You’re not stupid. You already know it’s possible to get paid to write.
But the famous freelance writers you’ve seen online make their living writing about serious stuff: business, technology, finance. And you have zero experience or knowledge in any of those areas.
So you’re screwed, right? No biz expertise means no dollars?
No problem. You can get paid to write about anything, if you know where to look and how to get started.
To prove it, I asked some of the writers who read my blog to tell me about their weirdest writing gigs, including how they found them and how much they got paid. If you’re still worried you can’t make money writing about your unusual or out-there experience, you won’t be after reading their answers.
Get Personal: $5 to $300
Your writing doesn’t necessarily have to be published to earn money. Personal letters and stories have huge sentimental value, and people will pay you to make their messages and memories shine.
For example, Chris from Freelance Sanity found a gig on Fiverr writing a short story for a gay man to help him accept his sexuality. And in the early stages of her freelance writing career, Lauren Tharp of LittleZotz Writing earned $5 to $15 a pop ghostwriting love letters and breakup letters.
One of my Client Hunting Masterclass students, Dan Virgillito, got hired to write personal emails to a busy CEO’s wife after demonstrating his writing skills on the company’s blog. The CEO “was often away and wanted to make her feel closer by sharing something that happened to him, telling stories and reminding her about previous experiences they shared,” Dan told me. And the pay? $300 per email. Sounds like a great gig to me!
How to get started: Search freelance writing job boards and online marketplaces for gigs, or demonstrate your writing brilliance by blogging and let people know you also ghostwrite personal communications.
Pick a Niche: $25 to $800
Unusual niches can pay a great rate to a writer who’s ready to do in-depth research or expert interviews.
One freelance writer I’ve mentored, Leslie Jordan Clary, has written articles about a blind pony, knives and gemstone mines, all for niche or local publications. For the gemstone mine stories she travelled around Asia to research the mines and earned $800 per article!
Author and (soon to be ex-) journalist Cinthia Ritchie made $200 to $400 per article writing oddball news reports, including the stories of a man who worked at a water treatment plant and couldn’t get a date because he couldn’t get the smell off his skin, and a woman who got bitten on the behind by a moose.
And Marianne Griebler, a content marketing strategist and writer, said she once accepted a freelance gig offered to her by an ex-colleague. It involved writing product descriptions at $25 each for charming figurines and collectables your granny might like. At first.
“Then came the ‘Hour of Glory’ cuckoo clock, festooned with Confederate flags and scenes of General Robert E. Lee riding his beloved white stallion. There was no cuckoo in this clock. On the hour, a tiny cannon burst through the miniature doors. It quickly became a best-seller… I have been responsible for the brisk sales of what shall now and forever be known as ‘traitor clocks’.”
Hey, I’m British — the whole of the above paragraph is weird to me, and what you keep on your mantelpiece is none of my business.
How to get started: Niche writing gigs can come from almost anywhere, including referrals, job boards and old-school face-to-face networking. If there’s a specific niche you want to occupy, email the marketing directors at companies in that niche and offer them your writing services!
Write About Sex: $30 to $200
OK, this one wasn’t such a big surprise. I’ve had a ton of fair-paying gigs writing about sex, and quite a few writers I know have tapped into this market too.
Pete Boyle, a freelance writer and copywriter who blogs at Have a Word, once earned $30 for 200 words of SEO copy on an adult website after the client approached him on Twitter. Pete told me the gig wasn’t too weird, but it was “incredibly graphic.”
Another writer, blogger and content strategist Derek Thompson, said a client once got in touch with him for help starting up “a new business that will use the web as its primary business front and advertise through Google.” It turned out to be a naked sushi event organizer, who paid Derek $200 for online copywriting.
And author David Shrauger got a freelance gig through Craigslist that involved writing descriptions of “adult” movies in 140 characters or less, for use on Twitter. That gig “required that I would watch a certain amount of the clip in question so that I could accurately report what its… USPs [unique selling propositions] were.” So if you’ve dreamed of getting paid to watch porn, we’ve got proof it’s possible!
How to get started: Be open-minded about writing opportunities in the adult entertainment industry, and pitch your writing services to adult-oriented businesses and sex information sites.
Get Paid to Write Anything!
No matter what you want to write, chances are there’s a client out there who wants to hire a writer to cover it. And if you’re prepared to tackle weird topics, your circle of available opportunities is a whole lot wider.
The hardest part is making sure you and your clients can find each other. So ask around, search online, get to know people you’d like to work with — and keep your eyes (and mind) open for weird writing opportunities.
Your Turn: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever written about?
Sophie Lizard makes a full-time income working part-time hours as a freelance blogger and copywriter. To help you do the same, she’s created the Ultimate List of blogs that pay $50 to $1,000 for a post — get your copy here (it’s free!).