Talk Freelance To Me

Freelance 101: What is Freelance Writing?

April 08, 2023 Ashley Cisneros Mejia Season 1 Episode 3
Talk Freelance To Me
Freelance 101: What is Freelance Writing?
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Welcome to the second episode of The Talk Freelance To Me Podcast! On this episode, host Ashley Cisneros Mejia gives listeners a crash course introduction to the world of freelance writing. 

Listen in as Ashley discusses the basics of freelance writing, including what it is, the different types of writing you can do, how much money you can expect to make, and more.

Tune in now to learn how a career in freelance writing could change your life!


We’ve just released our “Niches Get Riches” Brainstorming Worksheet – and it’s absolutely free! This worksheet will help you identify the most profitable niches for your freelance writing business.

Simply download and go through the prompts to explore potential niches that will quickly set you apart in the marketplace! Grab your copy here:


Help us get the word out about our show by leaving us a review on Apple Podcasts. It will really help us! Scroll to the bottom, tap to rate with five stars, and select “Write a Review.” Let us know what you loved most about the show.

Also, please be sure to follow our show so you don’t miss out on future episodes!

We released our “Niches Get Riches” Brainstorming Worksheet – and it’s absolutely free! This worksheet will help you identify the most profitable niches for your freelance writing business.

Simply download and go through the prompts to explore potential niches that will quickly set you apart in the marketplace! Grab your copy here!

Join our freelancer communities! We're where you love to hang out!

Our original show music was composed by the one and only Donna O. Raphael of World Instrumentals. Please visit her website and support her!


Ashley Cisneros Mejia  0:08  

Welcome to the second episode of the Talk Freelance To Me Podcast. I'm your host again, Ashley Cisneros Mejia. I've been working as a professional freelance writer for almost 20 years. As an editor. And as a marketing agency owner, I also had a chance to hire lots of amazing freelancers. I'm really passionate about helping other women writers get started and earning money from their creative gifts in their own way. So today's episode is called Freelance 101. If you're interested in starting a freelance writing business, but you don't really know where to begin, then you are in the right place. In this episode, we'll be discussing the basics of freelance writing, including what it is, the different types of writing that you can do and how much money you can expect to make. So let's get started. 

What the heck is freelance writing anyway? So freelance writing, is when you write content for clients on a project-by-project basis, rather than working for a single company as a W-2 employee. As a freelancer, you get to work from your house or anywhere else that you like. And you also get to set your own schedule. This means that you have complete freedom to work from wherever you want. You can work whenever you want, as well. And you can take breaks whenever you decide you need them. As a freelance writer, you can work with all sorts of clients to from businesses, to nonprofits, to government entities, to publications, and even one on one to individuals who need writing help, you'll work on a contract where you'll both agree what the client wants, and when you'll deliver it. And the very best part, you don't have anybody breathing down your neck. And you'll still get to deliver top notch writing projects for your clients on time that helped them achieve the results that they're looking for. Do you want to know some more perks? Let's keep going. 

So I talked a little bit about the control of your time. I really feel like that's my favorite benefit of being a freelance writer, getting to set your own hours and determining your own schedule. With not worrying about calling in for your sick days, telling your boss that you need to leave a few minutes early because you need to pick up your kid or attend a medical appointment. I love that aspect of being a freelancer. Being a freelance writer or freelance creative means that you also have control over where you work from. It can be your couch, a coffee shop, even the beach, and I'm super jealous of the digital nomads who get to travel while they work. I think that's awesome. And I think freelance just really makes that possible for people like never before. Another benefit of freelance writing, is it you get to choose the types of writing projects you work on. When you work for a company, you don't get to say hey, I don't want that assignment, I really don't want to work on this project, you have to do what they give you. As a freelancer, you can decide from a wide range of services and assignments, what you want to pursue from blog posts to case studies, social media or something else entirely. This can be a really great way to keep things interesting. If you're somebody that likes constant change, and you get bored if you're somebody who likes to challenge yourself with learning new things and new skills, freelance gives you that opportunity, you really get to adapt your writing style to different formats, and different audiences. Since freelance writers typically work on a project-by-project basis, you can also have the ability to take on as much work as you want or as little as you want. It all depends on your personal availability and how much money you need to make. So I really don't buy into the idea of work life balance, I think we have seasonality to our lives. Sometimes we're working like an animal. Other times we might be attending to other personal obligations. Freelance gives you that option to be kind of flexible with the ebbs and flows of your life and you can pursue other things that you need to attend to other passions, other side projects. One of the great benefits of freelance writing is that it gives you control over who you work for. So again, when you're working for a company, you don't get to choose which customers that you're going to serve and which ones you won't. You have to serve anybody and everybody but when you are calling the shots as a business owner, you get to work on the projects in with the people that you really like so you can pick projects that are really meaningful to you

Ashley Cisneros Mejia  5:00  

Or at least don't offend you in some way. When you're working for an employer, again, you don't get to say, hey, I really don't agree with say smoking, tobacco use whatever you have to work on whatever project they give you. When you are in control of your own business, you get to decide, hey, this project has a great impact on the world. It's inspiring to me, this customer rather has the same values as I do or aligned, we have the same mission. So you can focus on customers who understand your worth. I remember being a young professional, and always well, I shouldn't say always right, but in many cases being treated like okay, you're just the kid you don't know what you're talking about. And maybe because I was a woman, maybe because I'm around woman certain times just feeling like this customer. They're treating me like just a gopher like a busy bee. And I really have some insight that I want to share with them. When you are a freelancer, you can focus on customers who understand your worth, appreciate what you're bringing to the table and treating you with mutual respect as a professional, that just makes every day enjoyable. When you think about how much time we work in our lives. Doesn't it make sense to want to work with people who are pleasant and who at least at the minimum, give you dignity and respect, let's talk about money. That's what most people care about. Right? That's what I care about, too. So when you are a freelancer, you have complete control over how much money you earn, you get to decide how much you're going to charge for your writing services, you can negotiate, you can decide, Yep, I'll go that low for now. Because I really have to pay bills or when you are in demand, you're really busy, you can decide to raise your rates, you also get to choose the different services that you offer. So you don't have to just be a freelance writer, you can choose to package different offers for your clients, you could do a retainer arrangement, you could do a VIP day, you could have products. So you can create a business model that works best for you and for the money that you're trying to make. As a writer. If you compare this to your experience, maybe you're a W two employee, you usually have a fixed salary or an hourly wage, there's not a lot of room for negotiation. I mean, at the beginning, I guess you can negotiate. But going forward, you have to ask for a raise, you might be able to get like a bonus or something. But typically what you make, you're not going to deviate a ton from that. As a freelancer, you don't have to work on creating like a business case study for your boss and coming in and asking them for a raise and then waiting to see if they will decide that you're deserving of that raise or promotion. As a freelancer, you are in complete control of your own success and your own earning potential. So speaking of these raises, how much money do freelancers make? So if you want a hard and fast number, I'm sorry, I can't give it to you because freelance writing rates vary super widely. And they depend on a lot of different factors. So when it comes to figuring out how much to charge for your services, you got to consider a couple things. experience level is number one. And that makes sense, right? The more experience that you have in corporate America, the more money the more wages or the higher salary you can expect. And the same is true in freelance, the more experienced you are the more money that you can charge for your work. The type of project that you're working on, will also affect your rate. So more complex technical projects are going to require more time and effort. So you'll be able to charge more. Another thing to consider is how quickly you need to complete the project. So you have a rush project with a super tight deadline, that's going to cost more than a project with a normal regular deadline. Other factors are the scope of the project, how long it is how complex it is, the industry that the project is for. Just keep in mind that as you gain experience, and you build up your skills and your track record, you can also adjust those rates to reflect your growing expertise. We can talk about some averages though. So according to the editorial freelancers Association, side note e fa is one of my favorite groups, I highly suggest that you check out their website, they have a great table that lists different fees and rates for different Editorial Services. So the average hourly rate for freelance writers in the US is between $41 An hour and $70 an hour. Again, I've seen people that make a lot more. I've seen people that make about 200 an hour because they have specialized knowledge or expertise or experience. For beginners. I've seen some folks make maybe $15

Ashley Cisneros Mejia  10:00  

an hour when they're just getting their feet wet, it just depends. There's no rules to this. When it comes to per project work, you can get like a blog posts, I've seen some that pay like three cents a word, five cents a word. I've seen some that pay $1 per word, or $2 per word if it's really technical or complex. So these rates are just a general guide. And your rates might vary depending on your expertise, your experience, skills, and the type of writing. So we've talked a little bit about the perks and benefits, talked about money. Now let's talk about what it is that you'll actually be working on. There are many different types of writing that fall under freelance, it's actually endless. I like to say if it can be written, then you can offer it as one of your freelance writing products. Freelance content writing is the first bucket or category I'd like to share with you. When you think of articles, blog posts, those fall under content writing and content writing is really expansive, I would say that it's probably the biggest category. So infographics fall under this category, video scripts, social media posts, captions, social media scripts, white papers, reports, all of those fall under freelance content writing for your information. reported that the average salary range for a freelance content writer falls between 46,060 $4,000 a year. I've seen people make six figures easy multiples of six figures even so, again, that's just some averages to consider. The second category that I'd like to share with you that's very lucrative, very popular is freelance copywriting. So copywriting is a type of writing that's more persuasive, and salesy. It's used for marketing and advertising purposes. So freelance copywriter they're responsible for the catchy headlines, slogans and sales copy. They want to stop the reader in their tracks, grab their attention and persuade them to take action. So what are some examples? Think landing pages, think ads of any kind from print ads, social media ads, TV ads, web ads, all of that is copy things like launch emails and sales pages, sales letters, all copy? If so, freelance copywriters often earn more money than other writers because they're selling because it takes a lot of creativity and research into psychology, buyer psychology, advertising and marketing. There's some technical know how, especially in the online space, so they usually can command more money. The national average for an annual salary for freelance copywriter, according to zip recruiter is $69,000. Again, I've seen people make a ton more than that. It can be really lucrative. I've seen people make, you know, $100 an hour or more $150, $200. And if you specialize, that's something that you'll hear me talk about a lot is figuring out what your niche is figuring out a specialty UX, copywriters travel copywriters, medical copywriters, pharma copywriters can earn a ton more money. So, along with that, the other group that I want to share the third one is freelance technical writing. I was a tech writer, it was a great experience way different than anything that I did in journalism. And you would be great at this if you are good at taking complex information, and translating it into plain clear concise language that tons of different people can understand regardless of their education or expertise. If you have those skills, you might want to consider becoming a tech writer. Freelance tech writing involves creating documentation instructional materials for things like software, medical devices and industrial machinery. Things like knowledge base articles, troubleshooting guides, training materials, technical specification documents, all those kinds of pieces would fall under tech writing. According to zip recruiter, the average US salary for freelance tech writer is $71,000. Again, that's the average. The other group the last group that I want to share or umbrella is the freelance grant writing niche. So this is a great niche to consider if you can write persuasively similar to copywriting if you're detail-oriented, because usually you're writing in response to a request for proposal. So if you can look at those details and make sure that everything you're writing speaks to those requirements. If you have a soft spot for mission-driven organizations, this might be a great niche for you. Freelance grant writing is great for freelancers who are interested in researching and writing grants.

Ashley Cisneros Mejia  15:00  

For nonprofits, educational institutions and other entities, your job would be to create persuasive proposals to secure cash money for your client. And you can earn a significant income for these services. I know people that earn $100 An hour or more for their services, sometimes they charge a percentage of whatever the award amount is. And of course rates can vary on a number of factors. Zip recruiter reports that the average annual salary for freelance grant writer is over 60 grand. And again, that's an average. So we've talked a lot about the different types or different umbrellas, if you will, of freelance writing, but it's also good to consider different industries. So all of these different types of writing that I mentioned, blogs, articles, white papers, case studies, you can create these communication products for specific industries that pay really well. Some of these groups are anything with tech. So you'll hear a lot about like med tech, Fin tech, and Ed Tech. Basically, these are industries when healthcare industry is using technology, finance industries using technology, educational companies that are using technology makes sense, right? So med tech, you would be creating content related to healthcare services, digital health technologies, and like medical devices, FinTech, think of FinTech like content about online banking, mobile payments, or crypto ad tech, would you be creating content related to like online learning, gamification, anything relating to like artificial intelligence, AI, in the education space, really exciting stuff. Financial Services is also a good industry to look in. I touched on crypto, but also writing content for banks, hedge funds, like brokerage firms, those are good too. So that type of content would include like research, analysis, and content that's really designed to inform potential like financial decisions or investments. So you got to know your stuff for that. But again, superloop good at writing for pharma companies. This is a good one too. So it's a specialized form of medical writing. And you're focused on research teams for the promotion of biopharmaceuticals, drugs and other therapeutic products. So think about things like manuscripts, abstracts, press releases, patient education materials, like leaflets, websites, things like that, along with this health care and medical writing in general, those are pretty lucrative markets to consider healthcare, think about like medical research reports, blog, post wellness information. Medical writing is a little bit more scientific and techie. Think of like journal articles, patient information, leaflets, clinical trial protocols, things like that. So again, super specialized, but you can make money. As you can see the trend here, the more complex and specific that the subject matter is, the more money that you can request in your rates. legal writing is another great niche. This is tech writing, obviously focused on the legal profession. So contracts briefs appeals pleadings. Again, most legal writers have gone to law school, but that's you know, I were legal advertorials or lawyer advertorials, so it was more marketing. So there's ways for you to get into writing for law firms or helping law firms market themselves. That's another way in that you can get in if you're not like an attorney. So, crypto and blockchain, I touched on that, but I just wanted to draw that out. Because that's really hot. Right now, if you understand that space, you can make some money there. Another big one that I see a lot of fellow writers do well in is SaaS Software as a Service. So this is a writing that's done for companies that offer software solutions via the cloud. So they need stuff like website, copy product descriptions, user guides, case studies, that kind of stuff. They want to show customers how to use their services, and they want to show like the success stories to get credibility and trust, b2b content writing. And content marketing is a great niche to consider too. So a lot of times you think of writing as you're appealing to individual readers, with b2b, you're helping a business sell to another business. And they do this through white papers, case studies, ebooks, product descriptions, blog posts, and more. That's a great niche to consider. So these are just a couple of specialties that usually can command more money. And I hope that you'll consider some of them because they you can really do well with them. If you're interested in learning more about these niches

Ashley Cisneros Mejia  20:00  

Before you fork over money for a certification program, there's lots of certifications for like copywriting for grant writing, and they're great. There's a lot that are really reputable. But before you invest, I suggest doing some research doing some homework. First thing, one of the things you'll learn about me is I love library. So I would say to check out some books, you can just do a search on your local library catalog, say you're interested in grant writing, you can look for books related to that one hack is you can go on Amazon search for titles related to your niche, see how they're ranked. So you can kind of see like, Alright, these are the ones that are selling the most, or that are, you know, ranked the best, then go and search for those titles at your library. Or you can also look for those titles on, or thrift books. So you can get copies for like super cheap. So if you decide that you're not interested, you haven't really lost a lot. Another easy thing in addition to books, and also you could do audiobooks. If you're busy like me, and you can't really like read a paper book. Audiobooks is a good way, podcasts like this one, there's specialty podcasts related to say grant writing that you can check out, you can use social media. So you can look for blogs, YouTube channels, and social media accounts that cater to the specific niche of writing. And then you can learn a lot just by following those you can learn about trends and techniques. The other thing I would say is to find trade associations and organizations. For example, there's like a group for science writers, there's groups for tech writers, you can Google the niche that you're interested in and use the words like association or organization. And a lot of times their websites will have tons of great resources, blogs, even like free downloads that you can use to teach yourself just to see if you're really interested in that niche. A lot of them have like events and workshops that are low costs that you can usually check out and decide, you know, is this something that I'm interested in. The other tip that I'll recommend, is to meet other writers who are doing the writing and the niche that you're interested in. So you can use Local Facebook groups, to find writers who are doing the same type of writing that you are considering. Interview them, you can ask them, you can ask to take them to coffee, you can ask to take them to lunch, and just ask them about their experience. This is not the time to ask them for all their secrets. It's really to get to know them and just ask them, Hey, you do tech writing? How's that going? How did you get into that? Do you like it? What trends are you seeing? Networking is the name of the game, whether you're networking in real life or online. And it's really great to meet other writers who can maybe mentor you and help you out along the way. I suggest doing all of those things again before you invest in some kind of certification program. So we've talked a lot today, my friends, we've talked about freelance writing, being a great choice. If you're creative, if you love writing, if you have strong time management skills. As a freelance writer, you get the freedom to set your own rates, choose your writing projects and market your services to your clients on your own terms. If you are interested in starting a freelance writing career, I highly suggest that you think about a few key niches. Some people in the writing world will say nope, you don't have to niche down be a generalist. And I think there's lots of people that have made great money being generalists. But I've seen more people do well by niching down and by really having a specialty like some of those industries that I was talking about earlier. Once you know a few potential niches. This makes it so much easier when you're thinking of a list of companies to go and ask Hey, are you interested in using a freelance writer Do you have need for freelance writing, having a niche in mind makes it so much easier to know which companies to target and that will make it so much easier to get your portfolio going and get your first freelance assignments. What questions can I answer about freelance I really want to make great content for you. I really want it to be helpful. You can email me your questions at or you can send me a DM on Instagram most at the handle @talkfreelanceto me and I want to answer your questions in a future episode. With that we've come to the end of our second episode. Please be sure that you hit subscribe if you haven't already done so. And please give me a five-star review on Apple thank you to everyone who's already given me a review this helps out so much. This is a brand new podcast and

Ashley Cisneros Mejia  25:00  

And I want to help as many people as possible. So, by filling out a review or reviewing me and rating me that helps more people just like you who can find me. I invite you to check out the show notes, grab my free niches, get riches, freelance writing workshop, to brainstorm the best niches for your writing business. And if you're not a writer, you can still use it to get business ideas. Until next time, this is Ashley with Talk Freelance To Me. And don't forget, we all get this one very precious life. Don't constrain yourself to a box that you were never meant to fit in. It is your right to profit from your own creative gifts. This podcast was created by Ashley Cisneros. Mejia. Our intro music was composed by the one and only Dona Raphael of World Instrumentals. Talk Freelance To Me is a product of Fenix Creative Studio.

What the heck is freelance writing?
Benefits of Becoming a Freelance Writer
Set your OWN schedule as a freelance writer
Work from WHEREVER you want as a freelancer
Choose the TYPE of work you want
Control WHO you work for as a freelancer
UNLIMITED earning potential as a freelancer
How much money to freelancers make?
Average salaries for freelance writers
What types of writing can you do as a freelance writer?
Freelance content writing
Freelance copywriting
Freelance technical writing
Freelance grant writing
Lucrative industries for freelancers
Tech industry
Financial services
Pharma industry
Healthcare & medical industry
Legal industry
Crypto & blockchain
Software as a Service (SaaS)
B2B content writing
Tips for learning about niches before you invest in a certification program
Read books related to your niche
Consume blogs, podcasts & social media content
Find trade associations & attend events
Network with other writers