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4 Secrets To Profitable Freelance Writing Jobs

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I often get emails about how to find good paying freelance writing jobs. Usually the requests are pretty vague. I get the sense that many who say they are looking for freelance writing gigs have little or no idea what kinds of writing work is out there.

Or they are lacking in confidence to be specific.

Another factor may well be the internet itself. While the internet has opened up the writing market in ways that were unmanageable a couple of decades ago, the best jobs are rarely posted.

So here’s an approach that may help:

  1. Decide what kind of writing work you’re actually looking for. Do you want to write magazine articles? If so, in what market? Do you want to ghostwrite books? Is translation your thing? What are you an expert in? What would you like to learn? The more specific you get the better.
  2. Think about where you’re most likely to find the assignment you want. Recognize that the job boards are where most people are searching, and pretty thoughtlessly too. Differentiate yourself by seriously considering where the kind of writing you want to do appears and go after that market. Chances are you can actually figure it out. If it’s magazine articles, start with Writer’s Market, but don’t stop there. If you want to ghostwrite, where do the people you want to write for hang out – go there, in person if possible. Consider targeted advertising and make sure your website spells out your specialties. You get the idea. I’m betting that if you think about it, do some creative google searches and talk with people you know you’ll soon be able to identify the market you want to reach. Then all you have to do is market there.
  3. Decide how much money you really believe you can make. My experience tells me there’s a whole lot of difference between the wishful thinking of ‘I want a million dollars’ and ‘I expect to make at least $40,000 from my writing in the next 12 years.”  Wishful thinking rarely works; setting a goal that’s believable or slightly more than believable usually does I think.

  4. Stick with positive people. You need, and deserve, people around you that support your goals and encourage you. Find the yea-sayers and stick with them. We do seem to pick up the energy of others somehow. By hanging out online or off with those who support youm you surround yourself with that positive energy which is only for the good of you and everyone else.

If you really want to be successful at your freelance writing career you can – it is up to you.

What’s your secret to profitable writing?


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{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Quite interesting and motivating tips.I have been in freelance writing for sometime and I can verify that all your advice and tips are real.
    Thanks and keep it up.

  • Rebecca Savastio


    Thanks for your article. Do you have any tips on the best way to present a large portfolio? I have almost a hundred published articles already and just want to pick up more assignments, but I’m not sure how to present my current articles.

    Becky Savastio

  • I totally agree with #4. When I first started out, I’d just blab on to anyone about my freelancing. I had the feeling that the more I said it, the truer it was.

    It wasn’t long before I realized I needed to be choosy about who I shared what I did with. Negative and thoughtless people can make me feel like I’ve been punched in the stomach. I avoid them as much as possible.
    Laura Finger recently posted..Oh God, there goes my idea!My Profile

  • Good points Anne. It’s really about getting clarity, setting realistic goals, and then implementing a solid plan to achieve those goals.
    John Soares recently posted..How Multitasking Hurts Your ProductivityMy Profile

    • Thanks John… yes getting clear… about writing and everything else it seems.

  • Jen

    Great ideas, Anne. I especially like #3 because that’s my biggest challenge. I really have to work to get myself to think like a business person and set monetary goals for myself.

    My secret to profitable writing is diversifying. I write grants, and articles for trade, university, and consumer magazines. Having a few projects that pay more allows me to take on some projects that can’t pay as well but that I enjoy more.

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