7 Ways to Make Money as a Writer [and How to Get Started]

how to make money as a writer

Many people earn a living online these days. One of the most popular (and profitable) is writing.

Whether you’re a full-time writer or it’s your side hustle, writing can be a great source of income. You can make money writing online through freelancing, blogging, creating an ebook, or even doing social media. There are several sites dedicated to helping you get started writing online. 

Freelancer

Becoming a freelancer is one of the best ways that a writer can make money online. A freelancer is someone who offers services to a business or company. As a writer, your service would, of course, be writing. Freelancers are independent contractors and can have many clients at once.

As a freelance writer, you can work when you want to. You can also choose what type of articles you want to work on. You may start off as a lower paid writer, but as you continue to get more work and build your reputation, you can raise your rates. 

Freelance writers can make money writing almost any type of content. This includes:

  • Article writing
  • SEO writing
  • Copywriting
  • Technical writing

An excellent resource for learning how to build a writing business is Catherine Alford’s “Get Paid to Write for Blogs” course. Catherine is an award-winning full-time freelance writer. In her course, she shares tips and secrets to building a writing business writing for blogs. 

Related: Take Your Freelance Writing Business to the Next Level

Ghostwriter

A popular form of freelance writing is called ghostwriting. As a ghostwriter, you write content for someone else, but under their name, not yours. Many website owners, entrepreneurs, and other small businesses are too busy to write themselves, but want good content and are willing to pay for it. 

You won’t be able to add any of your ghostwriting work to your portfolio, but often these gigs can pay more because of that fact. If you are just starting out as a writer, you may want to build your portfolio first, but if you’ve been writing for a while, ghostwriting can be another stream of writing income. 

Being a good ghostwriter means being able to capture your client’s voice when you write. While they are your words, you want your writing to reflect their style and opinions. 

Related: How to Become a Ghostwriter [and Make >$150 Per Article Ghostwriting] 

Editor

As an editor, you review other people’s writings. You will fix poorly written content and find errors and typos.

All written material should be edited before it goes out into the world, so there is a lot of opportunities for editors to find work. If this is something you are interested in getting into, ask your writing clients if they have editing work for you. This is a great way to get started because you are already familiar with their content style. 

As an experienced writer, you can fill in holes in your writing schedules with editing work. 

Virtual Assistant

A virtual assistant (VA) isn’t necessarily a traditional writing job but can involve writing depending on your specific clients. VAs are usually freelancers and often work from home and can set their own schedules. 

Many of the tasks are administrative in nature but can include creating content, proofreading, and creating social media posts. Other tasks include scheduling appointments, booking travel, organizing files, bookkeeping, and more. Entrepreneurs seek out help from virtual assistants to keep them organized and handle daily tasks. This helps business owners stay focused on other areas of their business. 

Having a formal certificate isn’t required to become a virtual assistant, but it’s good to have an idea of what services you want to offer and how to build your VA business. The easiest way to get started is in an industry with which you are already familiar. For example, if you’ve been a Real Estate agent in the past, then becoming a VA for another agent would be relatively easy. You probably know other agents and are familiar with the work so you know you’d do a great job. 

Breaking into a new industry is going to be more difficult, but not impossible. Talk to business owners in the industry you are looking into and try to get a feel for their needs. That will give you valuable insight into what services you should offer.  

If you are struggling with getting started, consider signing up for Kayla Sloan’s $10k VA course. Through her course, Kayla shares many of the strategies she used to build her virtual assistant business, which pulls in more than $10k every month. 

Related: How to Find Virtual Assistant Jobs that You Can Do From Home

10KVA Learn how to make a consistent $10,000 per month as a virtual assistant! Learn More 10KVA We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Social Media Manager

If you know your way around all of the social media platforms, you can make money creating content and campaigns for entrepreneurs for their social media channels. You can consult on social media strategies or work as a manager for their social media accounts. 

Social media is such a part of our everyday lives now. If you have the ability to create captivating or thought-provoking social media posts, there’s money to be made. Every good business owner, website owner, and online personality include social media as part of their marketing strategy. 

Related: How to Make Money as a Social Media Consultant

Create an Ebook

Another side hustle for writers is to create an ebook.

If you know a lot about a subject, you could write an ebook about it. For example, if you understand how SEO works, you can create an ebook discussing SEO in-depth. There are so many topics out there that a writer can write about. If ‘how-to” books aren’t your thing, you can always write a short fiction or nonfiction ebook. Ebooks are an excellent source of passive income. Once you’ve written your ebook, you can sell it online with little to no work involved.

Start a Blog

Last but not least, you can create a blog. The opportunities are endless. You can use your website for advertising your writing services, or you could discuss different topics on your blog. You can sell products on there as well. When you’re coming up with your blog, you do want to figure out a niche or two. Then you can start promoting it to people who like that niche.

Your blog will also turn into your portfolio. Once it gains, traction potential clients will find you. You may start to get emails from people looking for your writing help. Having a blog can change your life. If you’re a writer, it’s something that you should seriously consider doing.

As you’ve just read, there are several ways that you can make money online if you’re a writer. Freelancing, editing others’ work, writing an ebook, and creating a blog are just a few ways. If you need the extra money, figure out which way works best for you and get to work.

Related: How to Make Money Blogging

Where to Find Writing Jobs Online

There are several ways to find freelance jobs. Let’s take a look at some of the places where writers can find jobs. 

Job Boards

Job Boards are a way for writers to quickly search through listings of job postings. Typically these are free for job seekers to search. Check out the following job boards and see if you find any jobs that look promising for you:

If you are in the beginning stages of being a freelancer, you can use websites like Upwork or Fiverr. Writing gigs are typically low paying on these sites, but can help build your portfolio and get you started. Getting started is the most important thing. Building your writing business won’t happen overnight. 

Traditional online job boards can also be a source for writing jobs. You just need to refine your searches to focus on writing jobs only. Here are a few more job boards that could lead to writing jobs:

Social Media

Writers can also use social media channels to find writing jobs. One way to do this is to join Facebook groups for writers as well as in your writing niche. Many writing jobs come from referrals from other writers.

Building relationships with other writers no only can lead to jobs, but also gives you peers you can turn to for advice. 

LinkedIn is another great option. You can create a profile for yourself and include details about your writing, links to writing samples and your website, and make connections with businesses and individuals who may need writing services. 

Networking 

The other way that you can find freelance jobs is to network with your friends and associates. This can be a lucrative way to build your writing business. If you are looking for jobs, let your network know. There is a good chance they someone needs your services or knows someone else who does.

Plus, as you provide excellent services for people in your network, often you’ll gain referral work. Having a reputation as a good writer often leads to even bigger writing gigs. 

Attending networking events can also lead to paid writing gigs. For example, at FinCon, there is a freelancer marketplace, where writers can sit down with entrepreneurs, website owners, and companies looking for new writers. There’s usually a cost associated with attending big events like this, but it can be worth it if you are good at networking.

Local and regional networking events can also be a great source for finding writing jobs as well. 

Making Extra Money as a Freelance Writer and Work At Home Mom 

Stephanie Taylor Christensen is a work at home mom running a successful freelance writing business. Check out this episode of the Part-Time Money Podcast to learn more about how Stephanie Part Time Money Podcastleft a corporate career when her son was born and has since been pursuing a freelance writing career in her spare time. She also teaches yoga once a week, which pays for her gym membership and child care. In the podcast, she spends some time taking about how to become a freelance writer, even when you have a child at home. 

Stephanie’s Story: Wanting to Work from Home

Stephanie Christensen hadn’t really planned to quit her day job and stay at home with her child. But once she actually had her son and experienced life with both parents working full-time, never seeing each other, and never seeing her child, she realized she wanted something different for her life.

After 9 months of trying to have it all, she found her marketing career unfulfilling and set out to see if she really could have the best of both worlds: stay at home with her child and try to earn not only additional income but build a viable, flexible, and nontraditional part-time career.

Here are 19 more work from home ideas.

Stephanie’s career as a freelancer started off slowly. She had written for a children’s magazine in the past, as well as some catalog copywriting, but all of her samples were outdated and none were online. She learned as she went.

Starting Small and Building a Clientele

The first thing she had to grow accustomed to was the salary difference. Since her career in marketing had paid well, Stephanie found herself being humbled by agreeing to write pieces for as little as $15 each. But it was a way to get some live, published work on the web to show people what she could do. Consequently, when she pitched her work to other websites, she had something to show her writing talent.

Stephanie advises other aspiring freelance writers to do their research and do it well. She likens it to putting a puzzle together–going to websites, finding editors, what writers are working on what sites and where they have worked previously. It’s studying that kind of information that helps determine which publications hire freelancers.

Being relentless is key, according to Stephanie. Sending 200 emails and hearing back from only a couple of people is not unusual. Those few might offer small amounts of money to write for them, but if it’s a stepping-stone to get to the next level, then it might be worth it. Evaluating the ROI of your time doesn’t always equal dollar signs; sometimes it means opportunity.

For a part-time job, Stephanie finds herself sneaking in 6-8 hours of work a day, during the various times her child is sleeping. Now that she has a solid client base, depending on how much she wants to take on, her monthly salary can range anywhere from $1,000 a month to beyond $3,500.

Related: How to Make Six Figures as a Freelancer

Stephanie’s Advice

Stephanie has 3 pieces of advice for anyone seeking a side gig as a freelancer:

1.Find the balance between knowing your worth and not having a chip on your shoulder. Sometimes it’s tempting to pass on a good assignment because it doesn’t pay as well.

2.It’s important to celebrate the little wins, as well as the big. You may not be writing the cover story for Money magazine, but you were featured on Yahoo! Finance. That’s worth celebrating.

3.Do not freak out and assume that just because things are not moving quickly it means things are not going to pan out. Don’t get discouraged.

Listen to the Podcast

Here are some of the questions I asked Stephanie:

Stephanie Taylor Christensen - WAHM and Freelance Writer

  • What made you want to start making part-time money?
  • What was your employment situation before you started?
  • Financially, how were you able to make the transition so quickly?
  • Was having a child your catalyst for making the move home?
  • How did you decide on freelance writing?
  • What was it about freelance writing that was appealing?
  • How do you make time to write?
  • Tell me about your yoga instructing income?
  • How do you move from small writing gigs to big?
  • How much are you bringing in from your writing?
  • What’s next for your freelance writing career?
  • What mistakes have you made along the way?

View the full transcript by clicking show

Writing is a great way to make extra money as a side hustle or as a full-time career choice. Find the right writing job for you and get started today. You’ll be on your way to extra income before you know it. 

How to Make Money as a Writer
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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