How To Become a Freelance Writer and Make Money Online




become a freelance writer
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Let’s talk about how you can make a living online by being a writer. Whether you decide to freelance or get a full-time job, you can earn $50k to $100k per year as a writer while working remotely online.

To start, let’s think about the two most common things people think about when they get the idea of becoming a writer.

  • Many people think that writing is a saturated low paying profession.
  • Others assume that they can buy a copywriting course and easily start making hundreds of thousands per year easily.

Both of these points are wrong.

Starting out, you are not going to make a large amount of money. But with enough practice and experience, you will slowly build up your skills, writing efficiency, and a portfolio of clients which will help you increase your asking rate of being paid (as you acquire more clients and more work than you can handle.)

In regards to copywriting courses and education, it can be helpful if you are a beginner in the writing profession. But, taking courses will not be a miracle and cannot guarantee you will be successful or make a lot of money from writing. You will have to practice and do a lot of self-development on your own to discover how good you are and how good your natural talent is.

Why Writing Is a Great Profession For Making Money Online

Being a writer is a great profession to pursue for working and making money online because it’s a skill that’s highly in demand and can be done from anywhere you have an internet connection.

This allows you to create a lifestyle that allows you to work from home or be a digital nomad.

In addition:

  • As a freelance writer, you’ll get to write off all of your business expenses such as a laptop, internet, home office, printer, and software tools.
  • As an employee, you won’t have to show up to the office very often and will save a ton of money on commuting costs. Not to mention, you can easily get the security of a job but still have a skill set that you can freelance on the side with.

The Big Advantage Of Freelance Writing Vs. Taking a Remote Job as a Writer

If you decide to freelance and you gain more and more experience, you can scale up your income by getting paid by the job and not by the hour, this way if you are a fast writer, your overall value per hour goes way up too.

The takeaway is this: As you become an experienced freelance writer, eventually you’ll figure out the best pricing model for your services and learn how to maximize your time the best. If you decide to take on a full-time job with a company, your writing experience will allow you to demand a higher salary. Either scenario is fine in my opinion!

How Much Can You Make As a Writer?

How much you are paid as a writer greatly depends on how much experience you have, what kind of subjects you are writing about, and the type of writing you are doing.

Some examples include:

Advertising and Copywriting For Businesses

The most profitable form of writing is Advertising and Copywriting for businesses.

Some veteran copywriters can charge as much as 50 cents to three dollars per word. The overall volume of work will be low and you’ll be spending a lot of time thinking about how to put the words together to make a persuasive writing piece to sell something.

You’ll most likely spend a lot of your time writing ad headlines for Google Ads or Social Media and writing advertorials or product landing pages. There might be some informational articles to write about products or services as well.

Business, Law, and Finance Articles

Another very profitable type of writing is creating well-researched business and finance articles that educate and provide information to readers for various online publications and company blogs.

Whether you are writing content for Forbes, The Balance, or a FinTech Startup’s Blog, content for business, law, and finance requires thorough research and background knowledge which means it pays you well as a writer.

Typically, I’ve seen some online publications pay as much as 400 dollars for a 1500-word article. Or some businesses pay as much as .25 or .50 cents per word for a blog article. Starting out, you should expect at least 5 to 10 cents per word once until you have a bit of experience and a small portfolio of writing samples built up.

SEO Copywriting (SEO Content Writing)

SEO Copywriting (or SEO Content Writing) is another highly paid form of writing that can be profitable. Using the previous two examples, you will always provide more value as a writer who is familiar with Search Engine Optimization.

If you understand how to do search analysis, keyword research, and on-page SEO best practices for a website, you’ll be able to charge a premium for your writing services or negotiate a much higher salary for a job.

In addition, if you are writing blog articles for a company, they will want you to have some SEO knowledge. So I highly recommend you study up on the basics of SEO and how to implement on-page SEO techniques into your writing.

You Got This, Start Looking For Opportunities

All in All, you can make money online doing ghostwriting, copywriting, quiz writing, podcast writing, greeting card writing, email newsletters, and much much more.

Just get out there and start searching job boards like Indeed, Craigslist, and Glassdoor to see what’s out there. You can even post your resume and see what happens.

An additional source for finding writing jobs is the job board over at Pro Blogger.

If you are looking for a 100% pure freelance writing platform to do work with, you can check out Writers Access, Contently, and Clearvoice. All of these platforms pay their freelancers very well, but you will have to qualify to their standards before you can start.

Two more options where you can do well are UpWork and Fiverr. With these platforms however you’ll get a lot of clients who just want cheap work, so you might have to weed out a lot of prospects to find the ones that are worth working with..

To Summarize How Much a Writer Can Make

Freelance Writer

A good target for a part-time freelance writer starting out is 50K per year. This is good because you won’t be overly busy and can maintain a level of creativity and quality in the work you provide.

Then, from a 20-30 hour week, you just scale up your price per word or hourly rate to get to a $100k yearly income while still working just 4-6 hours per day.

If you get really experienced and find the right accounts in a business niche that pays well, you could potentially make up to $150k per year.

Consider the following example.

You are able to write 500 words per hour at .30 cents per word, which would equal 150 dollars per hour. Then, 150 dollars per hour multiplied by 1000 part-time hours in a year is $150,000.

And remember, for a full-time job it’s considered to have around 2,070 hours per year. So the earning potential and flexibility of being a writer are quite extraordinary if you ask me!

Full-time Writer With a Company

According to Indeed, full-time writers at companies and publications can make 50k or more per year with benefits. It largely depends on which city you are going to work in. For example, according to Indeed, the Washington D.C. average pay for a writer is 30 dollars per hour, while Houston, TX is 20 dollars.

Like any full-time job, you have to consider the cost of living, the industry, the company itself, the benefits being offered, and how far up the corporate ladder you want to climb. To make $100k per year as a full-time writer in a company, you’ll most likely have to take on some editing and management responsibilities.

If that is not for you, you’ll be far better off just freelancing!

4 Steps To Get Started, For Becoming a Highly Paid Writer

Now that you have a pretty good picture of the options for becoming a highly paid writer, let’s review the steps of actually getting there.

First, Start a Blog and Set Up Social Media

You need to have a website to show yourself off with. A WordPress blog is a perfect way to do this.

On your WordPress site, you should create the following pages.

  • An About Page that shares who you are and your experience as a writer.
  • Write blog articles to show what kind of writing you do and examples of your work.
  • You can also write articles by doing SEO research and see what industries you want to target and generate leads for yourself.
  • If you have a successful project you did for a client, you can also create a case study about it and publish it on your blog.
  • Publish any other information on your website that shows people where you are accepting work and how to get in contact with you. You can even link to your profiles on social media or freelance platforms like Fiverr, UpWork, or Writers Access.
  • If you are looking for full-time work, put your blog on your resume.

After you get your blog set up, feel free to set up social media so you can easily network with others in the writing community. I find that the best social media platforms for writers are Twitter, Linkedin, and Pinterest.

Remember! You also need to include a photo of yourself when setting up your blog, freelance profiles, and social media accounts. A professional headshot photo of yourself will go a long way in getting more conversions for writing gigs or job offers.

Second, Accept Most of The Work That Comes Your Way

You want to build your client portfolio of work as fast as possible so you can gain validation and experience. This will help you decide which path to focus on as far as a niche, industry, and the types of clients you want to work with.

Not to mention the types of content you want to specialize in making!

Whether it’s copywriting landing pages, writing blog articles, or producing SEO content. You will need to invest some time figuring out what type of writing you are the best at, as well as profit the most from.

Getting your first clients can come from a Freelancing Platform, People You Know, or from you Promoting Yourself Online.

Even if you get clients who are cheap, consider taking them on to get started.

Third, Start Specializing and Raise Your Rate

After you get some experience doing actual writing work, you’ll start to realize the type of work that is in demand and pays you the best.

As you evolve and get more and more clients requesting your services it’s important to start raising your rates. You must do this and not be afraid of losing potential clients.

Raising your rates will be required whether you freelance directly with companies or through a freelance platform.

Raising your hourly rate is the only way you’ll ever be able to make $100k or more per year as a freelance writer. The same is true for someone wanting to grow a writing career at a full-time job with a company, so always ask for a raise and promotion.

Lastly, For Writers Who Want A Full-Time Job

Getting your first full-time writing job with a corporation will require some kind of experience so include your freelance writing work on your resume.

As you build up your resume working with various companies, you’ll eventually find yourself getting better job offers or promotions that will lead you to make more money over time.

To pull this off, just follow the previous few steps that relate to freelancing, but just turn them around into building up your resume alongside your portfolio of writing work.

Final Thoughts

Be personal and professional, then build up your brand as a writer, and up and up you will go.

The road is definitely not easy to become a writer as there are no shortcuts. However, if you have the desire to provide quality work and value to your clients, you will be rewarded with referrals and higher rates over time.

If you have no experience with writing, keep in mind that the only way to really succeed is to just practice and perfect your skills on your own time. While a course can show you a bit about becoming a freelance writer, the only way to truly succeed is to just practice on your own and then get feedback on the quality of your work from clients and people you know along the way.

I hope this article has helped you decide whether writing as a job or as a freelancer is right for you!


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