Freelance writing is one of the highest paying online jobs today.
According to Ziprecruiter, freelance writers can make around $5,082 per month. That translates to $29 an hour.
And to be honest, this is on the lower side. I have been working as a freelance writer for a little over 5 years now, and in many cases, I have made more than that in a year.
But that’s a topic for another day.
Today, I want to show you how to make your first $1,000 as a freelance writer. I will highlight the steps to earn your first $1,000 as a freelance writer and also provide tips and tricks to help you hit your goal in no time.
We’ve already established that you can make a lot of money working as a freelance writer. But the question is, how do you go from zero, or whatever it is you are making, to a $1,000 in a month?
The good news is that it’s possible. I have done it and thousands of other successful writers have done it. And if you were to ask me, making $1,000 isn’t that of a big deal in the online writing realm. Though I know you might find that hard to believe since you are just getting started.
But don’t fret. I’ve got you.
Follow this steps and you’ll be well on your way to earning your first $1,000 as a freelance writer.
Freelance writing is a lucrative field, and is therefore very competitive. You need to demonstrate exceptional writing skills to stand out and secure well-paying gigs. Clients are often inundated with applications, so your ability to write effectively can be the deciding factor in whether you get hired.
But it doesn’t stop at the hiring decision.
Quality writing leads to satisfied clients. And happy clients are more likely to provide repeat business and referrals. This, in turn, can help you build a solid client base and establish a sustainable freelance writing career.
Here is a more in-depth guide on how to develop your writing skills. And if you are completely new and would like to learn to writer, click here to get started.
There’s nothing wrong with being a generalist. I was a generalist when I started writing. But if you want to target clients and command good pay, you’ll need to specialize in a particular area, style, or genre. A niche can be a specific subject, like:
Or be a specific format like:
You can also decide to specialize further and combine a niche genre with a format or offer a specific style of writing within those categories. The goal is to find something you’re passionate about and is marketable.
A niche shows potential clients that you have the experience and knowledge to create great content for their brand. Your prospects want to hire someone who knows what they’re talking about. A niche also helps you focus on one specific area, making it easy to become an expert on the subject matter.
Now, this is very critical.
You need to look at yourself as a business and not just a writer.
And by this, I mean having a business plan that lays out what you intend to do, how you intend to do it and the expected results. You also need SMART goals, which break down your overarching goal into smaller, manageable steps, making it easier to track progress and stay motivated.
SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound. For example, your goal can be to earn $1,000 in a month as a freelance writer specializing in personal finance content.
Assuming you’re a new writer without a ton of experience, your rates could be $50 for 1000 word article. This translates to:
With all the above out of the way, now it’s time to move to the most interesting part, letting the world know that you are in business.
That’s the only way you get noticed.
The good news is that there are several strategies to market yourself. This makes it easy to find something that works for you. Let’s cover some of the best ways to make potential clients aware of your services and convince them to hire you.
Build a professional website or online portfolio where you can showcase your writing samples, expertise, and contact information. A well-designed website creates a strong first impression and serves as a powerful marketing tool to attract clients and build your freelance writing career.
It doesn’t have to be complicated – but it should display your portfolio and let potential clients know why and how to hire you.
A good freelance writer website should have these key sections:
The About section is where you introduce yourself to your website visitors. A well-crafted About page can establish trust and credibility, helping potential clients understand your expertise and why you’re the right writer for their needs. Here are some tips:
Your Portfolio serves as concrete evidence of your writing abilities. Clients can review your past work to assess your writing style, quality, and versatility. A strong portfolio demonstrates your competence and what clients can expect from you.
The Hire Me section highlights your services, pricing (if you choose to display it), and how potential clients can hire you. Be clear about the types of projects you accept, your availability, and any specific requirements you have.
Last but not least is the Contact Us page where you provide ways for potential clients to get in touch with you. This typically includes a contact form, your email address, and any other preferred methods of communication.
A freelance writing website is a great first step. But you can take it a notch higher and blog about things you’re passionate about (think niche). Blogs give you an opportunity to educate your readers, and also showcase your writing experience. Most importantly, blog posts help you rank on search engine pages like Google and Bing.
This article you’re reading is a good example of a blog. And like most of my readers, you likely found it on Google when you searched for how to make your first $1,000 as a freelance writer (or its variations). The article is:
If a potential client sees it, chances are they will be impressed and be willing to hire me to blog for their website as well.
Learn more about writing Search Engine Optimized articles
As an extension of the previous point, you can also write blogs and share them on other reputable niche-related website. It’s even better if you get an opportunity to guest post on major publications like Forbes, Entrepreneur, Balance, etc., because this boosts your reputation in the eyes of your prospects.
Guest posting also:
How to Guest Post on Niche-Related Websites
As a content creator, you need a strong online presence and social media is an important part of that presence. Your clients hang out on social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and even LinkedIn, and not being in there is a disservice to your business.
Social media is a powerful tool that can help you:
I’ve also found niche-specific communities to be helpful. When I was starting out, I could weigh in on topics, and provide insights on these platforms. Before I knew it, people were approaching me with writing jobs
Blogging and guest posting are both long-shots. That’s because you have to wait for clients to find you (some articles may take days or weeks to rank on search engines). But since we want you to make your first $1,000 as a freelance writer ASAP, let’s go for the most direct route – cold pitching.
Cold pitching is a proactive strategy that involves reaching out to potential clients or publications without prior contact or an established relationship.
It sounds creepy, but you’ll be surprised by the number of freelancers that swear by cold pitches. I too, swear by it. All my best clients are products of cold pitching.
If you want to learn exactly how to cold pitch your way to making your first $1,000 as a freelance writer, click here for more.
Quick Note: Although I have pointed that blogging and guest posting are long-games, the two can still come handy, especially in the pitching phase. As mentioned earlier, both help you establish authority and credibility, which are crucial when pitching to clients.
Click here to see examples of cold pitch email templates for copywriters.
Cold pitching is one of the most direct and proactive methods to secure freelance writing clients and reach your goal of making your first $1,000 as a freelance writer. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to effectively pitch prospective clients through cold pitching:
Content agencies are always on the lookout for freelance writers to help them create content for businesses. And the good thing about these agencies is that they always have loads of work. If you land on one, you can easily earn your first $1,000 as a freelance writer within 30 days.
Perform a quick search on Google for content marketing agencies in your niche to find out what’s there. For example, if you are in the art niche, you can search for art content marketing agencies (or its variations). Once you have a list of these agencies, pitch them, or apply to join their job boards.
Pinterest is not just for tasty recipes and latest trends. It can also be a goldmine for freelance writers looking to earn their first $1,000. The site has many potential clients and also allows you to check their income reports.
Pinterest lets you scan through income reports, providing insights into where businesses are spending their money. A quick scan will help you learn about whether a company hires freelance writers and if they’re currently looking for freelance writers.
And that’s not all.
Pinterest also helps you find bloggers who have more than one blog. This is important because such bloggers often have a lot of workload and need writers to help with content. While on it, take time to check the blogs to see how often they post. If their content is infrequent, it’s likely they could use more content.
The golden rule is to stick with blogs that are growing as opposed to those that are already established because they’re unlikely to have a writing team in place. Although upcoming blogs might not pay top dollar, it’s a great opportunity to get your foot on the door and make connections.
Side Note: Beyond your research, you’ll need some convincing to get hired as a freelance blogger. And the best way to so is to connect with the prospective client. For example, if you’re looking to write for a travel blog, you can pitch them about how you’ve travelled and dealt with all travel-related issues (cancelled flights, packing, air tickets, etc.) to pique their interest.
Besides Pinterest, you can search for terms like “travel blogs that make money” to find potential clients. That said; always custom
Craigslist has a dedicated section called “Writing Gigs, which lists all writing gigs in each state. You can browse through this section to find writing opportunities. But I know that can be somewhat cumbersome.
So, if you want to save time on Craigslist, go to Google and type: “compensation: * per article” site:craigslist.org. This will pull gigs from all over and you won’t be limited to location.
If you don’t like pitching, or want to start earning without putting in all the hard work, then the websites that pay freelance writers can be ideal for you. These websites act as intermediaries between writers and clients, making it easier for writers to find paid writing opportunities. Here’s how these sites generally work, along with some examples:
Here are some examples of websites that pay freelance writers:
Remember that competition can be high on these platforms, so it’s important to create a strong profile, write compelling proposals, and continuously improve your skills to increase your chances of landing gigs. Building a strong portfolio and client relationships over time will help you reach your goal of earning $1,000 as a freelance writer and beyond.
Another way to kickstart your freelance writing career and earn your first $1,000 is by asking friends and family for writing opportunities. Identify anyone who may need writing services. Think about their businesses, hobbies, or personal projects where your writing skills could be of value. Then approach them professionally and explain how your writing skills can benefit their projects.
Side Note: Treat your friends and family as you would any other client. Be professional, meet deadlines, and communicate effectively. Building a reputation for reliability is crucial for long-term success.
Remember that building a successful freelance writing career takes time, effort, and persistence. While earning your first $1,000 quickly is a great milestone, focus on long-term growth and development to ensure a sustainable income as a freelance writer. Keep refining your skills, expanding your client base, and setting new income goals to advance in your freelance writing journey.