While scrolling through my Facebook feed and found a study on freelance writers. That study claims the average freelance writers report earning less than $10,000 a year and the top tier makes $40k. They blame it on lack of work and say finding clients online isn’t effective.
This is, of course, mind boggling to me. My business brings in more than $40,00 a year. Most of my colleagues earn far more than that as well. We also find most of our work online.
This got me thinking, what gives? Why are so many freelance writers struggling? Here are my thoughts based on my experience.
They don’t have a brand behind their name.
The most successful freelance writers I know don’t just have a skill, they have a brand. Often times, a recognizable one. This means they have their own blogs that cover a specific topic. They also have a social media following and are a sought-after expert in their field.
They haven’t niched.
Another big mistake I see among freelance writers who are struggling is they haven’t niched. They are writing everything for everybody because they think the money only comes from having a skill.
This thinking is backward. The money for writing comes from being an expert in a specific topic, not from having a skill.
You need to look no further than doctors or attorneys to see that smart business people specialize. The reason? That’s where the money is.
They are in the wrong niche.
In addition to not choosing a niche, sometimes freelance writers also pick the least profitable ones.
This is actually something a friend and fellow writer brought up. She noticed how certain niches like personal finance always made money because large financial institutions pay a lot of money for content. Meanwhile, other niches weren’t earning as much.
Does this mean every freelance writer should go into finance? No. It will be a drag if you don’t actually enjoy it.
What it does mean is you may need to choose your niche more carefully. This is the same concept behind people who choose marketable degrees versus those that don’t. Some industries are more in demand and therefore there’s more potential to make money.
They have no idea how to run a business.
There is a lot more to freelance writing than just writing. You need to market yourself, sell, deliver the work and handle accounting.
Whether freelance writers realize it or not, they are business owners. Failure to start thinking and acting like a business owner will inevitably lead to small revenue.
Fortunately, this can be fixed. I had no idea how to run a business either when I started blogging seven years ago. Through trial and error, mentorship and sheer perseverance I figured it out. Now it’s practically second nature.
They don’t know how to sell.
Perhaps the biggest mistake I see among freelance writers is they don’t know how to sell. How exactly are you supposed to make any money if you can’t sell your services?
This again has to do with thinking like a business owner. Successful business owners invest in sales training and freelance writers should as well.
Freelance writers shouldn’t be doomed to earning less than $10,000 a year. They can also earn way more than $40,000 if they learn how to properly run a business and market themselves.