Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.

Benjamin Franklin

In this six-part resource for new freelance writers, I explain how to get into online freelance writing, how to write SEO content, where to get freelance writing jobs, and the alternatives ways to make money from freelance writing.

In my opinion, with admirable English grammar, online research and typing skills, you are unstoppable in this field. Note that, I am not discrediting higher education qualifications. With a degree/diploma in English, journalism, nursing, or accounting, you score highly with clients who are looking for an expert. For instance, a software developer with exceptional writing skills can handle Software as a Service (SaaS) topics.

On The Fashion Parlour, I write about simple business ideas. As such, freelance writing is one of the cheapest hustles to start online. Make money through article writing, save, and fund your fashion business.

All the practical resources suggested in this six-part series, such as typing speed tests, require a computer and internet access.

In about a month, you should know how to write article samples, attach them to your proposals, and look for clients on various jobs boards and freelancing websites.

Three Important Terms


The book, journal, YouTube video or any other published work that you found during your research. We write after doing our research, not from hearsay, and all opinions must have verifiable sources. 

Word Count

The number of words in an article. In some cases, the word count does not include the number of words in the title. Clients may also ask for a list of all the sources you used in the article. Do not add this list to the total word count. The word count appears at the bottom of an open MS Word document next to the number of pages. On Google Docs, the word count is under Tools.


When you have plagiarised content, you have stolen someone’s work and passed it off as your own. Stealing means copy-pasting information from a source or using excerpts from a source without citing (giving credit to the owner).

When you use a direct quotation, accompany it with the name of the author and other details that identify the source. When you plagiarise, you don’t get paid. A freelance writing website might ban you for plagiarism.

What is Freelance Writing

Or rather, what does a freelance writer do? As a freelance writer, you will write

  • Articles for website pages
  • Blog posts
  • For online journals and magazines
  • Social media posts
  • Product descriptions and user manuals
  • Novels and electronic books (e-books)
  • Newsletters
  • Advertising messages
  • Product reviews

We will discuss these freelance writing opportunities in the third part of this series.

The Difference between Freelance Writing and Academic Writing

Freelance Writing vs. Academic: Who is it for?

Academic writing websites provide essay writing services to high school, college and university students. On the other hand, freelance writing focuses on content for promotion, entertainment and information purposes.

Academic writing assignments are essays, thesis and research projects, but freelance writing gigs pay for articles, blog posts, press releases, etc. 

Academic writing is evidence-based, and it is essential in critical thinking. I would advise you to learn how to write academic papers so that you can construct better arguments in freelance writing. You will learn how to search for the best sources of information and how to structure your articles.

Freelance Writing vs. Academic: Structure & Format

The academic writing structure consists of a table of content, an abstract, an introduction, a body, a conclusion, and a reference list. On the contrary, the freelance writing structure varies with the type of content you are writing, and the instructions from a client. For example, a blog post may have an introduction, a body with three sections, and a conclusion. A listicle (e.g. top 10 fashion designers in Kenya) has a list within a body, and a conclusion.

In academic writing, to identify a source of information (known as citing), a writer must follow the MLA, Harvard, APA, Chicago and other referencing styles. You will find these systems of referencing in MS Word under References. 

For instance,

According to Thomas and Henry (1986, p.3), there are only three realistic pricing strategies.

Thomas and Henry (1986, p.3) is the in-text citation that acknowledges the author. 

Since I have a professional background in journalism, I prefer using an academic writing approach to my blog content by linking most of my sources.

A client might ask you to use this method when writing product reviews. For example, if you are reviewing a product called Nairobi Fashion Tote on Amazon, highlight the phrase Nairobi Fashion Tote in your article, right click, and hyperlink it to the URL of the product.

Use a short, relevant anchor text (the words that link to the other website) to make the linking process seamless and authentic. In the example above, the anchor text is Nairobi Fashion Tote.

Here’s another example. If I want to link to a source that talks about the difference between SEO writing and academic writing, which of these two bolded anchor texts should I use?

A: There are about five differences between SEO writing and academic writing.

B: There are about five differences between SEO writing and academic writing.

If your answer is B, please read this article to learn more about various anchor texts.

Freelance Writing vs. Academic: The Pay

Academic writing pays per page. In Kenya, most academic writing hirers pay KSh 300 for a 275-word page. However, freelance writing pays per word, per project, or hour. We will go through pricing in the fourth part of this series.

Freelance Writing Checklist

  • Use several sources of information. 
  • Read, re-read and rewrite before you submit.
  • Never write an article using a mobile phone.
  • Read instructions.
  • Do not accept projects you cannot deliver.
  • Read your work before you submit.
  • Do not plagiarise.
  • Do not give up after a few revisions. 
  • Learn as you earn; grow.

Disappointments in Freelance Writing

  • Delayed payments.
  • Fake jobs. Suddenly, everyone in Kenya has a freelance writing job for you.
  • Revisions for the umpteenth time.
  • Days with no work.
  • Writing bids that never materialise.

Tools and Equipment

How to Improve your Writing Skills

How to Improve your Typing Speed

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Ghost writing
Social media content
Copy writing
Article writing
Technical writing
Grant & proposal writing
Email & newsletter writing
Website content

How to Write SEO Content
Step 1: Preparation
Step 2: Title Research
Step 3: Article Research
Step 4: Writing
Step 5:
Step 6:
Step 7:
Step 8:
How-To Articles
Product Reviews
Freelance Writing Practice