non native freelance writer

Work With an Editor.

If you are not good at the English language, write what you can and pass it through an editor before submitting it to clients or putting it up on your website. Reading badly written English is offensive to readers. An editor will help spot and correct grammatical errors. They will help brush, polish, and fine-tune your work and make it acceptable to your audience. Choose an editor that is easy to work with, who will not edit your work so much that you lose your voice and intent.

You may also use AI editing apps such as Grammarly. Grammarly is an online editing tool that corrects grammar, suggests words, checks spellings, readability, and much more. It currently runs free and premium packages and is a must-have for every writer. You could search online for other editing tools other than this. Online editing tools although will not utterly correct your work, they are better than nothing.

Be Consistent.

This is important. Consistency will beat expertise any day, any time. A bad, consistent writer will soon enough become more successful than an inconsistent expert writer. When you are just starting, odds are that you might get discouraged and burnt out by unfortunate circumstances. The key to finding success is to hang in there, show up. Write when it seems no one is reading. Update your website and social media profiles accordingly. Keep pitching, one day, it will all fall into place.

Learn the Art of Sales.

Yes, sales is an art! Of what use are your writing skills when you don’t know how to sell them? The essence of freelance writing is to make money writing and in this industry, no one comes to you when you are still green, you have to go to them. You need to shed your wares in the marketplace and let people know about it and why they should buy from you. To be successful, learn how to sell your craft. There are a lot of ways to do this, find what works for you and do it!

Start Local, Get Easy Wins.

Do you know why this is important? It increases your confidence and improves your writing. I started writing for local community papers, good ones with sound editors to build my confidence and gain a voice. Easy wins make you feel ready to face the world and make you known. You may not even have to compete for work internationally if you concentrate on, and conquer the local market.

Following these tips will set you on the road to becoming a well-paid writer. It is possible to get well paid for writing online, even as a non-native writer!

10 habits of successful freelance writers


Top 10 Habits of Highly Successful Writers.

Picturesque landscape, a lady or gentleman wearing sunglasses and multicolored, casual outfit/bikini sitting on a fancy chair on the front patio or beachside, with a laptop opened in front of her and a martini by the side. The perfect picture of a successful writer, right?

Do you daydream of a day when that will be you in the picture? Working four hours a week from any part of the world, going on exotic vacations with the family at a whim? Not caring about expenses as you roll in six or more figure incomes at ease? Then you have to unveil the secret to that success. What makes you a starving writer while others are successful? Even people you know you can write as well as or even better? They won’t be that successful without some secrets. Here are some of the ten things successful freelance writers do that keep them at that level.

  1. Successful writers work longer than 4 hours a week, at least at the start of their career.

One myth about freelance writing is that you only work for a few hours per week. While we are not disputing the fact that some successful freelance writing guru’s work for shorter hours, this is hardly true if you are a beginner. As a successful writer wanna-be, you have to put in the work. You work hard at many things because there is a lot to learn and do in freelance writing that is not writing. Some applications make the work easier but they will not learn the ropes, research your market, market your services, or automatically write your articles for you. To be successful in freelance writing, you must be ready to learn. The big difference here is that you work for yourself and set your working hours. You may decide to work for 8 hours a day, breaking it into two hours at a time; two hours each in the morning, afternoon, evening, and night. So drag yourself up and put in the work to be successful

2. Successful freelance writers read every day

Successful freelance writers read. As Stephen King rightly put it, ‘if you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write’. By reading every day, you acquire new knowledge, learn industry trends, study and know what your competition is up to, thereby better equipping yourself for success. Reading provides you with the raw materials with which to write, it is the brick where writing is the house. Trends evolve therefore it is important to stay abreast. In the early days of the internet, search engine rankings were based on keywords scattered all over the article, so anyone who had a keyword could create content and it would rank on search engines But current SEO trends have evolved which every writer must be conversant with. Nothing compares to updating your knowledge in a fast-paced world like the one we are in now. Successful freelance writers are readers. You must get into the habit of reading relevant materials if you must become successful as a freelance writer

3. They write every day

Just like successful athletes train every day, irrespective of if there is an upcoming competition or not, successful freelance writers write every day. Writing every day has its advantages. It helps build up your writing skills, confidence, improves your speed, spelling, grammar, enhances your creativity, and helps you maintain focus as a writer. Neglecting to write every day is like an athlete who does not practice for competitions until the eve of the competition. She arrives there all sore, unsure of herself, without focus, intimidated by the confidence of other competitors, and set to fail. Writing every day keeps you prepared for writing gigs. It reduces your turn around time and fine-tunes your writing. You could start by writing a few hundred words a day, slowly increasing it until you get to the target number of words you wish to write every day. It gets easier with practice. If you do not know what to write, you could start by copying an already written work in your niche. If you must be successful, write every day

4. They have mentors

Standing on the shoulders of those who have gone ahead of you in your field enables you to see farther. Every successful freelance writer had a mentor or coach at one point in time in their career. In every field or niche you have chosen for yourself, these people have been there before you, they have navigated the terrain, become successful, and are ready and willing to share their knowledge and guide you. Mentors guide you on what to do, how to do it, where and when to do it, right. With a mentor, you avoid many pitfalls. It’s like taking a short cut to your destination. To increase your commitment, it is best to get paid mentorship. We are likely more committed to whatever we put our money in than not. Locate and get a mentor today to better your chances of being successful at freelance writing

5. Successful writers are committed to their Jobs.

In the world of freelance writing, commitment is king. Freelance writing gurus are committed to what they do. They show up even when it’s uncomfortable. They keep at it until it becomes worth it. That means they have a never-give-up attitude. To be successful at freelance writing, you must be committed. Write even when it is not convenient. Turn in assignments on time as the client is interested in results and not your process. Set realistic goals and keep at it until it becomes your reality. Although you work for yourself, set your work hours and show up when it’s time. A committed novice will surely become more successful than an uncommitted guru in the long run.

6. They are experts in a niche.

To be able to stay committed and organized, you have to niche down. To niche down is to specialize in one or more types of writing or writing service. No successful writer is a guru at everything. The most successful are masters of super niched down niches. For instance, to be successful as a finance writer, you have to focus on an aspect of financial writing like personal finance, taxation, corporate finance, Fintech, etc. and then you further niche down by the type of financial writing service you provide. Is it special reports, case studies, blog posts and articles, newsletters, ghostwriting, etc? Having a niche helps you maintain focus and increases your commitment to work. Go ahead, check out the profile of any freelance writing guru and see if he/she is not focused on a particular niche

7. They are ardent marketers

Successful freelance writers know that their writing will not reach a wide audience if they do not push it out, therefore they adopt the art of marketing or sales. They sell themselves. Writers are generally good at writing but not marketing. Some are introverts and afraid of putting themselves and their work out there, sales scare them. You cannot be a successful freelance writer when no one else but you and maybe your close associates read your work. You must market your services. You have to reach out to people who need your services and try to sell to them. Master the art of sales. It is in the sales that the money is not in the volume of written words. Find a means of selling you are not just comfortable with, but which will bring in sales, master and practice it and see yourself at the top in no time.

8. They set realistic goals

Every successful business has laid down procedures for growth. To be able to write from the shores of Hawaii, with a martini in hand, you need to set and follow through with realistic goals. Goal setting enables you to stay focused. Every successful freelance writer sets goals to see more growth. When setting goals, go for SMART goals that are measurable and actionable. Your goal could be to learn something that will help you in your freelance writing journey, how to make a certain amount of money monthly to enable you to quit your day job, it could be anything actionable. Don’t set over the bar goals which will leave you feeling unfulfilled if you do not meet them because freelance writing is not a get-rich-quick scheme.

9. They accept rejection as stepping stones.

As far as you are a freelance writer, your writings and pitches will be rejected. Everybody gets rejected, even the most successful of them. Successful freelance writers know that writing comes with rejection. This is simply because your writing style, tone, and or topic will not appeal to everybody. They know that rejection sometimes does not mean you are not good enough but that you and the prospect are not a good match, or your services are not needed then. In sales, every no leads to yeses. They know that every intellectual property must be critiqued. Even when your writing is not good enough, criticism and rejection should serve as prompts for you to work on your writing and produce better outputs. Expect to be criticized when you put your thoughts in public. Accept constructive criticism and don’t take rejections and criticisms personally. Some criticisms could be painful and aimed at your person but to be successful, you must not allow such to affect your productivity or decision to be a writer. Successful freelance writers have mastered criticisms and rejections and have used them positively to boost their work. You must do the same if you must succeed

10. They have “success” mindsets.

It all begins in the mind right? Successful freelance writers know failure is not an option. They chose freelance writing as a path and are determined to make it work. Despite the rejections, seasons without work, or whatever challenge they might face, they keep at it and make it work. They are inspired by the thoughts of success they have formed in their minds. They have mantras that they work with and which keeps them going despite all odds.

To be successful in freelance writing, you have to dispel some of the myths you’ve formed in your minds, put in the work, and with the right mindset, you’ll one day be listed amongst the gurus!