Maybe you’re interested in freelance writing, but not too sure if you can actually get paid to write online. Although there seems to be no shortage of anecdotes online of people who are doing it successfully, it still seems too good to be true.
I hear you. There are a lot of myths surrounding freelance writing. In a world where we can’t scroll through our social media for thirty seconds without someone trying to sell us something, it’s easy to think that the whole “get paid to write” idea is just another scheme by someone trying to sell a course or product.
We’ve come a long, long way from the days when you freelance writing meant mailing your article into a magazine, only to wait two months for a rejection letter. But does the internet really make getting paid to write much easier?
As someone who was also skeptical, I wanted to address some of these myths and keep it real. Let’s debunk the 5 common myths that are causing you to question whether you can really get paid to write online:
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Myth #1: Freelancing requires a journalism degree
I think this is one of the biggest things that holds people back from exploring the opportunity of freelance writing. While having a journalism degree can help you obtain certain types of writing jobs, it’s by no means necessary to have.
These days, most businesses want content that’s written in a casual, conversational tone. That’s because most people are put off by formal jargon and don’t have the attention span for wall of solid, hard-to-read text.
I have come across very few job openings for writing gigs that have mandated any kind of degree. In fact, quite often you don’t even need a formal resume.
Your writing samples tell a potential client all they need to know about your writing skills.
I would say the only real prerequisite to get paid to write online is that you really enjoy writing, are willing to learn, and have a strong work ethic. Because even if your spelling and grammar skills are average (or even a little on the weak side), tools like Grammarly make it easy to learn as you go.
Myth #2: Freelance writing pays peanuts
We can thank the content mills and bidding sites for this one. Yes, there are tons of websites out there that promise to pay you for your work, like Fiverr, Upwork, and countless others.
While some people have found success using these sites, I have never had a good experience with them and most people who use them find themselves writing for pennies, literally.
The good news is, you do not need these sites to make money as a freelancer. In fact, even as a beginner, I urge you to stay far away.
Writing 1000 word articles for five bucks is just not a good use of your time and skills!
There are plenty of legitimate freelance writing job boards that offer real pay for your work. (Problogger.com is my favorite!) It’s pretty tough to nail down an “average pay” per article because of the diversity in assignment type and length.
Right now I make between $50-$100 USD per article, but it really does depend on word count and how much research is required.
I know of writers who have more of an “influencer” status or have posted on high-authority sites and are able to make quite a bit more. Many freelance writers (myself included) find other ways to further diversify their income. (We’ll talk more about that in a future post soon, promise!)
Now, I need to take a moment to address the other extreme that comes from those (who are often selling courses or books) that proclaim that freelance writing is an easy way to make six figures a year.
Listen, making a full-time income from freelance writing isn’t impossible, but it’s not easy. I would say the percentage of freelance writers to make six figures a year is very small. And those who are making that kind of money are probably not achieving the kind of work-life balance you’d hope to have by being a freelancer.
Myth #3: There aren’t enough jobs to go around
Yes, there are a lot of people out there who want to get paid to write online. (The term “making money online” is searched in Google for over 200,000 times monthly!)
Yes, you will have competition.
But so does any job, right? And I do not believe the market is oversaturated with writers by any stretch.
Because there are a ton of writing jobs out there if you know where to look. There are millions of new, web-based start-ups appearing every year, and over half of all digital marketers use content as part of their marketing strategy.
I’ll let you do the math.
You don’t need to wait around for job postings, either. With a little research in your niche, you can get work by cold pitching potential clients.
So forget about competition and focus on your own strategies, skills, and goals. You have to understand – and believe – that what you have to offer is unique from what your competition has. (Because you do!)
Myth #4: Freelance writing requires a professional website and blog
I’m not going to lie, there are a lot of benefits to having a website and/or blog to complement your freelance writing business. Including:
- Diversifying your income via ads and affiliate marketing
- Using your blog to showcase your writing samples
- Greater credibility and professionalism by having a place online that potential clients can go to learn about you and your services
- Building an email list of potential clients (via services like Convertkit)
You don’t need it. Although I had a website when I first launched my freelancing side-biz in 2016, it was far from professional and I’m pretty sure had no bearing on my ability in getting paid to write. (In fact, it was so awful it might have even worked against me!)
If you want to keep it ultra-simple at the beginning, all you need are writing samples in a Google Doc and possibly a resume.
That being said, if you’re really serious about freelancing then it is to your advantage to invest in a website at some point. (If that prospect seems overwhelming, I totally get it because I was the same. So I made this easy step-by-step guide to get you started.)
Myth #5: It’s really difficult to break into freelancing
Does it take some work and grit on your part? Definitely. Are there challenges, rejected pitches, and writing gigs that don’t pan out? Yup.
But honestly, it isn’t rocket science. If you have the desire to succeed and a little tenacity, it really isn’t that hard at all to start.
Start by finding out what kind of writing you want to do and then do a little research about how to get started. There’s a lot of free information out there! In fact, some of it is right here, in this 3-Step guide I put together to help send you on your way.
Or, if you want something that’s going to streamline the process for you through to your first paying customer, check out Gina Horkey’s 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success. I took this course when I was first learning how to get paid to write online. True to its name, I landed my first client within 4 weeks of purchasing the course.
The Bottom Line: Yes, you can get paid to write online!
You can even be paid well. The reality is that times are changing and more and more people will be working from home and utilizing the internet for their income. Honestly, my only regret in becoming a freelance writer is that I didn’t start earlier.
So don’t let fears or naysayers hold you back.
Go get paid to write!
PS – Not sure how to get started as a freelance writer? I put together this no-nonsense, 3-step guide to point you in the right direction. Sign up for my newsletter and you can download it for free!