1. How much money can I expect to make?
To be perfectly honest, your earning potential is unlimited. The amount of money you can earn as a freelance writer depends on how much time you spend writing, your turnaround time, and how much you charge (if you're working with private clients or bidding websites). Writers who have more than one "egg" in their nest of freelance writing opportunities have the potential to earn more than those who rely on one source alone.
2. How many hours per week will I need to work?
As with your earning potential, the amount of hours you'll need to work depends on your turnaround time. It also depends on how much money you need to make.
Let's say you have 10 assignments, all worth $50 each. If you want to earn $500 per week, you'd need to complete all of those writing jobs by the week's end. While it may take one person 40 hours to complete all 10 assignments, it may only take you 25 hours.
Complexity of the topic, typing speed, and how much research is needed are all factors that will affect your turnaround time.
3. Where can I find high-paying freelance writing jobs?
Unless you have a degree in journalism or English, your chances of finding a high-paying writing job right off the bat are slim to none. Before seeking out the best jobs, you'll want to have something to show potential clients. Start a blog, fill it with relevant content, and some of your best work. That way, when you apply for writing positions, you can reference your blog as previously published work.
Once you have established yourself a bit, you can start seeking out jobs through sites such as Elance, Guru, Freelancer.com, and Writtent. Alternatively, you could check job listings on websites like Craigslist and ProBlogger's Job Board.
A few other websites worth mentioning that pay fairly well are Constant-Content (you set your price) and Demand Media.
4. Do I need a degree to become a freelance writer?
Not necessarily. However, those with a degree in journalism or English find that they have somewhat of an advantage over novices, especially when just starting out in the freelance writing industry.
5. What are some of the different ways freelance writers earn money?
In the digital age, there are so many different ways to earn money, and freelance writers are taking advantage of that. Today, freelance writers are not only making money by completing assignments and working on projects with clients, but also by selling e-books, advertising on their own personal blogs, and even attending webinars and offering their expertise.
6. How do I write a query letter?
A query letter is an incredibly important part of being a freelance writer. If you're not familiar with query letters, it's a proposal of sorts that you send to magazines or other publications in order to "sell" yourself to receive paid assignments or land writing gigs. The best way to write a query letter is in business-letter format with a lead paragraph discussing what you're proposing, a description of the focus of the content (as well as format, sources, angle, etc.) that you'd be willing to write, and finally, information about yourself and why you're the guy (or gal) for the job. Anything else they may need to know may also be included, such as your standard turnaround times, whether or not you'll be providing photos with the piece, and so on.
Oh, and please check your spelling, grammar, punctuation, and usage when pitching a publication. There is nothing worse than someone applying for a writing position who has made serious errors in their query.
7. How can I increase my success as a freelance writer?
Read! That's my advice, anyway. The more you read, the more you familiarize yourself with new words and new ways of writing. If you write in a particular niche, read articles from some of the best writers in your niche. Who knows? You may learn something.
Another way to increase your success as a freelance writer is by remaining consistent and always producing high-quality content for your clients. The better work you provide, the more likely your clients are to recommend you to others. Finally, be honest. If you can't turn a project around in a specified timeline, then say so.
8. Should I build a portfolio?
Absolutely! A writing portfolio is an excellent way to showcase your skills, expertise, and previous work. It's perfect for referencing in your writing resume, or even in query letters.
For more information on freelance writing, please check out Freelance Lady's Freelance Writing tips, as well as our tips on blogging.