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Make Money as a Freelance Writer 17 Niches You Should Consider

Updated on March 5, 2015
ChristinS profile image

Christin has been successfully self-employed for 16 years. Her passion is helping others hone their skills and find good opportunities.

Learn to make money writing
Learn to make money writing | Source

How to Make Money Freelance Writing


Let's face it – writing is everywhere and powers everything, from the news tickers on the bottom of the TV screen, to the thousands of advertisements we are bombarded with daily, to the carefully worded menu at your favorite restaurant. If it's in print or on your screen someone was likely paid to write it.

It bothers me that as a whole so many writer's choose to devalue themselves and our profession(s). I can't tell you how many times I've seen listings on freelance writing websites seeking writers to write well-researched, completely unique articles for a whole whopping dollar. Really? What's even more sad, the number of writers who are actually willing to work for slave wages.

Why should it matter to me what other writers do? Simple. When people agree to work for pennies it devalues the field for ALL of us who are freelance writers, making legitimate work harder to come by.

It is a common misconception that writing jobs are scarce or that you have to be willing to work for next to nothing to make it. Nothing could be further from the truth and your income is only limited by your inability to think (or not) outside the box.

What follows is a list of some of the many freelance writing niches available. Perhaps there is something here you had not considered before that will inspire you to branch out – or at least see that there is more opportunities for writers than meets the eye.


Need more ideas of where to get started and prefer shorter assignments? This is a great guide that goes into detail about types of jobs and how and where to find them. It's not a "how to not work" type guide - you have to make an effort, but it's filled with great ideas for the serious want-to-be professional writer.

Freelance Writing Niches

Blogging & Content Writing

Write what you like, focus on a niche you know a lot about that has a decent amount of search traffic and over time you can develop a nice residual and ongoing income with advertisements, product placements, and even direct sales of your own products or services associated with your subject area. You'll need to learn a bit about SEO (search engine optimization) to ensure what you are writing about is being searched and that you have a chance to rank. For example, health niche blogs are difficult to establish because you will be outranked by high authority pages.

Selling Content

Write what you like or what people are requesting and name your own price on websites like Constant Content or Daily Article. If you can craft exceptionally well written pieces you can earn quite a bit of money selling content this way. Avoid sites that want to pay you a pittance for developing content. Do you think those sites and the people who buy the articles aren't profiting wildly for a very long time from what you wrote for pennies? Think about it.

Ebooks

In this digital day and age eBooks are gaining popularity and many people are able to write and develop very strong “how to” or niche products based on their experience and expertise and sell them on their own website or even online on eBay and other large sites.

Tutorials/How-To's

This applies largely to those of us with web design and development experience, but there are several websites that pay good money (150 – 350+) for well written, error free tutorials. A great way to cash in on your knowledge/skill base if you happen to be a semi-decent writer to boot.

Copywriting

Copywriting is an art that takes time and dedication to develop, but the top copywriters earn top of the line salaries and are never short for opportunities. Copywriters have mastered the art of persuasion and motivation through their words. Have you ever read a great piece of advertising or a website where you really felt compelled to take action? That was the work of a master copywriter. With time, practice, and some training you can be one too.

Product Description Writing

From items in catalogs to those found on e-commerce websites and even restaurant menus, those who can write effective, short, but powerful descriptions of products and services can find themselves in a very lucrative niche that has a lot of opportunities.

Ghostwriting

You know those autobiographies put out by all those celebrities and politicians etc? What do you think the chances are that they had enough time to sit down, develop excellent writing skills and then type up a whole book by themselves? - newsflash – They didn't. Ghostwriting is one of the most lucrative forms of writing around. If you don't mind not seeing your name in lights, have a strong writing background, and the desire to earn on average $20 - $40 dollars per typed page – you may want to consider this market.


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Creative Writing

Yes the trend these days tends to be more towards copywriting and non-fiction. It can be difficult for creative writers to find venues to sell and promote their work. Difficult, but not impossible. There are several ideas for developing name recognition and customer loyalty too extensive to go into here, but visit the income from writing website for some solid ideas on how you can earn some money with creative writing.

Resume Writing

It's a tough economy and people are looking for any edge they can get which can mean a lucrative salary for freelance professional resume writers. Here's the rub. Everyone and anyone it seems slaps this title on these days, but it's a difficult profession. People who are genuinely professional resume writers must stay on top of current trends, should have or be willing to train in skills related to human resources, and above all their motivation should be to help others land jobs and not merely line their own pockets. Genuine resume professionals can earn a hundred or more per resume.

Press Releases

Public relations writing is all about gaining publicity for your client or organization in a meaningful way. Press releases have to be crafted in a way that generates interest in the product/service being pushed and also offers something to the viewers/readers of the particular media source being targeted. It's tricky, but if you have decent copywriting skills and a great personality in your writing this can be a great way to earn some extra money. Typically the more successful you are in getting your press releases acted up the more money you can command.

Academic Writing

Have a thirst for knowledge and the desire to research and compile information for texts and educational materials? This could be a great niche for you. No I am not talking about writing term papers and selling them – this encourages plagiarism and theft. Would you want your future doctor buying his dissertation? - yeah me either. There are however lucrative and non-dubious ways of doing educational writing, particularly if you have an advanced degree and experience in a field.


Technical Writing

You know that manual that came with your latest gadget that you probably didn't read until you had to? That was written by a technical writer whose job it is to break down subjects step by step and tell you how a product works. This tends to be an area where you need to have some experience. If all you know about the blender is how to plug it in and turn it on – you won't be able to write a manual telling other people how to do it. If however you have experience building blenders, have worked with blenders all your life, or have a strange fascination with them, chances are you know them well enough to explore the product, research it and then write the manual that is probably not appreciated enough ;). The plus side to this is that technical writers earn over $50,000 a year on average nationwide in the US – not too shabby for dry writing.

Grant Writing

This is for writers with the spirit of philanthropy in their hearts. The job of a grant writer is to try to secure funding for their organizations. If you work as a grant writer for a non-profit for example that deals with fighting cancer, your job would be to locate sources of funding, draw up documentation and use your writing to help secure funding for that particular cause. This is great for people who are able to get a job finding funding for an institution they deeply believe in and are passionate about. Many grand writers start off volunteering to get a bit of experience and then when they have proven abilities they can earn a very nice salary doing this kind of writing full time.

Business Plan Writing

Perhaps you have a good mind for business and want to help prospective business owners. Business plans are quite intensive and include everything from the companies goals, to projected profits and losses, plans for how to become profitable, and everything in between. If you are a master at organization and compiling information in a manner that is persuasive to potential investors, business plan writing may be the freelance writing career for you. Business plan writers have an average salary of $50,000 per year according to SimplyHired.com.

Newspaper Columnist

Yes, many newspapers these days are struggling, however small local papers are often a great way for newbie writers to gain some experience and get a bit of name recognition. Contact your local paper and pitch an idea for a column. They may not accept you, or if they do they may pay very little (or nothing) but the idea here is to gain publicity that will help you make contacts to further your career over time. Having your name out in your local community can be a great help to getting established and getting more clients.

Magazine Writing

Breaking into magazine writing takes time, diligence, experience, and patience. The good news is once you've done it once or twice, you are more likely to have your queries accepted in the future. Purchase a copy of the Writer's Market (well worth the investment) it comes with a year subscription to their website and database where you can get writer's guidelines to hundreds upon hundreds of publications, from niche trade magazines to the top national consumer magazines. The rates pay vary, but freelancing for magazines can be very lucrative up to a $1.00 per word in some markets.

Proofreading & Editing

Tired of writing yourself and want to help other writers? Put your sharp eye to the test and become a proofreader or editor. This typically requires a degree in English or Journalism and/or a great deal of writing/publishing experience. Editors make very good money however, and their skills are always in demand. In my opinion, there needs to be more of them!

So, as you can see – there are many ways to develop a career as a freelance writer. Put your skills and your imagination to the test. If you don't have a portfolio yet, make one. There are many sites where you can do this for free, however I highly suggest building your own or having one built for you. Remember you are a unique voice and a unique website/portfolio is the ideal way to capture that.

If you would like to learn more about freelance writing, ask questions, get guidance, discover potential salaries and more please visit www.incomefromwriting.com This blog is dedicated to helping you become a better freelancer, whether you're just getting started or simply looking to expand your knowledge.


I can't recommend Writer's Market Guides enough for freelance writers. All the information you need on major publications, contacts, and even charts for current pay rates are included. The deluxe edition gives you website membership where you can have all the info you need, regularly updated and at your fingertips! One gig pays for the book. I have found a few paying jobs using this resource.

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    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 8 weeks ago from Midwest

      You're welcome Florita, glad you enjoyed it and I wish you success in your writing.

    • profile image

      Florita Cailles-Velarde 2 months ago

      interesting and helpful for someone like me who's trying to break into the world of writing . . thanks !

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 4 months ago from Midwest

      Great WM thanks for reading and commenting I appreciate it.

    • profile image

      WM 4 months ago

      These at just great! I had all sorts of questions on becoming a freeelance writer. I love to write short stories also. Thank you so much for sharing this information! I'm excited again!

    • adevwriting profile image

      Arun Dev 2 years ago from United Countries of the World

      Thanks for sharing the information!

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 2 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks PinoyMom glad you enjoyed the hub and I wish you much success with your writing.

    • PinoyMom profile image

      Shiela Gerona 2 years ago from Philippines

      I'm still new in freelance writing. Your hub is a good guide for beginner's like me.

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 2 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks Monty :) glad you enjoyed the hub and best wishes to you on your freelance writing path.

    • Monty Wheeler profile image

      Monty Wheeler 2 years ago from Arkansas

      having but recently made the decision to take the creative writer into the wild and wacky world of freelance I thoroughly enjoyed this article. and I do recall one site as you described that some years ago scared me away from freelance work. now I come to the door with a fresh haircut and new attitude. thanks for an info packed article and you've gained a new follower along the way :)

      Monty

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 2 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks Deanne, glad you enjoyed it.

    • Deanne Victor profile image

      Deanne 2 years ago from Bronx, New York

      There are a thousand million blogs about freelance writing on here, but this is one of the better ones. Thanks for all the useful info!

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 3 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks Platinum will surely give it a try - I think my eggs are too fresh - normally a good thing lol :) not so much with the hard boiled variety. Thanks for reading my hubs - glad you enjoyed them.

    • platinumOwl4 profile image

      platinumOwl4 3 years ago

      This is the second article of yours that I have read. Actually, I discovered you attempting to help you solve the egg problem. While we are on that subject try peeling the egg under running water, you had part of the problem solved. Salt water,peeling it or them under water. Great article.

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 3 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks Ruby and good luck to you on your writing path :)

    • Ruby H Rose profile image

      Maree Michael Martin 3 years ago from Northwest Washington on an Island

      This is a huge goal of mine, to be able to narrow down my writing world to reliable niches. So useful to come here to learn and begin. It is hard to choose out there, I love coming to hub pages for support.

    • creativegenius profile image

      Brian Scott 4 years ago from United States

      The niche for writing tutorials is very popular. A knowledgeable writer can find decent-paying gigs to work for individuals and companies who require a writer to assist with developing video tutorials, slideshows, picture tutorials, and simple "List form" instructions.

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 4 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks for reading and commenting Maralexa - much appreciated :)

    • Maralexa profile image

      Marilyn Alexander 4 years ago from Vancouver, Canada and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico

      Thanks so much ChristinS. You mention a number of areas of writing where I have done well in the past but have "forgotten" as possible niches for me. I am on to your next article on "gaining name recognition." Up and shared. You have a new fan!

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      thank you very much tammyswallow I appreciate the lovely comment and I am glad you found this hub useful.

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Excellent ideas that are very well organized. I think you covered everything. Impressive and very helpful!

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      thanks for reading and commenting ignugent17 I'm glad you found it useful. Cheers.

    • profile image

      ignugent17 5 years ago

      Useful hub and I am thankful for the ideas you laid out for writers.

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks for reading and commenting Audrey. I agree writer's are often masters at devaluing themselves.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 5 years ago from California

      Nicely detailed! There are so many sites out there where writers undercut themselves all the time for the opportunity to make a couple of dollars--it is scary!

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks for reading and commenting LauraGT - I wish you much success with your eBooks :)

    • LauraGT profile image

      LauraGT 5 years ago from MA

      Nice summary of the the different types of freelance writing opportunities out there. Ebooks are definitely an interesting idea I have thought of a little, but haven't researched. You've inspired me to learn more...

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      thanks for your comment good luck with your ebook

    • That Grrl profile image

      Laura Brown 5 years ago from Barrie, Ontario, Canada

      I've known about all of these but haven't tried them all yet. I'm starting into ebooks now.

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      much appreciated Julie - I'll look for it :) thanks

    • Julie DeNeen profile image

      Blurter of Indiscretions 5 years ago from Clinton CT

      I just posted another hub and linked yours because I liked it so much!

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks Suzette I really appreciate the vote and thank you for the compliment.

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      Thank you Crystal I appreciate it.

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 5 years ago from Taos, NM

      Great Hub and information you provide here. Every Hubber should read this piece. I checked out the web site and it is a good one. Thanks for sharing! Voted up!

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 5 years ago from Georgia

      Fantastic and useful tips as always. Voted up.

    • Angela Brummer profile image

      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Thank you I will check into some of these!

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      Julie, thanks for voting up and sharing I appreciate it. Glad you enjoyed the hub :)

    • Julie DeNeen profile image

      Blurter of Indiscretions 5 years ago from Clinton CT

      Thanks so much for this hub. I'm trying to break out into the writing world, and Im overwhelmed with all the choices. Voting up and shared! :)

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      Thank you Jackcoburn glad you enjoyed it. I appreciate the comment :)

    • jackcoburn profile image

      jackcoburn 5 years ago from Brisbane, Australia

      This is a brilliant hub!

      Respect! :)

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      thanks for the comment larakern glad you found the hub useful and I hope it helps you.

    • larakern profile image

      larakern 5 years ago from Georgia

      Thank you so much for this hub! It has so much great information on how to get started and actually noticed.

    • profile image

      Team Leader 5 years ago

      Hello Christine, Thank you for answering my question 'What is the best hub to learn about becoming a full time writer?' with this link. I found it very useful.

      Your 'Team Leader'

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks Brinafr3sh for the comment and vote have a great day

    • Brinafr3sh profile image

      Brinafr3sh 5 years ago from West Coast, United States

      Hi Cristins, Having a niche is very important as a writer, thanks for the tips. Voted up.

    • ChristinS profile image
      Author

      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks Danette, I agree

      I'd rather write a hub or blogpost and let it generate income for me for life than sell a full rights article to someone cheaply. I think may writers are duped into believing they have to do that to "get established" and that, of course, is simply untrue. Thanks for commenting :)

    • Danette Watt profile image

      Danette Watt 5 years ago from Illinois

      I absolutely agree that those who write for a pittance bring down the pay for the rest of us. This is debated and discussed frequently in a couple groups I belong to on LinkedIn. I won't spend the hours researching and writing content that I would get paid $20 for just so someone else can profit off of it.

      Lots of good ideas here. Thanks for mentioning them.

    • nutuba profile image

      nutuba 5 years ago from North Carolina

      I enjoyed your article! It was great having such a wide list of freelance opportunities all mentioned in one place. Nicely done.

    • ChristinS profile image
      Author

      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      Thank you nightflower - glad you enjoyed the hub and got something meaningful from it.

    • NightFlower profile image

      NightFlower 5 years ago

      Well thank you Christin...this is certainly helpful. I've been writing for along time and it has been very difficult finding some one to pay more gratuitously for writing skills.

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      thank you for reading and commenting bruzz - I am glad you found this hub useful and I hope it helps you find more writing opportunities. :) thanks!

    • bruzzbuzz profile image

      bruzzbuzz 5 years ago from Texas , USA

      This is one of the most detailed sites I have seen that discusses ways to make money writing. I am bookmarking it and keeping it as a resource to use in the future weeks. Thanks and voted up.

    • ChristinS profile image
      Author

      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      Thank you very much James I appreciate that you shared the hub with a tweet :) Glad you found it useful also. Have a great weekend.

    • JamesPoppell profile image

      JamesPoppell 5 years ago

      I like the way your hub lays out a foundation for the many paths one can take in their writing. I also appreciate the links you provided. Definitely a vote up and a tweet out.

    • profile image

      violetpetals 5 years ago

      Thank you for your sharing Christin. This is a most informative review.

    • carcro profile image

      Paul Cronin 5 years ago from Winnipeg

      Thanks for the info Christin, will bookmark this site and follow up. Voted UP and Useful!

    • ChristinS profile image
      Author

      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks everyone for the comments. I'm glad to see that everyone enjoyed the hub. Freelance writing is a great career and I believe many of us just don't consider the different areas of focus there can be :)

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      So many great ideas here! Thanks for this wonderful resource for freelance writers.

    • LisaKoski profile image

      LisaKoski 5 years ago from WA

      This is definitely something I've wanted to look into but didn't know where to start. I'm going to have to take a look at some of your links. Very useful and informative.

    • icciev profile image

      icciev 5 years ago from Kuwait

      indeed there is no limitation of topics or ways you can write although you were successful to include most of them. thanks for sharing this great and informative hub Christin, voted up.

    • lobobrandon profile image

      Brandon Lobo 5 years ago

      Nicely explained. I'm a freelance writer myself. Just to make a few points clear.

      Why we bid low - when I first began on elance I used to write 500 words for just $2. I wrote about 121 articles for a single client at that rate. Why? - to get some rating and feedback. It's really hard for an Indian to get a first job and the same applies to all non-native English countries.

      But now just two months from when I began I get the normal rate of an average US writer. Don't want to mention the amount - I'm sure you guessed. So that one low led me to above average rates within two months as I've proved myself. Now I get so much work that I even have to refuse (as I'm just a part time writer since I'm studying at present)