“You were a great example to me when I was starting out as a full-time freelancer, because you taught me that being a writer doesn’t just mean being a journalist,” Lindsay wrote in an email.
And Lindsay is exactly right. If you want to survive as a freelance writer, your best bet is diversification.
Here are some of the diverse ways I’ve made money as a wordsmith.
As a journalist, I’ve written for free, and I’ve written for $2 a word. This is the life of the freelance journalist. One day you’re worth pennies. The next day you’re making several thousand dollars for a story you wrote in a few hours.
This is hands down the most money I’ve made as a writer. As a freelance copywriter, I started at $100 an hour, but you can charge companies making billions selling their products far, far more as a consultant. Marketing is a vat of money. The cost: your soul.
This is something I’ve done for free on my personal blog, but I’ve also been employed full-time as a blogger. I didn’t expect to get paid for something I started doing on a whim in 2002. The downside is that you can burn out if you’re tasked with churning out large amounts of content every day for a corporate entity. I’ve heard of bloggers getting paid $1.50 a post. I believe $25 a post is not unusual. I’d venture $50 to $100 post is not too bad.
When I lived in Los Angeles, I did TV appearances as a pundit. This paid, although not terribly well. It’s more something you can leverage to make you money elsewhere. Tell people you’ve been on TV, and everyone thinks you’re a genius.
I’ve done more content creation than content editing. The freelance editor gets to work with other writers, which is great experience, can help you shape your own work, and gives you the right to assert that you know how to boss people around in future interviews. I’d say the pay is middling.
Online Outreach Manager
This is a complicated way of saying that you help drive traffic to a website. I’ve done this a lot. It was probably my primary diversification tool until I stumbled upon the lucrative world of copywriting. Basically, it’s ideal if you have a network of other bloggers, writers, and editors. You share the content from the site where you work, and ideally your network shares it with their readers. It’s sort of like being a digital publicist, but not really.
I did this once and was awful at it. I never understood comma usage rules all that well. I think it helps if you are obsessive-compulsive. I’m more whatever.
As a copywriter, I wrote some scripts for online commercials. I was given the concept; then I wrote the script. You should have some affinity for dialogue, scene-setting, and storytelling. How it turns out will be nothing like what you submitted. The money will be so good you won’t care.
Occasionally, I get asked to speak at conferences. It sounds good — you get to stand in front of a room of people and they’re forced to listen to you — and it’s fabulous for networking, but it ends up being more work than you’d think, with the preparing and the traveling.
This is a fancy name for “freelancer” that makes employers think you should get paid more money. I learned this from Vickie Pynchon. You’re not a freelancer. You’re a consultant. You’re welcome.
About a million years ago, I was a part-time publicist at a book publisher. This job taught me everything I know. If I didn’t have it, I’d probably be mopping floors. It was the same job where my boss declared, “People write about what they’re bad at.” In other words, you might want to think twice about taking my advice.
I haven’t been paid a lot as a photographer, but it’s happened a few times. I’m planning on taking some photography classes so I can get better at it. These days, it’s all about multimedia.
Those are some of the ways I’ve generated income. There’s also screenwriter, book writer, technical writing, white papers, and tons more.
Journalism is where the integrity is, and marketing is where the money is, but with the marketing, you have to factor in that you’ll be paying a therapist a bunch of money to not feel like a total heel for contributing to the downfall of humanity.
Can be found on: http://www.forbes.com/sites/susannahbreslin/2012/11/17/how-to-make-more-money-and-sell-your-soul/#35c241751f6e54a3ef6f1f6e