How Much Do Freelance Writers Make?

Money is one of the most pressing concerns for people who ask me about freelancing. They want to know what they’ll make when they write for money online, and I can’t say that I blame them – a job is seldom an act of charity, after all. Bills come due, rent’s looming, groceries are dwindling. So, here’s the scoop.

You can expect to start out at .01 / word when you write for money online. This means you’ll get $1 for every 100 words you write. This isn’t where you’ll stay, mind, as long as you’re willing to put in a bit of effort, but you can expect to make at least that out of the gate. As I advise new writers in The Freelance Writer Guide, knowing how fast and frequently you can write is vital not only for selecting the right jobs, but for budgeting in a realistic manner. I write approximately 400 words in 25-30 minutes as long as I’m comfortable with the subject, which means I could expect to make about $8/hour if I were a beginner. It might seem modest, but consider that freelancers not only have the freedom to decide when and who to work for, they don’t (typically) need to pay for gas to get to work, wear a uniform, stand on their feet for eight hours, and all the other unpleasantries that come with a “traditional” job. Additionally, once you get bumped up to .02 or higher, you’ll be making money at the levels undergraduate degree-holders do. Right now, I clear .05+ a word, which means a very nice return on even the smallest articles.

I explain to my fledgling writers that a minimum wage job ($7.25/hr) pays approximately $6.25 after taxes are taken out. If you can cobble together 625 words in an hour, you are well on your way to pulling a paycheck on words alone. Whether you use freelance writing online as your regular employment or a little supplemental income, rest assured that availability is high, pay is typically pretty fair, and the experience is fun and unique.

Some Tips:

Don’t count your chickens before they hatch when you write for money online. Get to know the variables inherent in each writing job site, and incorporate them into your financial decisions. Say you just finished a $12 piece on Textbroker, but it’s Tuesday – the three days the client has to approve it means that the approval timer could keep ticking well past the Thursday midnight deadline for payout requests. Revisions could be mandated, and your piece could even be rejected (unlikely, but it happens), so don’t spend freelance writing money until it drops into your Paypal account.

If you don’t already have a Paypal debit card, get one. One of the most important tools in your arsenal when you write for money online, this free card lets you pull your Paypal money out at any ATM. Bank account transfers can take several days, so if you’re a last-minute bill payer, the flexibility of this card will come in very handy.