What is Freelance Writing? The Ultimate Guide
You’re not the only one. The definition of freelance writing can vary dramatically depending on who you’re talking to. Freelance writers can do tons of different jobs, find work differently, and work with different clients.
Freelance writing is the act of getting paid to write, without being on a company’s official payroll. Freelance writers can work with several companies at once on a self-employer or subcontractor basis.
- Per word: The writer and client agree on a set rate per word for an article. Freelance writers being hired to write blog posts, for example, usually start with a per-word rate of
What does a freelance writer do?
Wondering what a freelance writer does in their day-to-day role? It depends on the type of content you’re writing. But as a general guide, here’s what a freelance writer does (alongside the obvious one–writing content):
You can choose who to work with
The beauty of freelancing is that you’re in complete control of who you do (and don’t) work with. It’s unlike a standard, 9-to-5 job where you’re forced to work for one employer, and you don’t get to choose your co-workers.
Whilst freelance writers don’t have co-workers as such, they’re in complete control of who they work with. They can choose to turn down clients who don’t have a budget to pay them, or they just aren’t interested in writing for. That’s not possible with a full-time job.
Your routine is flexible
Since a freelance writer is in complete control of who they work for, their routine is flexible. Clients don’t pay them to sit at their desk from 9am till 5pm, with half an hour for dinner, every day of the working week.
It’s why freelance writing is a superb career choice for tons of people–especially those who drop the kids off at school, and want to be able to attend midday appointments without that awkward conversation with your boss. (Let’s face it: having to explain to your boss why you need the morning off for a doctor’s appointment is awkward.)
You can make lots of money
We all want to earn more money, right? Article writing is a superb way to do that. The entire industry is very lucrative: get in with the ideal clients, and you can out-earn what you would in your day job by a long shot.
But it’s worth remembering that not all of the money you make as a freelance writer is take-home pay. You’ll need to fork out for expenses (like a computer), tax, and insurance. Either way, there’s still a good chance you can beat what you were earning in a full-time job by becoming a freelance writer.
.10. This can go as high as
The downsides of freelance writing
It takes time
Not only that, but it’s easy for new freelance writers to fall into the trap of thinking their new freelance writing job will only consist of writing. Reality is: you’ll spend time doing other admin tasks–like finding new work, creating a freelance website, and dealing with accounting. All of those things eat into your schedule, but you don’t get paid to do them.
It can be unpredictable
Even if you’re on top of your freelance writing career from day one, finding reliable work can be tough. It can be difficult to reach your audience as a freelancer, especially when you have a small marketing budget. And it doesn’t help that you’re up against freelance content mills like Upwork and Freelancer.com.
Similarly, freelancers can fall into the feast and famine mindset. If you’re working job-to-job without any contracts or monthly agreements in place, you don’t always know where your next paycheck is coming from.
.75+ for experienced, in-demand freelance writers.
5 common types of freelance writers
1. Freelance blog writers
This is arguably the most popular example of freelance writing. Freelance content writers can offer blog writing services to their clients. They’re usually given a topic to write about, and asked to return a draft.
The biggest advantage of writing this type of content, though, is that it’s consistent. Companies want regular content posted to their blog. They can use freelance bloggers to do that–which means you’ll get consistent income, and ongoing work, if you sign contracts with clients who want X blog posts each month.
2. Freelance copywriters
In the freelance writing world, there are copywriters who focus on creating written copy for a client. This type of work is varied. You might see yourself doing these types of copywriting on a daily basis:
3. Freelance email copywriters
Companies make millions through their email. It’s a huge channel for them to engage with potential customers, and convince them to buy their products. That’s why freelance email copywriters are in high demand.
4. Freelance editors
Not every freelance writing job has to involve writing a piece from scratch! You can make a living as a freelance writer by editing other people’s content. It’s a great way for clients with lower budgets to polish the drafts they’ve created themselves.
5. Freelance ghostwriters
It’s a type of writer usually hired by industry experts, or people who want to position themselves as experts in their own industry. They use freelance ghostwriters to create content they’d be proud to add their name to–like whitepapers, eBooks, or long-form blog posts.
The biggest downside of being a freelance ghostwriter is the obvious one: you don’t get public credit for your work. It’s rare that you’ll be able to reference that work in your writing portfolio, and you won’t get a link to your website when the piece was published. Your name won’t appear anywhere.
Wondering what the benefit is of being a freelance ghostwriter? The first is that it’s usually higher paid than other types of freelance writing gigs. You don’t get the benefit of having your name attached to the work. Clients will pay a higher fee to compensate writers for that.
Plus, ghostwriting is a service most used by authoritative, influential people who just don’t have the time (or skill) to write their own content. That means freelance ghostwriters can work with great business leaders who actually have budget.
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