I’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).
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.
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.