I’ve been a freelance writer for nearly six years now. What started as a side hustle to make a few extra bucks has since turned into a full-fledged career. Yes, I make money as a freelance writer.
In fact, I now earn enough money to be the primary supporter of my four children and me. If you have a passion for writing, you can work from home and make money as a freelance writer, too.
If you have a gift for writing and are willing to hone your writing skills, consider using these ways to earn a living as a freelance writer.
In This Article
Top Ways to Earn Money as a Freelance Writer
Before I started getting paid to write, I thought that making money as a freelance writer was only possible for a select few.
As I got to know the business more thoroughly, I learned that there are many routes to making money as a writer.
Here are a few of the more popular ways you can make money using your gift of writing.
1. Start a Blog
Six years ago, when I started my first blog, I had heard of people making money through blogging. But it seemed odd to me. Did people really get paid simply for putting words out on the internet?
As I did more research, I learned there are three main ways blogs can earn money. Here’s a bit about how they work and how you can get paid for writing on a blog you own.
Some companies will pay you to write articles sharing their products or services. For instance, let’s say you have a blog about parenting. In that case, a toy company might pay you to write a review about a toy they produce.
Or, let’s say you have a blog about personal finance. An insurance company might pay you to write an article explaining their products and services.
These types of sponsored posts can pay anywhere from $100 on up. As your blog grows in readership, companies will start to reach out to you. They’ll ask you if you’re interested in having a sponsored article on your site.
Sometimes they’ll ask you to write the article. In other cases, they’ll have a pre-written article they want you to publish.
Another way you can make money by owning a blog is to form affiliate relationships. Affiliate relationships are partnerships in which a company will pay you for sharing links to their site within your article.
For example, let’s say you’re writing an article about making money taking surveys. Companies that want to hire survey takers, such as Swagbucks, will pay you if you link to them.
When a reader clicks on the link and signs up for the product or service, you’ll get paid. The more readers that sign up for the product or service, the more money you make.
Learn more about affiliate marketing with Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.
A third popular way to make money with your own blog is with advertising. Companies such as Google’s Adsense will place ads on your blog.
When readers click on the ads, your blog earns money. More clicks equals more income.
One of the most important keys to making good money blogging is to understanding beginner tips for making money blogging. Start by committing to produce valuable content. Write about things that can help people.
Get involved in the community and help other bloggers. The more your blog grows, the more you’ll have a chance to earn income from your blog.
In fact, some of the highest paid bloggers, such as Michelle Schroeder from Making Sense of Cents, earn tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars per month from their blogs.
Hint: Having your own blog will help you with gaining writing work from other sources. Your blog will be an example of your writing capabilities.
In addition, taking a writing course such as Holly Johnson’s Earn More Writing Course can give you specific instructions for making money writing. And one of her first tips to new writers is to start your own blog.
Bonus hint: You can start your own blog in 10 minutes or less.
Next, let’s move on to another way you can make money blogging.
2. Write for Other Blogs
Aside from starting your own blog, you can also make money by writing for other blogs. Writing for other blogs has been my primary source of writing income for the last two years or so.
You might wonder how to get started writing for other blogs. I suggest starting by visiting blogs in niches that you’re familiar with.
If you’re a personal finance nerd, start visiting, reading and commenting on personal finance blogs. If you’re great at writing about parenting, visit parenting blogs.
By doing so, you’ll get a feel for the writing style and theme of the blogs. From there, you can reach out and pitch articles to owners or managers of blogs you’re familiar with.
It can be helpful to have a pre-written article to send them. Explain that you’ve written an article on a topic that might be of interest to them. Ask if they’d consider publishing it on their site.
Add a note asking that if they like your style, would they consider hiring you to write on their blog regularly? In addition, it’s helpful to look on blogs to see if they’re looking for writers.
Some blogs will advertise that they’re seeking writers. They’ll ask for specific steps to be completed if you’re interested in writing on their blogs. Apply as instructed and wait for a response.
If you are a blogger looking to supplement your income with freelance writing check out the course Freelance Writing for Bloggers.
It was created by Ashley Barnett, who is a successful freelance editor, and Clint Proctor, a freelance writer who went from zero to six figures in less than a year.
Feel free to reach out again if you haven’t heard anything for a couple of weeks. And don’t be afraid to take what seem like lower paying gigs.
Any opportunity to write for a blog will help you grow your writing portfolio. As your portfolio grows and your skills improve, you’ll have a springboard with which to get higher paying gigs.
3. Write for Business Websites
You can also work to get articles on business websites. I’ve done dozens of articles for business websites in a variety of niches.
You can work to get writing gigs for business websites one of three ways:
- Find work with a company that provides articles for business sites, such as an SEO company.
- Contact the business directly and ask if they’re interested in paying for fresh and relevant articles for their website.
- Check job websites such as Problogger to search for writing gigs for business websites.
Successfully pitching articles or independent contractor work for business websites is going to take credentials. You’re likely going to have to prove that you have some knowledge of the business you want to write for.
If you’re searching on Problogger, job listings will have a specific set of requirements. You will likely need to meet those requirements to gain an interview.
Conversely, if you apply directly to businesses via their websites, you’ll want to share about your skills. Let them know what you know about business and about writing.
Attach articles from your portfolio or your personal blog if you can. The more information you give them, the better informed they will be to make a decision about hiring you.
4. Write for News Sites
You’ve likely read articles you’ve seen on news sites such as Fox News and the Huffington Post. Those articles are often contributed by freelance writers.
Many writing jobs on news sites are obtained by cold pitching. You’d send a site a well-crafted story pitch with a few paragraphs describing your idea and showing your writing flair.
You may also need to refer to work you’ve done for other sites.
Note that this is a competitive market and you may need to start by writing for smaller news sites.
Start by cold pitching to these smaller sites. In addition, start searching on freelance job websites. We’ll talk more about those types of sites in a minute.
And again, having your own blog can be vital to obtaining writing jobs with news sites as well. Writing for other blogs can help in this area, too. This way the sites you pitch to can see samples of your writing.
The more experience you have in making money as a freelance writer, the bigger the opportunities that can come your way.
Yes, you may have to start out writing for the smaller sites. However, if you’re good at what you do, jobs for larger sites will come if you keep working at getting them.
5. Write for Local Newspapers
Nearly every city or town has some type of newspaper. Their audiences get home delivery, buy papers at stores, or read them online.
Some of these are daily metro flagship papers, others are smaller weekly or monthly community papers.
If you read these papers, you may find they’re looking for people to fill paid writing positions. Writers for larger publications may write on local news, politics, business, arts and entertainment, and more.
If you’re writing for a smaller print paper, you might get asked to write community interest stories.
For instance, you might write an article about a local resident who made it big in the world. Human interest stories are common in the smaller local newspapers.
Or, you might write about an upcoming community event such as a carnival or a race. Similarly, you might write an article about top area attractions. Think, top 10 restaurants, top 10 local parks, etc.
The goal with the smaller local community papers is to get people connected with the community or area.
Contact local newspapers directly to inquire about writing positions if you don’t see a notice published in the paper itself.
6. Self-Publish Your Own Book
Another way to get paid to write as a freelancer is to self-publish your own book. Do you have knowledge about a subject that you can share with others?
Or, do you have a compelling story that others would find inspirational or entertaining? If so, why not publish it and share it with the world?
Back in the day, publishing a book meant your book had to be accepted by a publisher. Submitting your book to publishing companies is a long and tedious process that often results in many rejections.
However, things have changed with the world of self-publishing. Today, it’s possible for anyone to self-publish a book.
And while self-publishing a print book can get expensive, self-publishing an ebook is relatively cheap. Here are some tips on how to publish and sell a quality ebook.
Write Valuable Material
Writing valuable material is key. It’s important to write on topics people will want to read about.
If you’re writing on a common subject, such as getting out of debt, you’ll want to explain why your book is different or better than others on the subject.
Or, let’s say you’re writing a personal story about your life. Why is your story something others will want to read?
Make sure your back cover summary talks about why people need or will want to read your book. Then be sure the book contains the valuable material you say it does.
Format the Book Correctly
Formatting your book correctly is important. There are many online articles that will show you how to properly format your ebook for publication. Read them and follow the suggested tips.
Edit and Proofread Thoroughly
Editing and proofreading an ebook before publication is important. Readers often lose respect for authors who publish books with a lot of spelling, grammatical or writing errors.
You may even consider hiring a freelancer to edit and proofread your book. This is one publishing expense that can be worth the money.
It’s always good to have another set of eyes searching for and repairing errors.
Another key to selling your self-published ebook is to market the book widely and thoroughly. Don’t expect people to find the book on their own. Share the book’s link on your social media accounts.
Ask bloggers in similar niches if they’d mind reading and reviewing the book. However, it’s important to do this only if you have relationships with the bloggers already.
This is another reason starting your own blog can be important. The blogging community can be very helpful to fellow members.
Self-publishing your book can also give you a foot in the door to other paid writing opportunities. If your book finds success, publishers and other professionals may contact you directly, asking for more of your great work.
7. Look for Gigs on Freelance Websites
Another place to search for freelance writing opportunities is on freelance websites. Upwork is an example of one such site.
You can search in the “Find jobs” section of Upwork to see about applying for freelance writing jobs that are posted on the site.
Note that you do have to create an account to apply for gigs on Upwork. However, the good news about this is that you will have a profile on the site for people to see.
They can contact you directly about positions if they want to. Craigslist is another site that has freelance writing jobs available. If you look in the “gigs” section, you’ll find a variety of gig categories, including one for writing.
Search through the jobs to see if any fit your writing abilities. Note that with sites like Craigslist, it’s important to keep security in mind as you search for jobs.
Not all people who post on Craigslist and similar sites have your best interests in mind.
LinkedIn is another site that has freelance writing job opportunities posted. In addition, if you do an internet search for “freelance writing jobs,” you can find other sites that post available work.
When submitting applications, remember to include these items:
- Details regarding your writing experience
- Published writing samples, such as ones from your blog or other sites
- A professional resume if they ask for it
Applying for a freelance writing job is like applying for any other job. Professionalism and attention to detail are important.
Freelance writing work is out there for those who are willing to pursue it. Yes, it does take time and effort to make money as a freelance writer.
For instance, earning money with your own personal blog takes a while. It takes time to get a substantial amount of articles published on the site, and time to form affiliate relationships.
However, many people who’ve taken the leap find that the work is satisfying and the pay is good.
You may not earn a high hourly wage, especially in the beginning stages of your freelance writing career. But those who have the skills and are willing to stick with their efforts often find success.