How to Make a Living As an Online Writer

It’s been days and you’ve been researching on how to make a living from online writing.

This is what you want – writing online – but with a full-time job, a family to take care of, you’re not sure if this is a viable option for you.

You hear stories of struggling authors and their big break 10 years later.

How to Make a Living As an Online Writer

Or you hear that online writing make pennies on content mills. This is NOT what you want.

You want to be able to make a living as a writer, quit your full-time job and live out your passion.

But, how do you do online writing? What are the steps to make money as a writer?

I’ll share my story of how I make a living writing and then give you steps to get you on the way!

Online Writing for Beginners


I’ve been a stay at home mom since I had my twins over five years ago. But, when they were around 1.5 years old, I was getting…bored..with the day-to-day tasks of taking care of my twins.

I wanted more than changing diapers and cleaning up after messes. I needed a creative outlet.

This was also the time I needed to start contributing to our finances.

Where I live you get a year off of maternity, so my year was up and I needed to scramble to make money at home.

My husband introduced me to finding work online, specifically writing online to get paid. I read blogs from other moms and learned about freelance writing from them. They were getting paid to write!

How fantastic is that?

This was my creative outlet – writing online.

I’ve always enjoyed writing when I was younger, so this was a great opportunity for me to profit from my passion.

I started researching about where to find freelance writing jobs and learned about content mills (although I didn’t know about content mills back then).

I signed up for a profile and got my first assignment.

I was excited but not ecstatic as the job was less than $2 for 300 words. But, you know what? That gig took me hours to write (300 words!!!).

I was soo new and had no idea how to write non fiction content that the research alone took most of my time.

I got paid, but decided this is not how you make a living as a writer.

Free Course on Getting Paid to Write Online


I knew I didn’t want to write books and be an author, but I also didn’t want to get paid pennies for my writing.

I decided to try freelance marketplaces like Upwork – but found no success on those platforms (and I’m glad!). Places like Upwork value bulk content for the cheapest rates. And, your writing is mostly ghostwritten, so you can’t build your portfolio with Upwork.

I was failing.

I didn’t have the time to keep looking for ways to be a freelance writer; I had twins to take care of and a house to manage. I needed to find a different way to make enough money to contribute to our household finances.

And within six months of changing my strategy I was making a living as a freelance writer!

Now, five years later, I am able to stay home and write for a living. I write for digitally native brands and can make up to $600 a blog post.

If you want to do the same, here are the steps I took to start writing online.

1. Start a Website + Practice Online Writing

The first thing I did to change my strategy was start a blog. I needed to house my freelance writing service and I found a website to be the BEST place to market your business.

You may not think you really need a website to start freelance writing. Check out my video where I answer if you really need one or not to succeed as a freelance writer. Plus, make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel!

Your freelance writing website is a place to show your credibility as a freelance writer – even if this is your FIRST DAY! or you JUST landed a freelance writing job. And it will be how you make a living as an online writer.

Use your blog to practice your writing. While you can use other platforms like Medium or LinkedIn, I see no harm in creating blog posts as a way to practice your writing.

This is exactly what I did when I started this blog! And you know what?

I created posts about being a freelance writer (even though I wasn’t technically a paid writer at that time).

I didn’t blog in my paying niche (since I didn’t know at the time what my niche was going to be) and I didn’t have a schedule of blog content. I just created blog posts of what I was learning at the time.

I practiced:

  • Formatting a blog post
  • Creating value-driven headlines
  • Engaging writing tactics like speaking to your reader when you write
  • How to site sources

These are all great writing skills online writers need.

So, start your blog today and start creating blog posts to help you write for an online audience.

2. Start Creating Writing Samples

You need to remember that online no one knows you exist yet. You have to show everyone what you are capable of as a writer and this means having writing samples on your website (or other places).

While I created samples and placed them on my blog, the best way to build your portfolio is to guest post.

Guest posting means you create a blog post that will be published on someone else’s blog. You can guest post on popular sites or lesser known sites. The point is you want to have a “live link” of your work to share to prospects when you pitch to a job ad.

But, what if you don’t know your niche?

I suggest you pick a few topics you are interested in and start creating blog post ideas that you would create for your clients. Here’s an example. Let’s say you enjoy health. You run, practice yoga and eat a low-carb diet.

You can pitch to health guest blogs or just create health content for your freelance writer website.

  • 5 Ways to Lose Weight Without Exercising
  • How to Easily Lose the Last 20 Pounds Without Dieting
  • 10 Delicious Keto Snacks for the Busy Mom

To find more blog post ideas, check out my video!

3. Have a Lead Generation Strategy

To make a living with writing online, you need to have an inbound strategy whereby prospects come to you for your writing service. The writers that fail or don’t make enough money to quit their full-time job spend most of their time pitching and hustling.

As a mom to twins, I had no time to cold pitch or find freelance writing jobs month after month.

Yes, I did do this in the beginning and I was successful; but that is only a short term strategy.

Your long term strategy is lead generation. How will prospects find you?

How will they decide that you are the writer for them?

To be successful with the inbound process, you need to effectively market your freelance writing service.

Funnily enough, when I first started understanding the marketing side of business, I fell in love with what I was learning.

And this eventually lead to my freelance writing niche.

The best ways to attract freelance writing clients is to start using some copywriting techniques. This means speaking to your readers and talking about the results of hiring you, rather than all the features of your writing.

You can get a feel of this by checking out other freelance writing websites.

Learn how they speak to their ideal freelance writing client, what pages they have on their website and how they speak about their writing services.

From there, you can start marketing your website online. To help you get started, check out my…!

4. Start Pitching

In the beginning, the fastest and easiest way to find a freelance writing job is to use freelance writing job boards.

While these jobs may not be the best types of jobs out there, they usually pay well ($50 a post) and will get your foot in the door.

Go to a job board and see what types of jobs there are.

Get a feel of what’s out there. Some job sites have a search option where you can search your niche topic. While there are other ways to find a freelance writing job, first go to job boards and then try other places.

When you find a freelance writing job that you are interested in, it’s time to send your pitch. Your pitch should mention where you found the ad, who you are and how you can help the prospect.

Here is the pitch that helped land my first freelance writing gig.

When pitching, try to have a process so that you stick to it, and make it part of your hustle strategy.

For some new freelance writers, sending that first pitch brings a lot of fear. Fear in pitching doesn’t have to cripple you and stop your dreams of making a living as a freelance writer.

Check out my video to help you overcome your fear of pitching!

5. Increase Your Rate (All The Time)


To make a living from all of this you need to have a high rate for your writing.

But you can’t just claim a high rate; your online writing has to show that. So from the time you land your first client to your 10th client, your writing HAS to improve.

When I started in the digital marketing niche, my rate was $.12/word.

Whenever I got an email from a prospect I increased my rate. Most times I never landed the gig, but there were times I did.

So, my rate increased to $.15/word.

I would repeat this until I was comfortable with a rate that can help me make a living out of this. Currently, my rate is $200 per 500 words for byline content.

This strategy only works if:

  • You land high-paying clients or big brands/influencers
  • Your writing gets better (more in-depth content, different types of content, long-form content, case studies, etc..)

To help you with more strategies to increase your rate, check out my video!

6. Bonus: Diversify Your Income

By this time, you are making money writing for small businesses or big brands.

But, you might notice that you are still spending a lot of hours writing and less time with your children or family.

For me, I wanted to balance my work and home life.

I felt I was spending too much time writing and researching. So I had to find other ways to make money that didn’t involve a lot of my time.

While I did start coaching aspiring writers, I didn’t do that for long since that took a lot of time out of my schedule too!

What I ended up doing to diversify my income (and increase my income) is:

  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Course creation

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing means promoting a tool, service or product like an eBook or course on your blog or on social media.

You get a special link that you use when you talk about this product and if a reader clicks on that link and purchases from you, you get a small commission.

I promote around 7 affiliate products that helps me supplement my freelance writing income. Here is a snapshot of only one affiliate product:

The biggest thing to remember when you start affiliate marketing is that you are authentic.

You used these products or services and they helped you and that is why you are suggesting them to your audience.

Course Creation

The other way I make money online is by creating my own products – specifically courses or masterclasses. These are online and either in video or as written lessons.

I have some courses for bloggers and some for writers. I plan on continuing creating products for both my audiences of bloggers and aspiring freelance writers as this is lucrative and doesn’t involve a lot of my time.

But, it does involve upkeep and maintenance. And this can involve more time, but it’s a one-time thing once a year.

Get Paid for Online Writing

Freelancing is becoming bigger and bigger each year and it’s projected to be a poplar choice for the masses.

And with the internet and ease of access, it’s easier than ever to start a blog and make money from your blog by offering your writing services.

So, come join me today and become an online writer!

Check out my free course to help you find your first freelance writing job!

Click the Image Below and Land Your First Freelance Writing Client as a New Writer

Hi I'm Elna and I'm a freelance writer and mom blogger. I help people just like you become a profitable freelance writer. Within 6 months of starting my freelance writing business from scratch I was able to earn a full-time living as a part-time freelance writer while taking care of my twin toddlers. Check out my free email course Get Paid to Write Online and learn the steps you need to take to be a freelance writer.

Leave a Reply


I am a beginner in this field and want to learn more. Your story increased my hope and encouraged me to learn more. I have been learning content writing for the last year and little bit successful now. Please share some more information regarding this field.Reply to Shazia
Hi Elna!! I just wanted to drop in and leave a quick comment for ya! I have been reading your blog posts over the last few days (Okay, probably ALL of them hehe) and just wanted to show my appreciation to you for all the information you so willingly pass out to newbies like me!! I have always wanted to become a writer. I’ve read many, many (MANY) books and always thought I could do it… but I have never taken action with it. I feel that my creativity might not be up to par to become a fiction writer. For me, becoming a freelance writer and developing and learning everything I can about my own niche just feels right and I do not think I’d have been able to motivate myself as much if it wasn’t for all your posts I’ve read! So thank you so much for doing this! I know this is your niche but giving away so much information means a lot to someone who is currently unemployed and cannot afford a course at the moment. I will continue to follow your posts, and you in general, and hope to get to know you better. And I will definitely keep you posted with my career progression! Thanks again, Elna! You rock!!Reply to Heather
Hi Heather! Thanks so much for being such a loyal follower and reader! Learning to become a freelance writer will take time with free resources. And that’s okay. I made many mistakes in the beginning that cost me clients and money, but I had to learn on my own the hard way. That is why I created my courses to help you not make the same mistakes! But it is still possible! Make sure to Like my Facebook page as I have Facebook Lives with great tips and help! to Elna
Thanks for your useful posts on freelance writing – this is something I am looking to get into in order to diversify my income.Reply to Nicola
Hi Nicola! You’re welcome! Glad you found tips to make a living as a writer! Working from home was one of my greatest decisions I made when my twins were later!Reply to Elna
I really wanna get started but I don’t know how toReply to Linsey
Nice one, Elna. The best decision I made when I started my freelance writing career was to build a blog alongside and shun freelance sites. I tripled my charge each time someone requested for ghostwritten from me. I didn’t want to write something that can’t impact on my writing portfolio. This reduced the chances of being accepted but I enjoyed it. Today, I have been able to build blogs that pay my bills. Thanks for sharing. EmenikeReply to Emenike
Hey! That’s great to know. Creating a freelance writing blog as a side hustle is hard to grow but possible. I’m glad you kept increasing your rate to grow your business!Reply to Elna
Interesting read, Elna, filled with amazing information that will sure help your target market. Although having a website or of is not compulsory, it is necessary as it will help you build trust and credibility. Moreover, you will create samples to show your clients, these samples will be housed in your property and not on someone else’s. I started with Medium, then created an account on Pinterest and contentedly before setting up my blog. Thanks for sharing.Reply to Moss
Thanks, Elna! I’m getting started in this field and your articles provide great advice. I especially appreciate your step-by-step action plan.Reply to Karen
Hi Karen, Thanks so much! Glad you enjoyed this post about making a living as a writer!Reply to Elna
Hello Elna, I love your content and I always look forward for your next email and posts. I have one question. I recently discovered my niche which is Christian writing. I have been writing for two years and was in the blues concerning my niche. So, when I discovered this, I was all fireworks. Let me not bush and get straight to the point. My question is this: Where can I pitch for prospects and how do I go about it? Thanks a ton!Reply to Martin
Hi Martin! I don’t know much about the Christian niche but I’m sure the tactics I write on my blog to find freelance writing jobs will help you find clients in your niche!Reply to Elna
Hi elna I would like to start freelance writing, am interested. I’m confident that my skills and experience in my studies could make a great. and I would also like to do extra work just to gain more experience. Thank you.