The Biggest Myth About Freelance Writing That’s Stopping You From Succeeding

I get emails from aspiring writers, mom bloggers and those that have been freelance writing for a while.

They ask questions like what a good rate is to start off, if I could help them with a niche and where to find better freelance writing jobs.

All of these questions are dancing around an even bigger question. Because, if you’re on the other side of this – someone who has a full-time job and is only thinking about freelancing – then the biggest myth that you believe is that it’s impossible to make a living from this.

The Biggest Myth About Freelance Writing That’s Stopping You From Succeeding

Maybe you don’t think it’s a myth; you think it’s fact. You just can’t make a sustainable income as a freelance writer. I’m here to tell you that it is possible to live off your freelance writing income alone.

A lot of my course students in Write Your Way to Your First $1k quit their full-time job and now do this full-time.

So, let’s tackle the reasons why you may believe that you can’t make a living as a freelance writer.

1. You Need to Be a Journalist

Maybe you think that if you had a journalism degree then it’s possible to make a living as a writer. Let me be clear here, you don’t need a degree to be a freelance writer AND make a living from it.

In fact, you don’t need to be the greatest writer out there either. I make a lot of grammar mistakes, but that’s why I have a copy editor 🙂

Remember, anyone can start a business online. It’s what you do with it that will make you stand out and be successful at it.

While a degree may make you feel like your are qualified to write, if you love to write, know how to write engaging copy, then you can write for small businesses, magazines, publications or for solopreneurs.

2. You Just Make Pennies for Your Writing

I thought this too for a while. All I ever saw were cheap writing projects and no prospect ever cared about the value I had as a writer.

It wasn’t until I looked in other places, changed my ideal client and learned what clients really wanted, that I was able to raise my rate and make a living from this!

But, for a lot of writers, this is where they are stuck. One course student was writing for content mills for 5 years before she switched it all and decided to change it.

It’s hard once you’re in it. How do you break free from content mills?

What I did, was start a website. I decided not to look at freelance writing marketplaces like UpWork for freelance writing jobs.

I made my own path and I’m glad I did! I was able to land my real first client at $400/month about a month after starting my website and pitching. Soon after, I made my first $1k and it got better and better after that!

So you see, it is possible to have clients value your worth as a writer. I have clients that want to only work with me and I have others that don’t bat at my rates.


3. You Have to Write 10,000 Words a Day


So, maybe you think, well in order to make a living as a writer, you need to write hella lot!

Not the case. There’s no need to churn out 5,000 words a day just to make a living. For me, my average project is between 1500-2000 words.

I do have some clients that want long form projects of up to 4k words, but that might be once a month. Since I do this part-time, and I have other blogs I write for and manage, I don’t have a lot of time to sit and write 10k words a day!

What did I do?

  • Learned to type faster
  • Batch my tasks
  • Raised my rate more
  • Chose which projects I wanted to do

That’s basically it. I learned to type faster so I can whip out these posts quickly and kept raising my rate so that the time I put in equated to a full-time income.

4. There’s Too Much Competition

You know what? There are a lot of freelance writers out there! I mean, in my free course on Getting Paid to Write Online, I have over 4,000 hopeful writers rearing to get paid for their writing!

That’s a lot.

So, how can you still get projects? How can you compete with all that competition? Easy….just carve your own space online.

This is called your writer platform and that’s what I had to do to break free from content mills. I had to create a brand and presence online so prospects could pay attention to me and only me.

(Psst….I have an entire module on that too!)

You Can Make a Living From Writing

I know you have a passion to be a writer. I know that.

But, you’re finding it challenging to connect the dots and profit from your writing. Now, while I’m not an author and I’m not a fiction writer, I can point you to start writing for small businesses. This is what I do. I write in the B2B space and it’s lucrative.

One thing I forgot to tackle in this post is that for some people, they may not succeed because they feel they picked the wrong niche.

There are profitable niches out there, but that doesn’t mean you can’t turn your niche into a profitable niche. By narrowing down your niche and putting your own stamp on that niche, you can make a living from it.

Here are some of the niches of my Writeto1k course students:

  • gaming/pop culture industry
  • sound engineering
  • parenting
  • business
  • education
  • marriage
  • writing
  • social media
  • pet industry
  • automotive
  • medical writing
  • healthy aging
  • personal finance
  • careers
  • tech writing
  • digital marketing
  • Poker
  • small business finance
  • travel
  • corporate wellness
  • health

So, you see, there are varied writers in my course! But, they are working hard, pitching harder and landing gigs left and right!

It’s your turn – what’s holding you back from making a living from writing?

Get My Free Course on Getting Paid to Write Online


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.

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A lot of people let these kinds of things stop them before they even start. I think that a lot of people give up before they even get started because our instant society and “you deserve the world” parenting made a lot of people from my own generation expect it to be hugely profitable right away. Great points, Elna. Thanks for sharing. www. amylynnwriting.comReply to Amy-Lynn
I’ve always hated the “starving artist” idea that most attribute to freelance writing as well. It’s really not a true stereotype since a lot of writers make a heaping amount of money from the writing they do. Granted, it does take a while to get to the point where you’re making thousands per month from your freelancing but it’s also true that you can get there with hard-work and heaps of patience. Your fellow freelancer has faith in you, newbie! (ha ha…in all seriousness, though, I really do mean that.) Thanks for a great post, Elna!Reply to Lisa
Hey Lisa! Thanks so much and yes it is a myth…there is the roller coaster with freelancing but if you start on the right foot, that shouldn’t happen so much! Good luck!Reply to Elna
This is really useful. I’ve been wanting to do this for a while and not knowing how to get started. Thank you.Reply to Breaking
Hi Elna, As someone who’s believed many of those myths for most of my life it is so refreshing to hear that they are indeed myths. I love writing and would love to make a living as a writer. Thank you so much for your inspiration and myth busting! Cheers, DaniReply to dani
Hi Dani! Thank you so much. And thanks for purchasing my course! I’d love to have you in the Facebook group just for the course students! It’s a highly resourceful place 🙂Reply to Elna
This has been really helpful, thanks! I am about to graduate HS. And I’ve always loved writing, and I want to make it my career but sometimes I feel so overwhelmed. And as if I will never be able to be good enough. Thanks for your support! Also, I want to start my own blog and I have, with wordpress. But is there another platform I could use to actually monetize my site? Sincerely A. P. McKinneyReply to A.
Hi! That’s great. You can totally start getting paid to write after HS! As for monetizing your site, not sure, but maybe SquareSpace?Reply to Elna
Hi Elna, I recently discovered your site through Pinterest and am absolutely excited about how helpful it is. Freelance writing is definitely something I’d love to be able to do for a living in the next coming months. I’ve always loved writing and your emails have already been so motivational. Thanks so much for the awesome content! 🙂 Sweet myth busting post!Reply to Vivian
Hi Vivian! Thanks so much for telling me where you found me! I LOVE Pinterest so much 🙂 Thanks too for being a subscriber. Glad you found the content helpful 🙂Reply to Elna
I noticed you left this link on a Facebook group we are both joined to. I have tried and tried and tried to get work freelancing and as of yet, nothing. I have decided on a niche and my website The Productive Writer will focus on helping all members of society to be more productive, conscious of good daily habits and time management. Sometimes, I wonder that being a freelance writer in the UK is much harder than across the pond. I have tried to get work on Upwork, PPH, Craigslist. I’ve pitched many times, and I never hear anything back. It can be really demoralising sometimes. However, I really hope that as i continue to learn my craft things will get better. Thanks for the article.Reply to Lee
Hi Lee, I understand your frustration. My one tip for you: move away from Upwork, PPH and Craigslist. Start attracting clients to you! I noticed your Productive Writer doesn’t immediately tell me that you are a freelance writer..that might be an issue as to why you aren’t attracting clients! Good luck!Reply to Elna
Hi Elna. In your reply you say the website does not immediatly tell people she is a freelnace writer. But how do you do that without a website on freelance writing. It seems more difficult to highlight that you are freelance writer when your website nitche is something entirely different.Reply to Nancy
Hi Nancy! It all depends on your end goal. Do you want to have a thriving blog in a niche or a service-based business? I have my blog Twins Mommy. I can put a page on my blog to hire me as a writer if I wanted to have a service attached to Twins Mommy. So, you can do that as well? You may not have a lot of clients as this isn’t your sole focus on your blog. Your blog content, affiliate marketing and growing your blog are your focus. Having a dedicated writer website means you are using that to drive leads to you. It’s just a different approach. On your writer website, you can have a link to your blog (on a different site) if you want. A lot of writers in my course do that.Reply to Elna
Hi, Well, my website is less than a week old. However, I will take your point into consideration. The attracting of clients is the difficult thing. I don’t really know where to start. I am trying to seal a guest blog post on others sites that welcome guest posts. That may be a start so that I have some clips. I have been published on 2 other occasions in magazines. However, they are in a different topic to productivity. Keep up the good work.Reply to Lee
Hi Lee! That’s great! You’re still new so read through the course material on optimizing your website to get some tips!Reply to Elna
Thanks Elna. A very helpful article. I wanted to ask you that how to make clients visit my blog and check my previous work?Reply to Mehmaiz
Hi Mehmaiz, You’re welcome! The inbound process of attracting clients to your work begins with a highly optimized website!! Good luck!Reply to Elna
Elna,this is story to back us all up. My story is ordinary as someone else’s but as a beginner i have a question about where to find resources for my health niche? I want to be original and not to copy-paste by other bloggers texts. Do you have any advice?Reply to Nesh
Hi Nesh, Thanks for commenting! As for resources for your niche, all I can suggest is to research other health freelance writers. Go to their sites and see how they market themselves and see what their portfolio is all about. You can see the sites they write on and see if you can guest post on those sites. Good luck!Reply to Elna
The one that really hit me was number 2. It’s hard to find good writing jobs out there. Sometimes you just have to get a lot of low paying ones. However, I will build my resume for different niche sites. Thanks Elna for the inspiration.Reply to Fritz
Hi Fritz, There are higher paying freelance writing jobs out there. It all goes down to marketing yourself the right way and having the writing to back it up! Good luck!Reply to Elna