Are you looking for some of the best ways to earn money as a writer? You’ll get lots of them in this article.
But let’s start with a shocking statistic.
|According to the Digital Book World and Writer’s Digest Author Survey of more than 9,000 writers, 54% of published authors and 80% of self-published authors earn less than $1000 a year from their work.|
Isn’t that hair raising?
Then, you have “AI Content” companies like WebFX or Curata, that invest millions into eliminating human writers.
News outlets such as Fox or The Associated Press have been using artificial intelligence to generate content for years, and more corporations are jumping on the bandwagon as we speak.
Facts like this feed a popular belief that becoming a writer is a lost cause.
You can do it as a hobby, but perhaps you’re fooling yourself if you think you can earn a lot of money as a writer.
You aren’t J.K Rowling, are you?
I’m here to tell you that these kinds of arguments are a bunch of BS.
There has never been a better time to be a writer than right now. But the role of a writer has changed over the last couple of years so you need to adapt.
Now it’s not enough for you to write a brilliant work of fiction, an absorbing blog post, or a great essay.
You also need to know how to market your work and show it to the wide world.
Today’s freelance writing and blogging business environment:
|What you CAN’T count on:||What you CAN count on:|
|That a publisher is somehow going to market the book for you.||That you can make a full-time income, and even reach a six-figure income if you develop the right skill set.|
|That just because you have a brilliant idea, your book will fly off the shelves, or you’ll break the internet with your blog.||That publishers who previously rejected your masterpiece will now beg you to come back because you have high influence in the blogosphere or social media.|
|That you will succeed without developing the essential communication and marketing skills.||That you can earn passive income from your writing if you frontload your effort.|
How are people earning money through writing?
Let me show you a couple of examples of regular people who earn money as writers in different fields.
Rupi Kaur – an Indian-born Canadian poet and author. Her books reached the number one spot on the New York Times bestseller list. How did she do it except for having talent as a poet? She used Instagram to share her works and attract millions of followers from around the world.
Matthew Woodward – he was a dead-broke shoe salesman, earning 5 pounds an hour in the UK. But now, his blog generated over $1 million in income from advertising and affiliate commissions. How did he do it? By learning how to blog.
Joanna Penn – she wrote over 30 books which sold 500,000+ copies. How did she do it? She kept writing as a side hustle for years while working as a business IT consultant. Finally, she went full-time and built a vast audience through her popular podcast.
Rafal Reyzer – a Polish-born, self-taught English language lover who, after working for years in the content marketing industry, decided to start his own company and become a freelance writer, blogger, and source of inspiration for others who want to do the same. How did I do it? By working my ass off for years.
As you can see, there are different avenues you can pursue if you want to clock cash as a writer.
The best part is that you can start even if you have little to no experience. You don’t even need a college degree to make a living as a professional writer. In fact, even a high school dropout with enough talent and determination can find a place under the sun to flourish as a wordsmith.
This article will serve as a broad overview of some of the best, most lucrative ways you can earn income as a writer.
Do you have some persistence within you? Do you have the guts to follow your dreams? Okay, let’s do it, and let’s do it now.
The 48 Best Ways To Earn Money As a Writer
1. Start a profitable blog
I put blogging at the top of the list because, in my estimation, it’s still the best way for writers to make a good living.
You can start a blog for less than $100, but the income potential is as high as you can take it.
If you know what you’re doing and are willing to put in the work, you could build a $1,000 per month blog within 12 months.
That’s a conservative estimate because some writers willing to put in crazy hours and back their efforts with marketing prowess can get to a $5,000 or even $10,000 range within one year.
There are even some superstar bloggers out there who are earning over $100,000 a month.
The main income streams here are display advertising, affiliate marketing, as well as digital product sales.
It’s never too late to start, so I suggest you do it right now.
How much can you earn: $0 – $100,000 per month (depending on your level of talent, commitment, marketing skills)
Real-world example: Take my blog as an example. I started working on it seriously around one year ago. Now I’m already earning $2,000+ per month from it, and most of it is passive. But yeah, I had to put in a tremendous amount of work upfront to make it happen.
2. Become a highly paid freelance writer
This is the best way to get paid as a writer if you need the cash now, not 12 months from now.
There are hundreds of new freelance writing jobs and opportunities popping up around the web every week . Companies large and small realize that investing in content is a good business decision.
That’s why they are looking for new guns for hire with well-developed writing skills (and the ability to keep deadlines).
It works like this. First, you find a freelance writing gig through cold email outreach or by applying on job boards.
Then, if you land the gig, you have to complete it according to given specifications (for example, 1000 words, weight loss niche, specific topic).
Finally, once you hand over the work, your client will transfer the money to your bank account (or you can get 50% of your fee in advance).
This might also turn into an ongoing gig where you sign a contract, and write a few articles for your client every single month.
That’s a much better arrangement, and we will talk about this later.
How much can you earn: $30 – $400 per article (depending on your experience and the client you’re working with)
Real-world example: I have a client for whom I write sports and travel articles. These articles are produced for link-building purposes (SEO), so they don’t have to be too long. For a 650-word article, I get $55. Usually, I can write and send off an article like this within a bit over an hour.
3. Write reviews of the products and services you love
Writing detailed product and service reviews and publishing them on your blog is one of the best ways to earn cash as a scribbler.
That’s because by recommending certain offers, you can get a hefty commission.
Also, consumers who type “keyword + review” in the search engine are almost ready to make a buying decision. If you can dispel their doubts at the last moment, you deserve to get paid.
To earn in doing reviews, you first need to sign up for referral programs and partner up with companies whose products you will recommend. We’ll talk more about this later!
How much can you earn: $1 – $1000 per referred sale (depending on the product and the commission structure)
Real-world example: Let’s say you were in the market for a new DSLR camera. You spent 20 hours on the research before deciding on buying your new favorite model for $1500, and now you’re an expert.
If you write a detailed review or record it and upload it to YouTube, you can earn around $67.5 per camera sale you helped to generate.
4. Become a copywriter and write highly converting sales letters
This is one of the most lucrative ways in which you can make a living as a writer.
That’s because, as a copywriter, you provide massive value to your clients and contribute to sales numbers.
Nowadays, you can do it mostly by writing online sales letters. It’s not easy because you need to delve deep into the minds of potential buyers and uncover their hidden doubts and desires.
But if you can craft a sales pitch that’s effective, you can count on a big upfront fee, as well as a percentage from the sales you help to generate.
How much can you earn: The average copywriter salary in the US is $47,834 per year. But if you position yourself well, and write copy that drives sales results, you can earn up to $10,000 per project.
Real-world example: Danny Margulies from FreelanceToWin, created a copywriting portfolio in half an hour, without a lot of experience. He made $340 as a copywriter in his first week and went on to make over $100,000 in the next 12 months by selling his services on Upwork.
5. Join the Amazon Associates program to earn through referred sales
This is the easiest way to get your foot into the affiliate marketing door.
You earn money by recommending (or merely mentioning and linking up) Amazon products in your blog articles.
It’s very easy to get accepted into Amazon’s affiliate program, and you can earn 4% to 10% in commissions, depending on the niche.
I do this all the time on my blog. I even got a premium plugin (AAWP) that connects to the Amazon API, helping me to earn more commissions.
The only thing is that to get the commission, someone needs to buy a product within 24 hours of clicking on your affiliate link.
But the good part is that you’ll earn a commission for all the other products they order in the same batch.
How much can you earn: 4% to 10% per sale.
Real-world example: I bought a Canon M50 camera, and I’m delighted with my purchase. I saw a keyword opportunity around “cameras for college students,” so I wrote the review and listed other cameras I checked before deciding on M50. Now every time someone goes to my article and buys a camera through one of my affiliate links, I earn a $29 commission. Not too bad, right?
6. Become a highly paid guest blogger on high traffic sites
This is a fantastic opportunity because there are so many websites out there that need great content.
For submitting a 1000 – 2000 word article, they will be happy to pay you between $50 and $250.
To get a gig like this, you have to fulfill specific requirements and pitch your original idea for the article.
Of course, there’s some upfront work, but if you develop an efficient process, you can count on freelance blogging as a regular income stream.
How much can you earn: $50-$250 per gig (depending on the client and the niche)
Real-world example: A site like “Wow Women on Writing” will pay you $50-$100 per article, related to self-publishing. All you need to do is to reach out to them and pitch your idea. But this is just one example. There are literally thousands of sites that will be happy to pay you for a one-off gig like this.
7. Create your own freelance writing website
If you are a freelance writer, this is a crucial step to complete in your career.
Freelance writing is different from a blog. Its primary purpose is to show your skills and experience as a freelance writer to get new clients. It’s like an online business card for your writing services.
You can show off your portfolio, brands, and websites you worked with, and testimonials from happy clients.
This will instantly boost your credibility and allow you to command higher fees for your services.
How much can you earn: This is an indirect way of making money. But let’s say you attract even a single long-term client because of your website. This might mean tens of thousands of dollars of income landing into your account.
Real-world example: Laura Belgray created a beautiful freelance writer website called talkingshrimp.com. She specializes in copywriting and email marketing, and through her site, she was able to attract clients like Marie Forleo and Amy Porterfield.
8. Use job boards to find lucrative freelance right gigs
Using freelance job boards is an excellent way of getting cash, even if you don’t have any experience.
Job boards are like classified ads with new writing opportunities coming in every week.
Nowadays, there are over 50 of them around the web, with categories like “part-time writer” or “editorial staff needed.” Among the most popular are Fiverr, Guru, and Upwork. You need to look around, save the opportunities that interest you, and apply until you succeed.
How much can you earn: $50 – $500 per article (or you can sign up for long term contracts)
Real-world example: ProBlogger has one of the most popular job boards for writers out there. Every week they publish new opportunities from clients who need content on anything from pool cleaning to financial investments. Check out the requirements for each job and feel free to apply.
9. Become an Amazon Kindle self-published author
Nowadays, you don’t need a literary agent or a huge publishing house to back you up if you want to earn money by writing books.
What you can do instead is self-publish on Kindle.
Of course, you’ll need to polish your draft, work with an editor, come up with a brilliant title, and an eye-catching book cover.
But then you can create your Amazon author page, and start selling right away by taking advantage of the platform’s colossal marketing engine.
You can earn 70% in royalties for each book you sell. The other 30% goes to Amazon for providing you with the platform.
How much can you earn: Usually, Kindle e-books are sold for around $5- $10, so that’s $3.5-$7.00 landing in your pocket for each sale.
Real-world example: Meera Kothand, an email marketing expert, wrote six Kindle books on various online business-related topics. They’re all available for around $3.99, and she was able to sell hundreds of them.
But earning a small commission on an e-book sale is just the start. Inside her ebooks, she also invites you to take part in her more expensive online courses.
10. Sell your audiobook on Audible
Audio content is exploding right now, and as a writer, you should take advantage of that.
I love Audible, and I even wrote a complete review of the platform.
The Amazon-owned company sells around 150,000 audiobooks every single day.
That’s over $2 million in sales per day, generating around $200,000 in author earnings.
Do you want to get a slice of this pie?
How much can you earn: 10% on each audiobook sale (an average audiobook costs $15, so that’s $1.5 per transaction).
Real-world example: Bryan Collins from Becomeawritertoday.com narrated his nonfiction book in around three weeks. Since then, he narrated three more books, which now sell for $14.95 a pop.
11. Create your very own online course
Producing online courses is super trendy right now.
This comes as no surprise because authors can make thousands of dollars per month by sharing their knowledge.
You can host your course on platforms like Teachable, Thinkific, or Creativelive, and earn commissions for each sale.
I’m sure that as a writer, you have at least a couple of course topics floating around your mind as we speak.
How much can you earn: $99 – $2,000 per sale (depending on the course)
Real-world example: Jeff Goins, a popular writer, and blogger created his course “Starving to Successful: How to Become a Full-Time Writer” and hosted it on the CreativeLive platform. This course sells for $69, and till today 6.9k students took part in it.
12. Be a writing and productivity coach
You wouldn’t believe how many writers need help with developing their skills and discipline.
The writer’s block and the blank page syndrome are all contributing to that.
So if you’re a disciplined writer, you can offer coaching services to help others succeed.
Usually, you would sell these kinds of services through your blog, but you can also do it through social media platforms.
Once you have your first few clients, you can arrange weekly meetups through Skype, so you don’t even have to leave your home to earn money.
How much can you earn: $50 – $150 per hour (depending on your level of experience)
Real-world example: Christine Maul Rice, who’s been working as a teacher and editor at Columbia College Chicago for 20 years, offers editorial consulting services for $2000 – $5000 per project. She helps writers develop their manuscript over 12-16 weeks, to get it polished and published.
13. Earn money by building a big email list
If you’ve been an online writer for a while, you must have heard the maxim “the money is in the list.”
This is still true today. Perhaps the email open rates are not as high as a couple of years ago. But if you have an engaged audience, you can count on a 30% open rate, which is still not bad.
Email marketing is the most direct way in which you can get in touch with your potential clients.
If you have a book to sell, an online course to promote, or an event you want to get publicity for, email marketing is your top communications channel.
If you want to get started with email marketing, sign up for ConvertKit designed especially for bloggers and writers.
How much can you earn: $0 – $1,000,000 (depending on the size of your email list, and what you have to sell)
Real-world example: HubSpot, a popular marketing automation service did a great job of gathering 19 successful examples of email marketing campaigns. Use them as a source of inspiration.
14. Write a book and become an expert in your field
Traditional publishing is not the most lucrative money-making avenue for new writers.
But having a book that’s published and is sitting on bookshelves in bookstores automatically positions you as an expert in your field.
Forget about the small royalties from book sales. A book gives you a perfect opportunity to generate publicity and build your brand.
Now you can go on podcasts, interviews, videos, radio shows, and other places that’ll allow you to become famous and boost your income from other services you provide.
How much can you earn: $1,000 – $10,000 per year in royalties
Real-world example: Michael Hyatt, an author, podcaster, blogger, speaker, and the former chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson, created a powerful personal brand by publishing books like Platform and Living Forward. This enabled him to propel his career forward in many unexpected ways.
15. Earn through paid speaking engagements as an author
Becoming a published author is your number one way to get invites to paid speaking gigs.
After all, you are now perceived as an expert in your field, and you have something new and valuable to share.
You can become a guest speaker on one of the dozens of conferences taking place around the country, and earn handsome fees for showing up on stage.
Plus, many events organizers let you include a quick pitch at the end of your speech and promote something in a low-key manner.
How much can you earn: $500 – $35,000 per speaking engagement (depending on your level of fame)
Real-world example: According to Dorie Clark, an author of Entrepreneurial You, you can earn $500-$2500 per speaking engagement if you’re a new author. But if you’ve penned several titles, some of which became bestsellers, you can bring $20,000-$35,000 per speech at a big conference.
16. Get paid through publishing sponsored posts on your blog
If you have an authoritative blog, this is one of the easiest ways to make money.
Brands need extra exposure, and you can help them by publishing their sponsored posts on your blog.
Let’s say you’re blogging about financial services. An insurance company approaches you and says they want you to publish something related to their travel insurance package.
You publish the post that they write, and they pay you $200 – $1000 for the privilege.
You only have to abide by Google’s guidelines, and tag the sponsored links on your blog as “no-follow” or “sponsored.”
The best part is that you don’t even have to wait for someone to offer you a sponsored post opportunity. You can submit your site to a database, where brands can find you.
How much can you earn: $200 to $1000 per post (depending on the popularity of your blog)
Real-world example: The author of the nopassiveincome.com is making between $150 and $500 per sponsored post on his blog. The same goes for Alexis, the author of fitnancials.com, who’s earning $2,000+ per month from sponsored contributions.
17. Join large freelance writing platforms, like UpWork, Fiverr, or Freelancer.com
This is the easiest way to earn if you’re a complete beginner.
Freelance writing platforms attract thousands of people from all around the world.
This usually creates a huge amount of competition for every single job posting.
For example, even gigs paying $30, can attract up to 50 proposals on these platforms.
But the positive side is that 80% or more of these proposals come from people with no skills or experience.
So if you’re a professional, with two or three years of experience, you can even make a full-time income on these sites.
How much can you earn: $30 – $60 per article (or much more if you have more experience or land a long-term gig)
Real-world example: Getting started on UpWork, was my first experience with freelance writing. I began by completing a few low-pay gigs, but when I attracted positive reviews, my pay and conversion rate grew higher.
18. Become a writer for your alma mater
This is a sneaky way of earning money.
If you graduated from college, you have a much higher chance of getting hired as a writer by your Alma Mater.
Colleges put out a tremendous amount of content each year. This includes textbooks, magazines, interviews, web articles, etc.
If you spent three or five years studying at a particular college, you can reach out to the editorial board and ask if they need writing services.
How much can you earn: $200 – $1,000
Real-world example: Kevin T. Johns got featured in a Carleton University article called “Student Storytellers: Creative Writing and the English Department.” This helped him to get more notoriety as a novelist.
19. Become a content strategist for a VC-backed startup
This is another sneaky way in which you can produce income by applying your writing skills.
Outreaching to established companies is fine. But most of the time, they already have an established content team, so it’s harder to get your foot in the door.
But startups that received millions of dollars in funding from venture capitalists are much more open to hiring new people.
They want to grow as fast as possible. So if you show up at the right moment, and flaunt your impeccable portfolio, you can count on above-average pay and long term cooperation.
How much can you earn: $100 – $200 per article, or much more if you establish a long-term relationship.
Real-world example: A content marketing related startup called Market Muse recently raised $6.7 million in financing. On LinkedIn, you can see that their headcount is snowballing as they roll out their offer to a broader market. This is a perfect example of a company you could reach out to if you’re looking for a fresh freelance client. It’s always best to get in touch with either a marketing director, a content manager, or an editor-in-chief.
20. Write more “listicle” and “how-to” articles
We would all love to spread our creative wings and write with complete disregard for the search engines.
Unfortunately, even if you write a literary masterpiece, Google won’t pick it up because it’s not keyword focused.
That’s why, if you want to earn money, you should invest more time in producing content in proven formats.
“Listicle” and “how-to” articles are two of the most popular forms of content around the web. If you want to get more advertising and affiliate marketing revenue, you should upload more articles like this to your blog.
How much can you earn: $10 – $1000 per month in advertising and affiliate revenue
Real-world example: Let’s take one of my articles as an example. In 2016 I wrote an article called “40 Best Essays of All Time”. It’s 10,000 words long and took me a while to produce, but since the date of publication, it attracted 327,000 views. I was able to earn a nice chunk of change passively because of that one article.
21. Find freelance writing clients who offer a high rate per word
Being a highly paid freelancer is all about positioning.
You need to position yourself as an expert, who deserves a higher remuneration than a novice.
If you’re starting, you may accept gigs that pay as little as $0.05 or $0.07 per word, just to build your portfolio.
But once you have some experience, you can apply to gigs that pay $0.15 or even $0.25 per word.
The same goes for your hourly rate. You may start with something like $20 per hour, but as your value and expertise grow, you can earn up to $150 per hour.
At this point, you could politely decline offers from clients who want to pay anything less than that.
How much can you earn: Aim for higher rates per word ($0.25) and per hour ($100+)
Real-world example: According to Kate Toon, an award-winning SEO copywriter, these are the rates you can ask for depending on your experience in the field:
New / junior copywriter: $50–$80 per hour
Mid-level copywriter: $80–$120 per hour
Top-level copywriter: $120–$200 per hour
22. Get paid by selling your poetry
Writing poetry is probably not going to make you rich, but it can certainly fatten up your bank account.
I know that poetry is about art, inspiration, and creating something beautiful that other people will love and appreciate.
But did you know, there are over a dozen ways in which you can sell your poetry and earn money?
These include self-publishing, selling your poems to literary magazines, submitting your work to anthology publishers, taking part in poetry competitions, or even becoming a freelance poem writer.
How much can you earn: $100 – $200 per poem, or up to $25,000 if you’re lucky enough to win a poetry competition
Real-world example: I wrote a whole article about how you can earn money by selling your poetry. It has a lot of examples of useful links in it. If you are a poetic soul, I suggest you check it out.
23. Enter a writing contest and earn up to $10,000
This one will require a lot of luck (and of course, skills) on your part, but it’s something you can try.
There are specific deadlines and the requirements you have to meet to take part in a contest like this.
But the good news is that to enter, you usually don’t have to pay any fees.
Plus, there are prizes for the first, second, and third place, so even if you don’t hit the jackpot, you can still earn quite a lot for your efforts.
How much can you earn: $1,000 – $50,000
Real-world example: Type “writing contests prizes” in Google, and you will find a list of writing competitions that are free to enter, and offer a couple of thousand dollars in prizes. You can start by checking out the following list compiled by Jerry Jenkins.
24. Cold pitch potential clients through email and LinkedIn
This is one of the most underrated strategies for earning a full-time income as a writer.
As you know, there are thousands of websites and companies with a “write for us” page.
But these entities attract dozens of applications and pitches from thirsty writers each day. That’s because they are out there saying, “we are open for business!”
However, you might often find that the best opportunities are not advertised (or at least not yet).
Let’s say a content agency lands a new client, for whom they will need to produce 50 articles per month. They are about to start a frantic search for fresh and dependable writers, but they still haven’t put up any ads.
Now, if you pitch them in this precise moment, you are like a grand blessing from the heavens above. It takes a little bit of luck, but the “cold pitch” approach may lead to many long-term opportunities.
How much can you earn: $50 – $200 per article (usually much more because you will establish a long-term relationship)
Real-world example: I was working as a content manager in an online media agency. We signed up a new client who wanted all the content by yesterday. We had to start hiring writers as soon as possible – even if their skills or dependability were not up to par with our expectations. We have to save our skins and smooth out the waters later.
25. Get cash by showing display ads on your blog
This is one of the best and most passive ways in which you can supply your bank account with a steady stream of income.
As a beginner, you can start with Google AdSense. That’s how most bloggers earn their first few dollars online.
But as your traffic and prominence grow, you can sign up with specialized advertising platforms like:
- Ezoic (you need 10,000 sessions per month to apply),
- MediaVine (you need 25,000 sessions),
- AdThrive (you need 100,000 sessions).
These platforms will enable you to achieve a higher EPMV (rate per 1000 views).
The more profitable your niche, the more you can earn.
How much can you earn: $6 – $25 per 1000 views.
Real-world example: On my blog, I’m using an advertising platform called Ezoic. It uses machine learning algorithms to test ad placements in different spots. It’s all automatic, and over the last few months, my earnings per 1000 views grew a lot. Now my EPMV is at $9.5, so I happily earn around $300 a month on autopilot.
26. Earn money by becoming a transcriptionist
This is a tough gig, but if you work for the right company, you can earn $30-$40 per hour.
Transcription is important for podcasters, interviewers, journalists, legal professionals, and doctors.
You can do it up to three times faster if you use
I use Nuance Dragon for
You can use the same type of software to earn more per hour as a transcriptionist.
You listen on your headphones and then speak to the microphone to transform speech to text.
It might not be the most exciting gig in the world, but it’s a surefire way to earn a few extra bucks as a freelance writer.
How much can you earn: $10 – $40 per hour
Real-world example: If you visit a freelancing platform like Upwork, you can find dozens of opportunities that pay $10-$40 per hour. All you need to do is to check and see if there are any exciting projects to work on. I was once a podcast transcriptionist, and I’ve learned a lot in the process.
27. Offer your proofreading and editing services
As a writer, you have 90% of the skills necessary to also work as a proofreader or an editor.
This is a perfect side gig for writers, because it’s not so demanding, and you’re helping other writers become better.
As an editor, you give direction to the writing project and make sure that it’s coherent and written well.
As a proofreader, you’re in constant search for the missing commas or misspelled words.
How much can you earn: $20 – $50 per hour
Real-world example: Among other things, I do freelance editing and proofreading. New articles land in my inbox and my job is to fix them and then forward them to a content manager. As an example, for editing and proofreading a short article, I get $14. I can easily do two or three jobs like this per hour, and this amounts to quite a decent hourly rte.
28. Set your rates higher as a writer
Many writers think that earn more money, you just need to work more hours.
But a much better approach is to work fewer hours at a higher rate.
If you know that your services are valuable, you should have no qualms about raising your rate.
For example, if you write an SEO-optimized article that you know will earn your client hundreds of dollars, you should be comfortable asking for a higher price per gig.
The same goes for copywriting. If you know that your sales letter is likely to produce $50,000 in income for your client, you are in a position to ask $3,000 – $5,000 for the project.
It’s all about understanding the value that you provide. There’s a lot of money circling around. You only need to ask for it, and you might just get it.
How much can you earn: Ultimately you should aim for $200+ per article.
Real-world example: Dan Kennedy, a legendary copywriter, is famous (among other things) for charging $100,000 per project. Best of all, he’s always working on a couple of projects simultaneously. This allows him to earn over $2 million per year through writing. How about this for a paradigm shift?
29. Aim to work with long-term clients
This is crucial if you want to escape the feast and famine cycle that plagues freelance writers.
Yes, it’s great to earn $200 for a one-off gig. But how about, signing a contract for six articles per month $150 each. That’s $900 per month of predictable income, and that’s only one client.
Do you see the potential here?
Another great benefit of long-term work is that you don’t have to spend so much time pitching and marketing your services.
Instead, you can master the requirements of your current clients and grow with them.
How much can you earn: $10,000 – $40,000 per year, per freelance client
Real-world example: Nowadays, 35% of the total workforce consists of freelancers. That’s why, as a freelance writer, you’re not only a gun for hire but an integral part of your client’s organization. I’ve been working with one of my clients for around two years now. In the last 12 months, they sent $8,542 to my bank account.
30. Become a guest post writer for established bloggers
Many well-established bloggers don’t have time to stick to their publishing calendar anymore.
Their businesses may be larger and involve other activities, such as marketing, team building, and strategizing.
But they still want to keep their blog section updated and growing.
That’s why many of them create a “write for us” page, where you can pitch your idea. If it gets accepted, you can get even a few hundred dollars for your efforts.
The only drawback here is that these are mostly one-off gigs. But still, you should take advantage of them if you need some extra cash.
How much can you earn: $50 – $500 per article
Real-world example: Tenderly is a vegan lifestyle publication hosted on Medium. They accept guest posts that are 500-5000 words long, and they pay $200 a pop. That’s only one example. There are hundreds of more websites like this out there.
31. Earn money through sending low-key promotional emails
Your email list is your most profitable marketing asset.
But if you start spamming your subscribers with different types of offers, you’ll lose their trust.
However, if you provide a ton of value upfront, you’re more than welcome to include a pitch in your email marketing sequence.
It’s all about balance and sending your audience precisely what they need at the moment.
It might your educational course or even a straight-up affiliate link to a product or service you recommend.
How much can you earn: $50 – $2000 per transaction, depending on what you sell
Real-world example: Natalie Bacon is a popular lifestyle and successful blogger in the female entrepreneur space. She has a lot of content related to part-time blogging and how she was able to do it when she had a full-time job.
In one of her emails, she recommends hosting company Bluehost as a viable service provider for new bloggers. If you click on the affiliate link and set up your blog with Bluehost, she may earn a cool $100 commission.
32. Boost your income by specializing in a specific niche
You can either be an “I can write about anything” writer or “I specialize in a specific niche” writer.
If you’re the latter type, you are likely to earn more for your efforts.
For example, if you read every new book related to technology, you’re ten times more valuable to a tech blog than a generalist.
You’re also ten times more likely to land a gig than a generalist.
The riches are in the niches baby. So pick one or two profitable ones and stick to them.
How much can you earn: $50 – $250 per article, depending on the niche.
Real-world example: According to PayScale, a medical writer, on average, earns $90,156 per year. That’s much higher than the average annual salary of around $60,000 for writers who don’t specialize.
33. Land more writing gigs by creating a beautiful portfolio
An impressive portfolio is like a magnet for potential clients.
Your prospect has only one question in mind when he or she looks at your profile.
“Can this person write well, and has relevant experience in the type of work I offer?”
You can clear all their doubts, and let them answer “yes,” by creating a portfolio.
Your degree doesn’t matter, your CV and resume might be so-so.
But if your portfolio rocks, you are getting the job.
So treat it as a business card that will get you business.
How much can you earn: It’s hard to put a monetary value on an asset like this. But it can potentially help you make thousands of dollars.
Real-world example: Jennifer Fernandez created a minimalist and super straightforward portfolio that nevertheless creates a positive first impression. She put her work in three different categories (design, travel, lifestyle), and by browsing through them, you can check the best examples of her work.
34. Earn money by writing short stories
Do you specialize in writing short stories or personal essays?
You probably think that it’s impossible to make money with this type of writing.
Nothing further from the truth!
You can earn by entering creative writing contests, submitting your stories to popular websites, applying for grants, or getting your work published is a collection.
Perhaps it’s not the most remunerative strategy on this list. But hey, if you have a Jorge Luis Borges in you, you can give it a try.
How much can you earn: $250 – $2000 per story
Real-world example: A website like Analog pays 8-10 cents per word for short fiction (up to approximately 20,000 words). There are many other websites and online magazines that offer similar rates.
35. Get paid to write for magazines and journals
This is a perfect niche to hone in on if you want to treat writing as a career.
Writing for large and well-established publications such as the New York Times, The Atlantic, or Esquire, is a fantastic opportunity.
It allows you to work on fascinating stories, meet incredible people and help shape history.
To work for a magazine, journal, or a large publishing house, you need at least a couple of years of experience as a writer.
But you also need a certain literary taste, and having read hundreds of books is the price of admission.
How much can you earn: $50,000 – $100,000 per year (depending on your role within the company)
Real-world example: A great example of a thinker who became successful by working with magazines and journals is Christopher Hitchens. He wrote great essays for Vanity Fair, Slate, The Atlantic, The Nation, and many other publications. By working as an independent contributor, he became successful over the years by doing what he was passionate about.
36. Become a master of on-site SEO and content marketing (business writing)
Most writers look at their work in terms of art, communication, and aesthetics.
However, most business people look at writing in terms of return on investment (ROI), content, target audiences, conversion rates, strategic objectives, traffic, and links.
That’s why, if you want to earn money by working with business clients, you need to master the subtle art of on-site SEO.
By focusing on the right keywords, title tags, meta descriptions, vivid imagery, internal and external linking structure, and other nuances, the value of your work increases tremendously.
Once you have this skill down, you stand head and shoulders above writers who don’t (at least in the business writing world).
How much can you earn: $100 – $300 per article, or $60,000 – $100,000 per year
Real-world example: Robbie Richards, built a whole website around the topic of SEO copywriting. He offers writing services and shares marketing tools with his audience. His goal is to attract SaaS (software as a service) companies that want to scale fast and get organic traffic by using search engine optimization. As you can imagine, the services are not cheap, but they bring results so clients are happy to pay.
37. Join popular affiliate marketing platforms like ShareASale, CJAffiliate, or Awin
Affiliate marketing is one of the most underrated ways of earning money as a writer.
It allows you to earn hefty commissions by recommending products and services you already use and love.
Yes, you need an audience, and that’s why you must build a blog and learn how to get organic traffic to it.
But once you have that trust of your audience (and a sizable email list), you can earn a lot.
The best part is that some affiliate programs offer recurring commissions. This means that you have to refer a client to a company once, and then the money will be dripping into your bank account as long as this client stays.
An example of such a program is ConvertKit that pays out 30% in recurring monthly commissions.
To start in the affiliate marketing world, you should set up an account with one of the platforms mentioned above.
How much can you earn: $1 – $2,000 as a single commission, depending on the products you recommend.
Real-world example: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner, the author of makingsenseofcents.com, earns over $100,000 in affiliate commissions per month. She recommends all sorts of products that can help readers save money and have a better financial future. How did she achieve such an astounding success? By focusing on a clear publishing schedule on her blog, providing value upfront, and relentlessly working on SEO.
38. Get in touch with your professional network and ask who needs your services
You must have an active LinkedIn account.
You may also be a part of a variety of business forums, Reddit boards, and private Facebook groups.
Now it’s time to leverage all the relationships you’ve built over the years and ask who needs your help with writing.
This may not even be a huge potential client, but regular people in your professional network who need help with writing cover letters, reports, lengthy blog posts, or even a biography.
You will never know what possibilities are out there unless you ask.
And the truth is that business coming from a referral is the easiest and best business you will ever get.
How much can you earn: $50 for small services to $10,000+ if you land a big opportunity
Real-world example: Carol, from makealivingwriting.com, shares simple tactics on how you can get referrals as a writer. She says the most powerful way to land new business contacts is by following up with the clients you already have. Quite often, they will be happy to introduce you to other prospects who may need your services.
39. Start hiring your own freelance writers to free up your time
This kind of strategy requires you to shift your mindset from a craftsperson to a businessperson.
But managing a team of writers is one of the best ways to make a lot of money as a writer.
You can hire writers at affordable rates, but you have to make sure you know what you’re doing if you want to make a profit on the back end.
Let’s say you run a product review site.
You find an attractive keyword that will bring 300 visitors per month to your site.
The article will have some display ads in it, as well as a few affiliate links to the recommended offer.
If you calculate that within a couple of months, an article like this will generate $50 per month, you should spend $50 – $80 to get this article written for you.
Then you can scale this kind of approach as much as you want, and create your empire based on high-quality writing.
How much can you earn: Potentially, millions of dollars
Real-world example: Arianna Huffington and former AOL executive Kenneth Lerer started Huffington Post in 2005. They hired hundreds of writers throughout the years and built one of the most influential media organizations around the web. They knew exactly how to calculate return on investment from the content they ordered from freelancers.
40. Outsource editing, proofreading, and other tasks to focus on high-income activities
This one is huge if you want to boost your income fast and become more productive.
You only have around 16 hours a day to pursue your dreams and work on your writing business.
That’s why it’s so important to focus only on the crucial tasks that will move the financial needle the most.
These crucial tasks are writing (duh!), prospecting, marketing, building relationships, signing up for new projects, and making yourself more visible in the online world.
The tasks you should outsource are editing, proofreading, formatting, database building, accounting, paperwork, etc.
How much can you earn: This is an expenditure that you can treat as a cost of doing business. However, by avoiding doing a $10 an hour task, you can now focus on doing a $50 an hour task. If you look at it like this, you’re ROI positive with such an arrangement.
Real-world example: I work with two different freelancers I’ve found on Upwork. One of them is helping me to upload and form content in WordPress. The other is taking care of my social media management. This enables me to save lots of time.
41. Create a small empire of niche blogs
This is another approach in which you can use your writing skills to create a small fortune.
You find a profitable niche, gather the best keywords around that niche, and then start a blog and fill it with content.
Then you start introducing ads and affiliate links into your content to generate passive income from your writing.
Sometimes, even 30 to 60 articles are enough to get you started.
You can repeat this process as many times as you want and hire other writers to help you out.
How much can you earn: $3,000 – $5,000 per site per month (if usually takes around 24 months to get one website to this level)
Real-world example: The authors of incomeschool.com specialize in creating niche blogs that become profitable. They first wrote the articles themselves, but now they have a whole team of writers who create content according to strict guidelines. One of their most successful sites is camperreport.com, which makes money through ads and affiliate commissions.
42. Buy an existing website and improve it through your superior writing skills
If besides writing, you also have marketing skills, you can make a lot by flipping websites.
Many webmasters are no longer interested in managing their sites, and they put them up for sale.
This might be an excellent opportunity for you if you know how to take a mediocre website and make it great (again?)
This usually involves optimizing the articles, uploading new ones, and creating tests to maximize conversion rates.
You can buy websites for as little as $1,000 apiece, and work your way up from there.
How much can you earn: $100 – $5,000 per site per month
Real-world example: You can visit a platform like Flippa.com, EmpireFlippers.com, or WebsiteBroker.com and look at the available offers. Buying and refurbishing websites is a business in and of itself. That’s why you have to know what you’re doing and do due diligence before you pull the trigger on any deal. Stacy Caprio from Her.ceo was able to turn buying and selling websites into a full-time business. You can find out more about how she did it here.
43. Write Medium Posts and earn money for each view
Medium is one of the largest content platforms that allow writers to make money.
However, there are no fixed rates per article, like with other sites.
Instead, you submit an article and get paid based on the number of views that your content generates.
That’s why, if you want to maximize your income, you should write something that will stir emotions and make your article go viral.
How much can you earn: $100 – $400 per article (if it becomes popular)
Real-world example: Tom Blake from thisonlineworld.com made over $600 writing for Medium. Of course, it took him a little bit of time to set up his profile and craft the right content for the platform. But ultimately, it was worth it.
44. Become a popular writer on Quora and send the traffic back to your blog
Quora is a potential paradise for consistent writers as it has over 100 million monthly viewers.
In short, this platform allows users to ask questions and answer them. It’s a vast knowledge base about every topic imaginable.
If you’re good at providing answers to popular questions, you can indirectly earn money by referring traffic from your posts to your website.
That’s because Quora allows you to place external links within your answers.
How much can you earn: It’s hard to put a monetary value on this one. It all depends on what you do with the visitors once they go from Quora to your site.
Real-world example: Neil Patel, an online marketing expert, was able to bring 9,872 visitors to his website from Quora within one month. He did it by providing answers to the most popular and trending questions and then placing links back to his site.
45. Develop extra skills that will enable you to earn more
Being a writer is great. But to make more money, you should always strive to develop extra skills.
- Search engine optimization
- Marketing on Pinterest
- Graphic design
- Social media marketing
- Email marketing
- Video marketing
- Social selling
If you can master these skill sets, you will future-proof your career as a writer.
How much can you earn: Tens of thousands of dollars extra
Real-world example: Elna Cain, a popular writer/blogger, is known for producing beautiful graphics. She’s a writer but this one extra skill (along with knowledge of how to market on Pinterest), brought her a lot of extra business.
46. Reach out to local service providers and offer them your services
For some reason, local business owners like to work with local business providers.
Maybe it’s the fact that you can step into their office and have a chat over coffee. Perhaps it’s something else.
But if you create a list of startups and even established businesses within your area, you have a much higher chance of landing a writing gig.
You can go on LinkedIn to see what kind of companies are being formed within your region. Then, start reaching out to editors, marketing people, and content managers and ask if they need writing services.
You might be happily surprised by their replies.
How much can you earn: $100 – $200 per gig, or much more if it’s a long term project
Real-world example: Savannah R, from WriterAccess.com, recommends reaching out to local businesses and offering your writing services. She says it’s all about making the content actionable, providing useful statistics and facts, and being relatable to the small business environment.
47. Write a useful e-book and sell it on your blog
This is a perfect income-earning avenue for writers who have a popular blog.
Instead of publishing your book on Kindle, you can design and sell an ebook on your own platform (i.e., blog).
Now you don’t have to give away 30% of your profit to Amazon, and you can also command much higher prices for the product you sell.
Some of your readers may buy an e-book on the spot, but most likely, you will need to sell it through email marketing.
How much can you earn: $9.99 – $49.99 per ebook sale
Real-world example: The authors of a popular weight loss blog called Avocadu came up with a 21-day mini-course (which is basically a series of ebooks). They sell it for $47 a pop straight on their blog and through an automated email marketing series. Could you do the same in your niche?
48. Get new freelance writing opportunities straight to your inbox
Wouldn’t it be great if you could get fresh freelance writing gigs without having to reach out or check twenty different job boards?
Well, you can.
Various platforms will send you gigs straight to your inbox. All you need to do is to sign up for their email list, and you can get a steady stream of potential jobs every day.
How much can you earn: $50-$200 per gig or much more if you land a long term client.
Real-world example: Here are some of the platforms that will send you email alerts about new writing jobs:
- Let’s Work Remotely
- Authentic Jobs
- Cision Jobs
- Freelance Writing Job Board
- FreelanceWriting.com Morning Coffee Newsletter
Get lucrative writing gigs through referrals and Facebook groups
Did you know there are Facebook groups that are overflowing with money earning opportunities for writers?
Yep, all you need to do is join them, and you will get notifications about new opportunities coming up.
Some of the groups you might want to check out are:
- The Write Life Community
- Freelance to Freedom Project Community
- Creative Freelancers Unite
- Freelance B2B Writers
- Writing Revolters
There are many more groups out there. So seek, and ye shall find.
A few extra success tips on how to boost your income-earning potential as a writer:
Yes, writing is an art, and sometimes it can even be quite a lot of fun. But if you want to earn money with it, you need a mindset change.
Stop treating it like a hobby or a side hustle, and start thinking about it as a full-blown business.
Think in terms of goals, statistics, analytics, target audiences, clients, processes, communications, outsourcing, getting things done faster, and automation.
Read a couple of marketing books and books about blogging. This will help you a lot.
Nowadays, being only a writer is not enough.
The situation is similar in many industries.
Graphic designers now have to be UX designers and web developers as well.
Software designers can’t just code in a single language. They need to go full-stack.
Similarly, as a writer, you need to develop more skills to maximize your earning potential.
Some of the top skills you should focus on (in order of importance):
- Blogging (WordPress)
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Social media marketing
- Video marketing
- Graphic design
All of these skills are potential extra income producers in your toolkit. So take the time to develop them.
People around the world need encouragement to follow their dreams.
You have to be the person who steps up to the plate and says: “here, you can do it, and I will show you how.”
By being a beacon of hope and inspiration, you are far more than a writer. You are a leader.
This puts you in a unique position to inspire people, and when you have something to sell, people will feel guilty if they don’t buy it. That’s because of the considerable value you provided to them upfront.
A thriving email list is the cornerstone of every successful writing-related business.
There are different ways of calculating the average value of an email subscriber, and it’s different in every niche.
But it can be safe to assume that a single email subscriber is worth at least $1 a month.
More importantly, email is the most direct way in which you can reach your target audience.
This is something you can’t put a monetary value on.
In many business writing scenarios, you are a gun for hire.
This means that the faster you can complete your assignments, the more income potential you will have.
That’s why you should always look for ways to boost your productivity and get more writing done.
A person who writes 3000 words a day earns more than a person who writes 1000 words a day.
This is the law of averages in its purest form. The more you swing, the higher the chances of hitting a home run.
So think about it, how can you write more, faster, and better?
Use the best tools for writing and editing
Using top tools and developing efficient processes is crucial for earning a lot as a writer.
In short, you need to create a stack of 10 to 20 tools that you will incorporate into your writing process.
By creating efficiencies, you will save a ton of time, which in turn will let you boost your hourly rate.
Are you ready to earn some good money, scribbler?
Making a full-time income out of something you love to do is a blessing.
Being a productive writer gives you a lot of freedom. Perhaps you won’t become a millionaire doing it (who knows), but you will have a more exciting life and more free time than a corporate drone.
Another great thing with writing is that you can do it in the comfort of your own home, or in any place that is most conducive for you to be creative. And even if you are wheelchair-bound for whatever cause, as long as your mind is nimble and your story-telling skill is topnotch, you can make your mark as a writer.
Of course, it doesn’t mean that you won’t have to work like crazy for the first few years. But the magic always sits in the process, not in the result, so enjoy your journey.
I hope that by reading this article, you’ve gathered valuable insights about how to make more money as a writer, even if you’re a beginner.
How did you like this article? Would you add anything to the list? Please feel free to leave a comment below.
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