According to the article on Problogger.net the top tier bloggers were earning up to $90,000 a year. Even the regular bloggers were earning around $25 per post. This was very exciting for me – the prospect that I really could be rich AND famous.
I searched around for more information and found some interesting thoughts over at The Art of Blog about what some of the top bloggers are earning. The article was intriguing but left me wanting to know more – like HOW to become one of these top tier bloggers making $90,000. So I read on.
It seems that the big money is in consulting. You know “if you can’t do it yourself then teach someone else to do it” approach. There is probably more truth to this than we realize. I had a friend call me once to say that if I had some credentials (you know those clip things) then I could put together a program for creative writing and make a few hundred dollars for a few hours work. I was new in my freelancing career – and my clips were few and far between. He KNEW that, but still he knew a way to get me into the loop with just a few marks on my resume.
I am still not sure if that was a good thing to learn or a scary one to consider when signing up for a conference or seminar. I have continued learning that the road to full-time freelance writing can be painful, rewarding, frustrating, maddening, and sometimes all at once.
There are as many different ways to become a full-time freelance writer as there are writers. My journey continues to shift, readjust, and reform. Here are some of the things that I have learned so far.
Tips for Building a Full Time Freelance Writing Career
- 1. Start off doing what you can do and work to create bylined clips. Getting your name on material is EXTREMELY important!
2. Raise your rates with your experience. Even if you have been working with someone for a few months, you should step up and ask for a raise (the good ones give a raise without you having to ask).
3. Take what you can get and look for what you want. I started out writing about bathroom fixtures, cars and VoIP (which I didn’t even know existed until I started writing about it). As I found jobs that were more in my particular passions, I began to walk away from the ones that I was doing to survive – always with plenty of warning because you NEVER burn bridges in freelance writing.
4. Always do your best – even for less. Your reputation is the most valuable asset that you have. Check your spelling, grammar and how well the article flows before you send it to your client.
5. Keep expanding (your writing opportunities NOT your waistline). Just because you haven’t done it before doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Try new topics, new types of writing or different lengths. You may stumble over something that you truly love.
6. Be willing to walk away from the check. In the last year I have only had two situations where the client was unhappy with the way the job was working out. It wasn’t the work that was the problem but that the client they were working with wasn’t happy. It was a mess both times and they were extremely frustrated. Instead of being upset I just told them to not worry about it. The paycheck was not as important as the relationship I was building and had built.
7. Budget from income of the last month (until you can set a yearly budget that takes into account your smallest income month and budgets from there). If you are working off what you have already earned then you won’t worry about money that you thought might come in but you have to walk away from instead. You will have much more freedom.
8. Ask for more work. As you begin to build relationships with clients, editors and others in the industry you should periodically let them know that you are interested in doing more. I picked up a gig this week with a “just checking in” email.
9. Build online relationships. Your spouse or mother will get tired of reading articles that you are writing even if they are ground breaking. Find some people who appreciate what you are doing, like fellow writers, and that can help you when you hit a wall. Visiting blogs, forums and other sites is the best place to begin.
10. Check out some of the companies that sale content. You may be able find some regular work at decent pay that can help you get over the tough times. Ask other writers who they are writing for and do a search for content companies.
I did go back read the article recently in case I missed the map to the six figure income. It turns out that I didn’t. But what I did discover is that I’m actually one of these lucky people. I’m not up to the six figures YET, but I’m making a living doing what I love. Can you really put a price tag on that?