Do you love to write? Are you constantly scribbling in notebooks or blogging your thoughts? Have you dreamed of turning that love into a career, but wonder if freelance writers can make money?
The short answer is yes. Freelance writers can make money. In fact, some make over $100,000 a year. But there are caveats that affect whether a freelance writing career is a good fit for you.
Do you enjoy the challenge of researching and learning new things? Are you always excited when your knowledge can help someone else? Good news! All of that is a big part of what freelance writers do!
But… you are a mom (or dad) with very little extra time on your hands. So you're wondering if freelance writing is a viable career for you as a SAHMs (or SAHD).
If you have ever asked yourself any of these questions, this post is for you!
- Is writing a viable career?
- Is being a freelance writer worth it?
- How do freelance writers make money?
- Am I cut out for a freelance writing career?
- How can I find freelance writing or editing jobs?
- Where can I learn how to start freelance writing with no experience?
Did you know that some freelance writers make over $100,000 a year, according to Comparably? No, that isn't every freelance writer – but maybe that's not your goal. But if it is and you've got the skills and commitment, you can make it happen. There are ways to become a six-figure freelance writer.
Several years ago, I interviewed freelance writer Gina Horkey. She has since gone on to create several courses, beginning with 30 Days or Less to a Freelance Writing Career. She is now the co-owner of the Fully Booked VA program, which helps freelance writers (and others) make money doing work they love. And it's all because she took a chance on her dream of freelance writing!
Gina is also a married, millennial mama to three kiddos. She started her VA business as a freelance writer and administrative virtual assistant. Gina enjoys helping other freelancers gear up to quit their day jobs and take their side hustles full-time.
This interview may be older, but what Gina has to say is still very relevant today. Read on to learn from her wisdom and insight – and maybe get your own freelance writing career launched! Freelance writers make money – and you can be one of them!
Gina, Could you give us a little history and tell us how you got into freelance writing?
I’d love to! My name is Gina and I identify as a married, millennial mama to two precocious toddlers. I’ve been freelancing for two years now and full-time for over a year.
When I started this whole thing, I was in a career that I was no longer in love with and as the breadwinner (my husband is a SAHD to our now two and four-year-olds) I felt stuck. [Gina now has three children].I tried to fall back in love with finance first by furthering my education, but finally came to terms with the fact that it wasn’t “what I wanted to be when I grew up.” I.e. I couldn’t imagine another 30 years doing the same thing!
So I started Googling around on tax day, 2014 and stumbled across some resources on freelance writing. I’ve always loved to write, have even tried my hand at a couple of fiction novels, but never considered non-fiction writing for the web as a viable option.
And it totally is!
From there I built my business on the side of my full-time job until I could put in my notice. I hustled hard, getting up at 4:30am most weekdays in order to work on my freelance writing business. And it’s paid off!
There is a general concept that it is hard to make a living as a freelance writer. Can freelance writers make money?
Sure. Freelancing, in general, is hard.
You have to first build up your clientele and then be prepared to replace clients as your or their situation changes. But it’s also pretty awesome!
Some people make their living strictly as freelance writers. I started as one and still get paid to write for clients, but I also do virtual assistant work, have since launched products and am finally gaining traction with affiliate marketing.
So it’s completely possible, but it doesn’t have to be where 100% of your income comes from. And it’s like anything else, the more you put into it, the more you’ll get out!
Is this something that a stay-at-home mom can do in her limited amount of time? Is it a flexible career?
I have two “students” that are making a living while staying home with their SEVEN kids that they HOMESCHOOL! Crazy, right?
It all comes down to being organized, focused and not wasting time on unimportant tasks.
You've assured us that freelance writers make money. But what is the minimum amount of time a mom would need to devote to this career on a daily basis?
It all depends on what your goals are. If you want to earn a few hundred bucks per month, it’ll look different than wanting to earn a couple of thousand.
You might have to put in more time prospecting in the beginning, but once you have your clients, it’s just the writing work and some admin stuff (invoicing, etc.) that you’ll need to do.
So maybe, at least, an hour or two per day? Again, if your time is limited, you’ll want to concentrate on activities that directly contribute to the bottom line – prospecting in the beginning and meeting deadlines once you have clients!
Can freelance writers make money working only part time?
Sure, I see former students making anywhere from $200 – $3,000 per month. It all depends on your niches, the time you have to dedicate (part-time could be 5 hours or 20 hours per week, right?) to it and the quality of clients you take on.
I.e. your business will look a lot different if you have clients paying you $50 per post versus $250 per post. Both types of clients exist, it’s just a matter of connecting with the right ones!
Is freelance writing a career that a stay-at-home mom could make into a full-time career once the kids are older and she has more time on her hands?
Yep. Many have!
And I think starting it while they’re still at home is smart. It takes a bit of time to get up and running and have regular clientele, so if you started part-time and wanted to take it full-time in a year or two, you’d already have that base, experience and you could ask your current clients for more business or referrals once you had more time.
Is it hard to get enough clients to make money as a freelance writer?
I don’t think so.
It was my goal to have recurring clients from the beginning, so that’s what I focused on. I needed to build that predictability before I could leave work behind, which is why I focused on blogging for companies, rather than one-off projects like copywriting or press releases (which I still took on).
So if recurring work is important to you, make that your objective and market yourself accordingly.
Do you ever have to go meet clients or can you do everything from home?
I do everything from home and my clients exist worldwide. I did once go to an in-person interview for a manuscript project (which I didn’t get because he decided to partner with a close friend on the project) and that was a fun change, but VERY rare.
What kind of skills do you need? Do you need to have a degree in English or journalism?
Nope. I don’t.
You should have decent writing chops (your writing skills will grow over time), be a self-starter, willing to put yourself out there and get rejected and be organized (i.e. never miss a deadline).
What kind of office equipment does a freelance writer need besides a laptop and an internet connection?
None. When I started I used our old laptop, a “dumbphone” and the internet. I graduated to a Chromebook shortly thereafter and just recently bought a new laptop and a smartphone.
The main thing is some sort of computer and internet access. If you have those you’re golden, because Google provides everything else you need for free (Google Docs, Google Voice, etc.).
Can freelance writers make money without huge start-up costs?
I spent less than $200 to launch my freelance business (on hosting, a domain name and a freelance writing course). If you didn’t launch your own website or take a paid course, you could literally do it for free.
What is the best part of this career for you?
The flexibility of schedule and unlimited income potential.
We recently returned from two months in South Padre Island, Texas. We would NEVER have been able to do that with my previous career. I worked while we were down there and we plan to return next year!
Any advice for moms who want to give freelance writing a go?
Just get started. The time is going to pass anyway, so if you can find an hour or two per day to work on your freelance writing business, do it!
Lastly, why not you, why not now? My mantra. 😉
Thank you, Gina!
Conclusion: Freelance Writers Make Money, and So Can You! Here's How!
Yes, freelance writing is a viable career for work-from-home moms (and dads, too!) who love to write, learn, and help others. Whether you just want a little extra income or are dreaming of a six-figure life, it's a scalable option that can grow with you.
As Gina showed us, freelance writers make money if they're willing to give it a try and work hard. And, if you want a step-by-step guide to get you going, Gina and her team at Fully Booked VA have you covered. With their expert guidance and your commitment, you can become an article-writing ninja that everyone wants to hire. Better yet, it's only $197!
Are you intrigued by the idea of a freelance writing career? Are you willing to invest in yourself? Freelance writers make money, so, as Gina says, “Why not you? Why not now? ” Drop your thoughts or questions below. I'm planning a follow-up with Gina, so your question might be part of her next interview!