10 Tips for Making 6 Figures as a Freelance Writer
Our goal is financial independence and to retire early (FIRE). For years, I (Ms Aspiring Millionaire), have done freelance writing which has provided both a great income and incredible experiences. Because of writing, I have been paid to travel, get my diving certifications, do cool experiences with my kids, and publish books and all of it was done around the kids.
On the site, we will be covering both what we do to make money and other high-income career suggestions to help you achieve financial independence quicker.
I do a few different things and will cover each in a different article. Mr Aspiring Millionaire recently started working as a commercial diver with a starting wage of $100,000 per year that will go to $3,000+ per day when he does saturation diving.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links to products and services we use.
What is a Freelance Writer?
A freelance writer is a self-employed writer who writes things such as articles, social media content, website content and similar. Basically, anything you see written can be done by either an employed content producer or a freelance writer.
Freelance writers need to register their business, invoice, and manage their accounting, tax, insurance, and everything as it is a business.
How much do Freelance Writers Make?
The income varies greatly depending on the writer’s experience, qualifications, who they are writing for, what they are writing about and where they are from.
Many in developing countries charge significantly less than those in Australia, the UK and USA. However, since they are not typically native English speakers, the writing is not of the same quality or usability as native English speakers.
Those in the UK, USA, Australia and similar countries charge more. Any content (articles etc) that are research-heavy or requires skills such as SEO or qualifications such as legal or medical writing will all attract a higher rate too.
Making 6 figures as a writer is doable and common among the writers I know. When you start out you might not make that but as you build your portfolio and network, it becomes easier.
My usual income per article is anywhere from $250 for an article I can quickly write without research through to over $1,000 for research-heavy articles. Clients on retainer or who batch purchase articles get a discount.
Most work I see on other sites, Facebook and similar is 10c a word or more. Anything below that is not worth it at all.
How do you Become a Freelance Writer?
If you have great English skills and an eye for detail, you can do it. Writing takes practice and I recommend everyone do a writing course. Writing courses such as Earn More Writing help you become a freelance writer and teach you all about the marketing and business side of it all to get you to 6 figures too.
For me, I started with blogging, landed a book contract with Wiley within a year then immediately had websites pitching to me to write for them. As such, even now, I don’t pitch much. Magazines and websites usually come to me.
I am in writing groups, am a member of some writing associations and have a portfolio to as all of these places provide opportunities.
How do I get Paid to Travel as a Freelance Writer?
I started with blogging and writing about finance then tourism boards asked me to do trips and write content for other websites and magazines. Instead of being a journalist for one magazine or an influencer with a travel website, I had writing and marketing to provide.
My trips usually resulted in fully paid trips, articles I was paid to write, and sometimes being paid to do marketing strategies or the content for websites as well. Plus I often picked up more clients on those trips.
As such, I wasn’t solely a freelance writer, I was a tourism marketer and could offer complete packages. Especially when Mr Aspiring Millionaire and I did things together as he is a photographer. We share our travels and work for this on Blended Nomads and on my site Kylie Travers.
Top Tips for Freelance Writers
I’ve been paid to write for over 10 years now and love that it is so flexible. The opportunities as well as the income as been great. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a writer but was advised not to as you can’t make money. How times have changed! Writing is a viable career now, especially if you know what you are doing.
Do A Course
If you are serious about making a career in writing and earning 6 figures, do a course. As mentioned, Earn More Writing is the course I recommend for freelance writers.
There is so much more to this career than just writing. You need to know about marketing, networking, where to get work, how much to charge, how to increase your rates and more. Invest in yourself by investing in Earn More Writing.
Submit Ahead of Deadlines
When you get a gig, complete it with plenty of time to spare. Submitting something right on the deadline is allowed but also cuts it fine for everyone. Every editor I have worked with loves it when I submit my work early.
It gives them time to look it over, edit if necessary or ask me to make changes (rare) so they can send it off to be published on time.
When you are submitting your work right on the deadline, while technically you are withing the guidelines the editor wanted, it makes you the same as everyone. Submitting early is one way to be easier to work with and get offered more work.
Learn About Where you are Pitching
Before pitching an article anywhere, check the place you are pitching. Make sure they haven’t done something on that exact topic already, have a point of difference but ensure it matches the place you are pitching and follow their procedures.
With a little research, you can find out the best way to pitch according to their guidelines instead of pitching blindly. Adhering to their guidelines increases your chances of success with placing the article.
All occupations require networking. New gigs, meeting the right people, being recommended to others and all sorts of opportunities come from networking.
This doesn’t mean you have to go to networking events specifically, although they can be great. It includes Facebook groups, Twitter chats and similar as well as carrying cards everywhere you go and not being afraid to let people know what you do.
Have a Contract
When you do start working, always have a contract. This is covered in the courses usually as it is essential to protect you and them. Know exactly what you are writing, how long it needs to be, how many edits are allowed, when it is due and payment terms.
Include a kill fee, meaning a fee you will be paid even if they choose not to publish. Know when payment will be made and how so you can plan accordingly as well as follow it up if you’re not paid. Have clear terms and conditions for everything, including a deposit of 50% of full payment upfront and consequences for non-payment if you choose not to have it paid in full upfront.
Read and Write
The more you read and write the better you get. I aim to read at least one book a week and I am writing every day for work. When I look back at the early articles I wrote for various places I cringe.
Firstly, it was different back then and secondly because it seems so immature compared to my writing now.
The more I write, the faster I get and the easier it is. Practice as often as you can, and write about topics that interest you even before having somewhere to place them. Get involved in language through reading and writing to improve your skills.
When you are constantly working on your skills, you get better and can charge a higher rate as well as get more work because of the quality of your work.
Ask me anything about writing below.
How to get into Commercial Diving and Career Options
Our aim is financial independence, retire early (FIRE). As such, it makes sense to go into an occupation you can earn a lot in so you can invest fast and have more options. It helps if you love it, which we do.
Mr Aspiring Millionaire trained to be a commercial diver last year. He has previous experience diving, although that is not necessary to do this career. Growing up in Vanuatu, then working in the Solomon Islands, commercial diving was not an option for him even though he wanted to do it for years.
Once we got Australian residency sorted for him, commercial diving was the next step. Last year, we did both residency and his course, which wasn’t cheap but both were worth it.
Commercial diving is a high-risk occupation, especially if you work on offshore oil rigs. However, the pay for those jobs is high ($3,000+ per day) as well. It doesn’t require a university degree and pays well from the start. In fact, you can do it at 18 after a few months of doing a course and go straight into a job at $100,000.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links to products and services we use.
What is Commercial Diving?
Commercial diving covers jobs from working in fisheries repairing nets, getting abalone and similar through to offshore saturation diving, where you live in a chamber under the water for a month at a time. It is in high demand, pays well and you can start young.
How Much Can You Make as a Commercial Diver?
The lowest-paid are those working in fisheries at around $80,000 a year and only requires ADAS 1 and ADAS 2 ($7,000 each course). If you want to earn more, you need to do ADAS 3 and you will work in construction commercial diving repairing dams, wharves, bridges and other underwater construction essentials. This is around $100,000 and is a great step towards saturation diving.
Saturation diving, offshore on oil rigs is the highest paying but also the most dangerous. Typically, you will work for 4 weeks then have 4 weeks off but make $3,000+ per day.
Read how much a commercial diver makes for more specifics.
What Prerequisites Are There?
Aside from passing a commercial diving medical, and having a current advanced first aid certificate including CPR, oxygen etc, there aren’t any. You need to be fit, able to handle enclosed spaces and other skills do come in handy but realistically you can get that training after.
What do you need to do to Become Qualified as a Commercial Diver?
Within a few months, you can be earning over $100,000 after completing your course and getting a job. Mr Aspiring Millionaire studied at Commercial Dive Academy in Tasmania, Australia. He did ADAS 1, 2 and 3 at the same time for about 3 months.
They have a discount if you do all 3 at once and there is a house students can pay to stay at since it is away from everything.
Certificate III in Maritime Operations can be extremely useful depending on the area and job you go into. Any construction experience, forklift licence and similar are also great to have or may be required to secure a job.
Mr Aspiring Millionaire needed his dive certifications, first aid certifications, a white card (construction card) and drivers licence. Within 2 months they arranged a few construction qualifications and his forklift licence as well. These would cost thousands but since he is a good worker and will be with them for years, it is a good investment for them.
Some commercial divers are happy to do fisheries and nothing else. Those who do the construction style commercial diving often have a desire to do saturation diving. Saturation diving is the most dangerous and although the wages are high, works often blow through their money as they are bored being offshore.
Since they can be qualified to do saturation within a few years of starting as a commercial diver and you can start as young as 18 in commercial diving, it is huge money for such a young age.
Any area of commercial diving you choose to go into has options for progression. After years of diving, you can move into supervision roles, training and similar. It’s up to you and the higher you go, the higher the income as the knowledge and experience is unique.
Commercial Diving Risks
If something goes wrong, you could easily die. It’s that simple. Of course, the safety checks and procedures are there to protect you and are extremely strict in Australia, it is a risky occupation though.
Offshore diving is even riskier because if you line gets cut or anything goes wrong, you cannot get to the surface. There are also issues such as decompression sickness, nitrogen narcosis, delta P, currents, sharks etc. The list is long and all of it requires divers to keep extremely calm under immense pressure.
Find out more about the risks of commercial diving.
Mr Aspiring Millionaire’s Diving Background and Plan
Before commerical diving, Mr Aspiring Millionaire did tec and scuba diving in the Solomon Islands, PNG and parts of Micronesia. He was crew for the expedition to find Amelia Earhart’s plane, had worked on boats his whole adult life doing everything from engineering and repairs through to learning to be a captain.
Having this experience, working in extreme conditions including being at sea through cyclones and having to repair boats in the least developed countries, he can clearly work well under pressure and problem solve. These are essential traits for a commercial diver.
When it came to securing a job, his previous work experienced helped immensely. It took a month from graduation to secure the job he has although he was offered other work before then. The other jobs were casual, lower rates and nowhere near as much diving.
Since he wants to go through to saturation diving, he needs to get his diving experience up quickly.
His plan is to work for a few years where he is, do the saturation diving course then work offshore on oil rigs at the highest rate. With a month on then a month off, we will be able to travel on his month off.
We will be investing his income heavily to enable him to retire early if he wants. However, he is interested in going right through to the supervisor roles.
If you have an questions, leave a comment and Mr Aspiring Millionaire can respond.