How I Became A Full-Time Freelance Writer and Blogger

How I Became A Full-time Freelance Writer and Blogger

Photo Credit: thaikrit /

I make money as a writer.

Recently I have been able to look back and see a progression of failures and struggles that have led me to a life of writing.

I currently write full-time as a professional copywriter and I also make a nice bit of cash on the side with this blog.

It certainly wasn’t easy though, and I am by no means a famous writer with deep pockets. However, I do know one thing:

I am happy.

So how did I do it? Let me walk you through the steps I initially took to fight my way from the guy in a cubicle who squeezed in writing at night, to the guy who gets to wake up and hammer away at his keyboard all day long.

I called myself a writer

No one took me seriously until I started believing it myself. I kept assuming that I was an aspiring author or a struggling writer.

You’re a writer if you write, not if you are published or make money.

So I changed my email signature, told friends and family, built a resume and cover letter for sending out to clients and whenever someone asked me what I did, I would tell them this:

I’m a writer.

Not a marketing professional or that I worked at a software company, a writer.

I organized myself the same way a traditional company would

Winging it was my first inclination and that got me no where. It wasn’t until I limited my distractions, created an actual office space in my home and decided on various software for managing my clients and projects. It was only then that I started picking up steam.

I built a platform

Platform is a vague term that entails utilizing several forms of communication on the internet.

Building a platform can be hectic and create writer’s anxiety.

Therefore, when starting out I narrowed my focus to really dominate a handful of components in building my platform.

  • I developed a brand by choosing my name to market myself and created a simple logo so people would always recognize me.
  • I chose to use Twitter and Facebook as my primary social media platforms – This was important because it allowed me to focus and dominate in just a few areas.
  • I decided to post helpful articles, inspirational pictures, quotes and my own blog articles on social media. Nothing else is in my social media strategy, because I wanted to avoid wasting time thinking of new posts.
  • I built two websites, one for marketing my freelance copywriting services and Write With Warnimont.
  • I took the easiest, most professional route possible for website design – A self-hosted WordPress website built on the Genesis platform.
  • I integrated every distribution method I knew possible including RSS, an email list sign-up with a free eBook, social media and a simple SEO plugin through WordPress.

I connected with others

Writing and then expecting a paycheck is like running a race and expecting a medal.

You still have to beat out the others around you. For my freelancing career I initially started out with jobs on Don’t ever underestimate the power of sites like this. You may get frustrated with initial low paying gigs, but you are practicing your writing and it could lead to higher paying jobs.

I still have a handful of clients I initially found on and a few of them have referred me to friends or colleagues who were able to pay me even more money.

After that I turned to LinkedIn for more freelance jobs. Carol, over at, has always offered numerous resources and articles for how to effectively use LinkedIn for finding freelance jobs. I took her advice on looking at full-time job listings and then asking the employer if they would consider hiring a freelancer instead.

It worked wonders, as I received five of my current clients that way.

Finally, I decided to focus on a niche and only contact technology companies in the Chicago area to see if they would be interested in my freelance services. I probably received a 1-2% response rate with my first blast of emails, but after I customized each email for every unique company, that response rate increased to about 20-30%.

I also supplement my freelance income with some affiliate links on my Write With Warnimont site. In order to build traffic I had to connect with others. My traffic has steadily increased over the past year because of guest posting, interacting with other bloggers and maintaining distribution platforms like an email list and social media sites.

How have you made money with your writing? Let me know in the comments.

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About Joe Warnimont

I am a writer, marketing expert and adventure seeker. I help people write, market their writing, live truthfully and embrace their lives through creativity. You can find me riding my bike around the streets of Chicago. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus.


  1. Serenity de Clare says:

    This was something I needed to hear. This is twice today I have heard LinkedIn referenced for writers. I have seen it pop up in search results but know absolutely nothing about. I think hearing about it twice in one day is a sure sign that maybe I should check it out. Thanks again for this post. I have pinned it to my writing board on Pinterest and I will investigate it further this weekend. Have a good one ツ

  2. Hi Joe, thank you for writing this out for us. It sounds so simple but nobody ever lays it out that way.

  3. You make it sound easy, but you forgot to add in the perseverance. That is key and can be the killer in any job like this. I can relate, as I took similar steps and know call myself a “writer” as well. Thanks for the continued inspiration.

    • Good call Katherine. It makes it sound so simple when outlining the steps, but it takes great perseverance in every step of the process to become successful. Thank!

  4. I love writing. Do you thinks I write professionally enough? I pray it is not Christian mummy drivel.-ugh. I experience more and more freedom and joy as I write and doors are opening all the time, albeit not for money. eg. part of a book and requests for book reviews.

    BUT- Is there a market for me?

    I am a columnist for four well respected Catholic sites (non-paying),the 2nd most read reader on BrooWaha with a coumn beginning called Finding Inspiration, since Sept. 2012 with 76,000 reads, and automatically posted on three other Catholic sites

  5. Again, you hit the nail on the head. One of your gifts, Joe, is clarifying the steps that lead to success. It really does begin with deciding to be a writer, calling yourself a writer, and writing. The website needs content. We write. It really is as simple as finding out what people need written, showing them you can write to specifications, and delivering on time. It also helps to gracefully accept correction, and quickly fix and resubmit. Of course I’d love to be making money with my books, but they are labors of love, and hopefully I will get better at marketing them and my personal brand. Right now, it is just fine with me that I am making money with “labors of like.” I LIKE to write. The key is finding people who need and will pay for what I do well.

    • I’m sure you will start being able to market your labors of love better as you go along. Although, like you said there is nothing wrong with making money with labors of like. Thanks Susan!

  6. Thank you much for this article! They’re always so helpful and informative, really appreciative.

  7. “I called myself a writer
    No one took me seriously until I started believing it myself. I kept assuming that I was an aspiring author or a struggling writer.”

    Wow, I really needed to hear that today. Thanks.

  8. This was an encouraging read. Thank you.

  9. Hey Joe,

    You are right, until you believe it from inside that you can be a writer no one else would believe it. Though before jumping into freelance writing career, one should judge if it is the right call for them else they will end up losing interest in this field because being a freelance writer is not as easy as it sounds, there are hell lot of things to manage like self branding, judging the projects before accepting, constantly exploring the market for getting new and better paying projects, keeping quality along with the deadline and lot more.
    Yes, the best thing that you have done is getting connected with others. In most cases freelance writers ignore to socialize resulting to soon end up their career or getting stuck into writing jobs that pays peanuts.

    I really appreciate your journey of becoming a Freelance writer. Keep it up 🙂

  10. Thanks for sharing your story, Brian!

    I am new to the freelance writing game, but hustling and learning everyday.

    Your blog and support has helped me in my own quest to freelancing freedom!

  11. Well, that was easy. You’re exactly the type of blogger I hope to learn from, and you found me the very night I decided to take writing seriously 😉
    Thanks for the “like” – I’m still trying to figure WP out but I think I’m following your blog now.

  12. Your article has several helpful tips, confirming the steps I’ve recently taken.

  13. Lots of useful advice here. I shall be back for more.

  14. Forgot to say, Joe. Thanks for the ‘follow’.

  15. Thanks for taking the time to check out some of my creative output. I like this post of yours. It has me thinking about how I’ve kind of wasted my B.A. in Creative Writing when I spent 15 years as a chef. Lately, the muse seems to have returned, along with some experiences that, frankly, need to be written down to make any sense of…anyway, thank you for reading.

  16. I would like to thank you for the follow, to answer a question no I don’t make money writing. I have learned that in writing you must be careful of certain subjects, I have found there those powers to be pull together and say plainly.

    Many times I’ve got the meaning…

  17. Awesome article for writers! I’m sending this link to all social network feeds. Keep up the great work.

    And keep your pen busy….

    Alexander Kennedy.

  18. This is a very informative post. I enjoyed reading it and will refer to it for future use. Thanks.

  19. Sound advice. As much as I’d like to imagine myself as the right-brain driven author who writes only when inspired, I know that I’m more successful when I let my organized side in on the gig. I write YA/tween fantasy. My first book was a complete seat-of-the pants job and took 16 months to finish. I outlined it’s sequel and the first book in another series. Nothing formal, just a one page list of ideas and general cause-effect stuff. If necessary I would wander off of it, but I stayed true to its direction. The result, I finished two more books in less than a year. Only the first is available, but the other two are under contract and due out in June and September respectively. I’m convinced that a little structure is the key to my increased productivity. As for income, Stephen King once said that if you can pay your utility bill, you’re a writer. I may not be able to afford the winter heating bill yet, but I’ve earned a few royalty checks.

  20. Love the article. This could actually be a basis for a lot of self proclaimed professions!

  21. Great writing Joe and like the post. Thanks for the follow and will keep reading on with you.

  22. Great post. You make me believe that I can start getting paid for my writing. I’ll be checking in from time to time for tips.
    Thanks for the information.

  23. Good article. Enjoyed it.

  24. Great advice–motivational, reassuring, and practical!

  25. I really liked your article. I seriously want to pursue writing though I doubt if I would do it full time. Currently I’m aiming to write 3-4 blogs a week and see where it goes.

  26. Great Article. I would take up some of your suggestions

  27. thank you for your follow!

  28. I am also starting out, and it helps to know someone ‘made’ it…thanks for the encouragement

  29. Thanks, I am a newby at all of this and any advice is very helpful. I also saved the page with the wordpress tutorial! I am going to watch the video when I finish up my dayjob! I have a wordpress blog, but always feel like a ‘dummy’ when I am trying to figure it all out! I expect this to help out a bunch.

  30. Hi Joe,

    Thanks for signing up to follow my weblog. I am just starting out on my writing journey and appreciate the support. This is a great post. I love reading about other writers’ journeys. They always inspire me and encourage me to keep traveling on my own writing journey.

  31. The best thing I’ve ever done was to create my website! My website is the place I refer my clients to when I want to build trust and prove my commitment. Also, I’ve had continuous enquiries from clients who found about my writing services just by googling. I guess knowing a little about SEO is good too. After reading this entry, I’m intrigued to find out more about making money through my website through advertising. I’m also keen to share my experience and knowledge through an ebook, just like yours.

  32. Great post!!! Very encouraging!

  33. Very encouraging!

  34. A helpful and encouraging post!

  35. I’m so glad I came across this page, just the information i’ve been looking for. I’m sure i’ll refer to it a lot in the future!

  36. Thanks for the follow. This writer will call herself a writer from now on. Following back. Looking forward to reading more of your blog.

  37. Thanks for visiting my blog Joe. Without that, I wouldn’t have found your blog and your very helpful advice. At first, when I saw this blog title, I thought it was going to be another ‘funnel system’ type spiel. So thank you for this genuine advice! What’s great is that even though you talk about having to ‘beat out the competition’, you still have the confidence and generosity to let us know how it can be done. There may just be room for us all!

  38. motunrayo says:

    Wow this is really helpful just took a break from studying to read this, will definitely have to go through it again.Thanks for stopping by my blog,glad u did it helped me find you.

  39. Good advice. I noticed a shift the instant I started thinking of myself as a writer first.

  40. Joe,
    This was a very insightful article, and I’m very appreciative of the thought and effort put into it. Freelancing definitely has its challenges, and I’m starting in the illustration and design realm.

    I’m looking forward to your future work, and thank you for following my blog as well!


  41. Great post! I really enjoyed reading it and I agree, writing is a way of life. It’s your title and your job. If we aspire, we will always be aspiring to get there. If we are then we’ve already arrived. Love this!

  42. I’ve always been a writer, although, writing for me was/is always personal. Which is why i was (/am) hesitant to call myself one. You just made me realize that, calling yourself a writer doesn’t have anything to do with how good or bad i think i am at writing. If bad community theatre actors call themselves that with pride, no reason i have to be shy, yeah? So, thanks Joe [=

  43. I couldn’t believe it when I read these words:

    You’re a writer if you write, not if you are published or make money.

    One thing I noticed back in college, aspiring writers never say they are writers. Aspiring actors, on the other hand, always say they are actors. They may not get paid, don’t have a gig, make their money waiting tables, but will always define themselves as an actor. Writers tend to be less self-confident than that. Just today, talking about going back to work I was hesitant to say: I want to be a writer. I said something else instead.
    I need to heed your advice.
    A Writer

  44. Thanks for the clear, honest, information — and the follow. Cheerleading your continued success….

  45. There is some great info here. Writing a blog is one thing, but making money on one is entirely different, and you are in inspiration to us all. I am a professional technical writer, just entering my 33rd year in the business. In my spare time (when I have any), I like to make money by, well…writing. is a great place to start. The one thing that I have found that in order to achieve any success at all as a writer you have to be willing to commit to a lot of time. It takes lots of time to build up business. I have also found that you must not be too picky about what you write about. I once wrote an article about how to buy a used hay baler for a farm equipment website. If you work 8-12 hours a day at a regular writing job like I do, you will find that caffeine will be your best friend as you try your hand at freelancing.

    You have a great blog here…I certainly will be back.

  46. Hi Joe! Thanks for stopping by my blog! I would be interested in your feedback on my other blogs as well (listed on my “about” page). I’m new to the blogging scene, and am getting ready to publish my first novel; having said that, living in a non-English-speaking country and being an English writer, I feel quite isolated at times – getting feedback is like getting blood from stone sometimes. 🙂 Thanks for this article – encouraging to know there’s a way forward!

  47. Great post. I’m a little worried about marketing myself, but this post definitely outlines necessary steps to become successful. I hope I can follow your advice.

  48. Undoubtedly, great! post by you. I personally found this post very helpful in order to do any kind of improvement required to do in writing. Big thanks!

  49. I agree with everything you’ve said here Joe – but particularly your first point about calling yourself a writer. I once wrote a post listing 30 reasons why one might fail at becoming a freelance writer and number 3 on the list was ‘You don’t tell people that you’re a writer when they ask what you do; instead you tell them about your other job.’

    It’s so important to get in the right mind frame – everything else is just a matter of hard work, patience and a dash of marketing savvy!

    Great post – thanks for sharing.

  50. Thanks for the post. I think I need to rethink my office area as well.

  51. Inspiring! I have a long way to go, but will start my journey with… I am a writer! Thanks

  52. i want to empty my mind and plant it into the earth. are you a farmer or farmers helper

  53. This made me smile. I shall re-read it more thoroughly and take some more notes, but I’m in the “I’m a writer” stage starting to set myself up properly.

    Very useful stuff! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  54. I really like your comment “You are a writer if you write…” But of course people always ask how many books you’ve sold, as though money validates you as a writer! So that self-belief is important.

  55. First of all, thank you for following 1950 Suburban Adventures. Much appreciated.
    Second, thanks for the great advice, written in a straight-forward, easy to understand manner. It took me a month to get the kinks out of my wordpress blog and figure out how to set the menu system up like a book – with chapter titles and stories within each chapter. I didn’t want scrolling posts on my home page, which would have been soooo easy. I didn’t figure out links to related posts until a couple weeks ago. Perseverance is definitely the key.
    One of my posts is listed below my comment here, and it’s checked. Because I’m new, I don’t know how it got here, and hope it doesn’t mess you up.

  56. You are an inspiration! I’ve spent the past year learning the ins and outs of freelance writing, building clients, gaining experience, and planning. Right or wrong, I’m taking a sabbatical from teaching for a year to focus on my writing career. It’s scary-I’m married with four children and we have bills to pay-but I’ve never been happier than I am now. Some days I know I’ve made the right decision; other days I worry that playing it safe would have been best. THANK YOU for showing me that it can be done!

  57. Great article! I especially loved the tips on utilizing sites like and reaching out to employers on LinkedIn. I am going to give both a try!

    Thanks for sharing!

  58. Hi Joe,
    Glad you popped by me post cause now I can follow yours which I find very inspiring. Me and Rosie are would-be-writers but we tend to get carried away with side stuff to do with psychic particles, as you know. We look forward to reading more of your posts.

  59. Thanks for following my blog, Joe. You have an extremely impressive website of your own with some extremely helpful (and, in my experience, spot-on) tips for writers.

  60. Joe,
    Thanks, I really enjoyed this post! Thanks for sharing your story and journey. I look forward to reading more from you in the coming days. I am fairly new to the freelance writing experience and need help navigating the ins and outs. Looking forward to connecting. Thanks for liking one of my posts.

  61. Thanks for the follow, Joe.

  62. Frances Gibbs says:

    Thank you for following my blog, I like you love writing and you are never too old to enjoy it. I have a friend who’s 91 and still writing, she has 20 books published under her belt. So keep on slogging as we do if you love as we do.

  63. Frances Gibbs says:

    Check out my new blog today

  64. Great info, Joe! Thanks for the follow!

  65. Thank you for following my blog, Joe. I appreciate it. I’m glad you did, because I might not have otherwise come across your blog. I enjoyed this post. I’ve struggled with the concept of calling myself a writer because I’m just out of college–as an English major, but I’ve never quite felt like I have the credentials to call myself a full-fledged writer. Reading your post reminds me that I need to have the courage and the confidence to call myself a writer before anyone else will take me seriously as one. It’s always been an ambition of mine to one day be a freelance writer, but I’ve never known exactly how to go about doing that, so your blog and your posts are helpful to me (as I’m sure they are to other writers who are still trying to figure this out, too). Thank you.

    • I’m glad I could help Maddie. It’s tough coming straight out of college and trying to get started, but the sooner you commit all your energy to it, the quicker things will start to fall into place. Thanks for stopping by!

  66. Great advice. I have bits and bobs of writing work that comes in but what I’d really like to do is up my game with creative writing. I really haven’t though of myself as a professional creative writer before, but I guess there’s no way I will be until I start believing I am! hadn’t thought about creating a logo – that’s a nice touch, makes the abstraction of writing more visual. Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences and successes.

  67. Wow! A strategy for writing – it just never occurred to me. You’ve given me a lot to think about. Thanks Joe.

  68. Joe, I just read your e-book and must tell you that you have the gift. Thank you for visiting my site. I hope you don’t mind that I’d added you to my blogroll because you are among the rare voices I want to hear again.

    I’ve been freelancing since 2002, but didn’t abandon cubicle-dwelling until I was in my 40s. I’d been writing all my life and considered myself a writer, but always had a W-2 fallback and would tell people, “I’m a manager, but I write on the side.”

    Once I stripped away the soul-sucking corporate job, leaving myself no description but, “I’m a writer,” it STILL took me a while be comfortable with it, even after I was earning a living.

    Even now, when people realize I’m not a novelist, they think (and sometimes even say), “Well, you do business writing, you’re not a REAL writer.”

    As if some words are more worthy than others. Idiots.

    Anyway, with your tech savvy, drive, and masterful command of language, you can’t fail. I’m now a Warnimont subscriber (and perhaps a kindred spirit in having one of those “W” names people always mess up). I’ll be following you and cheering you on.

  69. Nice to see a fellow Chicagoan doing well. Thanks for the tips. I recently published “The Floating Man” a mystery thriller set in the past and present, and am finding out that marketing it is a full-time job. I recently joined LinkedIn, but really don’t grasp the potential yet.

  70. Have you seen the movie, Jerry McGuire? In the movie the football player just wants to play football. This means he has to have “people” to do the work he doesn’t have time for, or cannot understand. I’m envious of his incredibly intelligent wife and agent who do all the important paperwork and decision making for him, so all he has to do is focus on playing football.

    Yeah, I’m like him. I need people around me willing to work for me. I just want to write, but just writing doesn’t pay the bills and I can’t hire anyone to do what you’ve outlined above, yet. When I can, I’m so there! Thanks for reminding me that even though my blog has only been around for four months, I have stuff to do. I must become someone I’m not in order to leave my preschool job and write full-time. I have a lot to do, none of which excites me.

    Just when I was beginning to figure out words like blog, widget, Twitter, pingback, and Gravatar, I end up two, three, possibly even more times a day randomly reading posts similar to yours. This is a problem because they, which includes you, use big words like, freelance, editor, Genesis platform, RSS, LinkedIn and a whole bunch more, all which intimidate me. Frankly, it sends me into an even deeper research mode. I know it’s sad. I first need to try and figure out what all that important stuff means and how to do it.

    Thanks for following my blog today. In turn, I came to your page. Wow, I guess I should get to work first in my dictionary. Learning how to make money writing is all I think about, but so much of what I need to do is completely foreign to me and even though it’s linked to writing, it isn’t going to come easily. I just want to write. See, we’re back to the football player analogy again.

    I know its time to listen, but the work ahead is daunting. However, I’m smart enough to understand that it’s truly the key to ditching preschool kids.

    Thanks for your version. Your’s was the best. Lucky Duck!

  71. Thanks for this! It is always so great to hear from other writers who are climbing the same hill or fighting the same battle, so to speak.
    However, what an amazing battle! What better than doing what you love and getting paid for it!?
    I have been a self-proclaimed writer for seven years (what a ride!). I have just recently entered into the blogging world. Of course, I’ve done a lot of blogging for clients, but now I want to have my own place to call home. I’m wondering if you could lend your skilled eyes to our blog and provide some much-needed tips?

  72. Great post! This is very helpful to writers everywhere. Thank you

  73. Thanks for following my blog. I look forward to getting into your site and have a read.
    Thanks again, and be well.

  74. I’ve been wondering how to begin a writing career, and you’ve provided me with a jump start. Thank you for visiting and following my blog.

  75. I am currently an insurance agent full time, but on the side I make money writing for Textbroker. The payouts are small (1-8 dollars per article) but it is good practice like I will be checking that out. Thanks

  76. This is awesome and extremely inspiring. As someone who is a fellow writer and has recently started a blog,I really needed to hear this. Sometimes, it’s difficult to stay focused and motivated when you’re just starting out, but it takes persistence. I definitely will be working on getting into guest blogging as well.

  77. TransformingMommy says:

    This is a very helpful post! Thanks for sharing what you have learned on your journey. I love the point about calling yourself a writer!

  78. jill_friedman says:

    Hi Joe,
    Thanks for stopping by my blog (Capt Jills Journeys), I’m fairly new to this and so I appreciate you deciding to follow me. I’m impressed with what you’ve managed to do here. You’re making a lot of good things happen! 🙂

    • Thanks for dropping a line Jill. It looks like you’re well on your way to something worthwhile. Good luck and feel free to shoot me a message if you need any help. 🙂

  79. Steeve Ave says:

    Thanks for Sharing Your Information.this is very useful information

    Freelance Web Designing in Hyderabad

  80. Thanks for sharing your information and experiences. I always look forward to your updates and it gives me inspiration to keep trying!

  81. Hi, nice to meet you. I’ve made money from my writing, but not nearly enough! LOL FYI, watch for a special invite from me…