How to create your ideal freelance schedule

freelance writing tips Feb 07, 2022

Many freelance writers struggle with putting together a schedule that works for them. Not everyone works the same way, but there are some basic things you can do to put together a schedule that works for you.

Figure out when you work best

Depending on your situation, you might be better at working in the morning, afternoon, evening, or even at night. Think about when you’re most productive and able to focus. Consider getting your most important or challenging assignments done during that time.

Consider batching

One way to get more done is to batch similar tasks. For example, Miranda tries to batch a lot of her writing on Mondays, early on in the week. She often chooses Wednesday and Thursday afternoons to interview sources. Lumping similar tasks together can help you stay on task and focus, without the need to task switch as much.

Plan ahead of time

Kat spends time on Sundays looking at what’s coming and outlining the coming week. You can also look at a rolling...

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How diverse is your freelance writing income?

 

One of the greatest feelings in the world is landing a major client. A big client can feel like an increase in stability, as you have a cornerstone for your freelance income.

However, it’s important to be careful about how much you rely on a single client. While freelancing can be a good source of income, it’s not always the most stable. You could lose a client overnight — and then be in trouble.

Don’t let any one client make up more than 20% of your income

Our helpful rule of thumb is to build a stable of clients so that no one client represents more than 20% of your income. If you find yourself doing a lot of work for one client, consider scaling back a bit with that client as you add a new prospect or two. 

You can also diversify your income by monetizing a website, launching a course, writing books, or finding other ways to generate revenue. If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that freedom and flexibility are paramount — and that you...

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Stay motivated with a freelancing “why”

We all have a “why” when it comes to our freelance writing careers. Miranda, Kat, and Ben all wanted more freedom and flexibility in their lives — as well as the ability to make more money.

Understanding your own why can make a difference in how you move forward and reach your goals. It’s usually not enough to just make more money. Instead, there’s usually a reason — a why — you want that money. Some common whys we hear from Freelance Writer Academy students and our other friends include:

  • Pay down debt
  • Retire early
  • Go on more vacations
  • Send the kids to college
  • Work flexible hours
  • More time off

Once you have an idea of what you can accomplish with freelancing, and you focus on your why, it becomes easier to send another pitch.

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Can you really make six figures as a freelance writer?

Can you really make six figures as a freelance writer? What’s realistic?

The truth is that each of us make six figures as freelancers. Both Kat and Ben make more than $200,000 a year, and Miranda makes more than $100,000 a year (she’s been cutting back).

How much you can expect to earn as a freelance writer depends on a few factors:

  • How much you pitch
  • The types of articles you write
  • Your niche
  • Whether you’re required to interview people or do research
  • How much time you have to write
  • Other projects you take on

All of us write primarily in the personal finance niche. The types of articles that pay the most are credit card reviews. Those can pay $0.50 to $0.75 per word. Other articles might pay between $0.35 and $0.50 per word, depending on the subject and the intensity of the work. Some work, such as website marketing copy, press releases, or white papers might pay $1 or $2 per word.

In a lot of ways, it’s still the wild west out there. However, if you...

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Get paid! 3 things you shouldn’t do for “free”

Increasingly, it seems like clients are demanding more for writers. And, while there are things you can do to make yourself more valuable, like understanding SEO best practices, it doesn’t mean you should let a client take advantage of you.

Here are three things you shouldn’t do for your clients — unless they’re ready to pay a premium.

1. Keyword research

There are people who specialize in keyword research and SEO strategy. And they get paid a lot. While you want to be aware of best practices, including using keywords in headings and not stuffing them, you shouldn’t be in charge of finding keywords or coming up with a strategy to improve SEO.

As a writer, you’re there to provide content to help with SEO strategy, but you don’t make the strategy. If someone is asking you to research keywords and create SEO strategy, ask for more money. 

In fact, if you’re knowledgeable enough to be doing that stuff, you should be paid for that...

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3 tips for staying focused as a freelance writer

freelance writing tips Jan 20, 2022

One of the questions we’ve been getting a lot lately is this: How do you maintain focus as a freelance writer?

This can be a tough one, especially if you have ADHD or some other attention issue. Both Miranda and Kat experience ADHD/ADD, so they know how tough it can be to focus sometimes. 

Here are their top three tips for staying focused as a freelance writer:

Plan out the week in advance

Both Kat and Miranda use Sundays to map out the next two weeks. Take a look at what articles are due, which need interviews/sources, and when you have scheduled interviews.

Because the schedule changes week-to-week, this also provides a chance to make tweaks. Perhaps you build in a re-set day or set your personal due dates ahead of client due dates. Dedicating time to planning in advance and setting a schedule can help you stay on track.

Create a routine

Find a routine that works for you. Miranda likes to batch writing on certain days and blocks out time in the morning to get that...

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How to decide whether a freelance writing client is worth it

One of the questions we get all the time is this: How do I know if a client is worth it?

There are different ways to evaluate whether a client continues to serve you and your freelance writing career goals. Some of the different measures can include:

Rate of pay

One of the easiest measures is the rate of pay. How much are you getting paid for your work? Rarely does it makes sense to accept an hourly rate for freelance writing, but it can be one way to measure whether a client is worth your time. 

 

  • Per-word rate: Some writers like to gauge how well a client pays by their per-word rate. After all, if you can get between $0.35 and $0.65 per word, that’s not too bad. And for some work you can get $0.75 to $1.50 per word — or more. When you have enough other clients paying higher rates, it can make sense to drop the client with the lower rate.
  • Per-article rate: Similarly, you might decide to base your assessment on the rate you get paid for each article. You can...
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How to grow your network — and get gigs — as a freelance writer

freelance writing gigs Jan 13, 2022
 

You might be surprised to discover that one of the most effective ways to find new gigs is to network.

Networking is one of the fastest and easiest ways to find new work as a freelance writer because it’s all about who you know

If you’re hoping to expand your gig base, here are some of the best ways to grow your network.

How to get gigs through your freelance writing network

 

  • Connect with other writers. That’s right. Start by connecting with other writers. We’re always passing along gig information and recommending writers to clients when we’re swamped. Join freelance writing groups on LinkedIn and Facebook and make connections on Twitter. We also frequently post job leads in the exclusive Freelance Writer Academy Facebook group.
  • Maintain relationships with editors. Once you have good relationships with editors, maintain those contacts. In many cases, editors that like you will bring you on to other projects. We’ve gotten gigs at...
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6 things to include in your freelance writer bio

New clients usually ask for a bio they can include with your work. This is an amazing opportunity to showcase who you are — and potentially even find gigs as would-be clients see what you’ve done.

As you craft your freelance writer bio, here are six essential tips for making sure you portray yourself in the best light.

One-sentence summary of what you do

Start the bio short and sweet, with a succinct summary of what you do. Miranda’s bio usually leads with some version of, “Miranda Marquit has more than 15 years of experience as a freelance financial writer, specializing in content related to investing, small business, behavioral economics, and long-term financial planning.” Any potential client immediately knows what I’m good at and understands that I have a lot of experience.

Professional headshot

Find out what parameters are needed for a headshot, and then make sure you have something that looks professional. A good headshot portrays confidence...

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How to track your progress as a freelance writer

We all like metrics that help us understand our progress — and that can help us evaluate where to go next.

If you want to track your progress as a freelance writer, there are some different ways to measure how you’re doing, and see whether you’re moving forward.

Metrics for tracking freelance writing career progress

 

  • Hourly rate: Keep track of how much time you spend on an article and divide what you’re making by how many hours it took to finish it. Over time, a higher hourly rate can indicate that you’re working smarter, not harder.
  • Number of articles written: Track the number of articles you write each week and/or each month. Figure out an average that makes sense for your schedule and situation. Are you doing more work, or less work, than you want to do?
  • Average rate per word: Some freelancers like to figure out how much they’re making per word. Divide your fee by the number of words you wrote. Over time, work to increase your...
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