How much do freelance writers make?


How much do freelance writers make?

That’s one of those “how long is a piece of string” type questions where the real answer depends on a few variables.

How many hours a week are you prepared to work? How aggressively are you going to market yourself? What kind of work are you prepared to do?

And of course, how much are you going to charge!

I thought it might be interesting to look at it from a different angle – that of a potential client.

How are you basing your pricing right now? Best guess, what someone has told you, something you read somewhere? If you’re working on job sites like Upwork, your fee is pretty much cast in stone – or is it? Try pushing your price up and see what happens, you may be surprised, I was.

I digress.

So, what are clients’ expectations when they retain you to write for them? That’s another tricky one. That said, I found this infographic, AIMED AT CLIENTS, that attempts to set out some kind framework – take a look.

how much do freelance writers make

Is it Accurate?


To be fair, I think the infographic gives a reasonable representation of what to expect.

I do take issue with how writers are classified i.e. beginner, intermediate, pro and expert, based mainly on how many years you’ve been writing. How long you’ve been writing has little to do with ability.

In my experience, you can get to pro level for certain types of writing in months, if you apply yourself and are prepared to learn. You definitely don’t have to wait over 5 years – I didn’t!

Nothing is ever going to be 100% on the money for every situation, and you’ll need to use a degree of judgment when it comes to pricing. What I DO like is that the infographic sets clients’ expectations as high as $2 per word – nice!

So, how much do freelance writers make?

Coming back to our original question, how much do freelance writers make, here’s my summary of the variables:

Experience – not so much, you can learn quickly
Ability – yes, you need to be able to string words together
Type of work – yes
Scope of project – yes

Type of client (beginning entrepreneur vs. large, well-funded corporate) – yes
How aggressively you market yourself – yes, until you have too many clients
How many hours you work – yes
Ultimately how much you earn depends largely on how much you ask for.

And THAT comment is not as throwaway as it might seem at first pass…

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This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Amer Azmi

    Honestly this is new to me. Few months ago, I’ve checking up the freelance job at Freelancer. The pays is kinda huge but I don’t really know about it since I’m just getting started. But, it seem no one needs me so I start blogging on my own. After read this article, I got clear view on the payment that I’ll obtain for my beginner level. It seems I need to increase my ability and experience first before getting more money on freelance.

    Thanks for this article. By the way, do you know what are other freelance site such as Freelancer and Upwork? I would like to do some sneak peak on the freelance sites. Who knows I might make some money there. hehe…

    1. Les Blythe

      Hi Amer, I think what you are asking me is how much you can expect to earn on freelance sites such as Freelancer and Upwork. That will depend on a couple of things:

      • The niche you’re in.
      • The experience or ability you can show your potential client.
      • Possibly your portfolio and your client testimonials.

      It’s also important to convince a potential client you’ll deliver on your promises, with top-quality work and as few hassles for them as possible.

      I started out writing 1300 word (boring) articles for $40, I can now ask up to $125 /hr.

      Its just a question of sticking to it and building up your rates over time.

      Hope that helps…

  2. Brian

    Wow, I have always wondered what the potential is for freelance writers to make and your article definitely helps answer that question for me. I’ve touched the world of freelance writing in the past just to see what it’s like. I did like it at the time, but sometimes fear and doubt creep in causing me to think that the content I write won’t be good enough for the clients, but I have to remember that I can always work at it until it meets whatever it is a particular client wants. I also need to market myself better especially like at places such as Fiverr and Upwork. Have you used Upwork a lot in the past for being a freelance writer?

    1. Les Blythe

      Hi Brian, yes I use Upwork a lot at this time and have done so since 2015. Here’s a link to my Upwork profile for you to check out:

      Upwork can be an amazing source of income if you approach it in the right way.

      My first piece of advice is to get control of your FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt). We all start somewhere. Look at my profile now – it had nothing on it when I started, no 5* reviews – nothing.

      You can and will get there if you’re persistent.

      To give you a real example of the type of money you can make – I applied for a job last week to re-write a website’s content – my fee $2,500 – we’re negotiating.

      Last week, I quoted a Danish client I work with on Upwork to help them develop an updated employee handbook = 30hrs @$95 /ho or $2850 – confirmed this morning.

      I not trying to be boastful here, not at all, I’m just pointing out what could be YOUR reality if you work hard and build your rep just as I did.

      All the very best – and good luck!

  3. Carmen

    HI Les

    You have really made it easy for anyone who is looking to start freelancing to get started, there is so much valuable information for a newbie starting out. If I want to start with no experience at all  how do I know what to write about? where do I find interesting topics to write about? Does your content get rated before you are paid or do you just get paid for what you write regardless if it is good or not? 

    Thank you 


    1. Les Blythe

      Hi Carmen and thanks for your interesting questions. Let me try to answer them one at a time:

      Q. How do you know what to write about?

      A. Decide first of all what niche you want to work in. What do you know about, what are you passionate about, is there a demand for your kind of writing?

      Q. Where do I find interesting topics to write about?

      A. Check out some freelancing sites to work out what type of writing is in demand (assuming you want to write for profit). There is always a demand for website copy, sales copy and landing pages (for example).

      Q. Does your content get rated before you are paid or do you just get paid for what you write regardless if it is good or not? 

      A. If you’re working on Upwork (for example), your content gets rated when the work is finished and the payment follows several days later if the client is happy. If your content is not good, the client will usually give you the chance to put it right, however, if you disagree there is a disputes procedure in place.

      I just wanted to mention that you shouldn’t even consider being paid if your content is not good. You should ALWAYS deliver outstanding content if you want to build a solid reputation and income stream.

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