How to Make a Full Time Income from Freelance Blogging

This is an interview with Tom Ewer. Tom is a freelance blogger and internet marketer. He quit his job at the end of 2011 and shares all of his successes and failures at his blog, Leaving Work Behind.

He has just released a guide – Successful Freelance Writing Online: How to Generate a Full Time Income by Writing For Blogs. In this interview, he reveals why he is a freelance blogging evangelist.

Tell us about how you became a freelance blogger.

Well it rather took me by surprise if I’m honest with you!

If we rewind about thirteen months, I had no aspirations to be a freelance blogger — it was the last thing on my mind. I was however incredibly frustrated by my lack of success in establishing semi-passive income streams. I had decided months earlier that I wanted to quit my job, and had been working really hard since then to generate an income via websites. It just wasn’t working out for me at the time.

So out of sheer frustration and desperation, I submitted a few pitches in response to listings on the ProBlogger Job Board. I didn’t expect anything to come of it — it was more a way of blowing off steam than anything. So you can expect my surprise when I was offered a trial by and subsequently became a writer for the popular WordPress blog, WPMU!

I didn’t really look back from there. I landed another client through the same job board about a month later, and that was all the encouragement I needed. I handed my notice in, and in January 2012, I was on my own!

Why freelance blogging, rather than other forms of freelance writing?

First of all, I think it is extremely accessible — the barriers to entry are extremely low. I believe that just about any competent writer can get started as a freelance blogger. Of course, the more talented and committed a writer you are, the more you can make.

And although freelance blogging itself as a fantastic long term career choice, it also opens you up to a world of opportunity. For instance, you can branch out into copywriting or start your own content marketing consultancy. And once you are an accomplished freelance blogger, who’s to stop you from developing your own successful blog?

One could consider freelance blogging as paid training. You get the inside track on how big blogs operate — their content and marketing strategy. You soak up valuable experience and get paid a great rate for it!

Realistically speaking, how much can a freelance blogger expect to earn?

Once you’re established, you can make good money as a freelance blogger. An hourly rate of $50 or more is perfectly realistic — in fact, I have been paid an equivalent hourly rate of around $100 by some clients.

And if you play your cards right you won’t have to do much in terms of direct marketing. All of my client referrals either come from existing bylines or via my blog. This means that your equivalent hourly rate rises, because you spend less time finding work and more time doing it.

What would you say to those who feel that freelancing is just swapping one job for another?

In short, it’s not!

For instance, today I’m working from my local library. Tomorrow I’ll work from home. The day after I’m taking the morning off to do a photoshoot with my band. In a couple of weeks I am travelling to Houston to spend some time with my sister, and I’ll work from there.

My hours are completely flexible, I have no boss, i’m in control of my earnings, and I earn about three times as much per hour as I did in my (well-paying) job! I also I have loads more time to work on other projects, like my successful freelance writing guide.

If you can get all of that out of your job I applaud you. If not, freelancing might be worth consideration!

Finally, there are a lot of aspiring freelance writers out there who aren’t doing as well as they would like. What advice would you have for them?

There are just two things you need to do well as a freelance writer in order to be successful — write well, and put yourself in front of prospective clients. If you’re not achieving the kind of success you would like then there’s either something wrong with your writing or your marketing. Both are resolvable issues.

Without wanting to put too simplistic a slant on it, becoming a better writer is done by reading and writing. Read about how to write effectively for the web, then practice your craft. Blogging is a forgiving content medium — it isn’t difficult to get right once you understand the basic principles.

As for marketing, keep your efforts clear and practical. Where do the people you want to work with hang out online? How can you find and attract them? Put yourself in their shoes — how should you approach them in order to make clear the benefits you can offer to their blog and/or business?

Of course, if I could compress everything required for successful freelance writing into three paragraphs, there would be a lot more freelance writers out there! But the above covers the basics. If people want to learn more they should check out Successful Freelance Writing Online. It’s packed with literally everything I know (and have gleaned from others) about freelance writing for the web.

Perhaps most important of all, I implore all freelance writers to have more confidence in their abilities. You’re probably far better than you realize, and the sooner you start acting like you’re worth a good rate, the sooner people will begin to value you accordingly. Best of luck!

If you would like to learn how you can earn a full time income from freelance blogging, check out Tom’s new guide: Successful Freelance Writing Online.

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  1. says

    The one trend I do like about these types of freelance writers is they are publishing their income reports on their website which both add some credibility to their insights on what works but also how important it is to keep an open mind on revenue streams. If you can land a paid consulting gig that is in line with where you want to drive your business then take it up, just like writing for a future competitor if they are paying your bills. I keep thinking of adding something like the revenue report to my blog at some point but my accountant might throttle me…
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  2. says

    I have been following Tom on his leavingworkbehind site. He’s got lots of interesting points to make. There is a lot of potential for freelance work given the shake-up of the SEO world.
    More and more freelancers are required to work on content hence there’s some potential here. Thanks for this interview, it will help those who want to break into the freelancing world.
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  3. says

    Hi Tom,

    Being a freelance writer myself…this is what I do what I do! This is why I get up each morning and write up a storm and get involved out there…to see more and more success stories like these within the freelance writing niche!

    AMAZINGLY inspiring!

    Probably the best advice you could give any other aspiring writer was:

    “Perhaps most important of all, I implore all freelance writers to have more confidence in their abilities. You’re probably far better than you realize, and the sooner you start acting like you’re worth a good rate, the sooner people will begin to value you accordingly.”

    I honestly believe this is the biggest obstacle many aspiring freelance writers face. Once you’ve gotten past that, you’re good to go with only huge success to follow.

    Again, was lovely reading this from another freelance writer (I know you call yourself a freelance blogger but you write for an income = freelance writer :) )


  4. says

    Pretty inspiring article. Freelance Writing has been in great boom these days, along with artistic writing the clients tend to demand the effective writing.

    and I just enjoy reading your lines “You’re probably far better than you realize, and the sooner you start acting like you’re worth a good rate, the sooner people will begin to value you accordingly.”

    Thanks a lot for awesome article and sharing your experience.
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  5. says

    Its interesting to hear the freelance point of view, I’ve heard of a lot of people making money through their own blogs but good to know the money is there to be made as a freelance writer for others too.
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  6. says

    Thanks for sharing this interview and the particular questions that were asked. I’ve been working on writing blogs for people over the last couple of years, and there can be a great differentiation between how much you get paid for each article. I’ve never had a problem with the inspiration, but sometimes the motivation when you’re not getting paid all that much per article can be hard to find. Still, I’m out there plugging away and one day I will conquer this thing and have the financial freedom to pretty much do as you guys do. I keep telling myself that anyway. :-)
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  7. says

    No doubt it is quite inspiring to learn that one can earn good amount of money by freelance blogging. However, I am not sure how many such freelancers have been really successful. Unfortunately for every one successful person in a field, there are at least 10 persons who tried but failed. Ultimately, one needs to put in hard work, must have talent, must get opportunities at the right time, and so on. But, great article indeed and quite educative too.
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  8. says

    A very interesting post, freelance writing and blogging is still in my opinion an underrated job. Too many people selling themselves out for a few dollars and not really understanding what they are worth or even increasing their skills levels.

    I write for a blog and I only publish what I consider good articles, everyone I write has to be as good as the last if not better. I want to improve my skills to a point that one day I too can charge top dollar for my writing.

    The internet is full of weak rehashed articles that damage sites, it is calling out for quality writers and content and those who really care about their businesses and their blogs will pay well to have quality content created.

    Great interview thanks.

  9. says

    A great interview and it is good to hear someone being successful, there are a lot of people who write on blogs and consider themselves to be good writers. I truly believe blogging and freelance writing can be a great change in career especially for those who take the time to improve their skills which comes from reading a lot of different styles and writing a lot.

    Like everything in life, you only get out what you put in and so the successful ones will be those who work hard, put in the effort and plan their future. Someone like Tom :-)
    Very inspirational interview.
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