How Much Do Freelance Writers Make? [2024 Update]

Freelance writing is more profitable than ever, but how much do freelance writers make? We do a deep dive to bring you the answer to that question.

Published on Jun 04, 2024

In 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 68% of self-employed writers were freelance writers. Despite the rising number of freelance writers, many still view the role as a stand-in between full-time gigs. For many writers, however, freelance salaries are rapidly exceeding their pay rate at full-time positions.

Whether you’re a content marketer looking to hire freelance writers or you’re interested in taking on freelance writing jobs, you may have wondered: how much do freelance writers make? 

In this article, we’ll be taking a closer look at how well freelance writing pays for writers across industries, niches, and globally. We’ll also consider what you can do to scale your freelance writing business to make a living writing.

How much do freelance writers charge?

Understanding how much freelance writers charge for each job is key to knowing their annual salary. Pricing varies widely from one freelance writer to another and can depend on a host of factors from how long the project takes to a freelancer’s cost of living.

Because writing is such a dynamic job that combines hard-to-quantify skills like research, creativity, and experience, it can be hard to find an effective pricing method. Most freelancers use one of the following:

  • Charging by project
  • Charging by word count (word rate)
  • Charging by the hour

Let’s see how much the average freelance writer makes when they charge using either of these pricing models.

How much do freelance writers charge per project?

Per-project pricing is the most common way writers charge — at least in the US. According to a study by freelance writer Ashley Cummings, 40% of freelance writers charge by the project. This series of Twitter polls also seem to prove that writers prefer per-project pricing.

From our research, freelance writers charge anything from $50-$1500 per long-form article. For longer content like ebooks and case studies, costs typically average around $2000. Freelance writers Priscilla Tan and Ashley Cummings both report charging at least $2000 for ebooks and case studies.

Pricing also varies depending on the different types of writing.

how much to charge per project survey

As seen from our poll results, a majority of content writers charge less than $600 per article, and only a small percentage charge more than $1000 per article. 

For copywriters, it’s a bit different. Copywriters write website copy — sometimes all of the copy  (i.e. the static text on About Us pages, sales pages, etc.) on website pages. Since this is often a huge project, they tend to charge more per project. 

How much do copywriters make per project? Anywhere from $1000-$7000 depending on the complexity, work scope, experience level, and industry. 

British freelance copywriter Natalia’s packages start at €1100. She’s a copywriter for “creative entrepreneurs and busy bloggers.” In contrast, veteran copywriter Kayla Hollatz has a starting rate of $5000 and also works with creative entrepreneurs and small businesses. Most other copywriters fall somewhere in between.

How much do freelance writers charge per word?

Charging per word is common with freelance content writers as well. Freelance writers charge anything from $0.01/word to $2/word

Many terribly low freelance rates are due to writing for content mills or taking any jobs available on freelance job boards like Upwork and Fiverr. Additionally, in their first year of freelancing the average freelance writer is likely to charge less since they don’t know the industry very well.

According to these polls, most writers charging per word fall on the lower end of the income spectrum.

how much do freelance writers make per word survey

Jessica Clark, a freelance writer and blogger for 10 years, says she currently charges $0.07 per word (about $105 per 1500 word article). Although she lives in the US, she writes for lifestyle sites, which are typically low-paying compared to other industries.

On the other hand, more experienced freelance writers like Ashley Cummings charge $1 per word, and some even more.

For a general rule of thumb, according to research by We Are Indy, here’s how much you can charge per word based on how much writing experience you have under your belt:

  • Entry Level: $0.03 to $0.06 per word
  • Intermediate:$0.07 to $0.12 per word
  • Experienced: $0.13 to $0.20 per word
  • Expert Level: $0.21 to $0.30 per word

Working off an average blog length of 1,000 words, here’s what you would earn per blog:

  • Entry Level: $30 to $60
  • Intermediate: $70 to $120
  • Experienced: $130 to $200
  • Expert Level: $210 to $300

How much do freelance writers charge per hour?

Hourly rates are the most difficult to come up with pricing for because each project is unique and requires different levels of effort and time. If you have experience working on similar types of content, within the same industry or niche, you might be able to find hourly pricing that equates to your per project or per word rate, but we advise against this type of pricing for a few reasons:

  • Hourly rates don't take into account the efficiency and speed of the writer, potentially undervaluing skilled professionals. If you’re efficient at any stage of the writing process, from research and outlining to editing, you might end up earning less than your per project or per word rates.
  • Charging by the hour may lead to clients focusing on time spent rather than the quality of the content produced.  This can lead to rushed work and a decrease in overall quality.
  • Hourly rates could discourage freelance writers from improving their skills or working more efficiently, as they are not incentivized to work faster and smarter. This could lead to scenarios where the writer is overcharging for their labor or where the client doesn’t receive deliverables as quickly as expected.

From our research, freelance writers rarely charge by the hour. However, several individuals and organizations have done surveys to determine the average figure. Here are a couple of results worth noting:

  • According to Payoneer’s 2020 global freelance income survey, freelance writers (worldwide) earn between $15-$16/hr on average
Payoneer global freelance income survey results

Obviously, hourly rate ranges are hard to define for freelance writers. For copywriters, it’s not so challenging. A popular variation of hourly pay for copywriters is the “Day Rate.” 

Many copywriters offer day rates — in which clients pay to hire them for an entire day. Usually, copywriters charge 8 times their hourly rates to arrive at their day rate. Day rates can range from $200 - $600 (or more). UK freelance copywriter Laura Jane Johnson charges a day rate of £395.

Some freelance copywriters offer a rush day rate of sorts in which they produce web copy within 1-2 days. Freelance copywriter Sarah Jane Burt charges $2500 to offer a VIP day to clients who want their website copy done within 48 hours or less.

Factors that affect how much freelance writers earn

As you can see, freelance rates vary massively across countries, industries, and specialties. Let’s look into three reasons for these variations and which factors can help freelance writers earn more.

1. Industry

This is one of the top reasons why freelance writing income varies wildly. Some industries like technology, eCommerce, software as a service (SaaS), cybersecurity, and cryptocurrency have larger content budgets. As a result, they pay higher rates than lifestyle websites focused on fashion, pets, parenting, and consumer-facing health and wellness.  

Jessica Clark writes for the homeschooling, food, personal finance, and parenting industries — all of which are consumer-facing (B2C). This lifestyle writer is on track to make $24K this year.

An anonymous freelance writer for the eCommerce and B2B SaaS industry reports earning a minimum of $1500 per article. In 2020, they earned $201K and they earned roughly $300K in 2021.

2. Niche

Within industries, freelance writers can niche down even further. Some writers focus on writing for consumer-facing health and wellness brands (B2C) while others only do website copy for SaaS brands. 

Again, some niches pay more than others. Long-form content like case studies and ebooks pay better, although they may take longer to complete. Technical writing, business plans, grant proposals, and press release writing also pay big bucks — though some writers may find them boring.

Copywriters in higher-earning B2B industries may also earn a higher average salary than their consumer-facing counterparts.

3. Years of experience

The more experienced writers are, the more likely they are to feel confident about their rates. They’re also likely to charge more. Cummings’s study showed that writers with over 8 years of experience are likely to charge more than $100/hr.

This is the case for freelance personal finance writer, Rebecca Lake, who reports earning about $300/hr. Lake has been writing full-time since 2014. She earns between $300-$1500 per writing project but likes to keep track of her hourly rate for her records. 

Lake earned $250K in 2021. In 2019, her highest-grossing year, she earned $300K.

Newer freelance writers may need a bit more time to earn as much. Jul Domingo has been a freelance content writer for SaaS and eCommerce brands for close to a year. In the last year, she earned between €40K-€45K.

As seen from the examples above, experience and expertise are key factors in determining a freelance writer's hourly rate. While newer writers may start off with lower rates, as they gain more experience and build their portfolio, they can gradually increase their prices.

4. Complexity of the project

More complex projects requiring extensive research or specialized knowledge may warrant higher rates. This is because the freelance writer is not only investing their time but also their expertise and skills into the project.

For example, a technical whitepaper on AI marketing software may require a higher rate due to the amount of research and industry knowledge needed. On the other hand, a blog post on general health and wellness may have a lower rate as it may not require as much specialized knowledge.

On the contrary, if you were hired to write blog articles about the history of particular cuisines and all the research is already done for you, this would require significantly less time for you to produce. As such, your rates for a simpler project like this would be lower than writing technical whitepapers.

When discussing rates with clients, it's important for freelance writers to consider the complexity of the project and adjust their rates accordingly. It's also helpful for them to provide an explanation or breakdown of how they arrived at their proposed rate, especially if it is higher than what the client might expect.

5. Time constraints

Time constraints can also play a role in determining a freelance writers’ rates. The tighter the deadline, the higher the  rate may be. This is because the writer will need to dedicate more time and effort to complete the project within a shorter time frame, potentially sacrificing other projects or personal time.

Freelance writers who are able to consistently meet tight deadlines and produce high-quality work may be able to charge higher rates due to their reliability and efficiency.

5 freelance writer income reports worth reading

Want more information about how much freelance writers make? Hear it in the words of five freelance writers in different niches, some more experienced than others. If you’ve wondered what a freelance writer’s salary looks like, here you go.

1. Kat Boogaard: 2020 annual income review

Kat Boogaard 2020 freelance writer income review

US freelance writer Kat Boogaard has been writing freelance for over seven years. She writes career and productivity content for SaaS brands like Trello and Quickbooks. Kat shares a peek into her annual income every year. In her 2020 report, she also shared that her average article project fee is $550. She earned a gross income of $127,000 working with 23 different clients.

2. Paul Maplesden: 2020 freelance writer income report

Paul Maplesden is another US freelance writer, who’s been in the business since 2015. He specializes in B2B content writing and marketing for the business, technology, and finance niches. His work ranges from content for supply chain/logistics, SaaS, accounting, business formation, to technology reviews/guides.

Maplesden writes everything from articles to white papers. On average, he charges $395 per 800-1,200 word article and $160 per hour. In 2020, he earned $88,000, lower than previous years due to COVID. In 2021, earned around $115K. 

3. Jessica Pereira: October 2021 freelance writing income report

Jessica Pereira Freelance to Fortune income report 2021

Jessica Pereira started freelancing in 2020 and has been working to hit a monthly goal of $10K. She writes for digital marketing and B2B SaaS brands. Pereira keeps readers in the loop by sharing monthly income reports breaking down her earnings and expenses. New freelancers enjoy learning from Pereira’s experience and seeing the ebbs and flows of a freelance income.

4. Lindy West: December 2020 income report 

The Freelancer's Year income report 2020

Lindy West is an Australian travel writer who pitches and writes content for magazines and newspapers. She writes for some corporate clients as well. West has been sharing her monthly income report for years — and inspiring other freelance writers along the way.

5. Zuli Rane: Full-time freelance income report 

Zuli Rane freelance writer income report

Zuli Rane is a freelance content creator who writes for clients and also for her Medium account. Her income reports show how she makes a living as a freelance writer with additional income streams. In her last monthly report, Zuli says she made more than $6000. Her example is great for writers looking to diversify their income streams.

Use Jasper to scale your freelance writing business

Freelance writers do a lot. They have to brainstorm blog post ideas, create SEO blog posts, write in-depth long-form content, and create web copy for clients among other things. If you’re a freelance writer overwhelmed by the burden of constantly writing content, we have good news: you can get help from an assistant who never tires.

Meet Jasper, an AI writing assistant with over 52 templates to serve all your content writing needs. Jasper’s long-form document creator helps you write blog posts and long-form articles. It also has copywriting templates such as AIDA Framework and PAS Framework to make copywriting a breeze.

Freelance writer Jessica Clark uses Jasper and she says it has been “an absolute lifesaver” for her business. It helps her outline and generate articles more quickly than she would on her own. She says, “Jasper has definitely helped me to get more done, which has allowed me to take on more clients and make more money. It takes no time at all for me to generate a content brief, intro, and conclusion.” 

We think you’ll agree with her. Take the grunt work out of writing and scale your freelance business with Jasper.

Sign up now to learn more about how Jasper can help scale your freelance career.

Meet The Author:

Austin Distel

Austin Distel

Marketing @ Jasper

Austin Distel is the Sr. Director of Marketing at Jasper, your AI marketing co-pilot. When not working, Austin is also an Airbnb superhost in Austin, Texas.

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