Do you dream of being a freelance writer?
Do you want to work from home, set your own hours, and be your own boss?
If so, you’re in luck!
Freelance writing is a great way to make a living doing something you love.
But it’s not always easy.
There’s a lot of competition, and it can be tough to get started.
But if you’re willing to put in the work, it can be a very rewarding career.
In this blog post, I’m going to give you everything you need to know to become a successful freelance writer. I’ll cover everything from finding clients to setting your rates to managing your time.
So if you’re ready to take the plunge, read on!
What Exactly is Freelance Writing?
Freelance writing is the realm where self-motivated individuals, known as freelancers, earn their stripes by weaving words into compelling articles, informative white papers, engaging blogs, and various text-based content for one or more clients. The beauty of it? You are your boss, choosing to craft your literary masterpieces from the comfort of your home office, a cozy coffee shop, or the vibrant atmosphere of a coworking space.
Why You Should Be a Freelance Writer?
In today’s digital age, nearly every business worth its pixels has a website, a blog, and a social media presence. Now, take a moment to reflect on the quality of content you’ve come across—often, it’s a sea of bland, uninspiring text filled with spelling and grammatical blunders.
🤯 But here’s where the magic happens! 🪄
Successful businesses are on the hunt for freelance writers like you. The demand for top-notch content has surged, and it’s estimated that by the end of 2022, the freelance writing industry will be worth a staggering $407.30 billion. Hold onto your keyboards because Absolute Reports predicts this figure will soar to an astonishing $877.66 billion by 2028!
Freelancing is no longer a trend; it’s the new normal. 🚀
But here’s the jaw-dropping twist:
While businesses have awakened to the power of content marketing, many writers are still stuck in the Stone Age, dreaming of bylines in magazines and newspapers. Don’t get us wrong; that path is still viable, but the competition for paying gigs is growing fiercer with publishers cutting back on writer compensation.
📢 Here’s the real scoop: The content marketing frontier is where the gold rush is happening. 🌟
Businesses are scrambling to find skilled writers to fill the content void. You can earn a lot more money with fewer headaches in this realm. It’s not just an opportunity—it’s a treasure trove of potential waiting for talented wordsmiths like you to seize.
How much does a freelance writer earns?
The burning question on every aspiring freelance writer’s mind is undoubtedly, “How much can I earn?”
According to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, writers and authors in the USA had a median annual income of $63,200 in 2019, averaging $30.40 per hour. But here’s the catch: this statistic encompasses both freelancers and salaried writers, who are typically more experienced and better compensated.
For a more realistic picture, let’s turn to PayScale.com, which estimates that freelance writers earn an average of $23.90 per hour. This figure is probably closer to what you can expect as you start your freelance writing journey.
📈 Earning Potential: From Novice to Pro 📈
In the beginning, earning a decent wage as a freelance writer with little to no experience can be quite the challenge. However, once you secure your initial freelance writing gigs and assemble a portfolio showcasing your skills, your income is bound to rise.
The key to boosting your earnings lies in understanding and demonstrating the value of your work to clients. As you become more proficient, you’ll tailor your writing to target audiences, making your work even more valuable and opening doors to higher rates.
📝 Factors Affecting Your Earnings 📝
If, like many freelancers, you charge per word, two primary factors will determine your income: your writing speed and your negotiated rate.
- Writing Speed: Initially, your writing speed might clock in at around 200 words per hour for a basic blog post. However, with practice, this pace will likely surge to 500 or even 600 words per hour. Experience is your ally when it comes to writing efficiency.
- Rate per Word: Your rate per word varies depending on the client and the type of writing. Reviews and blogs tend to be more straightforward and, consequently, earn less per word compared to intricate opinion pieces for major news outlets.
💸 Fluctuating Freelance Rates 💸
The average freelance writing rate is far from static—it evolves over time. For a glimpse into today’s freelance writing landscape, explore the “Who Pays Writers” website. This invaluable resource compiles anonymous reports from freelancers about their earnings from various clients. You’ll discover that some organizations are willing to pay well over $1 per word for highly specialized content, while others offer a meager $0.04 for simpler blog pieces.
11 Essential Tips on How to be a Freelance Writer
Embarking on a freelance writing career may seem daunting, especially when you’re just starting. But remember, there are different levels to this game, and you’re aiming to become a top-notch writer who commands premium rates while having the freedom to choose your clients and projects. Here are 11 actionable steps to kick-start your freelance writing business:
1. Read Widely 📚
Just as in data science, the quality of your output in writing depends on the quality of your input. Read extensively to broaden your horizons both vertically (within your industry) and horizontally (across various genres and industries). This diverse reading will set you apart as a writer, even as a beginner.
2. Write on Platforms Like Medium 📝
Experiment with writing on platforms like Medium. It’s an excellent way to discover your writing style, niche, and what resonates with your audience. Moreover, it’s a valuable tool for networking and gaining experience.
3. Start Your Own Blog 💻
Launching your blog gives you control over your content and analytics. It allows you to dive deep into search engine optimization (SEO), understand reader behavior, and capture emails for building your network.
4. Learn SEO Basics 🔍
SEO knowledge is essential for ranking your content on search engines. Clients often expect freelance writers to meet SEO goals, making SEO skills invaluable for your career. Start with the basics and keep learning, as SEO is ever-evolving.
5. Network with Writers 🤝
Connect with fellow writers and industry professionals on platforms like Twitter. Engage with those who can provide insights into research, effective CTAs, and high-quality titles. Networking can also help you learn freelancing skills and discover new opportunities.
6. Develop Editing Skills ✍️
Effective editing is crucial in freelance writing. Review your work impartially, checking for inconsistencies, inaccuracies, grammatical errors, and vague statements. The more you edit, the smoother the collaboration with clients becomes.
7. Find Your Niche 🎯
Identify a niche where your interests align with your expertise. Clients value writers who can offer unique insights into specific topics. This alignment can lead to more lucrative opportunities.
8. Cold Pitch Publications 📢
Approach publications relevant to your niche with well-crafted pitches. While major magazines may be competitive, start with smaller publishers. Even if rejected, repurpose your drafts for your blog or other clients.
9. Offer Guest Posts 📖
Seek out niche blogs and offer to write guest posts. It’s a great way to showcase your work to a broader audience and gain valuable backlinks for your blog or personal website. Start with smaller blogs and work your way up.
10. Consider a Writing Agency 🏢
If you prefer a structured approach, consider writing for a reputable agency. They can provide clients, briefs, and editorial support. However, be aware that agencies often take a significant cut of your earnings.
11. Never Stop Learning 📚
Continuously invest in your skills. Research topics you don’t understand, expand your vocabulary, experiment with new writing processes, and seek feedback from experts. Learning should be a daily practice to improve your writing, pitching, and communication skills.
Starting from ground zero as a beginner might feel challenging, but remember that every seasoned writer was once in your shoes. Your path to freelance writing success is a dynamic and evolving process, filled with opportunities to learn and grow.
Throughout this guide, we’ve explored 11 essential steps to kick-start your freelance writing career:
- Read Widely: Expand your knowledge vertically within your industry and horizontally across various genres and industries.
- Write on Platforms Like Medium: Experiment with your writing style and niche while building your network.
- Start Your Own Blog: Gain control over your content, analytics, and SEO, which are essential for your future success.
- Learn SEO Basics: Understand the fundamentals of SEO, a skill that clients often expect from freelance writers.
- Network with Writers: Connect with fellow writers and industry professionals to learn, grow, and discover new opportunities.
- Develop Editing Skills: Effective editing improves client collaborations and the quality of your work.
- Find Your Niche: Identify a niche that aligns with your interests and expertise to provide unique value to clients.
- Cold Pitch Publications: Craft pitches and approach publications relevant to your niche, starting with smaller publishers.
- Offer Guest Posts: Write for niche blogs to expand your audience and gain valuable backlinks.
- Consider a Writing Agency: Explore writing for agencies for a structured approach, but be aware of the trade-offs.
- Never Stop Learning: Continuously invest in your skills, embracing the journey of improvement.
Your journey as a freelance writer is a testament to your dedication and passion for the written word. The challenges you encounter along the way will serve as opportunities for growth, refining your craft, and discovering your unique voice in the world of writing.