Freelancing 101: Answering The Frequently Asked Questions

digital fashion


While many bloggers dream to eventually make a living off of their handwork put into their fashion blogs, sometimes you need to make ends meet by picking up another job. One way of flexing your writing muscle while working from home (and making dough!) is by freelance writing. Now, I'm warning you, freelance writing is NOT for the faint of heart. You will be waiting for paychecks. You will have to pitch yourself over and over. You will have to struggle before you build up a steady work flow. But if done well, it can be a manageable supplement income to go along with your blogging career.

I've personally experienced both ends of the spectrum as an editor and freelance writer, and therefore deem myself a credible perspective. Based off of my personal experience (for multiple outlets), here's my advice about freelance blogging:

– How much do freelance bloggers charge?

Freelance bloggers can charge anywhere between $0 to $3,000 a post, depending on the length, the type of publication and so on. Realistically, many digital publications are only paying somewhere between $15 and $75 an article, with a few in the $100 to $150 range.

– Can you make freelance blogging a full time job?

Yes! But lest you be warned, it's not easy. There's a lack of structure in freelance work, so it requires a personality with self-motivation. You have to be able to sit down and work on your own accord, without a boss hawking you.

– What are editors looking for when hiring a freelancer?

They are looking for someone who can fit in with their voice, perspective, and overall tone. Someone who can stay on deadline with minimal fussiness, someone who does not need to be asked to make a change or edit more than once, and someone who is reliable. Remember, most editors are are responsible for keep track of a slew of writers, freelancers, photographers, and interns.

– How do I pitch an idea?

There's two kinds of freelancing; sometimes you will be assigned topics, and other times you will have to pitch your original ideas to an editor. So, how do you pitch yourself? First you want to start by coming up with a few ideas that you feel you could confidently report on and write them down. Next, find blogs that you think would be interested in the idea. Shoot the editor a clear and concise email with your ideas and why you think it would be a good fit for the blog. Remember, you may get a few no's or you may have editors that will want to tweak the idea — be flexible and absorb the constructive criticism, it may take a few tries before you find someone interested.

– How much time do I get to write an article?

Again, this is a case by case basis, but most often the editor will discuss the editorial calendar with you. Most of the time it will be at minimum a week, maximum a month (again depending on the article and publication).

– How do I get paid?

Sometimes you will need to sign a contract with the blog or publication indicating the stipulations and rate. One thing you will need to do is send over an invoice after you're article has been sent in. This usually consists of your name, address, the article title, the link, the date, the rate, and any other specific information they may request.

– How do you get hired over someone who will do the same job at a lower rate?

Prove yourself worthy. Make sure you have examples of your best writing on hand to show the editor, usually two or three examples will be sufficient. Also, you should try to upkeep your blog as much as possible — why would an editor want to hire a freelance blogger that doesn't regularly blog? Writing is a muscle, keep it in shape!

– How do I find a topic of expertise to pitch?

Finding a subject you are good at writing about sounds harder than it really is. Where do you live? Where do you go? What do you do in your free time? What books to you read? Where do you travel to? Writing about things you know well is much easier than starting blindly. For instance, if you've been summering in Montauk for three years, perhaps you could find a blog that would be interested in the changes you've seen over the years, or perhaps an analysis of the fashion there, or a round up of the beaches (you see where I'm going with this?).

– How do you tackle topics you don't know much about?

Research. Research. Research. And no Wikipedia allowed. Pick up the phone and call the people who matter to the subject, send them emails, visit the places. Even when you are on deadline, you should do everything you can to learn about the topic so that you can write about it successfully.

– How do you keep up with all the different deadlines?

A calendar! One that you check everyday.

In a nutshell, know that you will have to work late nights sometimes, and yes, sometimes you will have writer's block and have to cancel plans to finish an article. But if you put the time into it, it can be a flexible supplement career for a fashion blogger.

[Image credit: Shutterstock]


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17 Responses

  1. MJ

    These are really great tips! I’ve started freelancing on the side and yeah, sometimes it can be really challenging. However, I love the fact that you can control the work you do and have a great time doing it too! Also I found that having a media kit for my blog really helps because it keeps all the samples of my work in one place when a potential client asks for it.

  2. Margo

    Awesome tips. I work a full-time job and freelance for several print and digital publications in addition to managing my blog, and it’s so rewarding. Every cancelled night on the town and sleepless night is worth it because I can look through my portfolio and have tangible reminders of my accomplishments. There was once a time when I thought I would never be published and I’ve been fortunate enough to write for magazines that I grew up reading! I still have my eyes on other glossies, so these tips will definitely come in handy!

  3. beautifulfall

    Great article. I have been working as a freelance writer in college and I often go through many of these situations, but this went into more depth then I have dealt with yet. Can’t wait to see what the future brings now that I have these guidelines to follow by!

  4. Ashe @ Ash in Fashion

    Wonderful tips, IFB! I’ve often thought about freelancing more if my schedule would permit it, and so it’s really wonderful to see these tips. I know my time writing for IFB taught me so much (much of what you mentioned above), so it’s great to see that those skills and needs translate through freelancing as a whole.

  5. Emiko Vaughn

    Great article! I just recently started my first freelancing job and would love to get into more and this article definitely helped prep me for what else is out there. Thanks for sharing!

  6. birdie

    I started as a fashion blogger and now have a long-term contract as a freelancer for a Social Media/Marketing/Web company. It’s awesome. It’s also hard – you have to set your own schedule, and not having to show up at an office can be challenging. These are great tips – and the media kit suggestion in the comments is something every blogger needs to address.

  7. MissMikelah

    These are great tips, it’s def a struggle to balance full time work, blog and freelancing but it’s great to see your work published.

  8. Elizabeth M

    Thanks for the tips. I’ve been thinking some about the idea of freelancing. I’m not sure if it would be a good idea or not for me, but articles like this very helpful.

  9. Bethany Greenwood

    As good as these tips are it would also be useful to know how you get into free-lance writing as it is definitely something I want to do I just don’t where to start.