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How to make money as a freelance writer in 12 ways

How to make money as a freelance writer

Freelance writing has emerged as a significant force in the gig economy, offering flexibility, independence and a way to make money online and offline. With businesses and individuals constantly seeking quality content, the demand for skilled writers is on the rise. For many, the allure of freelance writing lies in the freedom to choose projects that align with your personal interests and the ability to work from anywhere in the world.

Whether you're looking to supplement your income, start a business or pursue a full-time career, understanding how to make money as a freelance writer is the first step towards turning your passion for words into profit.

How to make money as a freelancer writer: tips to succeed

To promote your business effectively, having a freelance website is a necessity. Showcasing your work on a dedicated platform or via an online portfolio is crucial for attracting potential clients.

how to make money as a freelance writer - website

Specializing in a writing niche can be a game-changer, allowing you to focus on a specific expertise area while making money as a freelancer. This specialization establishes authority, increasing chances of finding targeted jobs and commanding higher rates. Identifying a niche, aligned with market demand and personal passions, is key for success in the freelance writing landscape.

12 ways to make money as a freelance writer

01. Blogging

Writing for blogs, usually for businesses and corporate clients, is a great way to make money as a freelance writer. Blogs are a popular tool for many brands and companies and they often rely on freelance writers for their content. If you build a solid relationship with a client, you can make a steady income from regular blog writing.

If you’re serious about making money as a writer through blogging, you should consider starting your own blog to practice your writing skills and showcase your work. Get started with a blog maker and create your own writer's blog.

how to make money as a freelance writer - blog

02. Copywriting

Copywriting is a popular way for many freelance writers to make money. This involves writing persuasive and effective marketing copy for websites, marketing campaigns including ads and landing pages and sales materials. Good copywriting is a very specific skill and if you nail it, you can make considerable amounts of money.

If you’re serious about making money as a freelance writer through copywriting it’s important to create a portfolio in order to collect and showcase examples of your copy. You can easily one with a website builder, such as Wix.

how to make money as a freelance writer -copywriting

03. Ghostwriting

If you’re looking for a potentially lucrative way to make money as a freelance writer, ghostwriting is something to consider. Ghostwriting involves writing articles, books or even speeches for clients who will publish the work under their own name but you’ll write or help write it. It’s a very popular service for celebrities or famous people and their autobiographies.

This freelance business idea will involve giving up complete creative control and credit for the work but it’s a good way to make money consistently. And unlike writing for yourself and then having to work hard to sell it, with ghostwriting your income is confirmed by contract at the start of the project. You just need to make sure you deliver the expected work to a set deadline.

how to make money as a freelance writer - ghostwriting

04. Technical writing

If you have expertise in a technical field, perhaps programming web development or machine learning, you can make money writing user manuals, product descriptions and branded how-to guides for tech companies.

Technical writing is considered a highly specialized field and generally enables writers to make significant amounts of money.

how to make money as a freelance writer - technical writing

05. SEO writing

Make money as a freelance writer by producing SEO content for websites and blogs. Generally, this means planning, writing and optimizing content to rank in the top results of search engines. To make money as this type of writer you’ll need to be a great writer and have a decent amount of SEO knowledge, meaning understanding what it takes for content to rank high for different keywords. You’ll also need to understand how to optimize content for search engines, including things like writing alt text, meta descriptions and FAQ sections. In some instances, you may also be expected to research keywords and prepare SEO writer briefs, or these may be provided by the client.

06. Social media content creation

As brands and companies rely more heavily on social media marketing, there’s plenty of demand for writers who can create social media content. This can be a creative way to make money as an influencer and writer and it might involve working with various types of content - from static posts and copy to engaging headlines or shoutouts to video scripts and subtitles.

If you’re looking to make money as a writer of social media content, it’s worth making sure your own social media accounts are active and packed with great social content. That way you can show future clients what you’re capable of and why they should trust you with their content creation.

how to make money as a freelance writer - social media

07. Grant writing

Some freelance writers specialize in grant writing as a means of income. Grant writing involves preparing and submitting proposals to funding organizations, such as government agencies, foundations, or corporations, to secure financial support for specific projects or initiatives.

The process begins with thorough research to identify suitable funding opportunities aligned with project goals. This includes reviewing guidelines, eligibility criteria and deadlines. Writers then collaborate with project stakeholders to develop a clear and compelling project plan, outlining goals, activities, budgets and expected outcomes.

The grant proposal is a crucial component, making a persuasive case for why the funding organization should invest in the project. It typically includes sections like an executive summary, project description, goals, methodology, budget, timeline and evaluation plan.

While grant writing is an intensive process requiring specialist knowledge, many writers appreciate its breadth, involving not just writing skills but also project management, research and collaboration with key stakeholders.

08. Writing for online courses and webinars

Another way to make money as a freelance writer is to create educational content for online platforms or brands that offer courses on various subjects. This can include scripting video content or creating copy to accompany courses and webinars.

This type of writing will involve working very closely with the course and webinar creators and generally may not be the most creative form of writing. However, it offers a guaranteed income and may lead to repeat work from the same company.

09. Content marketing writing

Making money with freelance content writing can encompass a wide range of types of writing for a large number of purposes. It can also include blog and SEO writing and copywriting.

Content marketing writing usually involves working on creating content to clear marketing briefs, that align with the goals of a specific marketing campaign (perhaps lead gen or brand awareness). The writing usually involves following a very clear brand style guide and brand writing guidelines.

Content marketing writing always has a clear purpose and as a freelance writer, you’ll be expected to convey this in an effective way that works for your client. This makes making money with content marketing writing more than just, well writing and you’ll generally need a good understanding of how marketing strategies and marketing campaigns work, as well as of the brand and product or service it promotes.

10. Newsletter content creation

You can make money as a freelance writer by developing newsletters for businesses to communicate with their customers or potential customers. This could include writing headlines, marketing copy for emails and content to be distributed via newsletters.

Newsletters are usually sent out on a regular schedule, which makes this a consistent and reliable way to make money as a writer. It’s also a great way to build your resume and skills as a marketing writer, allowing you to later branch into other fields of it - such as copywriting, or SEO writing.

11. Online publication journalism

Online publications and journalism are still alive and well, even if print media has taken a beating in recent years. Pitch story ideas to print and digital magazines to make money as a freelance writer. This can be a great way to get your name out there as a writer and allows you to write about topics you’re passionate about. It can be a competitive way to make money as a writer and you may have to get through rounds of rejections first.

12. Product description writing

If you’re looking for a way to make money as a freelance writer that can be done remotely, so product description writing might be a good fit. This can involve writing product descriptions for eCommerce sites or writing website product pages for businesses of all types - from clothing businesses to jewelry businesses to tech companies.

Generally, this can also be a very specialized writing niche and it helps if you have some knowledge or understanding of the products you’re writing about, especially when it comes to software and tech products.

How to get started with making money as a freelance writer

Starting a freelance writing business involves several key steps. First, assess your writing skills and identify your niche. Next, create a portfolio to showcase your work, which can include samples or links to published pieces. Then, set up a professional profile on freelance writing platforms and social media to start connecting with potential clients. It’s also critical to understand the basics of running a business, such as setting your rates, invoicing and managing taxes.

Learn how to make a website. Why? A website acts as a central hub for your freelance writing business. It's a platform where you can introduce yourself, highlight your services, display your portfolio and share testimonials from clients. A well-designed website can help you build credibility and attract clients by showcasing your expertise and professionalism. Additionally, optimizing your website for search engines with relevant keywords can increase your visibility and lead to more freelance writing job opportunities.

You can also check out this curated selection of the best website builders for writers.

How much money can you make freelance writing?

The allure of freelance writing lies in its flexibility and potential for a rewarding income. But how does this translate to dollars and cents? Several factors influence your earning potential, like:

  • Experience and expertise: Seasoned writers with specialized knowledge command higher rates than newcomers.

  • Niche: Certain niches, like tech writing or medical writing, are known for premium pay.

  • Client type: Rates differ depending on whether you write for individuals, businesses or publications.

  • Location: Geography can play a role, with some regions offering higher average rates.

  • Writing speed and efficiency: The faster and more efficiently you work, the more projects you can tackle, boosting your income.

While precise figures are tricky, here's a general earnings chart to paint a picture:

  • Beginner: $10-$25 per hour

  • Intermediate: $25-$50 per hour

  • Experienced: $50-$100 per hour

  • Top earners: $100+ per hour

Now, let's delve deeper into specific niches and their earning potential:

  • Ghostwriters: Ghostwriters can earn anywhere from $0.10 to $2 per word, depending on the project's complexity, length and the client's budget. Established ghostwriters with stellar reputations can command even higher fees.

  • Copywriters: Copywriters crafting marketing materials like website copy or ad campaigns can earn $50-$150 per hour or even project-based fees, depending on the scope and target audience.

  • Finance writers: Demystifying complex financial concepts for laypeople comes at a premium. Finance writers typically charge $0.20-$0.50 per word or project-based fees ranging from $500-$5,000+, depending on the project's length and complexity.

How to make money as a writer FAQ

How do I find freelance writing jobs?

Start by creating profiles on popular freelance writing platforms such as Upwork, Freelancer and ProBlogger Job Board. Networking on social media, particularly LinkedIn, can also uncover opportunities. Additionally, pitching directly to businesses, blogs and digital publications can be effective.

What should I charge for my freelance writing services?

How do I identify profitable freelance writing niches?

Can I make a full-time income from freelance writing?

How do I ensure I get paid for my work?

Other ways to make money you might want to consider

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