How I Became a Freelance Writer

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Today I would like to highlight a new income stream that I am building – freelance writing. One thing I should point out before we start – I have been a staff writer in the past on several personal finance sites. I have written hundreds of How To articles for eHow, and published content on InfoBarrel and HubPages.

As a blogger, I have written content and managed my old site Passive Family Income for 4 years. I write content here on The Money Sprout and a couple of other blogs I own from time to time.

Let’s just say this is not my first go around writing content for the web.

Most of my expertise is on personal finance and investing but I also have written articles on topics like healthy living, gardening, and coaching sports.

Freelance Writing Income

To keep things simple, I am going to consider any writing that earns income other than from blogs I own as freelance work. This would include any staff writing, ghost writing, or other writing that earns income.

Any money earned directly from The Money Sprout or any other blog I own will NOT be considered freelance writing income. Generally that type of income has associated costs (ie. web hosting). I also don’t get paid immediately from writing on my own blogs – unlike a staff writing job.

Month #1 as a Freelance Writer

Last month I jumped back into life as a freelance writer. Several years ago I was a staff writer for multiple personal finance sites but slowly gave it up. Prior to last month, I hadn’t written any content for my staff writer positions in well over 2 years.

For the most part, I lost interest and never really had a good plan in place to grow my freelance writing service – until now. As I work to build new income streams, I will rely on freelance writing to play a big role initially in my overall goals.

After a 2 year break, my first order of business was to try and line up writing opportunities. I started by contacting the blogs I use to write articles for. Some sites had been abandoned (like my first failed blog) and were no longer accepting articles, while a few other owners never replied back. Fortunately, one blog was still up and running and the owner gladly agreed to let me start writing again.

During my first month back, I earned $75 from writing 3 articles. I estimate that it took me about 1 hour an article. That means I earned about $25 an hour for my efforts. Not the best rate long term but one that I am happy with for the first month.

I can see some opportunities for improving my hourly rate in the future. For example, it took me some time to figure out what to write about again. I made sure to include my topic research and brainstorming in my time spent as it is just as important as the writing.

One opportunity to improve my hourly rate is to write in batches. I find that once I start writing, everything seems to flow well. However, the issue I generally have is actually staying focused and starting. If I can try to batch at least 2 articles (hopefully more) together in set blocks of time, I should see some improvements.

Long Term Goals – $500 per month

I earned $75 the first month from freelance writing. While it was a decent start, I want to really grow this income stream over the course of this year.

By the end of the year, my goal is to earn $500 per month from freelance writing. At that rate (before taxes and other expenses), this income stream could grow to over $6,000 in annual income. Those earnings (after taxes) could then go directly into funding another more passive income source – My Dividend Income Portfolio.

If I earn at least $25 per hour from my writing, it would take ~20 hours per month to reach this goal. I like to break numbers down to their lowest levels, so another 20 hours per month is 5 hours per week or 1 hour per day (excluding weekends).

I think I can plan to focus on this income stream for 1 hour per day (Monday – Friday). Overtime I plan to increase my rates and my efficiency – so my income should go up while my time spent goes down.

Are you a freelance writer? What tips can you offer myself and other readers of this site?

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