A freelance writer is an independent contractor who works independently to submit writing pieces to multiple businesses or publications for pay, according to the Michigan State University "Freelance and Creative" overview. Freelancers are not employees and are therefore not subject to withholding of taxes by clients (you pay your own). Freelance writers are self-employed, set their own rates and hours and market their services to prospective clients.
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The evolution of the Internet in the 21st century has enhanced opportunities for freelance writing and given new definition to the types of media publications freelancers can work for. Freelancers are typically paid by piece (article), for a batch of articles, or for a specific period of time. Some freelancers charge per word, according to the Michigan State University overview.
Offering a specific wage or salary range for beginning freelance writers is challenging as writers vary in subject expertise, work, time commitment, media, etc. PayScale indicates the national average for freelance writing work is £16.10 to £32.40 per hour, as of October 23, 2010. With overtime charges and bonuses, average annual salaries for full-time writers range from £30,397 to £64,702.
In his article "10 Ways to Make a 6-Figure Income as a Freelance Writer" published on Freelance Writing Success, Robert W. Bly notes that (with the first two years as an exception) after entering freelance full-time in 1982, he had earned more than £65,000 for 20 consecutive years. His gross income the year before the noted article was £325,000.
Obviously not all freelancers approach six figures in two years of full-time work. Bly points out that all freelance writers need to start out by setting goals. If you want to make £65,000 gross income a year, you need to break this down by month (just under £5,850), day (around £260 per weekday), and hour (around £32 per day). Having your targets in mind helps you set your pace and plan your schedule. As Bly notes, you can take days off, but you need to make up for them to stay on track.
You have to market your freelance writing business as any other business owner would, according to the About Freelance Writing article "9 Truths About Freelance Writing." If you are going to go after higher paying article jobs or ghost writing projects, you have to sell yourself as a premium writer in terms of both quality of writing and associated services.
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