Written By Shelcy Joseph

How I Added $800 in Freelance Writing Income In 2 Weeks

Written by Shelcy Joseph

Whether it’s to increase your savings, pay off your debt or backpack through the West Coast, a few hundred dollars a month can make a big difference – even if you have a full-time job. Who wouldn’t want to stop living paycheck to paycheck, pad their bank account and reduce their financial stress?

It’s one thing to know how to write, but it’s another to make money from it. I love finding creative ways to use my skills to earn additional income. This month, I set a goal to make $1,000 from writing on the side. I made $800 in the first two weeks of April, and I’m confident I will meet or exceed my expectations by the end of the month.

Here are three tried and true ways to make more money writing:

Post an ad on Craigslist – $150

The thought of using Craigslist makes a lot of people cringe. “Scams” “Con artists” fake postings” are a few of the things that may come to mind. There are in fact deceiving people on the platform (just like everywhere else), but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth using. Regardless of your personal feelings about the site, Craigslist is a legitimate way to make money. Just read Jeff’s story about making $565 from it in one month. I can also speak to that as I once earned $310 in a week.

Try posting an ad on Craigslist and see how many email inquiries you can get! Believe me, it works! It’s free of charge and you can renew it every week. I use it to promote my writing services and it has helped me in ways I didn’t think possible. I found half of my returning clients through Craigslist. All it took was publishing a compelling ad.

Here’s a template you can use:

Creative Writer Looking to Contribute to Blogs or Magazines

Need more content for your blog and someone to write it in a compelling way? I can help!

I have 3 years of experience blogging for different websites such as XYZ. I cover personal finance, entrepreneurship and career development. You can find some writing samples below:

Link 1

Link 2

I charge (insert rate) per word or a flat rate per project. I am willing to work with your budget, so feel free to email me and we can negotiate.

Serious inquiries only!

The key is to be direct and focus on the value you can provide. Give enough details and throw in some numbers (or share some writing samples) if possible.

I made $150 from writing a short story for a video producer who emailed me after seeing the ad. She wanted me to write the script of a project she was putting together. It was a one-time gig, but we exchanged contact information.

Advertise on a Facebook group – $200

If you didn’t know, you can create exclusive gatherings on Facebook that cater to a particular group of people. We’re talking comic book, music, fashion, makeup or travel enthusiasts; every single interest you can think of! These communities give you access to like-minded individuals while providing unique career opportunities.

I recently joined a few blogging groups in the hopes of connecting with other writers/freelancers, promoting my work and meeting potential clients. If you’re wondering where to start, here are some great ones to consider:

  1. Bloggers Supporting Bloggers
  2. Online Business BFFs
  3. Blogging Boost

Be sure to read the rules of each group before you start posting. They don’t allow everything as they each have their own set of rules. For example, you can advertise your services on the wall of some groups, but can only post in the common threads of others. Once you are accepted, become an active member. Monitor the conversations and participate when you can. Ask and answer questions, and build genuine relationships with people.

If you have the chance to post about your services, write a highly targeted ad (similar to my Craigslist template) that lets people know you’re available for hire. Posting ads in Facebook groups is an effective strategy because it reaches people in your niche. If you tried to sell car parts in a group about gardening, you would certainly not get positive results. By focusing on people who share an interest in what you do, you position yourself for success.

Soon after posting an ad in one of the groups, the founder of a career startup reached out to me. A few conversations later, I was hired to write 8 blog posts a month at $400. I am $200 in already.

Pitch corporate blogs – $450

If you want to play it big, go after corporate clients. They usually have more resources and can pay you more. As you can imagine, you will be competing with more people if you go that route. So you have to master your approach! The step-by-step method looks something like this:

  1. Research the company and their blog
  2. Draft a few blog post ideas to pitch
  3. Send a warm email

Here is a template you can use when cold emailing:

Hi (Editor’s name),

My name is Jessica and I am a freelance writer with 2 years of experience covering startups and new tech products for Tech Crunch, The Verge and Venture Beat. I have been reading Startup Life for a few months and I am a big fan of your content. It perfectly aligns with my area of expertise. I was reaching out because I’d love to be considered to join your team as a staff writer.

Below are some ideas for posts that your readers might enjoy:

  1. This startup is changing the coworking experience. Here’s how.

(Short Blurb)

  1. 3 Ways Virtual Reality Will Disrupt the Travel Industry

(Short Blurb)

I have a solid portfolio and below are some writing samples:

Sample 1

Sample 2

Sample 3

I look forward to hearing from you!

Best regards,


The takeaway? Be specific and show that you’ve done your homework. Offer a new perspective or tell the same stories from a different angle.

Often, your next big writing client is only an email away. I’ve learned that from landing my first one after sending a cold, personalized email to a company. They pay $150 per article and I’ve written 3 for them so far.

So, what are you waiting for? Make your moves and reach your financial goals faster with these strategies!

Your turn! What has helped you land gigs and earn more writing income? Share them in the comments!

Your Comments:

  1. Marie Sultana Robinson says:

    Excellent article! I have been following Shelcy Joseph for a few weeks and her ideas work.

  2. Shelly L. Snow says:

    Fantastic article, the templates look wonderful and I’ll be trying this out soon!!

  3. Michelle Kizer says:

    Thanks for this great article with really practical tips. I can see implementing all of these ideas today, and hope that I can find the same success as Ms. Joseph! Great tips always abound from Freedom with Writing!

  4. Carolyn Steed says:

    Excellent article!! Thank You so much. Your ideas have given me the courage to pursue what I love to do.

  5. Shebah says:

    What if you are fairly new to the freelance writing industry and you don’t have a portfolio built up yet, would it still be good to do a Craig’s list Ad?

    • Lori Parr says:

      I am fairly new to content writing and one of my first gigs was secured on pitch alone. So get real clever and tighten up your idea and just send it out. It helps if you have multiple ideas that might fit more than one category, this broadens your range and one of them is bound to be a hit.

    • Shelcy Joseph says:

      Hi Shebah,

      You have to start somewhere right? I would still post an ad and offer to do pro bono (or discounted) work until you build your portfolio.

    • Beth says:

      I was wondering this as well. I helped with a friend’s blog entry and was credited as a contributing editor for it, even though it was only one so far. I’ve reached out to her and asked her permission to reference that work. I’ve also done a fair amount of work with a close friend who is in the process of writing a trilogy and several short stories. Though it’s all been informal and done because I enjoy it I take it just as seriously. Would you agree that I can use that as well?

  6. Heidi F. says:

    Great, creative ideas! My freelance load is nearly full-time, but I’m always looking for money-making ways to fill the extra few hours each week and will give these a try. Nice post, thank you!

  7. Jen says:

    I found a very steady gig through a Facebook group that is now providing most of my income ($30-35 per hour, about 4-5 hours a day). So yes, these techniques work!

    • Elves K. says:

      Your comment is inspirational, Kindly would you mind to connect me to the facebook group please?

      Thank you.

  8. D. Hall says:

    Some interesting money generating initiatives there.

    Some specifics would be nice:
    How long did your Craig’s List (CL) ad run for?; what section of CL did it appear in? what edition of CL (i.e. city, metro area, etc.) ran you ad?

    What source did you use to find company blogs? Did it include the specific name of person to contact, the name of the blog, what subjects it covers, whether a freelancer get paid, word count?

    How long after your pieces got published did you get paid?


    • Shelcy Joseph says:

      Hi there,

      My ad ran for a week and it took 2-3 days to receive some inquiries. Good thing is that you can renew your ads as often as you’d like every week. It appeared in services offered and targeted people within the NYC boroughs.

      Finding company blogs involved a mix of Google searches, monitoring social media posts and reading through articles. You can figure out everything once you find the email to send your pitches to. The publishing timeline is different for each publication.

      I can write a whole post to go into specifics, but I hope this helps!

  9. Ashley Victoria Owen says:

    This article presented a lot of really great ideas and information. Thanks for reminding us all of how important- and easy- it can be to network within both the online and real world!
    I’ve found the following 5 strategies to be very helpful when preparing to cold-pitch a new client-
    1)Don’t Over-Do-It (Don’t share irrelevant information, or waste their time bragging about irrelevant skills)
    2)Really Personalize Your Pitch (as you mentioned here in your article!)
    3)Build Up Your Brand (Show potential clients your best face)
    4)Differentiate Yourself from Your Competition
    5)Network with EVERYONE Possible
    For more details on how to integrate these tips into your job hunting strategy, feel free to check out the following article- https://www.freelancermap.com/freelancer-tips/11591-5-tips-to-create-an-effective-freelance-pitch-gain-more-clients

  10. Monica says:

    This is great! I’m new to freelance writing so this definitely helps. Thanks!

  11. Christopher says:

    How do you get paid? What are the mechanics of setting up credit card or PayPal accounts? Where can I go to learn more on this matter?

    • Shelcy Joseph says:

      From my experience, PayPal is the easiest way to get paid. You can sign up for a free account and provide your card info.

  12. OVIE PETER says:

    Good day Sir, I sincerely appreciate the information you have given so far. I am an experienced writer and I am despirately in search of writing jobs. Please I will be very grateful if you can help me with writing jobs that pay on time.
    Thank you Sir.

  13. Charis Fleming says:

    I had to leave a company I worked for almost 14 years due to an auto injury sent me through 3-1/2 years of surgery and post/op rehab. I had a great reputation and knew the company quite well. Is it kosher to ask for writing gigs from them, and if so, how high up the food chain should I reach? I know all the top leadership folks but don’t want to seem unappreciative, desperate or delusional. Any advice to help me smooth the way back to being helpful to the company.as a freelance. Ontributor?

    • Shelcy Joseph says:

      Hi Charis,

      I am so sorry to hear and I hope you’re well now! I think you can totally pitch your writing services to the company. Start with your direct supervisors and ask for introductions to people in the editorial department? That way you don’t overstep boundaries. Just send a warm email and be sure to mention that you enjoyed working for them and would welcome the opportunity to contribute as a freelance writer.

      Hope this helps!

  14. Charis Fleming says:

    I had to leave a company I worked for almost 14 years due to an auto injury sent me through 3-1/2 years of surgery and post/op rehab. I had a great reputation and knew the company quite well. Is it kosher to ask for writing gigs from them, and if so, how high up the food chain should I reach? I know all the top leadership folks but don’t want to seem unappreciative, desperate or delusional. Any advice to help me smooth the way back to being helpful to the company.as a freelance. Contributor?

  15. Stephen Miller says:

    Thank you. The part about finding blogs that paid with not having much experience was my favorite. I’ve been writing for some time for pleasure but being paid for what I love to do would be fun. Thanks for the info.

  16. Theodora Filis says:

    Thank you! Excellent tips and exactly what I needed.

  17. Patricia says:

    I am a Kenyan lady living Nairobi interested in the writing jobs. Kindly advice if I qualify for them and if yes, how will I get my payments? Thanks

    • Shelcy Joseph says:

      Hi Patricia,

      PayPal works internationally, but I’m sure there exist other tools for money transfer as well. You can figure out other payment methods directly with your clients.

  18. Michael says:

    Your article has me pumped up and my mind going on ideas.
    Heaps of gratitude…..


  19. Peris N says:

    Great tips there. I will definitely be making use of them really soon.

  20. Anthony Dezenzio says:

    Thank you for the great article! I’ll be sure to give it a try.

  21. Susan says:

    This article contained common sense information. I like all the solid content and plan to use it soon. Thanks for sharing. You’re the best.

  22. Raymond O'Lenic says:

    Good Article, but be aware that you can only publish in a single Craig’s List city, so choose wisely. Manhatten, LosAngeles and San Francisco are reportedly good.

    Also, after working a number of channels, I believe that cold-pitching, especially corporate blogs, offers the best opportunity for good paying assignments.

  23. paul mbuthia says:

    Awesome article can’t wait to try the method out.

  24. Alan Toner says:

    As a freelance writer (and published author), who is forever seeking new clients and writing assignments, I found this post to be really interesting and helpful. Speaking from experience, I know how difficult it is to find new clients, as there is so much competition nowadays. I will certainly be using the templates you provided. Again, a great article.

  25. Jasonstover9 says:

    I have just put into practice some of the advice you have given. Time will tell but I have a great feeling this is going to lead me to a good income. Thank you.

  26. Sharon says:

    This is the most insightful article I have read on my journey to becoming a freelancer. Thanks, Shelcy.

  27. Beth says:

    What is considered a reasonable rate per word for a beginner? I don’t have very strong business acumen at all, so knowing how to figure out that aspect of this is a challenge for me. And thank you for the helpful suggestions and templates!

  28. Zya Blu says:

    Thank you for such a great insight into getting paid writing assignments. The information that you have shared is exactly for what I have been looking. Writing has always been my passion (and a large part of my professional career). Although I am in the process of completing my first solo writing project and building my blogsite, my desire is to fully pursue my passion. I have a question relating to your post. Writing samples… Other than providing links to my blogs, I have other samples (but they would require sanitizing to avoid disclosing my clients’ personal info or proprietary info). Would you recommend using these as samples?

  29. Elves K. says:

    A part from the above mentioned story categories,is there room for newsworthy stories, features, leader profiles, and educational stories submission?

  30. Derrell Stumpfel( Stumped 99) says:

    I just want to write a few life experience stories (Like in the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” style of books .. so i can discreetly and tactfully (in other words “Brag”) to my older sister ! (I am 61 so i have “a few” to tell) …. Smile !

  31. Brian says:

    How do all of you make sure you get paid? In other words, how do you create an arrangement, on craigslist for instance, then be certain your client doesn’t just not pay you when you deliver the product?

  32. Aishwarya Mahajan says:

    Thank for your cooperation.This reminds me of a thought . A handsome is not a person who is good looking or smart or a person with killer looks. A handsome is a person who gives his Hand to some one in need.

  33. Aishwarya Mahajan says:

    He who travels alone travels fastest but he who travels together travels farthest.

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