10 Freelance Writing Salary Tips to Raise Your Rates in 2023

by Sarah Cha


Wondering what the average freelance writing salary is, and how you can increase yours this year?

You’re not alone.

Thousands of writers just like you grapple with the question of income every day.

But guess what? 

It’s possible to navigate the labyrinth of freelance earnings and come out victorious. 

In this article, we’ll unmask the typical salary for a freelance writer and hand you specific, actionable strategies to elevate your pay scale. 

Ready to do this?

Let’s go!

Unpacking the Typical Freelance Writing Salary

If you’ve ever typed “freelance writing salary” into a search bar, you know the results are an extremely mixed bag. 

Some sources quote an impressively high figure, while others tell tales of less-than-stellar paychecks. 

For example, one source states that general entry-level freelance, grant writers, and ghostwriters can earn, on average, $50,000 a year, while technical writers can earn $75,000 a year. 

Another source estimates the annual median copywriter salary is $67,000 per year. 

So what’s the real deal?

Understanding the myriad of factors that influence a freelance writer’s salary is the first step towards creating a successful and profitable writing career. 

But it’s crucial to remember that not all freelance writing jobs are created equal. Various roles within the field have differing pay scales, often influenced by the complexity of the work and the demand in the market.

In other words…

Different job roles in the field come with different pay grades. 

For instance, a grant writer, who pens proposals for funding, might make more than a content writer developing blog posts for a small business. Meanwhile, a technical writer working in the technology sector might outearn them both.

Experience and specialization can also significantly impact earnings. 

A seasoned freelancer who’s carved out a niche in a lucrative field like healthcare or finance will likely command higher rates than a generalist just starting.

These writers have spent years honing their craft and acquiring in-depth knowledge of their chosen industry, making their expertise highly valuable.

The Freelance Writer’s Journey: From Beginner to Six-Figure Earner in 2023

a winding road in green hills

For those just starting, the prospect of earning significant money from writing may seem like a distant dream. 

And realistically, as a beginner, the earnings are usually modest, with many starting at a few cents per word.

However, like in any profession, your income can grow with time, persistence, and strategic decisions.

As you develop better writing skills, a broader network, and a more robust portfolio, you’ll get a substantial increase in your rates. 

So, how does a beginner writer eventually break into the six-figure income bracket? 

Here are three key factors:

  • Niche Specialization: One surefire way to boost your earnings is by becoming a specialist in a specific field. High-paying industries, such as tech, finance, or healthcare, value expert writers who understand their unique needs and can communicate complex ideas clearly.
  • Expand Your Skill Set: Acquiring related skills can enhance your marketability and justify higher rates. SEO knowledge, for example, can make your articles more valuable to clients. Similarly, mastering specialized forms of writing like grant or technical writing allows you to command premium rates.
  • Persistence: Freelance writing is a long game. It’s important to remain patient, consistently deliver quality work, and persistently seek growth opportunities.

In sum, transforming from a beginner to a six-figure earner is achievable. 

It doesn’t happen overnight, but with strategic decisions and a growth-oriented mindset, you can significantly boost your freelance writing income.

Plus, we have a few actionable strategies to help…

10 Practical Ways to Elevate Your Freelance Writing Salary (& Career)

a man stacking coins

Stepping up your freelance writing game requires a blend of creativity, strategic thinking, and business savvy. 

Here are a few top practical strategies to supercharge your career and boost your income…

1. Start a Blog

By starting a blog, you’re basically opening up a storefront that displays your work to the world. 

Use your blog to show off your skills, delve into topics you’re passionate about, and establish yourself as an expert in your chosen niche. 

Plus, having a blog gives potential clients a chance to see your writing in action. It’s not just about showcasing your technical writing abilities — it’s about establishing your niche, demonstrating your ability to engage readers, tackle complex topics, and bring fresh ideas to the table.

2. Promote Yourself

As a freelancer, you’re not just a writer; you’re a business owner. And part of running a business is getting your name out there. 

Harness the power of social media to showcase your work and connect with potential clients. Attend networking events (virtual or in-person) to meet other professionals in your field. 

And don’t forget about SEO — optimizing your online presence can help clients find you when they’re searching for a writer with your skills. Remember, self-promotion isn’t about being boastful; it’s about letting people know how you can help them.

3. Pitch Prospective Clients

two adults shaking hands over a table

The key to a successful pitch is understanding what the client needs and how your skills can meet those needs. 

Provide concrete examples of your work that align with their brand or project, and explain how your unique skill set would benefit their business. 

Remember, you’re not selling your writing so much as selling the solutions and benefits it can bring to their business.

4. Don’t Underestimate Your Worth

The freelance marketplace can be competitive, and it can be tempting to lower your rates to win clients. 

However, doing so can undervalue your skills and make it harder to earn a sustainable income. It’s important to understand the value you provide to clients, from your writing and research skills to your ability to meet deadlines and work independently. 

Do your research on market rates, consider your level of experience and expertise, and set a fair price for your services. And once you’ve set your rates, be confident in them — after all, quality writing is worth paying for.

5. Set Up Retainer Deals 

Retainer deals are the freelancer’s version of a steady paycheck. 

With a retainer, a client agrees to pay you for a certain amount of work each month, whether it’s a set number of articles, hours, or projects. 

This provides a reliable income stream and can also save time on the back-and-forth of project-based contracts. 

It’s a win-win: clients get a guaranteed amount of your time, and you get the peace of mind of regular income. 

But remember, to make this work, build strong relationships with clients and propose retainer deals once trust is established.

6. Diversify Your Income

a businessman holding dollar bills

Writing doesn’t have to be your only income stream. 

By offering related services like editing, proofreading, or content strategy consulting, you can diversify your income and become a one-stop shop for your clients’ content needs. 

By diversifying, you’re not only making your income more resilient, but also offering more value to your clients.

7. Charge Per Project

There’s an old saying: “Time is money.” But for freelancers, it can be more apt to say, “Value is money.” 

Rather than charging an hourly rate, consider pricing your services per project. 

This method allows you to reflect the true value of your work, taking into account not just the time spent writing, but also the expertise and knowledge you bring to the table. It also gives clients upfront clarity about the cost, which they appreciate.

And when calculating project rates, consider factors like the complexity of the work and your level of expertise. 

For example, an in-depth white paper requiring extensive research and specialized knowledge should command a higher price than a simple blog post.

8. Build a Powerful Personal Brand

Think of your personal brand as your reputation, your promise to your clients. 

It differentiates you from the sea of other writers out there and it’s what convinces clients to hire you — often at higher rates.

Building a strong personal brand involves creating an impressive online presence. 

This could include a professional website showcasing your portfolio, active social media accounts where you share valuable insights, and even guest posting on reputable industry blogs. 

The stronger your brand, the higher rates you’ll be able to command.

9. Choose Your Niche & Type of Content

a man working on a laptop

Lastly, remember this golden rule: not all content is created equal. 

Some types of writing are more lucrative than others. Technical and specialized content, such as medical writing, legal writing, or high-level marketing copy, often pays more than general blog posts. 

Why? Because those forms of writing require a unique skill set and expertise that not everyone possesses.

And over time, picking a niche you’re knowledgeable in, passionate about, or have relevant experience with can also add to your freelance income. 

This specialization will allow you to become an expert in your field, thus justifying higher rates for your specialized services.

10. Explore Beyond the Boundaries

While blog posts and articles are staple offerings for freelance writers, expanding your horizons can help boost your income. 

Other writing avenues can be highly profitable, with demand often surpassing supply. 

Consider diving into copywriting, scriptwriting, or technical writing.

Copywriting, for instance, is essential to businesses looking to engage customers and drive sales, and it’s often compensated accordingly.

The Future of Freelance Writing

Looking ahead, the future of freelance writing is bright.

And with the right strategies and attitude, you can make the freelance writing salary–and lifestyle–that you want.

Businesses are increasingly recognizing the power of quality content, and demand for skilled writers is growing. That’s why, by applying the golden strategies you learned above, you can rapidly and drastically increase your freelance income.

So take a deep breath, flex those fingers, and get ready to conquer the freelance writing world. After all, the only place to go from here is up!

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Sarah Cha

Sarah Cha is an avid writer, reader, and lifelong learner who loves making magic behind-the-scenes at Smart Blogger. When she's not wrangling words onto a screen or page, you can find her strumming a guitar, tickling a canvas, or playing fetch with her favorite four-footed friend!


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Photo of author

Written by Sarah Cha

Sarah Cha is an avid writer, reader, and lifelong learner who loves making magic behind-the-scenes at Smart Blogger. When she's not wrangling words onto a screen or page, you can find her strumming a guitar, tickling a canvas, or playing fetch with her favorite four-footed friend!

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