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Managing an Unpredictable Income as a Freelance Writer

Updated on November 30, 2016

Unfortunately, this is a profession with a fluctuating source of income.

It is capable for any person serious about the idea of creating a freelance writing to have cake and eat it too. Possessing the financial resources to do what a person truly wants versus what a person needs is a wonderful feeling. Finding a way to make this a reality is not as far fetched as most folks believe. With the right tools, information and materials a dream becomes a reality for countless professionals in this field.

The road is difficult

There is a beginning to any professional career which starts with looking at money. Becoming a writer is no exception. Setting out to gain success typically takes off without millions in the bank as a back up income source. Although there are a few prosperous folks fortunate enough to realize millions after years of hard work and struggle and generally a lucky break here and there.

Starting at the bottom with a few dollars to rely on is the norm. Between the hard work and little to no pay many are motivated to resign and use this as an excuse. The idea is abandoned early. The road is plenty rough for paying bills without creating a plan of action following this particular dream.

Income is and enormous hurdle

Discovering the key needed to manage an unpredictable income is difficult. The major reason people give up or walk out on the idea of professional freelance writing is an inability to keep the money coming in on a regular basis. Everyone has got to find a way to pay the bills. Unless there is an independently wealthy group financing a personal career there has to be a way to make money at this job. Otherwise, how do so many make it work?

This is a tough self employment opportunity. This does not make the problem impossible to handle. Countless folks in various lines of business face the same hurdle and make things work.

By following some of these instructions the road is easier and filled with a whole lot less pitfalls and setbacks.

Manage a cash flow

Managing a flip flopping cash flow is sometimes frightening and even overwhelming for most. There is no set plan of instructions to eliminate the unpredictability generally seen with how much money comes in versus what must go out. Though, knowing at the outset this is the norm rather than the exception does help with being prepared at the very least mentally.

This struggle is the largest deterrent for swapping this choice of a profession for another career. There are times it gets grueling to try and make the bills. Taking care of the flow of money on hand with the best skill and proficiency is the best course of action.

This is achieved by preparing for the expected, attempting to be prepared for unforeseen and becoming competent with handling less than ideal conditions. These are some of the tools to make it happen.

Look at the long term

Developing a long term plan of action for this profession is important. This is true not only for freelance writers, but for other small business owners. Money tends to move in a fluctuation status with extremes. Its feast or famine on a consistent basis for most and it is difficult to determine how much money will be made for next week or even next month. Earnings are subject to a variety of factors.

Don’t assume any maximum or even minimum limit to the amount of earnings. Though, by establishing a minimum amount as acceptable for any job there are some basic calculations which are able to be made. This is a predetermined number which is the adequate number for wages.By having this number on hand there is a way to make at least a rudimentary schedule of payments for bills.

Other ways to make earnings go further is by tweaking the savings account along with spending and investment budgets. Play around with the numbers on the baseline of minimum earnings and plan further ahead. Birthdays and holidays are typically when most folks see a real jump in spending.

Look at the long term and make a strategy for just in case no money happens to come in. Imagine what needs are in a matter of months versus weeks or days.

Don’t quit the day job right away

Anyone lucky enough to have a steady source of income would do well to hang on to it. The smart move is not to get rid of it immediately. Applications, resumes, job bids and more go into getting hired in this field. This means producing lots of work before seeing any returns. When there is a return, it starts out characteristically small. Hopefully it increases over time.

More than a few are fortunate enough to dive right in regardless of pay and begin this career in a part time capacity. Logically this comes along with minimal pay. Ultimately a full time status is achieved along with full time pay. There are also those folks who start out part time and simply supplement a steady source of income. Take advantage of taking it slowly.

Knowing a steady secondary source of income is coming reduces stress. It helps with focus and direction in any profession. When you don’t have a steady source of income starting out as a writer there are pit stops or twists along the way that make getting to the top of your profession slower and harder.

Some say not having a day job gives a struggling writer more determination. It is capable to peak faster, regardless of all the twists and turns taken because of financial need. Whichever way you want to see the glass, half full or half empty, the opportunity to write as a freelance writer without economic stress can be beneficial. Don’t quit your day job right away.


Grow the bank account as big and as quickly as possible.

Putting something in the bank for a rainy day

Make a honeypot or a resource to pull from in case of an unforeseen need for money not readily available. These are usually termed emergency funds.This serves more than one objective. It assures a safety net for those dry times when work is not available, gives a source of monies while waiting to be paid as well as keeping up on current financial obligations.

Most writers push work to increase income. Even with quality stuff going out the door and clients waiting in the wings, a feeling of ease comes with knowing there is an emergency fund when needed. Even the most blessed in the biz in general do not see a stream of wages on the high end of things for quite some time. The reality is years generally pass before the majority of individuals are comfortable enough to quit the day job and rely only on this paycheck as a wealth of wages.

One idea is to deposit all or a very substantial portion of writing earnings in the bank while living off of other resources, such earnings from a day job. When the time comes to quit the other employment there is a resource available to continue to pay the bills while waiting for a regular salary. A possible ideal time is when the outflow of monies becomes more than inflow. This is a cushion to ease the pain and permit continuation in this chosen career.

This has a twofold effect. It permits a physical measurement of what is earned against the work invested. Comparison makes it possible for more than a few to continue investing in the business while others take a different direction. The decision of whether to continue or not sometimes comes down to this number.

It also eases the stress for a handful with the knowledge if a job is slow to come along or a client connection is not made, the bills still get paid.

Budgeting expenses is important

There is a necessity to make every dollar go further to avoid throwing the towel in. The action is an extremely vital key to success without a steady or reliable schedule of being paid. The continual influx of monies is the goal, but certainly not the reality of this type of freelancing profession.

Financial plans are typically made to keep spending with in a given guideline. It lets an individual know financially what is possible without ruin. There are boundaries set for personal protection when budgets are established.

The goal is to prosper in any financial venture. Budgets are put in place to make funds going out less than what funds are coming in. No one enjoys being under the influence of one. In fact, it confines. These are designed out of need and not out of want.

An effective company goal in is falling under the set bar and not going over. Prosperous companies thrive on keeping a watchful eye on what capital is in the bank at any given time and compares this amount to expenses. The same is true for writing.

The practice keeps a person focused on the long term goal of financial success while maximizing monetary funds available for short term objectives. Budgets are a necessary evil for every profitable venture. Keeping disturbances or surprises from pushing writers into oblivion.

A great rule of thumb to follow is budget frugally at the outset. A deposit of a large payout for a single project or big payment on passive income looks excellent. Especially when compared against others with nothing to put in the bank or slim pickings.

For an example, there are times when a single month to writing holiday pieces of extremely great content permits a substantial increase in passive monthly income. Don’t spend more than the budget because of this unique influx in money.

The month following the holiday may be lean and the budgeted expenses remain the same. Writing income is unpredictable. Even for the extremely fruitful writers in the biz, one month is sometimes better than another. Of course, the difference is not measured in tens of dollars. In fact, it is possible to measure the variation in hundreds of dollars. Though, the idea is the same. Even the well off are limited to what to spend.

Save earnings that you didn’t see coming

Several times I have worked for clients that have shared a bonus with me they received from a client they subcontracted for or even simply provide a little extra for a job well done. When you receive money that you didn’t see coming, put it all away for the rainy day fund. You won’t miss it and haven’t budgeted for it because you didn’t see it coming your way.

In conclusion

Managing a freelance writer’s unpredictable income is extremely difficult, but not impossible. Determination that got you this far as a freelance writer can also help you with managing your income as a writer with success.

As your writing becomes better and you earn more, a larger more stable income can be established. In the meantime work with what you have to make an unpredictable income more stable and livable as a freelance writer.

Making more money online as a freelance writer is the mantra that every writer has. Ghostwriting is an extremely lucrative type of writing that can earn any wri

There are rationales or explanations for working in the field. These are as varied as the millions of different people who step into this arena.

Writing is a business. Individuals are investing in making a living in this field for a multitude of motives. Countless professionals in this line of business admit there is a kind of joy or satisfaction in the job which is separate from the amount of income earned. In fact, duties are fulfilled because of a innate desire to share ideas, thoughts and even feelings with readers. The goal of success is extremely varied. For some the idea of making a connection is more satisfying than cashing a big pay check. There are certainly a variety of viewpoints among the spectrum of why people do this particular job.

Find the right visual stimulation to link the eye and the mind. Take just as much time selecting images and photos as selecting words.


Being cheap or economical with expenses is not a bad idea. This is especially true with the novice population of writers

Millions of great musicians, painters and other creative workers are apt to quit before getting started on a prosperous career due to expenses exceeding income. Economic responsibility in the form of a financial plan accounting via budgeting is a ideal route to financial freedom.

Pictures are making or breaking some content.

One of the biggest draws for material are the extras that come with it. This is typically seen in things such as videos and pictures.

Pics are an enormous draw and vital for most writers. There are wonderful sites like Pixels which have organized them wonderfully. Black and white photos are available along with some of the most unique images seen around the web today.

Visual embodiment is the essence of some articles. Depending on the niche or material it is capable of being everything needed to make the difference between viral and simply mediocre.

This is not very different from other small business ventures.

This is sometimes challenging when it comes to making money. It is a strenuous long term commitment for most which continues throughout the career. Always look at it as a business, even if it feels like something else. Though it is possible to do something a person loves, like creating content while making a wonderful living doing it.

These are methods and simple guidelines to follow to help manage the unpredictable income expected while launching this sort of career. Even more experienced entrepreneurs discover useful material scanning through this article.


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    • BeatsMe profile image

      BeatsMe 6 years ago

      Great hub and to the point. Managing an unpredictable income sure isn't easy and it can be quite impossible sometimes. Proper management can help in most cases.

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 6 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Great tips. Thanks!

    • smcopywrite profile image

      smcopywrite 6 years ago from all over the web

      thanks all of you for your comments. i always appreciate it.

      christin-unfortunately when we compete online we are competing in a global economy that permits some people to work for a lesser wage than we would accept.

      many writers will develop content when they are newbies that they would not create after they have gained more experience and information as a writer.

      thank you for the compliment and the comment.

    • Angela Blair profile image

      Angela Blair 6 years ago from Central Texas

      Great HUB and sterling advice. Writing all boils down to the loving of the game -- can you manage your career and live or will you be a "freebie" writer forever -- it's every writer's choice and challenge. Best, Sis

    • Dee aka Nonna profile image

      Dee aka Nonna 6 years ago

      Great advice and not just for writers. Budgeting will allow any of us to managing our money better. I also agree with Christin S we must value our work and not allow anyone else devalue it either.

      Thank you once again for great information and insight. Voted up and useful.

    • John MacNab profile image

      John MacNab 6 years ago from the banks of the St. Lawrence

      I like the practicalities in this hub SMCOPYWRITE. And it has started me thinking that I can perhaps make money from my innate curiosity.

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 6 years ago from Midwest

      great hub. Another thing I would say is not to devalue your writing. When people write 500 word articles for a buck on the freelancing sites it really bugs me. No field of people devalue themselves as much as writers most of the time. Writing rules the world - we read constantly and I think writers especially need to value their trade more. After all if we are willing to accept slave wages there will always be those willing to take advantage of that willingness! Great hub :)