7 Simple Strategies for Getting Paid Big Freelance Bucks


Increase freelance writer pay with these marketing tipsAcross the conference table, two business owners sat staring at me, as I explained why they needed to hire me as their writer.

I discussed what they needed — social media, blog articles, employee profiles — and to my newbie surprise, they bought it. All of it. They stood up, shook my hand and eagerly requested a proposal.

I shook their hands, smiled, and nearly collapsed into a puddle of anxiety after I left the room.

This was my first experience with a potential business client, and I had no clue how I’d move forward.

What do I charge? What do I put in my proposal? What do I do next?

Luckily, I had resources, and I put them to work. Here’s what I did to secure my first business client and first writing for money job — at a great pay rate:


1. Consult your community

I logged into the Freelance Writers Den and posted in one of the forums. I gave a brief synopsis of the meeting, and asked the community questions about pricing and proposals.

2. Do your research

My Den community provided me with links to articles, blog posts, and recordings. I reviewed everything that was suggested. I took notes and extracted the information that applied to my situation.

3. Follow expert advice

The Den recently hosted a call with Wealthy Freelancer co-author Steve Slaunwhite on setting prices. I listened to that again, and something he mentioned stuck with me: If I wanted to be treated like a professional, then I needed to set professional rates from the start. So I did that.

4. Bid high

All of the advice and research suggested pricing high to leave room for negotiation. If I priced my services higher than what I wanted to make, then I wouldn’t be disappointed if the client came back to negotiate a lower rate.

After considering what I learned from other writers and from my research, I decided on $1000 to set up their social media accounts (yep, just for setup) and $300 per 500-600 word article/employee profile. I requested 50 percent of the first month’s fee as an initial deposit, to reserve space on my calendar. I also decided to ask for a monthly retainer for maintaining the social media accounts.

5. Give yourself a pep talk

Let’s face it — not everyone can write well. That’s why so many freelancers make big bucks writing for business clients. I had to believe that my potential business client needed what I had to offer. My services hold value — and believing that is the key to asking for a livable wage.

6. Hit send

I didn’t second-guess myself anymore. I drafted the proposal and hit send.

7. Hurry up and wait

I knew I had to keep myself busy if I wanted my sanity intact while I waited. I was working on a magazine article at the time, so I set up interviews and started writing. I scheduled extra marketing time. I used the momentum to work harder toward my goals.

So what happened? That client accepted my original proposal. No negotiations — just a signed contract and a check in the mail. I realize this might not happen every time, but how can you get big freelance jobs if you don’t ask for them?

How did you land your biggest project? Tell us in the comments below.

Nicole Slaughter-Graham hopes to move from part-time to full-time freelancing soon. She blogs about reading and literature at Many Hats.

Den 2X Income Accelerator


  1. Karen Briggs

    Joining the Den is a great decision! You will get lots of support. You deserve so much more than you have allowed yourself. Stop selling yourself short!

  2. Sid

    Thanks Emily. I truly appreciate your encouraging words. I would be joining the Den on Saturday and am confident that will be a turning point in my Freelance writing career.

  3. Kerry Mc Donald

    Hi Nicole,

    This story is motivating. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Sid

    Carol I appreciate your advice and I know your course would be a pretty good one. I cannot afford it right now though as I don’t have extra money even to pay for hosting to promote my writing through a site of my own. I have to try and find a way to first make some money so that I can afford your course and any other tools and resource that I may need. I have no idea on how to proceed though.

    • Emily

      Sid, Don’t let your lack of a website keep you down. There are lots of places to set-up a free website now–like wix.com for one. You may want to just set-up a free website for the time being; you can always upgrade later. Selling yourself short is the biggest mistake. I know because I did it for years! Thanks to Carol, Linda, and the Writers Den, I realized I was worth more(thanks, ladies!)

      Good luck!

  5. Sid

    I am a critical juncture of my Freelance writing career and need to make some difficult decisions. I would really appreciate some help and advice. I have been a freelance writer since 2010 but haven’t made much progress in terms of work or the money I earn. I have only written blog posts and web content for various individual clients. I am currently only writing for a content mill and making some money but not happy with my earnings. I hardly make enough to pay the bills and have no extra money to put into my business to grow it. I cannot even afford hosting so have no website to promote my writing. I have recently created a Facebook page but unable to decide how else I can promote to find potential clients. I am still charging $0.015/word and would love to increase that but thinking am I good enough. I am sure all freelance writers would agree that we get both good and bad reviews for our writing. I have also received them and don’t know if my writing is worth $0.02/word or more or should I stick to my pricing. I would appreciate all tips and advice.

    • Carol Tice

      Sid, I recently created a class with Linda Formichelli of The Renegade Writer — it’s designed for people just like you, who don’t understand the range of opportunities open to freelance writers, or how to get better gigs. It’s called Escape the Content Mills. Another resource I have for writers who need to learn other ways to earn more from writing is my e-book Step by Step Guide to Freelance Writing Success.

      The rates you’re writing for are appalling. The first piece of prose I ever wrote paid $200, quite a long time back. Please don’t let feedback you get on content mills affect your self-worth — it’s all pretty capricious and random on there.

      As long as you write for mills, it will probably be difficult to raise your rates. You’ll need to change how you pursue freelancing to earn more.

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