How to Start Earning a Five-Figure Freelance Writing Income

Freelance Writing Income Possibilities

Tired of not making enough money? This article will explain how you can start earning a full-time freelance writing income.

Twelve years ago, we were living in a basement apartment with no daylight buried under $51,000 in credit card debt. We’re now debt free and make $5,000 a month freelance writing about how we paid off that debt. This article will tell you exactly how we did that so you, too, can make money from your misfortunes. After you’re inspired by our story, then try this to start your freelance writing career today!

It all started with us starting our blog. If you haven’t already done so, start your gay blog today and get our exclusive discount here.

Like the emperor with no clothes and the cobbler’s kids with no shoes, 12 years ago, we were two financial services professionals poorly managing our own money, as we were helping others manage theirs. We weren’t newly employed, but we weren’t spring chickens.

Clinging to the gay cliché of living well, traveling well, and being upwardly mobile was our monetary mistake. Back when there was a different gay bar to go to every night in Denver, we were at a different gay bar every single night in Denver. We overspent at happy hours that lasted hours, expensive dinners despite an expansive fridge, clubbing all hours all nights, clothes we didn’t need and couldn’t afford, and vacations we shouldn’t have gone on. All this was happening while our debt was piling up.

Life wasn’t going as planned. We were the gay version of the Friend’s theme song. When we realized that club thumping every night wasn’t getting us where we wanted to go, we decided it was time to make a change. A change like this was in order.

We paid off our $51,000 in credit card debt in two and a half years. We put what we knew professionally and all too personally about money into our book, 4: The Four Principles of a Debt Free Life, and this blog you’re reading now.

What started as a hobby turned into one and a half full-time jobs. John works solely for the Debt Free Guys. He’s mastered making money from freelance writing and we’re now delving into public speaking. David splits his time between his W-2 and our 1099.

Our freelance writing currently earns us $5,000 a month. To earn that, we talk about more than paying off our $51,000 in credit card debt, but it was paying off our debt, starting our queer blog, and writing our book that got us earning $5,000 a month from freelancing.

Find Your Passion

Most freelance writers have a specialty. They choose one, maybe two, topics in which to be experts. To get good gigs, you can’t play the Renaissance man. You may be an expert on everything, but your public and clients want to put you in a box. If you’re as diverse with your freelance writing as the types of guys you’ve been with, you’ll struggle.

Freelance writers write about politics or music or economics or fashion or anything else. They don’t typically write about public policy and life coaching – too confusing!

Kickstart your freelance writing career with this. Don’t miss it!

This is also important because to earn $5,000+ a month by freelance writing, you’ll need to write a lot about your specialty. So, don’t pick a topic that’ll bore you. Writing clients want to see your breath and depth on a topic or two, so enjoy your topic.

We wrote about exploring and picking your passion when we wrote about how to become a blogger and why the world needs more LGBT bloggers. Check that out here!

Give Value By Serving Others and the Money Will Come

Now that you’ve picked your passions, who will your freelance writing help and how will it help them. Your boss (freelance writing clients) want to give their readers value. Your key to making full-time freelance writing income hinges on this. If your readers aren’t interested in your writing, your freelance writing income will be a big fat zero.

Practice. Practice. Practice.

I don’t know who, but someone once said, “A good writer is a bad writer who didn’t stop writing.” – or something like that. The point is to be a five-figure freelance writer and didn’t spend years in journalism school, like no one I know, all hope isn’t lost.

The best way to become a better writer is to write a lot. Write more. Then, write some more. When you first start writing, you’ll likely be scared to let people read it. This isn’t writing in your diary. To make a living from it, and wanting to make a living from it is great, you must share it.

There are tools better than Microsoft Word to can help you. Grammarly is amazing. It does spell check, grammar check, dupe check, missed word check, and more.

Readable is another site we use. Readable verifies the readability of your writing. Using algorithms, Readable estimates the grade-level required to read your writing. You want your writing to target a 6th or 7th grade-level to have the broadest appeal. Freelance writing income comes from appealing to a large audience and not all of us want to War and Peace for every article we read.

Readable also estimates the time it takes to read your work and analyzes the sentiment, positive or negative, of your writing. Unless you’re writing a “how to,” like this on how to’ start a blog guide, you want your articles under six minute-reads. Most people are reading you on their phones at work on the toilet. Don’t get them in trouble with their boss.

You won’t need this now, but you will eventually. You have about three seconds to get a reader to read your writing. Think of how fast you scroll through news and Facebook on your phone. What catches your attention first is the title and the opening lines.

You’ve heard the term “click-bait?”

Don’t want to rely on click bait, but do create titles that capture get attention. We rely on Co-Schedule Headline Analyzer. Co-Schedule grades your headlines and helps improve them.

With strategies like this, friends of ours are earning $200,000+ a year from freelancing. Someday, we will, too. That includes you!

When you’re ready to share your writing, share small. Maybe let your husband read it first. Ask him for feedback. This will be tough, but it’s critical. Be open to receiving his feedback. When you’re confident enough, share your writing with other family and friends. Ask for their feedback and be as receptive to it just as your man’s (what are we talking about?).

Then, start a blog and go public. If starting a blog sounds hard to try our step-by-step guide to creating your blog and starting blogging in one-hour. Our niece did it and raved about how simple it was.

Write a Book

You need to establish yourself as a thought leader on a topic. One way is to write and publish a book. Sites, such as Lulu, Smashwords, and CreateSpace, make this super easy. We’ve published three books on Smashwords. You’re not writing a New York Times best-seller – yet. You’re putting your content out and creating a catalog.

When you’ve been writing in your niche for a minute, you’ll have a nice catalog. As your writing improves and voice strengthens, you may want to improve your earlier writing. Improving your earlier writing and putting it into a logical sequence with supporting information is a great way to write a book.

Use the sites above to create your book to sell on Amazon and wham! – wake me up before you go go –  you’re a published author. This isn’t walking on sunshine, but it’s easier than it seems. Plus, even being a self-published author, has girth – wait, again!

Be a Social Media Powerhouse

You’re nothing today if you’re nothing on social media. To make big money as a freelance writer, your clients want to know you have an audience. So, you must have a social media presence. Which ones should you be on? That depends on your target market. Where are they?

We’re on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Google+, and Instagram. We’re on Facebook because, aside from Grindr and Scruff, most gay men are on Facebook. We’re on Twitter to connect with celebrities (Taye Digg, Margaret Cho, and John Cena to name a few), local and national media, and corporations. We talk more about this under ‘Network. Network. Network.’

We’re on Pinterest because Pinterest is a major search engine. Even though Pinterest is currently mostly moms, the rate of men signing up for Pinterest is faster than women. Plus, Pinterest is investing millions to attract men. No doubt four to eight percent of them are gay. If Pinterest wants to put me in front of a gaggle of gay men, who am I to question it? We have killer boards you should check out.

We’re on YouTube because this is the best place to host videos. We’re on Google+ even though no one else is because promoting our new articles on Google+ appeases the Google gods and ranks our articles higher in searches. Lastly, we’re on Instagram because gay men are visual creatures and Instagram lets us connect with them in a different way.

Initially, your social media will be the main driver of traffic to your blog. When you come out with a new post or freelance article, you’ll promote it on social media to announce its arrival like all Cher’s farewell tours. Use tools such as HootSuite and Meet Edgar to automate this and make your life as easy as a twink after a few Cosmos. Social media can be a full-time job and you don’t have all day.

Over time you’ll establish yourself as an authority in your niche on social media. A great way to connect with other bloggers, journalists, writers, and businesses is connecting on social media. Like, comment on, and share what they share. Ask them for quotes and tag them in posts. In time, you’ll establish a connection and can pursue business opportunities.

Network. Network. Network.

When you become an online entrepreneur with success, 95 percent of your job will be networking. One-hundred percent of your business opportunities will take longer than you expect and 60 percent of your initial business opportunities will fall through. You’ve gotta to keep the pipeline full.

It’s a number’s game, like hooking up at the bar.

Even if something falls through, it won’t always fall through forever. There are many variables when establishing relationships and sometimes there are circumstances that make “right now” not the right time.

Other ways to network are attending industry, social media, and blogging conferences, attending talks and events by local businesses. Join your local and the national LGBT chambers of commerce, if you’re queer or a queer ally.

We’re personal finance writers. The first year we attended the personal finance blogging conference, we connected with a publisher that syndicates its articles on major platforms. They got us published on YahooFinance, MSN Money, and others. This is when we establish our street cred and our street cred has grown ever since. This is also where we met many new friends who’ve helped us succeed in our new careers.

Because we’ve been published in so many publications, we can command more money per article than freelance writers just starting out or who haven’t been published. When you approach a blog, whether small or large – and when you start out size doesn’t matter – they’ll ask to see your writing. When you refer them to major publications in your niche, your equity increases. That’s money!

Write for Others

To create this equity, offer to write for other blogs once you have at least ten posts on your own blog. Initially, this freelancing is free for obscure publications. As you build your portfolio and cred, you can get $20 here and $50 there. Someday you, too, can make $230,000 a year from freelancing.

When we first started writing, we wrote for a blog no one read. We then emailed every single editor of every LGBT magazine in the country and offered to write for free. Eventually, one bit and we were published in actual print. This, too, was free, but in time we were getting $100 to $500 an article.

Subscribe to freelancing job boards, such as Contently, Pro Blogger, and and set up IFTTT to email you when freelancing jobs are available. Create standard templates to pitch freelancing opportunities to make pitching easier. (I swear we’re talking about getting writing gigs!) You’ll need to modify each pitch, but having a process will make it easier.

Create an account with Capsule CRM to manage the people and business to whom you pitch and to follow up accordingly. Capsule is a free client relationship management tool.

Get Quoted

In addition to getting published, get quoted to establish yourself as an authority in your niche. Create a HARO account. HARO stands for “Help a Reporter Out” and lets reporters and journalists get quotes from those who have quotes to give. Once you’ve been quoted in their publication, add that to your street cred to increase your equity. We’ve got our ‘DFG In the News’ page that highlights all our work everywhere. Do something similar.

Offer Your Writing Services for Freelance Writing Income

When you’ve established yourself as the authority in your niche on your blog and social media and been published and quoted, pitch your writing to businesses and publications. Many large and small businesses have blogs to appease the Google gods and drive traffic to their sites. It’s cheaper to hire freelancers than a staff of writers. Because you’ve niched down and have a unique voice for a specific audience, you’ll stand out from everyone else.

It all seems daunting at first, but it’s not about doing it all at once. It’s about doing a little at a time, doing it slowly and consistently, and in time reaching your goal of making thousands of dollars a month from freelancing. You can also make thousands of dollars a month from your blog by starting here. We’ll talk about monetizing your blog in the future. For now, start your blog and start your freelance writing career with our instructions above and this great tool.

It took us four years from start to finish to get to where we are. That includes the year we had no idea what we were doing. Lucky, you! You can skip that with this article and this help. With more focus and our help, you’ll reach your goal faster.

Now get on your path to make more money on your own!

Is the awesome life you always dreamed of
still somewhere over the rainbow?

Our FREE #MoneyConscious Financial Planning Guide:
12 Steps to a Richer You eBook will help you get there!

Comment List

  • CentSai 28 / 03 / 2017 Reply

    Thank you for sharing your ways on how to make the most out of freelancing! We always love coming to your blog! 🙂

  • Shawn Smith 31 / 03 / 2017 Reply

    Very informative. Thanks for sharing.

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