July 9, 2010

Work Abroad Ideas – Freelance and Travel Writing

Sometimes traveling abroad is about just that – traveling. People don’t always decide to live abroad because they are looking for a cultural experience at work, but rather because they enjoy travel.

Picking up work along the way may be easy for some, and more challenging for others. For those with a proclivity for writing and some expertise about a certain topic, freelance writing jobs provide a means of income that you can do from anywhere with an Internet connection.

Freelance writing jobs take on many forms, the most popular of which is writing for the web. Blogs, websites and online magazines look to freelance writers to provide content, generally around a specific topic (like jobs, for example). Successful freelance writers know a lot about their topic, and can create articles or blog posts that draw in readers.

Where do you look for freelance writing jobs? Just about anywhere! There are websites devoted to helping freelancers find work, and job boards like Monster and Careerbuilder (and Craigslist) often post jobs for people working remotely. If you are first starting out, the task of finding your first client can seem daunting (combined with the fact that you are living and traveling abroad!), but luckily, there are freelance writing tips to help you.

Writing About Your Travels

Many travelers, especially those who are making a multi-legged journey or particpating in a program or project might set up a blog or microblog to record their travels and keep in touch with friends. When talking about freelance writing jobs abroad, it is important to distinguish this kind of writing from writing for a living. While friends and family, and even strangers who stumble upon your blog might be interested in your adventures, creating revenue from your blog takes time, energy and most of all lots and lots of readers.

There are travel writing (and travel photography) jobs available for people living abroad that can involve writing about yourself for a little extra cash. Work abroad websites like Transitions Abroad look for articles about real people traveling abroad and doing good work. Prestigious travel jobs for major newspapers and magazines are much more competitive (but have better compensation) – but starting small with an established travel blog can help build your skill and reputation.

Airline magazines (you know, the ones that you skim through while you are waiting for the plane to land) are great clients for travel writing, and you don’t have to be a veteran to land a writing gig. Do an Internet search for a few airlines and the words “writing guidlines” to get a sense of what kinds of articles the magazines are looking for. You’ll most like have to pitch your idea first, then create an article that meets their specifications. Imagine how many travelers like yourself could be reading your words as they fly to their own destinations!

Social Networking From Overseas

The best thing about freelance writing from home is that you still have access to some of the most important networking tools that a writer can have: social networking. There are many resources about how to use social networking to find freelance writing jobs – many writers find clients through word of mouth or through job postings on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.

But more than simply providing a place to find jobs, social networking can make a freelance writer better at their job. While working abroad you can sign up for alerts, RSS feeds and Twitter feeds about topics that you are writing about – creating a niche and becoming and expert can be the key to developing more loyal clients.

Translating for Local Businesses

While the web is undoubtedly the most popular place to find freelance writing jobs, you can also take advantage of opportunities locally. If you speak the local language, take a look around your local business or cultural district – many of these local businesses are potential clients.

Tourists from English-speaking countries provide necessary income to many local businesses abroad, and having English language materials makes cafes, restaurants and gift shops more attractive to many travelers. Yet, the ability to translate materials like signs and menus (not to mention the time or energy to spend on translating) may not always exist. Consider approaching your favorite coffee shop or taqueria and asking if they’d like to have anything translated. You don’t have to charge a lot to make enough money to help you get to your next travel destination. You may even be able to work out a barter system – maybe translating a wine menu will result in a free glass for you and your friends?

Reaching out to local businesses can also open the door for larger freelance writing projects, like creating copy for English-language brochures, or placing ads in English-language newspapers or websites. if you speak multiple languages, that might increase your appeal (depending on the demand, of course). It also doesn’t hurt to have some local friends in the neighborhood!

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