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How Long Does it Take to Start Making Money as a Freelance Writer?

If you’re looking for a steady stream of monthly income, you’ve probably considered freelance writing as a possible career path. The demand for online content continues to rise, and more and more people are looking for opportunities to make a little extra money from home. To sweeten the deal, several online platforms have made it easier than ever to find freelance opportunities. Some of these opportunities are fully roped-in, requiring little to no effort from you as a writer. For others, you’ll need to pitch articles to potential clients and negotiate client fees. Regardless, the opportunities are out there if you know where to look.

To help you get started on the right foot, we’ve compiled a list of everything you need to know about becoming a freelance writer. This comprehensive guide will cover everything from how to find your first client to what rate to charge. Let’s get started.

The Demographics of Online Readers

If you’re wondering how long it takes to start making money as a freelance writer, you should first determine the demographics of your target audience. After all, you won’t be able to sell your talents to the general public if you don’t have any readers! According to HubSpot Blogs research, 60% of American adults use some kind of social network to get news and information. This percentage jumps to 70% among Gen Z and 59% among millennials.

As a freelance writer, you will be entering an already established community of readers who are currently seeking content on a variety of topics. Whether you’re a lifestyle blogger looking for paid content or a travel writer seeking to pitch a story for a travel magazine, there will be readers who are interested in your work. Use this demographic information to your advantage. Consider writing about something that your readers will be interested in, and make sure to position yourself as an expert in your chosen field. If you can connect with existing communities of readers on social media, even better.

Where to Look For Work

Once you’ve determined the demographics of your target audience, you can start your search for freelance writing opportunities. The best approach is to use specialized software designed for finding online content. Some of the more popular options are:

  • Graffiti Research Lab’s Pro-writer software (free trial version)
  • StoryOwl (free version)
  • HubSpot Blogs (free version)
  • Futurism (paid version)

These applications are going to connect you with a variety of content creators who are seeking qualified writers for their projects. Once you’ve downloaded the software, simply provide your email address and you’ll be on your way to finding online content that is perfect for you.

How to Negotiate Payment

A freelance writer’s first and most critical decision is how to approach client negotiations. Before you begin, it is important to set a price that you feel is fair compensation for the work you’ve done. The worst thing you can do is accept whatever the client initially offers you without any negotiation. Remember: you are in charge of your own pricing, and you can decide what you feel is worth what you’re willing to charge.

When you first begin freelance writing, your compensation will most likely be wholly or partially based on a payment model that is known as ‘per piece’. Under this model, you are paid based on the number of words or images you can provide the client. As an experienced freelance writer, you know how many words or images a typical project usually requires. For example, an article for a lifestyle website might require about 5,000 words. If you’ve been paid per word, the client will owe you for about 125 words of copy (assuming you’ve been paid $10 per hour).

If your freelance writing skills are in high demand, you might decide to ask for more money per piece. However, if your writing is seen as a commodity, you might decide to ask for less money per piece. After all, if you’re providing copies of existing material or performing some basic formatting tasks, you might not require as much compensation as you would for a completely original piece. To begin with, set the price you’re willing to charge for your work. Be sure to research comparable rates for other freelance writers in your field.

The Types of Stories You’ll Write

Once you’ve found an appropriate writer for the project, it’s time to determine the specific genres you’ll be working in. It’s important to keep in mind that you’re a freelancer, so you’re free to take on as many projects as you can. However, you should select genres that you feel confident you can master.

The freelance writer’s bio on the website provides some insight into the types of stories you’ll write as a freelancer:

“The majority of my freelance work over the last two years has been in the areas of brand strategy and brand communications, marketing plan development and execution, social media marketing and strategy, and content creation and strategy. I also do a bit of copywriting for my own business.”

“I’ve worked for several renowned companies in my role as a brand strategist and brand editor, including American Express, HP, Dyson, Diageo, and Mars Incorporated. In the past, I’ve worked as a marketing manager and an editorial assistant at a New York City lifestyle magazine, contributed to the Huffington Post, and been featured on and”

Based on the above, it’s clear that you’ll be writing about business and corporate topics for the most part. If this sounds good to you, consider focusing on areas like marketing, PR, and communications for the time being.

The Tools You’ll Need To Succeed

To be an experienced freelance writer, you’ll need access to a variety of tools. Fortunately, getting started doesn’t require you to invest in expensive software; instead, you can use tools that can be accessed free of charge.

The best option is WordPress. According to, the platform powers 27% of all internet content – that’s 49% of the web!” The popularity of WordPress grows every year, and with good reason. Not only is it easy to use, but it also provides you with the basic tools you need to get started. You don’t need to go looking for plugins or download any specialized software.

Another great option is HubSpot’s Blogs. Launched in 2011, this network of more than 700 blogs covers a wide range of topics. It’s a perfect place for beginners to get their feet wet and build a portfolio of content. If you can connect with existing communities of readers on social media, even better.

Starting Your Freelance Writing Career

If you’ve made it this far and decided that freelance writing is the right fit for you, congrats! You’re about to embark on a lucrative journey. Before you begin, it’s important to get some legal documentation in order. This might include getting a license or registering your business with the local government or setting up a simple professional organization with industry peers. Without this documentation, you could find yourself in a bit of trouble down the line. Don’t worry – these documents aren’t that complicated and can be easily accomplished by anyone who’s dedicated enough to commit the time to developing their career.

The last piece of advice I’d give you before you begin your journey into the wonderful world of freelance writing is to join a professional organization. Being a member of a writers’ association will not only connect you with other writers who can help you find your feet, but it will also provide you with the opportunity to get published.