One of the most marketable and in-demand skills online is writing. There are thousands of freelance writers who make 6 figures a year just writing for clients.
Articles, blog posts, books, grants, copywriting, speechwriting, scriptwriting and a plethora of other writing jobs await you, if you’re a good writer. That said, being able to write well and being a sought-after writer isn’t the same thing.
There are many talented writers who struggle to eke a living with their writing because they lack the marketing know-how.
So, in this article, we’ll look at 7 ways you can boost your income as a freelance writer. If you execute on the pointers below, it’s inevitable to see an increase in your freelancing income – in time to come.
Have a Strategy
You must have a plan. Becoming a successful freelance writer is not as simple as just throwing up a half-hearted gig description on a site like Fiverr or Legiit and expecting the orders to come flooding in like a tsunami. Hopeium is not a strategy. There’s a lot more to it than that.
For starters, you’ll need to decide what type of writing you’ll do. Creative? Non-fiction? Both? What niches will you write about? It’s easier to specialize in a few niches and cater solely to these markets. The more knowledgeable you are about a topic, the better you’ll be able to write about it.
In fact, most successful freelance writers focus on huge popular niches like weight loss, photography, online marketing, relationships, self-help, etc.
Once you’re an expert on the topic, you’ll be able to write about it quickly and easily. Speed is everything when you’re a freelancer. The faster you get the job done, the more jobs you can take on.
It’s always hardest at the start. Even if you’re a skillful writer, when you’re getting started in the freelancing marketplace, you’ll struggle to gain momentum because of the immense competition you’ll be facing – from both beginners and pros.
When you start off in a freelancer marketplace, you’ll not have any past orders to show on your gig listing. There will be no testimonials that you can use as social proof. You’ll just have to wait for someone to take a chance on you.
The best way to accelerate the process and gain momentum fast will be to underprice your services. Don’t panic. This is only temporary. When your prices are low, you’ll get a lot more orders. Your goal will be to do as a good a job as you can so that you get positive reviews. Encourage your customers to leave you a positive review.
You want to build up social proof. When other potential customers see that you have ’10 orders in the queue’, they’ll be far more likely to choose you. Nature abhors a vacuum. It may seem strange that people would hire someone who already has a pile of orders to clear. But they do.
“With so many orders, will they rush through my job?” – is the question that should be on their minds. But it’s NOT, because humans are not logical by nature. Instead, they’ll think, “Wow! This seller has so many people buying from him! I need to hire him too.”
Most buying decisions are emotional. So, your goal initially will be to keep your prices low and competitive, and get as many orders as you can. Once you build up your reputation, you can gradually start increasing your prices until you believe you’re charging what you’re worth. Your gigs will still rank favorably in the freelancing marketplace because of your excellent metrics (favorites, positive reviews, high number of orders, etc.)—and you’d have established a steady list of repeat clients who love your work.
The more orders you receive, the more exposure the freelancing sites will give you. It’s akin to the rich getting richer in some walled up freelancing paradise, while the unwashed masses on the outside fight for gig scraps in the gloomy dystopian landscape. Maybe an exaggeration, but you get the point. Go in with a winning strategy.
Maintain a Solid Reputation
Your reputation is everything in this game. You always want to do your best work and overdeliver. If the client orders a 1000-word article, giving them a 1200-word article will delight them.
It may not seem like much, but you can bet the customer will be pleased. They feel like they’re getting more value for money. Similarly, if your gig says that you’ll deliver the work in 5 days, aim to deliver it in 4 days instead. Once again, you can bet that many of your clients will have ants in their pants and eager to see their order delivered.
By overdelivering, you’ll make a positive impact on them. Not only will this increase your chances of future orders from them, but they may recommend you to their friends too. Word of mouth is very powerful for getting you warm potential clients who’ll order from you without much persuasion or hesitation.
Ask for positive reviews whenever you can. Encourage clients to leave you a 5-star rating. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. A quick note telling the client to leave you a positive rating if they’re satisfied with your work (and how their review helps you) will exponentially increase the number of reviews you receive. Many people enjoy helping others.
Play the Numbers Game
There are tons of freelancing platforms out there waiting for you to leverage them. Here are just a few:
Set up an account on at least 5 different platforms. You want to be ubiquitous at the start. The more places you’re ‘seen’ in, the higher your chances of getting hired. It also diversifies your risk. Should you ever get shut down by one platform (very rare), your income will not dry up overnight because you’re still getting orders from other sites.
After a while, you’ll notice that most of your work is coming from 2-3 sites. You can then eliminate the rest and focus on the sites making you money. Go wide in the beginning and then narrow it down later. This too is strategy.@
Offer Related Services
People who are looking for writing services may also want editing, proofreading or even translation services. If you have these skills, you can offer them as ‘extras’ to complement their main order. In many cases, a single $15 order may swell up to $60 or more – if the related services you’re providing offers value to your customer.
Even a simple 1000-word blog post that you’re offering for $20 (5 day delivery) can become $35 if you offer an extra that allows them to get it in 24 hours for an extra $15. Constantly find ways to add extra value to your gigs so that there are opportunities for potential clients to increase the size (value) of each order.
Sell in Bulk
Another easy way to make more money is to offer a discount for bulk orders. If you’re charging $25 an article, how about offering 10 articles for $199? That’s a good deal!
Many clients will choose the 10-article package just to save $51. It may seem like you’re losing some money, but in reality, you’re encouraging people to spend more with you. Everybody loves a good deal.
Build a Website
Once you have orders coming in, the next thing you’ll want to do is build a simple website offering your writing services. If you’re not tech savvy, you can outsource this job for a couple of hundred dollars.
Your site only needs 5 pages:
- Home page (of course)
- About page to tell people who you are
- Portfolio page to showcase your work
- Service page so that potential clients know what and how you can help them.
- Contact page
These will more than suffice. You can then promote your site to people who are not on the freelancing platforms. For example, you could join Facebook groups dedicated to niche marketing and network with the people there. Offer value and after a while you can share your writing services and link back to your site.
By networking regularly and verbally advertising your services, you’ll make more people aware of what you’re offering – and inevitably, some will take you up on your offer.
Even when you’re on freelancing platforms that do not allow you to post links to your own site, you could always create a PDF showing customers how to leverage their content for more views. Of course, in the footer of the PDF, you could have a link to your site. Zip the file up and deliver it with your work. Sooner or later, curious eyes will click on the link in the PDF and see your site.
Since you’re not paying the platform (middleman) a cut, you could offer slightly lower rates than what they’re paying on the platform. This will make it more attractive to the client and they can order from you directly.
Use AI Writers or Build a Team
Once you have multiple orders rolling in, you can use AI writers such as Jasper to speed up the writing process. It’s imperative that you edit the content and make it more engaging so that your customer is satisfied. You do not want to deliver insipid content that looks like it was written by a robot.
Do take note that AI writers come with a monthly fee. So do the math and make sure you’re turning a profit. You don’t want to be paying more for the AI software than you’re charging for your work.
After a while, you’ll reach a stage where there are just too many orders for you to handle. Once this happens, you may either raise your rates or you may build a team of good writers who charge lower rates than you.
You can then outsource some of your client work to them. After paying the freelancers, you can keep the difference. This is legal and is known as arbitrage. What matters most is that the quality of the work you deliver must be sterling. Even if you’re using other writers, you’ll want to go through their content before delivering it to the client.
By maintaining high standards, you’ll not only please the client, but also make more money while doing less (or the same amount of work).
In conclusion, the seven tips above are used by most of the top freelance writers online. Many are location independent and live a digital nomad lifestyle.
Freelance writing gives them the freedom to work wherever they want and make a good living while traveling the world.
Start implementing the tips above in your writing business and you’ll enjoy the same perks that come from being a popular freelance writer – money for doing what you love and the freedom to live life on your terms.