Freelance writing is one of the most popular work from home jobs. It is so versatile! You can use your words to earn money in many ways.
Getting paid for writing doesn’t require any special education or experience. You can find gigs that are perfect for beginners. But there are also plenty of opportunities for more experienced writers. In fact, there are tons of writing gigs that pay extremely well.
As a writer, you can decide to focus on a single specialty or divide your time between several types of writing. The choice is entirely yours.
To help you grow as a freelance writer, this post explores many different ways to make money writing.
So, if you enjoy creating written content, here are some options available for you:
Blog Post or Article Writer
Creating content for blogs is currently one of the most readily available remote jobs. Since blogs help drive traffic and can convert to paying customers, many companies are launching blogs of their own.
But they don’t always have the talent, time, or ability to consistently post new content. Or have the money to hire an in-house writer.
That’s where you come in!
You can find gigs that pay only a penny a word. Or you can find gigs that pay more than $1 for each published word. There are plenty of opportunities in between.
To help you in your quest for freelance blogging gigs, check out these resources:
- Freelance Writing Jobs for Beginners
- 9 Freelance Writing Sites that Pay $0.10/word or More
- How to Make Money Writing for ClearVoice
- 100 Websites that Pay Writers in 2019
- 53 Websites Where You Can Get Paid to Write
- 50 Best Websites that Pay Freelance Writers
Writing for Corporate Clients
Corporate clients are some of the most lucrative writing clients. In addition to writing content for their blogs, you can also provide:
- Website copy
- SEO optimization
- Ad copy
- Social media content
But how do you find corporate clients? Here are four proven strategies:
- Cold Calling: I know it sounds scary, but it doesn’t have to be! It’s a classic, effective method of marketing to business. Do some covert research before you call to learn more about the company. Find out who to contact. Then call and ask if they have a current or ongoing need for a freelance writer. You can even write yourself a script complete with talking points to help keep the call moving.
- Email: Petrified of the phone? You don’t have to use it to land clients. You can also try cold emailing companies. Some freelance writers create a whole campaign of emails to help generate and sort leads. Others just send a one-time simple email asking if they need a writer.
- Mail: There’s something to be said about the old-fashioned practice of mailing out information. Putting together some professional looking postcards, flyers, or brochures can help drum up customers.
- Business Cards: Networking is key when it comes to landing clients, so keep a stack of business cards on you. Let potential clients know what you do and leave a card so they can contact you when they need some writing done.
Content mills act as a middleman between the writer and the client. They get paid by the clients and then pay writers a smaller amount to do the actual writing.
These are typically low-paying gigs, though rates vary greatly. Some content mills are at a penny (or less) per word, and others are in the five-cent range. Regardless of payment, often you can’t use the content you write to build your portfolio. So always make sure you are comfortable with the offer before accepting.
Here are some content studios you can work with:
Do you have a gift for prose? Consider writing poetry and selling it. You can use the Poets & Writers Literary Magazine database to find paying opportunities. You can sort and search by genre to help narrow down the results.
Here are some other places to submit your poems for possible publication:
Write Greeting Card Messages
Do you have a knack for creating verses that’d be a perfect fit for a greeting card? You can get paid for these!
Rates vary greatly – some companies only pay $10 for an accepted piece, while others pay a couple of hundred dollars.
Find out more about the details and requirements for these greeting card companies:
The Greeting Card Association has some great tips for getting paid for this type of writing.
Ad writing is a higher paying type of freelance writing. If you can create high-converting ads, companies will pay you a lot of money. That’s because your copy will get them a lot of customers, which increases their bottom line.
To succeed as an ad writer, you need to understand some basics of copywriting. Being able to use words that evoke emotion and compel people to act or purchase are important.
You can find opportunities for this type of writing with a company like AdLabs. Another option is to look for your own clients online.
Keep your eyes peeled for poorly constructed ad campaigns. When you find one, reach out to the company and offer your services. Remember to get testimonials, and if possible, conversion numbers. These will help you land additional work.
Some companies pay writers to write reviews for products or services. If you don’t have a blog, you can use sites like:
If you do have a blog, there are many more opportunities! Please read this post on how to get free products to review.
There are also legitimate survey sites that pay you for your opinion. Often these surveys involve a couple of written questions in addition to several multiple choice ones. Keep in mind, these opportunities aren't going to pay the bills. Surveys should be considered tiny side gigs only. You can read about ten opportunities to take surveys for cash.
Write Kindle eBooks
As they continue to grow in popularity, eBooks are a booming industry for freelance writers. You can write a book of your own, and then use Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) to publish it. Of course, you will need to have your book formatted first. And have a great cover. Remember that people buy with their eyes first.
If you don’t want to design your own, you can hire a design freelancer to take care of that aspect for you. There is also a free cover creator on the platform.
Your success on KDP depends on the quality and genre for your book. Write books that people want to read and make it easy for them to purchase. I know authors who are making six and seven figures a year selling books for the Kindle. But there are many more who are barely pulling in enough to cover their expenses. So, you need to put some effort into marketing once you complete your book.
There are some benefits to publishing a book for the Kindle. These include:
- Being able to say that you are a published author
- Using this as a resume builder when you write a proposal for a new client
- Finding clients because they read your book and searched to find out more about you
- Earning money while you sleep – the royalties keep coming in once you’ve jumped through all the hoops you needed to.
Don’t want to write your own story? You can also get paid to write Kindle eBooks for clients. If you decide to do this, make sure the agreement is very clear about who will be the listed author and what your deadline will be.
Write for Magazines
Do you enjoy reading magazines? Every article in them was written by a writer. And for their next issue, they need even more content.
Think of all the possibilities there are to create content for magazines.
Magazines exist for just about every industry. Subscribe to Writer's Market, and you have access to the contact methods, guidelines, and other important information for almost every major national publication, as well as several smaller publications.
Read the guidelines carefully and stick to them. Editors want to know that you can follow the directions. You want to be building positive relationships with editors, so don’t purposefully get on their bad side by suggesting an article that has nothing to do with their magazine.
When you pitch your idea to a magazine, you typically send a query letter. This includes a well-written story idea and some quotes or references showing you have permission to use them.
Typically, local, smaller publications will be easier to break into. Then as you gain experience you can pitch national, larger publications. These often pay between $1-2 per word.
For ideas on where you can pitch, and how to create an effective query letter here are some resources for you to use. Every Writers Resource keeps a running list of magazines that accept submissions and the process for doing so. Boost Blog Traffic has some great pitching tips.
Start a Blog of Your Own
As mentioned earlier, you can get paid to create blog content for others. You can also earn money from home as a freelance writer by starting a blog of your own.
Blogging is, of course, my favorite way to get paid to write.
It does take some time to see a return, however. You can’t start a blog today and expect to be making a profit next week. So, start growing your blog now. Use money from your other freelance writing tasks to generate an income so you can invest in your blog.
But as you create content, don’t just blindly post articles each week. Instead, make a plan. See my post on seven great reasons to start a blog in 2019 for more details.
Use a Job Board to Find Freelance Writing Jobs
You can find a variety of freelance writing opportunities on job boards. Many update frequently, so continue checking back.
You can also sign up to receive notifications for many companies. These will help ensure you never miss a great gig when it gets posted.
If you’re looking for paid writing work, check out these job boards:
- LinkedIn Jobs
- Problogger Job Board
- Morning Coffee Newsletter
- FlexJobs – paid membership but high-quality telecommuting opportunities
- Freelance Writer's Den – high-quality, researched writing gigs and online training
Remember to follow the directions on each posting you apply for from the job board. Often, you’ll see a specific rule, something odd like “Use the phrase “Smurfberry” in your subject line.”
Companies use these obscure directions as a way to weed out clients. They want to find writers who actually read the expectations and can follow them.
When you write an article, and it gets published under a different name, you are ghostwriting. This means you don’t get credit for the content. It’s all attributed to your client.
Since you don’t get to claim this content in your portfolio, ghostwriting sometimes pays more than a bylined pieced.
You can find ghostwriting opportunities:
- On social media (#writerswanted and others)
- In the gigs section of Craigslist
- On Upwork
- On Guru
Write Podcast Show Notes
The notes after each podcast are essential. They tell viewers what the show was about, share resources mentioned in the episode, and provide details about the show and host.
Someone needs to turn those episodes into show notes though. If you’re a freelance writer who enjoys listening to podcasts, this can be a great gig for you.
Simply find someone you enjoy listening to and reach out. Find out if they need a show notes writer. You never know where a potential job will come from.
Write a Curriculum
Are you a teacher? Creating curricula for other teachers to use can be a lucrative gig.
The following companies occasionally hire writers to create educational content or curricula:
You can also get paid to create online courses for businesses. Many hire educational experts to ensure their courses are clear, effective, and well-managed.
You can also consider creating your own curriculum and selling it to homeschooling families. This is an especially lucrative niche if you can find a need and fill it.
Write Email Newsletters
Are you great at connecting with people through your words? Consider writing email newsletters for bloggers or companies.
You can get paid to create an initial sequence. This is the series that goes out once someone subscribes to a freebie.
But an initial sequence is not all that businesses need to grow their relationship with their newsletter readers. They also need ongoing content to share. Freelance writers can create this content.
To find these gigs, pay attention to bloggers in your ideal niche. Often, they advertise their needs first to their followers.
Create Informational Products
With a little bit of design mixed with your writing, you can create and sell informational products. You can create printables, guides, and simple eBooks for yourself or for clients.
Ideally, you’ll use information that goes along with your niche so you can continue to grow your reach while you raise your income.
Write Technical Content
Owners manuals. Product specifications. White papers.
Many pieces of writing need to be technically accurate. This technical writing allows you to showcase your ability to pay attention to details and explain complex topics in simple terms.
While many technical writers are an in-house team member for a company, some do hire freelance writers. Especially if you’ve niched down and focus solely on one industry.
Then you can market exclusively to companies within that industry.
Companies, schools, and non-profit organizations are all searching for talented grant writers. As a grant writer, you follow the directions to help secure funds for your client. You must research, compile all the information in an application, and ensure everything is complete.
The American Grant Writer’s Association has more information, and courses you can take to help you get started.
Write Resumes and Cover Letters
So many people are searching for new employment. If you enjoy helping others put their best foot forward, you can earn money creating resumes and cover letters.
You’ll need to be able to collect information from your client and compile it into compelling application materials. Think outside of the basic items and consider adding LinkedIn profiles to your repertoire.
The pay for these materials varies greatly, depending on the type of job you are helping your client land. Most resumes and cover letters pay in the $20-200 range.
You can find resume writing gigs at these sites:
Remember to ask the right questions of your clients, so you really can help them shine! Happy customers will write good testimonials which can help you grow quickly.
Expert Tips to Getting More Freelance Writing Jobs Online Fast
There are so many ways to earn money as a freelance writer from home. I hope you found some new ideas to try!
And now to help you land the gigs you apply for, I reached out to several of my successful colleagues in this industry for a few tips and words of wisdom. You can take these five ladies’ advice to the bank when it comes to getting freelance writing jobs online.
My top tip for someone in desperate need of landing more freelance writing projects is to dig deep and identify exactly what kind of freelance work you most want to do, who your ideal client is and where you can find them, and then go to those places. Gaining new freelance clients is so much about building relationships and trust between you and the client! Also, by providing little thoughtful “extras” with your work — everything from submitting your project ahead of the deadline or adding a title to the piece even if that wasn't requested — your client will grow to appreciate you and your work that much more so you will increase the chance of getting repeat work with them.
Don’t Get Desperate, Get Excited
Erin Lindstrom, Your Hot Copy
Let's be real, there's nothing sexy about desperation. Desperation sends “I need you vibes” into the big U. My top tip, is a big ole mindset shift.
Reframe: You're SO READY/EXCITED/PUMPED/INSPIRED to help people using your gift. You're a strong writer and you're here to help other's express themselves. Once you believe that, it's just logistics. Find the people who need your support. Reach out from a place of service. Continue to develop your skills as a writer. Learn how to close a sale. Make sure you’re not wasting money while trying to build your biz. Millions of people (seriously, millions) need help expressing themselves in written word. Believe that you can then go get 'em, tiger.
Have You Tried Everything? Really?
Carol Tice, Make a Living Writing & Freelance Writer’s Den
When someone tells me they’re desperate for freelance work, my first question is usually, “Have you connected on LinkedIn with every past editor and writer who knows you, and let them know you’d appreciate their referrals?”
This is one of the easiest ways to get new business quickly, but often the answer is ‘No, I haven’t!’
Marketing will never get any easier than asking people who already know and like you to keep an ear out for you. Often, editors will say, “I have something.”
But the bigger question is, “Why are you desperate?”
Do regular, proactive marketing to quality clients, and you won’t be. Cut your expenses, if you can, while you build your business. Being a desperate freelancer is a ticket to starving, because you keep feeling compelled to take low-paying gigs. Successful freelancers approach clients from a position of power — from being fully booked, from upsetting existing clients better projects, proactively asking for raises, and with lots of prospective client nibbles to choose from.
Natalie Bacon, The Finance Girl
My advice to someone who is desperate to land more freelance gigs is twofold. First, master the art of pitching by making your emails professional and including the right information (see my post for a template).
Second, set a goal to apply for a certain amount of gigs every day. It’s not enough to pitch once a week because you will get rejected a lot (everyone does, including the pros). Keep pitching as much as possible. Do it every day.
Don’t Be Desperate
Gina Horkey, Horkey Handbook
Don't be desperate.
Sorry if that sounds harsh, but freelance writing (or any other sustainable business) isn't built overnight. It takes constant planting, tending, watering, etc. before you can harvest.
Here's the thing, when you're desperate, you don't make the best long-term decisions. You focus on immediate results, not what's best for your business six months or a year from now. For example, you might ignore red flags and take on difficult clients or negotiate against yourself to land the gig and resent the low pay later on. And the negative spiral doesn't end there.
Instead, go into building your business with a long-term mindset. Give yourself at least two years to build a sustainable business (you want it to support you for years to come, right?) and figure out your individual success metrics. Then consistently expend the effort to achieve those success metrics week in, week out.
Not sure where to start? Let's start with choosing a niche. I've got a big list of over 200 writing niches to get those gears turning. Get it here.
Make Money as a Freelance Writer Today!
There you have it – tips from five different writing experts designed to help you earn money as a freelance writer.
You really can get paid for your words. So get out there and start writing!
Originally published in April 2015. Updated June 2019.