freelance writing

Why You Might Never EVER Make Money as a Freelance Writer

oops - it's sad, but it's the truth!If you’re reading this blog, and especially this article, then there’s every probability you’re a writer who wants to leverage the power of the internet to build a successful business.

Without doubt, there are countless ways to make money online but there is no one-size-fits all solution to building a successful online business. One of the major reasons many people choose freelance writing as a source of income is because of its almost instant ability to start earning money compared to other sources of online income and also because of the flexibility it provides when it comes to determining your income.

The sad reality is that a large percentage of those who want to make money as a freelance writer will never make a cent and a large percentage of those of you reading this blog will never make enough. I know that’s the least you’re expecting to hear from me, especially since I own and run this blog, but I’m telling you that because I want to be completely sincere with you and also because there’s nothing set in stone.

In other words, just as a large percentage of people reading this blog will never make enough as a freelance writer, a large percentage will also be able to live their dreams by following my tips.

The difficult question. however, is, how do you figure out which category you are? How do you know if you will be the fellow to make enough to support your dream or how do you know if you will be the fellow who might never make enough? There’s bad news and good news. The bad news is that I can’t help you figure that out, and the good news is that I have outlined some reasons why most of you might never ever make any money freelance writing, and I hope by reading them you can easily know which category you fall into and you can start taking the necessary actions to build a successful career for yourself.

Writing Isn’t Your Thing

writing is not your thing

The most critical factor that will help you determine if you will never be successful as a freelance writer is if writing is not your thing.

By “writing isn’t your thing” I’m not trying to say that you suck at English or that you don’t know how to write a sentence. In fact, that is the least of the signals to show if you truly can be successful as a freelance writer since everything can be learned.

Another thing is that you don’t need to have a degree in English before you can succeed as a freelance writer. What I know is that the English language can never be completely learned so there shouldn’t really be any problem for you if you have the passion and desire to keep on improving as far as the language is concerned.

The problem I’m talking about, however, is that of finding writing extremely boring whenever you decide to take a pen. Maybe you prefer to play games instead?

There’s no need to think about this, and you should have been able to figure yourself out by now. If you’re one of those people who sleep a few minutes after taking a pen, or if you’re one of those people who have always detested creative writing then you probably would fail as a freelance writer.

You’re actually not condemned if you’re in this category and you can start taking measures to improve your career from now. Start working on developing great passion for writing, and use every opportunity you get to write on a subject completely new to you – what I know is that it might take sometime, but you will soon start to find writing completely easy and interesting.

You Only Care about Instant Results

you only want instant results
Image by Ken Teegardin via Flickr

One advice I’ll keep on giving freelance writers who want to build a successful business is to stop thinking about themselves as freelance writers but as businesspeople.

Freelance writing is no doubt one of the best ways to start making money online fast, but that doesn’t mean you should rush into it without having a plan. Your focus as a freelance writer shouldn’t only be on getting clients but should be on building an audience – which is exactly why I teach how to write for traffic and money.

The reason you need to master the art of building an audience is because you can never predict any client. The future could change and nothing is entirely within our control.

You can’t control your current clients, you can’t control their pockets and you can’t control your term with them, but you can control one thing – and that one thing is how many more clients will find you.

By building the right audience, all it takes to find new clients is an announcement, but as we all know, building an audience is the difficult part.

If you’re not yet subscribed to this blog then make sure you do so here now as I will be giving you tips in the future to help you build an audience as a writer. Subscribe here.

You Never Put Efforts into Improving Your Knowledge

always be ready to improve your knowledge

The one thing about writers is that they always have to produce and what they have to produce can sometimes be unpredictable.

If you want to be a successful freelance writer then you need to realize that you will constantly have to be writing articles in fields you know nothing about and as a result you need to ensure you’re not just on one spot.

How many hours a day do you spend reading? What do you read during that period? Is it just a book limited to your field or any other thing?

You need to start spending more time reading anything you can get your hands on. It can be anything from that book recommended to you by a friend to the latest news article – as long as it won’t corrupt you, every single article you read adds up, and will end up being a great source of creativity in the near future.

You’re Not Good at Controlling Yourself

The life of a freelance writer comes with so many challenges. You have to meet deadlines, you have to write in fields you know next to nothing about and you have to work hard on separating your work from your passion.

We all want to watch that newly released movie with our family members and we also want to play that great game, but it is the duty of a writer to be able to separate work from desire so as to get the desired results. Failure to do so will result in your income suffering.

Are You Bound to Fail?

Do you fit into any of those listed above? What steps are you taking to make yourself a successful freelance writer?

It is not too late for you, and you can take that great leap by signing up for my free 7 series email course today.

By Bamidele

Onibalusi Bamidele is the founder and CEO of Writers in Charge. Follow him on twitter here.

42 replies on “Why You Might Never EVER Make Money as a Freelance Writer”

This is so true, but what’ funny is these characteristics are true of any business. You have to put in the work to get the results you want. Hard work and education go a long way.

You’re right about that Amy! So many people expect their business to be producing fruits in such a short term and as a result decide to put any focus whatsoever on the future.

Hi Oni,

Thanks for clearly highlighted some of the mistakes we writers do make on daily basis and even =going further to show us ways to eliminate some of these bad attitudes of writing.

I have to agree Amy. But education doesn’t have to mean what we usually think it means. The best education can be the education you make for yourself.

I completely agree. What I actually meant by “education” was attending conferences and continuing to read and learn more about your niche. It’s the only way to stay on top of your game in the real world of you industry.

This I agree. You could attend webnairs as well. 🙂

Great point, this. 🙂

Well said Dele, I think I have a lil. problem with movies, it distracts me.

Belton Real Estatesays:

I think you have some good points. If a person can’t or won’t write, it’s hard to make money blogging. However, there are sources like Amazon Mechanical Turk, eLance etc. where you can find ghostwriters to produce your content for you. Bottom line, you have to be willing to do something if you are going to get results!

According the the above, I’m in the right position to earn a living as a freelance writer online. Only wish that were true. 🙂

What makes you think that isn’t true?

I have everything you mentioned. I love writing. I’m good at it. I’m even an editor. I’m dedicated and work hard. The ‘making money online’ thing just hasn’t materialised for me.

Hi Anne,

That’s exactly my point in this article.

You don’t believe you can make money writing simply because something isn’t ‘materializing’ at the moment. I think that’s a great mistake! If there’s anything I’ve learnt in my entire life it is that our mindset shapes our life and career and I’ll advise you not to look down on yourself.

Since you have the desired skills then you might want to stay subscribed to this blog. I’ll be redesigning this blog in a few weeks time and I’ll start giving tips on living the freelance writing dream.

Just like the first commenter said, these all applies to achieving any thing in life: constant learning, discipline, personality etc. The good news is; it can all be learned. Only that very few are patient enough to stick to it.
A really thought-provoking post Oni.

Great post, i agree that writing needs to be your thing. I have no interest in it so i’ll probably never do well.

You’re right Oni, you have to be ready to work hard if you want to succeed and this is true for anything in life. If we are not ready to do what it takes we will never accomplish something. So, have a good night I need to write another post 🙂

I’m bored when writing, but I just keep on accepting projects because I need to. You’re so fortunate to have that kind of passion for writing and you deserve everything that you now have.

Nice photos by the way, where do you get them? I noticed you are very good in sourcing high quality concept photos. I once read a top 10 article of yours (I think in Business Insider, I’m not very sure) and your photos were awesome!

sam @ goa carnivalsays:

From my point of view writing is one of the important part any blog post and i believe on that if we will write himself for our blog post it will be much better for us because much new ideas comes to start in our mind after write a content for blog post.

True Oni. Reading should be in proportion to writing so that we don’t run out of ideas and always have something new for writing. Another thing; you need to market and promote your writing, meaning that howsoever you write, unless this is not visible to others, chances are less that you’ll get potential good clients. Owning blog is a good idea; still you need to promote that blog to the mass. Moreover, for the writers, I have seen, some of them lack in vocabulary. Due to their limited word stock, they find writing boring and hence, they become less creative. So, I guess, your ideas are correct. First, read more, then try to promote your business by whatever means you have and increase your word stock to feel less suffocation within you own write-ups. What’re your thoughts on this Oni?


I have just jumped into the freelance writing industry , Well thankx a lot for the advice. I will take every point in mind next time I sit Down to write. Can you please suggest Me ways in Keeping myself motivated during writing ??

Hello Bro. Oni, Intelligent post you have here. I know a proven article when I see one from a practitioner like you. From all indication, I know i’m going to build a business empire as a freelance writer.

I love writing and that is why my guest posting is booming. For instance, every week, I write 10 guest posts because I want to get 200 or above before December.

I know writing is my calling – All I need now is to focus on improving myself and before I know it, client will start knocking on my gate. Not just that Oni, I’m also building my readership base.

We can’t predict clients but we can control our own blogs. It’s a very powerful post and I’m bookmarking. Take care and continue in this your might. We are proud of you Oni, 9ja for live!

People who do not have patience usually do not make any money as freelance writer because you have to be passionate about what you are doing. Many times proposed topics may not fall in your area of expertise but you still have to keep going because requests for topics that you can confidently write about will come.

Totally agree with all of your points Oni. Most of the people presume once they start writing, it would produce instant results. But what they do not know is, it needs time.

i agree, you have to work hard and not look for short term results only. Freelancing can be profitable if done properly with work ethic

For successful writer it is necessary to be successful reader. First possess knowledge,then deliver.

Another great post! It’s so true, if you’re not passionate about writing, you will not make a good writer. I find it fun and I’m always looking forward to the next time I will get to sit down and do it. If I didn’t have that passion, it would be a very monotonous task! I also really like your advice about improving your knowledge… you can never learn enough.

Yes i agree with you “Reading a lot will help in future”.I update my blog based on some books .I read that books and update my blog in my style.
But i have a problem,i read many blogs,English newspaper..but still my English is not improved..Without English no one can win…

Thank you for this article. Reading is and has always been important. Reading will give you great ideas and knowledge about anything that don’t know or want to know. I also understand about patience and not expecting your business to boom over night. I learned this with my first niche site. I also think you have a good point that goes for any freelancer. Don’t think of your self as a freelancer but instead a business. Great information. You have help many if they will opne their minds and earns to hear.

A great piece again. I’ll need this advice as I am now a contributor @

. . . and I love this, “it is the duty of a writer to be able to separate work from desire so as to get the desired results.”

That’s fantastic! 🙂

Alcohol Based Hand Sanitizersays:

Oni, great point here. For me i am too lazy to try improving my knowledge. I think that’s one of the main problem for so many freelancer out there

broccoli soupsays:

Yes I agree, freelancing jobs are very paying but there should be proper management.With proper communication and management you can create a chain of clients.Clients a great source of advertisement.

I’m not that good at controlling myself. Sometimes I just can get myself into writing mode and follow my schedule. This is my biggest problem. Self control. I’m probably that kind of person who needs a boss lol

I think no passion for writing is the biggest obstacle when it comes to making money as a freelance writer. In fact this is a common problem for bloggers as well. If you don’t like writing its hard to succeed as a blogger because consistently writing is a big part of blogging.

I think that you are absolutely right – if “writing is not really your thing”| it is better to search another way to make money , because if one like his job – he is good- otherwise… not possible!

Catfishing tipssays:

I think that the most crucial factor that destroys every freelancer dream is time. People usually expect from internet to be a super fast way to make cash easily. From my experience, i don’t think that internet is so different from the offline world. If you want to make money as a freelancer, you need to be patient and write everyday until you are able to get paid hundreds of dollars for one single article.

Thanks for this great post, i must say here that most of the points you listed applies to almost every endeavor of life, what i find most difficult to do atimes is having to write about a topic i know nothing about, it can be quite challenging……thanks Oni for this great post

I agree that reading is fundamental to good writing – both for inspiration and the betterment of your mind.

Christopher Cunasays:

Writing should be loved. That’s why you’re a Freelance “Writer”

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