Freelance Writers Earnings: Understanding the Income Potential

January 21, 2024

Understanding Freelance Writers’ Pricing Models

Charging per project is frequently the preferred method for writers, particularly in the United States. Research indicates that 40% of freelance writers adopt this pricing model. Polls conducted on social media platforms support the trend toward per-project fees. Investigations into the industry reveal a broad range of pricing, with writers earning between $50 to $1500 per extensive piece. Lengthy project costs, including the creation of ebooks and case studies, average out at about $2000. Writers such as Priscilla Tan have reported consistently charging at least $2000 for such projects.

Content Type and Writing Service Costs

The cost of writing services varies by the type of content produced. Poll data suggests most content creators ask for under $600 per article, with a minority exceeding $1000. Website copywriting is typically more expensive due to the scale of the work involved, such as composing all text for a site’s static pages. Copywriters may earn $1000-$7000 per project depending on various factors, including the project’s intricacies and their professional experience. For example, a British copywriter specializing in writing for creative professionals starts her packages at €1100, while a seasoned copywriter might begin at $5000.

Per-Word Pricing

Per-word pricing is also common among content writers, ranging from $0.01 to $2 per word. However, this can include those who work for lower-paying content mills or seek work on job platforms such as Upwork and Fiverr. New freelancers may undercharge as they familiarize themselves with the marketplace. According to surveys, most writers paid per word fall into a lower earnings bracket. Conversely, more established writers can command rates up to $1 per word.

Hourly Rates and Day Rates

Writers rarely charge hourly according to our research, but when they do, the rates can vary significantly. Copywriters might offer a ‘Day Rate’ which can range from $200 to $600 or more; it’s common for these rates to be a multiple of their hourly charges. For urgent tasks, rush day rates are sometimes applied; for example, a copywriter might charge $2500 for a ‘VIP day’ to expedite web content creation within two days.

Industry Sector Impact on Income

Freelance writing income is greatly influenced by the industry sector. Verticals like technology, eCommerce, SaaS, cybersecurity, and cryptocurrency typically have larger content budgets and therefore can afford to pay higher rates. For instance, a freelance writer working within the B2B SaaS and eCommerce space has reported minimum earnings of $1500 per article and an annual income of $201K, potentially reaching $300K.

Niche Expertise and Earning Potential

Niches impact earning potential too. Technical writing, business plans, grants, and press releases are high-paying but may not appeal to all writers. B2B-focused copywriters often earn more than those working with B2C industries. Experience equally plays a role in pay; writers with several years of experience may confidently charge upwards of $100 per hour. For example, a personal finance writer with six years of experience can earn anywhere from $300-$1500 per project and estimates a $250K yearly income.

Earnings of Entry-Level and Mid-Career Freelancers

Entry-level and mid-career freelancers typically earn less as they build their portfolios and industry knowledge. Opening up on annual incomes, freelancers display a wide range of earnings. For example, one writer specializing in career and productivity content for SaaS brands reported an annual income of $127,000, while another who writes B2B content focused on a range of corporate topics reported charging $395 per article of a specific word count and earning $88,000 in a year affected by the pandemic.

Freelancers’ Financial Progress and Insights

Freelancers sometimes share their financial progress publicly, detailing their monthly goals and the strides they’re making towards them, thereby offering insights and inspiration to others in the field. From travel writing to digital marketing, the freelance writing landscape is as diverse as the array of topics covered and the content platforms engaged.