Three tips for making more money as a freelance writer

Like any new business, it’ll take time to grow your freelance writing career and develop the connections you need to start earning money. However, once you’re up and running it can be a great second income — or a full time job if you’d like it to be.

Here are some tips on taking your freelance writing to the next level, and earning more money as you go:

The right goals for you will depend on whether you’re writing for fun, as a second stream of income to supplement your full time job, or as a future career. However, having some goals set out in writing is the best way to make sure you stay on the track that works for you. Your goals might be to write a certain number of pieces per week, to get published in a particular magazine, or to earn a fixed monthly amount, for example.

Working freelance means you’re in charge of your own time. This is an amazing perk — but also can mean that you spend longer than you realize on some pieces of work, or that you blur the lines between work time and leisure time. Tracking how you spend your time is the best way to make sure you’re charging the right amount for your work, and can help you see ways to earn more by focusing on the writing which pays best per hour.

1. Avoid content mills

Content mills offer work to freelance writers, often writing blogs and content marketing materials. However, they often offer low rates to writers, and keep a large amount of the profit from the writing for themselves. In most cases it’s better to avoid these companies if possible. Instead, create your own online presence with a blog or website, network with businesses in your niche, and pitch directly for paid writing opportunities. This may take a little longer than getting a fast fee from a content mill, but it’ll very quickly turn out more profitable.

2. Develop new business as you go

If you’re writing to earn an income you’ll need to continually pitch to new clients to win more work. A good way to do this is to set aside a fixed amount of time every week or month, to seek out new leads, build your network, pitch clients and develop new business ideas. Treat this as a crucial part of your working week, to make sure you have a continued pipeline of work on an ongoing basis.

When you first start writing you might choose to charge a relatively low fee for your work as you build your skills and your portfolio. However, you should review your prices and increase them over time, to make sure you continue to grow your business. Ask friends in the same niche, or use your online network, to get a sense for the market rates they charge, and to make sure you’re pitching at the right level.

3. Grow a global client base

Freelance writers can choose to work for employers based anywhere in the world. Don’t feel constrained by your home location, as you may be able to develop a client base overseas.

Starting to look in English speaking countries is the easiest option – try the UK, Australia, Ireland or New Zealand. However, it’s common for companies in Europe and beyond to need English language blogs, website copy and more — so it can also pay to reach out to customers based in countries where English isn’t the first language, too.

By getting a smart multi-currency account like the Wise borderless account, you can invoice clients in their home currency so it’s easy for them to pay you quickly, making working with an international customer no different to working with one here in the US. You can also create and send your invoices by using our downloadable free invoice templates, and find an independent contractor agreement template to make your work official.

As you take on more clients you’ll get better at creating and chasing invoices, and managing your money as a freelance writer. If you’re working with clients based overseas it’s a smart idea to have an account which makes it easy to get paid in foreign currency, so you can invoice clients in their home currencies for ease.

Try the Wise borderless account to see how easy it is to receive payments in foreign currencies. With your own local bank details you can get paid in major currencies like British pounds, Australian and New Zealand dollars and euros, for no fee. You’ll even be able to hold dozens of different currencies in the same account, and switch between them when you want to using the mid market exchange rate. That means there are no hidden fees to worry about — just a small transparent charge to convert your money back to dollars.

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How Much Does Freelance Writing Pay?

I assume that you’re interested in freelance writing because you want to make money. But how much money are we talking, exactly?

It depends.

On the very low end, there are content mills that will pay you a few bucks to churn out surface-level, bite-sized articles. At the other end of the spectrum, I’ve been paid $1,000 for a single (long, detailed) article. And some writers earn far more than that (mostly in the world of copywriting).

So what makes the difference between the freelance writers earning less than minimum wage and those who charge more per hour than a lawyer? It all comes down to the following:

  • Experience – If you’re brand new, then you’re not going to be able to charge as much as someone with more experience. However, experience matters much less than you would think, which is one thing that makes freelance writing such an appealing field.
  • Skill – More important than experience is skill. The best writers can (and should) charge more for their work. Luckily, it takes less time than you’d think to become a skilled freelance writer.
  • Positioning – This might be the most important factor in earning more. If you can position yourself as a skilled writer who does great work, then you can charge more.
  • Clients – One overlooked aspect of earning more as a freelancer is finding the right clients. If you can find clients who are willing to pay top dollar for the best work, then you’ll earn more.
  • Topics – Some topics are more profitable than others. This includes topics that are highly technical (car repair, for example) or require special expertise/credentials (medical topics, for instance).

No matter your starting knowledge/skills, you shouldn’t expect to make much in the beginning. In my first year of freelance writing, I made a few hundred dollars. I’m not saying you can’t do better, but expect your income to be pretty modest the first year or so.

Finally, note that your freelance writing earnings depend on how much time you can/want to commit.

If you just want to freelance write for a few hours per week, it can be a nice supplemental income (and far more pleasant than driving for Uber). But if you want to put in full-time hours, it’s possible to earn a full-time income.

Become a freelance writer today

You can become a freelance writer in next to no time with Copify. Simply fill out an application and be on your way to accessing paid writing jobs from a range of clients. You’ll gain the writing experience and confidence you need to kick-start your freelance writing career and have a new world of flexibility and freedom doing what you love at your fingertips!

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Create a portfolio

Even if you have no published works, it’s important to have an attractive and professional-looking portfolio with a link from your social media profiles and website. It’s the shop front to your freelancing business.

While you’re still waiting to get clients, write samples of different kinds of content to showcase your skills. When you have new work published, ensure you add it to your portfolio as soon as possible (if you’ve produced a piece of content for a client, you may need approval from them first). We have more advice in our post on how to create a killer copywriting portfolio.

What do you need to be a freelance writer?

One of the reasons that the freelance industry is booming—roughly four million people in the USA turned to freelance work between 2014 and 2019—is that you don’t need any particular experience or training to become a freelance writer. 

As long as you have a good command of whatever language you’re writing in, are ready to learn about new topics, and are motivated to reach out to clients, all you need is a laptop and an internet connection.

However, if you’re looking for entry-level freelancing writing jobs, one other thing you need is resilience. Out of all the story and article pitches you make, the chances are that you’ll hear back from a relatively small percentage of clients. You shouldn’t expect much more than 10% of the emails you send out to lead to paid work. 

This is certain to improve as you get better at tailoring your writing proposals and portfolio to potential clients but first, it’s important not to get disheartened by rejections.

Learn how to become a freelance writer

And there you have it — my epic compendium of all the basic questions I get asked on how to become a freelance writer!

The big thing I’ve learned in my decade helping writers get clients is that no matter how many questions I answer…there are always more.

What are your freelance writing questions? Leave them in the comments and let’s get you some help.

7- Guestpost

Guest posting is essentially where you write for other websites for free. It helps you get your writing published, if you want to know how to become a freelance writer with no experience.

It is normally unpaid but some may pay! I have secured new clients that pay well this way.

A  really easy way to find guest posts is to google your niche + guest posts.

So for example, if you like to write about vegan food:

Vegan food + guest posts

Write for us + vegan food

Here are some sites that accept guest posts :

Red Tricycle– Parenting niche

GoMadNomad– Travel niche (Paid!)

Buzzfeed-Entertainment and Viral content

TODAY– Parenting and Food niche

If you want to know how I pitch my guest posts to these sites, read this.

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11. Do the writing

Q: What’s the best way to make sure I do a great job on my assignment?

A: Study the publication, the blog, or the company materials you are writing for. Really take it apart. How do they start their articles, quote their sources, how long are paragraphs, what sort of experts do they use? How do they conclude? Then, you do that.

Q: I’m scared to turn in my writing to my client. What should I do?

A: Have a writer-friend give it a read and make suggestions. Or consider trading services with an editor for a while, while you build confidence.

Q: What if I don’t have enough article ideas to get assignments regularly?

A: Then don’t write articles. There’s a ton of paid writing for businesses, where they will dictate the topics. Alternatively, learn about how to be a story idea machine.

Q: What if my article gets killed?

A: Like the old song says: Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, start all over again. Can’t let any little setbacks get in the way of your freelance dreams!

Q: My client hated my first draft, and I’m devastated. How can I prevent this problem?

A: Ask more questions up-front. Learn about the tone, style, and content the client needs. Pros ask a lot of questions. Here are some key questions to ask copywriting clients.

Q: What if I take an assignment and then I can’t meet the deadline?

A: Try not to worry about it — many deadlines are fungible. Try to build in extra time, until you get a better sense of how long it takes you to do things.

9. Publish your work for free on

is another online writing portfolio that allows you to upload your writing content for FREE.

It has a sleek, simple and fuss-free platform that makes it easy for you to use,

All you need to do is write and then upload your articles on the platform and send it to potential clients when they ask for samples.

How to Think About Your Freelance Writing Clients

As you dig into your niche, you also want to start thinking about your potential clients too. Here’s how to approach figuring out what clients you want to work with.

Step 4: Create a Target Client

When I say target client (or buyer persona or ideal client), I mean the ideal person or brand you want to work with. When you figure out who this is, it makes it a lot easier to find potential cleints.

If you’re feeling stuck, ask yourself these questions about them:

  • Who are they?
  • What do they do?
  • What problems do they need help solving?

Buffer has a good intro post that goes a bit more in-depth on buyer personas. And HubSpot has a cool tool you can use to start building your own too.

Here’s an example in action:

You want to write about smart homes.

Who is your ideal client?

  • Someone who has expendable income and loves technology. They want to be connected at all times to their homes through their smartwatch or phone. They love using voice technology to get answers to questions or help when they are cooking.

Ok, so what types of products do they use?

  • Smartwatches
  • Smart home speakers (Google Home, Alexa, etc. )
  • Apps
  • SmartThermometers
  • SmartLocks for their doors

Where do they get information online?

  • Smart home forums
  • Wired magazine, Cnet, TechHive
  • Chatting with friends
  • Tech events
  • Smart home brands websites

What problems do they need help solving?

  • What’s the best product out there?
  • What works with the operating systems/configurations I already have?
  • What has cool features that will impress my friends?

Where can I write about this?

  • Company blogs
  • Blogs within the industry that talk about this technology
  • Real estate blogs
  • Home design blogs
  • Trade magazines

What type of writing can I do for this?

  • Blog posts
  • White papers
  • Thought pieces (these can often be ghostwritten for the CEO or other executives)
  • Guides on how to use the products
  • eBooks
  • Product descriptions
  • Website copy
  • Sales emails
  • Facebook ads
  • Video scripts

Action step: Start building an ideal customer persona

Do you see how you can start niching in multiple ways here?

You can niche within an industry, a product, and even a medium.

That can turn you into someone who says, “I write about tech.” to someone who says, “I write video scripts that sell smart home speakers.”

Now, if you were a company looking to hire someone to help sell more speakers, who sound like the person you’d want to hire?

The point of this exercise is to help you not only figure out potential clients that will be a good fit.

As you start building out your bullet points, it should start becoming a lot clearer about who your potential clients are and where you can write. That makes it so much easier to land a job and get paid as a freelance writer.

Step 2: Come Up With Your Targets

Grab a sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle.

On one side, write the names of the publications or clients that you think you could score right now. Hint: They’re probably not super well-known or high-paying gigs.

On the other side, write down outlets you want to write or work for someday. That could include The New York Times, Vox, “someone who pays me a dollar per word”—anyone you want! Don’t feel like you need to be realistic.

This exercise may feel a little silly, but it’s played a bigger role in my success than anything else. I constantly pitch the publications on the right (more on that in the next step) and scheme about how I could write for the publications on the left.

And as time goes on, I update the “right now” publications to reflect my greater experience and qualifications. Eventually, I want to have one column: a dream list of publications that I can realistically pitch.

Step 4: Contact Other Writers

Freelancing may be considered solitary work, but other writers are your secret weapon. Imagine you’ve always wanted to write for The Muse, but you haven’t had any luck sending in pitches. (True story: I pitched The Muse twice to no avail before being hired as an editorial intern!)

If I were you, I’d find my favorite Muse writer, hunt him or her down on social media, and send a quick message.

To give you an idea:

Dear Kat,

I absolutely love your social media and app articles on The Muse! And since you’re such a great writer, I was wondering if you had any insight on what The Muse editors are looking for. I’ve pitched them a couple times and haven’t had any luck. Any feedback on style, topic, length, etc. would be much appreciated!

Best,

Aja

This technique has allowed me to get very specific info on what the publication wants. It’s also gotten me editor email addresses (and even some introductions!).

Becoming a freelance writer: Savannah’s story

The only downside to having so many opportunities is that it can make getting started as a freelance writer feel somewhat overwhelming.

One of the biggest initial challenges people face is trying to picture what the process of becoming a freelance writer actually looks like.

While the origin story of every freelance writer can—and does—look a little different, it’s helpful to ask around in person and look at stories online to visualize the process and get some inspiration.

To illustrate the process, I asked my friend Savannah how she got started as a freelance writer, and here’s what she shared:

“Like many people, I wasn’t too sure what to do with my life as a college student. Despite being an English Literature major, I ended up going down the path of becoming a digital marketer because it felt ‘safer,’ and I decided to pursue my love of writing in my free time by creating a lifestyle blog.

While I really enjoyed the analytical side of things with digital marketing (and those skills certainly came in handy later), I found myself longing for more creativity and a better schedule.

I started to travel a lot and grow my blog more as I went along, and I realized that I didn’t want to give those things up.

Basically, the freedom of working wherever I wanted and doing what I loved as a freelance writer grew more and more appealing.

I had no idea how to be a freelance writer, though, so I turned to a friend who was already working as one and asked her for advice. She led me to a freelancing platform called Upwork and was kind enough to give me some tips and share her profile to reference.

Soon after talking with her and putting in some solid market research, I started pitching myself to a ton of potential clients on the platform.

Nerve-racking as it was to put myself out there (and rejections are an inevitable part of the process), it wasn’t long before I found someone who wanted to work with me.

Since then, I’ve continued to grow my own blog and have worked with multiple clients across industries, writing blog articles, social media posts, web pages, and much, much more. As of today, I’ve happily been a freelance writer for the past three and a half years.”

Now, with an idea of the process in mind, are you ready to create your own freelance writing story?

Should you become a freelance writer?

First, you need to find your reason for becoming a freelance writer. Without a solid reason to pull you through the long hours, it can be difficult to make your dream a reality. The benefits of becoming a freelance writer can be absolutely amazing.

You have the opportunity to build your freelancing business from the ground up. You have the option to choose how much you are willing to work, when you are able to work, where you will work and how much you will charge for your services. However, you need to determine why these benefits matter to you.

Would you use the newfound flexibility to spend more time with your kids? To pursue a new passion in your free time? Or to make your own schedule while you travel the world? You’ll need to understand how these benefits will play out in your life.

Find something to hold on to. As you start to build your business, you’ll likely need to put in long hours on top of your regular job. As you get closer to the tipping point of being able to afford to quit your regular job, the longer those hours might get to you. You’ll need to draw on the reason why you are doing this to find the self-discipline to carry on.

4. Create a Writing Portfolio of Your Work

Most job ads you’ll apply for will ask to se

Most job ads you’ll apply for will ask to see your work. They want to see samples of published work.

If you’re new, you won’t have any published work – unless you already have a blog.

So, when you become a freelance writer from home, how do you show prospects you can actually write

Besides starting a blog, you can create writing samples.

Draft up a few pieces and either upload them as a Google Doc or publish them on Medium.

Check out this post on how to create samples from scratch.

Another way to create writing samples is with guest posting. These are blogs that accept guest writers. Get posted on these blogs means you will have a link to show prospects someone thought your writing was good enough to be published.

You can quickly Google your writing niche + write for us to get blogs that accept contributors.

Here’s the result for spiritual blogs that accept guest writers.

Example of guest post opportunities
Example of guest post opportunities

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