8 steps toward a six-figure freelance writing income

“I know a couple of $100,000-per-year freelance writers, and here’s what they don’t want you to know: none of them – save perhaps one! – is probably that much of a better writer than you. So why do they all make big bucks while others end up with peanuts? One way or another, these guys have figured out success-making strategies like the following – and they stick to them.

The new year is just around the corner, so give these steps a go and see if you don’t bring in a higher income next year.

1. Dump the starving writer mentality.

Just because you’re a writer doesn’t mean you should starve. If a high-voltage cable inspector averages $65,000/year, why shouldn’t a hard-working, serious freelance writer make at least that much? Why not more? Here’s more inspiration: A construction manager makes $100,000/year. A government astronomer? $140,000/year. Go out there and be confident that writers deserve their share of the financial pie.

Take a cue from Las Vegas freelance writer Jarret Keene, who offers: ‘I find that heeding Roman poet Ovid’s advice of waking up every morning and saying ‘I believe’ three times does a lot for one’s poise.’

2. Set a weekly goal.

Thinking about trying to make $100,000 as a freelancer is like thinking about writing a George R. R. Martin-sized novel. It’s too much. It’s hard to get your head around. So break it into smaller steps. For the novelist, that means focusing on chapters or a daily page count. For a freelancer, that means doing a little math: $2000/week x 50 weeks = $100,000. $400/day x 5 = $2000/week. Doesn’t seem so intimidating now, does it? Average $80/hour x 5 hours/day, and you’re there. Set your rates accordingly.

To (badly) paraphrase Lao-Tzu: ‘The journey of a hundred-thousand-dollar salary begins with a single buck.’

3. Create passive income.

Passive income is money you generate while sleeping, going on vacation, or doing other money-generating work. It’s awesome…though it’s hard to come by. Consider a 50-page CreateSpace book that earns you $100/month. Now add in another $100/month from click-throughs on writing-related AdSense ads that you feature on your website or blog. Cha-ching.

What other digital products can you offer on your website that people will pay for? How many other e-books can you easily write in your areas of expertise? What freelance jobs can you take on that earn money upfront but also offer the possibility of back-end royalties?”

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