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So You Want to Be a Professional Writer in Malaysia? Here’s Some Advice from an Editor
Maybe you have a blog with lots of followers. Or maybe someone’s told you that you write well. Either way, you know you have potential. It’s time to bring it to the next level, and finally make money out of your God-given gift.
Hold up – before venturing into writing as a professional career, here’s some advice from an editor.
“oh, are you having a parade? It would be a shame if something happened to it…”
Make sure you have the basics
First off, like any other professional skill, you need to get your basics right. You need to know the difference between ‘your’ and ‘you’re’, know when to add commas, and know how to use the appropriate tenses.
I say this from experience, after having edited more than a hundred articles from different writers. As a rule, I try to be as inclusive as possible – I want to give every writer a chance.
But that’s come back to bite me in the ass before. We’ve hired writers who didn’t quite have the basics, and, oh my god, editing their work was like being tied up and being forced to listen to a 10-hour loop of Despacito .
“des, pa, ci-” noooo
We’re not talking about a rogue grammatical error – everyone does that, myself included. This writer was consistently bad at everything . There was a mistake in each line, and I had to spend several hours editing their work. It would have been much easier to re-write the article entirely.
Lina Esa, editor of CLEO, agrees.
“First off, you need to know your basics. Literally. You need to know the English language like it’s your #bae or whatever. And you’ll be surprised at how many aspiring writers don’t know how to spell, use the right tense, or proper grammar or syntax. YOU WILL BE SURPRISED.”
Seriously, you will.
You must understand – the people paying for your writing aren’t running a writing class. They’re commercial institutions, which means that every second spent correcting your writing is costing them money. The final cost of your article isn’t just what the company paid you, it’s also how much time they spent editing your work.
If you want someone to pay you for your writing, make sure it’s not costing them extra just to get it right.
Check your ego at the door
I’ve edited articles by writers who were previously writing for so-and-so publication or was editor of this so-and-so magazine. Because of their previous experience, they felt entitled to their writing. They got so defensive over every little edit to their work.
See, bad writing by itself isn’t a problem for me – I can always correct a writer and tell them what their mistakes are and where to improve. But a writer who’s convinced that he/she is the shit ? There’s just no talking to that.
In their minds, your criticism is a personal attack. Every correction you make on their work is countered with “Yeah, but…”
Being a professional writer isn’t about being the best – it’s about learning. When money is involved, you’ll usually be working with professionals in the field who know what they’re doing. When they tell you what’s wrong with your writing, chances are they’re right. Learn from it.
Before this, I was one of these egoistic writers too. I had a blog, and I had people commenting that my writing was good. So, when I got one of my first clients, I knew I was going to rock his world.
“did you pack a parachute? ” “neah, i didn’t. I’m just that good. ”
Spoiler alert – I didn’t rock his world. On my first assignment, he commented that my sentences were too long and complex. He said that if he published it, his readers would read the first sentence, get bored, and never come back to the site.
I was crushed, but I didn’t take it personally. I made shorter, simpler sentences, and broke my article into smaller paragraphs. He ended up keeping me, and I’ve been on payroll ever since.
It was only later, after almost a year of running my own content platform, that I realised he was right. As editor of IRL, I can see which articles do better, and it’s typically those with simpler language and shorter paragraphs.
So, when you become a professional writer, don’t bring your ego with you. When someone says your writing sucks, don’t get offended. Try to understand why they say that and improve your craft.
Lina had a similar advice to give.
“Try, practice, refine your craft, and ACCEPT CRITICISM. I started out as a terrible writer. I know that. But it took a lot of practice, slogging, and trying. I was told by lecturers that my English was weak. ENGLISH IS MY FIRST LANGUAGE. But I took the advice, I asked for feedback, how to improve, and spoke privately with my tutors. Read a lot, and NOT BLOGS. Read proper news outlets and publications. Read books.”
Become professional by being professional
Here’s one of the biggest differences between the professional and the amateur – accountability. Once someone pays you for your craft, they’re hiring you for a service. It’s your job to deliver what you promised on time.
All the romantic notions of being a writer – waiting for inspiration, creating art, taking your time to produce ‘perfection’ – you’ve got to drop them like it’s hot.
Take it from these famous writers. (source: giphy. Com)
When you become a professional writer, meeting the deadline is the most important thing. A website can’t launch without the copy. A campaign doesn’t run without the tagline. A content platform doesn’t work without articles.
As editor, I can say from experience that a mediocre writer who meets deadlines is much more valuable than a good writer who doesn’t.
I’ve mentioned before, that IRL aims to produce about one article per day . We run a tight schedule, and I need our writers to hand in their work on time. If they miss their deadline, I either have to a) rush an article, or b) replace it with an article from another writer. That in turn messes up their timeline, triggering a chain-reaction of missed deadlines.
Not producing an article is simply not an option. Doing that means our traffic might dip, and advertisers are going to want to know why. “Because our writer(s) were busy that day,” just doesn’t cut it.
That goes for every other commercial institution too. They’re paying you to deliver a good product on time. If there’s any part of that sentence you can’t fulfil, then you’re not a professional.
Write for your readers
Here’s another way I can instantly tell the difference between the amateur and professional writer. The amateur writes for themselves – the professional writes for the audience.
In simpler terms, amateur writers write what they want to write. They couldn’t care less about the audience. Their writing ends up being understandable only to themselves and often ends up being just plain bad .
Much like this movie.
Professionals understand what their work is trying to achieve. For example, a content writer’s job is to entertain readers and pull traffic to their site. To do that, it must first make sense to the audience. They’re always asking, “Will people read this? Would they get it?”
If you’re going to be a professional writer, you’ve got to figure that out too. What’s the point of your writing? What’re you trying to achieve?
Here’s what Lina had to add,
“Think of yourself as a storyteller. You’re the conduit in which you’re telling a story of someone’s life or sending a message through to your reader. You are not writing for your ego.”
Less is more
Professional writing is about communication. Companies pay you to communicate an idea or a message to the intended audience.
In today’s world, you don’t have the luxury of time. There’s about a billion other things trying to compete for your readers’ attention . Chances are, you have a very small window to deliver that message.
Professional writers must be brief. They’ve got to communicate their ideas in as few words as possible. Whether you’re writing a slogan or a script, you’ve got to practice delivering your ideas efficiently.
Online readers are different than traditional novel readers. They skim through a sentence, sucking up useful points and ideas. Writing words like ‘nepenthe’ instead of ‘tequila shots’ just makes your work a bitch to read.
Lina agrees with this too.
“You don’t need a lot of words to put across a point. Don’t use words you don’t know. Be concise — it’s more powerful. And if you’re in the right context, you can even use Insta-speak. It can make your copy buzzy and easier to read. But know your audience, K?”
And that’s it! Five tips on how to be a professional writer from editors. If you’re feeling up to the challenge, why not write for us? We’re always looking for new freelance writers. E-mail your resume to us at [email protected] or simply visit our submissions page to submit an article.
For more articles on how to be a writer, read I’ve Just Finished SPM and I Want to Be a Writer in Malaysia – Where Do I Start? Here’s How , and How I Quit My Five-Figure Salary Job To Become A Travel Writer .
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Writer Jobs in Malaysia
335 writer jobs in malaysia.
- Agensi Pekerjaan HCR Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. Technical Writer (US Based) Kuala Lumpur MYR 6K (Employer est.) Easy Apply 3d The audiences range from end-user customers to service personnel. Research and gather technical information. Apply single-sourcing methodologies to enable reuse……
- Integreat Marketing Enterprise Content Writer Malaysia MYR 3K - MYR 5K (Employer est.) Easy Apply 30d+ A key contributor within the organization and oversee copy strategy as well as deliverables. Develop creative concepts and the accompanying copy content for……
- RCEP MEDIA BERHAD Content writer or creator Kuala Lumpur MYR 3K - MYR 4K (Employer est.) Easy Apply 26d Produce well-researched content for publication online and in print. Organize writing schedules to complete drafts of content or finished projects within……
- FM MEDIA COMMUNICATIONS Entertaiment Journalist Ampang MYR 3K - MYR 4K (Employer est.) Easy Apply 30d+ Facilitated nd editing junior writer articles. The candidate must possess *at least a Professional Certificate / Diploma / Bachelor's Degree* in *Linguistics /……
- Verinon Content Writer Kuala Lumpur MYR 20K (Employer est.) Easy Apply 30d+ Candidate must possess at least a Professional Certificate, Diploma, or Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications, Public Relations, Journalism, English, or……
- INHANNA SDN BHD CONTENT WRITER Shah Alam MYR 3K - MYR 4K (Employer est.) Easy Apply 10d Write clear marketing copy to promote our products/services. Submit work to the respective leader for input and approval. Update website content as needed.…
- BlackSire Group Content Writer Malaysia MYR 3K - MYR 6K (Employer est.) Easy Apply 19d Write impactful articles that convert. Create high quality digital content including but not limited to blogs, articles, marketing campaigns and website content……
- Global Mediastreet Sdn Bhd Editor Agama (Education Book) Kuala Lumpur MYR 2K - MYR 3K (Employer est.) Easy Apply 11d For levels Preschool, Primary and Secondary. To edit manuscripts thoroughly. To plan and propose new publication series/titles on a yearly basis.…
- WMPB Fulltime Screenwriter Petaling Jaya MYR 3K - MYR 4K (Employer est.) Easy Apply 30d+ Anyone with experience in screenwriting and/or passion for the same are encouraged to apply. A short sample of your writing together with your CV is required.…
- Big Corridor Sdn Bhd Senior Food Content Writer Kuala Lumpur MYR 4K (Employer est.) Easy Apply 13d Providing guidance to new writers/interns (Add in for senior writer ). 1-2 years of proven work experience as a publication writer or similar role.…
- 4.6 Polymorph Recruitment Content Writer (BM-Translation) Internship (WFH) Remote MYR 700 - MYR 1K (Employer est.) Easy Apply 30d+ Translate 4 articles per day (topics are provided). Develop editorial line-up. Content planning and structure (keywords, audience intention, and title).…
- Verinon Technology Solutions Sdn Bhd CONTENT WRITER Kuala Lumpur MYR 5K - MYR 8K (Employer est.) Easy Apply 30d+ Candidate must possess at least a Professional Certificate, Diploma, or Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications, Public Relations, Journalism, English, or……
- Sunsa Solutions Sdn Bhd Seeking Talented Writers / Copywriters For A Luxury Hotel Brand Kuala Lumpur MYR 5K - MYR 5K (Employer est.) Easy Apply 30d+ We, Sunsa Solutions are looking for a talented and experienced writer to create all content for several hotel brands we manage (this includes writing marketing……
- Top Click E-Services Sdn Bhd Copy Writer Ipoh MYR 2K - MYR 3K (Employer est.) Easy Apply 30d+ Transport Allowance & Mobile Allowance provided for work purpose. Creating and editing content which will be published in company’s websites and social media……
- FPT SOFTWARE MALAYSIA SDN BHD UX Writer Kuala Lumpur MYR 4K - MYR 10K (Employer est.) Easy Apply 5d Plan and liaise with other UX Designers, Business Analyst, and Project Manager/Owner to understand the nature of a product.…
- PropBuddies Sdn Bhd Content Writer Malaysia MYR 3K - MYR 4K (Employer est.) Easy Apply 16d Develop related content for multiple platforms, such as websites, social media, videos etc. Organize writing schedules or emergency writing arrangement to……
- FM MEDIA COMMUNICATIONS Writer / Editor Ampang MYR 3K - MYR 3K (Employer est.) Easy Apply 30d+ The candidate must possess *at least a Professional Certificate / Diploma / Bachelor's Degree* in *Linguistics / Journalism / Mass Communication / Public……
Job Outlook for Writer
Demand for writers remains on par with other industries. A college degree in English, communications or journalism is typically required to work for salaried positions, although many writers choose to work as freelancers. Most clients seriously consider a writer’s portfolio of sample work when making hiring decisions, so it is common for applicants to gain experience through school newspapers, journalism internships or blogging. Freelancers should be skilled in time management, as they must source new work while balancing multiple existing projects.
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How to Hire Writers in Malaysia 
Looking to run a successful business in this digital age?
You need high-quality content that can help your digital marketing initiatives . Whether you’re producing email newsletters, improving your company’s blog, or creating a landing page, you need the best writing to attract your potential customers.
Let’s be honest here.
Not all business owners have the time and skills to create great content. That’s where content writers come in to provide their skills and time in exchange for money. The right content writer has the ability to create informative and engaging articles, blog posts, and email newsletters to drive quality traffic to your website and improve your sales.
Some businesses require technical writers who can write guides and manuals for their customers. But, finding the best writers in Malaysia is not an easy task. There are thousands of writers readily available on job sites, but the quality isn’t always guaranteed.
In this blog post, I’ll help you out with some of the best tips and guidelines for hiring the best writers in Malaysia.
How A Writer Can Help You Improve Your Business
Writing is hard. Just think about the days when writers had to go through hundreds of books and journals to write research projects and essays. The demand for professional writers has increased over the years when people started spending their time more on the Internet. Every writer has their own expertise. Some are good at press releases and some are good at writing blog posts. You need to make sure that you hire a writer who can convey your brand message to potential customers.
So, let’s move on to the benefits of hiring a professional writer for your business.
You Can Focus On Your Business
As a business owner, you want to focus on something you’re good at. You don’t want to waste your time and energy on tasks that can be delegated to professionals. When you have a professional writer in your organization, you don’t have to worry about creating content for the website and social media channels. You can fully focus on improving the quality of your products or services instead.
Improved Online Presence
People are actively searching for a solution to their problems. If your company has a product or service that helps them solve their problems, you want to make sure to get the information in front of them. A professional writer can help you create outstanding articles related to your products and services. Those articles can attract potential customers and convert them into paying customers.
Increased organic reach
An excellent writer can help you achieve content marketing goals. When content marketing is combined with SEO, it increases organic search traffic . The writer will identify the keywords or key phrases related to your business and develop the content around them. Experienced writers know that it is important to perform in-depth research about your industry and target market to create content that delivers purpose.
The best writers know that your contents need to be optimized for the search engine to increase search traffic and be positioned higher on search engines.
👩💼 How to Hire Professional Writers in Malaysia
There are many ways to hire writers in Malaysia. But, you need to ask yourself whether you want an in-house writer or outsource the writing work to freelance writers.
Traditional In-House Writers
In-house writers are salaried employees who either work full-time or part-time for an organization. These writers will be treated like other employees with a specific work schedule at the organization. In-house writers are often referred to as staff writers.
There are many benefits to hiring in-house writers. A professional in-house writer can:
- Consistently create content that is aligned with the brand. It is easier for potential customers to identify the brand when the writing style and voice are unified.
- Follow the determined content schedule and don’t have the need to hire any new writers.
- It is easier to have face-to-face communication with the writer as an in-house writer will be working on regular working hours.
Despite having some of the best benefits of hiring in-house writers there are drawbacks too. In-house writers are expensive. Organizations need to pay their regular salaries and offer benefit packages. There are two situations often faced by in-house writers where the writers have nothing to do once they finish their content schedule or are completely packed with additional work.
In-house writers are also expected to write on topics that are out of their expertise. This results in extensive research that requires hours of research. If the company lacks in consistent writing work, it will reduce the number of in-house writers and turn some of them into part-time workers.
Freelance writers are independent contract workers who cost way lower than in-house writers. They do not have a confirmed salary and don’t receive any benefits packages from the organizations they work with. Freelance writers are the best choice for small companies as it is easy to bring them on board as a freelancer than a full-time employees.
When you hire the best freelance writers, you can expect the same quality of writing as the in-house writers and sometimes even better. And the best part is it costs less than having full-time writers. You will have the flexibility in choosing writers who are experts on a specific subject.
However, there are some disadvantages to hiring freelance writers as well. Sometimes it’s hard to communicate with freelance writers as they might be working in different time zones or working for multiple clients. If any issue arises with the content, it’s slightly hard to get in touch with them compared to in-house writers who might be sitting next to you.
In most cases, organizations tend to hire freelance writers and transition them into in-house writers as they become indispensable assets for the organization. With some of the best communication tools like Zoom. Google Meet and Microsoft Team, it is easier to keep in touch with freelance writers today.
☝️ What To Ask When You Hire The Best Writers in Malaysia
There are certain things you can request from writers to determine whether they will be a good fit for your company and write the best content.
Ask for Writing Samples ( Published ones are better)
One of the best ways to judge if a writer is a good fit for your organization is to check out their writing samples. If you ask me I won’t consider writing samples that are delivered in a PDF or Word document.
I prefer published samples.
I want to know how the potential writer for my organization has positioned himself as a freelance writer. If they have a blog that exhibits their past writing work, I will be more than happy to consider them as they are serious about what I’m looking for. It would be better if they have past published works on authority sites.
Let’s say you want to hire a writer for a digital marketing agency. You will definitely want to see some of the best-published samples like the ones I’ve written in this blog. It will increase your trust in the quality of writing the writer will deliver.
Ask to Perform Paid Task
If you want to test the potential writer’s skills and knowledge, offering a paid test is something you should do. It may consume your time and money, but it will help you determine whether the writer is a good fit for your organization and has the ability to produce the best content in your industry. Moreover, it also helps to see whether the potential writers are responsive in communication.
Most organizations want to hire native English writers because they feel that those writers have superior spelling and grammar. If you ask me, I don’t care whether you’re a native English speaker or English is your second language. All that matters is whether you have the knowledge and skills to deliver the best content. You can’t expect to hire a native English speaker in Malaysia for sure.
Ask whether they want to get paid hourly or paid per piece
If you’re hiring an in-house writer in Malaysia, you’ll most likely pay them monthly for the writing services. As for freelance writers, they are often paid per piece. But, it’s better to ask the potential writer what type of payment terms do they accept.
Most professional writers charge per word basis depending on the niche. Some niche requires extensive research and the content needs to have stats and data to back up certain points. You can expect the best writers to charge RM0.40 to RM4 per word.
Do Your Own Research
You need to as relevant questions related to your industry to ensure that the potential writer actually knows the in and out of the industry. Apart from writing samples, and paid tests you need to make sure the writer has sufficient knowledge about your industry to produce the best content in a timely manner.
Where To Find Professional Writers in Malaysia?
There are a lot of freelance job sites with thousands of freelance writers. Some of these sites are crowded with a huge number of freelancers who are charging pennies for their writing services. You have to be extremely cautious when hiring writers from these platforms.
Being a Malaysian business owner, I would suggest hiring writers from Malaysia. Rather than focusing on hiring writers from other countries with the aim to reduce costs, you can hire some of the best Malaysian writers who can deliver better quality than others.
Favser is a Malaysian based hiring platform for digital talents. You can find hundreds of writers on this platform. I haven’t personally tried this platform to hire writers but I see them as one of the most credible platforms for hiring writers.
Upwork is one of the top platforms for hiring writers if you have small projects or a few articles to be written. According to Upwork, they have close to 12 million freelancers around the world. However, like I’ve mentioned earlier try to hire Malaysian writers from this platform as well. There are thousands of Malaysian writers available on Upwork. You can take a look at them here:
Malaysian Freelance Writers Facebook Group
A community group for Malaysian freelance writers with almost 6,000 members. This is one of the best freelance writers’ groups that has a good moderation team with strict publishing rules. You can submit your post with all the necessary details and will be published once the moderator approves your post.
Freelancer.com is similar to Upwork but has a huge database of 23 million users and approximately 45% of them are looking for writing tasks. I often ignore this site as they have a lot of terrible freelancers on the site and you can expect 150 to 200 bids for your writing task post.
You need to make sure to interview the candidates one by one to find the best writer. You can find thousands of Malaysian writers on this platform as well.
If you want to hire the best writers in Malaysia, you also need to set clear guidelines and expectations when you’re working with writers. Communication is key to a good working relationship and for content writers, it’s extremely important.
As an organization, you need to have a system that makes everything easy for your organization and writers. You need to have an easy-to-follow workflow. In some organizations, writers are also responsible for publishing articles with the right images, internal links, external links, and proper formatting.
You also need to determine the payment schedule if you choose to hire a freelance writer. If you hire them on platforms, you can actually pay them through the platforms after they deliver the assigned writing work. Ask your writers for their preferred method of payment. In Malaysia, most freelance writers prefer to get paid via bank transfer.
You don’t want to settle for good writers. You need the best writers to craft the best content in your industry that your customers will want to read and share with others. Whether you want to hire an in-house writer or freelance writer, your main focus should be getting high-quality content that leads to your company’s success in today’s digital world.
Do you have experience hiring writers in Malaysia?
Please share your thoughts by commenting below.
An experienced digital marketing strategist with 8+ years of experience. Helped various small and medium businesses to generate massive traffic from digital marketing channels. In addition to digital marketing consulting work, Naven owns multiple authority sites that generates passive income.
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(i) of full age; (ii) Malaysian citizens or Permanent Residents; (ii) have at least 1 publication in which they have been credited as author, editor, literary translator, or contributor in an Approved Publication listed below.
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Are You A Freelance Writer in Malaysia? Here’s The Business Side of It
Table of Contents
Being a freelance writer in Malaysia was not something I planned. Yet, somehow, here I am, making ends meet with nothing more than my laptop, internet access, and some brainpower.
This isn’t an article about how to write well (refer to The Beginner’s Guide to Writing Good Articles (for Power, Profit and Pleasure) for that), but I do want to talk about the business side of it: the income and expenses side, the business setup and accounting and all that. After searching online, I realised there aren’t many resources for Malaysian freelance writers.
So I made one. If you are a freelance writer in Malaysia, either doing it as full-time work or as a side income , here are some finance-related information about incomes and expenses that you should know about. I’ve divided the article into 5 sections:
- Part 1: How much can you make as a freelance writer in Malaysia (including how to set your rates)
- Part 2: Where to find clients
- Part 3: What you need to start working as a freelance writer
- Part 4: Business setup and accounting, and
- Part 5: How my freelance writing journey looked like
Part 1: How much can you make as a freelance writer in Malaysia?
Honestly, your income will be somewhat tied to how financially strapped you are when you first start out. If you are in need of fast cash, you will tend to accept lower-paying jobs. I’ve seen content mills paying as low as $1 per article!
If you can afford to wait it out while you look and apply for other jobs, chances are you’ll come across better-paying clients.
How much do Malaysian freelance writers charge for an article?
I asked around in the Malaysian Writers Facebook page to get an idea of typical payment. They said that they earn:
- Person A – RM250-RM850 per article (between 600-1700 words)
- Person B – USD5 per 400 words via Fiverr
- Person C – RM50 upwards
- Person D – RM1000 per magazine article
- Person E – RM1 per word for magazine article (looking for 2000 words)
As you can see, the range is quite wide. This is why I said your income is somewhat tied to your financial situation. As you get more established, you might increase your rates.
The good thing about freelance writing as a career is that you’re not limited to Malaysian employers. I’ve completed jobs just via emails before – the clients didn’t care about my nationality or timezone, just my ability to complete the work well and on time. I get paid in USD, too.
How much should YOU charge?
I wrote an entire article about this: check out the 5 Methods to Figure Out How Much to Charge Clients article
Part 2: Where freelance writer in Malaysia can find paying clients
You can find jobs from these three places
#1 – Freelancing platforms
Personally, I started with Upwork (other similar websites: Freelancer, Fiverr (note: referral link). These websites connect freelancers with potential clients.
Note: It’s very easy to get discouraged by the competition – an article-writing job might attract hundreds of USD1 bids from freelancers (many from India, Philippines). Apply with your usual rates anyway, and make sure you focus on the quality of work you can deliver. One writer earns USD100+ per hour from Upwork – find her tips here .
#2 – Writing job boards
They’re easy enough to google, so go ahead and find one ( like the freelance writer resources in this page ). Companies pay a fee to post an advert, give details about the work, and invite writers to apply. Send them an email containing an introduction about yourself, samples of your work, and how you can help them.
For the love of God DO NOT send them emails like ‘Hi I’m interested in this job’ with no examples or introduction – that’s amateurish and will probably get you zero replies!
#3 – Networking and Outreach
This is how I get most of my clients. Some of them found me on this website, some found me on chatting groups, some by word of mouth. Network around and keep telling people you do freelance writing. A pleasant personality helps. You don’t have to be an extroverted social butterfly – networking online counts, too.
For more tips and tricks, read Make A Living Writing . It’s a great resource for everything related to making money as a freelance writer. Read also my guide – How to Get Clients: A Guide for Malaysian Freelancers .
Note : Some clients may bully you into late, or even no payment. Here are my tips to get great clients who pay & treat me well
Part 3: What do freelance writers need to start?
You can be a freelance writer in Malaysia with just the basics (see basic expenses below), although it’s recommended to invest a bit more in professionalism (see professional expenses below). In addition, you need to know the business and accounting side of it, because you ARE running a business.
- Laptop + internet access
- Phone + phone plan
- A comfortable space where you can write without interruptions
- Notebook and stationery
- Dining, transportation and meeting cost for face-to-face interviews or events
- Website hosting for your online writer portfolio
- Website template + extra paid plugins
- Proofreading software
- Writing and SEO tools
- Access to further literature
- Online graphic design services
- Stock photography (if you can’t find royalty-free ones)
- Registered company
- Paid help, if any
Part 4: Business setup, accounting and freelance invoice template
Setting up a company.
After you’ve done 3 or so jobs and decided to continue freelance writing work, I highly recommend you to set up a company. You can register as sole proprietorship (RM60 registration cost – easiest to start with this) or Limited Liability Partnership (RM500+ registration cost).
Aside from looking professional to potential clients and increasing the likelihood of them hiring you, the great thing about setting up a company is you can claim some expenses as business expenses, thus reducing your payable tax amount.
Some of the things you can claim are:
- Office expense (hardware, software, furniture, ect for work)
- Telecommunications for work purposes
- Toll/parking/petrol for work purposes
- Vehicle maintenance
- Gifts to clients, meals & entertainment for clients (max 50%, apparently)
- Utilities (also max 50%, as far as I know)
This page has a list of other things you may be able to claim as business expenses, as a freelance writer in Malaysia.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a tax agent. I have engaged the services of an accountant and gotten advice from tax professionals, but this is based on my specific situation which may be different to yours. Please engage the services of an accountant in your own tax payment.
Having a registered business is also quite handy for receiving government grants and help, where available. As of time of writing, I received ~RM6500 from Geran Khas Prihatin , the government cash assistance for small businesses in Malaysia (applications are currently closed but follow my social media for updates).
Accounting and invoice template
For simple, uncomplicated businesses, I recommend BlogJunkie’s Simple Accounting System for Freelancing Business guide, which includes freelance invoice templates and bookkeeping tips.
Part 5: How did I personally start freelance writing in Malaysia?
I’m not saying this is the correct way, and it’s probably not the most efficient way either, but this was how I established myself as a freelance writer, during the beginning and getting-the-hang-of-it stages:
I joined freelancing platforms. Was on Upwork for a few months. Cashed out ~USD500 for various work.
At the same time, I submitted articles to websites (non-paid) . Submitted to Vulcan Post and The Financial Diet. I just wanted some work published online on high-authority sites, so I can use them as work samples – potential clients tend to be impressed with this.
Created Ringgit Oh Ringgit. I didn’t expect RoR to help my freelance writing career, but it did. If you have time (and money) to spare, I suggest you make a website to attract clients (instead of you chasing them). For info, see my The Exact Steps I Use to Earn Money from Blogging guide.
Applied for as many writing jobs as I can from the freelancing platforms and job boards I mentioned. I learn how to sell myself better from this step.
Accepted full-time remote work which allows for extra time to freelance. I like stability, so I like having a steady income stream. It helps to counter the times of the year when work is scarce.
If I were to do it again, I would take the How to Become a Freelance Writer (in 60 Days) course by Aisha of OutandBeyond.com ; $45 (~RM200). The course includes:
- 110+ page ebook
- Pitching templates (I spent years learning this)
- SEO training (this is the moneymaker guys. Everyone can write but not everyone can optimise for search engine)
- writing opportunities,
Network like heck. Networking is just being consistent at telling everyone you meet that you do freelance writing (but obviously don’t be spammy).
Optimise everything that can be optimised . I created and automated social media (I have a Facebook page and Twitter ), made tweaks to increase user experience on RoR website, and created blog posts that help me reach more audiences. In addition, I paid for advertising, virtual assistance and a better website theme, among others.
Increase rates regularly. At one point, I had way too much work and did not manage to deliver the same quality. Instead of getting less work (and earning less), I simply raised my rates.
This is good for 3 reasons:
- (1) it helps you to keep a reasonable workload without overworking yourself (burnout is a thing),
- (2) you can pass on some work to other writers, which helps them make money too, and
- (3) higher rates imply higher quality
Picking a niche (specialisation). In my experience, most people start off being a freelance writer, then later ‘niche down’ and select a specialisation. For example, you could call yourself:
- Freelance translator
- Freelance editor
- Freelance copywriter for websites
- Freelance proofreader
- Freelance resume-writer
- Freelance academic writer
- Freelance article writer
- Freelance social media copywriter
- Freelance script writer
- Freelance grant writer
- Freelance ghostwriter
- Freelance ebook writer
- Freelance whitepaper writer
A great way to command high rates is to niche down further and specialise in specific industries, like beauty, health, legal and so on. For example,
- English-Spanish translator specialising in medical industry
- Grant writers specialising in government proposals
- Speech writers for politicians
- Whitepaper writer specialising in crypto and blockchain industry
- You get the gist 🙂
The interesting thing is you can also transition into selling your own services. Personally, I niched down to personal finance, and later worked on my personal branding and focused on publishing content on this website ringgitohringgit.com.
Again, I’m not saying you should follow or expect these steps. These were just my personal experience when I first started out. Be efficient; learn from my mistakes 🙂
Shoutout to Zoe (professional article writer) and Jasveena (professional academic editor), two Malaysian freelance writers for providing helpful information on this page! Click their links to engage their services.
Are there any more useful information about being a freelance writer in Malaysia that we should know about? Comment, FB, or tweet me at @surayaror!
As always, please share if you find this useful!
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May I know if rm25 per article of 300-1000 words in interior design blogging (both research-based and opinion-based) considered low?
Hey Fala. Yes that is way too low. Assuming it takes you 5 hours or half a day for research, writing, editing and proofreading, that’s just RM5 per hour.
What would be the average rate for that, for a non-experienced writer?
Sorry I missed this!
There’s no such thing as ‘average rates’. Sorry for being vague, but it really depends whether you get a client with high budget or a client with low budget.
Here’s some info about getting clients: http://ringgitohringgit.com/how-to-get-clients/
I also got problem when started as a freelancer. Thank you for this informative content!
You’re welcome and all the best!
Hi need some advice on what or how to charge for social media postings and brochures
I think you’ll like this ‘how to charge clients’ article of mine 🙂 http://ringgitohringgit.com/how-to-charge-clients/
All the best!
Generally, for business writing, the rate is around 50 sen a word. If you are lucky, can get 60 sen a word. For technical writing (e.g. medical, engineering), can be higher, like 70-80 sen a word. For company profiles, I usually charge RM200 per page (there’ll be around 300 words per page). It helps to find out early if the client already has a budget, and decide if this budget is acceptable.
Thanks for sharing your experience here, Hui Min!
Interesting. Very interesting. An eye-opener as well as a mind-opener too. Thanks Suraya.
Thanks Nadia for the kind words 🙂 All the best to you!
Hi, From your article, can I know what skills or certification you had prior to starting out as a writer? Do you think writing or copywriting requires a degree or even coding, graphic designing skills?
I’m a comms major, and studied up until Masters in Corporate Communications. The certs help, but you certainly don’t need it. You can also combine skills ie writer specialising in coding-related articles (that would make good money actually!)
I can recommend browsing through https://www.makealivingwriting.com/ – they have lots of resources for people who want to make a living from writing
Thanks, I enjoyed reading the article. I like how you break down the professional expense and treat it like a business. Essentially, that becomes your “product”.
Exactly, you worded that perfectly 🙂 P/s – cool website you have there!
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Your guide to become a technical writer in malaysia.
RM 3,000 - 4,000
- About this career
- The Pros & Cons
Responsibilities, skills required, related field of study, qualifications, nature of the job, working hours, career path, related jobs, where to study, who is a technical writer.
Technical Writers are professionals who transform complex technical information of a product or service into layman’s term.
A Technical Writer’s job is to simplify technical terms so that consumers will be able to understand it. Think of it this way: if the product is a smartphone and the technical document is the manual, then the technical writer here must be a tech-savvy enthusiast. They need to know what exactly is a processor, audio jack, NFC, bluetooth, storage, etc. in order to provide a comprehensive, clear and easy-to-understand guide for amateur consumers so they understand the specs of the smartph...
A Technical Writer’s job is to simplify technical terms so that consumers will be able to understand it. Think of it this way: if the product is a smartphone and the technical document is the manual, then the technical writer here must be a tech-savvy enthusiast. They need to know what exactly is a processor, audio jack, NFC, bluetooth, storage, etc. in order to provide a comprehensive, clear and easy-to-understand guide for amateur consumers so they understand the specs of the smartphone before purchasing it. They usually prepare and design documents such as online help systems, user interface texts and develop usability tests that will help the reader use a certain product or service.
related to pilot
The pros and cons of being a Technical Writer:
Job market expected to grow fast
Able to be versatile because you have the opportunity to write about different things such as technology, telecommunications, healthcare, software, etc.
Can work as freelancer so you have flexible working hours
Able to enhance your skills in the technical aspect
Demands patience, focus and long attention spans
Most writers like to write when they feel inspired but they have to meet tight deadlines
May feel bored of constantly researching and writing
you shall study to become a pilot
What are all the responsibilities of a Technical Writer ?
Discuss with developers about technical issues
Liaise with translators
Gather information and sort the information
Organise information based on the needs of the user
Edit your work
Market yourself to potential clients if you are a freelancer
Stay updated with technical trends
Incase of any queries
What skills do you need to become a Technical Writer?
Knowledge in the field
How are you supposed to write about something you’re not familiar with? Technical Writers are expected to know every single detail of the product or service in order to break it down in a simpler form for others to understand. This requires lots of reading, researching and communicating with people in the industry. You must also be familiar with the latest trends in that industry. Perhaps a new gadget is releasing soon so you should be the first to know about it.
Good language skills
Unlike other writers or journalists, you specialise in writing for technical products so you don’t necessarily have to be creative in your words. Just ensure the sentence structure, grammar and spelling is correct and meaning is accurate because most of what you will be writing is factual anyway. You need to write in a clear and concise manner so your consumers will find it easy to understand.
Attention to detail
Technical Writers must pay very close attention to detail, be it the product itself or the way they write in order to ensure what they’re writing is accurate. Missing out just one function of the product would be detrimental to its sales. You also need to be careful of the choice of words, style of writing and terms you use to avoid misinterpretation.
What field(s) of study should you choose to become a Technical Writer?
What are the requirements to be a Technical Writer?
The requirements to be a Technical Writer depends on the field you choose to venture into. This can range from computer hardware and software, engineering, biotechnology, electronics, finance, the healthcare industry, etc. If you wish to be a Technical Writer in the IT industry, then obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or Computer Engineering is necessary. However, graduates in this field are not guaranteed this job. It also requires good writing skills.
What are the working hours of a Technical Writer?
Technical Writers work regular office hours, usually from 9am to 5pm. Occasionally, they might have to work overtime to meet deadlines. Typically, they work in a comfortable office environment facing the computer most of the time but they will still have to attend product launches by their clients.
Is a Technical Writer the best career option for you?
Who are all the top recruiters for technical writer in malaysia.
Still unsure whether to choose the Technical Writer career or not?
What famous a technical writer says about their profession.
“As a technical communicator, I am an enabler of information.”
- Suyog Ketkar
Where can you study courses related to Technical Writer in Malaysia?
For a start, here are some of the most popular Law schools in Malaysia.
Criminal law, ask our experts.
Do you have any queries about Technical Writer degree. Please post your query below.
Want to become a professional Technical Writer in Malaysia?
Institutions offering courses in Technical Writer
Technical writer related questions.
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First things first. There are no pre-requisites to becoming a writer in Malaysia. None. Nada. Zip. There isn't a checklist you have to tick
1. Know your intent · 2. Validate your potential, not skills · 3. Find the right tertiary education · 4. Keep reading and writing · 5. Get in touch
“Try, practice, refine your craft, and ACCEPT CRITICISM. I started out as a terrible writer. I know that. But it took a lot of practice
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