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5 Unusual Ways to Make Money Writing Online

Lucy Miller 28th Jun 2020 6 Comments

Reading Time: 5 minutes

If you’ve got skills in writing and want to think outside the box when it comes to your freelance work, there could be a whole host of niche ways for you to pull in some extra cash. From writing subtitles to translation, the online world is built on “content” – and that means there are almost unlimited numbers of ways for you to make money writing online. You just have to know what they are! 

Journalism and copywriting can be hard industries to crack, so it always pays to look at more niche areas if you’re looking to build a freelance writing career. Rather than pursuing more typical freelance writing jobs, you could consider things like:

Read on for some ideas about how to break into these areas… 

Writing subtitles

Make money writing online as a subtitles scribe

This is a big one: every TV channel needs to provide a subtitle service, and the need has grown exponentially over the past few years as videos have taken over the internet. It works by taking a transcript and turning it into the words that viewers see on the screen. You get to watch things before they’re live to the public a lot of the time, as you watch minute-by-minute to transcribe the audio.  You’re usually paid per minute of audio completed. So, the rate may seem low – but it builds up really quickly!

You’ll need a strong grasp of language, because often you’ll need to offer the gist of what’s being said without writing it out word for word. You’ll also need to be aware of the inflections in people’s voices and the gaps within their sentences, so you can align your copy to how people actually speak.

Look online for jobs – there are thousands. Popular companies always open to hiring include Rev and Capital Captions, or take a look on popular job sites with the terms ‘subtitles’, ‘subtitling’, or ‘subtitler’. The great thing about this job is you can find work from across the world – so there’s always something out there for you!

Transcribing other people’s work 

This is a great side job for graduates, especially ones who are quick with a keyboard. Journalists often don’t have much time to transcribe their interviews, and with transcription software often failing to cut the mustard there’s often a need to outsource to freelancers. Medical offices, too, often need transcribers to write up letters and reports.

It’s an essential job, but a hugely time-consuming one. This is great news if you’re quick and typing but also able to charge by the hour. Look for agencies that employ transcribers, but feel free to approach local newspapers or other publications yourself too – especially if they often carry long-form interviews. Believe us when we say the staff aren’t transcribing those interviews themselves! Those jobs will fall to work experience students, office temps, and (if you play your cards right), you. 

Writing dating profiles

Yes, really. When it comes to love, people take the online dating game very seriously – and many are willing to pay serious money to increase their likelihood of finding the one. Our Google search for “writing dating profiles online job” received more than 49 million results (no, we couldn’t quite believe it either). 

For those with a knack for language and an awareness of what makes a romantic profile sing, this could be a great way to make money writing online – and we’re sure the number of agencies who provide this service would agree. If you’re a romantic at heart, we’d recommend this as a definite potential for your online writing side hustle. 


Make money writing online as a translator

Got language skills? Excellent. Online translators are in high demand, and those with language skills can leverage this to their advantage. And of course, unlike the work of an interpreter, you can do it from anywhere. 

As a freelance translator you can advertise your skills online on sites like Fiverr, or even set up a website offering your services. Alongside this, look for translation agencies and get in touch directly to sign up with them. There’s a detailed guide to careers in translation here. Also, look for jobs translating educational texts or online courses – these have grown in popularity lately and offering different languages helps businesses expand their audience.

Online translation can be a great way to make money writing online, and if you’re doing it freelance or on the side it can be a great addition to the skills and experience sections of your own CV.

Creating CVs

Creating a CV sounds simple, right? Well, maybe not. Lots of people struggle with this – it’s actually quite a niche skill to be able to look at years of experience and pick out the top aspects that match a job description. 

Often those struggling with writing their own CVs can’t see the wood for the trees, and find it hard to pick what’s relevant. People naturally want to include everything, but that’s obviously not the best way to go. You won’t have that problem when crafting someone else’s CV, though. After all, you’re not going to feel sad about editing out that certificate they got in sixth form or that random university society that’s got nothing to do with the job they’re going for. 

How to do it? Look online for agencies that employ freelance CV writers. You’ll find that there are lots around, and that individuals will pay a serious premium for their services! 

Populating online forums 

If you’ve got the gift of the gab and are comfortable starting conversations, look for work populating online forums. 

If you’re really passionate about a particular brand, even better! Your posts will already be authentic, and you’ll often be able to talk about products you already use. Lots of freelance writers find work by emailing the marketing departments of their favourite brands directly and laying out their skills and passion for the brand. Yes, it sounds straightforward – but it often works! There’s no reason why you can’t do this too. Make sure you check whether the brand has an online forum first, and include details of any community management (i.e. social media) that you’ve done in the past. 

Are you a writer who has come up with an inventive way of making money online? We’d love to hear about it – let us know over on the forums.

More ways to make money writing online

These are just a few of the many ways you can use your writing skills to earn money! Try these articles next for more ideas.

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3 years ago

Great x

3 years ago

good advice but is the money enough for the effort. i wonder.

3 years ago
Reply to  Raman

Hi Raman,
It certainly is! While some of these are ideal as ‘side hustles’ because you can do them in your own time, working as a translator, subtitler, or transcriber is commonly a full-time job. As they’re specialist areas, you’ll often earn a lot more than other similar role types that don’t need specialist skills, too.

3 years ago

Some great advice.

3 years ago

I have tried out transcribing gigs.

Was part of one for about two weeks.

Wow! It’s hard work considering the pay. I reckon if I did it fulltime I could make $20 a day – $600 a month

Where I’m from, a nice 1 bed flat is $100 rent for a month. $300 in I can take care of all my expenses.

If I save the other $300 for 3-5 months I could then try something like dropshipping

Not bad

3 years ago

Lots of food for thought here. Thank you.

Jasmine Birtles

Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.

Jasmine Birtles

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