How I Quintupled My Freelance Writing Income in 1 Year

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Earning 5X from Freelance Writing in Just One Year. Makealivingwriting.comOne of my goals as a freelance writer is to make good money.

I’m not quite to my freelance writing income goal yet, but 2015 was a very good year. To be precise, I quintupled what I made the year before. I went from four figures in 2014 to a much healthier five figures in 2015.

When I analyzed it, I found my success last year happened because I made some serious changes in the way I run my freelance writing business.

Here are the 10 key actions I took to turbo-charge my earnings:

1. Changed my mind

I stopped trying to be a purist who only writes about green business. I continue to pursue green business clients, but I also took assignments in the broader business realm.

One of these was financial writing. As an MBA, I’m comfortable with the subject. And the assignment – condensing rather dry insurance documents into something much more engaging for an online, consumer audience – kept my writing muscles strong.

2. Put rejection in perspective

After listening to far better writers talk about their rejections, it suddenly didn’t feel personal anymore. It’s like accepting that if you want to swim, you will get wet!

Am I now pitching ideas to anyone who breathes, never caring what they say? Nope. But rejection is not the show-stopping event it once was. I just move on to the next pitch.

3. Boosted my confidence

I attended Freelance Writer’s Den Webinars and the Authority Rainmaker conference in 2015. With this commitment to my own professional development, I know I’m staying on top of my game. And I share what I learn from these events with my clients, so they know it, too.

4. Charged more

The more I wrote, the more I learned about what a reasonable price for content writing really is.

In one case, a client asked for longer blog posts, but the offered price was below my (newly higher) range. So I said:

“You know, I’d love to keep writing for you, but my prices for blog posts have gone up. I can do one blog post for $X (my price) instead of two for the lower price.”

His response: “No problem.”

5. Set concrete goals

From checking the Freelance Writers Den job board twice a week to visiting LinkedIn regularly, I built prospecting into my week as a key task to accomplish.

I spent less time waiting and seeing how it goes with marketing already sent out, and more time contacting people directly. I found that was the most effective way of actually getting work.

6. Embraced my introverted spirit

The corporate world is all about competition.

“Let’s beat the other guy!”

“We gotta be Number #1!”

“It’s all about winning!”

Absolutely NONE of this resonates with me.

So I learned to avoid jobs that were described using sports analogies or other sorts of hyper win/lose terminology. And I succeeded in finding more of my best clients.

7. Worked full-time

I take writing as seriously as any corporate job I’ve held. But that wasn’t always the case.

I’ll admit that I wasn’t always giving my business a full-time focus. Now I spend less time sneaking off to read Facebook and more time searching LinkedIn for prospects.

I LOVE my work now in a way that I didn’t when I was working in a corporate job. I manage my time carefully, and I try to under-promise and over-deliver.

And because there’s no “Great Green Content” without me, I don’t feel guilty about booking time during the work week for priorities like my health and my family.

8. Learned from my mistakes

One of my assignments went south last year. I actually returned money to a client who was dissatisfied with my work. That wasn’t great for my bottom line, but far more painful was the embarrassment.

Instead of retreating under the covers for a week, I asked an expert for feedback. They were generous in explaining how I had missed the boat.

I also learned that I had not asked the client for what I really needed to do a bang-up job. I won’t make that mistake in 2016.

9. Moved on more quickly

They say, “Good things come to those who wait.” But that’s not true for writing jobs.

If a client is serious, they’ll get back to you — fast. For the finance website I landed, I heard back within 24 hours of replying to their job posting.

How much of my income came from that one client in 2015? Fifty percent!

I spent less time wondering about leads that hadn’t responded to me and focused on those who clearly were ready to hire a writer.

10. Measured my results regularly

One of my motivators was sitting down with Freshbooks (my accounting software) mid-year and seeing just how low my income was.

Instead of panicking, I became determined to change things. As my income grew month by month, visiting Freshbooks became a joy and a further motivator.

Increase your freelance writing income

Of all of these tactics, changing my mind was the most powerful. The difference in how I felt each day – in terms of confidence, determination, and energy – was immeasurable.

Give these tactics a try in your own freelance writing business and see how much you can increase your income.

How have you grown your freelance writing income? Tell us in the comments below.

Alison Lueders is the founder of Great Green Content. She helps companies share their green business success stories in ways that are truthful, useful, and fun.

50 Comments

  1. Rob Francis

    You hit the nail on the head with #6; and learning the importance of that not just with my writing career, as well. Thanks for dropping that nugget of wisdom on us introverts as a friendly reminded. 🙂

  2. Deepak Rana

    You’re an inspiration. According to me, Being a freelance writer, is not a cup of tea for everyone.
    Writing hard throughout the day only champs like you can do. You’ve mentioned excellent tips and your writing style is definitely amazing.
    You’ve got decent skills in writing. Thank you for this amazing post. It will definitely help me out 🙂

    -Deepak Rana

  3. Ivan Jordon

    That’s right. Make sure to charge what you and your skills are worth. Don’t settle for less!

    • Roland

      Hi Jordon,

      You’re right, I must be careful about the price I will ask for my jobs.
      Economically speaking, it’s important, especially since I have some editing costs to amortize.
      Where do you find your jobs, by the way?

      As we say here, Bonne soirée.

      Roland

  4. Janet Hunter

    Hi Roland,

    It’s excellent that you have a dream and that you’re trying to follow it. I also think it’s great that you want to write in English, and just as you would expect to be fairly paid for your work I hope that the arrangement you have made with the American editor is a fair one.

    If the compensation is too little, you may find that while anyone can offer their services in markeplaces like Fiverr, not everyone has the skills to support that offering.

    I wish you all the best in your writing endeavour.

    Janet

    • Roland

      Hello Janet,

      Thank you for your encouragement and your support.
      I’ve been living in Australia, during my childhood, from my fifth to my tenth year. Despite that fact, I know that, dozens of years later, I can’t compare the quality of my writing with the one by an educated english or american writer. If I want to propose articles of eBooks of sufficient quality, the help of an American editor seems to be logical for me.
      Luckily, the editing costs much less than any kind of translation. I write directly in English, so I short-circuit the translation costs.
      Of course, I must find someone who wants to buy my articles, and Carol is write : it’s important for me to propose queries to the potential clients of some sites.
      The questioni is: which sites? Must I go to the job boards, at least for my beginnings?

      I wish you a nice day.

      Roland

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