There are two types of freelance writers. On one hand you have the ones who make good money with very high paying writing jobs, but on the other hand, you have freelance writers who are writing for peanuts.
That’s why there is a large crowd of freelance writers who are on a feast or famine circle, in the first place. They work here and there, but they can never keep their head above water due to low paying gigs.
The reason why they are several different types of success levels for freelance writers is not based on their ability to write well, but on their ability to connect with the right type of clients using the right methods.
In this post, I’m going to discuss the methods you can use in order to get off the feast or famine circle, and start living on a more comfortable revenue with your freelance writing.
Once you do you’ll never, ever want to go back again to writing articles for 10 or 20 bucks. You are worth more than that. Don’t you?
What Type of Freelance Writer are you?
If you are an underpaid freelance writer, it’s probably not due to your talent – I’m going to assume that you are a fine writer – It’s simply that you are fishing in the wrong pond. But what do I call the wrong pond, you might ask?
I found that bidding or begging for writing gigs, so to speak, will never help you earn good money as a freelance writer.
It’s just not designed that way. But let me explain.
Who are the Potential Clients you Find on Bidding Sites
It doesn’t take much time to realize that the potential clients you find on freelance writing bidding sites are companies or individuals with low budgets. That’s why they are posting their jobs on bidding sites to start with. They are trying to get the lowest bid for the best writer they can get.
This means that they are in control, not you.
For example, it’s not uncommon to find writing jobs as low as $3 for a 500 word article, or a whole eBook at $10 per hour. This sad situation is mostly due to the fact that some foreign writers from economically under-developed countries have started to accept those less than low rates on a regular basis.
Whether we want it or not, this has affected freelance writers in the US where a simple cup of coffee costs what those overseas writers may be able to lunch on for a whole week.
As a freelance writer, besides the fact that you would be working for less than minimum wage (here in the US) you might not be motivated to write your best content either, and even be ashamed to feature it in your portfolio. Thus, accepting low paying gigs is kind of a double hedge sword.
First, you’re accepting to write for close to nothing. The content is mediocre, so you can’t show it off to attract better writing jobs. Or Second, you’re accepting low paying gigs while you still write high quality content. In which case, you’re wasting your time and money when you could write this type of content for a much higher rate.
At some point, you need to ask yourself the question; am I writing for a few extra cups of coffee or am I writing to build a career as a freelance writer? If you are writing for a career in freelance writing, run away from biding sites. They will do you more harm than good.
There is actually a better way to get good, and even great paying freelance writing jobs. Did you guess what that is?
There’re actually two of them. One is even better than the other.
Let’s see what they are…
A better way to get high quality writing jobs is by pitching potential clients directly.
One very important thing that you need to know is that wealthy companies that need writers rarely advertise for the job. So, don’t expect them to advertise their need for writers, and don’t expect to find them on freelance writing bidding sites, because they don’t go there either.
They may not even be aware that such sites do exist and even if they did, they probably wouldn’t be interested in getting the lowest bid out there.
One of the main reasons that those companies don’t advertise for writing jobs is that they don’t have a staff to handle requests and resumes. They basically would need a recruiting staff for the job, and they are not in the recruiting business.
In addition to this, since they are the “big fish in the right pond,” they manage to get the best and smartest freelance writers who do find their ways to get to them anyway. It’s up to you to be one of them.
The price that they’ll be willing to pay for you to write for them, depends on how much they need you, the quality of your pitch, and their budget. Over time, it will greatly depend on the quality of your articles.
However, there might still be one reason for them to pay you less than a dream writing job, and this reason is that you’re the one asking for the job.
While there’s nothing wrong with pitching potential clients, there is still a down side to it – you’re the one asking for the job.
This means that they have more power to decide how much they are willing to pay you. Of course, you can always refuse the rate if you feel that it’s still too low, but they will be less likely to accept a higher rate since you’re the one asking for the job.
However, there is yet another way to get the highest paying freelance writing jobs.
Let Clients Come to You
There is yet another way to get clients who would pay you the BEST rate to write for them, and it’s by putting yourself out there well enough, so that potential clients will notice you and want to contact you themselves.
While this might not be the easiest thing to do, because it’s going to take some expertise, time and efforts on your part, it can be done.
Yes, the best and most rewarding writing gigs that you’ll ever get, is when clients come to you. Usually those clients have a large budget of 10 million or more, and they are willing to pay you big buck for an article.
How much of a big buck?
Clients that come to you because they found your work online through guest posts on big blogs , for example, may be willing to pay you $150 to $500 per job, and they will pay you up to four digits for larger projects.
Yes folks, there are some freelance writers who make anywhere from $1,000 – $2,000 per project. I’m not saying that they’re making that type of money for a 500 word article, but they’re certainly not making $10 an hour for an eBook either.
Those freelance writers are making anywhere from $100 to $200 per hour.
There is no doubt that you will never make big money if you’re staying stuck on bidding sites, but if you are willing to work your way into finding the big fish out there, you could live very well on your freelance writing skills. What you need to do is learn how to be in charge.
If you are a new freelance writer or a struggling one, it’s time that you get in charge of your career and use your unique talent for the big fish. The least low paid job you accept, the better it is for you and for the whole family of freelance writers.
Please, leave your thoughts and comments below.
34 thoughts on “What Prevents You To Make Great Money As A Freelance Writer?”
Sylviane, thank you for a very useful article. I find that a successful (busy and well-paid) freelance writer must commit to a systematic approach to connect with clients. I allocate time each week for business development and have found that LinkedIn has opened many doors for me. Twitter is useful as well.
It is important to remember that our skills as writers are valuable and to accept low-paying jobs undermines the efforts of all freelance writers to obtain fair payment for their expertise and services. In the field of medical writing, hourly rates that exceed $100.00 should be the norm rather than the exception. Writers should also consider fixed fee pricing, which can be especially lucrative when you are writing about a topic that is very familiar to you.
Hi Carol, and welcome to my blog.
I certainly appreciate your professional feedback. I agree, high pay should be more of the norm than the exception. There are those writers out there that are actually putting the profession down as they continue to accept low rates for their work.
Thankfully there are also those who haven’t fallen into that trap and that may help save the situation.
Thanks for your feedback.
A great way to get writing gigs is by having a a successful blog. It showcases your writing, plus proves that it is popular.
You can advertise your writing services on your own blog. This has worked well for some people.
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Yes, indeed, and that’s certainly what I’m trying to do, not even only with this blog but with my other two as well.
Nice to see you again, and have a wonderful week!
Have a great week too Sylviane!
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I’m not a writer, but rather a person who would hire one! Reading through this post, I think the best way is to put yourself out there and have clients come to YOU.
Of course, there would have to be a marketing aspect to that also. But I find that when I need someone, to do a job for me, I’ll ask around for recommendations first. The word of mouth is still strong!
Now I’ve been coming to your blog for a long time and follow your tips. I know you as a writer, and a darn good one. If I needed to have something written for me, it is a no brainer..Sylviane! If someone asks me who I know…I tell them it’s YOU. And also tell them about your free opt-in Ebook that you wrote.
They can come to your blog, sample your ebook and get a good feel of how you write. They will find it is a professional site.
There are many writers out there that will charge a few dollars but what are the results? Can they write well in the English language? Do I have to edit everything? No….I rather have the know like and trust factor.
This is all from the buyer’s point of view.
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Thank you so much for saying this. I know you’re one of my best supporter 🙂 and I agree that mouth to ear is still very strong. As a matter of fact, I don’t think that advertising, even today, is as good as mouth to ear.
I know that when I need something done I love to be referred to someone, rather than getting a service from someone I don’t know. People need that assurance that they will be OK, you know!
Thank you so much for putting the good word for me, Donna.
As you know Sylviane, I’m not a freelance writer so this really isn’t my area of expertise.
I would agree with Jon though that by showcasing your writing ability on your blog that I would think that would really help with getting more writing jobs. The more people hire you for your work then the more your name will be spread around. We all know about word of mouth don’t we.
Not in this particular area though I wouldn’t know what the going rate is but I have learned one thing. If you want to make money online then never underestimate your worth. That’s how you’ll really build up your business.
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Yes, that’s very true, to make money online or anywhere else, we can’t underestimate ourselves. That’s the problem with lots of these writers, they certainly underestimate themselves to the point of writing from some darn peanuts. I mean, frankly, close to minimum wages, and that’s a shame.
Thankfully, there are those who don’t and still have plenty of orders, so it’s not a lost cause.
Thank you for coming and commenting Adrienne, even though that’s not really your area of interest 😉
You know Silviane, this article brings me back to the last job I had last week. As a matter of fact, it paid more than you will ever find on any advertising platform. Yes! I pitched the client with my own price and there was no negotiation. I was excited and also surprised that the client did not offer his own price. He simply said Yes, let’s move ahead.
I’m sure a couple of factors (like you mentioned) played in my favor. I may not be a top blogger and writer like you but I think since starting blogging August 2012, I have been able to build a solid blogging profile.
I remember the biggest writing job I had last year, I was contacted by the client through my contact form. After reading his request, I voiced my price and he said YES – no negotiation. And do you know where I have had the cheapest job that paid so low? From advertising platform 😉
There are solid proofs that what you said here is very correct and I’m sure writers and bloggers will put this to practice for a change.
Have a wonderful week ahead
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I know for sure that what I’m saying is true and your very own experience proves it.
Like I mentioned in the article, people who are looking for writer on platforms such as elance or others are usually low income clients, but the ones that will reach out to you or the ones you can reach out to, those have plenty of spare money to pay good writers, and they usually don’t even discuss the price.
Thank you for confirming this 🙂 and I’m glad you’ve got great clients doing just that!
Hello Ms. SlyvianeThis is a great article with important pointers for those aspiring to become freelance writers. I realize that is not me, but I still can learn from writers like yourself.When it comes to accepting the lowest rate, the writer is putting little value in their expertise. It is the same with life coaching, hair dresser and any other business. We have to be confident in our own skills before anyone else believes in us.Thank you again for your expertise in the writing field.Gladys
You made a terrific point, and thank you for bringing this up.
That’s right, no matter what we do, as entrepreneurs, we are paid according to the value we put on ourselves, and we know that really everything comes from our own beliefs, which for some people, are very limited beliefs that prevent them to price themselves high.
Thank you for coming and for your excellent point.
It’s funny you’ve written about this because I do use one of those sites occassionally when I need to get a quick post (but usually I end up editing most or all of it). They do bid for the assignment, and I’ve found that some are much better than others. This site I use also has a rating system so they are rated so consumers like me can select a 1, 2, 3 or 4 and 5 star writer. Those writers get higher rates of course.
Anyway, I’m not a freelance writer but I can see the sense in what you’ve provided for those who are. Very interesting.
Glad you are able to give great advice to others who are coming up in the writing world and those who may need encouragement in their profession.
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Yes, you’re example really shows that being on those sites as a writer, doesn’t really make one look good. I’ve never been on any of those sites. A long time ago, I’ve tried to join elance and it was way too much of a headache for what it was going to bring me, so I gave up before I started.
Thank you for your feedback and have a great rest of the week.
First time visit on your blog really that was amazing.
I think a big section of the issue while using the uncertainty in respect of how much freelance article writers should make could be the way the internet offers changed the particular barriers to be able to entry for individuals who employ freelance article writers.
Whereas prior to would need a significant investment to get involved with the marketing business, consequently print, video or elsewhere, now anyone can merely slap up a complimentary site along with call it a profitable business. These individuals simply don’t possess the cash to be able to properly shell out content providers, so they give bottom with the barrel costs because it’s all they might afford.
Hi Manoj and welcome to my blog 🙂
Yes, there will always be those who can’t afford to pay well because they just don’t have the money. The thing is that there are good or at least decent writers that do write for very little. I know, I’ve seen them, and that’s a bit of a shame for the business.
I mean, I’m in the coaching business as well, and in that business you won’t fine someone to coach you for peanuts.
Thank you for your input and for coming.
Sylviane, great tips. I haven’t ventured out into that yet but maybe something to consider in the future. Too many freelancers of any kind always low ball their prices, not good. Thanks for sharing these tips – it can be applied to all kinds of freelance work too. I also liked Jon’s comment about using your blog to showcase your work – so true!
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The issue with low pay writers is unfortunately one that could become a vicious circle for some. They price themselves low, so they’re bring down their own business. Yes, that goes for any type of freelance work, indeed.
Thank you for coming. Appreciate that!
Awesome post Sylviane!
I never looked at it this way.
I think I’m missing out on opportunities due to my lack of confidence because I am not sure I would call myself a full-fledged writer just yet, there is still so much for me to learn and gain experience from.
I know if I keep following your advice sonn I’ll be able to reach out to advertisers without breaking a sweat!
Great post Sylviane! Hope you’re having a great week!
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Don’t forget that self-confidence. What gives me mine is when I see writers that aren’t better than I am making tons of good money writing. When I see that, it gives me all the confidence I need. There is no reason why you shouldn’t have it too.
Thanks for coming by and have a wonderful end of the week!
Although I’m not a freelance writer I can see why some writers get paid peanuts while others get paid well. If you’re on the “begging” side, then yes, you can definitely get taken advantage of if you’re trying to make it.
Besides that if you are confident in your craft then pitching or marketing yourself as a writer can allow you to attract the right clients that you want. As Jon and Adrienne pointed out, you can use your blog as your reference to attract higher paying quality clients. Thanks for sharing Sylviane and you have a fantastic weekend!
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Finally get to reply to my last comments here.
Yes, actually, in any kind of business we can observe that. Some people may be well paid over the top, while others are just picking up the crumbs. That’s why we need to make sure we polish our craft and approach to potential clients, so we can get paid well for our work.
Thank for coming by and have a great week ahead. I’ll be coming by your place today.
The only thing preventing me from surviving as a freelance writer is paypal. It isn’t supported in my country and this has affected me a lot.
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I understand that, but don’t let it stop you. I know someone who does tech work on people’s blogs which country is not supported by Paypal either, yet he gets lots of clients.
My advice would be for you to research what else is available out there as a method of payment. For example wiring money through Western Union is available the world over.
Hope you find a way and thank you for coming.
I recently read that a singer with a very unique voice or style, has a better than average chance of making it onto the charts, even if they don’t have perfect pitch or a classically trained voice. While some of the most advanced, technically “perfect”, musicians we’ll ever hear, break up the silence as we ride in elevators.
The biography sections of bookstores are filled with the stories of people who lead interesting lives, edited by people who can spot a grammatical error in a nanosecond. The guest bloggers most in demand are often opinionated and edgy, rather than literary geniuses or brilliant researchers.
Your post got me thinking about the writers I hire. They are generally chosen because they add a unique perspective to their writing, or a particular area of expertise. And you’re right, I usually go looking for them.
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Hi Cole and sorry for the late reply here 🙂
Thank you for your insights here, and you definitely seem to know what you’re talking about.
I think you’re right, people who are unique in general would be the chosen ones. People like originality.
Thank you so much for your input and have a great week ahead!
Freelance writing is a great opportunity to make money online since content is king! Many take the low rate just to survive while waiting the big fish though. Anyway, thanks for providing great advise here Sylviane!
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Hi Okto, and so sorry for the late reply, but once my next blog is published and going into the next week little time is left to go backward, but I do come at the first opportunity I have.
Yes, some writers take small pay in order to survive, indeed, but at the same time, while it’s OK for a new writer to start somewhere, no one should stay there.
Thanks for your input 🙂
According to me freelancing over some reputed websites is actually tough because as a newbie you wont be given a chance to deliver your skills and get a project done.
Thanks a ton for this share.
I am still struggling.
The first thing you need to do is CHANGE your beliefs on that. Here it’s the life coach that’s telling you this 🙂 Do not say things like “newbies won’t be given the a chance to deliver their skill.” because if it’s what you believe, it’s not surprising that’s what you’re going to get.
Give yourself a break by starting with positive affirmations. NOT negative ones. Study personal development.
Just my two cents.
Thanks for coming by 🙂
Great tips, Sylviane!
As you already know, I am very much interested in pursuing freelance writing, but I have been thinking about it.
In the past few months, I have had more ideas on how I could potentially make more money, without writing much (I do love writing, but freelancing writing is a commitment, and I am not sure I will be able to meet it fully, especially since my studies are getting tougher).
Plus, I do want to maintain my blog…which makes things even more difficult. So, I am considering all my options. I still have a long time to go (my original plan was to start offering writing services by the end of this year, but they may not happen, especially with the changes in my goals).
But, I haven’t finalized anything yet. Things may change. Hopefully, everything will turn out to be good.
Anyways, thank you for sharing this, Sylviane 🙂
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Hello, Sylviane!I am so thrilled to have stumbled upon your blog and website! I have recently “retired” from my full time job to pursue writing full time and I’m sure that I will find a lot of inspiration here. I’m looking forward to your next post!
Great tips, Sylviane!
You have use great tips for free lancing. I got so many important things in this blog and i use both of lancing.
Thanks for sharing…
Keep it up.
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