Last Updated on
Is it possible to make a decent living as a freelance writer? Yes…but there are some caveats. Don’t assume you can automatically pull in a high-level freelance writer salary, especially if you’re new to creating content.
I’ve seen a lot of potentially good writers stop because the income they generated wasn’t ideal for their needs.
What’s a Good Freelance Writer Salary?
According to PayScale.com, the average hourly rate for freelance writers is about $24.06 at the time of this post. And the average freelance writer salary ranges around $39,000 per year.
From my experience, this is somewhat realistic. However, it’s not entirely accurate for every situation. This is because there are so many things that can play into how much you’ll make as a writer.
Personally, I can make between the $20 and $25 per hour mark in systems like Textbroker as a freelance writer. This depends greatly on the amount of work, clients and what teams have jobs available.
For example, I can finish an order inside 20 minutes and make $7.20 for one of the teams I am on. This breaks down to $21.60 per hour.
But what if I only complete one order? When compared to an 8-hour job for the day, this is the equivalent of making $2.70 per hour.
Then, there are days when I can push around $50 to $75 per hour with private clients. However, that doesn’t mean I make that for an entire 8-hour period.
That would awesome, but that’s not how it works as a freelance writer.
Things Which Affect a Freelance Writer Salary
The downside to being a freelance writer is the number of things which will affect your pay. On the other hand, writing online has great potential for generating a lot of money.
You just need to find opportunities that work best for you. Not everyone will have the same experience when it comes to freelance writing.
Here are a few of the most important factors that come into play when determining your own freelance writer salary.
The more experienced you are, the more you can charge when creating content. This is virtually true in any scenario. That’s because most clients want someone with practical experience, especially when it comes to business-related content.
If you’re new to writing, don’t assume you’ll hit a six-figure income before the year ends. It’s possible, but not very realistic.
What and who you write for will affect how much you make as a freelance writer. Some venues don’t pay all that well when compared to others. On the other hand, some of those venues also deliver easier and more frequent work.
For example, content mills don’t have the highest pay-per-word rate. However, you’re not limited and can do as many as you like.
Of course you can make a lot more money if you find private clients who can keep you working. But remember, you’ll more than likely need a lot of experience in the niche or industry to land these clients.
Perhaps the biggest contributor to a freelance writer salary is personal motivation. When you work from home, you’re technically not accountable to anyone but yourself.
This is especially true if you use content mills. It’s up to you to get the job done and find another in rapid succession.
In many regards, working from home is far more difficult than a traditional job. You need to find what drives you to continue and keep yourself from experiencing a burn out.
Lastly, a lot of freelance writing success falls onto workload sustainability. Sure you can make $1.00 per word writing for some organizations. But are they willing to hand you enough work each day to pay the bills?
For instance, some content mills dry up for several days at a time. What do you do to make money when the workflow is just not there?
Personally, I tend not to put all my eggs in one basket. I use several content mills in addition to my private clients to keep the money coming in.
4 Best Ways to Start with No Experience
Not everyone has experience when stepping into the realm of online writing. I know I didn’t. In reality, I went to college for graphic design. Most of my career choices involved the tech industry.
Becoming a freelance writer was way out of my scope of experience.
So, what are some ideal ways for a new writer to start a freelancing career?
1. Using Content Mills
I know a lot of professional writers don’t like content mills. However, they do serve a great purpose to those who have never created content for clients before.
Sites like Textbroker, WriterAccess and HireWriters give you something valuable aside from a payout: experience.
In fact, these sites helped fine-tune my abilities to land some of the more higher-paying clients I have today.
2. Direct Applications
There’s nothing wrong with handing in freelance applications. You can use sites like Indeed and 24SevenTalent.com to find freelance opportunities.
This is in addition to directly contacting a business or submitting job applications on company websites.
The downside to direct applications is that many of these companies require a background in writing. Many will even require a bachelor’s degree in things like journalism or in your preferred niche.
Don’t get me wrong, you can still find some good clients on these sites. Just keep in mind the requirements many of them are going to ask for.
3. Do It Part-time
One of the most important suggestions I can make is to start as a part-time writer. I’ve seen a lot of people try and fail because they didn’t take the time to really get into what they were doing.
This is important because:
- It gives you a chance to see if writing is something you really want to do.
- You’ll still have a paycheck from your primary job, even if you can’t find work as a writer.
- You’ll have a bit of time to hammer out the details of what it takes to be a professional with a high freelance writer salary.
When I started in January of 2012, I was still working for the school district making $8.40 an hour. It wasn’t until a few months into 2013 when I established I could write full-time.
I wanted to make sure I could surpass my income before quitting my job as a network technician. This way, I didn’t put the household finances at risk by quitting a guaranteed bi-weekly paycheck for something that might not pan out.
4. Track Your Income
Keep track of how long it takes you to write content for a client and how much you get for each order. Then, monitor how much you make per day and per week. Don’t merely focus on what someone is going to pay for a single article.
Is it something that is sustainable?
I use an extensive spreadsheet I created to give me an accurate estimation regarding my freelance writing salary. I track how much I make and the number of words I write every day.
To make that illustrious $39,206 average for the year, I need to make about $153.15 per day. This is because I take weekends off from freelance writing most of the time.
It’s all about sustainability. Making a ton of money for a single order means nothing if you can’t do it on a routine basis.
What About Blogging?
Blogging has a lot of potential, but it also requires a great deal of work to bring in enough money to support yourself.
First of all, you’d need a popular topic that people want to read. In the world of blogging, it’s all about traffic. Just because you post something on your site, it doesn’t mean people will come in droves.
It’s not something I would recommend unless you have another form of income…at least until the site starts paying off.
Some sites will say that bloggers charge $50 for a 500 word article. But what they don’t tell you is that many of these creators only make that once per month. For this to be a sustainable way to make money, you’d need several clients like this every day.
I’m not saying that all platforms for freelance bloggers are this way. But you need to know many of them are. Sure they will pay you well for each article. But they will also limit you to just a couple per month.
A Freelance Writer Salary Has No Limitations!
While the average freelance writer will make around $39,000 per year, that doesn’t mean you’re capped. In reality, there is no limit to what you make as long as you’re willing to do the work.
Motivation, marketing and a willingness to adapt are all vital to increasing your payout. Don’t merely stop at $40k per year.
What are your goals for freelance writing? Is it something you’re interested in full-time, or do you just want a bit of extra cash each week? Leave a comment down below…I’d love to know.