7 Simple Tips to Grow Your Online Freelance Writing Income

Carol Tice

Are you wondering where the good-paying online writing gigs are hiding?

7 Simple Tips to Grow Your Online Freelance Writing Income. Makealivingwriting.com

I get this question from a lot of freelance writers. When I ask them what they’re doing, the answer is usually the same. They’re answering a lot of online job ads, and not doing much else.

Here are a few quick tips on how you can break the cycle of low online pay:

  1. Stop answering Craigslist ads that ask for free samples. Luke, it’s a trap!
  2. Stop answering ads that say you can write about any topic you want. These never pay well. Never ever.
  3. Find better ads. I like the kind where the employer has to pay to place the ad — say, like on LinkedIn. Or some professional association job boards.
  4. Look beyond ads. The vast majority of available work is never advertised. Start proactively marketing your writing business and tapping the submerged part of the iceberg.
  5. Get off Elance. And Guru, and all the rest. While the occasional gold nugget can be found in here, in general bidding sites put you in a race to the bottom. Unless you enjoy being the low-price leader, you want to get out of here.
  6. Understand that most revenue-sharing offers are a pipe dream. Have you got time to drive millions of eyeballs to your pages? If not, you will earn pennies. And waste oodles of your precious, precious time.
  7. Learn how to identify good-paying clients. Solid companies and publications that hire writers at professional rates are all around you. My starter tip: Look for companies that sell a real product or service in the real, offline world — ideally, ones that have been around since before the Internet.


  1. Norbert Chinor

    I am happy to learn from all these practical experiences. but sites like elance can stiil lead one to something better.

  2. Pinar Tarhan

    Hi Carol,

    You know some of the good advice is internalized and it becomes common sense after a while. Like getting off Elance and other such sites (quit them almost as soon as I started), avoiding ads that ask for free samples, avoiding revenue sharing job ads and such. But for some reason, even when I think I figured it out all out, it turns out there is some stuff I still have to work on internalizing- such as looking beyond the ads (I do, but not on a specific schedule) and actively looking for well-paying clients who didn’t get into the business with the start of internet.

    Thanks again for a great checklist!

  3. Sharon S.

    Your list give me something to think about. It open my eyes in some truth about the matter in hand. I think I start identifying my paying customer before going into it.

  4. John

    Writing is my passion and I am working online for the last four years. I have realized that for good writing pay you need to hone your skills and then follow your last tip. Finding well paying clients is very crucial if you want a worthy pay. Companies that are looking for quality can also pay you well while there are companies that want quality at a cheaper rate.


  1. Dan Atkinson » Blog Archive » Don’t Let Impatience Get the Better of You - [...] This is not to say that all ads that use this type of language are no good. Sometimes there…

Related Posts

You CAN Write a Query Letter That Gets a “Yes”: 5 Resources

Freelance writer getting a gig after learning to write a query letter.

Love them or hate them, queries are one of the most important marketing tools for any freelancer who wants to write for magazines. And the skills you learn from writing a good query letter also help business writers and copywriters pitch their potential clients.

If you’ve been sending queries off into space and never getting a reply, you may think it’s impossible to break into new magazines. But it’s not true! Editors are always looking for new talent.

To help you learn to write a query letter that will get you the gig, we’ve pulled together a collection of five of our best posts on pitching:

Can’t Write? Try These 9 Ideas for Writing Motivation

It’s the bane of every freelance writer’s life: You know you need to sit yourself down and get some writing done, but nothing happens. The writing motivation just isn’t there. Sometimes, you can't even make yourself sit down with the computer -- even if you...