The Ultimate Side Hustle: 11 Best Ways to Earn Money Writing

Jackie Pearce

Being able to make money as a writer might seem like some far-off dream, but it might be more realistic than you imagined. However, there are a lot of options so this article will deep-dive the best ways to earn money writing.

Compared to other careers out there, writing can be done from anywhere in the world at any time of day, giving you more freedom over your schedule.

Whether you choose to pursue writing as a freelancer, as a side hustle, or want to find a job in the industry, this will break down some of the most popular options out there so you can find the best fit for you and your lifestyle.

Your Options for Best Ways to Earn Money Writing

Let’s dive into all the best ways to earn money writing so you can find the right fit for your career and goals. We will also cover some basic pay rates so you can get an idea of what you will earn for each type of writing.

Author

When it comes to making money as a writer, most people think of becoming authors. While this can be a little bit harder to get into than other types of writing, it’s an exciting option for someone who wants to write books.

Now, when it comes to making money as an author, you have a few potential paths in front of you. You can publish your own book, you can ghostwrite someone else’s book, or you can go down the traditional path and get a book publisher.

Each of these have pros and cons in their own right, but you might want to think about your overall purpose for want to becoming an author. If you write for someone else, you won’t receive any of the attention or notoriety that comes with having your name on a book.

If you go with a traditional publisher, you will need to pitch editors and wait until a company agrees to take your book on to publish.

Average pay as an author: Traditionally published authors make between 5 and 20% of royalties on their books with advances being between $50,000 to $100,000.

Blogger

If you want to become a blogger, you have two choices: you can write for your own blog or you can write for someone else’s blog. Of course, you can do both, but you might want to start with one path to start to test the waters and see if it’s a good fit.

Becoming a blogger means you’ll need to understand what makes a good blog and you’ll have to keep up with the current trends (they change often!). As long as you’re someone who can write consistently and often, you might enjoy blogging as your writing side hustle.

Average pay as a blogger: Glassdoor says that the average blogger salary is over $32,800 per year. Quite a few bloggers who run their own site average anywhere from $500 to $5,000+ per month from their blog.

Freelancer

Freelance writers tend to have a ton of flexibility and find their ways into various niches or types of writing. It can help to pick a niche or a particular type of writing so you can find clients, but if you choose to go down the path of freelance writing, know that your work will often progress and change with time.

Freelancing is one of the easiest ways to get started when you’re looking for the best ways to earn money writing. If you have decent writing skills, you can often find clients organically or through freelance job boards.

Average pay as a freelance writer: ZipRecruiter reports that freelance writers make an average of $63,488 per year.

Editor

If you have a sharp eye for detail and are one of those people who can spot typos or grammatical errors from a mile away, you might want to have a side hustle as an editor. You might need to suggest deeper, overall changes to the structure and the flow of what you are editing.

Average pay for editors: Freelance editors currently charge around $26.91 per hour.

Ghostwriter

If you’re someone who doesn’t mind someone else getting credit for your work, ghostwriting might be the perfect fit for you.

There are a lot of people who are experts in their field but have terrible writing skills, which is where you come in. You take their expertise and transform it into something readable and interesting.

Average pay for ghostwriting: If you choose to ghostwrite a book, beginning ghostwriters can expect anywhere from $2,000-$9,000 per book. Once you have solid experience, your rate raises to $20,000-$60,000 per book. Just ask our founder, Carol Tice.

When it comes to articles or blogs, the rate depends on the industry, but you can often expect $300+ per article.

Technical writer

If you have knowledge or skills in a particular niche, you might enjoy technical writing. You will almost always see technical writing under the science and technology niches, but it extends to other areas as well.

As you can imagine, you’ll need a lot of niche knowledge or you need to be a great researcher. You will be tasked to break down complicated language and instructions to make them readable and easy to understand.

Average pay for technical writing: On average, technical writers make $50,000-$73,000 per year.

Transcriptionist

The job of a transcriptionist is to transcribe audio into the written word. You might be brought on to do things such as turn podcasts into transcribed blogs, for example. It’s usually not as labor-intensive as other kinds of writing and editing, which might make it a good fit if you need a less-intense side hustle.

Average pay for writing transcripts: $15-30 per hour.

Proofreader

Proofreading might sound like editing, but generally, the skills needed are different. Editors can be deeply involved in a writing project and help make big shifts to things such as the plot or overall story, whereas proofreaders mostly focus on the grammar and spelling. If you are good at catching simple errors and can scan text quickly, this might be a perfect fit.

Average pay for proofreading: The national average is around $53,800 per year.

Script writer

Script writers can be hired to write anything from YouTube scripts to advertising scripts. If you’re able to write in a conversational way, you might find this kind of work enjoyable. Keep in mind, this is different than screenwriting, which is a completely different industry on its own.

Average pay for script writing: The average pay for commercial writing (scripts for commercials) is $69, 842. The average YouTube script writer earned around $59,410.

Social media writer

Some companies hire writers exclusively to write social media content. You might end up doing things like writing Instagram captions, LinkedIn posts, or Facebook group posts.

More and more companies and people need social media posts but they don’t have the time to create them themselves, which makes this an excellent choice if you already love to read social media posts and have an idea of what they need.

Average pay for social media writing: The average pay for social media writers is $44,500. Keeping in mind that you could also offer things like scheduling and creating the posts to boost your rate.

Copywriter and SEO

While copywriters and SEO specialists are usually different jobs, they’re often under the same umbrella as marketing and advertising writing. Clients will often search for candidates who have knowledge in both areas.

Average pay for copywriting and SEO work: The average salary for a copywriter is $53,159 per year. SEO specialists average $52,894.

That said, direct response copywriters can make even more, especially if paid on commission.

Advantages of Being A Freelance Writer

There are quite a few reasons that freelance writing is one of the best ways to earn money writing. You’re able to pick it up when you want or turn it into a full-time gig if you so choose.

You’re often able to work from home and on your own schedule. Granted, you’ll need to be able to hit your deadlines and keep your clients happy, but usually, they don’t care if you work at the crack of dawn or late at night.

As a freelance writer, you also have the ability to be picky with the projects you choose to take on your plate. At a job, you often cannot tell your boss “no” to certain projects, whereas as a freelancer, you can deny or accept any project that comes your way.

As you can see, there are a lot of options out there for freelance writers. Now you just need to find the best ways to earn money writing for you.

The Recession Proof Freelancer: A 12-Point Plan for Thriving in Hard Times (from a freelance writer who’s been there) By Carol Tice

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    4 Comments

    1. Diane Young

      Hi Carol, I guess I didn’t make myself clear. I don’t have any finished articles. The three rewrites, all scribbled on yellow legal pads, were just cleaning and tightening up, but suddenly, there was no sense pitching any editors. Now 2 1/2 years later, I’ve been trying to pick up the threads and send out pitches, but that’s where I’ve lost my motivation.
      I think having an accountability partner might help. Thanks so much.

      Reply
    2. Diane Young

      I was a freelance magazine writer, but when Covid grounded the airlines, that included the inflight magazines and a lot of other pubs.
      I say “was” because I never stopped researching article ideas. In April, I pitched a new magazine, but the editor had just assigned the idea to someone else. Bad timing. Hopefully still on my toes, I pitched and got an 10-item sidebar to go with the other person’s article. I busted my butt for 2 days researching, 1st draft, 2nd draft, final draft and SEND!
      A small success after more than two years of no pitching or selling.
      But there’s a problem. I had 7 or 8 researched articles in varying stages of editing just as the pandemic hit.
      I usually do 3 rewrites. But I seem to have lost all my motivation, the spark, that I had to pitch and then dive into any of them. The drafts are still there waiting for me…and I could sure use the money.
      Has anyone else in the group experienced anything like this?
      So, what’s my problem? Should I go for some counseling or would an an accountability partner be my best bet?

      Reply
      • Carol Tice

        Well, an accountability buddy in Freelance Writers Den is always a great idea, Diane!

        But also… what if instead of rewriting all those 3 times, you just sent them out as is? The longer I do this, the more I try to not overthink. An editor will give some feedback and changes anyway.

        Also… why are you writing complete, unassigned drafts? Those are harder to sell than articles you write on assignment. Lots of editors don’t want pre-written stuff.

        Hope those tips might help!

        P.S. I feel you on the airline mags — I wrote for 3 of them! And now, they’re all gone. Wah!

    3. Maximo Gimenez

      I really thank Carol and her team for the opportunity to get this book. I am sure it will help me to make a living writing, which is an activity I really love¡

      Reply

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