Freelance Writing: What You Need to Know (a guest post)

Please enjoy this guest post by freelance writer Lauren Bailey. In this post she talks about freelance writing and the basic things you need to know before you decide to go freelance. I totally agree with all the points she discusses and I may have rambled about them in a way at some point in some of my posts about freelance writing.

Freelance Writing: What you need to know

by Lauren Bailey

S you want to set out as a freelance writer? Let me give you a little reality check. Freelancing can be a tough job, even for the most resolute, determined, and talented professional. I’m a freelance writer, and I can honestly say that I love the job with all my heart, and I wouldn’t have things any other way.

But it wasn’t always like this. When I got my first desk job after college, I would dream of the freelancing life. I’d read posts from bloggers who said they did all their work from their favorite coffee shop, working on their own hours and operating by their own rules. Compared to my dull 9-5 job, freelancing seemed like a dream.

After over a year at that job, I decided to call it quits and try my hand at freelancing. I had an abundance of writing experience, and I had worked with several online publications during my time in college, so I had plenty of web writing experience as well. I figured freelancing would be a breeze. Well, it wasn’t, at least not in the beginning. I learned a lot of hard lessons, and I’d like to impart some of those lessons here to would-be freelancers.

Money will be tight, at least in the beginning

When I transitioned to full-time freelancing, I expected to be short on cash for a while. I budgeted my savings to account for at least a month where I wouldn’t expect to get any money for my work. I figured that after doing enough free writing gigs I’d eventually land an assignment that paid. Well, one month turned into two, which turned into almost three straight months before I got a single writing assignment that paid me anything. Three months!

So this is my first of three cautionary tales: you might not make enough money to feed yourself and keep a roof over your head for quite some time. If you want to be a freelancer, anticipate that your enterprise might not be at all profitable for at least two months. Adjust your finances accordingly to absorb that kind of risk.

You won’t always write about subjects that interest you

As a writer, I have many interests that give me joy to write about: I like following the current trends in contemporary food culture, and I also follow the news when it comes to subjects relating to higher education. I figured that I could earn my keep writing solely about food and education. However I learned very quickly that I had to diversify and widen my scope if I wanted to keep making money as a freelancer.

I avoided certain blogs because the subject matter didn’t interest me, or I thought that the content wasn’t on par with my writing style. But after weeks of few assignments and even fewer paying ones, I started knocking at every blogger’s proverbial door, begging to let me write for them, if even just for a free guest post. I realized then that I couldn’t cater my clientele based on my personal interests, at least not in the beginning. I can write about food and education all I want when I’m rich and famous.

The way you manage your time will determine your success

In the realm of freelancing, you’re your own boss. It’s a cliché, but that statement is something you should never lose sight of, particularly when you’re just starting out as a solo writer. That means that you have to keep track of all your work time, not just for your own sake but for the sake of clients who want your billable hours. Once you start tracking your time, you realize just how valuable it is. Every spare moment could be put to good use polishing up an article or searching for new blogs to write for. The better you manage your time, the more likely you’ll find success as a freelancer.

What are some tips that you’d offer to freelancers who just start out?

Author bio: 
Lauren Bailey is a freelance blogger who loves writing about education, new technology, lifestyle and health. As an education writer, she works to research and provide sound online education advice and welcomes comments and questions via email at blauren 99

5 thoughts on “Freelance Writing: What You Need to Know (a guest post)”

  1. Hi Ronel,

    First off, thanks for your comment. I’m glad you got something out of the article.

    Okay, so, how to get paid as a freelancer? There’s a great article at that addresses how a freelancer should talk about payment with clients. Here’s the URL:

    Basically you can charge for your writing in two ways: by hourly or by project. I tend to charge by hourly, because there’s no telling how long a writing project might take. Now, I won’t disclose what I charge exactly, but I will tell you that I adjust my fee depending on the client. I’ll probably charge less if I’m helping out a friend or working with a small time blogger that really needs help than if I’m working on a project with a major and established company. Your time is valuable, so make sure you get the money you deserve for the work you do.

    I hope that helps,


  2. Hello Leah,

    Thank you very much for helping me, also that site you gave me was really helpful. I’m still reading some of his posts. Anyway, I already Emailed my client about the salary I’m expecting from him, just waiting for his reply.

    I wish more success to come to you and this site.

    Thank you.

  3. Hi Ronel,

    I forwarded your comment to Lauren who wrote the post, but I also wanted to give my thoughts.

    Frankly, I’ve no real idea about the going rates of freelance writers these days because I also work part-time and writing isn’t the only thing I’m doing. When it comes to article writing, I am usually paid on a per article basis and I don’t do it on a regular basis, so I don’t really know how much a full-time writer earns per month.

    I think there are several things you can do to estimate how much your rate can be. You can estimate the number of articles you can submit in an hour, multiply that by the number of hours you’re expected to work per day and then calculate how much you can earn per day. You can also just take your hourly rate and multiply again by the number of hours per day. You also have to take into account that you’ll be working exclusively for your employer so you can include a premium if you want. Or you can simply give your employer a figure that you are comfortable with and willing to accept. Also, it will be great if you know what your employer expects from you in terms of work output, etc. given that you’ll be working full-time for them.

    You can check out this site that’s really useful. This blog is by a really young guy who’s pretty successful with his freelance writing career. —

    Good luck!


  4. Hello again,

    I need an advice about how much salary per month should I tell my client from writing full time for him. I’ve been writing articles for him as part time. So I asked him if I could write full time for him, then he asked me how much salary per month would I expect.

    Here’s what he said:
    “The workload will vary depending on how many clients we had so obviously IF we did take you on full time (haven’t talked to my partner yet) then you would need to be available to us on a full working day basis. How much are you looking for per month based on what I just told you?”

    Need your help^^ Thanks.


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