From Side Hustle To Full-Time Freelance Writing in 5 Simple Moves


dreamstime_xs_14118606Starting out as a freelance writer can be tough. It can take a long time to start earning a good living.

But you don’t have to starve while you’re waiting for your freelance writing career to take off. I built my business while I was still working a day job.

I got to “retire” from it at the end of 2014, so I could do full-time freelance writing.

After nearly 10 years as a financial adviser, I’d found myself growing more and more unhappy.

First, I tried to change that by taking a certification program and working to become a stronger contributor at my office. But dedicating myself to my job didn’t make me fall back in love with my career. In fact, it did the exact opposite.

It was time to look at alternatives.

Writing has always been my passion. My research showed me it’s a viable way to earn a living. So I began learning how to become a freelance writer.

Here are the five things that helped me to go from zero to full-time freelance writer:


1. Write for free and get good samples

I was fortunate to snag an unpaid writing opportunity for the Huffington Post early on.

I found an online job listing, applied, and wrote a trial article. They liked it, and I can now post as little or as much as I’d like.

Writing for free isn’t always the right choice, but it enabled me to build samples for my portfolio and hone my craft — and this gig gave me confidence to apply for paying gigs.

2. Connect with the right people

One of the best things I did was find a mentor and meet some key people. This helped me learn the business faster and kept me accountable to my goals.

I connected with my mentor by cold emailing her after I ran across her work. She exposed me to the inner workings of her business, let me contribute to her site, and also introduced me to potential clients. I really lucked out!

3. Set income goals

Instead of focusing on how much money I had in the bank, I figured out how much I needed to make to support my family. This helped me easily determine if this career choice could support my family — before I got too far in and quit my full-time job.

My initial goal was to replace my full-time salary. I’m not quite there yet, but I’m increasing my income every month. In January, I broke the $5,000 barrier, and my stretch goal is to end the year at $10,000/month.

Setting income goals was a great motivator for me. I’ve been publishing income reports on my blog because I want to be transparent with my efforts. Posting publicly ensures I work harder, so I can be proud of my efforts and results.

4. Perfect your pitching

My pitch progression is something of an art.

I’ve gone through dozens of revisions over the last six months, and those revisions have helped me land better and better gigs.

My first pitch letter was a little light. It had no links to my work and very little detail.

Good Morning,

I would love to throw my hat into the ring for this freelance writing position.

I’m a regular Huffington Post contributor and currently am writing copy for a major WordPress blog.

I’m confident that I would be a great addition to your team. Please let me know what else I can provide you with,

Gina Horkey

Now, I let potential clients see my portfolio and client testimonials — and describe how the work I’ve done is a fit for what they are asking for. It’s a work in progress, but it’s getting me new clients.

5. Give it your all

My husband is a stay-at-home dad, and I’m the breadwinner. So switching my career was a big deal.

I hustled by getting up at 4:45 a.m. to write. I hired a babysitter on the weekend when I needed to catch up.

And I pitched and pitched and pitched. I checked job boards daily and replied to two or three postings I was a good fit for.

Getting paid

I’m happy to say that I found my research was right — freelance writing is a viable career.

My very first paid gig was writing WordPress theme descriptions as a subcontractor to another writer. I’m still working with him, but I’ve also been writing blog posts for sites such as Kitchology, Silver Ash Campers, Personal Income, and more.

As far as rates go, my minimum fee for a blog post is $50, but I’ve been paid as much as $400 per article. The majority fall somewhere in the middle.

I went from setting up my website in May to earning over $4,000 for the month of November. Not too shabby for less than six months in the business.

How did you get your start? Tell us in the comments below.

Gina Horkey is a writer with a background in personal finance. She’s passionate about designing a flexible lifestyle for her young family, and plans to be writing and traveling the U.S. in an RV in June 2015.




  1. Daryl George

    Hey Gina,

    I really love your story! I’ve been following you for a while now (since you guest posted on Tom’s blog the first time) and it’s amazing how quickly you’ve grown your business and knowledge about the freelancing industry. I may have to sign up for your coaching pretty soon 🙂

    But to answer the question, I got my start when I heard about international writers making a living wage from freelance writing on a BBC interview. Although I wouldn’t necessarily recommend some of the same sites that were being touted (bid sites) I was astonished to think that I could make decent money from writing part time without being located in the US! Since then, I’ve really enjoyed my freelance career, even when things don’t go exactly according to plan!

    • Gina Horkey

      Thanks Daryl! I never really considered writing for the web to be a viable career until I ran across the right sites (like Tom’s). It’s been quite the journey – I love it!

  2. Jane

    Hi Gina,

    That’s a wonderful post and thanks for sharing your experiences with us. Setting precise goals (especially in terms of money) works as a great motivator. It gives you all the necessary push to get there.

    “Give it your all” – love it. This simply works. When you are determined to succeed, you need more than hard work. As they say, life begins at the end of our comfort zone and it is so true.

    Thanks for putting this up!


    • Carol Tice

      I find that’s where many writers fall down, Jane — on the ‘give it your all’ part. They’re not willing to get up early, stay up late, work weekends, give up their favorite TV shows to launch this. And that’s what’s usually needed to ramp it.

  3. Matija

    Hi there, first let me congatulate for the post. Absolutely excellent. I have been profesionaly writing for 2 and half years now (only on Slovenian language) and have found out that the most important thing in writing is to be patient.
    If you are not patient, one can see that in your articles (which looks SEO spammy or too pushy). If you are really devoted to give the best to the public and not expecting any returns, feedback is going to arrive. Eventually in the form of payment. Of course, with experience, one can increase his price value. Just don’t start with too high expectations too soon. Regards, Matija

    • Gina Horkey

      Thanks Matija! Patience is important – sometimes I’m better at it than others;-) I prefer action, but do have realistic expectations at the same time. Appreciate your comment!

  4. Jessica Hicks


    I loved this post, I’m a freelance writer and have been for a couple years. I wrote for a website for 2 years before I got my first paid writing gig, now I get paid $25 an article for another site.

    My question is, what free job boards do you suggest? I don’t really have the funds to use a website that you have to pay for.

    • Gina Horkey

      Great question Jessica! For free job boards, I really like ProBlogger, JournalismJobs and Craigslist (San Fran & NYC are both good ones). Honestly, 90% of the jobs I apply for (and get) are posted on CL in various cities.

      The nice thing about a paid job board is that they do the work in rounding them all up for you, which saves a lot of time. I understand where you’re coming from however, so focus on these few to get you started:-)

  5. Timothy Torrents

    I’v been writing for awhile now but not professionally because all of my work came from online forums. Just recently I realized that pitching website owners is one of the best ways to find decent clients. I feel like I wasted a couple of years pumping out articles for random clients that have no authority, it’s a bit of a bummer to know that I could have made so much progress if I switch tactics earlier on.

    Right now it feels like I just started writing, which is weird, because I’v been supposed to be working as a freelance writer for the past 5 years! Oh well, have to keep it up, continue to pitch and pitch, and hopefully I’ll get on an authority website that I can use for my portfolio. Speaking of a portfolio, I don’t really have one, all the websites are wrote for are really obscure and small, so I feel like I’m starting from scratch all over again. Sigh.

    • Gina Horkey

      Hi Timothy!

      Don’t discount yourself. When you pitch emphasize that you have FIVE YEARS EXPERIENCE, rather than the size of audience that your pieces have seen.

      I need to do more direct pitching (rather than answering job board ads), so good for you!

      You can do this!!! BTW-I’ve found that putting my portfolio on Pinterest is another great way to showcase the variety (and now volume) of work I’ve completed:

      This could work for you too?

  6. Jan Hill

    Yay Gina! I too had a day job I was unhappy with, so with the help of the Freelance Writers Den and a 6-month copywriting course taught by Chris Marlow, I’ve been working my day job and also building my freelance business for several years. In 2014, I grossed nearly as much writing part-time as I earned at my full-time job, my two-year-old grandson moved in with us, and it was time to take the leap. It’s been great so far!

    My advice to those considering dumping their day job in favor of freelancing is to sock as much money away as you can for when you take the plunge, and have some solid regular clients that you can count on every month. Then when you make the change you just add a few more clients into the mix, keep pitching, and you’re good to go!

    • Gina Horkey

      Awesome Jan! What an inspiring story. So happy that you too have taken the leap and feel good about it:-)

      I second your advice re: Saving, saving, saving! Thanks for your comment.

  7. Casey

    Gina, your progress is impressive! And anyone who can get up at 4:45 in the morning clearly has super powers of self-motivation.

    I transitioned to full-time freelancing with one major contract client. A couple of years turning out a variety of customer-facing projects gave me a nice sampler of different types of writing to show new prospects (although in retrospect I wish I’d been eking out more time to build my client roster even when I was busy with this one client).

    Your suggestion of setting income goals is a great one. So much easier to focus on the right kind of opportunities when there’s a specific number to work toward.

    Best of luck with your road trip adventures!

    • Gina Horkey

      Thanks Casey!

      If you’ve ever tried to write while two toddlers are awake, you’ll understand my motivation to get up early;-)

      Appreciate you sharing your story (and what you learned). Thanks for all the encouragement!

  8. Kenneth Patterson

    Hi, Gina. Love your post! I’ve been a lightly paid freelance writer for 2 1/2 years now, but have been writing nearly all my life. Sometimes I find writing to be therapeutic. I’ve written songs for the most part of my life because I used to be (and still am) a recording artist. I’ve also written a couple of plays when I was a kid. That was way back when….lol. I work on platforms such as and Although I wouldn’t recommend HireWriters accept for the writing experience a beginner can get there. Mainly because in, clients abuse the “+” factor. What I mean by this is they’ll order articles at the 150+ Word Count rate and you open the client’s instructions and find out the client wants 300 words — to pay you $1.15. I follow all the stories at Make A Living Writing because they are my “ray of hope”. Keep up the good work and I can’t (or can, lol) wait for the day I can share a success story with you guys and motivate writers like me to pursue their dreams.

    • Gina Horkey

      So cool that you write music Kenneth! I’ve always wanted to try, but never thought I could since I can’t carry a tune;-)

      Have you tried looking for work elsewhere? Either on job boards, subcontracting for other writers or just approaching blogs/companies directly?

      You deserve more than that for your work!!

  9. Steph Simpson

    Great post, Gina!

    It’s really inspiring to hear your story.

    I myself was stuck in a day job that I didn’t have much love for – but I was made redundant last year so the decision to leave was actually taken out of my hands. I’d been freelancing part time for a few years, so this was something I sort of fell back into and decided to go for full time.

    It’s tough, but totally rewarding – and your story definitely proves that 🙂

    • Gina Horkey

      Thanks Steph!

      Sometimes being forced to take a different path is best, don’t you think?

      I’m excited to see what you’re able to accomplish this time around. You’ve got this!!

  10. Mandy Eve-Barnett

    I began freelance writing at the end of last year. It is my plan to have a sufficient client base and proven business track record by the time I retire to enable me to have a small income after leaving my full time job.
    With utilizing local contacts, job boards and word of mouth referrals, I have managed to gain great experience, samples to show clients and a small but steady income. In partnership with the sales of my published books, I hoping I will have ‘extra’ income for many years to come.

    • Gina Horkey

      Mandy, that’s a great plan! Both for extra money and how you spend your time. Love it, thanks for sharing:-)

  11. Elke Feuer

    Great post, Gina! Very inspirational! I’m about 6-8 months away from writing full-time. Yay!

    I loved what you said about setting income goals and giving it your all. Many writers give up when they realize writing is hard work.

    I got started by accident. I pitched a magazine about promote local writers hoping to get into the magazine myself. I did, but not the way I intended. Lol!

    • Gina Horkey

      Hi Elke!

      Congrats on your upcoming transition – how exciting! Writing (especially full-time) is hard. But so worth it:-)

  12. Charlene Oldham

    The mentor idea is a great one!
    These days, how much time would you say you spend pitching? In general, what systems do you use to track your time to establish your rates and financial goals?

    • Gina Horkey

      Good questions Charlene.

      I try to look at available jobs daily, but sometimes it ends up being more like 3 days per week.

      My metrics right now are to write 10+ pieces, pitch 5+ jobs and connect with 10+ people on a weekly basis (influencers, other writers, etc).

      I use Google docs or sheets to do all my tracking:-)

      • Carol Tice

        I’ll just say that farther down the line, you want to be writing more like one or two pieces a week at high rates. Having to write 40-50 different topics a month is the road to burnout… I know, because at one point, I was doing even more than that.

        • Gina Horkey

          Completely agree Carol! 10 pieces per week includes writing on my own blog, guest posts and newsletters, etc (so it’s not all client work:-).

  13. Cheryl Barry

    A good read thanks Gina! And gives me hope that I might get somewhere at some point! Like you, I have two young toddlers, so I’m trying to balance my writing around them.
    I’ve been freelancing for the past 2 years, but most of the work previously came from one client who was herself a copywriter. Now that has dried up, I’ve suddenly found myself to be a novice with no portfolio. I’ve quickly learnt the importance of self promotion – getting a website and using social media. I’ve been pitching to businesses with not much luck so far and this can be quite soul destroying to keep plugging away! I’ve never considered job boards as I always assumed these would be too competitive.

    • Gina Horkey

      Give job boards a shot Cheryl – it can’t hurt. Lately I’ve been telling others to “see how many rejections you can get.” Each no is a step closer to yes!

      • Carol Tice

        As you probably know, I’m not a fan of job boards. My advice on that — limit yourself to about 3 hours a week tops of scanning job boards and applying. Use the rest of your marketing time to proactively develop leads and market to your own prospects. You’ll earn more when you’re not competing on mass job ads for the gig.

        • Sabita

          I had been feeling guilty of not actively applying to job boards for a while now. I randomly did but no response. I thought to shift to a hectic schedule of sitting all day long applying to numerous jobs to land one like I used to do in my content mill days.

          Thanks for putting it out in terms of a dedicated time slot, Carol. I wish to get lucky with job boards as well.

  14. Sabita

    Hey Gina,

    It’s great to hear your story. I can relate to it in many ways, particularly doing a certification to ensure a better standing at my day job – it turned out quite the opposite for me.

    From content mills I’ve moved up to getting paid work through referrals, used the tuner strategy to charge higher rate from a current client. However, I still feel I should have a system in place to ensure a steady income per month, primarily through writing assignments ( in addition to the graphic design work).


    • Gina Horkey

      That’s great that you’ve been able to work your way up Sabita. I think consistent work (and pay) is the holly grail for all of us freelancers. I’m trying to only take on clients that need a certain amount of work per month at a certain rate. It’s really been helpful when qualifying leads lately.

  15. Andrea Kluge

    Dear Gina,

    Thanks for the helpful post! I have a question on the job boards mentioned in #5. Which job boards do you find most useful?



    • Gina Horkey

      Hi Andrea,

      I personally have subscribed to Tom Ewer’s Paid to Blog Jobs since last June and have gotten 90% of my jobs through there. It’s a paid jobs board, but he & his assistant round up the listings from all of the free ones, which saves me a bunch of time and effort. Instead of going to a million sites a day, I go to one and spend ~10 minutes applying to one or two jobs per day. I have great luck with people getting back to me. The hardest part, is that the rates aren’t always listed and a fair amount aren’t able to meet my rate.

      For the free route, I like ProBlogger, JournalismJobs and Craigslist (San Fran & NYC especially). Hope this helps!

      • Andrea Kluge

        Thanks, Gina!

  16. Jake Mcspirit

    Hi Gina, it’s great to hear that things are going so well for you.
    I especially like the perfect your pitches point, that’s something I’ve been slacking on… (and I know it!) — This has given me the motivation to spend some more time to perfecting it.

    • Gina Horkey

      Awesome Jake! They’ll probably never be perfect, but we can always work on improving them. The better your conversion becomes, the closer you are to being there!

  17. Medha Roy

    Hey Gina!

    What an inspiring story! I have worked full-time as a writer/editor/SEO specialist in India and then my life changed after I came to the US. I got married, got a second MA degree and then stayed home as a full-time mother for almost one-and-a-half years. Now, it’s time to get back on the writing wagon again.

    Could you please suggest a few freelance writing websites (even free ones will do for the time being) that I could start building my portfolio with?

    Thank you.



    • Carol Tice

      I’m not Gina…but Medha, you don’t have to start building your portfolio with free sites — sounds like you already have one! It’s not a big deal that your clips are a few years old. Doesn’t matter.

  18. Elke

    Great article, Gina!

    And yes, I agree, writing for free can really pay off. Some areas – and often the most interesting ones – have fewer paid opportunities as not rewarded by the current economic system; e.g. social justice and environment.

    Writing a few free articles from time to time (N.B. no one else is getting paid either) on a topic of your choice and passion – not only hones your knowledge and research skills in that area, but gets you noticed and demonstrates your obvious commitment.

    And may even eventuate in a paid gig.

    • Gina Horkey

      Agreed Elke, especially re: passion and honing skills. I recently dropped all of my free gigs (besides HuffPo and potential guests), because I now have all of the samples I need and no longer have the extra time to spend. I guess that’s a pit of a “point of arrival?”

  19. Kyle W. Weckerly

    Thanks for the wisdom Gina!
    I’m impressed that you managed to make the jump from part time to full time freelancing in six months. I to want this in less than six months. Seeing someone else do it is inspiring.
    I’ve started on the road but I have yet to get a paying client.
    I’m worried my website isn’t nabbing clients like I’d hoped it would. And that my pitches are falling flat.
    So those are my obstacles right now.
    Maybe in six months I’ll be writing an article like yours?
    Thanks again,

    • Gina Horkey

      It’s certainly possible Kyle! Now that you know what your problem areas are (i.e. pitching and prospecting), you can tackle that. I’ve never depended on my website getting me leads/clients (although I’ve received some inbound leads), but I know many eventually get there.

      Instead of depending on that (which you can’t really control), what can you control (i.e. daily activities) that can get you results? I’d track this (daily/weekly/monthly) to keep yourself accountable. Good luck!

      • Kyle W. Weckerly

        Thanks for the encouragement.
        One more question; has posting your rates made any sort of noticeable difference in responses from potential clients?

        • Gina Horkey

          Kyle, I’m not sure what you mean? Posting income reports? Or in my pitch? I tried posting my rates in my pitch for a bit, but didn’t find that overly effective. I don’t think publically sharing my income reports has hindered me or helped (although I don’t have a definitive way to know that). I don’t break down how much income I get per client, just categories as a whole (writing, course sales, etc). Does that answer your question?

          • Kyle W. Weckerly

            No, sorry, what I meant was posting what you charge per job on your website.

          • Gina Horkey

            I don’t have rates listed – mainly because it varies depending on the niche, length, etc. It’s too hard to have a standard rate, as work (and expectations) can be so varied. I think it works for others though:-)

          • Carol Tice

            I also don’t post rates. That’s a conversation you want to have with your client live. You don’t want to exclude clients you might have wanted, and you also don’t want to be stuck with a rate that’s too low for a client who’s a butt-pain. You want to know LOTS before you say what you’ll work for.

      • Carol Tice

        I’m a big fan of goals you can control. 😉

        You might want to check out the Freelance Writers Den resources, Kyle — we have a bootcamp on making your website convert. Good time to get on the waitlist, too — we should be opening up in the next couple weeks. 😉

        I also have a Pitch Clinic class coming up shortly — you can learn about that here:

  20. Yolanda Joy

    Congratulations on making the bold step going into freelance writing, especially as your family depends on your earnings!

    I did a similar thing to you and got lucky by scoring a few great client with continuing work in the first month. I quit my standard job 2 months later and now here I am, a freelancer writing for clients worldwide… something I didn’t even think was possible a few years ago!

    • Gina Horkey

      Congrats Yolanda! It’s a great field – tough, but with a lot of hustle totally doable and mostly enjoyable:-)

  21. M Sohan

    Gina, Your story is really inspiring. There are two most important things one must follow in their to be successful; PASSION and CONVICTION. With these two, nothing in this world can stop you from achieving your goals, which you have rightly proves in your life.

    M Sohan

  22. Mai Bantog

    Inspiring story, Gina. You’re a living proof that putting yourself out there and working really hard can get you to places, no matter how intimidating it is just to begin.

    Like you, I quit my job in January 2014 and am now making a viable freelance writing career from home. I still have more goals though, but at least I’ve started already, because that’s the hardest part.

    • Carol Tice

      Congrats Mai! Hope your Den time helped you make that happen. 😉

  23. Michelle Brown

    Excellent article! I aspire to be a paid blogger, in any fashion. I enjoy reading and writing comes to me easily, if only I focused.

    What I am developing as my niche is “mystery shopping to full time career”. I inspect cars, businesses, heavy equipment, damaged freight, foreclosed property and other real estate, EBT/SNAP food stamp vendors, and perform FDA recalls. It all started with mystery shopping! Just about anyone could do it, pretty much anywhere in the country.

    I am currently developing my own product in the form of an Ebook – “How I mystery shopped my way to $70K a year and government contracts”. Now to focus! ????

    Thanks for the good info, Gina. It’s been a pleasure adding you to my circle.

  24. E.

    Great read, Gina!

    Upon realizing I was suddenly earning (or had the capability to earn) almost a full-time income freelance writing, I too considered leaving my day job. This became a reality a couple days ago, and now I’m free to be a full-time writer. What jump started me into the writing industry was an article I wrote that went completely viral on Elite Daily, which then resulted in my inbox being infiltrated with paid writing offers.

    I’m interested in pitching more clients, but I’m wondering if a portfolio is necessary even if I have my own blog where samples of my writing can be seen? It’s called The Babe Report (I shorten that to TBR when referencing it). I’m not sure if I should call it a blog at this stage, or an online publication or an advice column (what would you suggest?) Many of my paid articles that I write for my clients are re-posted on TBR which is why I’m wondering if I still need a portfolio. Granted, I don’t repost any of my health or fitness articles on TBR as those are specific to the gyms of my clients – and same with my local trending news articles – so in that sense, TBR doesn’t quite show the full scope of my work in one convenient online location. Curious to know your thoughts, and keep up the great work!

    • Carol Tice

      Erica, I’m not Gina…but you’re going to want a writer site and a place to post your more diverse portfolio. Since your personal blog is an advice-column format, that won’t be a great sample for most prospects, as it’s not similar to the kind of work they’d want you to do.

      As you saw with your score of offers on Elite Daily, showing that you know how to get mass traffic and appearing on popular sites are great ways to get in front of good prospects. You’ll want to collect those wins on your writer site. See my sidebar for some examples to get you inspired!

  25. Erica

    Thanks, Carol! I forgot to mention that TBR does have a “Press” tab which does provide links all of my work (well, it’s missing some but soon it will have links to all of my work. It’s still a work in progress). I’m assuming this doesn’t count as a portfolio / is not good enough right?

    I’ve never had a portfolio so was just curious 🙂

    • Carol Tice

      Reporters check ‘press’ tabs, not prospective clients, I think! You need a ‘hire me’ or portfolio page.

      It’s always more powerful to sell off a writer site than one with a blog as the home, but sometimes if the blog is popular it can work. Inside Freelance Writers Den, we have a 4 week bootcamp that goes over *all* the writer website best practices, and talks about options for how to put up your portfolio, too.

  26. Gina Horkey

    Congrats on taking the leap Erica.

    I’ve found that both a Hire Me page and a writing resume have been really helpful. I also have a Pinterest board that serves as a secondary (and more visual) portfolio of my published work. Good luck as you continue to build your business.

    • Erica

      Gina and Carol, I really appreciate the advice. Keep doing what you’re doing, I think it’s amazing. I’m definitely going to look into your bootcamp options soon!

  27. Holly Bowne

    Thanks for a great post and for sharing your metrics concerning what you try to accomplish each week, Gina. (And your advice in that area as well, Carol.) That’s really helpful. And I LOVE the Pinterest Board idea. Very cool!

    • Gina Horkey

      Holly, it’s super easy to start your own Pinterest board too! Side benefit is that it can increase your traffic/social shares:-)

  28. Erica

    Hi Gina and Carol! I have two questions for you. 1) my new “hire me” page – is that sort of what you meant / a good start? and 2) Can I still get a free bonus e-book it I purchase one of your e-books? I only just saw the e-mail now after marking you guys as a “safe sender” 🙂

    • Carol Tice

      Hi Erica — afraid the bonus e-book offer is done — but you *can* get that bonus book for a big .99 cents right now — see this page:

      Afraid I’m not able to do free blog reviews for the many people who ask me each week, but you can learn all my best practices in my How to be a Well-Paid Freelance Blogger e-book — see that same link.

  29. Stacey

    A mentor from cold emails? That’s awesome!

    A freelancer I see at networking events occasionally told me the other night that she found a mentor and it was the best thing for her buisiness. I think there’s a lot of value in having someone to show you the ropes.

    Thank you for your post, I love hearing about peoples journies and what works for them! 🙂

    • Gina Horkey

      Yeah, I definitely lucked out with Carrie! Honestly, our relationship has made a world of difference in my business.

  30. Andrea Kluge


    A couple of questions:

    Can you direct me to a good example of a freelance writer’s resume?

    Can you direct me to a good example of a pitch letter for either a blog or article?



  31. Jessica B Woods

    Wow…4:45…I wish I had your determination! I just have one toddler at home (and two older kids in school), and I find it impossible to get everything done.

    I fell into writing online when I stumbled across the content mills. I’m trying my best to move away from them and find better private clients. I was led to believe that places like Elance and Odesk were the best places to find clients, but I’ve learned that’s not necessarily true. Most of my money earned last year was from mills, but I still managed to earn nearly what I did as a part-time bank teller before I started working for myself.

    I also do internet marketing, to some extent, and have self-published two children’s books and some non-fiction. I have the ambition, but not the energy or time. Sometimes, it’s easy to forget how draining being a mother of a teenager, tween and a toddler can be, lol!

    I really enjoyed your article, and look forward reading more posts from you and the other bloggers on here. Great site!

  32. Gina Horkey

    Hi Jessica! You’ve definitely got a lot on your plate. But you’ve also definitely got the drive. Although there are diamonds in the rough on Elance and Odesk, there are probably much better opportunities out there for you. Good luck as you continue to build your freelance writing career (and your degree in motherhood;-).

  33. Elizabeth Manneh

    Thanks for this great post Gina. I found your advice very helpful, although i’m not sure i have the drive to get up at 4:45 am! I’ve been working content mills for about three years, but I’ve decided 2015 is the year to make the move to an independent freelancer.

    I’ve also found Tom’s Paid To Blog job board useful and I’ve landed my first two clients through it. My aim this year is to have reached a liveable income by the end of this year.

    • Gina Horkey

      Elizabeth, that’s great that you’re starting to transition your business from content mills to private clients. I’m happy to say that since I took my writing business full-time, I don’t even have to set an alarm anymore;-) My 2 toddlers wake us up everyday and I rarely sleep past 6, but it sure beats 4:45!

  34. Nicholas Godwin

    First I want to say THANKS Gina… it’s like you’ve been on my radar way too frequently these days. Apart from reading your own blog I enjoyed your article on Tom Ewer’s blog a few days ago. Thanks for all the loads of value you’ve been spreading around everywhere.

    And yes, Darren Rowse’s ProBlogger started my Freelance writing career and I was fortunate to have hit a great deal with my first job there. I was hired by Jamie Cheng’s Blueprint Entrepreneur Mag, a digital publication that needed an interviewer for their periodic issues. I applied and got accepted for a handsome $200 USD per person I interviewed for them. And it’s been nice since then… having written for a, at the moment I also work with an online Petroleum publication and some local publications in Nigeria. I’m still developing my trade and learning the ropes, but I’ve safely been able to pay my bills and take care of my basic needs from freelance writing. So I’m grateful.

    Thanks for posting. The fifth point REALLY resonates with me. GIVE IT YOUR ALL… GIVE IT YOUR ALL… GIVE IT YOUR ALL.


    • Gina Horkey

      Nicholas, it sounds like you’ve been hustling and giving it your all! Nice work and thanks for reading me in all those various places:-)

  35. Rut A. Baston

    Hi, Gina!
    Thanks for sharing your story. It’s really amazing how you got to have a significant income after just six months as a freelance writer. It made me rethink my choices. I seemed to believe, until your post, that having nothing to show for, as a newby, I would have to sacrifice my first born to have a leg up the ladder, but I realized now how lucky I actually am; I have been accepted into a paid training program with the Guardian Liberty Voice, with a guaranteed job post-graduation, after they liked the news sample I’ve applied with. After this, not only I would have a good portfolio, but I would’ve been paid to create it.
    This actually made me see that I could reach a really high life standard by doing what I love and reading your words gave me the strenght to contradict my inner concearns about starving writers.
    Thank you again and may you reach your income goal smoothly!

    • Gina Horkey

      Thanks, Rut! That sounds like an excellent opportunity (and attitude). Good for you for making things happen. If you don’t take action and find them, they’re not likely to just show up on your doorstep;-)

      • Carol Tice

        Gina, it isn’t a good opportunity — see my link.

        • Gina Horkey

          I had a feeling that sounded off…that name rang a bell for me. Sorry, Rut! Don’t let this stop you from figuring it out though – earning a living as a freelance writer is possible. I’m not saying it’s easy (it’s not), but it is possible and there are many good parts about it. For example, I tuck my kiddos in for their daily naps EVERY DAY. I wasn’t able to do this last year and it’s one of my FAVORITE parts of my day:-)

          • Carol Tice

            Yes…enjoy that while you can. And start planning for what you’re going to do when there are no more naps. 😉 They disappear quick.

          • Gina Horkey

            Yeah, I have a feeling our 3-year-old is almost done with them. But that’s my husband’s problem;-) He’s a SAHD.

  36. Jonathan Moore

    It is great to see testimonials of people who are actually earing a solid income writing. For me, I am still working on establishing myself as a writer but it is great to see that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

    It is possible to make a living writing if you are willing to put the time and effort necessary in order to do so.

    Thanks so much for sharing your experience Gina!

    – Jonathan Moore (WriterDude)


  1. Getting started as a freelancer - […] In a posting for the Make a Living Writing blog, freelance writer Gina Harkey offered five tips for getting…
  2. 5 Posts to Read Before You Go Full Freelance - […] From Side Hustle to Full-Time Freelance Writing by Gina Horkey from Carol Tice’s Make a Living […]

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