PTM 018 – Taking Your Freelance Writing Business to the Next Level with Miranda Marquit


Whether as a side hustle or as a full-time job, freelance writing can be a great way to earn money from the comfort of your home. But while starting a freelance writing business may sound appealing, many people just don’t have any idea where to start.

How do you go about finding your first freelance writing clients? How do you set and raise your rates? And, if you still have a full-time job, how do you add freelance writing gigs without feeling completely overwhelmed.

These are all legitimate questions. But rather than trying to answer them myself, I thought it would be best to talk to people who eat, live, and breathe freelance writing every day. Below, you’ll see tips and guidance from several full-time freelance writers including a podcast interview with one of my own writers, Miranda Marquit.

To start a freelance writing business, begin by creating a “Hire Me” page where you can build a portfolio of your work. Next, you can begin to apply for gigs on job boards like ProBlogger, Contently, and Freelance Writing Gigs. As you gain experience, you can gradually raise your rates. If you’re trying to juggle a freelance writing business with a full-time job, you’ll need to plan your schedule carefully, minimize distractions, and be patient through the frustrations and difficulties.

Keep reading to learn what other advice Miranda and other freelance writers had to share about how to start a freelance writing business.

Miranda’s Story

Miranda MarquitRecently, for the Part Time Money podcast, I sat down with one of my own freelance writers, Miranda Marquit.

Listen to the Podcast

Miranda’s work can be found all across the personal finance blog-o-sphere. She’s been able to take her writing business and expand it into a full-time money maker that helps support her family and allows her to spend more time

Miranda is not new to this business. She’s been at it for at least 6 years and has really mastered what it takes to do this at an optimal level. We talk about how she got started, what makes her most successful, how she spends her time during the day, how she generates content ideas, and what mistakes to look out for.

Miranda has written a book, Community 101: How to Grow an Online Community that I think any online business owner would enjoy. Be sure to check that out and visit Miranda’s website at www.MirandaMarquit.com if you’re in need of freelance writing services, or if you want to talk to her more about how she manages her business.

Working From Home

Being able to stay at home to raise children is important to a lot of parents. After getting a Masters degree in Journalism, Miranda Marquit didn’t even consider looking for a job outside the home. She wanted to stay home with her son, and freelance writing was a perfect way for her to increase her family’s income yet be the primary caregiver for her child.

Read More: 10 Best Jobs for Stay-At-Home Moms and Dads

Miranda knew it was important for her to be able to write quickly, and she knew that if she wrote about areas she was passionate, her words would flow faster. Research wouldn’t bog her down as much either.

In the beginning of her freelance career, she didn’t solely focus on personal finance writing; she thought she was going to be a science writer for a while. After several people asked her to write personal finance pieces, she naturally gravitated towards those and has now developed a reputation as a personal finance freelance writer.

As a mom, Miranda had to be strategic about finding the time to write her articles. When he was younger, she often wrote early before her child awoke, during naptime, or at night after he had gone to bed. She also sent him to daycare a few hours a day and used that time to work as well. Now that he is in school, it’s not an issue.

Watching Her Business Grow

Miranda earns anywhere from $20 to $150 an article. Much of the difference is dependent on the client and their budget. She can also earn more depending on revenue sharing or traffic bonuses, if they are offered. Since Miranda can typically write a 500-word article in 15-20 minutes, she can usually earn around $300 a day if she’s working on 10 articles that day.

As her client base has grown as well as her ability to write faster, she’s seen her income grow. Miranda hasn’t had to actively search for writing jobs in over 3 years. She’s quick to point out that it has taken a lot of hard work and time to get to where she is, but she does little-to-no marketing of her services anymore.

Related: How to Make Six Figures a Year as a Freelancer

Miranda’s Advice for Getting Started

For someone wanting to get started on a career in freelance writing, Miranda gives the following advice:

  • Create a webpage: Even if you don’t have a blog, create an online portfolio of your work and contact information so clients can learn more about you.
  • Apply for jobs: She recommends online job boards like ProBlogger, Freelance Writing Gigs, Guru, and eLance. Find a place where you can write regularly, even if it’s for less money at first.
  • Stick with it: Miranda says she wrote a lot of pieces she didn’t enjoy writing for a year and a half or two years, but continuing to do the work it took to build her online reputation was important.
  • Take a writing class: Even if it’s just a community education class or auditing a composition class at the local university, Miranda says brushing up on the fundamentals of writing is helpful for anyone who is just beginning.

Read More: 21 Online Job Search Sites to Find Your Next Job

How to Balance Your Freelance Career With a Full-Time Job

Let’s face it. Living the life of a corporate cog isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But the thought of trying to escape into the world of freelancing can be daunting.

Building a successful freelance career can be time-consuming and requires a lot of work and organization. Fortunately, there are a number of people out there who have succeeded, so you can too! Here’s how they did it.

You’ll Never Have the Time. You Have to Make It

When I started blogging, it was just as a side hobby to keep me feeling challenged. But, over the next few years, I saw that it was creating real value for my readers as well as my family.

And since I still had a full-time job at the time, I’d primarily work on the blog from 8 pm to midnight (sometimes 3 am). This would allow me time to spend with the family each evening, but still, spend a significant amount of time each night on the blog.

Whether you’re trying to build a blog, a freelance writing business, or anything else, there’s always going to be some way to fill your time. Think about it on a scale good/better/best. What’s the best use of your time in the long term?

Learn More: How to Make Money Blogging [10 Important Questions Answered]

If you’re serious about creating a freelance writing business for yourself, it needs to become a priority. Of course, just because it’s a priority doesn’t mean it’s easy.

Holly at Club Thrifty, who quit her job just 11 months after starting her blog and freelancing career adds:

“Make sure you are making good use of your time. When you are trying to build a freelance career and work full-time, something has to give. That could mean giving up TV for a while or certain activities in order to find time for your freelance work. If you are having trouble finding the time to invest in your side business, consider getting up real early. There were times when I would get up at 4:30 or 5:00 a.m. to get a few hours of work done before heading to my 9-5 job.”

Live and Die by Your Schedule

Now that you’re squeezing in more work than you feel you can handle, it’s time to create a routine.

Whether you’re hustling in the morning, in the evening or both, it needs to be structured or you’ll end up looking back and asking yourself where all your time is going.

LaTisha, who recently left her full-time job to build her business, Young Finances, says that a little planning can make it easier to keep distractions out:

“To keep everything balanced, I prepped meals on Sunday. Anything I was going to eat for the week, lunch, dinners I either cooked or pulled the ingredients together on Sunday. That gave me more time after work for blogging. I also squeezed in exercise by waking up earlier. I really had to maximize my time so I could get more done. It definitely paid off and I have the ability to do the work that I love on a full-time basis now.”

Michelle from Making Sense of Cents, who is earning close to $15k a month in her full-time freelancing career, adds:

“Always schedule in downtime. No matter how busy you are, it’s always wise to set at least a few hours aside for yourself. It will keep you sane, and it can also help rejuvenate you and keep you motivated. Working non-stop is not healthy.”

Ben Luthi said that he had to start saying “No” to overtime opportunities at his day job in order to increase his client base.

“As disappointing as it was to my boss, I had to cancel some overtime because I felt like I was about to have a panic attack. Your work is only as good as you are, so take care of yourself.”

Minimize Distractions

I don’t know if you’re like me, but sometimes I feel like my mind is a seven-lane highway. There are always a million different things going on–ideas, deadlines, other obligations, or maybe what’s going down in the news that day.

But if you want to maximize what little time you have, you’re going to have to do everything in your power to create an atmosphere where you can minimize those distractions.

Melanie from Dear Debt, who also just recently dropped her full-time job and is enjoying the other side of the fence, offers her thoughts:

“Use a timer when you work. It can be easy to get distracted, but when you are juggling a full-time job and a freelancing career, you have no time to waste. Think about how long a task should take and set a timer. And put everything on your calendar: deadlines, personal appointments, EVERYTHING.”

This also means learning to say no to other things and enjoying a low-information diet when it comes to things going on in the rest of the world. Remember the good/better/best scale. What’s going to create the most value for you in the long term?

Related: Time Management Tips [And Free Online Tools] For Entrepreneurs

Patience is a Virtue

In all of this, it’s important to have patience. This is going to take a lot of work over a prolonged period of time. Some, like Holly Johnson, were able to ramp things up pretty quickly. But that won’t happen to everyone.

There are going to be times of frustration. There are even going to be times when you want to give it up and go back to enjoying a more simple life.

I’m sure that many people who start down this path end up quitting. But your dreams are worth more than that. And the last thing you want is to spend the rest of your corporate life regretting your decision to stay.

The Bottom Line

Building a freelance writing business can be a stressful venture. Adding in a full-time job and the rest of your life into that mix can make it all-consuming.

I experienced similar juggling pains while I was building this blog. But in the end, autonomy, flexibility, and freedom are worth it. If you don’t believe me, ask any of these freelance writing experts personally and they’ll tell you all about it.

Want to get started as a freelancer? What first steps will you take?

Photo by Nick Morrison on Unsplash

To see the full transcript of my interview with Miranda, just click show

About Philip Taylor, CPA

Philip Taylor, aka "PT", is a CPA, blogger, podcaster, husband, and father of three. PT is also the founder and CEO of the personal finance industry conference and trade show, FinCon.

He created Part-Time Money® back in 2007 to share his advice on money, hold himself accountable (while paying off over $75k in debt), and to meet others passionate about moving toward financial independence.

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  1. You are welcome, Miranda. I waited too long to have you on the show.

  2. Peter Anderson says

    Go Miranda!

  3. Miranda Marquit says

    Thanks for the opportunity, PT!

  4. Dana @ Budget Dietitian says

    This was great! Loved the detail and hearing about the day-to-day schedule of Miranda.

  5. Thanks, everyone, for the kind words! I think Kevin’s right; sitting down and banging a few out at a time can be quite helpful, rather than doing it piecemeal. Another thing that I do, that I didn’t mention, is keep an “ideas list.” I have an electronic version on my computer, as well as one that I carry in a notebook in my purse. If I get stuck, I can turn to those ideas for something to write about.

  6. 20 and Engaged says

    Miranda is definitely my inspiration for freelance writing. I have her book on my Amazon wish list and will be reading it soon!

  7. Kevin@OutOfYourRut says

    Freelance blog writer here–and Miranda helped me get there! While she was busy writing 5-10 posts a day, she took some time to provide advice and valuable connections that helped me on my way. She’s a certified leader in the blog writing universe!

    I think your comment “go for it” is really the key to the whole effort, you just have to commit and go. Like any new venture it’ll take time to build, but fortunately writing–on blogs at least–is very doable.

    I don’t have a degree in journalism (or anything close to it), so speed is harder to come by. But I’ve found that regimentation can be a big help. If you can block out time to write two or three posts in one sitting it tends to go faster. You get into a rythym and the writing starts to flow. Writing posts one at a time may seem simpler, but it really will take more time trying to do it that way, especially if you’re new to writing.

    I think that a lot of people could easily do this on a part time basis, and if you find that you really like it, you can gradually build it into full time. It’s easily the most enjoyable income earning venture I’ve ever worked on, and you can’t say that about most endeavors that involve work!

  8. Carrie Smith says

    I really enjoyed this interview. I especially like the idea about sending your child(ren) to daycare or day camp. It makes your work more productive and gives the child good social interaction.

    I am going to try and organize my thoughts, to stop and think about my subject before writing like Miranda suggested. That’s another good piece of advice.

    As always, thanks for doing the podcast PT.

  9. Wow! I’m also impressed with her writing speed and the range of income per article. Time to keep practicing and honing my skills.

  10. Awesome interview!
    Even though I was shocked to hear how fast Miranda writes an article… I can easily say that the articles she produces are top notch quality.

  11. David Leonhardt says

    I also sent my daughters to pre-school, even though I worked out of home. It was so important for them to get socialization, and there is no way I would be able to give them attention while working. In the afternoon, there would be naps (only for them, unfortunately).