A recent study has revealed interesting insight into the world of freelance writing and what other people charge for their services.

It’s probably the number one question new freelancers ask about, so studies like the one below are very useful in seeing where you fit into this industry.

However, in some ways, the results are quite bleak.

In this study, it was revealed that 30% of freelance writers are working for an equivalent of less than $10 an hour.

For our UK readers, $10 is roughly £7.60 – a little less than the minimum wage here in Britain.

The “How Much Do Freelance Writers Make?” Pay Survey comes from Make a Living Writing, a website focused on helping freelancers grow their writing business.

The survey asked 1,400 participating freelance writers about how they make a living or struggle to do so through freelance writing.

Carol Tice, who runs Make a Living Writing, said that the results were surprising. “The big takeaway is that rates continue to cover a broad range. Whatever you’re charging, often, you’ll see that a large number of writers are asking for – and getting – more.”

“Way too many of you are still earning way too little, for your hard work. No way to gloss over that,” she added.

How much do writers charge?

The survey revealed a lot of different information, particularly in regards to experience. While some were earning $10 an hour, 10% said they were earning up to $76 an hour.

One-third of writers in their first year of business were earning $20 (£15.50) or less per short blog post. However, the rates can go as $300 (£233) for those with experience and the confidence to charge high rates – although this only accounts for 4% of new freelancers.

22% of first-year respondents said that their earnings were $100 (£77.60) and up. So there’s a huge pay scale involved in this industry – which spells potential for anyone earning low rates.

For the full results, take a look at this breakdown.

What type of work pays more?

According to this survey, experienced writers find their best paid work from a mix of projects. 14% found higher rates from press releases, proposals, course writing, newsletters and resumes. They were followed by website copy, sales copywriting, e-books, white papers and case studies.

Why are many earning so little?

This is a complex issue but there is one glaring reason why – people aren’t taking freelance writers seriously.

Many businesses see the words “freelance writer” and equate that to someone who’s doing it for fun and will not expect payment. Every freelancer at some point gets the dreaded “we haven’t got a budget for that” message, asking for free work in exchange for mythical “exposure”.

The reason they do this? Because it often works.

Unfortunately, when a lot of freelancers start out they think that it’s not such a bad deal. They’re looking for experience and testimonials so they’ll do work for free or at least very cheaply. It’s a completely understandable way to get your foot in the door and that’s how most people start off.

However, it makes it difficult for businesses to see the point in paying their freelancers when they can get work for free.

That’s why it’s so important to find the companies who value quality work and will pay for it. Building a business and a brand, as opposed to having a free account on Upwork is the first step to finding these clients.

The results may be a bit disappointing in some ways, but there are also some good numbers in there for freelancers who know their worth. While some clients have no budget, others will happily pay £200 for a blog post. It is possible to charge and live off high writing rates. We just wish there were more good clients to go around!


What do you think of the survey results? Why do you think freelancers are paid so little? Please share your thoughts below.


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