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Make MoneyHow To Make Money as A Freelance Writer

How To Make Money as A Freelance Writer

There are countless possibilities when it comes to how to make money as a freelance writer. You may write blog posts, case studies, and white papers for businesses, as well as articles for thousands of magazines and newspapers. You can write about anything on the Internet and get paid. If you want to learn everything about how to make money as a freelance writer, you have come to the right place.

As a freelance writer, you need to do more than negotiate rates to make more money. If you discover the secrets of how to make money as a freelance writer, you will be able to gain an advantage over other aspiring writers.

You can earn 40% more per hour if you follow these steps that one writer used to earn more money as a freelancer.

Get familiar with web writing

Some of the most significant demand for writers comes from content marketing and online publishing. Besides writing blog posts and social media posts, businesses need writers for e-books, e-mail marketing, and landing pages as well.

For a much higher chance of landing gigs, if you’re a creative writer or a journalist, learn how to write for online platforms, including search engine optimization (SEO) and social media.

Establish a niche

Writing about personal finance, a highly sought-after niche has been a big part of my success in gathering clients quickly. After working full-time for five years in the field, I gained expertise in complex topics.

At first, I wasn’t interested in narrowing down my topics because I enjoy writing about so many different things. Leveraging my greatest expertise as a “personal finance writer” helps me attract clients looking for that expertise. In addition, it helps my network think of me as a referral source.

Writing opportunities always seem to be available in the lucrative niches of finance, health, and law. Each of them deals with complex topics that have a significant impact on readers’ lives, so writers and editors should have a thorough understanding of them.

A certification, such as a Certified Financial Planner™ or CPA, would add authority and boost your value as a niche writer. In order to write about the law in a blog, one needs a law degree or education, as well as experience in writing about law.

Make yourself referable

Over the years, I have developed strong relationships with editors and fellow writers through full-time jobs and freelance side gigs.

The ability to network has never been one of my strong suits. Instead, I built relationships through my work – I turned in clean copy, met deadlines, and suggested great ideas. I was often referred to clients and given opportunities by friends and colleagues who knew I was available.

You need to put your full effort behind your work, no matter what you’re getting paid for it now. When you show up and do a great job, you will start getting referrals, so you can eventually be picky and feel comfortable negotiating higher prices.

Adapt your rates to the market

There is a lot to consider when setting freelance rates. Based on what I had learned from colleagues and freelance writers I’d worked with as an editor, I set my initial target somewhat arbitrarily. There were a few prospects who weren’t able to match it, so I turned down their offers.

After that, I received an offer from a site I knew I would enjoy writing for. To all freelancers, a set per-word rate was offered – half my target rate. The advantage was that there were endless opportunities for assignments, so I wouldn’t have to spend as much time pitching and seeking new opportunities.

An abundance of work could make a low rate more lucrative than a high rate for one-off or sporadic assignments you have to spend unpaid time securing. Don’t turn down good opportunities just because they do not meet your standards. Include that difference in your rates.

Don’t work by the hour, but by the earnings

As a freelancer, you have a few options for planning your day:

  • Organize your time so you can work from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. (or whatever hours work for you). If you’re in the middle of a project, stop at quitting time, and resume the following day.
  • Make a to-do list for the day, and complete everything on it.
  • Define your earnings by an average amount per day, and work until you reach that amount.

Based on earnings, I plan my days to earn the most and consistently increase my earnings without increasing my workload or hours.

I’ve found that aiming for a dollar amount each day helps me prioritize work and helps me recognize when I need to rebalance my workload by dropping overburdened clients and reaching out to new ones.

You need to do some math

In my third month back at freelancing, this was the most important step I took to boost my income by 70%. Initially, I worked 20 hours a week on content management, and I worked on a few writing assignments to fill the rest of my time.

I quickly noticed that writing had a much better return on investment once I tracked the hours spent on each project.

Know your effective hourly rate by tracking the time you spend on each project. Your time and money will be split between projects that make you money and those that drain you.

A good rule of thumb is to double your full-time hourly rate when setting a target rate. A full-time job would pay about $24 per hour if you’re aiming for an annual salary of $50,000. You should aim to earn about $48 per hour as a freelancer.

Freelancers have to aim for more since they don’t get paid for every hour they work. In addition to writing pitches, researching publications, searching job boards, writing proposals, networking, and meeting with prospects, you spend countless hours working on non-billable tasks.

Unless you have a spouse who can provide health insurance, self-employed people also have to pay higher taxes and buy their own health insurance.

Don’t waste your time with time-sucking clients

In realizing that I could earn more money writing rather than managing content, I terminated a client who had demanded a great deal of my time.

I increased my hourly rate by about 40% when I filled that time with other clients. As a result, I was able to earn more money and work fewer hours. Though I was hesitant to lose that client, who promised me as much work as I wanted, I knew I could put my time to better use.

If you’re doing inefficient work, you’re wasting your time and could be doing more lucrative work. Don’t be afraid to drop clients when you find better employment.

Make note of clients who waste your time with nonbillable work – those who require complicated invoicing, email you at odd hours, micromanage every assignment, or expect several rounds of revision. If you are calculating your hourly rate for a client’s project, be sure you take into account the extra time you spend on that client’s project.

Pitching isn’t enough

It was my biggest mistake to think pitching was the only way to get work during my first stint as a freelancer.

New writers can get assignments at high-end magazines or newspapers or blogs by pitching one-off pitches. While writing is a lucrative profession, it is also a laborious one.

Search for clients who want a long-term relationship and offer ongoing writing work. It is popular for small businesses to operate this way, as are niche sites that require specialized knowledge, such as finance, health, and law blogs.

Doing a great job on one-off assignments can turn them into ongoing gigs.

A follow-up pitch should be made after one successful assignment. Whenever you know an editor is impressed with your work, let them know you’re available for work. It’s not uncommon for websites to have a wish list of articles they’d like written, and they’re happy to pass them along once you have proven yourself reliable.

Find gigs in the right places

You may have relied on broker sites like Upwork and Textbroker to find places to write for money while you were a freelancer. Most clients on those sites are looking for the cheapest hire and aren’t as concerned with quality.

You have better chances of finding freelance work now that you have more experience:

  • Consider higher-quality job boards such as MediaBistro,, or Mediagazer.
  • Link to your portfolio and “work with me” page from your social media profiles so clients can find you.
  • Become a member of a writer’s group such as Freelance Writers Den, Editorial Freelancers Association, or Society of Professional Journalists, which host vetted job boards.
  • Share your availability with colleagues who love your work, so they can send prospects your way. Don’t forget to return the favor when you can.
  • You can find quality opportunities to work as a freelance writer in freelance writer groups on Facebook, such as The Freelance Content Marketing Writer and The Write Life.

Make yourself more tech-savvy

If you’re easy to work with, clients will value you more – and if you’re tech-savvy, you won’t have to hold their hands through every new software update.

As a freelancer, you’ll encounter the following basic technology:

  • Use Google Hangouts or Zoom for video conferencing.
  • Asana and Trello are used for project management.
  • Using Microsoft Word and Google Docs for word processing and collaboration.
  • Small businesses can manage their content with WordPress (and Wix in some cases).

Sign up for writing newsletters

It’s easy to stay on top of writing gigs by subscribing to a newsletter for writers. Additionally, they are usually accompanied by tons of useful writing tips as well.

One of my favorite newsletters with unique writing gigs is:

 FundsforWriters by C. Hope Clark.

 Where to Pitch by Susan Shain.

Identify new clients and reach out to them

It’s easy to rely on job boards or Facebook posts to find new clients when you’re a new writer, but you can make more money by finding clients yourself.

Find startups in your field using sites like Crunchbase. Your emails should explain what you can do for them and how your writing can benefit their business.

Remind yourself to follow up within a few months with a quick check-in and a link to your latest article.

Regardless of whether you never hear back or get a lukewarm response, keeping in touch is crucial. It is impossible to predict when a company will be ready for freelance help. Several months or even a year could pass before we know.

Take your earning potential to the next level

It takes more than knowing how to negotiate higher rates to make more money as a freelance writer. Even if you never have had a discussion about money in your life, a little organization, strategy, and good work can give you a serious boost.

By focusing on a niche and demonstrating your quality and work ethic to colleagues, you will increase your value in the workplace. You should avoid low-cost job boards, and rather seek employment through industry groups, vetted listings, and referrals from your network.

Try to keep track of your work, even if it can be tedious at times. As a first step toward getting more out of your time, you must be able to determine how much your time is worth.

Disclaimer: In this article, some of the links may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to us at no expense to you if you decide to subscribe to a paid plan. We stand behind these products since we have personally used them. This site does not provide financial advice and is merely intended for entertainment purposes. Our affiliate disclaimer as well as our privacy policy may be viewed on our website.

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