Freelance Writing – Pasturing Your Business

How do you establish credit when no one will give you a credit card unless you have a credit history? How do you get a job if all the jobs require experience? The answer to both is — it’s hard.

Some stores and credit card companies will issue a card with a high interest rate and a low limit. Entry-level jobs are low-paying and usually dead-end, with little to no chance for upward mobility, like flipping burgers.

But wait!

Some entrepreneurs started by flipping burgers and now own several restaurants. That normally dead-end job became a career with vast upside potential.

Welcome to the wonderful world of freelance writing!

Culled from today’s job listings:

Personal Finance Writer:

Instructions to apply
Respond with 3 links to your favorite articles online (stuff you’ve written)
– Include “New York Writer” in the subject line
– Please include your email address in the body.

So to get this gig you need to have already published three other articles. Many aspiring writers see this and give up. The soon-to-be-successful freelancer sees this and moves on to other pastures.

What pastures, you ask?

1) New magazines: Someone, somewhere, is launching a new magazine every other day. In 2007, the Wall Street Journal reported that, according to, 389 magazines (that’s different titles with issues printed at least quarterly) were started (see here). The numbers for 2014 were down a bit, with only 190 new launches. Regional magazines led this list, followed by health, home, and children-centered titles. Launching a new magazine is like clearing a field before planting. If a new writer provides good content that helps plow the way for the magazine, they may even find a home to sink down roots.

2) Magazines changing focus: Be alert to the evening news, especially the filler stories before the commercial break. That is when teasers for upcoming stories are used, like “A change in a 75-year-old institution — details after the break.” What is the institution? Is it a magazine or does it have a magazine? Magazines that are changing their editorial content often prove to be fertile ground for new writers.

3) Affinities you have already established: Do you subscribe to a magazine? Are you a college graduate? Do you belong to a fraternal or charitable society? Colleges have magazines aimed at alumni; societies publish magazines to raise awareness of their activities. If you already have a relationship with them, then they are well-tilled soil to query an article to.

4) Local newspapers, newsletters, diocesan newspapers, etc., are ripe outlets to grow your portfolio.

5) As you go about your daily business, keep your eyes open as you pass magazine racks and newsstands. Do you notice any new titles? These may be ready for the picking. Go to the library and check out its selection of periodicals. Do an Internet search of magazines. Concentrate on the subject you want to write about. Here is a link to get you started.

Persistence is the key to getting those first articles published. You may earn only enough cash for pizza and beer, but those first credits can yield a plentiful harvest in the future. As you succeed, add those successes to your résumé. Keep copies and note Internet addresses of your online work so you can link to them in the future.

As you grow your portfolio, other, better-yielding markets will blossom. Be flexible, be persistent, and strive to continuously nurture your craft.

Good things take time and effort to grow.


About Dennis McGeehan

Dennis P. McGeehan is a husband, homeschooling Dad of eight, a Martial Artist, Freelance Writer, Author and Speaker. He is a member of the Catholic Writers Guild. His latest book is titled The Diaries of Joseph and Mary.
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One Response to Freelance Writing – Pasturing Your Business

  1. Well done Dennis—solid and realistic. Thank you