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6 ways to make money freelancing

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Want to be a blacksmith? If you’ve always been skilled with puns, can weave a story that keeps your audience engaged, or have the ability to describe the essence of an idea in a few simple sentences, then you might be able to use your skills and turn them into income.

Maybe you’re looking for a way to make some extra money in your free time, or you’re aiming for a long-term career goal to write for a living. Either way, this guide will show you how to make money writing and the tools and skills you need to get there.

Of all the ways you can make money online, writing gigs seems to fill the top 10 lists, and for good reason. Income can range from $20 per hour to $110, for positions that cover both creative roles and technical tasks.

You can unleash your creativity by writing and publishing your own book, hone your sales skills in editorial roles, or be a jack-of-all-trades by blogging.

Now you know it’s possible to make money freelancing. However, for many aspiring writers, a much more confusing question is how to make money writing. Here are some of the most common writing jobs you might find advertised, along with the average salary and key skills needed to excel at the job.

Content Writer

With so much of our life spent online, there is a greater need for publications to continue producing relevant content. The role of a content writer is to create content that informs, entertains and educates the reader.

A content writer can produce articles for many channels, including websites, blogs, social media accounts, and email newsletters. Experience with online marketing strategies, strong research skills and the ability to write concise and engaging content are some of the key skills needed.

The average salary for this role is $77,437 per year, and freelancers can earn between $22 and $100 per hour. One of the downsides to this role is that it can take some time to develop a portfolio of work so you can access those higher paying jobs. However, content writers with significant experience are more in demand, so you can choose among your assignments.

Editor

A writer position has many overlaps with that of a content writer, with a few key differences. The main objective of a copywriter is to persuade. They use language and words to convince the reader to take an action which could include engaging with a company in a certain way or buying a product.

Copywriting is often used in advertisements, landing pages, emails, sales copy, print ads, digital ads, and brochures. The best copywriters know how to write very compelling short texts.

This can be a very stressful position for some writers because it’s more conversion-focused than other forms of writing, but the added responsibility can be reflected in the salary. The average salary for a copywriter is $78,260 per year, while a senior executive position averages $113,102 per year.

Technical Writer

If you’re a fan of technology and understand how things work, consider using your skills to help present technical information in a user-friendly way.

Technical writers gather information and communicate complexities that might confuse the best of us in the form of in-app or software help, a website, or a blog. Technical writers earn an average of $94,862 per year, or between $35 and $110 per hour.

It is more difficult for technical writers to find freelance work because salaried positions are usually offered. Luckily, this means that once you’ve secured a position, you won’t have to worry about finding new clients.

Is the secondary hype or a way to make a quick buck?

Blogging

For writers willing to take on more of the behind-the-scenes work involved in starting and maintaining a website, blogging might be a good option. You will be your own boss, directing your own content and in charge of any necessary writing.

The catch is that instead of getting paid to produce content, you will have to monetize your website using means such as promoting third-party products, advertising, or sponsored content. On the plus side, you can center your website around the topic you are passionate about.

How much you can earn depends on how you chose your website’s niche, your ability to produce search engine optimized content, and the quality of the content you produce.

Publish a book

Ready to write the next bestseller? If you have a great Australian novel waiting to come out or the next Harry Potter is burning a hole in your brain, you might consider writing a book and self-publishing it. 10 years ago, self-publishing was a job in itself, but thanks to platforms like Amazon, making money writing a book is much more achievable.

A great advantage of this option is that once you have the book, you will continue to earn money from potential future book sales. Build a back catalog and you will only increase your income. A downside to self-publishing is that the larger channels can take a large chunk of your revenue, but this is often offset by the greater visibility they provide.

Success in this field involves a business approach where, like niche websites, you target an established market or find an audience that is not currently catered for. Non-fiction is a natural fit for most, but works of fiction can still be a hit.

It’s hard to quantify how much you can earn from publishing a book, with factors like the price of each book, the royalties you receive, and actual sales to factor in. To give you a rough idea, using a popular price of $9.99 per book with a 40% royalty (the low end) and seven sales per week, you could earn $1,458 in one year.

Translations

If you are fluent in a second or third language, you can earn money by translating books and texts for companies around the world. The sky is the limit with this one, as you can find work that spans the gamut, from writing technical assembly instructions to translating entire websites for a new international market.

The downside is that some of the more mainstream languages ​​will have a lot of competition, and you’re often competing against freelancers who want to earn a lot less. If you speak Finnish, Japanese, Danish, or Arabic, the good news is that you’re more likely to score higher.

You can expect to earn between $20 per hour for a freelance position and up to $86,000 per year with a full-time salary.

Freelancer platforms like Fiverr, Upwork, and Freelancer.com can help connect writers looking for opportunities to employers. You can find jobs posted by big companies alongside small business owners and freelancers like you looking for some extra help.

Upwork

Upwork most closely resembles a traditional job board website. Individuals or companies post job vacancies or can browse candidates, while candidates have the opportunity to apply for all available jobs.

Freelancer.com

This freelance platform was founded in Sydney in 2009 and is known as one of the oldest and largest of its kind. Freelancer.com has more of a crowdsourcing approach where employers post jobs for which freelancers bid.

Fiverr

Yet different, Fiverr allows freelancers to bundle their services rather than being charged by the hour or for a specific job. In addition to writing, Fiverr offers over 400 categories of work. This includes everything from graphic design to voiceover recordings.

Other tools

In addition to the above services that can help you find work, here are some essential tools you might need to help you make money freelancing:

  • Video conferencing software for interviews and meetings (e.g. Skype or Zoom)
  • Collaboration tools to edit, comment and share documents in real time (eg Google Docs)
  • Proofreading software to highlight spelling or grammatical errors (e.g. Hemingway or Grammarly)
  • Online money transfer service (e.g. PayPal or Transferwise)

Each writing position will have its own set of specific skills that are needed to excel in the role, but we’ve narrowed down the top three skills that freelance writers need to be successful.

Communication. Perhaps the most critical skill, keeping your clients informed, asking questions when needed, and ensuring both parties understand what is required will make your job flow easier and help you present a professional facade.

Organization. Working for yourself means you just have to empower yourself. Keep a calendar, know your deadlines, and prioritize your tasks to ensure you stay on top of your workload.

Editing. And then more editing. A first draft is rarely perfect, and many authors will agree that you should spend more time editing and proofreading than writing. Pay attention to grammar, punctuation, spelling, overused words, and redundant dots.

Writers can find a variety of free and paid courses online to help build their skills. Keen students can find relevant course content through providers like Coursera, Udemy, and Hubspot.

Here are some examples of useful lessons:

Check out our online course finder to help you find the right course for your chosen writing career.

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