Freelance writing average pay and salary (How much should you charge?)

What are the freelance writing average pay rates? Do you know how much money you should charge as a freelance writer?

Just imagine, waking up in the morning, pouring coffee, and working from your laptop. You are your own boss, making money from home!

Freelance writing can definitely generate you a full-time income. However, you can’t make money online if you don’t know how much to charge.

Freelance writing is perfect for want-to-be work from home entrepreneurs because it takes little to no investment to start. You just need to know how to start!

Luckily for you, I’m breaking down freelance writing average pay. Hopefully, you will have a better idea of industry standards and how much money you can make as a freelancer.

Freelance writing average pay and salary (How much should you charge_)

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What is the average pay for a freelance writer?

So what does the average freelance writer make as an hourly or yearly salary? Generally speaking, we’ve found that you can easily make between $20 and $30 per hour. So a freelance writer can expect to make an annual salary between $41,600 and $62,400!

Here is what we found:

So we have pretty reliable data to say a freelance writer earns about $25 per hour. Now, multiple factors affect your pay including number of clients, rate you charge, how you charge, and more! I’ll discuss later how to make more money as a freelance writer.

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Can you make a living off freelance writing?

According to Wallet Hacks, the average annual household income in 2018 was $63,179. As previously discussed, earning $25 an hour places you at an individual income around $52,000 per year. So you’re not considered “average,” but that doesn’t mean you can’t live on $52k.

Unless you live in a major city, a salary of $52,000 per year should be enough to live on. If you have a spouse or significant other that earns money then you should earn plenty to live on.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition created the following map to show you what hourly income you need to afford a two-bedroom rental home in each state. Following this map, you wouldn’t pay more than 30 percent of your income on housing.

Two bedroom rental housing wages
National Low Income Housing Coalition

30 percent is still a significant amount to pay for housing. However, most states are below $25 per hour. This means your $25 per hour freelance writer wage should be enough to live in almost every state.

You will still need to make sure you budget appropriately and have enough money for investments. In the end, you need to be able to live on the income you bring in.

How much do beginner freelance writers make?

If you’re reading this article, then I would assume you are interested in starting out as a freelance writer. Starting your own freelance writing business allows you the freedom to charge your own rates.

In the following sections, you’ll see rates that exceed $25 per hour. When you own your own freelance business you can charge whatever you want as long as people are willing to pay.

This section will give you a better insight to what beginners can really charge, rather than what’s reported on an income website.

From a 2018 survey by Clearvoice, beginner freelance writers were identified as someone with 0-3 years of freelance experience. Intermediate writers had 3-7 years experience, professionals had 7-15 years, and experts were defined as having more than 15 years experience.

Freelancers can charge per hour, per word, and per project. Each have their pros and cons, but make sure you’re charging appropriately and not selling yourself short.

Charging per hour

The average beginner freelance writer charges $31.56 to $49.80 per hour.

Freelance rate per hour

As you can see, even beginners with 0-3 years experience can charge as much as $100 per hour. However, you still have to provide value to your customer. Who’s going to want to pay $100 an hour for an article that has a lot of spelling and grammar mistakes?

Overall, 26 percent of beginners charge $20 or less per hour! You don’t want to be in the bottom 25 percent if you have solid writing. Therefore, I recommend starting with at least $25 per hour. Even still, around 50 percent of beginning freelance writers charge more than $40 per hour.

Therefore, a good hourly rate for a beginner freelance writer is around $40 per hour.

Charging per word

Nearly all beginner freelance writers charge anywhere from $0.01 to $0.50 per word!

Freelance rate per word

As you can see, the results are almost evenly split for charging per word!

Again, the bottom 25 percent of all people charge $0.10 or less per word. So charging $0.10 or less is probably selling yourself short.

Approximately half of all beginning freelance writers charge $0.25 per word. For a 500 word article, you would charge $125. I think most of you could crank out 500 words in one hour. Therefore, you would have an hourly rate of $125!

Charging per word may be one of your best options. Per word charging gives your client a good estimate of how much your work will cost. They may need a 1,000 word article, so they can easily calculate that it would cost them $250.

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So how much should I charge for a 500, 1000, or more word article?

What you charge and the method you go about charging is completely up to you. However, here are some tips to maximize your freelance writing revenue.

My personal preference would be to charge per word or project, instead of hourly. Simply put, you can earn more money by finding work and cranking it out quickly. The only thing that matters when maximizing your revenue on a per word basis is how quickly you can crank through words.

Look at it this way. You charge an hourly rate of $40 and work a 10 hour day for your clients. At this hourly rate, you earned $400 in a day, great! Now you charge $0.25 per word and maybe you can write a 500 word article in one hour. Working a 10 hour day, you cranked out 5,000 words or $1,250!

You may even want to charge more if the article requires any technical research. Why? Because doing research takes time and takes away from your ability to write words and earn money. Story telling and giving your opinion is a much quicker way to earn money as a freelance writer.

So how much should you charge for a 500 or 1,000 word article? Write a few 500 and 1,000 word articles first and find out how long it takes you. Ask yourself, how much do you need to charge to be content?

Where can a beginner get started freelance writing?

There are typically two ways to earn work as a freelance writer. You can bring in your own clients or start by joining a freelance network.

Bringing in your own clients takes a lot of hard work, but it can be worth it. You have the potential to earn more money. However, most of you just need to start writing and bringing in income.

A freelance network, such as Writers Work, provides you with everything you need to get started. You create an account, log in, and apply for available jobs. You don’t have to seek out any clients to start making money!

Writers Work - Get Paid to Write

Summary: Freelance writing average pay

As you can see, freelance writing average pay can vary depending on how you start your freelance journey. Choose the method that works best for you to start making money writing online.

A lot of freelance writers are charging rates around $25 per hour or $52k per year. However, starting your own freelance writing business, I think you could do better.

You can set your own rates when you have your own freelance business. I would avoid charging any rate in the bottom 25 percent of your peers, otherwise you’re probably selling yourself short. The bottom 25 percent is less than $20 per hour or $0.10 per word.

My preference would be to charge per word. Charging per word allows you to focus on creating content quickly, which can boost your hourly earnings. For example, you can earn $400 in 10 hours charging hourly ($40 an hour) or $1,250 charging $0.25 per word in the same time!

The easiest way to get started freelance writing is with a freelance network, such as Writers Work. Freelance networks handle everything from getting clients and handling payments. All you have to focus on is writing.

John is the founder of TightFist Finance and an expert in the field of personal finance. John has studied personal finance for over 10 years and has used his knowledge to pay down debt, grow his investment portfolio, and launch a financial based business. He is committed to sharing content related to personal finance based on his experience in his career, investing, and path towards reaching financial independence.