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How To Make Money Freelance Writing

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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:

  1. What To Write About
  2. Start Showing Off
  3. Charge More Money (Your Clients Won’t Mind)
  4. Write For Free And Still Make Money
  5. How To Get Well Paid Freelance Writing Jobs

Start Making Money Freelance Writing Now

Free 6 Part Course: How To Land 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.

Google searches

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

Job boards like ProBlogger give you indications of the types of writing projects and topics that people are willing to pay for.  You can also check out marketplace websites like PeoplePerHour.

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:

make money freelance writing

make money freelance writing 2

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

Here is a useful list of websites that accept guest posts.

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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.

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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.

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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:

  1. Your chosen company provides a unique link to their products and services.
  2. You embed the link in your content e.g. a blog post.
  3. Visitors click on the link (because you have made it so enticing).
  4. 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.

make money affiliate marketing

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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).

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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
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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:

  1. Where to look for writing jobs
  2. How to judge whether jobs will pay well
  3. How to spot a scam

Let’s get stuck in.

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Where To Find Writing Jobs

A great place to start is by performing a Google search like the one below:

find writing jobs

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).

low paid freelance writing jobs

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.

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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:

writing job scam

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.

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Other Ways To Get Freelance Writing Jobs

Cold Pitching

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.

Advantages:

  • 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)

Disadvantages:

  • 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.

Advantages:

  • 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

Disadvantages:

  • 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.

Advantages:

  • 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

Disadvantages:

  • 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

Advantages:

  • 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

Disadvantages:

  • 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.

Advantages:

  • 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

Disadvantages:

  • Like ‘cold pitching’, the number of jobs you get versus how many emails you send can be low

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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.

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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.

Email me the FREE course: How To Land Freelance Writing Jobs



In summary

It is not hard to make money freelance writing as long as you have a strategy.

  1. Choose a profitable niche
  2. Keep growing your portfolio through blogging, guest blogs and freelance writing jobs
  3. Monetise your blog e.g. affiliate marketing
  4. Explore different avenues for getting freelance writing work instead of sticking to one

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A Step-By-Step Guide To Starting A WordPress Blog

wordpress blogReading Time: 4 minutes

 

This page contains affiliate links which means I may earn a commission if you use them.  I only recommend tools and products that I use and trust.

So, you want to start a WordPress blog?  Great! I’ll show you how.

Blogs are great for businesses, entrepreneurs and people who love writing.  If you are using it as a marketing tool to generate leads, blogging is a sure-fire way to:

  • Showcase your expertise
  • Gain credibility in your niche
  • Spread your message
  • Practice writing
  • Build a portfolio

My blog also helps me get freelance writing jobs.  It is an easy way for me to showcase my skills to clients.

Why a WordPress blog?

The short answer: because it is easy.

The longer answer: because you can easily integrate it with your website or, set up a website on WordPress.com.

The even longer answer: because with inbuilt themes and SEO plug-ins, you have control over the design, can optimise your digital content for search engines and have your own domain names.  Just to name some benefits.

Let’s get started.

Set Up Your Account (5 – 10 minutes)

  1. Go to the WordPress.com website.
  2. Click on ‘Get Started’ (circled).

wordpress blog

3. Complete the details following the instructions below:

Create wordpress blog

What would you like to name your site?  This will be displayed as the site title but you can change it later.

wordpress blog title

What will your site be about?  This will influence the sorts of themes you will see as a priority.  Again, this will not limit your options so don’t worry if you think you might change your mind later.

What’s the primary goal you have for your site?  Like the previous question, this helps WordPress personalise your experience but is no way limiting.

How comfortable are you with creating a website?  Choose your level.

4. Click ‘Continue’.

5. Enter some keywords to help WordPress give you ideas of domain names.

A domain name is your website’s address.  For instance, mine is freelancewritingteam.com.

You will see a list of free and paid options.

wordpress blog domain name

Free domain names – you can select one of these to get started.  But this will not serve well for SEO purposes (if you want your online content to show up in Google search results).

Paid plans –  select the plan that is right for you.  I started with a Personal so that I could have a custom domain name.  Now I have a Business plan to have access to:

  • All of the design themes
  • Control over my design
  • Plug-ins, especially Yeost SEO and JetPack (keeps content safe and gives me performance data)

6. Choose your domain name and click ‘Select’. This takes you to the plans page.  You can either select a plan or ‘Start with free’ (circled).

wordpress blog paid plans

7. Complete the details to create your account and click ‘Continue’.

wordpress blog account set up

8. Click ‘Continue’.

Start Blogging!

Congratulations – you have set up your WordPress blog!

Now you can start blogging. The great thing is that you can add as many blogs as you like under the same account by simply setting up a new ‘site’.

  1. From the menu on the left, select the ‘Add’ button next to ‘Blog Posts’.
  2. Give your post a title and create your content.
  3. When you are ready, press ‘Publish’ and your blog post will be live (you will need to have confirmed your email address to publish).

To set up your user profile, complete your details in the ‘My Profile’ section.

start wordpress blog

Controlling How Your WordPress Blog Looks

There are a number of ways to customise the design WordPress blog.

Themes

Themes are in-built design templates.  You can customise certain elements if you are on a free or Personal Plan.  For full control, you must have a Business plan.

  1. Log in to your WordPress.com account.
  2. From the left side select the ‘Themes’ button.

Here you have access to free and paid themes.  You can choose to have a live demo before activating on your site.

Each theme has further customisation options.  These can vary from theme to theme.

Plug-Ins

Installing plug-ins (only available on the Business plan) are a great way to have further control over your website’s design.

Some that I use are:

  • Akismet Anti-Spam – a great way to protect your blog from spam.
  • Hummingbird – as I have used WordPress.com to create my entire website, this helps me compress files to speed up load times.
  • JetPack – allows me to view my site’s performance, enable sharing on social networks and customise my design.
  • Reading Time WP – to display an approximate reading time above posts.
  • Redirection – this helps me keep my links tidy and re-direct any links that I have changed.
  • Title Remover – I use this to hide titles from my website pages.
  • Yeost SEO – a great tool that helps me optimise my pages and blog posts. Includes connection to Google tools like Analytics and Search Console.

I hope this has enabled you to get started with blogging.  WordPress.com is a powerful tool that provides much more than a blogging platform.  This has been a quick run through but for a more detailed guide take a look at these 5 steps to set up a blog: