For most freelance writers, getting started is the hardest part of their careers. A huge 35 percent of American workers now freelance to some capacity, so you’ve got a lot of competition.
Just because there is so much competition for writing gigs, that does not mean you should get discouraged.
In fact, it simply helps validate the market and ensures you will have plenty of work as long as you stand out from the crowd.
Landing your first freelance writing gig will usually be hard work unless you already have significant writing experience. You may want to create a blog and write some articles that you can show to prospective clients.
We cover getting started as a freelance writer in much more detail in a previous post, so if you find this one interesting you should check that one out as well.
How much will you make for your first gig? It’s hard to say but you probably won’t make more than $10,000 in your first year unless you have strong clients out of the gate.
We wouldn’t recommend making a jump from full-time employment to freelancing during this period.
Yet when you’ve got some clips and you’re a little more established, you can start shifting into freelancing full-time.
Do not let these numbers discourage you, in fact, the should be encouraging. If you already have a job, an additional $10k a year for writing on the side is amazing.
Use this time to build up a portfolio and be sure to save most, if not all of that money so that when you do decide to take the leap to fulltime freelance writing you will have a safety net and you won’t have to worry about money while you build your client base.
When you’re an established freelance writer, you can expect to make a lot more money. It’s likely that in your first full-time year, you’ll be able to make around $30-35,000 and you will hopefully never go below that.
There’s a lot of variance in freelance writing rates, though. If you can only write general articles, you can expect to make the figure we listed above and you can probably increase it to around $50,000 with more time and experience.
If you have prior experience in certain niches, you can use these to your advantage and make a lot more, however. Technical, legal, and medical writers, for instance, can make closer to $100,000.
The sky is the limit with freelance writing to a certain extent. If you’re willing to work more hours, you’ll get more rewards. You’ll usually be paid per word or per article, so how much you work will have a direct impact on your pay.
We would recommend that, if possible, you write on topics you feel passionate about. If you’re an activist, writing web copy may not be as appealing as writing white papers for activist groups, for instance.
The goal as with any entrepreneurial venture is to build skills, find work, continue to improve and iterate on what you learn as you go along and continue to ask for more money as your skills develop.
Once you have established yourself, have a strong voice, niched down, and have a strong portfolio, it is best to seek out new opportunities within your existing network of clients and ask for recommendations.
In addition to these recommendations, you should also continue to raise your rates until people start saying no. Do not rase them too soon, but when you’re confident in your work, and you have been getting paid the same rate for a while, start increasing your rate.
Also consider, that the better you get at writing, the faster you get. So you can charge the same amount per article, but spend less time on them.
This can add up to making much more money as a writer in no time.
We’ve answered your question “how much do freelance writers make?” Now it’s time to look at how you can get started and make some serious money as a freelancer.
We’re here to help you. The School For Freelancers can help you get the skills that you need to make your freelancing career a big success. Apply today and start laying the groundwork for fruitful freelancing!
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