Is Ghostwriting for Money Possible? My Chat with Ashley Gainer
Do you love writing? Are you looking for a way to earn income from home that's not virtual assisting, transcription, or bookkeeping? Or have you ever considered ghostwriting for money as an option?
If you spend free moments putting pen to paper, tapping on a keyboard, or dreaming of what you'll write when you get the chance, this might be just the right career for you. Upwork's freelance ghostwriters earn between $20- $45/hour, on average.
This means you can take your love of writing and turn it into profit! Even better, your clients will provide material to work from, and you're not responsible for marketing the work.
But who Uses ghostwriters?
Believe it or not, everyone from small business owners to CEOs of large corporations, thought leaders with a message to share but no time to share it, politicians who want speeches, and the list goes on. In other words, if someone out there needs content they don't want to write themselves, they might hire a ghostwriter to do the work. That might mean you're writing an email, a series of blog posts, a webinar script, a speech, a book – or something else.
is ghostwriting for money a real career option?
In a word, YES! As a matter of fact, ghostwriting professionals are at work in many areas every day. As I mentioned above, there are many types of ghostwriting. Once you get a feel for what you love most, you can choose ghostwriting niches based on that.
In this week’s work-at-home spotlight, we interviewed Ashley Gainer, freelance ghostwriter extraordinaire, founder of the Ink Well Guild, and mama of three. Ashley is an alumnus of Gina Horkey’s 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success.
In this classic interview, Ashley shares with me how she got started in the freelancing world. She tells me about the various projects she’s worked on over the years, and how they led her to a ghostwriting business. Ashley also sheds some light on the kind of challenges that come with being a freelancing mom and how she was still learning how to manage them.
Curious about how to make money as a ghostwriter? Wondering how to find ghostwriting jobs or if a ghostwriting business might be right for you? Or do you just want to know the realities of ghostwriting for money ?
This fascinating interview has the answers you're looking for!
Hi there, Ashley!
Can you Tell us a little About your work-from-home journey?
I started dabbling in freelance writing about 10 years ago when I was moving cross-country as a trailing spouse. I had a notion that people could “get paid to write on the internet” and I decided to give it a shot for myself. While I never quite figured it out and eventually took a temp job that a friend of mine offered, it remained on the back burner and something I did in my spare time.
Fast forward a couple of years, and my marriage fell apart shortly before the birth of my first child. I wanted to be able to stay home with my baby instead of spending the whole day away from him, and I knew freelancing was the way to make it happen. I dug deep, committed hard, and made it work!
Why did you choose Ghostwriting for Money AS your work-from-home career?
Initially, I took anything I could find, but I thought I was a better editor than a writer so I focused on academic editing for a while. Eventually, I got tired of suffering the abuse that stressed-out grad students and Ph.D. candidates doled out, and I walked away from editing. I also realized that the ceiling for editing was about $40/hr and that writers had a much, much higher earning potential. I made a hard pivot into writing in 2014 and never looked back!
Most of what I did for a long time was writing blog posts for businesses, bloggers, and other entrepreneurs. I really liked stretching into other forms of writing, though, like emails, courses, workbooks, and the like.
what type of writing do you like best?
One of my favorite things to write is webinar scripts! I learned a really compelling style of webinars from Russell Brunson and I just love it. It’s storytelling, it breaks limiting beliefs, and it ushers people into exciting new possibilities.
But these days, I focus on ghostwriting books for entrepreneurs and experts who have a big message to get out but don’t have the time or wherewithal to write a whole book. I take their vision and their knowledge and I turn it into something that can change the world. It’s so cool!
How did you develop the skills needed to start working from home?
I was always “a writer” in the sense that I loved writing personal essays, working for the school paper, reading interesting magazines, and the like. I went to college for journalism and got a degree from one of the top j-schools in the country.
The writing piece was relatively easy for me. It’s the business piece that took me years and years to figure out. I started getting traction (finally) when I began reaching out and making connections with people who were doing the same thing I was, and who were a bit further along the path than I was. I started emulating what they were doing.
Bit by bit by bit, racking up hour after hour of study, I started to figure out how to market myself and land clients. And the rest, as they say, is history! I’ve been freelancing for 10 years now and I don’t know that I’ll ever stop this online entrepreneurship thing.
Has your Ghostwriting for Money business evolved since you first started it?
Totally and (very nearly) completely. I started off doing SEO writing for web design agencies. Eventually, I moved into editing for self-published authors and academic papers. Then I moved into writing exclusively, and a few years ago I started teaching what I knew. I now spend about half my time working on things for my students and half my time on client work.
What is your biggest challenge In working from home as a mom?
All these kids running around! The logistics of running a family with 3 young kids are complex and daunting. Every single moment I’m asking myself if I should be working or if I should be doing family things. (Rarely am I asking myself what I need to do for ME, which is part of the problem.)
After my third baby proved himself to be anti-sleep, it became nearly impossible to work without bringing in some help, so we hired a nanny to look after the youngest for three mornings a week while the other two are in school and preschool. It’s still a challenge now, but I know it won’t be like this forever. So I’m showing up as best I can on all fronts and holding onto faith that it won’t always be this hard.
What do you love most about working from home?
The flexibility of being able to see my family. As a freelancer, I’m 100% in control of my time as long as I meet my deadlines. Life would be a lot tougher if I didn’t have that level of autonomy.
How do you balance family time and work time?
Scheduling my days is still a challenge for me. I don’t have it figured out yet, but I’m currently toying with a 4 pm quit time to spend the rest of the evening with my family, and then using the hours after the kids go to bed to finish up anything that needs finishing.
Have you ever regretted your decision to Ghostwrite for Money at Home?
There have been times when I’ve been really frustrated and wondered if I should quit, but all I had to do was think about the alternative for 5 seconds: get a job, put the kid(s) in daycare, drop them off at 7 am, pick them up at 6 pm, and hope for a nice weekend together because that’s all we’ll see each other…. That’s always enough for me to recommit to building my own business.
Thank you, Ashley!
Can You Ghostwrite for Money like Ashley?
Ghostwriting (and other forms of freelance writing, too!) are skill that successful small (and not-so-small) businesses need.
They can't do it themselves (if they want to have a life and enjoy their success).
And that makes it a perfect skill to learn if you enjoy writing and want a career you can do from home, around your family's schedule.
Gina Horkey, the creator of 30 Days to Freelance Writing Success, started out as a freelance writer (so she knows what she's talking about).
30 Days to Freelance Writing Success is now part of the FullyBookedVA program (where you can become a VA ninja that everyone wants to hire). You can join the full program to access all their courses or take 30 Days to Freelance Writing Success on its own.
And a FullyBooked VA membership gives you access to hot leads who are looking for VAs with your specialties. So you can learn marketable skills and then put them to work!
Or, if you're ready to go all-in and become a content writing wizard, Freelance University has an entire section dedicated to it (SEO writing, blogging, website writing, copywriting, and email marketing…just to name a few). They've also got a jobs board and a very active online community for support.
Conclusion: Is Ghostwriting for money the “Write” Career for you?
For Ashley Gainer, a ghostwriting business has been her path to freelance writing success. While there are still challenges, she's happy with the autonomy ghostwriting for money gives her. And she gets to use her love of writing to help business owners get their messages out into the world.
Is ghostwriting worth it for you? That's a decision you'll need to make for yourself. Remember that you can start small – sign up for Upwork or Fiverr, for example, and try a few smaller jobs on for size. You'll get an idea of whether it's a good fit for you – and make a little money, too!
Or, you can go all-in and take training to build your ghostwriting proficiency from the foundation up. Both 30 Days to Freelance Success and Freelance University provide excellent courses and support as you learn.
What do you want to know about ghostwriting for money?
Do you still have questions we haven't answered? What else would you like to know about ghostwriting for money or t how to become a freelance writer? I'd love to help you learn more and find a work-from-home career you'll love!