So you fancy becoming a ghostwriter and want to start earning a full-time income from home?
Good – and I hope that within this report I can show you exactly how to do it.
But first things first – what exactly IS a ghostwriter?
Well, I’m guessing that you already know the answer to that one, but just in case you don’t then I’ll go over it now…
A ghostwriter is someone who writes things for someone else. It could be articles, reports, white papers, text for a website, blog posts, an autoresponder email, magazine articles, etc.
It is called GHOSTwriting quite simply because the work is then credited to someone else. You write it and then your client can use it in whatever way they wish, as though they had written it themselves. Anyone reading it will not know that you have written it (hence the name ‘ghostwriting’).
So – if you’re hoping to become a well-known writer and have your name splashed around all over the place, then ghostwriting probably isn’t for you…But if you enjoy writing and fancy the idea of making quite a bit of money from doing it then ghostwriting could be for you – and it’s very possible to join the thousands of people across the internet who make a very good living working from home.
Why do people hire ghostwriters?
In a nutshell, people need to create content, but they don’t always have the time to do it themselves – and so they outsource the work to ghostwriters.
Imagine that you run a niche blogging business and you have 20 different blogs that all need fresh, new content every week. Do you think you would have time to do it all yourself?
Of course not!
And most business owners realize that it’s a false economy to try and do everything themselves anyway.
Instead of spending time creating content, they can use that time to grow their business.
So – there is a huge demand for ghostwriters, and providing that you can provide your clients with good service, then this is a long-term business model that can grow and grow.
The fact is – people will always need ghostwriters…
But is ghostwriting for me?
Not everyone will enjoy being a ghostwriter.
For a start, it can be pretty hard work.
Are you self disciplined?
If you don’t do the work, you don’t get paid…
That’s the reality of being a freelance ghostwriter, and thus it’s important that you’re the type of person who’s prepared to put in the effort.
You need to ask yourself some pretty tough questions and be honest with yourself about the answers…
Are you prepared for writing 20 pages on a boring subject that you have little interest in?
Obviously you’ll also be asked to write about interesting subjects from time to time, but you need to be prepared for the fact that your clients can ask you to write about absolutely anything. You don’t have to accept every job that comes along, of course, but just remember that it’s unlikely you’ll be spending all of your time writing about music, TV, films, celebrities etc.
Are you prepared to spend seven or eight hours a day writing?
It gets better as you get more experienced and can begin to charge higher rates – but in the early days you probably won’t be earning much for the work you’re actually putting in and you will most likely need to take on a lot of work in order to earn a living.
An obvious question to ask yourself – but do you actually ENJOY writing?
There’s no point in becoming a ghostwriter if you’re going to get up every day and actively dread spending the day sitting at your computer writing content.
If you don’t enjoy writing, then this definitely isn’t for you!
Are you good at writing and how quickly can you do it?
The fact is that you don’t have to be the world’s best writer to earn a good living as a ghostwriter. After all, you’re not going to be asked to write the next Harry Potter novel… BUT you do need to be able to write to a fairly decent standard and be able to do it fairly quickly (this will come as you gain experience).You also need good research skills – but thanks to the internet it is possible to research pretty much anything at the touch of a button. This means that you can write with authority about subjects that you don’t actually know much about.
Ready to go? Ok, let’s get started…
Building Up a Portfolio
It’s virtually impossible to find clients without being able to show them examples of your previous work.
So – before you even think about approaching your first paying clients you’re going to need to build up a small portfolio.
Don’t worry – it’s pretty easy to do and I’m going to show you right now exactly what I would do…
Ever heard of the Warrior Forum?
If you’re involved with anything to do with internet marketing then there is a pretty good chance that you have because it is the largest forum of its type.
Essentially the Warrior Forum (http://www.warriorforum.com) is an online community full of internet marketers. They gather there to talk about internet marketing, share ideas and find other people to work with.
These are exactly the type of people who can be your clients – and the forum also provides the opportunity to build up an instant portfolio in a matter of hours.
So – what I suggest that you do is post up a message on the forum offering to write people one article for free…
The best place to post your ‘advert’ is in the Warrior For Hire section:
It doesn’t have to be the best advert in the world (you’re offering to write for free, so people won’t need much persuading to take you up on It 🙂 ).
All you need to do is tell people who you are, explain that you will write them a 500 word article for free, and that if they want to take you up on the offer they simply need to send you a private message.Make it doubly clear that you are offering this for FREE and make it a condition of the offer that they must provide you with a testimonial afterwards.
I would also probably limit the offer to (say) the first 10 people who respond to your ad, so that you don’t end up writing too much for free.
It will cost you $20 to post your ad – but do this and I almost guarantee that you will find 10 people in a matter of hours.
“Hang on a minute… I’ve got to write 10 articles AND it’s going to cost ME $20???”
Listen. I know that writing for free isn’t ideal and it will probably take you the best part of a day to write those 10 articles – but you simply MUST have a portfolio and client feedback before you can approach paying clients and expect them to hire you.
Do what I suggest above, then paste these articles into a Word document along with what people said about your writing.
PDF it and dadaaaaaaaaah!! You have an instant portfolio.
Actually – there is another reason for doing this…
It’s the perfect way to find your first paying clients!
If people were happy with your writing, there’s a decent chance that they regularly work with freelancers and may want to hire you to write more content for them – only this time they’ll pay.
Get it right and it’s possible to find several long-term clients just by doing this alone.
Alternatively, you could just approach other marketers and ask them if they are interested in you writing them a free article.
I suppose you don’t actually HAVE to approach any clients if you don’t want to. You could simply sit down at your computer, write some good quality content and then stick that up as your portfolio.
The disadvantage of that of course is that you won’t be getting any testimonials and obviously it isn’t going to lead to any future work.
But whatever you decide, you must create a portfolio. Do what you have to do to build one up and then move on.
Finding Ghostwriting Work
In order to earn decent money as a ghostwriter, then you’re going to need to find plenty of clients.
The good news is that thanks to the internet this is fairly easy to do.
Ok – so at first you might find it a little harder, and you might spend some time when you don’t have enough work to earn a decent living –but work hard and things will start to improve.
One of the most popular ways of finding clients is to register yourself on one of the many freelancing websites.
Some of these websites simply provide a means for businesses and freelancers to communicate with and find each other.
Businesses post up projects (e.g. “XYZ Ltd is looking to hire a freelance writer to write 10 blog posts a week) and then freelancers bid on the project.
Freelancers also post up their CV and details of their portfolio onto these sites so that other people can find them.
Some sites will make you take a competency test, and others, won’t. Some of the more upmarket sites will only allow you to register if you have a minimum education of at least degree level.
Let’s take a look at some of the more popular websites you can join….
This is probably the most well known freelancing website at the moment.
It allows you to find projects you might be interested in working on and then submit a bid.
They have a dedicated ghostwriting section at http://www.freelancer.com/jobs/Ghostwriting
Upwork offers lots of freelance work for all different groups.
There is one section dedicated to writers and translators.
You can search their listings for the type of work you prefer, from Technical through to creative writing.
Upwork is one of the sites that do ask candidates to complete a skills test. Prospective employers will also want to interview you via email and online chat before they add you to their team.
As a worker on Upwork, you have to log in to their system whilst you are working on any of their assignments. The client can then check up on you and see screenshots of you at work on their assignment. Once you have signed up, registered and verified your account, you need to click on the green “contractors start here” button.
You will then be taken to a page to create your profile for Upwork employers to view. Take the time to watch their video your profile needs to be as accurate as possible.
Upwork, will walk you through their process from start to finish.
Create your profile, fill in your past work history and skills.
Next, you are encouraged to take a few online skills tests, to verify your skills.
Next you are presented with the opportunity to upload examples of your portfolio, and previous work samples that you may have.
Once completed, you can then start applying for jobs. Start with the smaller jobs first because that way you can build up your feedback. Feedback is important and the more feedback you have the better.
To get a good idea of what you should be using for your title and your statement / objective, read a few of the ones already posted by other members.
The skills tests at Upwork consist of multiple choice questions and each test is designed to take a maximum of 40 minutes to complete.
There are a lot more tasks to complete with Upwork. Once you have set up your payment information, verify you are who you say you are by uploading the required documents to their site.
Upwork is quite thorough in its procedures and whilst some workers receive plenty of work, a lot of registered members unfortunately don’t appear to have received any work at all. There is no guarantee of any work at all, Upwork themselves state that you should be able to get a job within a few weeks!
Other Freelancing sites
Whilst not definitive, here are some more freelancing sites where you could obtain work as a ghostwriter.
Most freelancing sites will not charge you to join. They earn their money by charging a fee to their client and by retaining a percentage of your rates/bid price and the Clients fee price.
Be wary of any site that asks you for a membership fee to join, or insists that you purchase their products.
As mentioned earlier, the Warrior forum is an excellent place to find clients.
There are the Warriors For Hire section where you can advertise your writing services:
and there is also the Wanted – Members Looking To Hire You section:
Here you can find people looking to hire writers and then send them a message to register your interest.
Looks like the freelancing sites, there is usually no shortage of opportunities available.
I found all of those opportunities literally within 2 minutes of looking!
Word of Mouth
Once you have established yourself, then you should start to find that you begin to build up a positive reputation.
Don’t underestimate the power of a good word about a freelancer. The fact is that if people are happy with your service, then they will tell others. News of a good freelancer soon starts to spread.
Start your own website
If you’re really serious about becoming a freelance ghostwriter then it’s probably worth starting your own website to promote yourself.
It probably doesn’t need to be the best website in the world. It will most likely contain an introduction page, a detailed page outlining your CV and experience, examples of your previous work, testimonials, details of pricing and service offerings + a contact form so that people can make an inquiry.
Pricing Your Services
Don’t fall into the trap of “if you set a low hourly rate you’ll get more work.” The idea of becoming a Ghostwriter is to get away from the 9-5 job, not to enslave yourself at your computer for 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Where’s the fun in that?
Smart full time freelancer writers can gross $35,000 and up, with more established writers earning well into the $100,000 range or above.
If you are not sure what to charge then take a few minutes to figure it out.
What is the minimum wage of your country? (You should at least be charging that.)
What does your 9-5 job pay you? Price in any benefits you receive too, things like paid holidays, medical insurance, retirement benefits.
You also need to factor in the time you are going to have to spend looking for work too. No one is going to pay you for that, you need to make sure that this is entered into your calculations too.
Fortunately, with ghostwriting you do not need too many fancy or expensive software programs. Open Office, which is free is sufficient for typing in and then creating PDF documents for EBooks or reports.
Neither would you need an “all singing and dancing” computer either, a basic model with and internet connection will do just fine.
Figure out how many hours a week you have available to write. If you start working at 9am and stop working at 5pm you have 8 hours a day, multiply that by the number of days you are going to work let’s say full time, Monday to Friday. So that’s 40 hours per week.
We don’t want to be working 52 weeks of the year; we want some leisure – holiday time, so we’re going to calculate our figure on 46 weeks of the year to take into account bank holidays too.
Here is the math……………………………………………………………..
$35,000 target figure /46 = $760 week /5 = the equivalent of $152 per 8 hour working day=$19.02 per hour.
Be very careful that you don’t price your services too low. As the saying goes, “any fool can work for nothing”. So don’t let that be you.
Top Tip For Getting Your First Few Clients – Advertise Yourself on the Warrior Forum At a Low Price…
Obviously you don’t want to be working for peanuts over the long term, but in the early days advertising yourself at a very low price is an excellent way of drawing in your first few clients…
And in my opinion the best place to advertise is the Warrior Forum.
Stick up a Warrior Special Offer on there and offer to write for around $1 per 100 words – and I pretty much guarantee that you will be inundated with clients.
Put some examples from your portfolio into the advert + the feedback the person gave you.
Make it doubly clear that you are offering a crazily low price – and explain that it’s a one off special.
The fact is that by offering such a low price, it’s easier for people to ‘take a risk’ and try you.
Trust me – there are plenty of very poor ghostwriters out there – and people are naturally wary about using someone they haven’t seen before.
But they are much more likely to try you if you are offering a low price.
Obviously you don’t want to be charging such rates forever – but it’s a great way of finding clients initially.
You can also turn many of these clients into long-term repeat customers. The price only applies for their first order – and then after that you return to your ‘usual’ rates.
So – You’ve Found a Potential Client…
Once somebody has approached you there are several important things to do before you actually start work.
First of all, be upfront about how long it will take you to complete the work and exactly what price you will charge…
The last thing you want is agreeing to complete a particular project in 2 days only to start it and find out that it’s actually going to take you two weeks.
So it’s important to be clear about both parties expectations before you begin work.
It’s crucial to discuss with your client exactly what they are expecting. A successful project relies on good communication between the client and the freelancer.
Find out exactly what it is that your client wants. Do they want an informal or formal piece? Where is the writing going to go?
Obviously a piece for a blog will usually be written in a very different style to a piece for an eBook.
Are there any specific points that the client wants you to make?
Let’s imagine your client has asked you to write a 20 page eBook on the subject of blogging.
That’s quite a general topic – so are there specific aspects of blogging they want you to focus on?
Sometimes your client will have a very specific idea of the content they want you to write (they might provide you with a contents list or a list of keywords, for example) but other times they won’t and they will be open to suggestions.
In some cases, your client might ask you to sign a None Disclosure Agreement for the project. This simply means that you agree not to disclose details of the project or its contents to anybody else – and it is usually used when something is confidential and where disclosure could lead to a loss of business for the client.
Before you begin work, it is also usual practice to take some of the payment upfront. This protects yourself because obviously you don’t want to be in a situation where you’ve spent several days writing for a particular client and then they don’t pay you for it.
By taking an initial payment upfront (typically 50% of the total cost of the project) then you are at least guaranteeing yourself some of the money. The rest of the money is then paid to you when you have completed all of the work and the client is happy with it.
If you enjoy writing, there’s plenty of money to be made as a ghostwriter. Just be warned though – it is hard work and it’s not for everyone. If you don’t do the work, you won’t get paid. It’s as simple as that.
But what ghostwriting does provide you with is the chance to be your own boss and live life on your own terms. As long as you complete the work by the deadline, you’ve agreed with your client then it doesn’t actually matter when you do it. So if you need to take the afternoon off to watch your child’s sports day, then you CAN because you are in control. You are your own boss and you don’t have to ‘ok’ your life by your employer.
The key to long-term success as a ghostwriter is consistently delivering the results that your clients want and expect. This means delivering good quality writing – and delivering it on time.
Remember that your key to getting started is building up an initial portfolio – and then advertising yourself at a low price. From there, you can find long-term clients and begin to increase your prices as you become more established.
If you’re ready to give this a go then get out there and just do it! For the right person, ghostwriting provides a great opportunity to start a real home based business and the chance to earn plenty of money from doing something you enjoy.