What Is a Freelancer? Part 1 – Freelance Writers

What Is a Freelancer?

So, what is a freelancer? When someone says, “I freelance for a living” most people assume that they are either freelance writers or perhaps freelance designers. But, if you look up the word “freelance” in the dictionary, it is defined as:

working for different companies at different times rather than being permanently employed by one company

It doesn’t say anywhere that you have to have a specific set of skills to be a freelancer. Freelance can apply to many different skillsets. Just take a look at the categories of work freelancers can find on these freelance marketplaces:

There are literally hundreds of categories for freelancers, so it’s no wonder that people often ask, “what is a freelancer?” While some jobs require specialized training, such as programming, legal, engineering, accounting, etc., there are a lot that don’t such as customer service, administrative, marketing, social media, photography, and sales. There really is no limit to what you can do if you want to freelance for a living.

So, I thought I’d try my hand at writing a series of emails featuring different types of work you can do as a freelancer. This week, I’ll focus on what I know best: writing! 🙂


As when you tell people you’re a freelancer, when you tell people you’re a writer, they might assume you’re working on your latest and greatest novel. However, both you and I know that there are many different categories to writing. You can be a copywriter, blogger, ghostwriter, journalist, or novelist (fiction/nonfiction).


If you are good at selling things to people, then you’d probably make a good copywriter. Companies hire them to write compelling ads, sales pages, brochures, landing pages, newsletters, and the like. How does it pay?

The pay can depend upon your experience, the industry you’re writing for, and how many clients you have. Generally speaking, the hourly rates could be something like:

  • Entry Level: $10-$25 per hour
  • Intermediate: $30-$50 per hour
  • Expert: $60-$70+ per hour

There’s also the option to charge by the word, by the project, or if your client needs regular work, on a monthly retainer.


Arguably, this is the easiest way to get started as a freelance writer. You can write your own blog, write blogs for others, and write guest blogs. There’s no limit, really.

If you want to write your own blog and earn a living, starting the blog is the easy part. It’s the making money from it that can be the hard part. Why? Well, a lucrative blog depends on a few things: traffic, loyal readers, and writing that keeps people coming back for more. While it’s not easy, it can be done. Here are a few blogs that generate six-figure incomes:

Writing blogs for others is a lot easier to make a living off of than having your own blog. Why? If you have enough clients, it’s regular pay. I myself like this option, because it allows you to generate an income AND work on your own blog, as mentioned above. It’s the best of both worlds, really.

So, what’s the going rate for a blogger? Here’s what you can expect:

  • Beginner: $10-$20 per hour
  • Intermediate: $25-$45 per hour
  • Expert: $50-$100+ per hour

Where can you find blogging work? Well, I post A LOT of writing jobs on my Freelance Jobs page, including blogging jobs.


You write for someone else, and they get the credit. Pertains to any media, blogs, ebooks, books, articles, press releases, etc. Ghostwriting can be a great way to earn a living online as a writer, because people don’t always have time to write for themselves. You’d be surprised how many people who are “experts” don’t write their own content!

There’s really no limit to the type of writing you can do as a ghostwriter:

  • Books
  • eBooks
  • Blog posts
  • Articles
  • Press Releases

If you’re looking for a good overview about being a ghostwriter, there’s a great article on Writer’s Digest you should check out.

If you need a good source to find ghostwriting jobs, check out this free ebook on Amazon.com: Where Are The Ghostwriting Jobs: 34 Online Markets For Entry-Level And Established Ghostwriters

Need to know what to charge? Because you are not going to get the credit for the writing, you can often charge your clients more than a standard blogger or copywriter would be able to and not get any pushback. Check out this post about how to determine the best rate here at WritingSpark.com.


Can’t get enough news in your life? Always love getting the scoop? Then you may be cut out for journalism.

Journalism isn’t just for newspapers anymore. There are many online-only news outlets that are looking for journalists to write captivating news stories.

One place you should check out if you’re a journalist looking for work is JournalismJobs.com. While most are not remote jobs you can do from anywhere, there are a great deal of freelance jobs that are location-specific that don’t require you to be in an office.

If staff writing isn’t your thing, then you’ll probably need to rely on the old-fashioned (yet tried and true) query method, where you pitch your stories to editors and hope they like it. This requires a great deal of research to find sources that accept queries, and the ability to brush off rejection of said queries. If you have a ton of great ideas and a tough skin, then query to your heart’s content.

So, as you can see, there are literally tons of ways for you to get started as a freelance writer, so the next time someone asks you “what is a freelancer?” you’ll at least have one way to answer them.

But if freelance writing isn’t for you, don’t worry! Next week, I’ll have an in-depth article on design as an avenue for freelancers to pursue.