Side Hustle Series: Freelance Writing

Side hustles are a great way to earn some extra cash to help you speed up your path to financial independence (FI). We’ve shared a list of great side hustle ideas here, but we wanted to feature some particular side hustle stories to inspire you to earn some extra cash, too.

Today, we’re delving into the freelance writing side hustle. This side hustle is particularly popular among bloggers, but anyone can be a freelance writer. Today, I’ll share my story about how I got started with my freelance writing side hustle and what it’s turned into.

How I got started freelance writing

Freelance writing wasn’t my first side hustle. My first major side hustle was actually personal finance blogging. However, without starting my personal finance blog, there is no way I’d be a freelance writer today.

My freelance writing side hustle was a complete accident. One day, an editor at a corporate blog happened to visit my personal finance blog. She liked what she saw and sent me an email to see if I would write for their blog for pay.

I had seen other bloggers freelance write for other blogs besides their own, but I never understood why. However, when I was offered $60 per blog post to write for the corporate blog, I finally understood. Freelance writing paid good money and it was a way to diversify my side hustle income.

I said yes and started writing for the corporate blog on a weekly basis. Eventually, other corporate blogs and personal blogs started reaching out to me to see if I’d be interested in writing for them, too. While I never intended to be a freelance writer, I wasn’t one to turn down some extra side hustle income, either.

How I’ve grown my freelance writing business

Over the months and years after I landed my first freelance writing client, clients have come and gone. In the beginning, I only accepted freelance writing proposals when people asked me to write for them. After all, I wasn’t looking to be a freelance writer. I wanted to be a full-time blogger. However, as I got serious about diversifying my income, I started looking for new freelance writing positions.

In late 2015, I decided to quit my day job to become a full-time blogger and freelance writer. I realized having regular income was super important, so I actively looked for a couple of new freelance writing clients. At the time, most of my clients provided regular work on a weekly basis, so it was a great way to earn a somewhat stable income while I built my blog.

In addition to using my network to look for new work, I met with some companies looking for freelance writers in person at FinCon, a conference for financial media and bloggers. FinCon has easily been the best thing for my freelance writing business. When you meet people in person, it’s much easier to land a new gig. Thankfully, several of the potential clients I met with at FinCon have turned into regular freelance writing clients.

In the last few years, I’ve had some clients shut their blogs down which left me scrambling to pick up new work. Other times, editors have left and the freelance writers that worked for them, which included me, weren’t retained. Thankfully, there always seems to be plenty of companies looking to hire freelance writers that allow me to replace the clients that leave.

As time went on, I became a more experienced writer and my rates have increased, too. I now earn much more than $60 per article. In fact, I’ve made over $1,000 per article for some of my longer and more detailed assignments.

In total, I earn thousands of dollar each month from freelance writing. While the number varies each month depending on my clients’ needs, I earned over $5,000 from freelance writing just the other month for the first time. Add that plus my blogging income, and it’s clear to see that my side hustles have turned into a full-time career.

Personally, I feel like freelance writing is a great side hustle. You can typically write whenever you please as long as you meet your deadlines. When I was working full-time, I wrote in the evenings and on the weekends. Now, I take advantage of the flexibility freelance writing offers. I can take a day off during the week to spend time with my family if I want. However, I might have to write in the evenings on other days to catch up. The key is I get to choose when I work.

How can you become a freelance writer?

Freelance writing isn’t the easiest side hustle to break into. When you’re first starting out, you may have to write for free to get your name out there and build a portfolio. Some people write for others by offering free guest posts, but you can start a blog and make that your portfolio, too.

Over time, you’ll be able to start charging for your writing and you can increase your rates as your writing improves. Like many careers, you’ll make more money in some fields than other fields. Writing about personal finance pays pretty well, but writing about other subjects isn’t always as lucrative.

If you do decide to try your hand at freelance writing, it’s important you take your side hustle seriously. Your clients will depend on you to submit quality work. Never plagiarize. Always meet your deadline.

You’ll also want to make sure you communicate clearly with your clients. If something comes up that could put you in danger of missing a deadline, let them know as early as possible so they can prepare.

Make sure you update your LinkedIn profile to show that you’re a freelance writer for hire to get some free visibility. You can also build a portfolio on Contently. Once you choose a specific niche, consider attending conferences where potential clients attend. Meeting people face to face is the best way to make sure they’ll open your email when you have a great idea to pitch them.

Final thoughts

Like with any side hustle, the key to starting a freelance writing side hustle is to simply get started. Start a blog. Write a free guest post for a blogger to start your portfolio.

Take action! In a few years, you might be a full-time freelance writer just like I am.

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Side Hustle Series: Freelance Writing

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