Hi, I’m Sam. I’m one of the founding editors of Capulet Mag, and I also make money as a freelance writer. That sounds like a fake job, I know. When I was going through the interview process for my Global Entry card at the Miami Airport, I got into a minor disagreement over the validity of such a claim. At the end of the day, the custom’s agent and I had to decide on “self-employed” for my occupation. We left it at that.
The Miami custom’s agent isn’t the only person who thinks writing for a living is a load of baloney. My college advisors, family members, and even random check out people have all given me their advice about just how practical it is to make a career out of being a writer.
Well, dear reader, I’m here to let you know from personal experience that yet, you can make a career from writing. I write every god-dang day, and that pays my bills.
I write for a living. Like, really.
First thing’s first. I need to make it clear what I mean when I say I make money as a freelance writer. I am not a fiction writer or novelist. Yes, I run this fabulous lit mag that I love to death, and I do frequently publish my creative writing both in Capulet Mag and in other magazines. That being said, I make very little from that. I’ve pocked under $200 total from all of these ventures. That’s not going to pay my Orlando rent, thank you very much.
So what does? It’s not nearly so glamorous.
I’m a marketing writer.
What is that? Basically, businesses hire me to write content for them. Whether I’m writing a downloadable guide, a blog post, social media posts, emails, or some combination of all of the above, I create content that educates their audience and positions them as an expert. This is part of a much larger marketing funnel, and a lot of different things go into it.
While I write about a little bit of everything, my primary “niche” is digital marketing, e-commerce, and technology. I write about digital trends, how to market a small business online, and all kinds of fun stuff like that. I love it, and it lets me work with so many cool businesses.
I never knew my writing skills could be put to use in this way. Having a way to write about a variety of topics and work with so many business owners have shown me just how valuable writing skills are. So few people know how to articulate themselves well online, how to master tech skills, and how to research effectively. These are all skills I (mostly) learned in college as an English major or through some simple self-teaching.
How much do I make writing?
I knew I couldn’t do a post like this without talking about the M word. Money, of course. While I can’t speak for how much all freelance writers make, I can talk about my own numbers.
Fun fact: they’re always changing. It’s hard to nail down specifics because there is a natural ebb and flow to working online. Sometimes I’m drowning in client work. Other times I’m searching for tasks to fill my time.
In general, I make between $2000 and $4000 a month. Sometimes more, on rare occasions less. This isn’t my end goal by any means, but I’m only 23 so it’s more than enough to pay my living expenses at the moment. This year I hope to push that number further.
Also, not all of my income is from writing. I run a number of blogs, all of which bring in some kind of income on a passive basis. Those take work too. It’s not one-size-fits-all, but it works pretty well for me.
Want to make money as a freelance writer?
To end this post, I wanted to share some resources in case you were interested in becoming a freelance writer on your own time. I wholeheartedly believe freelancing is the best way to make money in college and beyond. We’re amidst a freelancer revolution, and this is becoming the new normal in the United States.
You don’t need any special skills to get started as a writer. While having a degree helps, it’s not necessary. There are no strict rules about who can start. No matter where you’re from, your education level, and your interests, there are gigs for you.
However, make sure you really like writing. Being a freelancer writer means being comfortable typing quickly, editing yourself, and writing about things you might not be interested in. That comes with the territory.
If you’ve decided you’re still interested, here are some great resources to start your journey:
- Offbeat Grad – Shameless plug for my own podcast. I talk weekly about making money online in college and beyond, from blogging to freelancing.
- Upwork – A great resource for finding your first gig.
- Portfolio Tutorial – You need a portfolio website to showcase your writing skills! My co-editor Isabelle has a guide here.
Are you considering becoming a freelance writer? If so, let me know in the comments. I love to connect with my fellow writers! Join me in defining your own writing job. Who said English majors can’t get employed, am I right?