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  • Diana Schneidman

Yes, you can successfully freelance / consult regardless of your age!

This week a reader wrote me, asking if she even “stands a chance” at building a freelance business-writing career.

She has a lifetime of experience in teaching writing, including technical and business writing, and she has also worked more recently as a benefits advisor and in insurance sales. She notes that she has been unable to get hired or even be taken seriously in her small town.

Here is my answer:

It is not too late to make real money as a freelancer, in this case specifically, as a freelance writer. You are never too old so long as you are hearty enough and sharp enough to do the work well and meet deadlines. Age is largely irrelevant to prospects who will probably never see you in person nor intend to integrate you into their “corporate culture.”

I generally recommend that if you are embarking on a solopro career, you should begin by offering the work you have done in the past at your corporate job. This gives you an edge in terms of relevant qualifications, experience, and portfolio.

For this reader it’s a little trickier. She has writing experience but apparently not in industries she wants to claim as hers. Therefore it appears she should go after writing assignments in the areas of benefits and insurance unless there is a better choice that I cannot detect from her letter.

I suggest jumping right in and phoning the most relevant companies you would like to work for. However, if you have no writing samples whatsoever, it may be helpful to take a slight detour and do some actual writing.

One way to create writing samples is to find low-paying, starter assignments on an online job board such as Elance. You can take on volunteer writing for local organizations. A third option is to write articles—500 words is a good length—for posting on, on your own website, or simply saved on your computer for emailing to interested prospects.

These projects may take you longer than you would like but that is OK. As you gain more experience, your speed will pick up and you will find yourself earning more per hour when paid on a per-piece basis.

I advise you not to invest too much time in gearing up for work. My book, Real Skills, Real Income: A Proven Marketing System to Land Well-Paid Freelance and Consulting Work in 30 Days or Less, features a list of 15 tasks to do in one day so you can start reaching out to businesses for assignments.

You should be able to prepare some brief writing samples in another day or two, plus review your files for past projects that may be of interest to commercial writing prospects. Even if you must write some articles, you can be contacting real prospects in less than a week.

You can do it!

Originally posted 12-1-14

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