The answer is yes, but unfortunately, most people will fail if they are not prepared to deal with the upward climb the freelance writing business carries. I want to help you prepare for that climb in this article by sharing my experiences in this business.
I don’t do freelance writing, but I do blogging for myself and I hired one person to write for me as a ghostwriter. Us doing business together really taught me a lot about the hardships for both the freelance writer and the person hiring that writer brings and I’m going to share that with you.
Before I do:
An important: Freelance writers rejoice! I have a training manual for you:
Since the last time I wrote this article, my knowledge on the subject of freelance writing has increased a lot. One of the BEST manuals I found to becoming a successful writer can be found here:
The hardships involved with freelance writing:
This business is not a simple one. You can’t just go on websites that hire people (scroll down to read about those sites) and expect to be hired immediately and be making money shortly after. It doesn’t work this way if you’re brand new, even if you’re a fantastic writer.
There’s so many obstacles in the way that you HAVE to know about them before you go in:
Here are the 4 most common hardships preventing people from making good money in freelance writing:
1) Saturated environment: It’s a very competitive place. But if you can land one client or just a few and impress them with your writing, you have a good chance at developing a long term relationship that pays.
2) Too many bad writers steal your employers: An inexperienced employer who seeks freelance writers is likely to buy the cheapest ones, and those cheapest ones typically offer horrendous content, which is often duplicated, copied, makes no sense and can really destroy a website.
When this happens (and it happens often), the employer becomes very frustrated and has a hard time hiring new freelance writers for fears this type of situation can happen again.
3) You have to write very well and fast. That takes talent and interest in what you’re writing.
4) Research, keywords, and actual content take a lot of time to come up with. Imagine having a few people interested in hiring you. That’s amazing, but what happens when each article you write takes several days to complete? You’re going to have to work faster and if that causes your work to lose it’s quality, you won’t have happy clients. Even the best of writers take a few hours to get work done, but those are probably the best.
5 ways to improve your chances at becoming a successful freelance writer:
- Be an expert in something specific.
- Be happy to write.
- Learn the no no ways of freelance writing (such as copying).
- Sign up with popular freelance sites and if you get a gig, let your employer see your work.
- If you’re having a hard time with getting gigs, start with places like Textbroker.com
Here is an explanation of how each option works:
1) Be an expert writer in one or just a FEW fields.
Don’t go around advertising that you can write about anything. People do that a lot and generally what they produce sucks. It’s either the quality is bad or they just copy it which is even worse.
You just can’t and expect good writing work to come out topics that you aren’t familiar with. If you know one or more topics very well and you can articulate yourself in writing, great! “All you need” to do is find a niche audience interested in hiring someone to write for them. Focus on the topics you excel at. That work will attract the quality clients.
2) Enjoy writing, or you’re going to hate this job, a lot.
It’s simple: If you like your topic, you write better and your client asks you to write about something concerning it, you’ll have a better chance at giving them something they will really like.
3) Never, ever re-use content from another source or re-copy your own.
This is going to make your job harder when you have to write different things about a similar topic, but it’s important you follow this rule or else your client may get into trouble with search engines and that is going affect your reputation with them.
4) Find the gig on a popular site, and if you get it, show your work to the employer.
If I know a writer well, their writing style and like it, I will make sure to keep hiring that person only. I believe a lot of people will too, but if they ever tell me, someone else is going to do it, I will not be happy about it. Different writers have different styles and if one person’s style is giving me results, I will not want to change that. If you client enjoys your work, make sure you are the person that continues to deliver it.
5) Start with places like Textbroker.com
Since most people will at first have issues finding a gig, a good starting place to get good reviews and build up your experience is Text Broker. It won’t make you a lot, but at least some money to begin in this business and help you become more experienced at it.
See more great tips for successfully being a freelance writer. That article will offer you more good advice.
Let’s go back to my freelance writer I spoke about:
I won’t say his name unless he allows me to, but I found him on Wealthy Affiliate. He’s a friendly gentlemen who helps members out and doesn’t even bother to directly offer his services. He just mentions that he’s a writer.
But he gets customers for 3 reasons:
1) He helps people a lot so they naturally go to him when they have questions and they also see that he writes, so they keep him in mind when they write. That’s how I approached him.
2) He knows a lot about different topics and writes very well. Thus those such as myself who go to him and see that he writes well, continue coming to him when assistance is needed. This means the same customer keeps coming back and paying again and again. This keeps the money going for him.
3) His reputation grows in time and people recommend him to other people. I do that when people ask me about a good writer and I’m sure others do as well. His popularity and client list grows.
So there is going to be a demand for his services and as long as that’s there, money will keep coming in. This is how you should do it too if you intend to be a full time freelance writer (and use those tips too).
If I were looking to do the same, I’d start with one client and just slowly build from there. I would never rush or pressure people to hiring me. There is also a good freelance writing program that teaches the key to making all this work for you, it’s called My Freelance Paycheck.
Freelance writing vs owning your own business where you write for yourself:
As I said before, I am not a freelance writer, but I am an online business owner and I believe when it comes to long term benefits, having an online business beats writing constantly for someone. But I do write a lot and rarely hire, but I am comparing both of these things because people should know that there is tremendous potential if they are good writers and have an interest in something.
If I possess a lot of knowledge on say smartphones, it is far more lucrative for me to start my own blog talking about this than having someone hire me to write about smartphones for them.
The only major con with online businesses is that it takes longer to start up. With freelance writing, you get paid faster, but potentially way less than if you had a personal blog/website.
Say I use the smartphone example, charge $30 per article, get hired to write 5 of them. I will have mad $150 and let’s say I also get the same clients asking me to write more. This has me making around $150 a month. Not bad, but:
What if I apply my knowledge, make my own blog, write my own articles and do affiliate marketing? Then in the future, one article can bring in way more than $150/month and can keep working for me, while I keep writing more for the site.
I’ve estimated that with some articles I’ve had written up, I’ve gotten several 1,000 visits (even 10,000’s) which has pulled in many different clients, several hundreds that has led to $1,000’s being made over several months. Had I not had my own website doing this and wrote for others, I would have only made a 1 time profit and that would be it.
I believe if you have some money, write well and have knowledge of even 1 topic, start a blog on it.
If you have multiple topics you know a lot about, start a blog on the one you like best and if you have little or no money, become a freelance writer and write for the other topics for people who want to have stuff written about that, then use that money to build your main business.
Freelance writing is huge and it will only get more and more big. You can build an entire business on that too if you can develop a great reputation with people and get them to hire you. If there are too many clients for you to write for, then you will be forced to hire other writers to complete the tasks, but if you do, make sure you hire writers you would trust to write for you, just as much as you would with your clients. If you can eventually get to that point, that can really be a great business itself.
16 thoughts on “Can You Really Make Good Money Doing Freelance Writing?”
This is very informative information on freelance writing. I am doing all my own for the moment and I would love to have someone write for me.
However, I think I should do it myself for the time being. I am not to the point where I can pay for the services of a freelance writer yet.
I think that if you have a great writing talent, why not write for yourself plus others as you mentioned.
Certainly Cynthia, I agree, but if you really do have that talent, and have your own passion you want to pursue, it’s way better you spend that time working on your own business, than on someone else’s.
Someone writing your articles for you gives you time to do other important things like blog promotions and backlinking, you are so right and if they are in demand, the money will follow.
Enjoying what you do is key for good writing and if you pick topics that you are familiar with it makes your writing very engaging and fun to do, thus making a good living as well.
If I decide to do this for a living, how do you suppose I charge for my writing? Should I price by my time or a number of words per article? Look forward to your input, Thanks.
Hi DB, 2 things:
1) Be careful about the backlinking thing because you may end up doing it wrong. If you are doing this on your site, then you’re focusing on the wrong thing to grow the page, having a good writer make content for you IS a great form of scaling and growing your business on it’s own.
2) For writers and charging, you have to gauge your writing quality first before deciding on YOUR own price. As for per words or article, that should be up to you depending on the skill and quality you bring. I do write a whole lot here on writing gigs, highly recommended!
Great post! I am in total agreement with you as well about doing freelance writing for others versus writing for your own website. You might be able to do both if you are just getting your website started and you have not started to earn income from it yet, but once it is established, I am in total agreement that your time is best spent creating content for your own site.
It is kind of like the difference between being self-employed (freelance writer) and being a business owner (content marketer).
Sorry my comment in so long-winded. I get carried away. LOL
Not a problem Andy, thank you for sharing these thoughts. Your analogy is correct but you can say that being self employed is also the same thing as being the business owner, especially if you write for yourself.
This is a wonderful article. I couldn’t agree more with certain points that are made in this post. I was actually interested in freelance writing just a short time ago, and as I really dug into it, I quickly realized how unqualified I was! I would never be able to keep up. I did, though, stumble across WA through all my digging, and I must say, I’m extremely glad I did.
The thing is, Wealthy Affiliate will not only teach you a good way to build a business, but it will also give you the skills to be a great and valuable freelance writer.
Freelance writing is very thought-provoking. I admit I didn’t know too much about it before reading this. I thought people would just write whatever and get paid for it, turns out I was wrong! You’re definitely right, if you want to be seen as valuable, master a couple niches you like, don’t try to be a jack of all trades.
This is true Enrique, if people could get away with writing anything, what would be the point of SEO? That’s why things get filtered out through SEO in the form of relevancy and good content and only that type of content which is most valuable gets to stay at the top.
I really enjoyed reading this article. Although I am not a writer myself, I can see how lucrative it can be to write for other people and to help them make their blogs and website look the best that they can be. I 100% agree with you that when you freelance write you should always write for people whose sites have a niche similar to an interest of yours. Otherwise the writing becomes more like writing your capstone in college which makes it difficult to stay motivated while writing and provide quality content.
Great article. I have been looking for freelance writing work lately and you gave me a lot to think about.
Do you find it expensive to get the traffic to have your own work convert to sales rather than selling that work freelance to someone else? Do you have any advice for how to accomplish this part of the online business?
Thank you so much!
Hi Josh I erased the part where you quoted me, but I did understand your question (if not, let me know in a reply)…
Basically when I write my own content, the aim is SEO so the expense is time, not money.
So you have 2 things:
Either you write the content yourself and wait for it to rank high on Google, which for new sites (meaning you just made them) can take several months (because it will take time for Google to see your site as an authority) and only then can you see traffic and sales or…
You export the content writing to your freelancer and have them write up stuff for you. In that case, you would still be attached to the time for Google’s trust to kick in, but now you’d also be spending money for a writer.
So with the second thing you add an extra risk on top of things. Why then would it be wise to hire a writer? Well in my opinion it would be when:
1) You run out of content ideas and they write up some for you to keep fresh new content coming in to gain Google’s favor faster.
2) You have experience in previous sites and know that the content you write up today will rank “tomorrow” and bring you traffic/cash.
3) You have money saved up to risk the expense of hiring a writer.
My advice is to go at this yourself if you’re new to internet marketing and/or can’t hire someone for a lack of funds. Most importantly study up on the process of SEO through places like Wealthy Affiliate, then if nothing else, transfer that knowledge over to your writer so they can fulfill that work for you, but correctly.
As you mention WA and that your gifted writer is a fellow member I am quite curious as to who it may be!
My own personal back up worse case possible scenario, should Wealthy Affiliate not pay off for me is to use the skill set learned from WA.
Which means I too could offer 1,000 word articles fully SEO optimised for $20 and/or PPC specialist in facebook/google adwords/bing – Hey I have seen experts charging $100 /hr for that!
For me, it just shows the quality of the training and skill set involved when you apply the training.
And its just a back up plan!
Yeah offering your knowledge to people can work Derek. I’ve personally helped businesses for free manage some of their PPC campaigns and also helped them with their SEO. As a result, I was able to make new connections and we did business a few times. Either way, charging substantially less than what other people charge for things like SEO and PPC can certainly give you an advantage, but I would advise having a site as proof of your teachings and/or a free consultation of some sort to get the client/s hooked.
Hi there Vitality
I have really enjoyed your post on freelance writing and if one can make enough money doing freelance writing.
I feel the decision to be a freelance writer comes with needing money “now”.
Rather than focusing on long-term success, freelance writers are more into “money now” and creating a website and having quality content on a site will take longer to get any ROI.
I have used freelancers quite a lot for my websites and I believe there is good money to be made as a freelancer if one writes high-quality content and has return customers.
But most freelancers will “follow the money” and say yes to writing content on subjects they understand nothing about therefore producing low-quality content and as a result not having long term clients.
Thanks for sharing, very informative.