How I Got my Start as a Freelance Writer

how I got my startI’m writing this up on a Thursday after seeing countless “Throwback Thursday” posts on Facebook and other sites.  After trying to figure out what to write about for a bit, I decided to give a quick recap of how I got my start as a freelance writer.  Basically this will be an overview of how I went from $0 as a writer to maybe $5000 in my first year, (and now on track to make $35,000 this year (part time) from freelance writing, but that is for another post).

Fiverr

Yes, I know…Fiver sucks and all that.  However, it is where I got my start as a freelance writer.  I started out offering people ’10 Yahoo Answers Posts for $5’.  I’d find questions related to their niche, and answer them with a link back to their post.  I got maybe 30 orders in the first few weeks, and they kept coming.  I was mostly doing it just for fun, and to make a little extra cash on the side.  I quickly realized, however, that it was much to time consuming.  I could do maybe 2-3 gigs per hour at the very most, which is less than $12/hour after all the fees.

So, I started looking around to see what types of things on Fiverr I could do.  Writing seemed popular, and while I never really fancied myself a writer, I figured I’d give it a shot.  I made a gig for “I’ll write 1000 word articles for you in native English, for $5.”  Yes, that’s right.  After Fiverr fees I was making $.004 per word!!!  Looking back I can’t believe it.  Those first 20-30 buyers really got one heck of a deal, lol.

I then dropped the word count down to 500 words, and offered that for quite some time.  Still under $.01 per word, but I could pound them out quickly.  I offered ‘gig extras’ of adding custom formatting (bold, headlines, ect) for $5 more, and adding one image for $5 more.  Plus an ‘express gig’ (delivery in 24 hours or less) for $5.  This helped bump up my average payment to maybe $6-7 per 500 word article.

Still not great, but an improvement.  Next, I added in a few more gig options for writing.  One was “200 words of high quality native English writing delivered in 24 hours for $5” which got me quite a few orders.  I made a total of about $10,000 on Fiverr before I ‘retired’ my account.

Private Clients

One of my clients from Fiverr asked if I would be willing to write directly for, giving him a faster than normal turnaround time, and special formatting.  He would pay me $12.50 per 500 word article.  I gladly accepted, and began writing for him.  This really opened my eyes to the opportunities that private clients provided.  This individual owns an SEO company, and I still write for him today (nearly 3 years later).  While the orders come in streaks, I was getting about $100-300 per week at the time from this one client.

At this point, I began looking for more private clients, who I found primarily at Warrior Forum and Digital Point.  This was still fairly early on in my career as a freelance writer, and I wasn’t aware how much potential there was.  I write for anywhere from $.01 (a little bit) to $.03 per word.  I found the writing was much easier, and better paying than Fiverr, which is why I eventually stopped using Fiverr altogether, but that wasn’t until a bit later.

End of the First Year

By the end of the first year of my freelance writing I knew that private clients were the way to go.  I hadn’t even looked at most of the other ‘content mills’ out there, so I was just writing for the few private clients I had found, and also plugging away at Fiverr.  At the end of the first year, I estimate that I made about $5000 total, with the bulk of that coming in the last 3-4 months.

Maybe someday I’ll expand on my ‘journey’ as a freelance writer, and talk more about how I continued to grow my private clients, and eventually eliminate fiverr.  For now, however, this is a good intro on how I made my ‘big start’ as a writer.  I’m blessed to be able to earn how much I do now part-time, but I know there is A LOT more potential out there.  Hopefully my success will continue to grow every year.

Just to make sure I’m clear on this, I don’t really recommend starting out on Fiverr.  I wasted a lot of time that could have been better spent making more money.  I will say, however, that I learned a lot while doing it.  Part of why I run this site is so other people don’t have to learn the same lessons that I did on Fiverr. Lol.  Oh well, live and learn.  At least I brought in some cash, and learned a lot.

How did you get your start in writing?  Please, share in the comments below.

Thanks for reading this post, I hope you found it useful. I'd love to hear what you thought about it in the comments below. If you're interested in publishing this, or any of my content, on your site I'd love to hear from you. Just contact me using my syndication request form HERE.

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Michael

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