Skills Writing

What Does a Freelance Writer Do? Everything You Need to Know!

Written by Elvira Strinosa

The first time I got asked what a freelance writer does, I had no idea what to say. But now I’m more prepared, so here’s exactly what a freelance writer does:

Freelance writers write content for websites, email campaigns, social outlets, blog posts, and other types of media. Freelance writers work with multiple clients on a variety of writing projects at any given time, and they enjoy a great deal of freedom and flexibility in their careers.

As a freelance writer you have the makings of a rewarding career. You can control when you work, where you work, and how much you earn. Keep reading for more on that…

What Do Freelance Writers Write?

From one day to the next, a freelance writer can expect to work on a variety of writing projects. One day you might write a 700-word blog post. Another day you could be tasked to write a 10,000-word ebook.

Freelance writers work with one or more clients at a time, so you can potentially write something different every single day. Below are some of the more common freelance writing content tasks and general word count ranges.

Task Word Count Range
Email 100 to 500 words
Article 500 to 3,500 words
Landing Page 500 to 700 words
Sales Page 1,000 to 10,000 words
Ebook 2,000 to 100,000+ words
Web Page 300 to 1,000 words
Social Post 1 to 300 words

As you gain experience as a freelance writer, you may want to narrow your topic selection. 

Some freelance writers make a living from a single type of content, such as articles. Others like to mix things up, so they write about a variety of topics.

Ultimately, what you write is up to you.

That said, specialists tend to earn higher pay on average than generalists. If you want to become a specialist so you can earn more money per job, then you’ll want to specialize in a certain type of writing.

For instance, you could specialize in sales copy. You could also specialize in articles, or ebooks. All specializations tend to pay higher. However, new freelance writers often like to try a variety of styles before they decide to specialize in one.

How Much Does a Freelance Writer Earn?

Average hourly rates for freelance writers range from $25 per hour to $50 per hour. The best writers earn a lot more, while amateurs earn a lot less. That said, your pay as a freelance writer depends on several factors. 

  • Do you write full-time or part-time?
  • Have you specialized in a particular area?
  • How much do you charge?
  • Do you charge hourly, fixed-prices, or by the word?

Any of these can affect your earnings. 

Many freelance writers work part-time to earn extra cash to supplement their full-time job. Since they don’t spend as much time writing as their full-time counterparts, their total pay is lower.

Specialization is another important factor to consider. For instance, a freelance writer who specializes in sales pages can bill $1,000 to $10,000 or more per page once they have experience.

It isn’t uncommon for freelance writers to achieve six-figure incomes as they grow, but again, this is largely affected by how much they charge, their pricing model, and their level of experience.

Most freelance writers charge by the word. 

The chart below shows common per-word rates based on experience level:

Beginner 0.01 – 0.05 per word
Intermediate 0.10 – 0.50 per word
Expert 0.50 – 1.00+ per word

Per word pricing seems low when you’re new, but even low rates can be lucrative if you’re willing to put in the time.

At 1 cent per word a freelance writer would earn $10 from a 1,000-word article. At $1.00 per word, that same article grows to $1,000.

Some freelance writers prefer to charge by the hour. Many clients don’t care for this model because they don’t know how long it takes to craft good content.

Another pricing option is fixed-prices. Fixed-prices can be valuable for clients because it limits their investment, but sometimes it can cost the freelancer big in unpaid time.

Who Hires Freelance Writers?

Virtually every business on the planet has content needs. Whether it’s social media posts,  advertisements, or even video scripts, there’s writing work around the globe.

The most common types of clients who hire freelance writers include:

  • Content companies
  • Freelance Writing Agencies
  • Small Businesses
  • Enterprise Businesses
  • Personal Brands
  • Ecommerce Stores

All of these businesses produce content almost every day. They share news updates on Facebook, run ads on Google, post product descriptions on Amazon, and send emails to their lists.

Businesses publish content because it helps them sell their products and spread their brands. 

Most business owners hire out content production because it’s too much work for them to handle on their own. So they seek out writers to do the work for them.

There are hundreds of thousands of clients who need writers right now.
Still, it’s not uncommon for would-be writers to doubt if there is enough work available. In reality, there’s an unlimited amount of work for those who search for it.

Not only are there hundreds of thousands of clients seeking writers right now, there are hundreds of thousands of others who need help but don’t even realize it yet.

The bottom line is, there is no shortage of work for freelance writers. If you want to start down this path, there will be work available for you.

Heck, once you get some experience, we might even hire you to write for us!

Where Do Freelance Writers Get Work?

When it comes to finding work, there are some easy ways, and some not so easy ways. Generally, freelance writers find work in one of the following ways:

  1. Content Production Platforms
  2. Freelance Platforms
  3. Social Networking
  4. Cold Outreach

There are other ways to get freelance writing jobs, but these are the most common ways to go about getting hired. 

Also, the list above is listed in order from easiest to hardest. 

Content production platforms like iWriter, TextBroker, and Contently are the easiest ways to get freelance writing jobs because they already have clients and work ready to go all the time.

Freelance platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, People Per Hour, Freelancer, and Guru are the next best thing since many clients seek high-caliber writers through these platforms.

Social networking involves connecting with potential clients through places like Facebook, LinkedIn, or trade forums where they can offer their services.

Cold Outreach is the hardest way to get freelance clients for most people. This approach involves sending emails or calling people you’ve never met and offering your services to them.

Although the content production and freelance platforms are the fastest and easiest routes to paid writing work, that doesn’t necessarily make them the best.

As you grow as a freelance writer, you’ll want to take back more control over your income, and client sourcing. That’s where social networking and cold outreach start to make a lot more sense.

One other way to get freelancing writing work is to submit guest posts to popular media outlets. Some of the top media outlets like Forbes, Entrepreneur, Business Insider and others pay top dollar for premium content if you can prove you’re worth their time.

What Training Does a Freelance Writer Need?

There is no required training to be a freelance writer. You also won’t need a degree or experience to get started in the field.

What’s more important is a strong command of the English language. 

Proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation are key indicators of good writers, and if your content is full of grammatical or spelling errors, nobody will want to publish you.

If you need to brush up on your grammar, this YouTube channel has a ton of videos to help you out. Videos like this one:

Once you get the basics of writing down, and you’ve chosen an area of specialization, then it might be worth it to focus on training in those areas.

For example, if you want to branch into sales copy, it’s worth it to at least pick up books like Ca$hvertising to give you a solid overview of the subject.

Is Freelance Writing Worth It?

Writing is an art as much as a science. It takes time to master the trade. But if you’ve got the chops, you can start earning as soon as this week.

But I should warn you, some people won’t make it as a freelance writer. They try, fail, and quit. Ultimately, they wind up back where they started.

I won’t lie, it’s not for everyone. 

But for those who stick with it, it can become an awesome, and highly rewarding career.

So as you decide if this path is right for you, I’ll leave you with this quote by Albert Einstein:

“You never fail until you stop trying.”

About the author

Elvira Strinosa

Elvira is an Assistant Editor and News Writer for Notorious [F]. She has served in various freelance positions over the past four years including copyeditor, copywriter, and content writer. When she isn't writing, or editing, she spends her time reading sappy romance novels and taking long walks outdoors.

  • I can’t believe how useful this post has been to me. I had no idea about these content writing platforms before. It sounds like a good way to get started and gather some experience at least.

  • The article was a great read. I learned more about freelance writing today. Thank you Notorious [F]!

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