Are you a stay-at-home mom who loves to write? Do you have a knack for telling stories and conveying messages clearly? If so, then you might be wondering if there’s a way to make money doing something you love. The good news is that there is! You can become a freelance writer.
Starting my own freelance writing business is the best thing I ever did for my family. It allowed me to make a great income while being a full-time stay-at-home-mom. Keep reading to learn more about what freelance writing is and how you can start your own lucrative freelance writing career!
What is Freelance Writing?
If you’re not familiar with the term, freelance writing is simply writing that is done on a contract basis. That means that you are paid per article or project, rather than being paid hourly or salary as an employee for the company you write for.
There’s generally not a long-term contract or commitment with any one of the clients. As a freelance writer, this gives you the control to:
- Work as much or as little as you want
- Choose which projects you want to work on
- Set your own rates
- Work from home (or anywhere else in the world!)
Because you are considered a self employed writer, not an employee of the company, your client can’t tell you how or when to work. That means that you get to be in charge of your own business!
Examples of Freelance Writing Projects
Why do companies need to hire freelance writers? Because content is king! Companies of all shapes and sizes need high-quality content in order to attract and retain customers.
Think about it – every time you go to a website, open social media, pick up a brochure, or even just walk down the street – you’re consuming content. And that content needs to be well-written, engaging, and informative in order to capture you as a reader or customer.
So you can imagine how many different types of freelance writing gigs there are, even for a new freelance writer! Some of the most common freelance writing examples include:
Most companies have a blog these days to drive traffic to their website and help improve their SEO (search engine optimization). That means there’s a constant need for new blog posts!
In addition to blogging, online and offline magazines are always looking for new articles to fill their pages. Article writing and blogs are similar, but articles are usually a bit longer and more in-depth than a blog post. They might include interviews and research that a blog post wouldn’t.
Every website needs high-quality content in order to rank well in search engines and engage visitors. Web content can include everything from the standard “home” and “about us” pages to product descriptions, FAQ sections, service pages, and landing pages.
Social Media Captions
With the rise of social media, businesses need someone to help them write attention-grabbing captions and posts. This can be a fun and easy way to get started in freelance writing!
Almost every company has an email list these days, and they need someone to help write the content for their weekly or monthly newsletters to generate leads and sales.
Sometimes companies will hire a writer to produce articles, eBooks or other content that will be published under the name of someone else in the company – this is called ghostwriting.
Copywriting is similar to ghostwriting, but it’s usually for marketing materials like sales pages, email campaigns, and other promotional content. A good copywriter needs to be able to write persuasive, attention-grabbing content that will convince the reader to take action.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of making sure that your website and content are optimized to show up in search engine results. That means using the right keywords and phrases, as well as other strategies, to help your site rank higher.
Some writers specialize in SEO writing and are able to produce content that not only looks good to readers but also ranks well on Google and other search engines.
If you’ve ever shopped online, you know that product descriptions are important! They need to be well-written and informative in order to persuade potential customers to buy the product.
An eBook is a digital book that can be downloaded and read on a variety of devices, including computers, tablets, and smartphones. Many companies use eBooks as lead magnets – that is, they offer them for free in exchange for an email address or other contact information.
If you have experience with a particular software program, industry, or process, you might be able to write technical manuals or other types of instructional materials. This type of writing can be complex and often requires a higher level of understanding than other types of content (which also means higher pay!)
Editing and Proofreading
Not every writing project is about creating new content from scratch. Sometimes companies need someone to review and edit their existing content for grammar, clarity, and style. This is a great option if you’re not interested in
Video is one of the most popular types of content on the internet, so there’s a constant demand for good scriptwriters, especially for platforms like YouTube and TikTok, or for video sales letters and webinars.
As you can see, there are many different types of freelance writing examples – and this is just a small sampling! There are all kinds of short and long-form writing projects that businesses need help with. So if you’re thinking about becoming a freelance writer, it might be wise to specialize in one or two specific types of writing. Learn more about picking an in-demand niche here.
How Freelance Writers Get Paid
Most business owners don’t have the time (or skill) to write all this content themselves. And they might not want to hire a full-time employee to write for. So it’s usually more cost-effective to hire a freelance writer on an as-needed basis.
Freelance writers are usually paid on a contract basis; per project, per hour, or per word. As of 2022, the average hourly pay for a Freelance Writer in the United States is $32.18. But for experienced writers or copywriters, that rate can be much higher. It’s not uncommon for a skilled writer to charge $50-$100/hour or more.
To get paid, most freelance writers will sign a contract with the business owner. This contract will outline the scope of work, as well as how and when the writer will be paid. Once the work is completed, the writer will invoice the client and will usually be paid within a few weeks.
From my experience, I’ve found that businesses are generally pretty good about paying on time – but of course, there are always exceptions. If you’re concerned about getting paid, you can always request a partial payment upfront (usually a 50% deposit). This is very common in service businesses and helps mitigate the risk of not getting paid at all.
Different businesses have different ways they prefer to pay their freelance writers. Common payment methods include:
- Company check
- Direct deposit
As a general rule of thumb, I recommend offering your clients multiple payment options. This makes it easier for them to pay you, and increases the likelihood that you’ll actually get paid on time.
And yes, there are some costs when you offer credit card payment methods (like PayPal or Stripe), but it’s usually a small percentage of the total transaction. And in my opinion, the convenience is worth the minimal fee. Plus you can factor that extra cost into your rates when quoting the project.
For example, if you take a credit card payment from a client on PayPal right now, the platform will charge you 3.49% + $0.49 per transaction.
So for a $1,500 project, the Paypal fee would be $52.84, bringing your payout to $1,447.16. If you want to include the fee into the pricing, you should ask for $1,554.75 (or the next round number). I love using this PayPal fee calculator to help me estimate these costs quickly.
How To Become A Freelance Writer
As a freelance writer, you can work from anywhere in the world. All you need is a computer and an internet connection. You can set your own hours and work as little or as much as you want. Plus it’s creative! It’s the dream job for moms (like me!) who want to stay at home with their kids but also need to earn an income.
But how do you actually start freelance writing? What does it take to land clients and get paid as a professional writer?
I like to break it into three steps:
Step 1: Choose your niche
Before you can start pitching clients, you need to decide what kind of freelance writing you want to do:
- What are you passionate about?
- What do you have experience with?
- What do you feel confident writing about?
- What would you be interested in learning more about?
Remember, you don’t have to be an expert on the topic to write about it. You just have to be able to research and write engaging content.
Learn about the different types of freelance writing to decide what you want to specialize in and which industries you might like to write for – this will become your niche.
Step 2: Develop Your Skills
Once you know the basics, it’s time to start developing your writing skills. The best way to learn is by doing. So start writing! Give yourself a writing assignment and see how you do. Treat it like a real freelance writing job, with a scope of work and a deadline.
Then get feedback from other writers in Facebook Groups like Copywriter Cafe. You can also join an online community for freelance writers, like Freelance Writers Den. It’s an affordable membership for new writers to learn and build skills from the ground up. Boot camps, Q&A sessions, templates, sales training, and more are all included to help you become a successful freelance writer.
As you practice writing, you’ll want to use your strongest pieces as samples to show potential clients. When you’re first starting out, a simple Google Folder with your best writing samples is fine. Just make sure the samples are relevant to the types of clients you want to attract.
Step 3: Market yourself
The final step is to start marketing yourself as a freelance writer. The important thing is to think about the people you want to work with and how you can reach them.
- What platforms do they use?
- What type of content do they consume?
- How can you best serve them?
Once you know the answers to these questions, you can start marketing yourself as a freelance writer and pitching potential clients.
Where to Find Freelance Writing Gigs
The best way to find freelance writing gigs is to be proactive. That means you have to put yourself out there and get in front of potential clients. There are many ways to do this, but some of the most common include:
- Cold emailing (sending a personalized email to businesses and individuals you want to work with explaining how you can help them)
- Job boards (applying for writing gigs that are posted on sites like Indeed, Craigslist, UpWork, Fiverr, etc.)
- Attending local or virtual networking events
- Joining Facebook Groups like the Cult of Copy Job Board (or other Groups relevant to your niche)
- Connecting on social media (building relationships with potential clients on platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram)
Freelance writing jobs are out there – you just have to get in front of the right people.
In the beginning, you’ll hear a lot of “no’s” or just crickets… But don’t give up. Consistent action leads to consistent results – the more you pitch, the better you’ll get at it and the more likely you are to land clients.
Remember, as a freelance writer, you are in control of your career. You get to decide who you want to work with, what type of writing you want to do, and how much you want to earn. And once you get that first client, everything else will fall into place.
But the biggest challenge for most people is actually getting started…
If you’re serious about becoming a freelance writer, I recommend checking out my free quick-start guide and 30-day success planner here. It’s packed with actionable tips to help you start your freelance writing career on the right foot.
In this guide I’ll show you:
- How to pick a niche that you enjoy writing for and that ACTUALLY pays the bills!
- How to create a portfolio of writing samples that “woo” high-paying clients even if you have NO experience
- How to find those valuable clients (hint: it’s not as hard as you think)
- PLUS an easy-to-follow 4-week success plan to help you get your freelance writing business up and running even if you have a baby on your hip or a 9-to-5 job.
I’ll also send you exclusive tips and resources that I only share with my email subscribers. So if you’re ready to start making money as a freelance writer, grab your guide here.