When I started professional writing as a freelancer, things were hard.
I’d just graduated high school and needed a remote job, so I started freelancing. But after working for a year, I was only making $800 a month.
I thought professional writing was supposed to pay well, but that definitely wasn’t enough to live on. Something needed to change. I needed a win.
Maybe you’ve got a few professional writing clients or landed some assignments, but you’re not making enough money.
Or maybe you’re just starting out, and have a lot of questions about professional writing, finding clients, and how much you should charge.
When I was really struggling, I signed up for the Freelance Writers Den 2X Income Accelerator program to get help from Carol Tice.
That’s where I learned how to ramp up my professional writing career and my income. Now I’m consistently making over $5,000 a month as a 20-year-old freelance writer. Many months, that number is over $7,000.
You can do it, too. Wondering how? Check out these key strategies I used to build my professional writing business and my income.
Meet freelance writer Hailey Hudson
Dream big. Freelance writer Hailey Hudson starting thinking this way when she was a kid. But she wasn’t sure where that would lead her…until now.
Once she learned how to ramp up her professional writing career, everything changed.
She moved out of her parents house into a luxury-dream apartment. She gets paid well writing for clients, enjoys the freelance life, and helping other writers move up and earn more. Here’s what she recommends to grow your professional writing business:
1. Diversify your skill set
While writing makes up the bulk of my work, I’ve discovered that the more skills I have, the more valuable I am.
I can upsell my clients and make more money. You don’t want to be a jack-of-all-trades, but it can be extremely helpful to keep a few carefully-chosen additional services up your sleeve to offer your clients:
I have clients who pay me additional fees ($50 per hour) to perform the following tasks:
- Write copy for their social media platforms
- Create video tutorials for their YouTube channels
- Do extra research pre-writing on big projects
- Upload articles into WordPress
2. Know when to let go
I’ve learned a lot about the art of dropping a client and why it’s helpful. You should drop clients when you no longer feel that what they’re paying you is worth it for the time you spend doing the work.
The truth: Every time you drop a low-paying or hard-to-work-with client, you’ll feel a sense of relief, because you’re free to pursue other higher-paying clients with work you enjoy.
Don’t be afraid to (politely) give a client the boot if you have a gut feeling it’s time to move on. Many times, a feeling of resentment toward the client is your warning sign that you need to leave.
3. Keep moving forward
I do a lot of marketing, and I’ve learned one important thing:
Don’t get hung up on any one job or any one lead.”
I send an LOI or a job application, and then I forget about it. If they respond, great! If not, that’s okay – because I’m busy talking with plenty of other companies, too.
Here’s an example: I first got in contact with a B2B publication last January. They didn’t get back to me until 10 months later. But when they did, they had a $400 assignment for me. I’d completely forgotten about my application, but now I’m thrilled to get a chance to work with them.
Want to ramp up and get ahead? Don’t set your heart on any one prospective client. Send LOIs. Write query letters. Connect with potential clients, and keep marketing and moving forward. If a prospect does convert, it’s a pleasant surprise.
4. Get retainer clients
It’s a game changer that will create financial stability in your professional writing business.
Here’s how it works: You do the same amount of work for a retainer client each month for the same amount of money. Cha-ching! It’s so much easier to have three to five “anchor clients” who pay a fixed price every month rather than patching your income together from dozens of smaller clients.
Tip: Don’t waste your time with low-paying one-off assignments. Instead, get your clients to commit to monthly retainers. That way, you can plan your budget month to month. And plus, the longer you work with a client, the better your work for them will be.
5. Learn to write fast
I have a few clients that don’t pay amazing rates. But because the articles they assign me are so easy, I can write a full article in an hour or two and still make a hefty hourly rate. And thanks to the volume of assignments I get per month, these clients are worth it.
How can you write faster? Try doing your research ahead of time and making an outline before you sit down to write. This prep work ensures that you’ll be more efficient when it’s time to write because you can focus on just that: writing.
6. Find mid-level clients
When it comes to the size of the companies or magazines you work with, a happy medium is best.
Don’t settle for the $0.05 per word jobs found many places online, but don’t waste your time pitching only national publications, either.
The sweet spot? I recommend going after mid-size B2C or B2B companies that have strong content marketing programs and can afford to pay their freelancers well, even if these companies aren’t household names.
7. Keep your creativity sharp
Recently, I needed to pull back from freelancing, so I stopped accepting new clients. At first everything was going great. But then something happened that I didn’t expect: I got bored.
I discovered that in order to keep my creativity sharp and make sure my writing was top-notch, I needed new clients that would give me fresh assignments to stimulate my mind.
Tip: If you find yourself bored by doing the same client work every day, mix it up! Branch out into a new type of writing or find a client in a sub-niche that you want to learn more about. New work equals more creativity, which results in high-quality work – and that means more money.
Work to win at professional writing
Professional writing takes a lot of hard work…I won’t sugarcoat it. But you’re on the right path! By educating yourself about strategies for landing (and keeping) clients and then applying those strategies in real life, you too can earn thousands of dollars each month through freelance writing.
Ready to get paid well for professional writing? Let’s discuss in the comments below.
Hailey Hudson is a full-time freelance writer based out of Atlanta, Georgia.