What is Freelance Writing? The Epic Guide


This post may contain affiliate links to products that I recommend and I may earn money or products from companies mentioned in this post. Please check out my disclosure page for more details.


Would you like to work from home and set your own hours? What about getting paid to write? If these sound like appealing prospects, then freelance writing may be the career for you!

Freelance writing is a way to earn a living while enjoying the freedom and flexibility that comes with working for yourself.

In this ultimate guide, we will explore what freelance writing is, what it entails, and what type of person succeeds as a freelancer. We’ll also detail pros and cons of freelance writing so you can decide if it’s the right choice for you. Finally, we’ll examine some of the income potential associated with freelance writing.

What is Freelance Writing?

Freelance writing is a type of writing work that is done outside of a traditional office setting. A freelancer is someone who contracts with different companies or individuals to do freelance work, which can be in a variety of genres.

beginners guide to freelance writing

A freelance writer may work as a copywriter, creating marketing materials such as brochures, website content, or email campaigns. They may also write for magazines or other publications, either on staff or as a contributor. And finally, they may also provide ghostwriting services, where they write books or articles that are credited to someone else.

What Does a Freelance Writer Do?

A freelance writer wears many hats. In addition to being a wordsmith, they must also be adept at self-promotion and business skills such as time management and invoicing.

As a freelancer, you will need to be able to manage your own workload and meet deadlines set by your clients. You will work mostly contract-to-hire-jobs. This can be challenging at times, but it is also one of the great things about being your own boss. Don’t forget; you get to set your own schedule!

Another important aspect of freelance writing is marketing yourself and your services. You will need to be able to sell potential clients on why they should hire you, and this takes both confidence and a well-crafted pitch.

Tasks freelance writers do to be successful:

  • Writing
  • Copywriting
  • Ghostwriting
  • Editing
  • Proofreading
  • Marketing & self-promotion

What Type of Person Makes a Good Freelance Writer?

A successful freelance writer is usually someone who is very organized, detail-oriented, and good at time management. They must also be able to independently work and have the self-discipline to stay on task even when there is no one looking over their shoulder.

In addition, a good freelance writer must be an excellent communicator, both in written form and in person. These are all skills you need to be a freelancer successfully. They should also be creative and able to come up with new ideas on a regular basis.

Successful writer traits include:

  • Understand the English language, including grammar and spelling
  • Be able to write in a variety of styles
  • Be able to meet deadlines
  • Possess excellent research skills
  • Have knowledge of various formatting styles (APA, MLA, etc.)

Education and Training for Freelance Writers

If you want to start freelance writing, the good news is that you don’t necessarily need a college degree. However, it is important to have a strong understanding of the English language and be able to write well.

Take some writing classes and/or get a degree in English, journalism, or communications. This will give you the skills and knowledge you need to be successful.

Should I Get a Freelance Writing Certificate?

If you want to improve your freelance writing skills and start a freelance writing career, you may want to consider getting a freelance writing certificate. This will give you the training and knowledge you need to be successful.

Some of the best places for a freelance writing certificate are:

  • The American Writers & Artists Institute
  • Writer’s Digest University
  • Udemy

With a freelance writing certificate, you’ll be able to start your own freelance writing business, work from home, and make a great income.

Do Most Clients Require a Freelance Writing Certificate?

Freelance clients generally do not require a freelance writing certificate. However, if you want to work for a specific company or client, it’s always best to check and see what their requirements are.

Advantages of Freelance Writing

We have answered what is freelance writing but there are other areas to consider such as the advantages. There are many advantages to freelance writing. Some of the most notable advantages include:

You can work from home

Working from home on a writing assignment can save you time and money on commuting costs.

You can set your own hours

As a freelance writer, you have the freedom to set your own hours. This means you can work around your other commitments, such as childcare or a full-time job. Whether you are working remote work vs. work from home, your schedule is up to you.

You can choose your projects

When you’re a freelance writer, you get to choose the projects you want to work on. This means you can write about topics that interest you and that you’re knowledgeable about.

You can make a great income

Freelance writing is a way to make a good income. In fact, many freelance writers earn six figures annually.

You can gain writing experience

As a freelance writer, you can gain a lot of writing experience. This is a valuable experience that will help you in your career.

Disadvantages of Freelance Writing

While there are many advantages to freelance writing, there are also some disadvantages. These include:

You may have to work long hours

Depending on the project, you may have to work long hours to meet the deadline. This can be challenging if you have other commitments.

You may have to sacrifice holidays and weekends for work

If you’re working on a tight deadline, you may have to sacrifice weekends and holidays. This can be difficult if you have family commitments.

The pay may not be steady

One of the biggest disadvantages of freelance writing is that the pay may not be steady. This means you may experience periods of time where you don’t have any work.

You need to be self-motivated

As a freelance writer, it’s important that you’re self-motivated. You need to be able to stay productive and motivated when there’s no one telling you what to do.

Examples of Freelance Writing

If you are considering becoming a new freelance writer, you are probably wondering what types of writing you can do. The truth is, many different types of freelance writing exist. Here are some examples:

freelance writing examples
Examples of freelance writing include web content, copywriting, technical, SEO, and more.

Web Content Writing

This type of writing is what most people think of when they think of freelance writing. It involves creating content for websites.

Web Content Writing Includes:

  • SEO Writing
  • Blog Posts
  • Articles
  • Sales Pages
  • E-Books

Copywriting

Copywriting is a marketing-type of writing that is designed to sell. It involves creating compelling and persuasive sales copy that convinces readers to take action.

Copywriting Includes: 

  • Sales Letters
  • Landing Pages
  • Email Marketing
  • Advertising

Technical Writing

Technical writing focuses on complex topics. It involves creating instructions, manuals, and documentation.

Technical Writing Includes: 

  • User Guides
  • Product Manuals
  • Instructional Materials
  • How-To Guides

SEO Writing

This type of writing (also called search engine optimization) is focused on helping businesses rank higher in search engines. It involves using keywords and other strategies to help a website rank higher in search results.

SEO Writing Includes:

  • Web Content
  • In-depth Articles
  • Blog Posts
  • Meta Descriptions
  • Alt Tags
  • Snippets

The examples of freelance writing given are broad because there are many different types of freelance writing. This is advantageous because it gives writers the opportunity to write about topics that interest them and that they’re knowledgeable about.

It also allows writers flexibility in terms of hours worked and what projects they choose to work on. You can even visit coffee shops with wifi to complete a freelance writing job.

What Companies Hire Freelance Writers?

If you are a self-employed writer, you have a lot of options for freelance writing jobs. The best work-from-home job boards regularly post openings for writing services.

One of the main reasons companies hire freelance writers is to save money. By outsourcing the writing work to freelancers, companies can save money on the cost of hiring a full-time writer. Additionally, freelance writers can often complete projects faster than in-house writers, so companies can save time as well.

Industries That Hire Freelance Writers

Many companies hire freelance writers. Here are a few examples:

  • Advertising Agencies: Advertising agencies often hire freelance writers to help with creating ad copy, developing marketing materials, and writing website content.
  • Content Marketing Firms: Content marketing firms create and distribute content that helps companies achieve their marketing and branding goals. Many of these firms hire freelance writers to write blog posts, create e-books and white papers, and develop social media campaigns.
  • Public Relations Firms: Public relations firms work with clients to promote positive images of them to the public. These jobs are often the highest paying freelance jobs in this field. They often need freelance writers to help produce press releases, articles for trade publications, speeches, and other communications materials.
  • Technology Companies: Technology companies frequently need freelance writers to write product descriptions, user manuals, how-to guides, and web copy.
  • Newspapers & Magazines: Newspapers and magazines are always looking for freelance writers to contribute magazine articles on a wide range of topics. Topics range from digital marketing to medical writing. The sky is the limit.
  • Book Publishers: Book publishers often hire freelance writers to write book proposals, develop outlines, do market research, and write sample chapters. Freelance ghostwriters may also write short stories and write content for different clients to publish.
  • Corporate Communications Departments: Many large companies have internal communications departments that develop content for employee newsletters, intranets, and the company website. These departments often hire freelance writers to help with these projects.
  • Non-Profits: Non-profits are well known for hiring freelance copywriters for grant writing. A professional writer with experience will know how to craft a proposal that will stand out from the rest and increase the chance of being awarded a grant.

How Do Freelance Writers Get Paid?

Most freelance writers receive income on a per-project basis for a freelance writing job. This means that the writer is paid once the project is completed and approved by the client. Whether it is article writing or social media posts being completed, the pay is for the final product.

Many freelance writers also work on a retainer basis. This means that the writer is paid a set amount each month for a certain number of hours or articles (or other deliverables) each month. This arrangement provides a consistent income for the freelance writer, but it can also be inflexible if the client’s needs change.

Some freelance writers are also paid an hourly rate, but this is less common.

Many freelance writers also receive payments in the form of royalties or a percentage of sales. This type of payment can be quite lucrative for high-selling books or articles. There are a lot of steps that go into deciding if writing a book is a good way to make money for a freelance writing career.

Income Potential for Freelance Writers

The income potential for freelance writers is nearly unlimited. The amount a freelance writer can earn depends on a number of factors, including:

  1. The writer’s experience level
  2. The type of writing being completed
  3. The writer’s speed
  4. The client’s budget

One of the main factors that determine how much a freelance writer is paid for a project is the client’s budget.

If the client has a limited budget, the freelance writer may have to accept a lower rate for their services.

On the other hand, if the client has a generous budget, the freelance writer may be able to negotiate a higher rate.

In either case, it is important for the freelance writer to know their worth and what they are worth to potential clients.

Many factors affect a freelance writer’s income.

A beginner freelance writer can expect to earn $20-$30 per hour, whereas a more experienced writer can earn $50-$100 per hour or more.

How Much Do Well-Known Freelance Writers Make?

Well-known freelance writers will regularly have their work featured. Writing is a full-time career for many people, and some can make a great living off of their articles. Well-known writers include:

  • J.K. Rowling
  • John Grisham
  • Stephen King

While it is possible to make a great living as a freelance writer with only a few years of experience, earning over six figures typically requires many years of writing and building relationships with clients. In order to be able to command a high rate, freelance writers must be able to provide high-quality work that meets the client’s expectations. Additionally, it is important for freelance writers to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and best practices in their field so they can offer the most value to their clients.

Some well-known freelance writers earn in the six-figure range, while others make a lower income. It really depends on the work that they are completing and how in-demand their skills are.

How to Gain Experience as a New Writer

One of the main challenges that new freelance writers face is finding quality work.

Since they are starting out, they typically don’t have a large portfolio to show potential clients, which can make it difficult to get high-paying jobs.

Additionally, many new freelance writers struggle with bidding on projects and negotiating rates.

This can make it difficult to earn a good income from their writing.

If you are a new writer and just starting your freelance writing career, there are some things you can do to gain experience and build your portfolio.

Pro-Bono Job Boards

One way to get started is by writing for low-paying or pro bono clients. This will help you get experience and start building a portfolio of work and writing samples. Writing services that hire writers will want to see your portfolio. You can start bidding on higher-paying projects once you have some samples to show potential clients.

Write Web Pages

Another way to gain experience is by writing for online platforms or guest posts on blogs that don’t pay their writers. If you have a day job, you can still do this, or if you plan to work remotely and travel in the future. While this won’t generate any income, it can help you hone your skills and give you something to put on your resume.

Either write a blog post for your own blog, or someone else’s on what you’ve learned as a freelance writer so far.

Submit Articles to Online Publications

Another way to get your work out there and gain experience is by submitting articles to online publications. This can help you build relationships with editors and get your name out there as a writer.

Freelance Writing Communities

There are many online communities of freelance writers that you can join. These communities are a great way to network with other writers, learn about new opportunities, and get advice and support.

Joining a community of freelance writers with new writers can help you become a better writer and build your business.

If you have serious intensions about becoming a freelance writer, it is important to get as much experience as possible so you can land high-paying freelance writing gigs down the road.

Be sure to:

  • Give readers what they want and what they’re looking for
  • Inspire them to make a decision right away
  • Bring in high-quality content at a low cost

How Can I Network as a Freelance Writer?

Networking is what you do to create connections and relationships with people who can help your career.

It’s not always easy, but it’s important for freelancers to network because this is what will get them the freelance jobs they want.

Freelance writers have a lot of opportunities when it comes to networking. They can attend conferences, join online communities, or even just interact with their followers on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. Great appointment schedulers for freelancers will assist with simple scheduling for your freelance writing business. The more freelance writers connect with others in their industry, the better their chances of securing multiple clients and freelance gigs.

Networking can be difficult for some writers, but it’s important to remember that everyone is in the same boat. The best way to network is by being genuine and helpful. If you’re always putting other people first, they’ll be more likely to want to help you in return.

Employment Options for Freelance Writers

There are different types of employment options available to freelance writers. The most common is working as a freelancer for an agency or publication. This can be a great way to start building your portfolio.

best freelance writing sites
Best freelance writing sites include, Upwork, Fiverr, and PeoplePerHour.

There are a number of great writing establishments that hire freelance writers. Some of the most popular include:

  • The New York Times
  • The Guardian
  • Huffington Post.

These organizations are always looking for talented writers to contribute to their publications. If you’re looking for a great opportunity to get your work seen by a large audience, these are some great places to start.

Another option for freelance writers is to work directly with clients. This can be a great way to build long-term relationships and get steady work. However, it can be more difficult to find clients on your own.

You may think it’s not going to be profitable, but there are tax deductions for independent contractors that will allow for deductible expenses from your freelance writing business.

There are a number of great websites that can help you connect with potential clients, such as:

If you’re interested in working directly with clients, these are some great resources to get started. You can also follow the steps on how to make money on UpVoice as a freelance writer as well.

Should a Freelance Writing Career Be Your Goal?

Freelance writing is a choice for a career for a number of reasons:

  • It’s a great way to build your portfolio and gain experience as a new freelance writer.
  • You have the ability to work from home, which can be a great perk.
  • There are a variety of different types of freelance writing jobs available, so you can find something that’s a good fit for your skillset.
  • You can set your own hours and work as much or as little as you want.
  • It’s a great way to make money on the side or even full-time.

However, there are also a few things to keep in mind before making the decision to become a freelance writer:

  • It can be difficult to find work, especially when you’re first starting out.
  • You need to have excellent writing skills and be able to meet deadlines.
  • It can be challenging to manage your own workload and stay organized.

Freelance writing is not a job for everyone, but it can be a great career choice for the right person. If you’re a good writer and interested in becoming a freelance writer, do your research and make a decision. If the answer is yes, start freelance writing today!

BG Vance

BG Vance, founder and editor of Cubicle No More, started this site as a resource guide for people transitioning from corporate America to a work from home lifestyle. He covers topics such as freelancing, remote work, and self-employment.

Recent Posts