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How to Get Paid as a Writer

Writers today have a huge number of opportunities to find writing work that pays very well.

But… once you’ve found that work, how exactly do you get paid as a writer?

This is a question we hear from many of our new members, and for good reason.

Handling the financial part of writing work can be a bit daunting when you first start out as a freelancer. Luckily, there are straight-forward answers to all your questions about how to get paid as a writer.

On this page, we’re going to break down how to set your fees, quote projects like a pro, and—most importantly—get money into your bank account.

The BIG Question

The biggest thing on everyone’s mind when they enter the paid writing world is this:

How exactly does it work?

 This is where a lot of new writers ask us to explain all the logistics… details… procedures…

So that’s exactly what we’re going to do here.

First of all, you can do your writing from anywhere…

Your couch… your backyard… in a corner booth at the café down the street…

On your lunch break if you still have a day job… in the carpool lane while you’re waiting for your kids…

Anywhere you please, as long as you have a computer and a stable internet connection.

And you can make terrific money as a freelance writer — more than enough to replace your career if that’s your goal… or generate some extra money to pay for the unexpected… or help you achieve financial goals for your life and family.

There’s no single path to doing this, but here’s how Barefoot Writers usually get paid for their writing projects:

Step 1: Know the Best Paid Writing Opportunities

Thanks to the internet, the world of paid writing opportunities gets bigger every day.

Which is terrific news for writers, because it means there’s something for everyone.

You can work on long projects that take a few months to complete… or short projects you can fire off in a couple of hours or less.

You can work with a team of other writers, or you can work independently.

You can write projects for big corporations, small businesses, or your own ventures.

And your writing topic can be just about anything under the sun — provided there’s a market for it.

What does that mean?

Simply this: Because you want to write for money, you need to write for industries where money changes hands. But that includes thousands of possibilities.

For example, you could write for industries everybody has heard of, such as those that focus on pets, personal finance, or relationships.

Or you could write for industries nobody has heard of, like airplane repossession, hippotherapy, or those catering to PANKs. (Hippotherapy gets people with disabilities riding horses to help with coordination and strength, and PANKs stands for “professional aunts, no kids”).

Figuring out what you’re going to write about is the fun part: It’s where you pick a topic you enjoy reading and learning about. That way, when it comes time to do the writing, you’ll relish going deep into a subject and finding new ways to write about it.

Otherwise, what’s the point?

Because remember, as Barefoot Writers, our goal is to enjoy life more by taking hold of our freedom and spending our days where and how we choose.

Now, once you’ve picked an industry — or niche, as we say around here — the next step is to think about what kind of writing you’ll do.

And that brings us to one of the best things about the paid writing world: the variety it offers writers.

You can write online letters and get paid for it… or e-newsletters… or emails…

You can also get paid to write whole websites, including landing pages, blogs, and reports…

Other options are social media posts, autoresponders, and articles…

Or writing projects like case studies, white papers, and video scripts.

And that’s not even all of it!

But let’s say you decide to write persuasive emails…

For that project, even a beginner can finish at least one a day — and then charge about $250. But that’s the low end, remember.

Once you get a little experience under your belt, you can charge upward of $1,000… for the same exact type of email!

Better still, these are writing projects that pay well but are also ongoing… meaning clients need these emails on a regular basis — some monthly, but some as often as daily.

Remember — that’s just one of the many projects you can start with. Another way to go is e-newsletters. Think of these as writing projects that entertain and inform readers with stories and simple advice.

The pay is nice, too: $250–$2,000 for writing short, 700- to 1,000-word projects!

Or maybe you’d rather specialize in writing articles or blog posts. Typically, they’re just 400 to 1,200 words, with standard fees ranging from $50 to $500 per post.

That’s just the beginning…

As a Barefoot Writer, you can tackle any of these other great kinds of writing projects:

  • Homepages (standard fee range: $450–$4,500)
  • Sales pages ($450–$10,000)
  • Subscription pages ($450–$4,500)
  • Information pages ($150–$750)
  • Landing pages ($450–$1,000)
  • Page sequences ($750–$5,000)
  • Websites ($1,500–$10,500)

And that’s only a partial list of the potential projects you can take on once you launch a career as a paid writer!

You can learn one… or you can learn a dozen. After all, each client you take on will need many (if not all!) of these kinds of projects.

But you don’t have to decide which ones you’ll tackle right this second…

Because there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about it.

The wrong approach is to take whatever comes your way and accept low pay.

The right way is to discover where you can find clients who value professional writing services and are willing to pay big bucks.

Step 2: Learn the Simple Secrets Behind Writing Great Copy and Content

Now, are you curious about why someone would agree to pay $250, $500, or even $1,000 for an email when there are writers out there willing to do the same work for $50… or $20… or a crazy $5?

It’s because the people who pay high fees know they’re going to get more value. They know not all writers are created equal. And although it may be true that those low-fee writers can write a simple email…

It’d be a very different kind of email from the ones Barefoot Writers are skilled at writing.

It’s like the difference between a Picasso and a painting your neighbor sells at the local arts-and-crafts fair.

They both put paint to a canvas. They both made art.

But one speaks volumes and provokes emotional reactions, whereas the other is just a nice painting.

The difference among writers is just as stark. As a Barefoot Writer, you learn the fundamental writing secrets that elevate your writing into high-value territory.

It starts with mastering the art of persuasive writing, which is the foundation of all high-quality paid writing.

There are other important elements as well. A high-value writer knows how to recognize and write to specific types of audiences. Because there’s a lot more that goes into writing than just putting words on a page…

Think back to the last great novel you read, or a really terrific movie you recently enjoyed.

If it left an impression, chances are you connected with that book or movie in an emotional way. Maybe it made you laugh or feel scared. Maybe it got your heart pumping, or you broke down and cried.

Those are the kinds of emotional reactions good writing can evoke.

If you’re a business owner or service provider and you want to connect with prospective buyers, the best way to do that is through emotionally charged writing.

And the only way to get that is through high-quality persuasive writing from someone who knows how to tap the secret desires of your audience.

Step 3: Put Yourself in a Position Where You’ll Be Sought After and Paid Well

Okay, so let’s say you’ve gotten this far:

  • You know which industry you want to write for, and you know what kinds of writing you’d like to do…
  • You’ve learned the art of persuasive writing…

What comes next?

It’s quite simple, really: The next step is letting the world know you’re ready to get paid for your writing skills.

And just as there are scores of ways to make a great living as a writer, there are scores of ways to connect with prospects.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert.

It doesn’t matter if you still have a full-time job, or you’re raising a family.

It also doesn’t matter if you’ve never worked in the industry you’ve chosen.

There’s a comfortable, achievable way for you to take this next step, regardless of where you’re coming from.

For example, some writers are perfectly comfortable extending their hand to potential clients they’ve just met and letting them know about their writing services.

Which is just fine, but it’s not for everyone.

Other writers are happier to make phone calls to prospective businesses. Which also works well, but may not be your cup of tea.

For writers who prefer a subtler approach, writing job boards are a good way to go (depending on the job board — we recommend you steer clear of the ones with low, set fees).

There are also referrals, which is a tried-and-true way to land ongoing work in paid writing.

Or you could let people come to you. We recommend at a minimum that anyone looking for paid writing work at least set up a LinkedIn account. After all, it’s free and you can do it in a single afternoon.

The second step we recommend is to set up your professional website, making it as simple or in-depth as you want to.

And one of the best ways to land paid writing work is to meet potential clients face-to-face in a friendly, easygoing setting.

For this, consider going to an industry conference related to your writing field or specialty. (We recommend AWAI’s annual FastTrack to Copywriting Success Job Fair and Bootcamp.)

If you’re wondering about the best way to land paid writing work, the answer is easy: It’s whichever tactic you’re most comfortable with and most likely to do.

Step 4: The “Ka-Ching” Moment: Putting Writing Money in Your Bank Account

The logistics of actually exchanging money for high-quality persuasive writing is where a lot of people tend to worry.

But it’s a lot simpler than you might imagine. For instance…

Say Krista the Client hired Roy the Writer. They met at a conference and hit it off. Krista the Client asked Roy the Writer if he could rewrite her website.

Roy outlined the project so he understood what Krista wanted and got a clear picture of her goals.

Then he emailed her a quote.

Note: We recommend our writers base their fees on this pricing guide of writer rates, updated annually by our publisher, AWAI.

Krista agreed to the fee, and Roy got started on the project.

Occasionally a client will be the first to name a fee, depending on whether they have a set budget.

And even more occasionally, some negotiation may be involved.

You’ll find that as a Barefoot Writer, not only do you get to meet a lot of people… but the vast majority are honest and a pleasure to work with. It’s different from the corporate world, because rather than working for your client, you’re working with them. They depend on you as much as you depend on them. And you are seen as an expert and an authority — not merely a service provider.

Roy delivered the final draft a few weeks later. Krista asked for a few tweaks, and he obliged.

 A few days after Krista accepted his final copy, Roy sent her an invoice. A week later, he had a fat check waiting in his mailbox.

And there you go! It really is that simple.

There are variations to this process, of course. Some writers prefer to invoice for half of a project when they first start it and then bill for the second half upon project completion. This is especially true for high-fee projects of, say, $1,000 or more.

Some writers use an online invoice service to do their billing, and others put together their own invoices using a word processing program. Other writers invoice through PayPal.

You should do what you’re most comfortable with.

As for the client side, many clients still pay freelance writers via paper check. Some transfer the money electronically or set up auto-deposit for recurring projects.

And if you’re wondering about the business side of freelance writing for pay, we recommend you take a look at this program from AWAI, our publisher: Freelance Writing Business Success: The essential guide to starting your own business.

Step 5: The Common Mistake You Should Avoid at All Costs

There’s really only one thing you can do wrong when it comes to starting a paid career as a writer…

And that is to do nothing.

We’ve seen it happen time and again with talented writers who are ready to regain control of their lives. And it makes us sad. Because it means those would-be writers are going to miss out on a lifetime of earnings, satisfaction, and freedom.

It usually happens like this…

You discover there’s a way to make a great living as a writer. You read up on it, learn about the real people who are enjoying this kind of lifestyle every day, and start to believe you can do it, too.

Your excitement builds… You know this is exactly what you’ve been waiting for. It combines your interest in writing with your other personal desires, whether they’re income driven, time driven, or location driven.

You reach the point where your enthusiasm is about to bubble over… You know this is it! You’ve found what it is you were meant to do with your life… and it opens the gates to goals you never dreamed you’d be able to achieve.

But then…

Something derails you. You hesitate. Not today, you think. Maybe I’ll start my dream life tomorrow.

Or worse, you let fear block your path.

So you do nothing. You don’t find out more about the Barefoot Writer Club. You never try your hand at paid writing work.

And your dream dies. It’s a slow fizzle. You don’t realize it’s slipping away until it’s gone and the moment has passed.

Want our advice?

Don’t let this happen! Find out more about the Barefoot Writer Club now — a supportive community full of writers just like you who are following their dreams to live life to the fullest.

All it takes is a simple click, and we’ll guide you from there.

By the way, doing nothing is the biggest risk you face right now. Because if you’re worried about picking the wrong opportunity, or about your writing skills…

Don’t be.

First, it’s impossible to pick the wrong writing opportunity. Even if you change your mind down the road, any opportunity you pick at this point will get you started and help you build a strong portfolio of samples.

In turn, those samples can help you get started in whatever new opportunity you’d like to try.

As for writing skills — that’s what we’re here for. We’ll help you become a better writer just as we’ll be there for you throughout any ups and downs you may have.

After all, nobody is born a great writer — that takes time. We’re all learning as we go, and that’s part of the adventure.

Finally, remember this: Regardless of which opportunity you choose, paid writing can be done at all hours of the day. So, whether you love watching the dawn unfold or prefer to be up past midnight, you can fit your writing into any part of the day you choose.

That frees up your time and energy to do other things when most people are stuck at the office. For example, if you get paid to write for a living, you can

  • take vacations in the off-season when tickets are cheaper and crowds are minimal,
  • be there to greet your kids when they get home from school,
  • enjoy long lunches with friends,
  • go to midday appointments without having to ask for any time off from work,
  • hit the gym before it gets busy,
  • sneak in a midday nap,
  • do your grocery shopping when the stores aren’t swarming,
  • and the list goes on…

You can launch your paid writing dream today: Find out more about the Barefoot Writer Club now.

You CAN make a living as a writer… You just need to know what the best-paying opportunities are.

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