Freelance writing is considered one of the easiest side hustles. Every side hustler thinks of becoming a freelance writer at least once in their life. But their main concern is freelance writer salary. People often think that – writing is an easy job and hence pays less.
If you think so too, you couldn’t be more wrong! I left my job as a software developer to pursue writing and to be honest, I’m earning 10x of what I did in my developer job. But, it is not the same for all.
The writing industry is a cruel industry and favors only those with excellent skills. Allow me to first convince you by showing some statistics, and then you will learn how to charge more as a writer.
Freelance Content Writer Salary Statistics
Freelance writer salary can vary significantly depending on where you’re located and where you get the job from. In some regions, writers earn substantially more than their counterparts elsewhere.
This is often due to differences in the cost of living and market demand for freelance writers. For example – I live in India and write for clients located in the US and Europe. I earn in dollars, pounds, and spend in rupees. A solid win! But if I replace these clients with Indian clients, I’d be earning way less.
Let’s talk about numbers now – According to AmbitionBox, the average freelance writer salary in India is 4,40,000 INR per year. However according to Glassdoor, this number goes up to 4,90,000 INR per year.
These numbers are why you feel writing isn’t a high-paying industry. But, let me tell you a secret – “Only unskilled and unaware writers are stuck in this range.” I earn 5-6 times this number, and I know many who became millionaires with their writing skills.
Which one do you want to be?
Factors Affecting Your Freelance Writer Salary?
There are several factors that affect your freelance writer’s salary. Well, not just this; your pay in every profession depends on a number of factors. It is not only about your skill or experience. Let’s talk about some of the major factors:
1. Writer Experience
One of the most significant factors influencing your freelance writer’s salary is your experience. Clients obviously want to pay someone who’s more skilled and experienced. Hence, the pay gets better with experience.
- Years spent in the Field: The more years you spend as a writer, the better you get to earn. Spending a lot of years in a field means you’ve honed your skills, built a reputation, and often have a loyal client base.
- Wide Portfolio: A well-crafted portfolio that showcases your best work can be a powerful tool for commanding higher rates. It provides evidence of your capabilities and helps you stand out in a competitive market.
2. Writing Niche Specialization
Specializing in a particular niche can significantly impact your earning potential. Some niches are in higher demand than others, and clients are willing to pay a premium for writers who understand their industry.
For example – I started as a lifestyle writer and was earning pennies. When I moved to technical writing, I couldn’t believe it. I was getting paid my monthly pay for one article!
- High-Demand Niches: Research and identify niches that are currently in high demand. Technology, finance, and healthcare are a few examples.
- Authority in Your Specialization: Once you’ve chosen a niche, invest time in becoming an expert. Attend industry events, read extensively, and network with professionals in that field. The more you know, the more valuable you become to your clients.
Insider scoop – If you have technical knowledge, start with technical writing. It is one of the highest-paying writing niches. You’ll be rich if you are an Indian and pick clients abroad!
3. Freelance Writer Salary Based on Demographics
Where you live can impact your earnings as a freelance writer. This is particularly relevant in an era where remote work has become the norm. As I mentioned above, I earn in dollars and spend in rupees. A win-win.
But can you imagine earning in rupees and spending in dollars? No. You’ll die broke. It is very important to know the correct source you should opt for your freelance writer salary
- Remote Work Opportunities: Thanks to technology, freelance writers can work for clients worldwide. This is your cue to pick clients from demographics where the currency is stronger than yours.
4. Different Writing, Different Pay
Contrary to popular belief, freelance writing isn’t only blog/article writing. There are many types of writing, like copywriting, blog writing, email writing, documentation writing, etc. And the type of writing you specialize in can significantly impact your earning potential.
- Exploring Rate Differences Among Writing Formats: Rates for different types of writing can vary widely. For example, a copywriter writing 100-500 words often gets paid more than a blog writer delivering a 1000-3000 words article. Some of the highest-paid writing types, according to me, are – Copywriting and Documentation/Technical Writing.
Remember, according to Glassdoor, freelance writers earn around 5 lakhs INR per year. Guess the average copywriter’s salary. It’s 12-15 Lakhs per year!
- Project Complexity and Pricing: The complexity of a project also plays a role in determining your rate. Longer, more complex assignments may justify higher fees. For example – Copywriting for an e-commerce product is much easier than copywriting for a technical tool. Hence, you can and should charge according to the complexity of the project.
How to Earn Like Top 10% Writers?
I know you’ve been waiting for this. I also know that you’re scared of the boring freelance writer salary numbers mentioned above. Surprise, surprise, I also know that you don’t want to get stuck with the meager salary numbers.
Worry not. In this section, I’m going to tell you the things I personally did to get paid thousands of dollars! Ready?
Step 1: Pick a Writing Type and Niche (Like Copywriting in Technology)
Oh, the niche, again! But it is important, so:
Start by pinpointing the specific type of writing you want to specialize in and a niche that aligns with your interests and skills. For instance, you might choose to focus on copywriting in the technology sector.
I started with blog writing in the lifestyle niche. But I figured out the pay was very low and hence moved to technical blog writing. Do something similar.
Step 2: Learn Any and Everything You Can About That Type and Niche
Now that you’ve chosen your niche, it’s time to become a subject matter expert. Remember, experts get more opportunities and money.
Try out each and every resource related to your chosen writing type and niche. This includes reading books, articles, blogs, taking online courses, and attending webinars. The more knowledge you acquire, the better you can serve your clients.
But remember not to get stuck in tutorial hell. Implement everything you learn along the way.
Step 3: Build a Portfolio of Work. Write for Companies You Admire or Want to Work With
Your portfolio is your calling card in the freelance writing world. The only thing that can push aside a client’s requirement for your Experience and Expertise is the portfolio.
Start by writing blogs, copy, and documentation for tools you use, and companies you admire or aspire to work with. Yes, you’ll be writing for free initially, but these portfolio pieces can be invaluable in showcasing your skills and credibility.
Step 4: Share Your Learnings, Tips, Work, and Ask for Feedback
Creating a personal brand has become a necessity now. It helps you stand out from the competition. If you want to get better clients and charge a premium, you have to have a brand.
Choose a platform where you’ll share your expertise, such as a blog, LinkedIn, or Twitter. Personally, I feel Twitter (now X) is the best place for writers. Regularly post articles, tweets, and examples of your work. Engage with your audience, encourage discussions, and learn from writers doing better than you.
I won’t tell all the nitty-gritty of building a brand, or this article will become an eBook. Maybe in some other article. But you get the overall gist, right?
Remember to build a strong network. A good network can fetch you leads on auto-pilot.
Step 5: Create a List of 100 Clients You Want to Work With
Now that you’ve chosen your skill, niche, built a portfolio, and are building a brand. The next step is to target clients.
Strategic targeting is key. So, compile a list of 100 individuals or companies that you’d like to work with. At least 100; the more, the better.
When selecting potential clients, consider companies located in countries with currencies stronger than your own (wink).
Step 6: Do Cold Outreach
As soon as you create the list, start reaching out to the Founder, CEO, or Marketing manager. Craft personalized pitches for the people and companies on your list. It is best if you create a short-form content or blog outline and give it to them for free. If they like it, you’ll get the job for sure.
Now, don’t forget to highlight your expertise, portfolio, and clearly articulate how you can add value to their projects. Be persistent and follow up each prospect at least 4 times. If you still don’t get a response, move on. There are plenty of fish.
Step 7: Price Well (At Least $800-1000/Month)
Now, if you get a response and are close to booking the client, pricing accuracy is crucial. Before you decide how much to price, ask your client’s budget beforehand. How much can they invest? What is their current revenue, market cap, etc.?
Don’t ever worry about pricing too much. Worry more about undervaluing your work. Never ever charge less. Don’t think that – “Oh, I’m new, who’d pay me $1000!” Believe in your skills and ask about your worth.
This is where the whole point of reading this ‘freelance writer salary’ article exists. Personally, I’d advise to charge a minimum of $800-1000 per month for your services. That’s what I do.
If you’re a freelance writer, you have three options:
- Stay a mediocre freelance writer and charge mediocre.
- Learn a new side-hustle skill that you think is high-paying.
- Educate yourself and become a premium freelance writer.
Third one looks the best, right? I know! Freelance writing is overvalued and undervalued at the same time. What you see depends on your mindset.
All I did to become a premium writer was follow the steps mentioned above. If you too want to increase your freelance writer salary, follow the steps mentioned above. Reach out on Twitter (X) if you’ve any queries – @fueledfountane or @sushrutkm.