Advice for Freelance Writers: How Much Can You Realistically Expect to Earn Your First Year
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One of the most common questions I receive as a long-time freelance writer from aspiring newbies is, “How much can I make?”

This is such a broad question because it depends on so many factors. One of the main ones is what type of writing you do. For example, there is magazine writing, newspaper writing, copywriting (eg, for ad agencies and marketing firms), writing for businesses (eg, white papers, case studies), etc.

Why There Is No One-Size-Fits-All Answer to the Earnings Question

Some types of writing pays a lot more than others – but when you’re out on your own, it falls under this huge umbrella of “freelance writing.” Then, when you add in other factors like experience, niche, education, marketing ability, rates, etc., you can see why it can be extremely difficult to answer the question, “How much can you earn as a freelance writer?” It’s very, very individual.

I’ve been a freelance writer since 1993 and in my opinion, it’s pretty simple to earn $30,000 to $40,000 your first year. Notice I said simple, not easy. It does take some elbow grease. Here’s how I’ve broken it down to many students in my freelance writing ecourse(s).

Earning $30,000 Per Year as a Freelance Writer: The Numbers

SEO writing is a very popular niche in freelance writing. And, it’s one of the easiest niches to enter and start getting work. So, let’s say you decide to start this type of web writing business. Here’s a roadmap to earning $30,000 per year ($2,500 per month) your first year.

For example, let’s set your income goal at $30,000 your first year (instead of just $17,000). That’s not too high when you charge $25 (again, which I think is too low for your stated niche, but let’s go with it anyway) as a minimum; it’ just $2,500 per month.

1. Break Down the Numbers: In order to achieve the $2,500 per month, break it down so you can see in black and white just how achievable it is.

$2,500 per month = $582 per week (12 months / 4.3 weeks (there are actually 4.3 weeks in each month on average, not 4).

$582 per week = $117 per day approximately (5 day work week)

2. Set Your Rate: If you charge a standard rate of $25 per article, how many of those do you have to write per day/week/month to reach your goal? The answer is 4.65 – or 5 articles per day.

3. Plan Your Marketing: How much marketing do you have to do to bring in enough clients who will give you enough work to earn this?

You may be a little in the dark here because you’re just starting out, but let’s say within the first three months, you land 4 steady clients who ordered on average of 10 articles per month. That’s 40 articles per month ($1,000). You need more than double that many (100) to reach your goal (see figures just below).

So, you need at least 10 steady clients who are ordering at least 10 articles per month each for you to reach your $2,500 per month goal. Of course, you may earn more – or less – per client per month depending on how much you charge and how many clients you land.

Do you see how straightforward it can be to reach this goal when you know exactly what numbers you need to be hitting?


Again, it’s simple to earn a living as a freelance writer – if you put in the work. And speaking of, when you first start out, your days will be long – a minimum of 8-10 hours per day. Most of your time will be spent marketing in the beginning.

Where many new freelancers fall down is no being consistent with their marketing – and undercharging. Millions of people make a good living working as a freelance writer each year. You can too -- again, if you’re willing to put in the work.

About the Author: Yuwanda Black heads New Media Words, an SEO writing company. She's also the publisher of two blogs – InkwellEditorial and SeoWritingJobs – leading sites for info on how to start a freelance writing business. She says, "With proper freelance writer training, you can start a successful, home-based career as a freelance writer. Ms. Black has authored over 50 ebooks, most of which cover some aspect of freelance / SEO writing. They can be found on major outlets like Amazon and Barnes & Noble, in addition to her own website(s).

Keywords used in this article: freelance writer salary, how much do freelance writers make, how much can I earn as a freelance writer


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