So you want to make money with writing huh?
The good news is you don’t have be JK Rowling or Shakespeare to do so. In this post, I’ll share with you how you can start a real business and make money writing.
I’m not going to BS you with 100+ ways you can make money writing. I’ve looked through some of those lists and the chances of you actually making real money with those methods are slim to none.
I want you to start a real business with writing and have tens of high paying clients, so you won’t have to deal with the headaches that come with penny pinching for clients.
How I started making money with writing
I still remember when I frantically decided to drop out of college in my 3rd year after I knew I wasn’t trying to get a corporate job after college.
I couldn’t accept the fact that I’d have the same salary when I was 30 in comparison to when I was 22. I know, first world problems, but I knew that wasn’t my path.
I started looking up how to make money online and came across freelance writing. I knew I was a pretty good writer, so freelance writing couldn’t be that hard.
I started cold emailing some companies and did some work for free to start building up my portfolio.
After some bad experiences (a few clients bailed on me), I finally got paid for my first freelance writing job. I still have the invoice in my PayPal.
I did a one page (500 word) assignment for a client for $95.
I knew if I could do one of these assignments each day, I’d have close to $3,000 per month and I wouldn’t have to work a job.
Fast forward two years later, I’m a full-time freelance writer with a lot of clients. I can work anywhere in the world and choose my hours.
Although this sounds all dandy, I had to deal with a lot of bad experiences before I got to this point. I’m just trying to show you that writing is a business, just like any other business.
You get out what you put in. Although writing for a living isn’t easy work, I’d rather do that than work a 9 to 5 any day of the week.
Let me show you exactly how to make money by writing in the short and long term.
How I made $5,527.61+ this month from writing
This is a screenshot from my PayPal at the time of writing this blog (April 23, 2021). As you can see, I’ve sent over $5,500 worth of invoices in this month alone. There’s still a week left in the month and I’m going to send two more invoices. My total for this month will be close to $7,000.
You can take this as one of two ways:
- See that making money by writing is possible
- Or make an excuse for yourself, so you don’t feel like you have to do any work
Let me break down exactly how I made this much money this month.
I have roughly $2,500-$3,000 worth of work each month that are for retainer clients. This means I do blogs or other content work for them each month and they pay me a certain amount of money.
The rest of the money I made was from projects. I had some previous clients and some new clients reach out to me about working on big projects.
On average, I can make close to $3,500-$4,000 each month without big projects.
Now that you’ve seen it’s possible to make money by writing, how can you do it? Let’s get into the details below.
When I first started freelance writing, I took some courses and read a ton of blogs trying to figure out how people were making money by writing.
I’ll save you the time and headache of figuring this out. The answer is cold emailing.
Cold emailing is basically reaching out to someone you don’t know and introducing yourself and your business.
Do not apply to jobs or platforms like Upwork. This helps employers not you. Why would a client pick you if they have hundreds of other writers that will work for pennies? It doesn’t make any sense.
When you cold email, you have a 1 to 1 connection with a possible client. This allows you to set your rate, communicate with them easily and avoid competition from other writers.
This is where I’m different from many freelance writers. I use software to find the right emails of the clients I’m trying to reach.
Once the software I use finds the emails I need, I start sending hundreds of emails each day.
Out of those hundreds of prospects, a few will be interested and maybe 1-2 can be possible clients. I guarantee you if you send a thousand emails, you will at least have a few interested clients and some clients that can become customers.
Managing your time
I’m a firm believer in the 80/20 rule (Pareto principle). This means 80% of your results are driven by 20% of your actions.
As a new writer, your focus shouldn’t be on making a website or looking pretty, most of your time should be spent cold emailing clients to get jobs.
Find a way to find emails of clients (use a software tool) and send emails. Keep doing this again and again until you land your first client and so on.
Let me give you some insight into my schedule:
- 6 hours: sending emails, replying to clients, finding emails
- 2 hours: writing content for clients
This is very counterintuitive for most freelance writers. They think if they do work for a client, more work will magically appear.
Your main job as a freelance writer is finding good clients. Once you have a lot of them, you will never run out of work.
It’s been roughly 1 month and a half since I’ve sent my last cold email. Why? Because I have about 10-15 good clients that are always reaching out to me for work.
Once that slows down, guess what I’ll do? Go right back to cold emailing to get more clients.
Cold emailing gives you the abundance mindset you need to avoid bad clients and work you dislike.
As much as I love freelance writing, it can be a feast or famine type business. Unless you have a large pool of clients, one month can be your best month and the next month can be your worst.
I learned this first hand when the pandemic occurred. I was about a year into my freelance writing business and I was making about $3,000 per month. Suddenly, all of my clients had their budgets reduced dramatically or stopped working with me.
Even though I was working hard by sending cold emails, I was struggling to get by. That’s when I knew I needed a second source of income with writing. I scoured through YouTube and Google and came across how people make money blogging.
Although I was writing for clients, I never asked myself how do they make enough money to pay me?
Blogging answered all of those questions. Let me break down blogging in a few sentences for you:
- Create content
- Get traffic
- Monetize traffic
It’s that simple. Simple? Yes. Easy? No.
Creating content is the first step to making money with blogging. Without an actual blog post, you won’t have the opportunity to make money.
When you create a blog post (like this one), you don’t make money immediately.
In fact, it takes close to 9 months for this blog post to start getting a lot of traffic from Google. You’ll need to publish a lot of blog posts to start making serious money.
The first step is always creating helpful content and the traffic will come.
Getting traffic is one of the most important parts of growing your blog. Without traffic, you can’t make money from your blog.
Here’s how traffic works with blogging. You can either bring traffic organically from search engines like Google or you can bring traffic from other sources like Pinterest, YouTube, Facebook, etc.
In my blog, I’m doing mostly organic search traffic. This means instead of writing about my interests and what I ate for breakfast, I’ll write about what people are actually searching for.
For example, in this blog post, I’m targeting people searching for “how to make money by writing”. This is a topic I’m very knowledgeable on and I used a tool called Ahrefs to help make sure I rank for it.
A tool like Ahrefs will give you an estimate of how many people are searching for a particular topic. Instead of guessing what people are searching for, you can use tools like Ahrefs to get a calculated estimate and drive some traffic to your blog post.
Once your blog has a lot of posts and it has aged, you will start bringing in organic traffic to your site.
You can accelerate traffic to your site by using Pinterest and other platforms. I’ve seen tons of bloggers who have the majority of their traffic from Pinterest.
Now that you’ve done all the hard work of writing blog posts and bringing traffic to your site, you should be rolling in money right? Yes, if you monetize your site well.
Can I start making money right now with my blog? Sure, but it’s not the best use of my time. It’d be pennies. Once you have real traffic (10,000 page views per month or more), your monetization efforts will make an impact.
The great thing about blogging is that it compounds. The work I’m doing today will make me money for years to come. Since there’s a lot of ways to make money with blogging, your blog income can see an exponential increase when your blog starts to get traffic.
Some ways to monetize your blog include:
When your blog gets enough traffic, you can be eligible to join an ad network. These networks will pay you money to display ads on your blog.
The more visitors you have, the more money you will be paid. Once your blog starts bringing in over 50,000 visitors each month, you can easily start making over $1,000 just from ads each month.
Affiliate revenue is one of the best ways to make money with blogging. Affiliate revenue is basically when you leave links in your blog and you get paid a commission if someone purchases something with your link.
It may seem like it’s meaningless, but if you have hundreds of blog posts with a lot of affiliate links, those links will keep making you thousands of dollars each month. Check out these bloggers that make over $25,000 each month with affiliate marketing.
Courses and your own products can be the best way to make money with blogging. It’s honestly one of the very few passive ways to make money.
Let’s say you have an audience of 100,000 visitors each month (very doable if you blog for a few years). For your first product, you launch a short $20 ebook on how to make money writing for example. If you can get 1% of your traffic to become your customers (1,000 people), your ebook can make you $20,000.
You will continuously keep making sales from creating a course or product one time.
Sponsorships are another great way to monetize your blog. If you’ve written in a particular niche for a while, you’ll be seen as an expert.
Companies will start reaching out to you and offer to pay you to write about their company or product. Depending on your traffic, you can demand lucrative prices. Check out this blogger who makes over $3,000 per month from sponsorships alone.
If you want to learn how to make money by writing, you need to treat writing as a business and not a side hustle/hobby.
The truth is that you need to focus on the few actions that will make you money:
- cold emailing
- writing for clients
- writing for yourself
If you can keep doing this over the span of a few years, you will maximize your chances of success dramatically. Doing freelance writing along with blogging is probably the best way to maximize the money you will make.