Can You Really Make a Living Freelance Writing?


I became a full-time freelance writing on Jan. 1, 2017 after less than a year pursuing freelance writing. What I love about freelance writing is the control it offers you, not just in how much you make, but also on your schedule and what you want your life to look like. So the short answer to, “Can you really make a living freelance writing?” is yes. You can more than make a living you can make a life.

It Takes Time to go from Surviving to Thriving

Just like any endeavor, success doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time. You’ll start out just making a bit of extra money, you may make the leap and be surviving with freelance writing while you work to move towards the thriving end of the spectrum.

Remember, everyone’s definition of success is different. Currently, I’m making enough money to get by, but I definitely want to earn more. On the other hand, my lifestyle and mental health have vastly improved. While I’m still not making what I made at my old 9-5, I’m 10x happier than I was working at my old job. So to me, that is pretty successful.

If you are just starting out with freelance writing or just starting to consider freelance writing, keep in mind it takes time to make real money. How much time, will depend on how much work you put into growing your business. I could definitely put more work into growing my freelance writing business, but I’ve instead been working on diversifying my income.

How I Got Started Freelance Writing & You Can Too

I played around with the idea of freelance writing for a while, but for someone who was a math major in college, the idea of making a living writing seemed kind of ludacris. However, I also really liked the idea of setting my own rate and controlling my schedule. I knew there was real money to be made with freelance writing, thanks to others, like Gina Horkey, that published their income reports.  

In April 2016, I signed up and within a month had a freelance site up (this one) and my first client. Gina’s 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success. In April 2016, I realized that I had no clue what I was doing and pulled the trigger on a freelance writing course. Gina Horkey’s course walked through step by step everything I needed to embark on my freelance writing journey.

See before I took the course, every time I saw a freelance writing job posted it seemed like sooo much work to pitch it because I had to gather and put together a bunch of stuff that I didn’t already have, like my resume and writing portfolio. Gina’s course helped me to create both which made pitching quick and (mostly) painless. 

Information about Gina’s 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success Course

If you are interested in checking out the course I wrote an in-depth review. The basic information is that the course comes in at $147 or two payments of $79. You get access to the course and can move through it at your own pace (meaning it doesn’t have to actually take 30 days).

Keep in mind that while the course is extremely helpful you will likely need to spend money on a few other things, like setting up a website and if you are pressed for time a freelance writing job board such as Contena.

Our current recommended course is Freelance Writer Academy.

Recommended Course
Freelance Writer Academy
10/10Our Score

The course we previous recommended, 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success is no longer offered, fortunately some other incredible freelance writers I know recently came out with Freelance Writer Academy.

They are all experienced freelance writers and fantastic teachers. Check it out!


  • Teachers who have walked the walk
  • Affordable with payment plan options
  • Self paced course
  • 30 Day money back guarantee

Related: Squarespace vs WordPress – which blogging platform is right for you?

My Income Reports

Admittedly, I didn’t start pulling together income reports until summer of 2016, but to give you an idea of what I was earning here is information on my income, you can view all of my income reports here.

July 2016 = $250

Aug. 2016 = $560

Sept. 2016 = $271

Oct. 2016 = $196

Nov. 2016 =$844

Dec. 2016 =$866

Jan. 2017 = $2,262

April 2017 = $4,125

Related: How to Set and Negotiate Rates

Income Reports of Others

Gina Horkey’s Income Reports

Writing Revolt Income Report

Holly Johnson – Club Thrifty Income Report

Bottom Line

You have to work at it, you shouldn’t expect to make enough overnight to quit your job. Additionally, even after you start making decent money, remember it takes consistency in pitching to avoid the feast or famine cycle.

Related: Do You Even Pitch, Bro?

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  1. Katina Davenport says:

    Hi Liz,

    I never knew I would be writing online. If someone would have told me I would be blogging when I was in college, I think I would have said they were crazy. I did freelance writing for a while but didn’t continue because blogging for myself seemed less hectic for me. Maybe when my children are older I can get back to freelancing.

    1. Elizabeth Stapleton says:

      Good for you, one thing that’s nice about freelancing is that you can pick it up when you need to but you absolutely don’t have to do it forever. Congrats on the success of your blog, I love blogging and would definitely like it to be more of my income in the future.

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