“What is freelance writing?”

I got this question recently from someone who started following me on social media and it occurred to me that sometimes I forget that not everybody understands that you can write for a living!

(This happens to professionals a lot. It can be hard to imagine what it was like to be a beginner when you are advanced in a particular career.)

Some quick keyword research showed me that a few thousand people ask this same question each month. And so I did what every good content creator does – I created a video – and now I am writing this post, to answer that question.

Here’s the video version of this post.

Is freelance writing legit?

Let’s answer this question first! Yes, freelance writing is legit. It is real and you can make a living from writing content for pay.

I have been freelance writing actively since 2017 and every year since then, it has been my major source of income as an entrepreneur.

What is freelance writing?

Freelance writing is writing content for a client on a contract basis.

This means you are not employed in the traditional sense by your client.

In most traditional employment arrangements, apart from being paid a salary, your employer pays taxes to the state on your behalf and may also be paying for benefits such as healthcare and retirement.

When you are a freelance writer, you don’t get these benefits.

You simply write a piece of content and you make money based on what you have written.

What types of content do freelance writers write?

As a freelance writer, you could be writing anything. As a freelance writer, I have written blog posts, marketing emails, content for marketing brochures and product descriptions for e-commerce businesses.

Freelance writers also write:

  • White papers
  • Books/eBooks
  • Social media content
  • Sales pages (these are used to sell services or products to potential buyers)
  • Website copy
  • Technical documents such as manuals

Anything that can be written, can be written by a freelance writer.

How does freelance writing work?

As I mentioned before, freelance writers will write content for their clients on a contract basis.

This means you are not an employee of the client or company that you write content for. And at any point in your relationship, the client could break off the relationship.

This also means you are not tied to one client!

You can have as many or as few clients as you can handle.

In fact, I recommend you have multiple clients. This way, if one client drops off, you will still have others.

And apart from having multiple clients, it is important to have clients who can give you work on a recurring basis.

It doesn’t mean you cannot have a client for whom you just write one piece of content.

However, I have found that having multiple recurring clients means you can count on at least some income each month.

Finding clients as a freelance writer

Finding clients as a freelance writer can happen multiple ways. I talk about it in-depth in my book Win At Freelance Writing.

Here are four ways to get started.

  • Although I don’t recommend it wholeheartedly, platforms like UpWork, a popular freelancing platform could be a good place to start looking for clients if you are brand new and want to get those first few clients to build up your confidence and experience.
  • LinkedIn is another good place to find potential freelance writing clients. I share how to optimize your profile on LinkedIn so you can win as a freelance writer in this video.
  • Build relationships with people in the industry. I find that building relationships with people in the industry or niche you would like to write in is an excellent way to find clients for your freelance writing business.
  • Tell your friends and family about your business. My first handful of writing clients came from friends who owned businesses and needed someone to write content for them.

How much money can you make with freelance writing?

How much you make as a freelance writer will depend on several factors.

I have gotten paid anywhere between $75 per post and $300 per post as a freelance writer. I write multiple of these per month.

I know of other writers who get paid as much as $1000 per post.

If you write 15 posts at $1000 per post, that is $15,000 in revenue.

Fifteen posts at an average of $200 per month and you are looking at $3000 in revenue per month.

Not bad on each count!

The differences in price ranges for freelance writers can depend on several factors.

  • If you write “journalist-type” work where you have to interview experts and get on calls with individuals in order to come up with unique pieces, you will want to charge more.
  • In general, when you have more experience as a writer, you can charge higher prices. It does not mean you cannot charge well as a newcomer though!
  • The niche or industry. Certain niches or industries definitely pay better.
  • The size/income of the client you’re writing for. If you write for smaller local businesses, they may not have a large budget to pay you $1000 per post. A large media company like Time Magazine on the other hand, may have no trouble at all paying you that much if you’re a good writer.
  • A freelance writer’s price range could also depend on the complexity of the piece. If I have to do complicated research in order to come up with a piece, you bet I am charging more!

So that is what freelance writing is in a nutshell.

It can be a lucrative path to earning a living. It is by no means easy or romantic! But it is a legitimate income-earning path!

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