How to Earn $10,000/Month – or More – as a Freelance Writer: 7 Things You Should Be Doing

To earn six figures per year (at least $100,000) as a freelance writer, you never have to earn $10,000 per month; you only need to average $8,333. But boy, wouldn’t it be nice to earn five figures per month, which is usually reserved for those who specialize in highly specific niches like direct mail copywriting (with a cut on the backend), or writing case studies?

But, thanks to the demand driven by content marketing, regular ole web (SEO) writers can earn five figures per month too.

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7 Lessons from a Freelancer Writer Who Earned $10,143 in One Month

I got the idea for this post when I ran across this piece by an online writer who had reached this milestone. To piggyback on several of her awesome points, following are seven things you can do to help catapult you to earning $10,000/month, or more.

1. Brand Yourself

I’ve always advised freelance writers to specialize in a niche. This is part of branding yourself. As I pointed out in the linked-to post on this site, it’s important because:

Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers.” Well-defined brands are easily recognizable, just from a slogan or logo; buyers know what to expect from them; and the message is consistent. …

Following are some key questions to ask to crystallize your branding message?

How to Brand Your Freelance Business

Who is your ideal customer?

Who are their heroes; what do they believe in?

What does your brand believe in as it relates to them and their beliefs/heroes?

What the primary purpose does your brand serve for them?

These questions will help you clarify exactly what your business is all about, how it connects with its primary customers, and how it’s different from others. This is at the heart of your unique selling proposition (USP), which was mentioned earlier.

A brand goes to the very heart of establishing who your customers are, which determines how much you can/should charge, which goes to how much you can earn. So get very clear about what your brand is as a freelance writer because it directly impacts your earning power.

2. Raise Your Rates

Last year, I raised my freelance writing rates – significantly – quadrupling them in some cases. It’s one of the easiest ways to immediately increase your take-home pay as a freelance writer.

Now, while I don’t advise making a huge jump like I did, an incremental jump will be easier for many of your clients to accept – many more than you may realize.

One freelance writer once remarked on one of my posts that he’d “forgotten” to raise his rates for a couple of years. I advise raising rates at least every year to year and a half.

Many freelance writers don’t, staying stuck at the same rate for 2, 3 or 5 years at a time. Don’t do this.

Think of it this way: on a 9-to-5 job, you get an annual review/raise. And it’s because the cost of living goes up and employers want to hang on to good employees by rewarding their performance.

Don’t you want to reward yourself as the head of your own enterprise? You work hard; you deserve a raise – and an increase in rates is exactly what this amounts to.

What to Expect When You Raise Your Freelance Writing Rates

FYI, you may lose some clients, but again, unless you do a huge jump like I did, most of your clients will stay with you – especially if they’re getting great results from your writing. And if they do bolt, think about it this way: “Do you really want to keep working with clients who can’t/won’t pay a nominal increase in rates — especially when it’s every 12 to 18 months?”

I’d bet that they’ve raised prices on their products/services during this timeframe. You deserve the same.

3. Get Active on LinkedIn

The reason I single out this social media platform is two-fold: (i) it’s where the decisionmakers are (roughly half of reported executives on LinkedIn have the power to hire); and (ii) I’ve just heard from so many freelance writers that LinkedIn – when used correctly – is so effective for landing gigs.

Dealing directly with decisionmakers gives you a leg up timewise because if you can hit their pain point(s) perfectly and they have an immediate need, you can get hired on the spot – no middle man; no need for your query to work its way up, then back down, a chain of command.

Also, from personal experience – when you deal with decisionmakers, they are much less likely to quibble over rate because they know the importance of having a job done right. Hence, if your rates are within the ballpark of what they expect to pay (and a good decisionmaker will know what this is), then you’ll be given the gig.

Finally, dealing with a decisionmaker is almost always more productive because any query you have can be answered/dealt with immediately – again, no middle man, which means no wasted time.

When you’re trading time (your time as a freelance writer) for money (the content you produce for clients), this equals earned dollars.

4. Use a Retainer

I’ve worked with several clients on retainer over the years and I have to say, those are some of the most easy-going (and profitable) arrangements around. In my opinion, it’s because both parties know what to expect. Hence, the work can be done more expediently.

For example, if you know you have to produce a weekly blog post of 1,500 to 2,000 words for a client, you may decide to spend two days knocking out a month’s worth of content for that client (4 posts in 2 days).

This leaves you 18 other days to do work for other clients, market for more work, work on your own side projects (eg, self-publishing an ebook), etc.

You’re much more in control of your time and how your workdays flow when you work on retainer. And as I said in the last point, time is money.

So plant this seed with clients early and often. Can you move them from a one-off or intermittent writing order into a more stable, “income predictable” retainer agreement. FYI, here’s some insight into to how to get your freelance writing clients to sign on the dotted (retainer agreement) line.

5. Offer Complementary Services

When I first started out as a SEO writer, I only offered one service – blog posts. Then, I expanded to offering social media, then SEO press releases, etc.

Today, there are numerous complementary services that freelance writers can easily offer. In fact, they beg to be offered together, ie, writing and social media account management. As you already write the content, it’s almost a crime not to offer to distribute it as well – as content has to be distributed in order to be fully effective.

Nowadays, I NEVER offer one service without offering the other. And you know what – 20 to 30 percent of clients take me up on that offer. It can increase the size of each content order by 25, 30 or 40 percent or more.

So ask yourself, what services can you easily add that complement the services you already offer. You will undoubtedly be surprised at how easy it is to upsell clients, especially if you do the following …

6. Bundle Services

Again, this is an easy way to increase your income as a freelance writer. Clients love bundled services, eg, packaged deals, for the same reason most of us like a deal. It saves time and money. Also, it gives you the all important “raise” – sometimes without having to increase your rate. A win-win!

7. Believe You’re Worth More

I left this one last because it’s the number one thing I see most freelance writers struggle with – consciously and subconsciously. I’ve been there. As I said in this guest post that I wrote for ProductiveWriters.com:

If you’re not confident, you’ll find it hard to trust that you’re good enough to go for that job; ask for more on this project; and say no to that request from a client (unless they pay more).

All of this is not about “client interaction;” it’s a direct reflection of how secure you are – not only as a freelancer, but as a human being. In fact, the two are the same.

I think a lot of freelance writers suffer from lack of confidence because we take our craft for granted. After all, it’s “just” writing. Every body who knows their ABC’s can write, right?

Yeah, right!” is my response.

Writing is a skill, and if everybody could do it, then they wouldn’t be paying you to do it. So never underestimate your gift (and that’s what I consider good writing). If clients are paying you, it’s because you’re providing value to their business – and you get to determine (to a large degree) what that value is. Unfortunately, many of us err on the side of asking for too little, instead of too much.

What’s Your Maximum Income Potential as a Freelance Writer?

I’d venture to say that – without a few exceptions – almost all freelance writers would be happy to earn $10,000 per month or more. But one thing I wanted to point out in the article that inspired this post is the following …

But here’s the crutch of doing freelance work: it’s a time-for-money trade. … the amount you make still depends on the time you put in … I’ve yet to figure out how to truly break out of this constraint to really increase my income potential, beyond maybe implementing some passive income streams. But if you’re working as a freelance writer, you will eventually hit an income ceiling, and I think I’m getting pretty close to mine.

This is exactly why I started to diversify my income stream back in 2011 when I looked up and realized that over half of my income in 2010 had come from my self-publishing efforts. Nowadays, I have four income streams:

  • Self-publishing (fiction and non-fiction);
  • Online teaching (via ecourses I create);
  • Affiliate Marketing; and of course; and
  • Freelance writing (yes, I still write for clients – although the bulk of my time these days is spent on producing my own info products).

If you want to one day retire – like any other professional – then you must, must, must, in my opinion, create other income streams that don’t require you to trade significant amounts of time for money.

Just something to think about.

Have You Ever Earned $10,000 or More in One Month as a Freelance Writer?

Or, have you come close to it? Please share (inspire others!) in the comments section below.

P.S.: Earn More as a Freelance Writer: Special Offer. Get full details.

P.P.S.: Serious about Starting a Freelance Writing Career? Then You Need a Website/Blog. Click to learn why and how to start one.

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    1. Linda Turner says:

      Hi Yuwanda,

      Great post and so on point. I love the bulleted points makes it easy to understand what is required if you are ready to get started and began to make money as a freelance writer.
      I need to get started right away. With your help.. Having a website built as I type this. Many thanks

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