What you need to know about freelance writing careers

Considering freelance writing as a full time job versus a part time hobby? This guide will help you understand what you need to be a success as a full time freelance writer. There are so many misconceptions and tall tales about freelance writing, so this is from one person’s experience and point of view. You CAN do this!

For New Freelancers

Where do I start

There are countless opportunities that we are offered as freelance writers. Earning money from freelance writing means that you can elect to work strictly on paid-to-write sites, you can try to build up a client base, or you can use a combination of both. There are positives and negatives to both, and what works for one person may not work so well for you.

This practical and sensible look at freelancing for new freelancers can help you get started and learn about some of the options available to you.

What you need to consider as a Freelancer

Getting paid

Freelance writing rates are a bone of contention for many. You can check out any marketplace and inevitably you are going to see someone complaining about how much they are making.

While it is important to be realistic about how much you can charge, it is equally important that you receive a fair rate for your freelance writing work. Freelance writing rates vary widely depending on a number of factors including difficulty, length of assignment and other criteria. Learn about how to make sure that you are paid and paid fairly.

Freelancing Tax Considerations

Tax Bill

One of the most ignored aspects of freelance writing is the potential tax consequences. While it may seem like a pretty cut and dried portion of running a business, all too often freelance writers who started off freelance writing as a hobby often overlook the tax consequences of changing over to a full time freelance business.

Failure to file proper tax papers, failure to report income accurately and not knowing your potential deductions can have a devastating impact on your freelance writing business. Do not let the tax considerations of a freelance writing business go un-checked or you could find yourself dealing with IRS audits or even worse.

Goal Setting for Freelancers

Goal setting

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges that face those that are unemployed is setting goals for themselves. It is simple to set goals, but what happens when you do not meet them? Sadly the answer to this is that all too often, we let our better judgment get clouded and give up. Goal setting has to be realistic and it has to be flexible. We can only better ourselves by setting goals that require us to reach deep inside ourselves to attain them.

Goal setting for freelance writers generally mean that you have to set earnings (and writing) goals, not all of which will be met. Setting up goals requires setting up a plan and doing your level best to attain those goals. It also means understanding when it is time to review your goals and modify them as needed. Do not set yourself up for failure by not setting goals realistically, you will only disappoint yourself.

Freelance Cover Letters

Cover letters matter

All too often, freelance writers think that they can land an assignment by simply bidding for it (or simply submitting a sample of their writing). In fact, a cover letter for freelance writers is as important as it would be in any industry.

Freelance cover letters can not only help you address specifics about a freelance writing opportunity, but they also allow you to explain and clarify your rates, experience and what you can offer that another writer cannot offer.

Even if you are not submitting a traditional resume, a cover letter can often make the difference between you landing an assignment and not landing one. Some paid to write sites also require that you submit a cover letter along with your writing samples. Understanding the mechanics of a freelance writing cover letter can help you find more success in your freelance writing career.

Freelancing Negotiations and Contracts

Win Win situations

Negotiating freelance writing rates and freelance writing contracts can be intimidating as well as nerve wracking. It is not easy to negotiate with a client when you stop and consider that you are actually working at odds with each other.

People always say “huh?” when they see this statement but stop and think about it. Both you and the client are in business to make money. You are both interested in your bottom line. Your bottom line means making more money while the bottom line of your client is saving money. Now you can see why you are at odds with each other!

Freelancing negotiations do not have to be tension filled. Understanding what you need to do to negotiate a good contract is the first step and making it a win/win for you and for your client is the end goal. Keeping that in mind will help a great deal during negotiations.

Do not overlook the importance of understanding the entire agreement between you and a client. Knowing if your contract with them will be a “one of” job or an ongoing job is as important to negotiations as anything else. Understanding the upsides and downsides of short and long term contracts will also help you determine the ramifications of both. Remember the bottom line at all times, negotiations should produce a win/win.

Freelance billing challenges

Invoicing Matters

One of the most annoying and frustrating things that you might have to do as a freelancer is handle your own billing (unless you hire someone to do it for you). At some time or another you may be stiffed by a client, but the bottom line is that you still have to send out invoices and you have to keep track of those invoices you send.

There are a number of ways to overcome freelance billing challenges – you can send them out one at a time, you can send them out as you complete assignments or as stated earlier, you can hire someone to do them for you. Regardless of what you elect to do, you still need to understand the billing challenges of freelancing.

Controlling your business growth and turning down work

Challenges of growth

Fortunately, freelance writers can control their work to some degree. There may be assignments that do nothing at all for you on a personal or professional level. Freelance writers need to know when to say no to work, regardless of what it may cost them financially. Finances should not dictate whether you accept an assignment or not; basing your acceptance or rejection of an assignment based on monetary considerations may result in you getting discouraged.

There are several ways that you can grow your freelance writing business without accepting assignments that you are uncomfortable with. Much of your business growth will come from marketing your freelance writing business and that will fall almost entirely to you, even though you may get some word of mouth business. Learning about potential marketing options is a great step forward in growing your freelance writing business.

Freelancing income options

Ongoing income stream
One of the things that is so often overlooked when you are a freelance writer are some of the options that are available to you to earn money. This section of posts all cover various options for added income. None of these are get rich quick schemes, all of them require work and all of them do work.

There is no need for further elaboration as these posts speak for themselves. They each offer insight into the various writing sites and what you can accomplish on them. This is by no means a comprehensive list but these are sites that I’ve tried and tested.


If you have survived this long thank you! I realize this is a lot of information but hopefully you have found some value in it!

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About Doreen Martel

Well-rounded freelance writer who contributes to various blogs, paid to write sites and revenue sharing sites. Doreen is legally blind and has worked at home for more than 10 years. She uses the lessons learned from this experience to enhance her writing and share information with others.

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