How Much Money Can You Make From Freelance Writing?

Monday, July 10, 2017
I have a love/hate thing when it comes to talking about money.

The truth is, I love setting monetary goals for myself and my freelance business. A dollar amount is a concrete way to challenge myself to grow. It pushes me to pitch better paying publications, to be more careful with my time and to improve my writing skills.

At the same time, talking about money is awkward. The nitty gritty of what I make and what can be made makes some people uncomfortable and I feel vulnerable when I share the specifics.

The truth is, whether or not there is any money in freelancing is one of the questions I hear most often. Before women devote their spare time to writing, they want to know: Is it worth the effort?

The answer is complicated. I know, I know. You want specifics. There's more of that below.

Making money from freelance writing really depends on how much time you can devote to your work, how long you’ve been writing and what kind of writing you plan to do. Obviously, your writing skills also play a part in how much you make, but I’m a big believer that anyone with the tiniest bit of natural talent can improve their writing with enough hard work.

I know women with young children who make a couple hundred dollars a month, working less than ten hours a month, because they just need a little extra cash to make ends meet. I also know women who have put their husbands through school and women who have made six figures writing for online publications. And this is just in my small community of writing friends.

I fall somewhere in the middle. Remember, when I first started freelancing, my only goal was to make enough to quit my job. My first month freelancing while working outside of the home, I made $50. By the time I quit my job in the summer of 2015, I was making around $1000 each month. For a long time, my monthly income stayed right around a grand each month. I was completely fine with this number. It allowed me to stay home full-time, which was my original goal.

Here’s the thing: I was working a lot. I was writing multiple articles a night after my kids went to bed just to invoice for $50. (I told you, pennies a word was what some of my first clients paid me.) It wasn’t until the end of 2015 that I started to realize there was a better way to do it. I fired a few clients and found better paying work, which meant I was working less but making more.

In December of 2015, I invoiced for just over $3000. It felt pretty amazing. Since then, my income has varied a lot. The only months I’ve made less than $2000 were the last month of my third pregnancy and maternity leave. There have been a handful of months when I have invoiced for right around $5000, which is the most I have ever made in a single month. Of course, what I have made has always depended on how much time I have devoted to my work and how much help I have had with my children and household tasks. My most profitable months were months when my husband was home full-time, my mom was living with us or I had hired help.

That’s the beauty of freelancing. I can ramp up my work when we have big expenses headed our way and I can slow down when I need to lean into my family life or catch up on rest. It is really what makes freelancing the perfect fit for young moms and the reason I started this blog.

I’m not sharing all this to brag or to intimidate anyone who is just getting started. My point in writing this is to answer one of the most common questions I get and to encourage women who aren’t reaching their income goals. You can support your family freelance writing, you just have to know how to get started.

That is why I started this blog in the first place. When I got my first check from my writing, I was thrilled but I was also overwhelmed. I knew there was a big leap between $50 and what I needed to make to stay home full-time, but it seemed like getting there was a secret. No one I knew was talking about the specifics and I plan to do that here on my blog, on my newsletter and by offering some one-on-one coaching calls. I'm so excited to help you reach your goals.

- Mary

P.S. I'm sharing more resources, including a list of frequently asked questions on how to pitch editors at online publications, with my newsletter subscribers. You can sign up here!

1 comment:

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