7 Beliefs That Limit Your Freelance Writing Earnings

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

Are you having problems with making the leap to becoming a successful freelance writer? Maybe you’re frustrated from swimming in the same pool of low paying clients, or you find landing these clients difficult.

Believe it or not, your problem may not be the economic downturn, or the large amount of cheap international writers.

No, your biggest problem may just be yourself.

You see, freelance writers handicap their careers and earnings with self-limiting beliefs that stop them from achieving a successful freelance writing career.

While there may be many people who repeat these beliefs ad nauseam, in reality many of these beliefs are either not true or only represent a small part of the bigger picture of the freelance writing industry.


Let’s have a look at 7 of the most popular beliefs that may be limiting your freelance earning potential:

 1. I don’t have enough time to market

Many of the writers are simply too busy to market themselves. They’re too busy to set up a website, they’re too busy to send out queries, they’re too busy to work on any of the facets necessary to build up a successful freelance business.

This is simply an excuse for not putting yourself out there.

Building a successful freelance business can easily be done with just a few minutes per day. In fact, writer Lori Widner outlines a plan to carry out marketing efforts in as little as 15 minutes per day. If you watch any television, surf the web, or do any activity, take a break. Just for a month, concentrate on dedicating 15 minutes per day. With just 15 minutes per day, you can easily build up a solid foundation for a successful freelance writing business.


2. Finding decent paying freelance clients is really hard

While it is necessary to put in work to find clients that pay livable wages, it isn’t as difficult as many low paid writers make it out to be! With little more effort than studying some quality LOI’s and queries, such as those provided free by popular writers like Mridu Khullar Relph , then you too will be able to quickly implement the strategies that successful freelance writers use in order to find decent paying writing gigs.


 3. I’m just starting out, so I need to charge low to gain experience

New writers do not need to “go cheap” in order to gain writing work.  For example, popular freelance writer and blogger Carol Tice suggests that $50 per hour is a reasonable rate for new freelance writers! While being published in some form is indeed important in proving quality and providing credentials, there are other ways for new freelance writers to show potential clients that they have the ability necessary to complete a paid job. For example, simply setting up a blog on your website is one great way to display your writing ability. Guest posting on popular or well respected sites is another way to demonstrate proven writing ability and gain credibility. Apart from these strategies, there is lots of information available to new writers on how to get clients when starting out, such as this article here.


 4. Because of all the competition, I need to lower my rates to compete

The truth is, the price of other competitors should not be a major factor in your pricing. As a matter of fact, I personally do  not compete on price.  If you believe that you have to “aim low” to gain clients, you are inadvertently targeting clients whose primary concern is price over quality.  Because of the huge number of writers who target this market, you’re actually putting yourself at a disadvantage by lowering your rates, because you’re tacitly declaring that you’re the same quality as all the other cheap writers! Just as how a mom and pop stores should not focus on price competition with Walmart, neither should you try to lower your prices to compete with other low paid writers.


 5. It’s ok to take low paid work because I’ll just write faster

Cranking out lots of low paid content simply because you can write quickly simply does not pan out. In the first place, even a relatively low quality short article takes more time than most people realize. You first have to research the information, and then you’ll have to plan and structure your writing. After you’re finished with those first two steps, then you’ll have to write the actual piece. Of course, your work still isn’t done, because you’ll have to edit it to ensure that there aren’t any mistakes, and then give it a once over proofread  to make sure that it isn’t rejected.

Provided that you actually can do this twice (or three times) in an hour, the problem comes up with simply not being able to  keep up such a pace, hour after hour, day after day, week after week, month after month, a pace that I point out is almost impossible to maintain.


6. A penny a word is the going rate for freelance writing work

No. No, no no no and again NO.

If your writing is only worth a penny a word, then you might as well quit writing and get another job.  The Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA) has posted its own rate guidelines for writers, and the minimum estimated starting range is $.20 per word!

In other words the minimum recommended rate for a 500 word blog  post would  be $100 per  post  – pretty far away  from  the  $5 blog article that many would consider the “norm” for normal writing content. Even if you are unable or unwilling to shoot for what you may consider to be a lofty figure, you certainly shouldn’t be writing for a penny a word.


 7. I don’t have enough money to invest in a freelance writing business

If you’re unwilling to invest in yourself and your business, then it will be made doubly hard for you to succeed.  Again, Carol Tice gives great advice on this topic, not only emphasizing the importance of investing in a business, but also how to make gain capital to make that investment.

Too often do writers complain about costs – the truth is, for a very minimal investment, you can easily build the foundation for a freelance writing business. A domain name and a year’s worth of hosting on GoDaddy can easily be bought for $36 – hardly the king’s ransom that some freelance writers make it out to be! For a simple investment worth $3 per month, a freelancer can easily afford what many claim is the most expensive part of a freelance writing business.

Instead of focusing on the cost, focus on the return, which will be far more than you would make without investing in your business.


It’s always easy to find reasons as to why you can’t or won’t make the step to being a successful freelance writer. In reality, these are often just excuses used to cover the fear of failure or the ignorance of not knowing your own self-worth.  There’s no shame in having self-limiting beliefs – as almost everyone has to break through these beliefs before they can achieve their true potential. Thankfully, with a wealth of information on the internet, breaking through these self-limiting beliefs and achieving freelance writing success Is easier than ever before!


Do you have any self-limiting beliefs that are holding you back from success? Or have you managed to defeat these beliefs and achieve freelance writing success?  Share your experiences in the comments section below.



14 comments to 7 Beliefs That Limit Your Freelance Writing Earnings

  1. Eric Evans says:


    This is a great post. Thank you for sharing this. Yes, I agree with you. Many of the writers are simply too busy to market themselves. They’re too busy to set up a website. I have also noticed that.


    • Daryl George says:

      Thanks for Eric! I think the problem is more that many bloggers make the excuse of being too busy, when in actual fact a few minutes of marketing daily would easily net them clients.

  2. Maya says:

    Thank you Daryl for the info and words of encouragement! This article has lots of useful information for someone like me who is considering freelance writing as an alternative to her current career!

  3. Harry says:

    Sorry if you find the following offensive. I write better than you and the words I put out actually lead to sky high conversions for many of my clients but I only charge $0.75 per 100 words.

    … which I don’t want to do anymore. By the way, I’m from India and have at least written over one million words of hard-core quality content in the last couple of years.

    How would you approach this situation?

    • Daryl George says:

      I think you’ll have to admit, it’s a bit difficult to take you seriously when you start out with “Sorry if you find the following offensive. I writer better than you…” It’s never a good idea to intentionally come off as condescending to a person you’re asking for free advice for.

      But being the kind spirited person I am (I deserve a medal!) and for whoever may be reading this blog, I’ll answer:

      You’re working with the WRONG clients if you have “sky high conversions” yet can’t make a dollar per 100 words.

      If you have the amazing skills that you claim to, then it should be easy to get a few testimonials, concrete proof of your “sky high conversions”, and then pitch to clients who can afford the wonderful skills that you so obviously have.

      I hope that answers your question :)

  4. Harry says:

    Thank you for your great response. My biggest mistake was #5. Anyway… I’ve moved on from the writing gigs and have shifted my focus to designing sales funnels and tweaking conversions for other people.

    I have a passion for achieving those conversion lifts and I’m going to stick with that.

    I wish you the best in your writing career!

    PS: Clients don’t tell you that you can charge MORE than you’re charging right now but they’ll just keep coming back to order more!

    • Karen J says:

      You’re right, Harry – the *client* will never tell you to charge more. You have to tell the client that you ARE charging more from now on!

  5. Karen J says:

    Thanks for pointing out these limiting beliefs – which apply *no matter what* skill or talent you’re trying to make a living with. :)

    • Daryl George says:

      I definitely agree – these beliefs are present in almost any major profession, and getting rid of them is essential in moving forward

  6. Great post, Daryl. All great tips. Another one that I’d add is that many new freelancers tend to think that there aren’t enough paying markets or opportunities. The truth, however, is that once you start looking, the places you can pitch and the people looking to hire are endless. I started making a list of people I wanted to pitch earlier this year and I already have 300+ markets that I haven’t gotten around to. The opportunity is immense.

    Thanks for the shout out . Appreciate it.

    • Daryl George says:

      So far for the day, I’ve gotten a comment from you and Carol Tice.

      Consider my day made!

      I definitely agree of course – there are almost unlimited opportunities and clients for writers to pick up. The problem is that many writers simply can’t move past the “employee” mentality and pitch to all these potential clients. Once they get creative and are willing to work hard, they will be able to create new opportunities for themselves.

      PS – Your welcome, and any time!

  7. Thomas says:

    Beautiful design! What’s the name of it?
    Thomas recently posted…ThomasMy Profile

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