7 Ways to Make Money Blogging as a Freelancer

by Ashley Barnett
*Some of the links below may be from our sponsors. My full disclosure statement.*

I've been blogging since 2005 but from 2013 – 2020 I didn't even have my own site. And yet, during that time is when I made the majority of my blogging income.

Blogging is a lot of fun but managing your own website probably means doing a whole lot of stuff you don't enjoy. I love to write and connect with readers, but I hate social media and the tech aspects of having a website can be totally overwhelming.

Honestly, my favorite part of blogging is other bloggers. That's why when I started freelancing I realized that I could actually make money, right now, doing only the parts of blogging I enjoy. I got to hang out with bloggers and writers all day and let someone else worry about the new WordPress update.

Win.

Freelance Writer

Moving from Blogger to Freelance Writer is one of the most common transitions to freelancing that I see.

With freelance writing you will work with clients to write their blog posts. Typically, you will be assigned articles either via email or through some kind of project management system such as Asana. Once assigned you will be responsible to write the article to the clients specs and return it by the due date.

Moving from blogger to freelance writer makes perfect sense, every blogger has writing skills and outsourcing writing is an easy thing for larger blogs to do. So it's a match made in heaven.

Also, there is a lot of opportunity in this area. Blogs that hire writers will often have 5-10 writers on call at any given time. Compare that to say, social media management where each site only needs one person. So there just more jobs out there to be had for freelance writing.

How Much Do Freelance Writers Make?

The income range for freelance writers is wide. There are writers out there who only take a few assignments and earn less than $1,000 per month. Others have made it their full time job and are earning well over $100,000 per year.

How much you earn will depend on how many assignments you are willing to take on, plus the niche you specialize in. The more profitable the niche the higher the pay can go.

There are a few different ways freelance writers are paid.

The most common way to charge for freelance writing work is to charge by the word. New freelance writers should start in the 5 to 10 cents per word range. But experienced writers can command up to a dollar per word.

Another way to charge is a flat per article fee. To figure this out, take your desired per word rate and the client's average article length and do the math. If you are charging 10 cents per word and the client's articles are typically between 1,000 and 1,500 words you could charge about $125 per article.

Lastly, sometimes you will come across a combination of the two with a flat fee up to a certain word count and then per word above that. For example, you might have an agreement to charge $125 for up to 1,250 words and then 10 cents per word after that.

Pros of being a Freelance Writer:

  • Start making money right away, instead of waiting for your blog to take off
  • Make an impact in your niche by writing for larger sites
  • Learn how blog owners of large blogs think and use those skills to improve your own site

Cons of being a Freelance Writer:

  • Risk of falling into the “freelancer trap” where you are spending so much time working for your clients you don't have time to work for yourself
  • Little control over what you write about
  • Sourcing requirements from clients can be a burden

How to Become a Freelance Writer

If you are already a blogger then you are halfway to becoming a freelance writer. The quickest way to get clients is to reach out to your blogging contacts and find out if they know anyone looking for writers.

Don't forget your friends who are already doing some freelance writing work. Ask them if they know anyone who is looking. They are already in the circles and probably have some good contacts.

If jumping straight in feels like too much, but you still want to get started then consider taking a course on how to transition from Blogging to Freelance Writing.

The Freelance Writing for Bloggers course is the perfect way to learn more about this lucrative side hustle.

I created this course with Clint Proctor, one of my good friends who went from zero to six figures in less than year through Freelance Writing. In the course, I give you the editor's side of hiring and working with an editor and Clint shares his experience from a Freelancer perspective.

After the course, you'll have all the tools you need to get your first writing clients and become a successful freelance writer.

Virtual Assistant

This is another easy transition from being a blogger. If you like blogging but don't necessarily want to write all day becoming a virtual assistant is a good choice.

Virtual Assistants are in high demand in the blog-o-sphere. Being a blogger yourself gives you a leg up over general VA's who don't have specific blogging experience. Plus, you likely know lots of bloggers already, so put the word out and you'll likely have clients pretty quickly.

A virtual assistant working for a blogger might:

  • manage the site owners email or calendar
  • pull reports
  • do updates to articles for affiliates
  • put the final details on a blog post
  • order images from a graphic designer
  • put articles from Google Docs into WordPress
  • fact check articles
  • and a million other tasks

There is really no end to the list of things bloggers need help with. There are a million little details that every blogger needs and it only increases as the site grows.

What's cool about being a VA is that you'll be exposed to a lot of different aspects of blogging. You'll be able to use those skills to grow your own blog plus you'll start to find tasks that fit your natural abilities. This will allow you to start specializing in specific areas which will allow you to charge more money.

How Much Do Virtual Assistants Make?

Virtual assistants in the US should start at about $25 per hour. As you gain experience and being to specialize you can charge more, even up to $40 and beyond.

Most VA arrangements will be hourly so how much you actually earn per month will depend on how many hours you work. However, there is no reason an experienced full-time VA can't earn over $100,000 per year.

As you start to specialize you can raise your rates or even charge a flat fee for specific tasks. If you do the same task for several clients you can create systems that will make the tasks go quicker. This will allow you to improve on your hourly rate.

If you can create great systems you can even start to hire your own VAs so you can take on more and more clients. Really, the sky is the limit if you get to this point.

Pros of Being a Virtual Assistant

  • You can choose clients and tasks that fit your lifestyle and personality
  • Create your own work schedule
  • Good pay
  • Long term clients
  • You'll learn a variety of blogging skills you can apply to your own site

Cons of Being a Virtual Assistant

  • Hourly pay unless you create an agency
  • You are likely doing a wide variety of tasks for different clients making it hard to create good systems in your business

How to Become a Virtual Assistant

Just like starting any business the best way to get started is to reach out to your friends and see if they know any bloggers looking for a VA. If you are part of any blogging Facebook groups, create a post and let everyone know you are looking for clients (if that's allowed in the group).

Also reach out to anyone currently working as a VA for a blogger and see if they know of anyone who could become a client. Don't assume they are your competition — very often freelancers have more work than they can do and actually turn clients away. They might be happy to refer you.

Want some help getting started? My friend Kayla Sloan has a great course that goes over exactly how to become a virtual assistant, called $10K VA.

She teaches students how to consistently earn over $10,000 per month through being a VA. She started as a blogger who picked up a few clients through her connections and before long was earning over $120,000 per year. And this course shows you exactly how she did it.

Editing

This is how I've made my way in the world for the past several years. I actually started as a VA and then moved slowly into editing — until one day I got a client who just wanted editing and nothing else.

The role of editing can have some blurry edges. In its simplest form, you'll be reviewing articles that have been submitted by freelance writers in Google Docs. You'll make edits for both content and grammar and leave notes for writers if they need to do some work on the articles.

At the other end of the scale, you'll take the topic ideas from the site owner and assign them to writers. You'll then edit the article and get it into WordPress and ready to publish – including adding any images or other extras the article may need.

This can be a fairly easy transition if you've already been a freelance writer. You'll be familiar with the process of working with an editor, you'll just have to work it from the editor side rather than the writer's side.

Editing is also a nice way to supplement a freelance writing schedule. Once you get in the groove, editing can be easier than writing. So while it might fry your brain to write eight hours a day, you may be able to write for four and edit for four — giving you a full week of earning money.

How Much Do Editors Make?

Editors just starting out should charge in the $30 per hour range if they are doing strictly editing and not working directly with writers. The more complicated the job, the higher the rate should be – typically going up to about $50 per hour or more.

Which means, that full-time professional editors can earn about $100,000.

You can grow from editor into more of a “blog manager” by managing more than just writers. If you have a good relationship with the site owner it's pretty easy to expand your role. You can start overseeing the SEO consultant, graphic designer, social media manager, affiliate manager, and more.

As you expand your role, make sure to also expand your paycheck.

Pros of Being an Editor

  • Similar work on a consistent basis – you should always know what to expect
  • Editing takes less “brain power” than being a freelance writer
  • Long term clients

Cons of Becoming an Editor

  • Doesn't pay as well as being a freelance writer
  • Does not scale well

How to Become an Editor

If you are already a freelance writer or virtual assistant then you can start by asking your current clients if they have any editing work you could do. If they don't, ask if they know anyone who does.

Next, move on to your blogging friends. Let everyone know you are looking for editing work. If you know people who are freelance writers or virtual assistants ask them to ask their clients if they have any work — or know anyone who does.

If you cast that net wide enough I'm sure you will catch a few clients.

You'll also want to make sure that you know how to create killer content. If everything you put out is amazing then word will quickly get around that you know your stuff and you'll have more clients than you know what to do with.

My course, Hit Publish, teaches you exactly how to create the best content on the internet. It's a ten lesson course that goes over everything from how to use the keyword to improve your article to how to add the “razzle dazzle” that will make your article stand out in a crowd.

Social Media Management

If social media is your favorite part of blogging then you know what to do. Social media is a very easy thing to hire out for and if the site owner isn't into social themselves, they would love to have someone take it over.

Managing social media for a blog means taking over their Pinterst, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media accounts. Note that you don't have to take over ALL of their social media. You can specialize in one or two platforms if you want.

You'll be creating images and scheduling social media posts across the various platforms for your clients. You'll also be providing reports at the end of the month showing how each profile performed based on certain metrics. Bloggers will typically care most about traffic to the site and new follower numbers.

What I love about social media management is that you are doing the same thing for all your clients. Which allows to get both really good and really fast. And being good and fast, means you can make a lot of money.

How Much Do Social Media Managers Make?

The world of social media management is a wide and varied place. Rates for this can run from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars per month. If your clients are bloggers, you'll typically be on the lower end of this probably maxing out in the $1,000 per month per client range.

There's a few reasons why this is the case. The social media management contracts that garner $5,000 are a lot of work. They typically mean coming up with a social media strategy, creating all the content for the various profiles, interacting with customers over social, reaching out to influencers to get mentions on their social platforms, etc.

The work you'll do for bloggers will be much less time-intensive. For one thing, they create the content themselves — blog posts. It's also likely they will also already have a strategy in place. There might be improvements you can make but the site owner will likely just be looking for you to carry out their current strategy.

You'll likely be taking existing content (blog posts) and repurposing them for social. So this will land you more in the $250-$300 a month range (per platform) for this type of work. So if you were managing Facebook and Instagram you'd be looking to charge $500-$600 a month.

You can really increase your income if you create good systems and start to hire people to carry out the plans you create. That allows you to take on more and more clients which means more and more money.

Here is some more guidance on how to charge for Social Media Management from Mavsocial.com.

Pros of Being a Social Media Manager

  • Easy to scale
  • Doing the same thing for multiple clients makes it easy to create systems
  • Perfect if you enjoy social media
  • Long term clients

Cons of Being a Social Media Manager

  • The results aren't totally in your control
  • Living a life on social media might not be best for your mental health

How to Become a Social Media Manager

First things first, you'll need to hone your craft. Choose a few platforms that you can learn inside out. If you've been blogging likely you've had some success on at least one specific platform. Lean into that. Let everyone know that you've been killing on Pinterest and you can help them do the same.

You'll also want to choose a scheduler that you know well. There are lots of options out there, but you'll want to make sure that the one you pick can handle multiple clients at a reasonable cost. Here's an article that has reviews of several popular platforms.

Once you've had a client or two get testimonials from them and feature their profiles on your website so that potential clients can get a feel for your work. Before long you'll be booked solid.

Affiliate Management

If your favorite part of blogging is managing affiliates then your in luck since this is one of the highest-paid positions in freelance blogging.

An affiliate manager manages all the things related to affiliates. Most importantly this means optimizing the site for the affiliates and increasing conversions — this is why it pays so well! You are the person who makes the money.

This job also means seeking out and applying for affiliate programs that are a good fit for the client. Then, once approved maintaining the relationship with the affiliate, including seeing to any updates or changes the affiliate requires.

How Much Do Affiliate Managers Make?

I've teased how profitable this position can be, but know that this position requires a lot of experience. You'll have to have a proven track record making money for blogs to get the big bucks. Big bucks being $100,000 a year or more.

At the highest level this position is can be paid through a variety of agreements:

  • revenue share
  • flat monthly fee
  • flat fee plus a % of revenue

If this position seems interesting to you but you don't have much, or any, experience you can start as a virtual assistant who specializes in affiliate management. Start with charging $25 per hour and move up from there.

Keep in mind that while you'll want to charge enough to make it worth your time, it's more about learning the skills. Let the blog owner teach you the ins and outs and as you learn you can get other clients who will pay more.

Pros of Being an Affiliate Manager

  • great pay
  • very rewarding as you'll see a direct link between your work and the success of the site

Cons of Being an Affiliate Manager

  • can be stressful – some affiliates are very demanding
  • the pool of bloggers who both want and can afford an affiliate manager is small

How to Become an Affiliate Manager

You'll become an affiliate manager the same way you'll become a virtual assistant. By asking everyone you know if they know anyone who is looking for help managing their affiliates. Specifically, reach out to blog owners who do a lot of affiliate marketing. Someone who sells their own products or makes their money through display ads probably isn't your best bet.

Another great client would be someone who is currently working as an affiliate manager — they need VA's too!

And as always, if they aren't currently hiring for this position, ask if they know anyone who is.

SEO Consultant

SEO Consultants help blogs optimize their existing content for SEO and help find new keywords that the site could rank for. They can also run Google Ads for clients as well.

Obviously, you'll need some strong SEO knowledge and experience. Like affiliate management, SEO consultants isn't an entry-level gig. You need to know what you're doing to get results for your clients. However, if you can prove results you'll be in hot demand!

How Much do SEO Consultants Make?

According to this survey from Ahrefs, freelance SEO consultants with less than two years experience charge just under $80 per hour. That goes up to $150 an hour for those with over 10 years experience.

If you are working a more long term contract, it’s also common to set clients up on a flat monthly rate. You can agree on a set monthly price for all of your SEO services and bill monthly rather than hourly. 

Flat rate contracts are lucrative because you secure an entire month of work upfront. Depending on the scope of your SEO project, this can easily be several thousand dollars per month. However, it’s important that you understand your monthly responsibilities and how many hours your work takes. If you underestimate project difficulty and hourly requirements, you might find your hourly rate isn’t nearly as high as billing per hour.

Pros of Being an SEO Consultant

  • SEO work takes months to yield results so long term clients are common
  • simple SEO tasks like researching keywords and running competitive analysis are easily outsourceable
  • great hourly pay
  • like social media management, repetitive tasks for multiple clients make it easy to create systems

Cons of Being an SEO Consultant

  • the SEO industry has a somewhat negative reputation because of SEO agencies that overpromise and underdeliver, so navigating expectations with clients is important
  • your work is largely at the mercy of Google algorithm updates

How to Become a SEO Consultant

Because SEO projects often take months to show results, case studies are your best friend for landing your first SEO consulting job. After all, clients who are willing to invest thousands of dollars in SEO work want reassurance that you know what you’re doing.

Luckily, your own blog can often serve as the proof you need to pitch clients. If you grow organic traffic to your own website by writing compelling content that follows SEO best practices, that’s a clear indicator your SEO skills drive measurable results. Additionally, ensuring your website loads quickly and follows on-page SEO practices is another easy way to showcase your skills.

If you’ve moved on from blogging or can’t use your website as a case study, you still have options. Many SEO contracts start by offering a free service to get your foot in the door. For example, you can offer free website audits to potential clients and deliver a report that summarizes SEO areas where their website could use some help. 

While this takes time, it’s the best way to generate leads when starting out as an SEO consultant. If the potential client likes your suggestions, suggest a strategy to move forward and your pricing, turning a freebie into a paid contract.

Graphic and Web Design

Graphic and web design are inevitably intertwined with blogging. Every blogger needs to create graphics, such as featured images, Pins, and other social media images.

At some point they will also need a logo or changes to their websites.

Graphic and web design projects can also be larger in scope, including tasks like website rebranding or a complete website redesign.

As a graphic and web designer, you’re responsible for helping your client’s vision come to life. However, many designers specialize in graphics or website design based on their skills and preferences and outsource tasks they aren’t confident in.

How Much Do Graphic and Web Designers Make?

Graphic and web design is an incredibly competitive field. Plus, thanks to marketplaces like Fiverr, there’s also an abundance of freelancers offering these services. Therefore, the key to finding success is to make your portfolio and client testimonials stand out from the crowd to justify charging more than your competition.

For social media images, you could charge $20 or $25 per article, and would include a variety of images for the site and the different social media platforms. Typically, you'll design a handful of templates for the client so your hourly rate can end up being quite high.

Website design varies quite a bit depending on experience and skill. This could range from $1,000 up to $10,000 or more depending on the scope of the work and the experience of the designer.

Landing large projects is also critical for making money in graphic and web design. Creating a single logo or editing a website’s CSS to improve readability might earn a few hundred dollars at most. Creating ongoing Pinterest graphics or designing an entire blog from the ground up? Now those are the sorts of projects that can either pay substantial recurring revenue or a handsome upfront sum.

Pros of Graphic and Web Design

  • Easy to land recurring clients since bloggers often need design help on an ongoing basis
  • Word of mouth is incredibly powerful; a single design project can make you a hot commodity in a particular niche if you deliver results
  • You can sometimes find effortless jobs that people are still willing to pay for, like updating plugins or backing up a website

Cons of Graphic and Web Design

  • Many clients want design iterations which take extra time
  • Not as high-paying as other freelance jobs unless you land large projects
  • You might have to accept cheap gigs to build your portfolio

How to Become a Graphic and Web Designer

As mentioned, cheap online competition means getting started as a graphic and web designer is challenging. If you don’t have a portfolio, there’s no reason for clients to hire you above a plethora of online sellers who work for below minimum wage.

Ultimately, this means that many beginner designers have to take lower-paying jobs to build their portfolio. This can mean designing logos for next to nothing or helping bloggers you know with web design tasks as a favor or for a small amount. 

If you’re already working as a VA or social media manager, it is fairly easy to pitch adding on additional graphic design projects. This is also a great way to make yourself more marketable to a larger pool of clients and to potentially boost your income per client.

Your goal after every design project should be to land a stunning portfolio piece and glowing testimonial. You only need a few pieces and positive reviews to get the ball rolling. Afterward, don’t be afraid of increasing your prices and to position yourself as a premium service.

You also never know where a design project can take you. For example, the finance blogging niche has several web and graphic designers who are commonly recommended by bloggers in the space because of their work.

In other words, their work is so excellent they don’t even have to look for business anymore; the niche is theirs and opportuntiy is endless!

Summary

There are so many ways to make money blogging as a freelancer. Being a blogger has taught you a wide variety of skills that are highly marketable. If you've decided that full time blogging isn't for you, or if you want to make some money while you wait for your site to take off, freelancing is a great way to go.

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