Welcome to Freelance Writing Week II!
If you’re just joining us, be sure to go back and check out the first Freelance Writing Week during which we discussed:
- Is Freelance Writing For You?
- Freelance Writing Resources
- 5 Tips for How to Find and Develop Your Freelance Writing Niche
- How to Find Freelance Writing Jobs: Query Letters
- How to Find Freelance Writing Jobs: Job Ads and Cold Calls
All this week we’re going to talk about money. Coincidentally, the subject of the April newsletter of WOW is Money Matters so be sure to check it out for more great information on financial mistakes writers make, planning for retirement, surviving a recession as a freelance writer, and more.
First, the most important thing to remember is that freelance writing is a business, so be sure to treat it that way.
Your clients depend on you and expect you to deliver your assignments on time; you should expect to be treated fairly and paid on time as well. Just because you’re not sitting in an office doesn’t mean you’re not responsible for your work product or that a client doesn’t have to treat you with respect.
So, keeping in mind that freelance writing is a business, later in the week we’ll also talk about
- Whether you should ever write for free;
- The “right” pay for freelance writing jobs;
- How and when you can expect to be paid;
- How to tell if a freelance writing job offer is legitimate.
Today, though, I want to address something upfront. Although freelance writing has many advantages (e.g., working from home, the freedom to scheduling your own hours, choosing assignments that interest you), if you’re aiming to be a millionaire, well….
How much do freelance writers make?
Giving an “average” salary of a freelance writer is difficult, although there’s a great interview with Deb Ng of Freelance Writing Jobs at PayScale.com in which she discusses the issue. Deb quotes $1,000 to $2,000 a month as a common wage of many freelance web writers she knows; that’s about what I would think as well (keeping in mind, as Deb notes in the comments, that this interview was a few years ago so average wages may be a bit higher now).
So will I get rich freelance writing?
Um, probably not. I’m a firm believer that anything is possible, but quite simply, a freelance writer making six figures is rather rare; some freelancers are in that income bracket, but they are the exception.
Now don’t get me wrong: you can make a good living doing freelance writing and even support a family on it, but it takes a lot of work, commitment, dedication, and patience. And for many of us, the quality of life that freelance writing allows and the satisfaction of doing what we love and getting paid for it helps make up for the pay.
Can I expect that $1,000 to $2,000 a month from the get-go?
Unless you’re *extremely* fortunate, probably not. It can take years (that’s plural!) to build up to earning that amount per month depending on the kinds of credentials you have, so if you’re planning on eventually freelancing full-time, most people will recommend you keep your day job while you’re starting out and establishing contacts. Or, of course, have a generous savings account.
When I was testing the freelance waters 6 years ago, I did legal research and writing work in the meantime. I didn’t keep my day job per se, but I did continue doing similar work, only as a freelancer instead of an employee. To be clear, though, I’d *really* rather not relive those years again from a financial standpoint, and I wouldn’t have been able to do that if I had to support anyone in addition to myself.
I definitely would’ve had less stress had I just gotten a “regular” job and dabbled in freelancing, but for me personally, I didn’t want to waste any more time. I was ready to jump in and sink or swim. It took a while for me to swim, but overall I’m happy I did it this way.
Your road, of course, may look very different, so you’ll have to decide for yourself how to proceed.
Be sure to come back tomorrow for:
Should Freelance Writers Ever Write for Free?
Also free free to bookmark, Stumble, and share these posts with friends via email, your blog, and Twitter. The more people we have reading them, the more ideas and suggestions we can come up with in the comments. We freelance writers have to stick together!
If you have money-related freelance writing questions, please leave them in the comments!