For some people, writing is a horror: even after minutes of brooding, their fingers don’t want to type anything legible on the keyboard. Others, however, don’t just find writing easy, they also find themselves creatively absorbed in it. So it’s only natural to make a profession out of your hobby and to promote it in a self-determined way. In general, there will be a growing demand for high-quality texts on the Internet in the coming years, as good and optimized content plays a critical role in success. No blog, company or internet shop will be successful in the long run without adding high-quality content. And this is exactly where enough work is waiting for freelance copywriters/authors.
What creative minds learn in this article about self-employment as an author
In this article, we will look at how you can earn money with texts on the Internet in order to build up a freelance existence. It is to go around considerations in line with standard usage, which light up all substantial success factors. In addition to opportunities and risks, it will also deal with order acquisition, price calculation and legal aspects. A conclusion as well as a compact list of key factors should enable interested parties to examine existing plans in detail and to make a necessary strategic orientation.
Formal and strategic aspects: What do I have to consider as an online author?
Anyone wishing to take up a full-time occupation as an author should register this with the relevant tax office. As a rule, a short, informal notification about the commencement of such a writing activity is sufficient. As a rule, the tax office will consider such an activity to be freelance, as it is an artistic activity within the meaning of the law. Freelancers have the advantage of not having to register a business, and tax returns are also quite simple, since a simple income surplus calculation (EÜR) is basically sufficient. At the beginning it is also advisable to take advantage of the small business regulation in order to be exempt from VAT for the time being. In this way, the accounting effort is essentially limited to the preparation of invoices, so that all the manpower can be invested in the paperwork. There is no specific professional qualification in the narrower sense, but a degree in linguistics is certainly a great advantage. With such a qualification in hand, the tax office will grant the status of freelancer without any problems. Such a qualification is also a potential legitimation for higher prices to customers. However, the qualification does not yet say anything about the actual quality that should be delivered in order to win customers and retain them permanently.
A strong network is better than short-term ties
Long-term relationships and a solid customer base create a reliable revenue base. This approach allows much more planning security than constantly chasing new orders. Of course, every author should have his own website and optimize it, if only to advertise his writing skills as a readable business card. However, it can happen very quickly that the requests exceed the own capacities and in the worst case the quality of the texts suffers. In this respect it seems more sustainable to build up a network and strong customer relationships. By cooperating with web portals or advertising agencies or online shops, a permanent income base can be secured. The alternative would be to constantly wait for new enquiries, whereby these must first be converted into an order. Overall, it is strategically wise to diversify your order base so that there is always work available and money can be earned. Every freelancer can never know for sure when and if new orders will come. Online copywriters have the advantage of being able to access numerous portals, such as content.de, where there are always jobs available. However, in writing practice it is usually the case that you are rated worse at the beginning and have to ‘write yourself up’ first. With an increasing quality level, the profit margins also increase significantly. In concrete terms, this means that the first 1 or 2 years are difficult. You have to build up a customer base, increase your status on writing portals and also consistently improve your own skills. One thing is clear: the faster and more efficiently a copywriter writes, the more he earns. Sloppy work leads to corrections that cost time and money, as they are usually not remunerated separately. It also puts off customers, which runs counter to the desirable goal of long-term loyalty.
Every word counts: Opportunities and risks illuminated in compact form
The financial risks are very limited, as there are basically no investment costs at all. All you need is a PC, an Internet connection and a telephone. This should be available one way or another. If you use a small study, you can even claim this on your tax return. Although the income situation is uncertain in the first few months, there is actually no need to bring in a lot of money. Since the demand for texts will remain high in the coming years, there should be a constant income base. A potential risk is revealed by the competition from large text portals that deliver pure mass. A single author cannot deliver 100 texts in 3 days, nor can that be his claim. On the other hand, many clients want a personal contact person and a consistent writing style that is reliable. Here lies the chance for creative lone fighters! If you order 100 texts from a portal, you may have 100 different writing styles, which are anything but harmonious on a website. The question must also be asked whether an author concentrates on certain specialist areas or can write more or less about everything. The latter is of course a great advantage with regard to order acquisition, but it should not be forgotten that long researches diminish one’s own earnings. Nor should arbitrariness creep in: Better not everything than everything and nothing is right! Those who want to be successful must learn to use their resources efficiently. Of course, this also includes rejecting unfavourable orders unless a long-term cooperation is in sight.
Customer acquisition: How can orders be won?
Text exchanges (e.g. content.de) offer an easy way to get started, as the acquisition aspect is completely eliminated here. In addition, it is also possible on such platforms to build up your own customer relationships, which result in better paid orders. However, the quality must be right: If you convince clients not only with the first order but also with the following ones, you will be able to retain them in the long term. The first order or impression in particular therefore plays a very important role (a sample text must also be submitted to the text platforms mentioned for quality classification). Otherwise, customers can be won over via their own website and business platforms such as Xing. If you work professionally and quality-oriented, you will get a growing customer base by yourself, because recommendations also play an important role in virtual space. Even if it may seem difficult at the beginning, demand will increase significantly, but this requires consistent quality.
The time factor: aspects of price calculation
If you want to sell texts online, you should orientate yourself towards the competition. These platforms, for example, offer several quality levels that provide initial price indications. Of course, you should also orientate yourself towards the competition. A special qualification can justify higher prices, but they should be within the usual range. It should be remembered that potential clients can draw from a wide range of possibilities. Every budding author should realize that the time factor is crucial: the faster someone writes, the more he earns. Anyone who spends hours working on a text will not be able to earn enough to make a living. Essential research also determines the earnings: here, too, work efficiency determines the chances of earning. In this respect, it can make sense to reject subject areas in which you yourself have no idea. Customers want transparency in terms of costs, so the risk of the time factor will usually remain with the author: Clients usually pay a fixed price per word. This makes it clear why the (working) time factor is the deciding factor. The word price also determines the income situation: the lower the word price, the more mass has to be handled per day. The long-term advantage of strong customer loyalty, in turn, is shown by the fact that price increases based on proven quality are usually tolerated.
Which legal aspects have to be considered
In addition to the registration with the tax office, the copyright around the created texts must be strictly observed. All texts must be written independently (keyword unique content), they may not simply be copied. Otherwise the author risks copyright problems, which can have cost-intensive consequences. Also, customers with copied texts are not helped, as they are absolutely counterproductive for the intended search engine optimization. In this respect, the text delivery should demonstrate that the content is unique (copyscape.com offers such a check). In addition, the author should make it clear in his terms and conditions that he will assign the rights to the texts after delivery and not sell them again. In this way, an indispensable legal certainty is created for the customer. Of course, costs for health insurance and private pension provision should also be considered. In principle, freelancers also have access to private health insurance. It is also possible to register with the Künstlersozialversicherung (social insurance for artists), which also makes contributions to the pension insurance. It is important to inform yourself about the conditions of membership in the concrete individual case. Ultimately, each author must decide for himself how he wants to organise the payment process against invoice: Should the customer pay in advance? Is 50 % of the order due immediately? Or will it only be invoiced at the end? Besides liquidity aspects, the individual risk should be weighed up. One of the biggest financial risks of this activity is that customers do not pay due invoices.
Conclusion and outlook on the subject of ‘Earning money with texts on the Internet
The following article has made clear that it is very easy to make money with writing skills on the Internet, and especially in the long term. Apart from formal and strategic aspects, which were addressed here in a practice-oriented manner, the time factor appears to be central: If you want to be successful in the long term and achieve good hourly wages, you must be able to work quickly and efficiently. Thematic cluelessness, lack of structure, 1-finger search system when typing and strongly fluctuating quality are the natural enemies of a copywriter. It goes without saying that experience helps to improve one’s own working methods. In this respect, the first 2 years may be difficult, but after that a network can be used that allows a good income base without a great deal of acquisition effort. One should never forget that texts are always a matter of taste: Criticism and necessary corrections are therefore no reason to be offended with a professional approach. Of course, an efficient way of working also requires that the customer’s wishes are precisely formulated in a briefing beforehand (content, scope, target group, keywords etc.). This ensures that the topic is hit the bull’s eye right from the start.
Earn money as a copywriter/author on the Internet: Summary of the most important aspects
formally the activity must be registered with the tax office
as a rule, freelance work is recognised (a degree in linguistics can be an advantage)
legal risks: Texts must be written by the author himself (observe copyright), on delivery the author assigns the rights to the texts
when calculating prices, the author usually bears the risk for the time factor (invoicing via word price) => thus the work efficiency decides on the income situation/hourly wage
strategically it is wise to build up a network and diversify order acquisition, so that there is always something to do
Text platforms are a good way of getting started, to test your skills and get an idea of the requirements
consistently high (reliable!) quality is the best way to retain customers and receive recommendations