9 Ways to Make More Money as a Beginner Freelance Writer

Aug 23, 2022 | Start Freelance Writing

Freelance writing is a great way to make money from home. You can set your own hours and work as much or as little as you want. It’s the perfect job for moms who don’t want to miss a moment of their kids’ lives but still need to earn an income.

But like any business, when you first get started you probably won’t be raking in the dough. It takes time to build up a reputation and skills that will get you high-paying clients.

Increasing your rate as a freelance writer is not as difficult as you might think. And you can fast-track your way to earning more money by following these 9 simple tips.

How Much Does a Freelance Writer Make?


If you’re just starting to dabble in the world of freelance writing, you’re probably wondering how much you can expect to earn. I was curious (even skeptical!) too when I first started researching this topic.

The problem is — there’s no easy answer to this question. Your rate will depend on a number of factors:

Your experience: Obviously someone who has been writing for years is going to charge more than a total novice.

The type of writing you do: Some types of writing (like sales letters, SEO articles, direct response emails, and ads) pay more than others. In general, if what you’re writing leads directly to someone making a purchase, it will pay more.

Who your client is: Certain industries have more of a budget for freelance writers than others. For example, technology companies tend to pay more than, say, a local mom and pop shop. You also have to consider how technical the writing is — if the industry is complex, they may be willing to pay more to ensure accuracy.

How much time you want to work: Are you happy working long hours to make more money? Or would you rather work fewer hours and have more time for your family?
For me, this has been one of my favorite parts! I can work as much or as little as I want. Some months, when the stars align and my family’s schedule isn’t so chaotic, I’ve worked 40 hours a week or more and made some great money.

But other months, when my little one is sick or we’re traveling, I scale back and may only work 5-15 hours per week.

The bottom line is that how much you make as a freelance writer is up to you. And you can probably see how there are a lot of variables that will affect how much you ultimately earn.

So instead of fixating on an exact number, it’s better to focus on how you can increase your rate over time.

The good news is that even if you’re just starting out, there are ways to start earning more money (yep, even as a beginner!). And I’ll cover them below in detail.


Get Clear on Your Niche


When you’re just starting out, it can be tempting to take any job that comes your way. This is a BIG mistake.

One of the best ways to instantly give yourself a raise is to focus on a specific niche.

Writing any kind of content on any kind of topic makes the whole process more complicated.

It takes extra time and effort to research the topic and industry, and learn any lingo that makes the writing sound more authoritative.

Not only is this time-consuming, but it also means you are more likely to make mistakes.

Each industry has a different audience with very different pain points. Your writing won’t resonate as well if you don’t understand their biggest frustrations. How can you compel them to take action if you don’t know what motivates them?

When you focus on a specific niche, you can quickly become an expert in that field. And that means you can write better content in less time.

There’s even a learning curve with each different piece of writing you do. A well-written search engine optimized (SEO) blog is very different from social media captions. They both have their own unique set of best practices.

So if you try to do too many things at once, you’ll never become an expert in anything. And that will show in your writing.

Choosing a niche also means you’ll be able to target your marketing efforts more effectively. You’ll know exactly who your ideal client is and where to find them.

So, how do you pick a niche? Well there are 2 ways to go about it:

  1. You can focus on a specific industry
  2. You can focus on a specific type of writing

When I first started, I dabbled a little in both. But within a few months, I decided to focus on writing for home service businesses (plumbing, heating and cooling, remodeling, etc.)
I chose this niche because:

  • I have personal experience in the industry (many of my family members own home service businesses)
  • I understand the challenges these businesses face when it comes to getting customers
  • It’s an industry that is very in demand and lucrative
  • There weren’t very many freelance writers targeting this industry, so I have less competition
  • I was able to quickly position myself as an expert in the field and that helped me land higher paying work, repeat clients and referrals.
  • I highly recommend you focus on a specific industry when you’re just starting out. It will make marketing yourself a lot easier and help you land better clients.

Later on, you can even narrow down on certain types of writing within that industry. For example, you could focus on only writing case studies or web copy or email marketing campaigns.

To hone in on a niche you’ll enjoy spending hundreds of hours researching and writing about, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are my interests?
  • Is there an industry I’m passionate about?
  • Do I have any existing knowledge or experience in a particular field?
  • Can I see myself writing about this topic for years to come?


To find a niche that’s truly profitable (because there is a difference between a niche you enjoy and one that actually pays the bills…), answer these questions:

  • Is this industry currently in-demand and expected to grow?
  • Do companies in this niche have a healthy budget to hire freelance writers?
  • Are other freelance writers targeting this industry?
  • Can I find enough work in this niche to sustain myself longterm?

Picking the right niche is an important decision, but don’t get too hung up on it. You can always switch (I’ve done it!). And as you get more experience, you’ll find that certain niches come more naturally to you than others.

For now, just pick something and run with it. The most important thing is that you start building up your portfolio and getting paying clients.

Build a Professional Writing Portfolio


No one wants to hire someone who doesn’t have any samples to show. It’s like buying a car from a dealer who won’t let you take it for a test drive. You just wouldn’t do it.
The same goes for hiring a freelance writer.

Most clients will want to see what you can do before they hire you. And the better your portfolio, the more likely you are to land high-paying work.

Your portfolio is essentially your writing resume. It’s a place where you showcase your best work and highlight your skills and experience.

But how do you get samples if no one will hire you because you don’t have any samples?

It’s a chicken and egg situation.

The good news is, there are a few ways to get around it:

Create fake samples: If you’re just starting out, you can create fake samples by making up a company name and writing a sample piece for them. This is perfectly acceptable and many writers do it when they’re first starting out.

Write for free: I love the Facebook group Women Entrepreneurs Referral & Barter Network Helping Small Businesses Grow. You can go into this group and offer your services in exchange for a testimonial. It’s a great way to practice your writing and get your portfolio started.

Guest blog: Just about every website is in need of great blog articles. So reach out to some websites in your desired niche and see if they’re open to guest blogging. You can offer to write the post for free in exchange for the experience. And many of them will link back to your website or allow you to include a byline with your bio.

Start your own blog: If you really want to be seen as an authority, consider starting your own blog and writing thought-leadership pieces. Not only will this add to your credibility, it can help your website rank better so you can be found by potential clients.

Publish a LinkedIn or Medium article: LinkedIn has a built-in blogging platform that’s perfect for sharing your own articles. You can also submit articles to Medium on a wide range of themes, such as money, photography, spirituality and education.

Do work for friends or family: People you know already have trust built-in. They’re more likely to give you a chance for your first few gigs.

As a general rule, you should have 3 good samples in your portfolio before you start pitching clients. Over time this might grow, but always focus on quality over quantity. You want to make sure your portfolio only includes your best work, and really highlights what you’re capable of in your niche or writing specialty.

And your portfolio doesn’t need to be elaborate when you ‘re first starting out. A few folders in Google Drive organized by topic or writing type will be okay. Just make sure it’s well organized and easy to navigate.
If you’re ready to step up your income to the next level, you absolutely need a website with your own professional domain and an email address to match.

This will give you a much more polished and professional look, which can help you land higher paying work. It shows that you’re established and willing to invest in the success of your writing career. This will instantly cause potential clients to take you more seriously and put you in a higher price bracket.

A website doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. You can set one up for free using WordPress.com or Wix.com. Just make sure it includes a home page that resonates with your ideal client, your portfolio, an about page, and a way for potential clients to contact you. You can always add more bells and whistles as your career progresses.

Pitch Constantly


One of the biggest issues that will cause your bank account to suffer is the feast and famine cycle. It’s so common in the freelance world, but it doesn’t have to be!

What usually happens with new writers is they pitch, pitch, pitch at first… and then they get a few clients and think they don’t need to pitch anymore. But then those clients move on, or their work dries up and they’re left with nothing.

Pitching should become a habit if you want to be a successful freelance writer. You should be pitching every day, even if you don’t need the work.

When you do this, you can start raising your rates and only working with clients that you really want to work with. You won’t have to take whatever comes your way just to make ends meet.

You can also book yourself out months in advance. This really helps to take the financial pressure off because you have work in your pipeline (instead of wondering where your next paycheck is coming from!).
The most common ways to pitch are:

  • Cold email
  • LinkedIn Connections
  • Facebook groups
  • Online job boards
  • Connecting with other writers and asking for overflow work


Establish Your Rates


Knowing exactly how much to charge as a freelance writer can be tough, especially when you’re first starting out.

You don’t want to charge too little and end up getting taken advantage of, but you also don’t want to charge too much and miss out on work because no one can afford you.

I recommend job costing. Job costing is a method for tracking expenses and time spent on certain tasks. For freelance writing, this basically means tracking the hours that it takes you to complete a project from start to finish, and then using an hourly rate to come up with a price for that type of project.

For example, when I first started 6 years ago, I knew I needed to make at least $30/hour to cover my expenses (internet, electricity, website expenses, and of course taxes) and be able to quit my restaurant job.
So if a project was going to take me 10 hours to complete, I would charge $300+ for it. This allowed me to be very specific with my clients on how much time a project would take, and how much they could expect to pay for it.

I still charge a flat-rate based on the total scope of work, but my rate has increased significantly over time.

And I should mention that my rate is somewhat flexible. I might increase it for highly technical topics, complicated projects, or when my writing will directly lead to sales.

It’s so easy to get caught working long hours for little pay as a freelancer. Track your hours for each project so you start to learn how long certain tasks take you. This will help you be more efficient with your time, and also give you a better idea of how to price your services.

Leverage Your Education


When writing requires extensive research or special knowledge, you can charge more. Do you have any special skills or knowledge that would be valuable to a particular industry?

There are certain industries where a freelance writer with specialized knowledge can charge a premium. These tend to be:

  • Healthcare
  • Supplements
  • Cryptocurrency
  • Finance
  • Software (SaaS)
  • Technology
  • Survival

Even if you don’t have a formal education in these fields, you can still develop the necessary knowledge by reading, taking online courses, or even interviewing experts in the field.

By leveraging prior experience and education, you can land high-paying gigs and command a higher rate.

Focus On Copywriting vs. Content Writing


It’s a misconception that the length of the piece leads to more pay. It takes a lot more skill to write an effective, high-converting sales email that’s under 150 words than it does to churn out an eBook — even if that eBook is 20 times the length. So don’t assume that longer pieces will always pay more.

This is why I chose to focus on copywriting vs. content writing early on in my career.

Copywriting is all about persuasion. It’s the art of writing words that get people to take action (buying a product, opting in to an email newsletter, scheduling an appointment, etc.).

Content writing is more about creating informative pieces that educate the reader or provide entertainment value.

You may do both as a freelance writer, but I suggest positioning yourself as a copywriter and learning about psychology, sales, and how to write persuasively.

Find Clients Who Value Good Writing


There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to convince someone that your work is worth more than they’re willing to pay (I’ve had to learn this the hard way!). If you want to make good money writing, you need to find clients who understand the value of quality content.

Don’t waste time on businesses who don’t understand that marketing is an investment, not an expense.

And be especially wary of conversations with people who say “marketing is a scam.” There are plenty of bad marketers out there who give our industry a bad reputation, and unfortunately that’s left a lot of people skeptical about the power of good marketing.

But there are also plenty of businesses who understand that a well-written sales letter, email campaign, or blog post can be worth its weight in gold. These are the clients you want to work with!

By finding clients who see the value in quality content, you can avoid the low-ballers.

Run Your Business Like a Professional


If you want to make GREAT money writing, you need to treat your freelance writing business like a REAL business — not just a hobby. This means having systems and processes in place to help you run your business efficiently.

It also means being professional in your interactions with clients:

  • Create a delightful customer experience
  • Meet deadlines
  • Respond to inquiries in a timely manner
  • Communicate clearly

Overall, just make life easy for your clients!

I can’t tell you how many people I’ve talked to who complain about not making enough money from their writing, but don’t have a system for following-up with leads, tracking invoices and payments, or even just good project management skills to keep their jobs on track.

How about taxes? Do you have a system in place for setting aside money each month so you’re not left scrambling come tax time?

All of these things seem like small details, but they make a BIG difference when it comes to how much money you make as a freelance writer.

By running your business like a professional, you’ll not only make more per hour, but you’ll also attract better clients who are willing to pay more for a writer they can count on.

Improve Your Writing Skills


This should be obvious, but the best way to charge more for your services is to get better at your craft. If you can deliver a better product, and get your clients’ better results, you can command a higher price. And that’s what it’s all about, right? Getting paid to do something you love, and making a difference in the process.

This is why it’s so important to continue learning and improving your writing skills — even after years of experience.

One of the best ways to do this is to study copywriting. Like I mentioned, copywriting is all about persuasion. And persuasion is a skill that can be learned.

By studying how to write persuasively, you’ll not only be able to charge more for your services, but you’ll also be able to negotiate better deals and land higher paying clients.
And that’s a win-win-win!

So if you want to make more money, focus on becoming a better writer. It’s the best investment you can make in your business.

You can make a pretty penny (or hundreds of thousands!) from the comfort of your own home. But it takes more than just writing skills to make it happen. By following all of these 9 tips, you can set yourself up for success and start making the big bucks as a freelance writer.

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