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How I Made $6,329 in one month from freelance writing

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Yes, I did make over $6,000 freelance writing in one month. Honestly, I don’t feel like a huge sense of accomplishment or anything. It’s been a very slow grind since I started freelance writing just over 2 years ago.

I’m very happy with seeing that amount coming into my bank account because it’s the most money I’ve ever made in a month. With the marketing and writing skills I’ve learned from freelance writing, I can continue making this kind of income and work from anywhere in the world.

How I got into freelance writing

I’m not the typical writer who’s obsessed with writing, grammar, etc. I got into freelance writing to escape getting a 9 to 5 job.

The one time I had experience actually showing up to an office job was for a summer internship. I had to show at 8 AM and leave at 4 PM. The work was draining and it gave me insight on what it’s like working a 9 to 5. All of my other jobs have been night work or jobs with odd hours.

It was a huge wake up call for me because I knew I couldn’t live like this. I know these are first world problems, but it’s not about the hours, it’s about what I’m actually working on.

If I’m working on a project I’m remotely interested in, I can easily put in extra hours with no complaints. The part that bothered me was knowing how much effort I put in and my income being the same unless I get a promotion.

I slowly started to realize I’m not going to get a 9 to 5 job or graduate college. I had about a year and a half until I graduated, so I felt I can start a side hustle and grow it to $4-5k per month by the time I graduated college.

I started looking at all the ways to make money online. I tried a dozen random things and made no money and I was super frustrated.

I then came across a few articles of people saying they make money full-time from freelance writing. I figured it couldn’t be that hard and I can make at least a few hundred dollars.

Landing my first client

I’m a very rational person. Although these freelance writers were saying they made this much money, I knew the actual process is simple. After some trial and error and applying to dozens of jobs for writers (please don’t do this), I learned the best way to find clients is to send them an email.

This process is called cold emailing. Cold email basically means you’re sending an email to someone who doesn’t know you.

I started to use an email finder tool called Hunter.io and started to cold email a bunch of companies. After a few thousand (yes thousand) emails, I had some interested clients that I did work for. I was sending emails basically 6-8 hours a day.

On April 14, 2019, I got my first payment as a freelance writer

How I earned over $6,000 in one month

One thing I want to emphasize regarding how I earned over 6k in a month is the importance of constant self improvement.

Even when things were going wrong in my freelance writing business, I asked what can I do to get more and better.

The single most important factor in me scaling my business to over $6,000 per month was using a tool called Seamless.ai. Seamless.ai is an email finder on steroids basically.

I was using Hunter.io for years. I sent over 100,000 emails in a single year using that tool. I did find some success, but a lot of the emails I found using Hunter.io were not super accurate. Keep in mind, I was sending 200-300 emails per day for more than a year.

When I transitioned to Seamless.ai in January, I started to get a lot more replies from people I was emailing and this helped me get more customers.

Seamless.ai is not the only reason why I made this much in a month. I still had to do all the real work like communicating with clients, doing the writing and edits, etc. It did make getting new clients much easier though.

Here’s a breakdown of how I made $6,239 this month:

 

The “sent” ones are paid via direct deposit

I didn’t include roughly $2,000 that was rolled over to next month’s invoices, but this is basically how I earned it:

  • $1,260 for 10 articles for a new client
  • $1,500 for 5 web pages for a regular client
  • $1,750 for 7 lengthy blogs for a regular client
  • $191.52 for edits for a new client
  • $800 for email copywriting for new client
  • $617.61 for blogs for regular client
  • Roughly $2,000 in unpaid work for new client

Altogether I did about 25-30 blog posts along with email writing. Although this may seem like a lot of work, it’s only 1-2 blogs per day.

This leads me into talking about the importance of setting rates.

How much should you charge for a 500 word article?

You should never charge less than $75/500 words. I don’t care who you are or how much of a beginner you are. Talk to the client, state your price and leave it at that.

When I started off I did 5-10 projects for free to build my portfolio. Once I did that, I never accepted anything less than $75/500 words. Now, I have a lot more experience, so my rate is much higher.

The example of how I earned that money in a month should show you how important it is to set rates. When you’re starting off as a new freelance writer it’s easy to low ball yourself.

I promise you the cheap clients are 10 times more troublesome to deal with than the high paying clients. For my 3 biggest payments this month ($1260, $1,500, $1,750), all 3 of those clients are the easiest clients I work with.

They communicate quickly and they also pay quickly. This is because they actually value the work that you do. If you sell yourself short, the client will question why they are working with you.

Let’s do some simple math:

How much do you need to make a full-time income with freelance writing? I’m guessing about $4-5k is enough for most new writers.

Take 30 days in a month and divide that by $4,000.  4000/30=133.33. You need to make $133 per day to get $4,000 per month.

I would recommend setting your rate at $100 per blog post. This is pretty reasonable if you have some experience and you can easily do 1-2 blog posts per day if you have enough clients. That’s basically my approach right now, I was writing 2 blog posts on average this month to get this income.

What does a freelance writer do?

OK, now that you have a good idea of how making money with freelance writing works, what do you actually do to make the money?

Let me break it down simply, these are the types of work freelance writers do:

  • Blogs: Blogs are just short to medium length writings on a topic of a client’s choosing.
  • Case studies: Case studies are in-depth writings that freelance writers do on a specific business case for a client. These often pay a lot more than blogs and other types of work
  • Email copywriting: Email copywriting is basically writing for the email list of a client. Freelance writers do the subject lines, the email text and more for email clients.
  • Projects: Projects happen when a client asks you to do a lot of content for them. This can be like writing an ebook, doing a ton of blogs, etc.

The vast, vast majority of all the work I’ve ever done is blog related content. Can I choose to do other types of content? Yes, but it’s not nearly as rewarding as blog posts.

When you focus on blogs, you open up the opportunity for doing monthly work. With monthly work, you can agree with a client on a number of blogs per month and they will pay you.

My longest standing client today is a client that pays me $200 per month for 2 blogs. I’ve done blogs for them for over a year and a half. It’s basically on autopilot now.

These are the type of clients that will pay your bills. The other one-time work is cool, but these clients will pay your “salary”.

Besides the recurring monthly work, projects are the best type of work. Projects are basically large amounts of content that a client asks you to do when they change sites or are launching some type of product.

I did two of these projects this month for a client that was rebranding their site. They ordered 20 blogs from me to do the rebrand.

If you can get a steady stream of monthly blog work and a few projects here and there, you’re going to do very well as a freelance writer.

Can you do freelance writing with no experience?

The answer is yes, but you cannot act like it. No one wants to hire someone who’s inexperienced and that works the same with freelance writing.

If a client can sense you’re inexperienced, they will not work with you or they will treat you poorly.

This is where the saying “fake it till you make it” helps. When starting out, it’s very easy to feel imposter syndrome and feel like you shouldn’t be doing this.

The only solution to this is to actually get more experience.

If I were to start off today as a brand new freelance writer, here’s what I’d do:

Get 5-10 blogs for my portfolio.

When you start off as a new freelance writer, one of the first things you should do is pick a focus. Mine was and still is IT/tech writing.

Once you have a niche, you can target clients in that niche and you can act like an expert and set a good rate. Start by emailing companies in your niche and ask if you can write for their blog for free. One thing smart writers do is to ask for a testimonial for the free blog that they write.

This allows your “free” client to act as a referral for you. Keep reaching out until you write 5-10 blogs for your portfolio.

Email 500 companies

Yes, that’s 500 with two zeros. This might take a week or two weeks depending on how fast you move. Write a simple email introducing yourself and ask if the company is looking for writing help for blogs, case studies, etc.

If you email 500 companies, you will get replies and see how you can improve your pitch. Offer your samples to the client and it will make it much easier for you to close the client.

Hopefully you can close a client and keep redoing this until you get your 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th ,etc.

The great thing is you only need maybe 15-20 clients to make a good living. This is assuming some clients bail on you, no work for a client for a certain month, etc.

Final thoughts

I hope this gave you the inspiration and action plan to get started with freelance writing. It’s definitely not an easy journey or process, but it beats working a day job 10/10 times.

If I were to give my younger self or you advice on how to succeed, I would tell you to do one thing: focus.

I can sum up freelance writing into two sentences:

  • send emails to get clients
  • write for your current clients

That’s it. If you are doing something that’s not directly tied to these two actions, you are simply wasting your time.

It’s simple, but many people quit because they don’t see results quick enough.

This tweet above shows the rise in my income as a freelance writer over the first two years. Imagine I quit after year 1, I would never see the growth and progress I’m seeing now.

There’s no secret. You have to send emails, write for clients and do it repeatedly until you have enough clients to sustain you.

I haven’t actually sent an email  for new work in over 2 months. Why? The clients from old emails are reaching out to me for work and my current workload is more than enough.

Once you establish yourself, you won’t have to do as much outreach to get work.

If you enjoyed this blog, check out this other blog on freelance writing.

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