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So, you want to know how to make money freelance writing?
Maybe you are trying to break free from low paid writing jobs and content mills. Perhaps you want to find a way to make money from home.
Regardless of the ins and outs, you have landed on the right page.
I have been a freelance writer since 2012. It was a side hustle for a few years while I worked full-time. But since the start of 2017, my freelance writing business earns a generous part-time salary while I work on other projects.
I’m going to show you how you can:
- Get well-paid freelance writing jobs
- Earn money while you sleep
- Make money freelance writing from home (or anywhere)
What I’ll be talking about:
- What To Write About
- Start Showing Off
- Charge More Money (Your Clients Won’t Mind)
- Write For Free And Still Make Money
- How To Get Well Paid Freelance Writing Jobs
1. WHAT TO WRITE ABOUT
Who are you? A newbie freelance writer? Someone who has been freelance writing for years but not earning enough?
Regardless of where you are in your journey, you are your biggest marketing tool. So you need to put out your style, abilities and knowledge for everyone to see.
When trying to make money freelance writing, you need a niche that will make you money.
It is a good idea to choose a topic that you are passionate and/or knowledgeable about. But since this post is about making money freelance writing, you should also consider how profitable your chosen niche is.
Unfortunately, not every niche is profitable. Here are some ways to find one that is:
Perform searches on Buzzsumo
Buzzsumo gives you a list of top performing online content. You can see who is posting them, how many people are sharing them on social media and the level of interaction with it.
Carry out some Google searches and note the types of websites that show up in results. If you see that there are many online shops, blogs etc. in your chosen niche, it is an indication of how much demand there is for it. It is also a sign of how competitive your chosen niche is. But more about how that affects you, shortly.
Browse through job boards
On PeoplePerHour for instance, I have seen a recent rise of clients wanting writers for blockchain and online currency related articles. This tells me that it is a profitable niche because lots of buyers are willing to pay freelancers to write about it.
Although there are many freelancer marketplaces, for instance, Upwork, I have personally used PeoplePerHour the most. In fact I used it to initially establish my writing business.
Within just a few months of starting, I increased my earnings fivefold. Keep reading to find out how…
Check out your competition
If you want to make money freelance writing then you must position yourself correctly in the market.
Let’s say you wanted to create a blog all about finding freelance writing jobs.
When I type ‘freelance writing jobs’ into Google this is what I see:
As you can see, the majority of results show websites from well-established companies. So competing with them would be tough.
So although there is clearly a demand for information about freelance writing jobs, starting a blog about it is unlikely to be profitable. At least not for a long while. The positive side of this is that it is clearly a profitable subject area. So you can instead, find a niche within it like, ‘tips on finding freelance writing jobs’.
Bonus: not only does this help you find your profitable niche for freelance writing, but also gives you great ideas for blog posts!
2. START SHOWING OFF
Now that you have decided what to write about, it is time to show off your knowledge and writing skills. The best way to do this is by starting your own blog – essential if you want to make money freelance writing.
A blog is great for a number of things including:
- Building a portfolio
- Practising writing
- Generating leads (attract clients)
- Gaining credibility in your niche
- Improving your rank position on search engines (SEO)
- Making money (I show you how in the next section)
It doesn’t matter what industry your business is in. A blog serves as a platform to spread your message from and to create samples around your niche topics.
How To Set Up A Blog
Setting up a blog is quick and easy. My favourite blogging platform is WordPress.com (in fact, I have used it to create this entire website).
Follow my step-by-step guide to setting up a WordPress blog or watch the video below.
Pro Tip: When you have the budget to do so, upgrade to a business plan. It gives you flexibility over design, features and plug-ins. The latter is useful if you want your digital content to be search engine optimised.
Setting Up A Website
Once you have a blog up and running, you can set up your website. If you chose WordPress.com, adding pages so that your blog becomes a part of a larger website is easy to do.
To start with I would recommend the following pages:
- Home – introduce your business and provide links for actions you want visitors to take.
- About Me – introduce yourself and tell your target audience why they should trust you.
- Blog – this should be a link to your blogroll.
- Contact – make it easy for potential clients to get in touch.
Once your freelance writing business has gained momentum, you could add the following pages to your website:
- Hire Me – show and tell your target audience why they should hire you.
- Portfolio – start guest blogging if you haven’t got any samples of client work to show yet and include links to the posts on this page. If you do have live samples of work, display them here.
- Testimonials – you can publish client feedback elsewhere but having a dedicated page makes it easy to find.
- Pricing – many freelance writers don’t publish their prices. You will find that pricing will vary job-to-job but I like to give clients a rough guide.
3. CHARGE MORE MONEY (YOUR CLIENTS WON’T MIND)
It was 2012 and I was on low paid trainee teacher’s salary. With a mortgage and bills to pay, I needed to supplement my income with something. And that something was freelance writing. I stumbled across PeoplePerHour, signed up and started bidding for jobs.
My first client wanted twenty, keyword-stuffed blog posts, per week. I took it. But, I only charged £5 for 500 words! Although this gig was bringing in £100 per week, it was nowhere near what I should have been charging.
In less than six months I was making five times that amount. With some experience and client testimonials under my belt, I had the confidence to charge £25 per 500 words. Miraculously, my client paid. Now I charge a minimum of £30.
The moral of the story: don’t undervalue yourself!
It was a quick lesson in marketing. I found that by charging higher rates, clients had more confidence in my abilities. It also reflected the quality of work I was producing more accurately.
4. WRITE FOR FREE AND STILL MAKE MONEY
I talked earlier about how valuable a blog can. I’m going to show one way to monetise your blog that will make money while you sleep (literally).
Two words. Affiliate Marketing.
What is affiliate marketing and how do I do it?
Blogging can attract a lot of attention. Some of the most successful blogs have thousands of followers and social shares. So naturally, many companies want a piece of the action. One of the ways they do this is through affiliate marketing.
This is how affiliate marketing works:
- Your chosen company provides a unique link to their products and services.
- You embed the link in your content e.g. a blog post.
- Visitors click on the link (because you have made it so enticing).
- When the visitor purchases the product or service, you get paid a commission.
To find companies who offer affiliate marketing, perform an online search like the one below.
What To Watch Out For
I would advise promoting products and services that are related to your niche. Why? Well, put yourself in the reader’s shoes. Let’s say you are reading a blog post on social media marketing. You click on a link within the post, assuming that it will be useful. But it takes you to a website that sells dog food. How would you feel? I’m guessing you would be irritated and unlikely to return to reading the original blog post.
Another good tip is to promote services and products you have actually used. It means you can write about it in depth and is a good way of gaining your reader’s trust.
Pro Tip: in some countries, it is a legal obligation to make clear that your blog post contains affiliate links. Since your content is online, you are likely to attract readers globally. So if you use affiliate links, state this at the start of your blog post (like I have).
Other Ways Of Monetising Your Blog
Affiliate marketing is not the only way to make money blogging. You can also:
- Display adverts e.g. Google AdSense
- Sell your own products and services e.g. eBooks and courses
- Back to top
5. How To Get Well Paid Freelance Writing Jobs
In an ideal world, clients will come across your website and hire you directly. This is not an unrealistic goal but is difficult to achieve, especially if you are just starting out as a freelance writer.
The key to getting well paid freelance writing jobs is to know three things:
- Where to look for writing jobs
- How to judge whether jobs will pay well
- How to spot a scam
Let’s get stuck in.
Where To Find Writing Jobs
A great place to start is by performing a Google search like the one below:
This will give you access to various job boards.
But beware of content mills. Typically these are websites that earn a lot of money through content but pay their writers very little. You can earn a lot through them but when you compare your earnings to the number of hours you work, your hourly rate will be low.
As well as looking for freelance writing job vacancies, you can sign up to job boards targeted specifically at freelance writers like ProBlogger.
But even these websites can lead you to low-paid freelance writing jobs and scams.
Choosing the right clients and jobs makes all the difference.
For instance, a start-up business is unlikely to have a big budget. However, getting involved with them may lead to long-term and more lucrative work. You have to judge whether it is a worthwhile investment for you.
I am always wary of job descriptions with very little information (like the one below).
In my experience, they are usually low-paying and in some instances, have turned out to be a scam.
When growing your client base, I would advise trying to forge long-term relationships wherever possible. One of my clients, Acuity Training, hired me for two years. Not only did I earn a steady income but the quality of content was consistently high because I was so familiar with the brand.
How To Spot A Scam
Ben Taylor from HomeWorking Club shares a real-life example of a suspicious experience – about a month ago, I had a very similar one.
Here was the freelance writing job description:
He highlights three main areas:
- The unverified payment method was a red flag – although a new user may not have set this up, it is still noteworthy.
- Looking for ’20 Freelancers’ is either suspicious or likely to be from a content agency
- The rate of pay wasn’t bad but surprisingly high for a starting rate on Upwork.
Also, the advert lacks specific information. The description is very broad e.g. ‘Create website content, articles, and blogs.’ There is no mention of the subject matter.
Ben goes on to share that when he applied, they contacted him on Skype and sent him a suspicious file. It turned out to be a scam.
An offer that seems too good to be true usually is.
Other Ways To Get Freelance Writing Jobs
This is when you contact companies directly about your services. For example, you may find a local business who does not have a blog. You could pitch your content writing services and explain how you can help them grow their business.
- Less competition than applying for freelance writing jobs
- Can lead to recurring business
- Great way to forge long-term relationships
- A way to grow your client base while you take the lead on projects (rather than the other way around)
- You may need to send a lot of pitches with only a few taking you up on your offer
- Companies may steal your ideas and write in-house
- As these businesses don’t know you, they may assume your email is spam and delete without even reading it
Applying For Jobs
This can be hard for new freelance writers who do not have extensive portfolios. But on job boards like ProBlogger and Blogging Pro, you will find a variety of jobs suited to different levels of experience.
- Access to jobs that match your experience level and skill set
- Great way of building your portfolio and collecting client testimonials
- Many of them are free to use
- You may have a lot of competition, especially with freelance marketplaces
Keep An Eye On Social Media
Many people advertise jobs on social media networks like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. A good tip is to join freelance writing groups and follow users who represent job boards.
- Visibility of freelance writing jobs that may not be posted elsewhere
- An opportunity to grow your social network as a freelance writer
- Work with other freelance writers
- Many people use social networks to advertise low paid jobs
Write Guest Posts
Although guest posting doesn’t help you make immediate money through freelance writing, it is a great way of increasing how many people actually see your work. And with more visibility, you increase the chances of professional opportunities heading in your direction.
Publishing your writing on other websites is also a great way to diversify your portfolio.
To find websites that welcome guest posts, perform these Google searches:
- Blogs + write for us
- Guest posting for bloggers
- Guest posts + content writers
- Writing for specialist websites helps you gain credibility in your niche
- Helps a new freelance writer show examples of published content
- Increases the visibility of your work
- Writers do not usually get paid for guest posts
Warm Up Old Leads
If in the past you have liaised with potential clients that didn’t quite lead to a job, there is no harm of re-visiting them later. Also, contacting past clients from time to time can be lucrative – it has certainly worked for me. Simply writing a short email that reminds them of who I am and offering my services, has secured a lot of recurring freelance writing work.
- Helps you maintain long-term relationships and therefore recurring work
- You are already familiar with the business and their preferred writing style so can get working on projects straight away
- You can feel secure in knowing they are a reliable client
- Like ‘cold pitching’, the number of jobs you get versus how many emails you send can be low
Start Making Money Freelance Writing Now
I adore being a freelance writer. I get to work from wherever I want, write about interesting topics and make money doing something I love. Although it can get busy at times with tight deadlines, I am in full control of maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
If you are interested, you can take my free course (a series of 6 lessons straight into your inbox): How To Land Freelance Writing Jobs.
It is not hard to make money freelance writing as long as you have a strategy.
- Choose a profitable niche
- Keep growing your portfolio through blogging, guest blogs and freelance writing jobs
- Monetise your blog e.g. affiliate marketing
- Explore different avenues for getting freelance writing work instead of sticking to one