I see a lot of people wanting to start out freelancing, but they have no idea how. I was in the same situation a couple of years ago, and after freelance writing for over five years now I think it’s time I share some of my story to help you figure out how to be a successful freelancer like me. I started out working for free for others, and now I get paid to work for myself.

I’m not a huge millionaire, or someone making hundreds of dollars a day (yet), but I do well, and I think what I have achieved can be achieved by others relatively quickly and easily. You can find other sorts of posts elsewhere which click bait you in with promises of making 10K a month your first month. 

Another thing that might help you relate to me is that I haven’t been doing this since the creation of the internet. I started to find success only a few years ago after graduating college with what I thought to be a useless creative writing degree.

My top freelance writing tools:

Ergonomic Office Chair

Mechanical Keyboard

Online spell checker

Microsoft Word

Gaming Ergonomic Mouse

Webhost


How successful are you?
How to Start Freelance Writing

Small summary of my Upwork success.

To give some indication of my success, I now run two websites full time which are completely monetized and for the most part, run completely independently by myself (ReviewNetwork.com, and Best10VPN.com). Best10VPN has only been around for little more than a year, but it around has thousands of visitors every day who trust my software VPN recommendations. To date, the site has over 500,000 views! This is quite good, especially since I’ve written all of the content by myself. 

The perks? I don’t have to get up at six every morning to drive in traffic; I can work in my underwear, make coffee as much as I want, and spend my lunch break gaming instead of eating lunch at a lonely desk like a normal person would. The pay is also awesome since it’s not capped like a salary like a normal office job where you suck up to superiors just to get a few thousand dollars as a pay raise. There are cons too–don’t get me wrong.

Sometimes owning blogs and freelance writing can be incredibly lonely, stale, and hard when you think of all of your competition. But once you own your own websites, and produce your own content, it feels incredible. The idea of working for money to help someone else make even more money just almost sounds disgusting. 

Probably the best thing about freelance writing and entrepreneurial blog development is that the sky is the limit!


How did YOU start?
How to Start Freelance Writing

This is the website I started writing on years ago!

In 2012-2013 while I was working on a creative writing degree I started out freelancing for free on a college news website. My school had a small group of 5-6 people who’d meet every week to discuss news articles and the like of which we’d contribute to the site and other colleges would too.

A lot of my articles got featured on the front page since I’d just post my articles on school’s subreddit to drive the traffic up. Most of these people on Reddit hated my articles, but I didn’t care since some people in the group started to notice how popular my articles were getting on the website.

This was the first time I experienced the process of entrepreneurial writing. Writing, publishing, marketing, and then start over from the beginning on the next piece–and I liked it. My first posts were movie reviews, tips on how to stay in shape, and other lighthearted opinion pieces that had click bait titles but useful content.

After awhile I got noticed by one of the head honchos on the college news website, and I got to feature an article on USAToday College. While I was disappointed he didn’t like any of my other articles,  I still think that getting this piece published (it was on iOS vs. Android) was integral to my success getting into the “tech” space of freelance writing. It was a very polished piece on a pretty well-known website. I would later use this piece to convince Upwork clients to hire me. 

Soon after, I started working for an online gaming magazine for free. At first, even though I wasn’t getting paid–I loved it. I was actually getting published on the internet writing about GAMES! I was in the last year of college at this point, so I didn’t mind. I looked at it as an internship, and the writers on the site who hired me framed it like this as the time.

I did well here but found that the lack of pay didn’t match the work I was putting in, and the leaders of the site didn’t respect how I made content. I’m all about content, creativity, and traffic- whereas the people who ran that site were more about grammar, repetition, and strangely enough–what they seemed to think was integrity. I couldn’t disagree more, and even today their site is only making $50 a month on Patreon (LOL!) where I make thousands all by myself! 


Post Graduation

How to Start Freelance Writing

After I had graduated I spent 4-5 months trying to get a REAL job. Suffice to say, I didn’t have any success since I suck at interviews which made each experience pretty cringeworthy and disappointing. I once tried to apply to a “marketing job” to be tested on-site to write an entire article. I did so, without any preparation, only to be told my article wasn’t “trendy” enough.

Finally, I decided to try to get paid for writing online, and I was inspired by a former classmate posting on Twitter that he had “actually gotten paid for writing,” which at the time, blew my mind.

For some reason, I still thought that making money online was a get rich scheme, or that every form of journalism was writing about wars in Iraq or about other stuff that felt detached from my interests (tech, gaming, etc.). After this, however, I started to dig around for how to make money writing online and eventually found Upwork.com.

When I found Upwork, I initially didn’t have much confidence in the platform since I found TONs of people on Reddit and elsewhere bashing the site since it’s flooded with underpaid Indian workers. This scared me, but I figured I didn’t have many options and it’s user-design seemed better and friendlier than other alternatives at the time (at the time Elance and Upwork were still separate, but they would merge later that fall).

I went ahead and started applying to jobs on Upwork. I spent a few hours taking well-lit headshots, giving a good intro on my profile, and at the time I had a few websites of my own that I wrote a few articles on–so I included that in my profile and some other articles like the one I mentioned before (USAToday Educate) to show that I could write.


Starting out on Upwork

How to Start Freelance Writing

Starting out I had a few random jobs, but my first big job was working for an Android app review blog. They would pay me $10 per app review, and they wanted four a day. It would take my roughly an hour to test all four apps out enough to be able to write about them, and in totality, it took about 3-4 hours a day to write out the reviews and publish them into their blog with pictures, formatting, and everything.

Just as a warning, make sure to talk to your clients and get a clear idea of how much work they expect outside of writing. It annoys me how many clients expect you to correctly format your articles, and include pictures without paying you more per word!!!!

It wasn’t the best job, mainly because my boss was very rude–but since I was reviewing games (I enjoyed that part of it), making $40 a day consistently–I figured it was very good since I could also find other jobs on Upwork to make more money.

Eventually, I did find a few good clients, and I spent a good time writing about Garlic (this guy paid me $50 for an article that took around an hour to write). This is where I started to learn that by actually charging a high cost, clients are willing to pay that cost if you spend enough time looking and you get a bit lucky. 

Clients are willing to pay you well if you spend enough time looking and you get a bit lucky.

I also found a job writing copy for some guy who owned no name software websites (which I’m pretty sure were used as fake landing pages for apps that come bundled in as a sort of adware when you download things off Cnet and stuff). This guy was a bit sketchy since I didn’t know much about him and I never talked to him through voice. He also took forever to respond on Upwork, and I had dismissed him since I thought he wasn’t going to reply. There were times where he wouldn’t reply for WEEKS.

Finally, I got annoyed and told him I couldn’t waste time working for him and setting aside time for him when I needed money from other jobs on Upwork that could have potential time commitments. He agreed and decided to start paying me $200 a week as a retainer (for the first few months I constantly asked him if he was OK with this since I had never heard of a retainer before, and every time he agreed I couldn’t believe it).

For the first month or so, I worked about 3-5 hours a week for him, 2-3 hours a day on App reviews (including weekends), and then 5 hours a week on Garlic articles making around 730 dollars a week. This worked out to about to working 30 hours a week making around an average of $24 an hour.

Making this much money with so much flexibility to work whenever and however I wanted, blew my mind, and gave me some real confidence in my abilities, confidence in Upwork as a platform, and an idea of what I wanted to do for the next few years. As a kid, I always dread the idea of a normal office job, and for the first time I started to realize that maybe the pre-defined model of what a job should be isn’t what is has to be.

Previously in comparison, during the last few months of my university time, I had worked 20-30 hours a week at Safeway making a meager 180 dollars a week. That job made me want to kill myself, so I was very happy with my success.

But as life is, success doesn’t last forever…


Upwork Continued?

How to Start Freelance Writing

Shortly after that great month, the garlic guy didn’t need much more articles for that sweet $50 a pop. So I was just working on the app reviews and getting paid $200 a week, dropping my weekly earned revenue to  $480 a week. I spent some time trying to recruit new clients that would pay the same amount, but even with good reviews from previous clients, and more experience it was difficult.

I was starting to lose a bit of inspiration as well, since writing 28 application reviews a week, over the course of a week, made me feel super drained, and the nature of the work began to feel pretty solitary. I’d get up, play with apps for an hour or so, then spend 2-3 hours writing reviews. For the rest of the day, I’d browse Upwork jobs or just play video games to fill the time. I also started to get a lot of back and wrist pain from spending so much time typing and playing games. It was around this time that I started researching ergonomics and office chairs (which is one reason I still write about them today).

I was glad I still had the $200 a week client since it felt so lucky and after the first month or so, because he barely asked me to do any work for him and it was just free money. Every week on Upwork I would just submit a blank timesheet for 10 hours and then he’d approve it (or automatically it would approve) for $200. Upwork would make bank of this deal, btw, since he paid me $220 and Upwork took $20 each time. This anomaly-like deal would continue for nearly a year, ranking me in nearly 10,000 for maybe 20-30 hours of work tops!

However, the next month, after I had already lost the garlic client, I also lost the app review client. I didn’t mind since I hated doing the reviews at that point, but it worried me that I had no income source besides the $200 a week from my other client.

I think the app review client suspected my reviews were getting lazier and the quality was dropping due to my burnout. They just told me they had less budget now, and I think their new writer they hired was more excited to work for less than I was with more stamina. I’m pretty sure he is still working on their site to this day! Over my course there, I wrote almost 500 app reviews. The cool thing I was even featured on an app’s description in the Google Play Store! (The bad thing about this job is that it didn’t give me much credibility at the time. Most people didn’t understand how I wrote so many reviews (most were 300-500 words). 

Around this point, I decided that freelance writing might not be for me since there was no social interaction and it all just seemed like busy work for the most part.


Getting a “Real Job.”

How to Start Freelance Writing

I decided I wanted to try to get a real job again so I could have some interactions. But I also wanted to pursue freelance writing a bit more in case I could find some better clients and more clients like my “garlic client” who would pay me $50 for one article. This was my goal since it seemed like a great deal to be paid $50 for an hour of work.

I ended up taking a part-time teller job at a local credit union. This job was OK, but it eventually started to eat up a lot of time and make me too tired to work at home as well on the off-days and after work. They told me it would only be 20 hours a week ($15 an hour), but most times it ended up being closer to 30-40 since they always had someone call in sick.

During this six month time, I barely contacted any upwork clients although I did have a few. Most weren’t successful, and a lot of clients kept trying to get me to work super cheap or for free. There was one client who I worked with shortly that I liked, but I got burnt out writing articles since I was too tired from work and also a bit depressed on where I wanted to go as far as a career.

Sure $15 an hour sounds good with a $200-week bonus from my free client, but at the time I lived in a very expensive area with a high cost of living.


Getting a more “Real” Job

How to Start Freelance Writing

I decided to work at the credit union part time wasn’t cutting it for me, so I decided to look into temp agencies to get a full-time office job and give my freelancing a temporary hold. I shortly did one a job working at a solar company, but it was only after a week or so that I discovered I hated the company culture and the work required.

The job was spending all day on spreadsheets with 0 social interaction, direction, and using confusing and poorly designed online software. I had a lot of downtime at this job, which you think would be a good thing, but since I sat right next to my managers (who would often just ignore me) I wanted to look like I was doing things even though I had no idea or will to do the things I was supposed to be doing. So I started to use Upwork and other websites now to get jobs to work while I was working at my job.

I would get to work super early and spend a good two hours freelance writing before anyone came to work, and then I’d leave work two hours early, and no one was much wiser for it. I continued like this for 3-4 months finding a few clients but none that were notable. I even did interview at a few promising places that needed writers (and one even at a friend’s recommendation) but nothing panned out.

After four months the place I was working finally realized I wasn’t doing anything and that they didn’t really need me. They let me and a few other temps doing the same things (nothing at all) go. At this point, I decided to contact a former client I had been working for while at the credit union (if you remember, I liked this client but got burnout).

I guess this client had a few bad freelancers since I had worked for him in the past, and he easily agreed that he would pay me much more this time to work with him than he had before (even more than I had been making at this temp job 40 hours a week even if it was super low pay). This taught me the importance of not burning bridges with good clients, leaving on a good note, and keeping past clients in mind for future jobs (they often pay you more to return back to them if you stop working for them).


Freelancing Returns!!!

How to Start Freelance Writing

I was super excited to return to freelancing and my horrible in-person low-paying office job (with an hour train ride every day) gave me a new appreciation for the freedom of working for myself. However, just around this time I started reading blogs like SmartPassiveIncome.com, and I started listening to his podcast, and I got inspired to start working on my own websites.

I decided to pitch to my client the idea that we could start a niche website together, split the profits, and I would maintain the operations and write all the content, while he helped fund the project, and he was sold. I started researching niche subjects, and eventually I thought about writing about VPN.

As I mentioned before, I’m a huge gamer and tech guy so I already had been familiar with VPNs and torrenting. I decided I wanted to make a VPN review site since that would be easy to find content ideas for (VPN reviews, tips, and tricks) and the industry seemed to be growing with the advent of more censorship globally.

This is how Best10VPN.com started and still functions today. So far I’ve gotten over 500k views, make a few thousand a month of it, and I continue to work for my client on his projects which aren’t related to our VPN niche.  Later on in the next year, I would decide to start another project, being this site–ReviewNetwork.com, a more broad sort of review site with a similar mission. Right now it’s  doing very well, and I’ve been hellbent on making it an authority on multiple subject areas that I have an interest in. One being Office and gaming chairs!


So what did I learn and what can you use?

#1 Don’t work for free if you need money. Once you work for free, your employer has no incentive to pay you and they won’t.

#2 Freelancing can be lonely. Get a pet, go on walks, but don’t get a part-time job since it will leech your energy and will to write for money.

#3 Don’t forget your GOOD clients.

#4 Don’t let bad clients ruin your business or love for freelance writing.

#5 At the worst times, freelance writing can often be like any other job, boring, hard, and soul-crushing. But the good thing is it’s flexible, so you can find better freelancing jobs and you will be happier. If you aren’t happy with your client, move on. You can most of the time, get them back if you want.

#6 Don’t be afraid to ask for a lot of money for your work. Be confident!

So the whole story would be pointless if you just came away with just that–a story. No, today I’m here to not only share my journey but to give you tips on how to use Upwork and freelance successfully. As you can see from my story, it wasn’t all on an upward swing. I had ups and downs, and I’ve learned a TON!

I will lay it out simple steps so you can get started freelancing successfully even quicker than I did.


How to Start Freelance Writing

I’ve had a large story, and if you’ve made it this far, thanks for taking the time to listen! However, with all good stories that are important, there are things to learn, and this one is no exception! But there are so many things I’ve learned it’s hard to sum it up quickly, so stick around for this step by step guide on how to start freelance writing.

Step #1 Make a good Upwork profile

I still recommend using Upwork since it’s the easiest way to search for clients quickly. But to use Upwork effectively, you need a good profile.

What makes a good Upwork profile?

There are a few things…

#1 Having a professional-looking profile picture.

How to Start Freelance Writing

This is a good example. Don’t look “fake”, but look nice and professional, and happy!

Make sure to have a decent profile picture where you look happy + professional. If you can, make it well-lit (go outside!) and high quality since a lot of freelancers on Upwork have poor quality pictures where they are just sitting in a room looking depressed.

A lot of cheaper workers in India who are often your competition regarding applying more and clogging up the job applications don’t have high-quality pics. This is your first impression in a lot of ways, and it can help!

#2 Make a good description.

How to Start Freelance Writing

Here’s a decent Upwork profile I found. Good spacing between paragraphs, good picture, good description of niche and experience, good reviews, and good portfolio sources.

Write a detailed description of the work you have done, and how that makes you a good for the work you want to do. Be careful not to make your description too dense. Make it very friendly and casual. Be authentic!

#3 Introduce your Specialty

Don’t be afraid to be specific in what type of writing you want. Find your NICHE! This is something that helped me a lot since a lot of freelancers don’t have a “niche.” It helps clients find you, but it also helps when you apply to jobs since you will seem “perfect.” I have found my BEST clients this way since they wanted someone with my exact background.

When you have a niche, and a few published articles to back it up, it makes you seem a lot more credible and worth a higher price since you look like an expert.

Pick something tech related, academic related, business, translation, etc. Make yourself seem passionate about it, interested, and like an authority. Then you can use your sources to verify this to clients to show them you can make good content.

#4 Create a portfolio

If you can, try to make a website for your profile. If you can create a basic site that shows your experience, clients will see that you are serious and I’ve had multiple clients reach out through my website, so it works. If you want to do this, check out Bluehost. It served me well for my websites. 

#5 Tests?

I don’t think tests mean that much on Upwork. Most of them suck, but you can take a few if you want to make yourself seem a bit more competent than most underpaid Indian workers who don’t speak much English and thus get low scores on these tests.


Step#2 Make good content

This part is important. You need to make good content, so your Upwork clients give you good reviews which can help you get more jobs in the future. I wouldn’t waste time on projects that aren’t paying you enough since this will hurt your content and make you spend less time than you should.

Focus on projects you are interested in and that pay you well so you can deliver good work. I once had a friend who I helped with Upwork and he got multiple jobs within a week. But they paid him such small amounts that he got burnt out and just left his client mid-job and he gave up on the whole thing.The result was bad reviews, he didn’t enjoy his work, and he barely made any money.

I also had a lot of jobs I worked for, and I didn’t want to do the job, but I just did it for the money and reviews. Most of these jobs I didn’t do too well, the clients sucked, and they gave me bad reviews, and I didn’t make much money. Follow your gut, and interests–and you will make good content.

Some other ways to make good content is just to research and read a ton of articles. Find articles that are similar to what your client wants, take their ideas, and expand them or make better content than you can find!

One last thing about making good content is having good grammar. Sometimes clients can be super picky about grammar (which is usually a bad sign), but you still want to make a good impression on your profile, emails, and content itself. So for that, I would recommend using Grammarly since it can be a LIFE saver.


Step#3 Find multiple authentic/genuine clients

How to Start Freelance Writing

Ideally, when starting out, you’ll need 3-5 clients to make a decent living. The more clients you have, the more clients you can fall back on and use again in the future. The good thing about Upwork is that it’s easy to stay in contact with clients, get new jobs from them, and even get recurring jobs with multiple assignments.

This last point leads me to my next point which is finding good clients. This is probably the hardest and most important part of being successful on Upwork. The most important thing to remember is not to use CHEAP clients. Once they pay you nothing, they will hardly ever want to pay you more. Most clients on Upwork unwilling to spend money are either super cheap or hired by their boss to get cheap writers. 

The most important thing to remember is not to use CHEAP clients.

There are a few tricks on the site that you should use. Try to filter out the cheap clients on the search page and focus more on legit clients who have higher budgets. You can also search for your expertise in the job postings, and I did this often by searching for “gadgets” or “tech” or ““gaming.”

You might think creating good content is the hard part, but if you can speak English and write reasonably well, and you find jobs that are interesting, and you have a fair amount of knowledge for (or can research on) you can do well. But clients can be a whole different story.

I’ve had my fair share of bad and good clients. You saw how I got paid over 10K for nearly doing nothing, but I’ve also had clients PAY me nothing for doing a lot. I once negotiated in frustration with the owner of a social gaming website to only end up with him wanting to pay me $10 an hour when at that point I had been making closer to $50 an hour. His reasoning was that most of the dev team wasn’t getting paid either. So he tricked an entire dev staff? Congratulations!

You will inevitably get both kinds of clients, but it’s important that you don’t sell yourself short and settle for bad clients.

One of the best things you can do on Upwork starts your profile with a decent price that you are willing to write for. Don’t start off with $2 an hour, or $5 an hour, or even $10 an hour.

Don’t start off with $2 an hour, or $5 an hour, or even $10 an hour.

You will get many clients trying to undercut you, and this is an incredibly easy way to see which clients are good and bad basing your decision on how much they are willing to pay. If you demand a good sum of money for your writing, clients often expect higher quality writing. Most GOOD clients don’t want cheap crappy writers.

After applying to a few jobs, and finishing some successfully, you will find that your profile can get “boosted” in Upwork’s search algorithm, and you will find clients start emailing you or finding your profile. You can find some of your BEST clients this way, so make sure to check your email frequently and watch out for clients who take the time and have the incentive to find good writers.

Step#4 How to make a good cover letter

Using a good cover letter on Upwork will help you tremendously. However, don’t waste too much time on this one. The important thing is to find as many good potential jobs and apply to as many as possible. In the beginning, you will need mainly luck on your side (but your good profile will help a lot). Make a good formula, and tweak it to every job so it sounds unique. I’ve had a lot of success with this one.

Hello (client),

I am very interested in this posting since my description matches your job requirements exactly! I saw that you were looking for a “type” kind of writer, so here I am.

As you can see, I’ve written about (x), and (x) here in these past publications. Previous clients like my writing style since it’s easy to read, understand, and share. I saw that is what you are looking for, and if you’d like we can do a paid trial to see if we work well together. I have a great turnaround time, so get back to me soon!

Thanks,

(Your name)


How can you tell if a client on Upwork is bad?

Here are some things to watch out for:

“Voice clients.”

If a client only wants to talk to you about prices over the phone, or if they seem super adamant to talk to you face to face, it’s usually a bad sign. It seems odd to think so, but most good clients are fairly busy, and it’s the clients who talk over the phone that can swindle you and convince you to do something you don’t want to do. 

These clients also don’t seem to value your time, since they like to spend an hour each time they talk to you explaining what they want or where they are coming from. They also don’t pay you for this wasted time!!

Almost every “voice” client I’ve had ended up as a bad experience. It can also be bad since you don’t have proof of what they say, whereas, in writing, it’s more like an actual contract. Some of my favorite clients, however, are so busy they only have time to talk to me through email, skype chat, or upwork messages, and they have paid me the best and been the most reasonable.

“Sounds too good to be true?”

If it sounds too good to be true, it might be, or it might not. Some clients are just tired of wasting time finding freelancers, so they are willing to pay you a lot, as you’ve seen from my story.

Before writing a ton of content agree on some sort of deal, so you don’t get scammed. Half the article for half the payment, before you can establish a trusting relationship.

“Constant Rewrites”

If a client keeps wanting you to rewrite the content to get it perfect for them, it might not be worth the time. Try to get your client to pay you by the hour in these cases, or pay you for the additional work. But most of the time clients like this never seem to be satisfied. I’ve had my fair share of these clients, and in most cases, it ended up poorly.

“Work for free.”

NEVER work for free on Upwork. If a client wants a free trial, don’t do it. Make them pay you for every work you do for them.

“Non-descriptive job openings.”

If you find a job that seems too vague, or you aren’t sure what the job entails, but the pay is good, be very weary. Or you might end up chatting with a gay porn website like I did once.


Step#5 Grow and Expand

How to Start Freelance Writing

Lastly, my final step for Upwork success is to grow and expand. As you get more reviews and more clients, raise your price, expand your expertise (but stay niche and focused on your mastered subject) and even consider starting websites like I have. I started out on Upwork for $15 an hour; then I moved to 20, 30, 35, and then 50. Once I got to $50 an hour I barely needed to use Upwork anymore since I had enough long-term clients to use and the know-how to make money online writing myself. 

Once you find a good client, start trying to work outside of Upwork if you can. You have to be careful, though since you can’t message your client and ask them to pay you through Paypal since Upwork watches things like this. My friend almost got banned from the site for doing this. Ask to talk to them outside of Upwork for live chat, or something through Skype, then ask for Paypal payments, Bitcoin, or bank transfer to lower the HUGE fees Upwork takes out.

Remeber, Upwork is an amazing platform to find jobs–perhaps the best and only one that has a ton of clients to find jobs from in almost any category, but everything else about it sucks. They take a ton of % from your jobs, the site often crashes, and they don’t really have much security if a client screws with you somehow.

Sure freelancing is a great way to make money, but once you learn how to create content, and how to market it as I have, having your own brand, and your website so that you can hire freelancers of your own is a great way to make a lot of money!

Just remember, it takes the capital and a lot of time and dedication to start a blog. It’s not a get rich overnight kind of thing, and it doesn’t pay consistently like freelancing. If you ever have a super good client like I did, try to make some deals or partnerships once you have established trust to create projects that have solid long-term potential to benefit you both.


Resources and Last tips on How to Start Freelance Writing

This was a huge post, and I hope it was helpful, but now it’s time to wrap things up! Here are some final pointers and my points in summary:

  1. Use Grammarly for writing articles with your clients so they don’t fire you for having silly spelling mistakes. In this article alone Grammarly fixed over 100+ grammatical mistakes for me.
  2. Use a good office chair! If you don’t have back pain, you will work longer and be more productive. Trust me, it makes a HUGE difference.
  3. Use a good mechanical keyboard! This will reduce your typos and increase your efficiency making you more money per hour! Here’s a good one.
  4. Find a niche in your Upwork profile. Spend some time crafting that niche with a good descriptive profile with a good picture, and provide sources and a portfolio to back up your authenticity.
  5. I didn’t talk much about Freelancer taxes. So, consider using something like Freshbooks to keep your profits and expenses in order. I honestly hate math and expenses, so these programs are a life saver for me. Being a freelancer means you have to pay self-employment taxes which can add up. You will need to pay roughly 20-25% of your profits towards taxes! Ouch! Lol. But hey,  you can still work in your underwear right?
  6. When you are looking for clients, keep my warnings in mind. In general, follow your gut.
  7. Don’t settle as a freelancer. Be hungry. Consistently expand, raise your content quality, and thus the prices. Clients like that, and the ones that don’t only want to take advantage of you and pay you NOTHING!
  8. There will be good clients and bad clients. Work hard for the good clients, and don’t work for the bad ones. Keep your good clients in mind, and don’t forget that they can become BETTER clients who will want to pay you more, and develop loyalty. Sometimes, as in my case, clients can even become partners with you and help you in the future with even bigger projects outside of the world of freelance writing.
  9. Don’t give up! Finding good jobs on Upwork takes time, but just make sure to apply to 5-10 jobs every day with a good cover letter. Some people recommend making a new one every time, but I would use a copy-pasted cover letter that I’d rewrite slightly for each job to make it seem unique.
  10. Here’s another guide on how to make money blogging I wrote that contains some good tools/tips and ways to start freelance/writing better on the internet.

I thought it’d be useful to answer common questions when I think of them or you guys ask them and consistently update this article! This is what this section is for!

Upwork Freelance Writing FAQ

Hourly for Fixed pricing–which is better for Upwork?

I prefer Fixed pricing and I generally don’t like clients who pay only hourly. Sometimes, you can convince them to change once you start talking with them, however. Clients are much more willing to pay $50 for an article that takes you an hour to write than to pay $50 an hour, for example. Sometimes, though, depending on the project, you can make more money with hourly pricing if it takes you a long time to work on something.

For me, though, I can write quickly, but I can’t work for many hours since I get fatigued. Web developers and other categories on upwork often work for hourly whereas writing works better for fixed pricing.

What’s a good starting price? How much should I ask for?

If you’re brand new I’d say around 15 an hour is a good starting point. This means around an article an hour. Once you get some experience, move that up to 20, and then 30, and so on. However, if you’re an experienced writer who knows how to write, with good sources and publications, start as high as you think or as much as you’d like to make! Don’t be afraid to be ambitious.

What were your worst freelance writing jobs?

I was once promised equity in a news comic website, and after getting a viral article of 100k views overnight and crashed the site, the owner still refused to pay me for my work.

How to Start Freelance Writing
Tom Spark is a chair researcher, VPN expert, and a geek product extraordinaire. When he’s not spell checking his articles with Grammarly, he’s playing video games, watching too much Netflix, and deciding if he likes his current chair or not.