In July of 2007, I wrote a post called How Much Does Freelance Writing Pay? At the time I wrote it because I found that people were arriving on my blog because they asked the search engines that question. I decided to answer it to provide people with information.
At that time, I was proud to report that in just over a year of writing for the web from home I had doubled my rates from about .01/word to .02/word on average. A penny a word sounds like nothing but it was through those types of gigs that I learned how to write for the web. Someone recently commented with some not-so-nice comments on that post (I've deleted the comment).
I still get a lot of traffic to that post because people want to know whether or not they can earn a living wage writing from home. How much you need and want to earn will depend on a lot of factors! I can also see that the debate about how much writers should be paid and whether or not web content writers should be able to call themselves writer will probably continue forever and ever.
While the 2007 post doesn't neccesarily reflect what I earn today, it does provide helpful information to those who want to get their start so it's still relevant. Not everyone needs to write for $.01/word to make money writing but if you're just starting out, those gigs can teach you a lot about the web writing industry.
A lot of web content companies pay from $5-10 an article and a writer who can write and research quickly can write a few articles in an hour. If you're writing on a topic you know a lot about, you might be able to write an article in less than ten minutes. And while you're writing, you can learn how to market yourself and get higher paying clients while still bringing in money. There are other companies out there that pay much better for those with skills and expertise in an area.
I've found that the best way to increase my earnings is to find my own customers through developing some niches, and through marketing and self-promotion and that has worked well for getting me word-of-mouth referrals as well.
A lot has changed for me in 3+ years of writing full-time. I started at .01/word and made about $10-15 an hour and now at times I'm making $75+ for an hour's work. Sometimes I make money without doing anything at all because I'm earning passive residual income on something I've published in the past.
I'm not a penny per word content writer any longer. I'm doing writing, consulting, and not just working for others but working for myself as well. I write for clients, I mentor and lead a small team, and I dabble in many of my own entrepreneurial pursuits as well. But if I needed to start over again, I wouldn't hesitate and I definitely wouldn't hesitate to encourage someone else to get started the same way I did.
Feasts, Famines, Droughts, and Floods...
There are feasts and there are famines or droughts and floods and sometimes I churn out fodder for search engines that doesn't get my creative juices flowing and sometimes I am so proud of the words I write that I beam when I read them. Then I let someone else take credit for them. C'est la vie. This is my choice.
Sometimes I write a little and hit my quota before noon and spend the day doing what I want and sometimes I work 60 hours in a week just to scrape by. This isn't a charmed life I lead but I am doing something that makes me happy and provides for my family.
It sucks when someone leaves a rude and anonymous comment on your blog, trying to cut down what it is that you do to support your family but the Internet isn't always a warm and fuzzy place. Thankfully, it's warm enough and just fuzzy enough that I've been able to use it to create an income from thin air.
After I gave birth for the second time, I left my great-paying IT sales career voluntarily (because I was tired of being treated like plankton on the corporate food chain) in search of a happier life. I started out in 2006 on dial-up with a clunker of a computer and managed to create money for my family out of thin air with the advice of some new online friends. I'll never be plankton again! This enabled me to support us while my husband returned to school. I've also helped other people learn how to write for a living. In fact, I'm working on a book and mentoring program with a colleague that will help more people learn how to make a living by writing. I'm proud of myself.
What's the moral of today's post?
Only you can decide whether you're going to have a good day or a bad day each and every day and only you can decide whether or not you're a "real" writer. I'm fine with the choices I've made, even if I've given up a corporate career and really good health benefits. I'm more in charge than ever of my own potential for success and fulfillment.
Another thing I've realised is that it's also a great idea to chronicle your journey in life so you can see where you've been and decide where it is next that you want to go.
The pennies I earned 3 years ago don't sound like much today but I was proud of them back then because they were the fruits of my entrepreneurial pursuits and I wouldn't hesitate to suggest to anyone else that they take a similar route to get to where they want to be.
So, for the hater that tried to get a rise out of me, you did. You encouraged me to reflect and be grateful and proud of myself today. Tata for now!