How I Started Making Money From Home As a Freelance Writer

My journey to making money from home started shortly after I became a mom. It was 2005. I was a new mom with a brand new baby who had been born with a birth defect that would require multiple surgeries in the next year and a half. I knew, holding that tiny bundle in my arms, that there was no way I could leave him. I needed to start making money from home.

The Challenge of Being a Stay At Home Mom

Staying home with a baby was . . . challenging. I was used to making money and having some to spend. We’d saved up before having Dorian, but the money was quickly spent on surgeries and medical care. We’d built a one room house before he was born, so there was nothing left. My husband’s job teaching in a government school paid very little and they didn’t pay on time.

We were stuck.

It was obvious that I’d have to do something. On top of the financial stuff, it was boring being at home all day. I tried to get out as much as possible, but my son wasn’t able to go for long trips, so we were often stuck in the tiny house.

More Expenses

Then, I found out I was pregnant again, when Dorian was seven months old. It was a total surprise. We had just finished his second surgery and knew there would be at least one more in the near future. Nonetheless, another baby was a blessing, but we definitely needed to figure out how to bring in more money!

I tried baking banana bread and muffins to sell, but business was sporadic. I tried selling catalog items. Again, a bust, since I couldn’t get out much. Making money from home seemed like a pipe dream.

Boys 3Finally, I decided to try writing. I’d written some articles as a teen and made some money, so I figured I would try that again. Problem was, we didn’t have internet in our house. So every day, I left the baby with his dad for one hour and trudged my heavily pregnant self to the internet cafe down the street.

I started out with tiny jobs, getting a dollar per article, but I would collect assignments, go home and work hard all night and then take the disk with my articles into the internet cafe the next day to send. After a bit, my husband realized that I was actually making some money at this and he borrowed the money to get internet in the house. It was a terrifying leap!

Of course, it wasn’t long before I realized that a buck an article was NOT great pay and I started to seek out the bigger and better jobs. Within a few months, I gave birth to my second son (healthy, thankfully), saw Dorian through his third surgery, and then .  . . my husband was able to quit his job as a teacher! He focused on music and spent more time at home with us.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because I keep seeing stay at home moms dealing with the same things I did. Struggling to make ends meet. Feeling unfulfilled at home. And I know that freelance writing could be the way out of that downward spiral. Making money from home as a freelance writer changed my life and my family’s life . . . it can do the same for you!

How to Start Making Money from Home as a Writer

This is going to be a quick start guide to making some money as a writer. If you’re interested in more in-depth information, check out my freelance writing course.


Step One: Sign Up for UpworkUpwork

I really recommend starting out on Upwork (though there are lots of other ways to find jobs, I just like to start with this one). Just go to the site and sign up. It will walk you through the process and it can take some time to be accepted, but it’s worth the wait.

Step Two: Look for Writing Jobs

Once you get in, go to the writing section and start looking at the jobs available. The first thing you’ll notice is that most of them pay virtually nothing. A buck or two for a long article. Don’t apply to those ones! You’re looking for the jobs that are actually worth taking.

You can sort the jobs with filters, so you only see the ones that offer a decent amount of money. That, however, seldom works because some businesses put a huge amount, like $1,000, but only offer $3 an article. The best method I’ve found is to simply spend some time scrolling through all the jobs. You’ll find plenty that are available and pay well enough to try for.

Step Three: Apply, Apply, Apply

Once you find a job you’re interested in, it’s time to start applying. you have a certain number of “connects” that you can use to apply. Most jobs require two connects, so you can run out. They refresh every month. However, for the first month, don’t worry too much about this. You should apply to at least 10 jobs to begin with.

When you apply, be sure to read the description very carefully. You’ll find that instructions are often included and most people will just respond with a copy and paste letter, which eliminates them. You’ll get a leg up on the competition by reading and following instructions.

A good example is when someone says they only want links to your previous work. Having a website of your own allows you to do this, or you can publish on sites like Medium. Another common instruction is to start the cover letter with a specific word or phrase. If you do this, you’re already ahead of the majority of applicants.

Next, you need to write a letter that is specific to the job. Comment on the actual job post. If the post mentions needing a meticulous, detail-oriented person, mention that you are very detail-oriented. You’ll also need to show some samples. If you’re just starting out, write samples specific to the niche the job is in.

Step Four: Complete a Job

So, you’ve dug through the garbage posts, found and applied for some jobs and now, you’ve landed one! What’s next?

Read through any information the client sent you and make sure you understand everything. If you don’t, it’s best to ask questions early on before you start working. You should know how long the project should be, which keywords will be used, if any, and what the client hopes to achieve with the information.

Next, write up your article and then go back over it to proofread. Make sure it’s the best it can be before sending it to the client for approval. They may come back with some changes and that’s fine.

Step Five: Get Paid

Once everything is done to their satisfaction, submit the job under My Jobs to get paid. (Some clients will just go ahead and release the money without this step)

The Upwork system for being paid can be pretty confusing. However, it’s actually fairly simple once you understand it. Here’s the process:

  1. Client hires you and deposits the money in escrow (like a holding account).
  2. You complete job and client releases the money.
  3. Upwork HOLDS the money for 6 days after the release.
  4. Money becomes available to withdraw (check under Reports tab).
  5. You withdraw the money to your desired account . . . Paypal and Payoneer are almost instant.

There are fees associated with the payments, but making money from home often comes at a bit of a cost. Upwork takes a whopping 20% of your first $500 earned with any one client. After you’ve been paid $500 by one client, the comission drops to 10%. Eventually, it can go down to 5%, but that’s only if you earn $10,000+ with the same client.

Making money from home is possible. I’ve seen many women go from being stay at home moms who are frustrated with their lack of income to work at home moms who can still enjoy their kids while bringing in some money. You can do it!

Need a little more help? My Start a Freelance Writing Business course starts August 1st, 2024, but you can get a massive discount if you enroll before July 15th!

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