How Much Do Freelance Writers Make As Beginners?: My Experience

You’re looking to make the jump into freelance writing. Maybe you’ve been thinking about it for a while, and are ready to take the plunge. Or perhaps something terrible happened and you need to find a way to make extra cash quickly (we’ve all been there).

Whatever your reasons, you have a number of questions that you need to answer before you can get started. One of the first is one you’ll probably hear every time you mention your plans: “How much do freelance writers make as beginners?”

It’s a fair question! After all, if this is going to be your new career, it would be nice to know how much money you can expect it to bring in.

So let’s dive in!

How Much Do Beginner Freelance Writers Make?

Beginning freelance writers typically earn about $10 to $20 per hour. Experienced freelance writers can earn more than double that, particularly if they’re writing white papers, case studies, and other long-form content.

However, some new writers can make a lot of money right off the bat, while others struggle for months or years until they find their footing.

Factors In Your Earnings As A Newbie Writer

Here are some of the factors that affect how much you’ll earn as a new freelance writer:

Your skill level and experience. Obviously, if you’re new to writing, you’re not going to be able to command super-high rates right away.

Your ability to sell yourself. Just like any business, it takes work to get clients and make sales. If you have poor marketing skills, this can hold back your earning potential.

The rates in your niche and geographic area. Some niches pay better than others (e.g., health care pays better than fashion in America) and some geographic areas have higher rates than others (e.g., New York City vs. small towns). You’ll have to do some research and see what the going rate is in your niche before you set your rates.

The amount of time you spend writing and marketing yourself. The more time you put into finding clients and writing, the more money you’ll ultimately make.

Experience Level

The first factor that affects how much a freelance writer can make is experience level. If you’re just starting out, it’s important to understand that you are not going to get an enormous rate right off the bat. But don’t get discouraged! You can get your footing by writing for content mills—they’re not glamorous, but they do pay you to write and will help you build up your portfolio. 

Once you have some clips and experience under your belt, you can expect to start getting a bit more traction with your rates.

As a general rule of thumb, here are some general rates based on experience level:

Beginner: $0.01–$0.04 per word

Intermediate: $0.05–$0.10 per word

Advanced: $0.11–$0.20 per word

Expert: $0.21+ per word

My Beginner Journey

I get asked this question a lot. I didn’t make much as a new writer and I certainly don’t make millions of dollars now, but that doesn’t mean you won’t do better than me.

It depends on where you’re starting from. If you have no writing experience, it will be hard to make any money at all. You’ll have to learn how to write first and then find work. You’ll have to spend time doing those things – networking, learning, finding work – that aren’t paid and then try to take out a living from the handful of clients you can find who are willing to pay a beginner’s wage. 

Expect it to take years before you earn a living wage, if ever. If you already have some writing experience, whether that’s for print or online, your path will be quicker and easier.

Ask yourself two questions:

What are the skills that I would need in order to do this job?

Which of these skills do I already possess?

If there are other skills that you need – for example, if you want to be a tech writer but don’t know anything about IT or electronics – then you’re going to have to find ways of acquiring them without spending too much money or taking too much time away from yours.

Why I Became A Freelance Writer

I have always been a writer. As young as I can remember, I was creating stories and characters in my head and writing them down on paper. However, there was always this piece of me that couldn’t quite fit into any of the office jobs. The people around me were so passionate about the work they were doing, but I just couldn’t find that feeling within myself—and it made me feel like something had to be wrong with me.

Eventually, I decided to take my career into my own hands and become a freelance writer. And then it all clicked: because freelance writers are able to work on such a wide range of projects, getting paid to write about things that you’re actually interested in is totally possible! No more having to write about things that others think you should care about; your time is yours to spend as you please!

11 Tips For Getting Started As A Beginner Freelancer

1. Identify Your Passions

Find out what kind of freelance work you enjoy doing, then tailor your pitch deck around that. If you know you love writing about politics, reach out to politicians or political blogs and offer to write for them. If photography is your thing, reach out to photographers or art galleries and let them know you’re available for hire. You’ll be much happier working in an area you’re passionate about than something that’s just “okay” to you!

2.  Don’t Be Afraid To Charge What You’re Worth!

If you don’t feel like your current rate is getting you enough clients, consider raising it. You can also lower your rate if it’s too high for the demand (or raise it if it’s too low!). But don’t be afraid to go big—you deserve it!

3. Start Building A Portfolio Early

It’s not always easy to get clients when your portfolio is empty, but there are still plenty of ways to get some great content in there so potential clients can see what kind of work you do! Ask friends and family if there’s anything they need help with.

4. Look For Work On Reputable Sites Like Upwork And Fivver

There are lots of different ways to find freelance work, from simply asking friends or family if they need any help with projects to searching on job boards. There are plenty of reputable sites out there, including Upwork and Fiverr, where you can find work in a variety of different fields, from graphic design to writing articles.

5. Don’t Quit Your Day Job Right Away

When we say “full-time freelancer,” we mean it—many people who embark on this journey find themselves working from 9 am-9 pm every single day! Be prepared for that when you take the leap into freelance life; otherwise, you may find yourself in quite a pickle.

6. Don’t Work For Free (With Exceptions)

You should have confidence in your skills, and try not to undercut yourself, but there are some scenarios where working for free can be beneficial. If you’re just starting out, it can be a good way to build up your portfolio with experience in the field you want to work in and more samples for future pitches.

7. Communication

Communicate clearly and consistently with clients, being sure to address any concerns they may have regarding your work immediately and effectively in order to maintain a healthy working relationship with them that benefits both of you equally over time as well as in the short term.

8. Build Relationships With Clients You Like Working With

If you’re starting out, don’t just take any job you can get (although it’s tempting). You want to build relationships with clients you like working with. You want to build relationships with clients who pay well and on time (and who can afford to pay well).

9. Ask For Referrals From Happy Customers And Clients

When you make a customer happy, ask them if they know anyone who is looking for a writer. They’re most likely to recommend you if they are happy with your work and you’ve asked them to do so.

Referrals are a good way to get more jobs because the companies that you get referred to will be more likely to hire you than if your cold pitch. When a company hires a freelancer from a referral, the company expects quality work from the freelancer because it’s their reputation at stake.

10. Take Breaks So You Don’t Overwork Yourself!

You probably hear all the time about how freelancers work from home, and that’s absolutely true. But what you may not know is that a lot of freelancers end up working longer hours than they did at their 9-to-5 jobs. That’s because they don’t have a boss watching over them and telling them when they need to take breaks throughout the day.

11. Don’t Be Afraid To Say No

We know it can be tempting to say yes to any job you get offered as a freelancer, especially when you’re just starting out. But trust us when we say that saying yes to projects that aren’t right for you can actually be more harmful than helpful in the long run.

Say no when:

You don’t have the skillset needed. It’s not worth the stress and anxiety that comes with trying to learn a new skill on the fly—it’ll just make you resentful and your work subpar. You’ll do better work if you say no and stick to what you know best.

A client’s expectations are too high for what they intend to pay. Don’t set yourself up for failure by taking jobs where your skillset is undervalued—it will leave you feeling frustrated and resentful at having done all that work for so little pay. It’s better to politely decline a job offer than lose money on a project!

9 Tips To Improve Your Writing Skills

Writing can be an intimidating skill to master. It’s not just writing down your thoughts—you have to make sure that you’re conveying the right ideas and emotions, and that your reader can understand what you’ve written.

There are several simple things you can do to make sure your writing is up to par.

1. Practice Writing Every Day

The more you write, the better you’ll get. Try setting aside 30 minutes a day to write. You can write about anything that’s on your mind—and, in fact, I’ve found that the best way to practice is just to write whatever comes into your head. Don’t worry about how it sounds or what other people might think. Just do it for yourself.

2. Learn How To Use A Spell Check Tool

The first step in becoming a better writer is catching and fixing any spelling or grammar mistakes in your work. A robust spell-check tool like Grammarly can do this for you in just seconds—and it’s free!

3. Write About What You Know

If you’re passionate about something, that passion will shine through in your words. So next time you have an assignment and aren’t sure where to begin, ask yourself this question: “What am I really interested in?” Think about what makes your heart sing the loudest and start writing! You’ll be surprised at how much easier it gets once you have the subject matter nailed down.

4. Start Small And Write Short Pieces

You don’t have to write a novel, or even a short story, to get better. In fact, it’s better if you don’t start with that kind of commitment. Instead, write small pieces like blog posts and social media posts, then work your way up to larger pieces like articles and essays.

5. Study Writing Styles That You Like

If you love the way a certain author writes, read everything they’ve written, and spend some time thinking about why it is you like their style so much. Maybe they have a really interesting approach to the description that makes even the most boring thing sound fun. Maybe they write dialogue in an especially realistic way. Whatever it is, figure out what it is that makes their style so appealing to you, and then try to emulate it.

6. Focus On The Reader

As a writer, you’re always thinking of something—a concept, a feeling, a thing. But if you want someone to read it, you have to think about them, too. What are they thinking? How do they feel? What do they want or need to know?

You’ll never be able to read their mind (although we’re working on it), but you can make assumptions based on who your audience is and what they need or want from your writing. When you start with the reader in mind, all kinds of things will get better:

You’ll find ways to be more relevant, clear your writing up so it’s easier to understand, and even connect more with your audience. Because when it comes down to it, that’s what writing is all about: connecting people with ideas and information.

7. Find A Writing Partner

If you want to get better at writing, then start by finding someone who’s already great at it. It could be a friend or a colleague who you feel like you can trust to give you honest feedback, or someone you can talk with about what you’re stuck on. You don’t have to write together, but just having someone around who can listen and help you work through your ideas is invaluable.

8. Keep It Simple

If your reader can’t understand what you’re trying to say, or it takes them a long time, you’re not doing your job as a writer.

Whether you’re writing for a blog, a business, or an article, you want to make sure to stay focused and concise. This is especially important when the subject matter is complicated or technical.

Remember: your goal as a writer is to take information from somewhere else and turn it into something easy for your reader to understand. So don’t make it any harder than you have to!

9. Rewrite Your Work

To improve as a writer, you have to write. Sometimes we get stuck and let our first draft be what we send out into the world, but that’s usually never the best version of your content. Before you hit “send” or “publish,” take a few minutes to rewrite your work and make sure it says exactly what you mean it to say and sounds like the best version of yourself when you read it aloud.


Freelance writing can be a very lucrative career. You can make a living writing as long as you love and enjoy it. Many successful freelance writers started out as beginners, just like you. There is no mystery as to how much do freelance writers make as beginners. The information provided here will help guide you on your way to success as an unpublished writer.

People Also Ask?

How Much Do Freelance Writers Make As Beginners?

As a beginner, you can expect to make around $0.02 per word, and this amount will likely increase as you gain work experience and/or increase your skill level.

How Much Time Can You Dedicate To Actually Writing?

As a freelance writer, it’s up to you. You can spend as much or as little time as you want. If you just want to write quick articles to make some extra money, or if you want to take on major projects, the choice is yours!

How Quickly Can You Get Clients On Board?

If you’re just starting out, we don’t recommend taking on multiple clients at once. It’s much harder than it seems to write for two, three, or more people at the same time.

You’ll be doing so much more than just writing—you’ll be corresponding via email and phone, keeping track of your invoices, managing your schedule (and your client’s), and juggling several different deadlines. It’s a lot of work!

What’s A Good Way To Get Started As A Freelance Writer?

A great place to start is with friends and family. Ask around your network if they need any writing help with anything. You can also look into internships or apprenticeships with established writers or writers’ groups in your area.

How Do I Find Writing Jobs That Pay Well?

You can look in newspapers, periodicals, and online forums for calls for submissions from magazines, journals, publishers, and other businesses that hire writers. When looking at these ads—especially online—it’s important to verify that the job is legitimate before applying for it.

How Much Do Freelance Writers Make As Beginners?

It depends on how many clients you take on, what you’re charging them, and how much time you’re willing to devote to the craft.

How Do I Go About Getting My First Client?

First, figure out what you want to write about. Then, look for job boards that are specific to that type of writing. For example, if you’re interested in writing product descriptions, find a product description job board.

What Should I Write About?

This is really up to you. However, it’s always helpful if there’s a demand for the type of content you’d like to write. For example, if you’re considering starting a blog about pet fashion, ask yourself whether there are enough people who are interested in pet fashion that they’d be willing to read.

How Do I Get Started?

You just do! There’s no right or wrong way to begin. If you’re feeling like you need more information before you dive in, check out our articles on “How to Get Started Freelancing” and “What to Charge as a Freelancer.”

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