7 Practical Steps to Help You Make More Money and Increase Your ROI as a Freelance Writer

What’s the best thing about being a freelance writer?

Many successful freelancers would agree that it’s being your own boss: you determine your own schedule so you can wake up whenever you want, make time for your hobbies, and still make good money while at it.  

But your story is despairing.

You hardly sleep thanks to the numerous low-paying gigs you have to complete to break even. Perhaps you have decent work, but you’ve been stuck at some level of income for years.

So, how do you make more money as a freelance writer?

Put on your go-getter attitude and start doing these 7 things to put more money in your pocket:

1. Niche out

Niching out (choosing a specific writing niche) increases your likelihood of attracting profitable clients.

Specializing in a particular field helps you communicate your value and offering more clearly to clients. To top that, you gain expertise, which is a magnet for high-quality clients.

Jennifer Goforth Gregory in her book, The Freelance Content Marketing Writer gives readers the following example of an elevator pitch:

“I own a freelance writing business and specialise in writing about technology. My strength is translating geek to real people. I mainly work with big brands like IBM, Verizon, Samsung, and Adobe…”

Quite impressive, right?

Here are 3 ways you can niche out:

  1. By industry such as finance or healthcare niches (note that it’s okay to  specialise in up to 3 niches if you can nail them all)
  2. By type of content such as copies, blog posts, white papers, and social media ads
  3. By both content type and industry, for example, writing copies for financial businesses.

2. Up your freelance writing hame

To earn better, be better in your field. When you keep improving your content-creation process based on the new information, you’ll provide more value leading to more pay.

Two of the best ways to learn are:

  • Following successful freelance writers or agencies in your niche - Discover the process that successful writers use to create high-performing content. Grab every course, book, or training you can make time for (much better if there’s a certification at the end of it.) Have you come across a scheduled webinar? Don't be left out!
  • Follow blogs that curate the latest news - Sites like Search Engine Land, SEO Roundtable, and SEO Journal cover the latest news in SEO. They are great sites to follow if you’re an SEO freelance writer.

3. Do your math: What is a good freelance writing rate?

How should you set your rates?

The best answer to questions like: “how much should I charge for a 2000-word article?” or “what is a good hourly rate?” is: Do your math.

Here are the two factors to consider when coming up with a freelance writing rate:

  1. Your total costs (time and money)

Here, ROI comes into play.  

Start by listing what your content-creation process looks like, which could include:

  1. Inquiry (time spent with the client determining the project scope) - 1 hour
  2. Contract drafting - 2 hours
  3. Research and content outline - 2 hours
  4. First draft (assume 1000-word article)- 3 hours
  5. Editing/revisions -  2 hours
  6. Creating an invoice - 1 hour

That’s 11 hours you’ve invested in an article. Keep this in mind when setting your freelance rates. Don’t forget to factor in other costs of freelance writing like the cost of WiFi, training courses, and the time spent pitching clients.

b. How much money you want to make per year

Consider all your freelance writing costs when setting your preferred annual income.

Assume you set your annual income at $48K ( $4K per month and $1K per week.) To calculate your freelance writing rates:

  • Set your weekly working hours, say 30 hours.
  • If you take about 10 hours to complete a 1000-word article, you can complete 3 articles or 3000 words in a week
  • Your per word rate will be $1K÷(3×1000words) words which is $0.33 per word (about $330 for a 1000-word article.)
  • Your hourly rate will be ($1K/30hours) $33 per hour

4. Find and attract worthy clients

Plan on how to quit jobs that hurt more than they help. Now it’s time to find rewarding clients.

Here are several ways to find worthwhile clients;

  • Pitch businesses on high-quality job boards

Avoid sites that promote cheap labor such as bidding sites, content mills, and solopreneurs (individuals freelancers.)

You can find bigwig clients on reputable sites including Mediabistro, Journalismjobs.com, Mediagazer, ProBlogger, and Flexjobs.

  • Send cold emails

Working directly with companies helps you make more money as a freelance writer. You can find corporate clients through cold emailing. Go to sites like Crunchbase and Anglelist.co, list startups that could use your services. Find email addresses of decision-makers in those companies and send your pitch.

Some of the basics of sending successful pitches include having a professional email address, avoiding wordiness and grammar errors, and following up multiple times.

  • Promote yourself

How can you promote yourself as a freelance writer?

  • Create a schedule for updating and posting relevant content on all your promotion outlets such as your social media, portfolio page, or website. Having recent posts helps you stand out from other writers
  • Upload a clear profile photo on all your sites. Clients like to see who they’re working with.
  • Be approachable by leaving your full contact details on all your platforms

5. Know when and how to ask for a raise

Before you spend time finding new clients, could you negotiate better rates with your existing clients?

To increase your chances of getting that raise:

  • Wait at least a year when you’ve built a trust relationship with the client.
  • Ask for a 5%- 10% raise. A 50-100% raise may be too much for your client, leading to a quick rejection
  • Justify your request to make it easier for the client to say ‘YES.’ You can talk about how your work has performed overtime or the experience you’ve gained that’s valuable to your client’s business
  • You can ask for a raise without explanations. Ask your client if they can go up the rate a little or do more. Alternatively, suggest a higher rate and ask if your client will be okay with it
  • Get into a contract where your rate goes up by a certain percentage at the start of every year

6. Create alternative sources of income

You can also use your freelance writing skills to create other sources of income to help you make more money. Two common ways to do this are:

  • Starting a blog and monetizing it through several ways including affiliate marketing, selling your products, and hosting ads
  • Creating and selling a book or course if you've gathered some unique knowledge that you know other freelancers will find valuable

7. Collect money for work done

Have you ever sent your invoice and then waited for weeks on end without pay? Knowing how to collect your pay determines if you stay moneyed or broke.

Here are some tips to help you collect your pay easily and on time:

  • Send your invoice early enough to give your client enough time to pay you
  • Include a due date in your invoice
  • If your pay delays, send a friendly email reminder or make a call
  • In desperate cases, reach out to an executive member of the company like the CFO or CEO.

To make the entire invoicing process stress-free, use an invoicing solution with a wealth of features such as multiple payment options, reminders, and payment tracking; that help you take charge of your money.

Start making more money writing today

It’s possible to turn from a desperate writer to a successful freelance writer living your dream life. All you need is a proper strategy and effort.

Start by niching out and keep growing your skills. Secondly, drop low-quality clients for profitable clients. You can also create alternative sources of income using your freelance writing skills.

When you get your work done, remember to use a feature-rich invoicing solution to make it easy to collect all your hard work’s pay.  

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