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How You Can Make Money as a Freelance Writer

Updated on January 23, 2012

Don't Give Up Your Dream

You often hear about the hard work and countless rejection slips for writers and you may wonder if it is even possible for an average person to make a living as a writer. While you may have to change some of the ideas you have held about being a writer, it is possible to make a good income from your passion.

Take The Time To Learn

One of the first things you should do is research how others are making money and what you can do to earn an income as a writer. Your dream may be to write the great novel or to become a renowned children's author like J.K. Rowling. If that is your main goal, continue to work towards it. However, if your goal is more about making an income from your writing, you can find other ways to make that happen.

When I first began writing as a child, my goal was to write mysteries. It still is. However, my other goal is to be a full-time writer. To make that happen, I've found other ways to get paid to write.

Take the time to read what other people have done to earn an income. I spent at least a month investigating my options for writing on the internet; I tried some that earned me a few dollars. While that wasn't enough to pay my rent, it was enough to make me keep trying.

Keep Working

Once you get started, don't get discouraged if it seems like things are going slow. Keep looking for new ways to make money with your writing.

After writing a few articles on Hubpages and Yahoo!Associated Content, I found Textbroker. I began writing for them and making some real money, about $200-$300 a month. They have since changed so there are not as many good money making assignments as there were, but they are still a good place to begin if you want to see some cash for your writing.

After gaining some valuable experience on Textbroker, I started to look for other ways to make money. I think it is because I worry about having all of my income with one source. I feel safer if I have more options and don't worry about one site closing. I joined Elance and oDesk and learned all I could about finding jobs with them.

Elance and oDesk are two freelance sites where you can bid on jobs and get hired. You pay the site a commission of your earnings, but you set your own price. I have been a member of Elance for years with no jobs at all, but once I got serious about my writing last year, I started getting jobs. I think it was because I studied the best way to create a profile and creates samples of my writing.

I now work at least 20-30 hours a week and I'm making between $800 and $1000 a month. I started out taking lower paying jobs to get references on my profile and I'm still at the low end of the pay scale, but I'm moving up. I don't get nearly all of the ones I bid on, but I have enough recurring clients that I have a steady stream of work.

What I've Learned

Here are some things I've learned in the past year about making money online.

1. Dedicate some time to learning about new sites or ways to increase your income. You never know when something will change and you don't want to rely on one thing.

2. Keep learning new skills. If you write articles, learn to write SEO articles. Learn about blogs or writing product reviews. Expand your skills to writing sales letters or whatever interests you.

3. Have a plan. Set goals for yourself and come up with ways to meet those goals. It may be a dollar amount or a certain number of articles you will write.

4. Create a portfolio. The best way to sell yourself to clients is by showing them what you can do. You can use articles you've written or links to your blog, but let them see your writing ability.

5. Learn how to market yourself. This is true in any kind of writing, but especially if you are writing for clients on the internet. You have to find out what they want and show them how you can meet their needs.

6. Create your own website. This is a work in progress for me and I don't have mine up and running yet. However, you will want a site that you can show to potential clients that has your portfolio and tells them what areas you are skilled.

Don't Give Up

I've wanted to be a writer since I was five years old. I'm now almost forty and just getting started with my writing career. Never give up on what you want to do.

My goal is to be a full-time writer with no other job where I can work from home and spend more time with my family. I know it can happen if I keep working at it. Whatever your goals are, you can meet them if you keep trying.


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    • jm72writes profile image

      jm72writes 6 years ago from Missouri

      Thank you for your kind words. Hubpages is also what inspired me to start writing. I have learned a lot here and have been able to apply it to make some money. We are never too old to begin a new chapter in our lives, and I think I'm a better writer now than I was in my 20s. More life experience!

      Keep writing and do not give up. Keep looking and you will find a way to make money doing what you love.

    • shampa sadhya profile image

      Shampa Sadhya 6 years ago from NEW DELHI, INDIA

      Voted up and useful!

      Your hub inspired me a lot. I am in my mid forty's and have started writing on this site some few months ago. I knew, I wanted to do something creative and not a regular job. Later when I did a creative writing course I wanted to work as a freelancer but I never got a break in a prominent manner. I worked as a language teacher but never wanted to be so. Once, two poems of mine got published but that was it. Naturally, I simply lost hope and stopped writing. Now, at this age while surfing internet I came across this site and I got going. God knows! how much successful I will be here but till date writing has been a true pleasure. It is yet to earn more than some scents but well, now I am a bit hopeful and your hub has raised it a little more.

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 6 years ago from India

      This is inspiring!

      New writers will gain from your hub.

      Thanks for SHARING:)

    • jm72writes profile image

      jm72writes 6 years ago from Missouri

      Thank you for your comment! That is exactly why I wrote this. I want people to know it is possible to make money doing what you love, and I want to give some concrete ways to do that. If I can be successful after all of these years of dreaming, anyone can!

    • Naima Manal profile image

      Naima Manal 6 years ago from NY

      When writers take the time to explain their personal journey with writing as a career, it inspires other writers to see themselves progressing in the field as well, in a very realistic way. Thank you for sharing.