Can You Really Make $27,000 a Month as a Writer?

freelance writing money pay pricing salary workload Sep 28, 2021

This article has been making the rounds on social media lately: How This Freelancer Made $27,000 in 1 Month.

And many successful freelancers like me have responded to the story with skepticism and a healthy dose of WTF. In my case, it’s not because I don’t believe it’s possible to make $27,000 in one month as a writer; it’s that I don’t understand why anyone would want to. But let’s take a closer look at some of anonymous’ claims so I can share my take on the story.

Is it Really Possible to Make $27,000 in One Month as a Freelance Writer?

Let’s start with the fact that this writer chose to remain anonymous. I regard anonymous sources with a massive dose of salt – because anyone can say anything anonymously. In the past, when I’ve talked about my income, I’ve published screenshots to back up my claims. Hell, I even published a screenshot of my 2020 year-end Profit-and-Loss summary in my ebook, Design Your Dream Career as a Nurse Writer, to prove I really have had $100,000 years during my freelance career.

That said, I do believe it’s possible to earn $27,000 in a single month as a freelance writer. I’m pretty sure I did a $20,000 or $23,000 month one time, so I’m positive it’s doable. (I couldn’t find the evidence to back up this claim, so maybe you should take it with salt, too!) I can find proof of a $16,000 month from just last year, so earning high numbers as a freelance writer definitely is possible.

But at what cost?

Money Isn’t Everything

I loved freelance writing for the lifestyle it afforded me. The money was great, make no mistake. But perhaps even better (to me) about being a writer was the ability to:

  • Work no more than 24 hours a week (for most of my career)
  • Plan my own, flexible work schedule
  • Go on impromptu day hikes with my dog
  • Shuttle my mom to her medical appointments without begging for PTO
  • Take three-day weekend jaunts on the regular
  • Go antiquing in the middle of the day
  • Take sick days when I was sick without feeling judged or pressured to work

You get the idea.

The anonymous source of the article said they “probably work[ed] about 50 hours a week.” Gosh, that’s the exact lifestyle I wanted to get away from! Although I wasn’t doing 50-hour weeks in my final nursing gig before I went full-time freelance, I know many of you are doing that right now. Why on earth would anyone want to trade 50-hour nursing (or corporate) weeks for 50-hour freelance weeks?? That strikes me as absolutely ridiculous.

Better Ways to Make $20,000 a Month as a Freelance Writer

Still, if money is your prime mover, and you’re highly motivated to put in the hours to routinely make $20,000 a month, there are better ways to accomplish your goal than the way the anonymous source did it.

The anonymous writer claimed that 50% of their work came from “anchor journalism clients,” and building relationships with anchor clients definitely is one very effective strategy for meeting your income goals. In fact, as I teach in my courses, cultivating anchor clients represents one key to success in building a sustainable freelance writing business.

However, the anonymous writer also said they produced “LOTS [emphasis theirs] of lower-paying assignments,” possibly to the tune of “60-ish individual pieces” in the month they allegedly earned $27,000.

No wonder they had to work 50-hour weeks.

Let me show you a better (and doable) way to put together a $20,000 freelance month:

  • Website redesign project (20 pages) for a client at $10,000 (involving 20 hours of work over the month)
  • 8 health articles for anchor client at $4,500 (8 hours)
  • Newsletters for 2 different anchor clients at a total of $2,000 (3 hours)
  • 4 blog posts for anchor client at $1,000 (4 hours)
  • 2 one-off articles pitched to magazines at $1,600 (8 hours)
  • 1 webinar writing gig picked up from an agency at $1,000 (3 hours)

Now we’ve reached $19,100 on the month, with 37 discrete deliverables and a time investment of 54 hours for the entire month.

Is this doable? Yes. I have more-or-less done it. However, it takes time to build the type of efficiency as a writer that enables you to write various assets that relatively quickly.

But even if you double the time investment to account for the less-developed skills of a more novice writer, that’s still only 108 hours on the month – or 27 hours per week.

Final thoughts: I believe it’s possible to make $27,000 in one month as a freelance writer. But I don’t know why anyone would want to.

What’s your take on this? What questions do you have? Ping us on social media @rn2writer with your thoughts!

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