How to Make Money Freelancing

16 replies
Becoming a freelancer is one of the most liberating and daunting tasks one could imagine. On one hand you have freedom. No one to answer to but yourself. You make the rules. You decide what you're going to make and how much you will get paid and most importantly it seems like you always have time to live life. On the other hand, you have to diligently search for work and at times the search is even more taxing than the actual labor. In fact, if you are like most freelancers you probably feel like you spend more time looking for work than you do actually working and to make matters worse, you're probably broke or barely making it.

I know what it's like. I've been the person fighting to get my foot in the door and I've also been the one on cloud nine. There are high times. The amazing feeling you get when someone finally takes a chance on you and you reap the rewards of doing what you love not only physically and emotionally but financially. The high times seem like a rarity but there are things that we can do as freelancers to ensure that we make more money.

Look for Long Term Work

In the age of the internet it's easy to fall into the cycle of short term work. Clients who are only looking for an article or two before letting you go. The problem with this is that the time it takes to find a short term client who you will lose contact with is about the same it takes to find long term work. There are many companies in need of your services whatever your services may be. Don't be afraid to pitch and query them. Don't wait for them to come to you. Take initiative.

Charge Per Hour

Upping your price per hour is the quickest way to reap more for what you do. Let's be honest, at the end of the day most of us can't pay our bills. One would argue that it has to do with the quality of the freelancer but we all know that it's because we are underrated and underpaid. The irony in all of this? We are primarily the reason why we as freelancers are paid so little. If you want more money you have to stop accepting pennies when you deserve dollars.

Increase Your Cost Per Word

You've read stories about those six-figure freelancers so you know that there are people out there who get paid a lot. The difference between us and them is that they weren't afraid to demand their worth. The cold hard truth is that wanting to be 'more affordable' kills many freelancers. You ask for a penny per word and work for a few hours writing an article. You haven't had time to eat or focus on yourself but at least you made $10 today in the same time salary workers take to make $50.

Go for What You Know

Stop trying to work on things you know nothing about. Offering to write a technical manual on washers and dryers is a huge mistake if you know nothing about said appliances. Stop trying to become a master of all topics and work on what you know. If you are good at front end developing, then do that. If you're a kickass video editor, then do you. Stop being the square forcing itself into a circle. Build your portfolio on what you really know and love. This is the quickest way to prove that you're an expert.

Happy Writing!
#freelancing #make #money
  • Profile picture of the author Wordsmith11
    I agree its always better to do projects which you know you can and you are good at this not k my makes your project easier but you can show your expertise and make money money faster
    Never forget to demand what you're doing if you think you deserve more money for a project because if you won't demand enough you won't get enough.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kyanna Kitt
      Originally Posted by Wordsmith11 View Post

      I agree its always better to do projects which you know you can and you are good at this not k my makes your project easier but you can show your expertise and make money money faster
      Never forget to demand what you're doing if you think you deserve more money for a project because if you won't demand enough you won't get enough.
      You're absolutely right. In the beginning I was really scared to demand how much I thought I deserved because I didn't think I would get paid or even that they might not want to work with me anymore. I remember freaking out when I first asked an employer for more money. I was shocked when they agreed and even said that they pay even more than I asked for.
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  • Profile picture of the author gregorybair
    I have a bit of a rambling thought, but it was sort of on the topic of finding ways to freelance, work for yourself, and make good money.
    First though, I wanted to say I really appreciated this post, especially the last point of going with what you know. It is so important to play to your strengths, and to figure out ways to benefit from the knowledge you have accrued. It can be very easy to go down the rabbit hole of trying to learn new things, which isn't always bad, but often sticking with your expertise is a sure way to succeed.
    Now, for what is on my mind
    I remember when I was younger I heard an incredibly boiled down explanation of business and markets that has stuck with me all these years. The philosophy it imparts is very simple: all you have to do is by for a nickel, sell for a dime. Sure, 5 cents isn’t a huge profit margin, but if you can make 20 sales, you have a dollar, and so on and so on. Succeed

    The ideal situation, of course, is selling whatever it is for A LOT MORE than you paid for it. That’s where the real money is. There is a word for this: arbitrage. What is detailed here is exactly that, an arbitrage opportunity. Imagine if you could buy something for a nickel and sell the same thing for a dollar. Then you could make some real money.

    The advent of the internet and the technological age has totally changed the way business works. Throughout most of human history, financial transactions have been personal, which is to say, literally in person. Now, the internet has totally shifted the dynamic to the point that the majority of the shopping worldwide is done online. The reason for this: convenience. It is far easier to hop on the computer and scroll through a few webpages than to get yourself together and head out into the world. That is probably the chief selling point of online shopping; it is so easy.

    Of course, one of the dreams of the internet was it would be a magical new place where people could buy directly from manufacturers, ideally at a wholesale price. Supposedly a new utopia was supposed to emerge, where buyers and sellers could come together directly. No more having to go through travel agents, no more added fees. The internet was supposed to kill the middleman.

    BUT THE OPPOSITE HAS BEEN TRUE.

    The Internet has revitalized the middleman. In fact, new middlemen have popped up everywhere. Consider, for instance, ticket sales. Used to be you would go to a box office, and buy concert and movie tickets. Now, you visit a website. Except now, you are paying the price demanded of those who figuratively went to the box office, and they charge whatever they want. That’s why it can cost $300 dollars to see a Taylor Swift show. Scalpers are buying up all the tickets they possibly can, and then turning them around for their own imposed market price.

    THE SAME THING IS HAPPENING IN THE WORLD OF AMAZON AND EBAY.

    Specifically, it is called drop shipping. You simply have to find products that people are willing to pay more for. There are several areas where this is possible, but I will let you find those for yourself! With a minimal amount of research, and a little start up cash, you could be making money like crazy, apparently.
    Anyone have any experience with this?
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    • Profile picture of the author Kyanna Kitt
      Originally Posted by gregorybair View Post

      I have a bit of a rambling thought, but it was sort of on the topic of finding ways to freelance, work for yourself, and make good money.
      First though, I wanted to say I really appreciated this post, especially the last point of going with what you know. It is so important to play to your strengths, and to figure out ways to benefit from the knowledge you have accrued. It can be very easy to go down the rabbit hole of trying to learn new things, which isn't always bad, but often sticking with your expertise is a sure way to succeed.
      Now, for what is on my mind
      I remember when I was younger I heard an incredibly boiled down explanation of business and markets that has stuck with me all these years. The philosophy it imparts is very simple: all you have to do is by for a nickel, sell for a dime. Sure, 5 cents isnt a huge profit margin, but if you can make 20 sales, you have a dollar, and so on and so on. Succeed

      The ideal situation, of course, is selling whatever it is for A LOT MORE than you paid for it. Thats where the real money is. There is a word for this: arbitrage. What is detailed here is exactly that, an arbitrage opportunity. Imagine if you could buy something for a nickel and sell the same thing for a dollar. Then you could make some real money.

      The advent of the internet and the technological age has totally changed the way business works. Throughout most of human history, financial transactions have been personal, which is to say, literally in person. Now, the internet has totally shifted the dynamic to the point that the majority of the shopping worldwide is done online. The reason for this: convenience. It is far easier to hop on the computer and scroll through a few webpages than to get yourself together and head out into the world. That is probably the chief selling point of online shopping; it is so easy.

      Of course, one of the dreams of the internet was it would be a magical new place where people could buy directly from manufacturers, ideally at a wholesale price. Supposedly a new utopia was supposed to emerge, where buyers and sellers could come together directly. No more having to go through travel agents, no more added fees. The internet was supposed to kill the middleman.

      BUT THE OPPOSITE HAS BEEN TRUE.

      The Internet has revitalized the middleman. In fact, new middlemen have popped up everywhere. Consider, for instance, ticket sales. Used to be you would go to a box office, and buy concert and movie tickets. Now, you visit a website. Except now, you are paying the price demanded of those who figuratively went to the box office, and they charge whatever they want. Thats why it can cost $300 dollars to see a Taylor Swift show. Scalpers are buying up all the tickets they possibly can, and then turning them around for their own imposed market price.

      THE SAME THING IS HAPPENING IN THE WORLD OF AMAZON AND EBAY.

      Specifically, it is called drop shipping. You simply have to find products that people are willing to pay more for. There are several areas where this is possible, but I will let you find those for yourself! With a minimal amount of research, and a little start up cash, you could be making money like crazy, apparently.
      Anyone have any experience with this?
      Gregory,

      I think I get what you're saying here. And I do love hearing what people have to say about things so I really really appreciate you stepping outside of what was written to teach us all about how 'making money' works.

      I couldn't help but think of content mills and things as I was reading the part about the middleman. There are so many fees that freelancers in general have to pay that if you aren't careful about the prices you set you aren't getting paid at all.
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  • Profile picture of the author DABK
    A very general article, you wrote here.

    Yeah, charging more per hour or per word gets you more. But that's merely arithmetic. Charging more and getting paid more is where it's at. And you ain't touched on that let alone provide one lousy actionable item to get that.

    I'm sure you don't have to be a freelancer to know you can earn more only so many ways:
    charge more
    sell more at the same price to existing clients
    find new clients and charge the same
    find new clients and charge more
    a combination of the above.

    You do the above by either repositioning yourself to existing markets or by finding new markets or by niching down.

    What follows next is where the thing gets interesting. Shall we (I mean you) start there?

    And, just in case you're wondering why I ain't hugging you: a bunch of people like you just passed through posting a bunch of stuff just like yours. Some apparently hired by the owners but all dealing in generalities (often badly written too).

    Originally Posted by Kyanna Kitt View Post

    Becoming a freelancer is one of the most liberating and daunting tasks one could imagine. On one hand you have freedom. No one to answer to but yourself. You make the rules. You decide what you're going to make and how much you will get paid and most importantly it seems like you always have time to live life. On the other hand, you have to diligently search for work and at times the search is even more taxing than the actual labor. In fact, if you are like most freelancers you probably feel like you spend more time looking for work than you do actually working and to make matters worse, you're probably broke or barely making it.

    I know what it's like. I've been the person fighting to get my foot in the door and I've also been the one on cloud nine. There are high times. The amazing feeling you get when someone finally takes a chance on you and you reap the rewards of doing what you love not only physically and emotionally but financially. The high times seem like a rarity but there are things that we can do as freelancers to ensure that we make more money.

    Look for Long Term Work

    In the age of the internet it's easy to fall into the cycle of short term work. Clients who are only looking for an article or two before letting you go. The problem with this is that the time it takes to find a short term client who you will lose contact with is about the same it takes to find long term work. There are many companies in need of your services whatever your services may be. Don't be afraid to pitch and query them. Don't wait for them to come to you. Take initiative.

    Charge Per Hour

    Upping your price per hour is the quickest way to reap more for what you do. Let's be honest, at the end of the day most of us can't pay our bills. One would argue that it has to do with the quality of the freelancer but we all know that it's because we are underrated and underpaid. The irony in all of this? We are primarily the reason why we as freelancers are paid so little. If you want more money you have to stop accepting pennies when you deserve dollars.

    Increase Your Cost Per Word

    You've read stories about those six-figure freelancers so you know that there are people out there who get paid a lot. The difference between us and them is that they weren't afraid to demand their worth. The cold hard truth is that wanting to be 'more affordable' kills many freelancers. You ask for a penny per word and work for a few hours writing an article. You haven't had time to eat or focus on yourself but at least you made $10 today in the same time salary workers take to make $50.

    Go for What You Know

    Stop trying to work on things you know nothing about. Offering to write a technical manual on washers and dryers is a huge mistake if you know nothing about said appliances. Stop trying to become a master of all topics and work on what you know. If you are good at front end developing, then do that. If you're a kickass video editor, then do you. Stop being the square forcing itself into a circle. Build your portfolio on what you really know and love. This is the quickest way to prove that you're an expert.

    Happy Writing!
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10900072].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Kyanna Kitt
      Originally Posted by DABK View Post

      A very general article, you wrote here.

      Yeah, charging more per hour or per word gets you more. But that's merely arithmetic. Charging more and getting paid more is where it's at. And you ain't touched on that let alone provide one lousy actionable item to get that.

      I'm sure you don't have to be a freelancer to know you can earn more only so many ways:
      charge more
      sell more at the same price to existing clients
      find new clients and charge the same
      find new clients and charge more
      a combination of the above.

      You do the above by either repositioning yourself to existing markets or by finding new markets or by niching down.

      What follows next is where the thing gets interesting. Shall we (I mean you) start there?

      And, just in case you're wondering why I ain't hugging you: a bunch of people like you just passed through posting a bunch of stuff just like yours. Some apparently hired by the owners but all dealing in generalities (often badly written too).
      Yes this is a general article geared towards a general topic. I'm not wondering why you're not hugging me because quite frankly I don't care. I also could not care less about who has been through this site doing whatever they do when all I'm attempting to do is help beginners at a trade that I initially struggled with.

      Three brownies for being able to put things together for yourself but some people need direction. The fact that you didn't like this article or find it helpful means nothing to me because it was not meant for people who clearly KNOW what they are doing.

      I don't get paid to spew crap out and I don't get off by taking things out of context. I write about the things that I wish I knew when I first started off. You clearly are not a beginner. Not a beginner. Not for you. Beginner or curious then maybe there are some things you could learn.

      Thanks or whatever, I guess for the suggestion of starting on more advanced topics. Maybe I will do that in the future but right now I want to be able to inform people about the things I did not know when I was starting out.
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      • Profile picture of the author DABK
        You missed my point in the charging more. It's easy to charge more. Not so easy to get paid more. I was suggesting your article would have been useful to your intended audience if you had gone into that a wee bit.

        When you first raised your writing fees, how did you do it, why did you succeed?

        Originally Posted by Kyanna Kitt View Post

        Yes this is a general article geared towards a general topic. I'm not wondering why you're not hugging me because quite frankly I don't care. I also could not care less about who has been through this site doing whatever they do when all I'm attempting to do is help beginners at a trade that I initially struggled with.

        Three brownies for being able to put things together for yourself but some people need direction. The fact that you didn't like this article or find it helpful means nothing to me because it was not meant for people who clearly KNOW what they are doing.

        I don't get paid to spew crap out and I don't get off by taking things out of context. I write about the things that I wish I knew when I first started off. You clearly are not a beginner. Not a beginner. Not for you. Beginner or curious then maybe there are some things you could learn.

        Thanks or whatever, I guess for the suggestion of starting on more advanced topics. Maybe I will do that in the future but right now I want to be able to inform people about the things I did not know when I was starting out.
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        • Profile picture of the author Kyanna Kitt
          Originally Posted by DABK View Post

          You missed my point in the charging more. It's easy to charge more. Not so easy to get paid more. I was suggesting your article would have been useful to your intended audience if you had gone into that a wee bit.

          When you first raised your writing fees, how did you do it, why did you succeed?
          Thank you for clarifying. I think Angie basically told me the same thing. It's one thing to tell people, it's better to show them through my personal experiences. Thanks again for the meaningful feedback. I really appreciate it.
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  • Profile picture of the author AussieCoz
    Hi Kyanna,

    Some of the points here I don't really agree with, from a former freelancer it's not really something I would really want to do for too long and for me it was just a means to making enough money to get by - each to their own but it's not really an enjoyable way to make a living in my opinion.

    How long have you been freelancing?

    My thoughts:

    Look for Long Term Work
    This is a great idea, however in theory you will need to take this arrangement offline to avoid paying crazy amounts of fees to the freelance site you are working on. I did this quite a bit, and while I wasn't looking for long term work - more ongoing work - this was the only way to do this. As well as this, I would recommend increasing your offline rate to include the fees that way you can transition to your actual hourly rate (usually freelance rates are cheaper)

    Charge Per Hour
    I personally think this is a bad way to go, aiming to get project rates gives you more flexibility and your employer has to set up bigger and complete milestones for the project.

    Increase Your Cost Per Word
    Don't charge per word, this is a mistake and I would avoid it at all costs. Charging per words makes it harder to compete for all freelancers and your focus will be on word count not quality.

    I do agree that you should work on projects that fit your experience and background however on the whole your advice is adverse to my experience on the freelance sites.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kyanna Kitt
      Originally Posted by AussieCoz View Post

      Hi Kyanna,

      Some of the points here I don't really agree with, from a former freelancer it's not really something I would really want to do for too long and for me it was just a means to making enough money to get by - each to their own but it's not really an enjoyable way to make a living in my opinion.

      How long have you been freelancing?

      My thoughts:

      Look for Long Term Work
      This is a great idea, however in theory you will need to take this arrangement offline to avoid paying crazy amounts of fees to the freelance site you are working on. I did this quite a bit, and while I wasn't looking for long term work - more ongoing work - this was the only way to do this. As well as this, I would recommend increasing your offline rate to include the fees that way you can transition to your actual hourly rate (usually freelance rates are cheaper)

      Charge Per Hour
      I personally think this is a bad way to go, aiming to get project rates gives you more flexibility and your employer has to set up bigger and complete milestones for the project.

      Increase Your Cost Per Word
      Don't charge per word, this is a mistake and I would avoid it at all costs. Charging per words makes it harder to compete for all freelancers and your focus will be on word count not quality.

      I do agree that you should work on projects that fit your experience and background however on the whole your advice is adverse to my experience on the freelance sites.
      Hello Aussie,

      First and foremost thanks so much for your feedback. You put some very meaningful topics up for discussion including things I would probably not have thought of. I think your post outlines the idea of charging per project instead of per word or hour. This isn't a bad idea at all. I'm not sure how I would go about doing it because my employers have always paid me per word or per hour but I can definitely see why this would work extremely well.

      I've been freelancing for 5+ years. I've done so many things in the time that I've been a freelancer. I love writing so much and I love being able to to help people put their ideas into words. It's very gratifying for me. I do know quite a few people who dreaded doing freelance work. It can be quite...overbearing at times.

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  • Profile picture of the author angiecolee
    Another suggestion: I get that you're trying to help beginners. As previously pointed out though, being aware of what others have posted before you actually gives you a leg up.

    How? Because if yours is the 20th "how to write a sales page for beginners" post that shows up in the forum this week, you're literally not adding any value, nor are you standing out.

    If you're hoping to build a career (or continue growing one) as a writer, you should be aware of the fact that standing out is one of the pillars of success. Having your own voice, your own perspective. Because these are so general and don't really explore your insights or your struggles as a beginner, they're falling pretty flat.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kyanna Kitt
      Originally Posted by angiecolee View Post

      Another suggestion: I get that you're trying to help beginners. As previously pointed out though, being aware of what others have posted before you actually gives you a leg up.

      How? Because if yours is the 20th "how to write a sales page for beginners" post that shows up in the forum this week, you're literally not adding any value, nor are you standing out.

      If you're hoping to build a career (or continue growing one) as a writer, you should be aware of the fact that standing out is one of the pillars of success. Having your own voice, your own perspective. Because these are so general and don't really explore your insights or your struggles as a beginner, they're falling pretty flat.
      Hello Again Angie,

      Thank you for you response on my post. As for your thoughts I mean, guess. I figured I would post them regardless because these topics are always brought up. I mean honestly they've been spoken about a billion different ways as well. I actually don't write how-to's and things I only decided to write them here because I noticed questions about beginners and writers and figured why not talk about these things and simply wanted to tell them things that I learned the hard way in the most simple way possible. I guess I'll have to learn how to make these things more literary.
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  • Profile picture of the author angiecolee
    You do not need to be more literary. You need to find a unique angle or perspective to share.
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  • Profile picture of the author heliius
    Great article about make money freelancing.
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  • Profile picture of the author esheya
    Originally Posted by Kyanna Kitt View Post

    Charge Per Hour

    Upping your price per hour is the quickest way to reap more for what you do. Let's be honest, at the end of the day most of us can't pay our bills. One would argue that it has to do with the quality of the freelancer but we all know that it's because we are underrated and underpaid. The irony in all of this? We are primarily the reason why we as freelancers are paid so little. If you want more money you have to stop accepting pennies when you deserve dollars.

    Increase Your Cost Per Word

    You've read stories about those six-figure freelancers so you know that there are people out there who get paid a lot. The difference between us and them is that they weren't afraid to demand their worth. The cold hard truth is that wanting to be 'more affordable' kills many freelancers. You ask for a penny per word and work for a few hours writing an article. You haven't had time to eat or focus on yourself but at least you made $10 today in the same time salary workers take to make $50.
    Wow. Great article Kyanna Kitt.

    I feel that this is for freelance writers.

    Now, what is your advice to freelance copywriters on rate and charging? Do you advice them to charge per hour or per word?

    I'm a freelance copywriter and I charge per project.

    REASONS: If I decide to charge per word, how can my clients be sure that I didn't include irelevant information to increase number of words.

    And if I charge per hour, how can clients know for sure that I'm not intentionally slow to increase the time I'll spend working on their projects?
    How can they know exactly how many hours I spent on their project?

    Even if they decide to monitor me with a time tracking software, how can I factor the time I spend researching the product and the market? (Sometimes spend many days gathering information and interviewing prospects before writing a marketing material).

    How can I convince someone who isn't a copywriter that it can take me up to 2 days of brainstorming to come up with a good headline?

    Do you think it's better for freelance copywriters to charge per hour or per words instead of per projcets?
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    • Profile picture of the author Kyanna Kitt
      Originally Posted by esheya View Post


      I feel that this is for freelance writers.
      Thank you for your feedback. This was definitely geared towards new freelancers. I posted a few articles in this forum that are geared towards new freelancers not copywriters. I've confused quite a few people. Hahaha.

      A couple of weeks ago I discussed payment with another forum poster on the site. Charging per word isn't something I do unless it's something that the client prefers for whatever reason. It seems that the main concern (when it comes to payment) is basically how does the client know that the freelancer did the work and didn't take shortcuts or scam. I feel like there is really no way to tell. Now obviously if someone is getting paid per word and they lack honesty and integrity they might just cram a couple thousand more words than they actually need to get the message across.

      Another reason why one might consider not charging per word is because you can end up short handing yourself.

      I totally get where you are coming from. Thanks for bringing up those important ideas.
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