What is a Freelance Writing Business?

Dan Cavallari

A freelance writing business is a business that is owned and/or run by an individual who writes content for a variety of outlets. The freelance writer often gets paid on a job-by-job basis, though some freelance writers sign contracts with particular businesses or websites to develop content on an ongoing basis. A freelance writing business can be set up in several ways to accommodate a particular writer's needs, though in most cases, the writer offers his or her services to several business entities to develop content, write specific documents, or perform other writing and editing tasks a business or other entity may require.

A freelance writer performs a variety of writing tasks.
A freelance writer performs a variety of writing tasks.

Often, only one person runs or owns a freelance writing business, though this is not always the case. A freelance business can employ other writers and have them work on large projects, or several writers can work for a freelance writing business and get assigned specific work according to their talents. Most commonly, however, a freelance writer owns his or her own business and works independently. The projects he or she chooses to take on can vary significantly according to the writer's talents and goals, though most end up developing content of some sort for print or web resources.

A freelance writing business may provide filler pieces for magazines.
A freelance writing business may provide filler pieces for magazines.

Other freelance work may include editing services, in which the freelance writing business takes on a client who needs a document proofread, edited, or otherwise revised. Some writers act as ghostwriters as well, in which the writer will develop content but will not receive writing credit for the work. Freelance writers may write product descriptions in catalogs, content pages for websites, articles and essays for magazines, news content for websites, newspapers, and television news stations, and a variety of other types of content.

Freelance writing jobs often allow writers to work from home.
Freelance writing jobs often allow writers to work from home.

Freelance writers are most often self-employed, which means they must work as independent contractors. An independent contractor will work for a set period of time and a predetermined cost for another company who needs content developed or other writing services done. The writer must often then submit an invoice to the company who has hired him or her, and the company will then pay out the set amount. In many cases, this payment is untaxed, which means the writer will need to pay those taxes quarterly or at the end of the year when he or she reports this income. If a writer signs a contract with a company for a long-term project, that company may consider the writer an employee and may take out taxes rather than pay the writer as an independent contractor.

Freelance writers might work on articles to be included in textbooks.
Freelance writers might work on articles to be included in textbooks.

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Discussion Comments


@Mor - I always try to take into consideration the fact that freelance writing allows me to work from home and at convenient times. I could probably be earning more if I was working a regular job, but I'm pretty happy doing this.

It does pay to be cautious and not put all your eggs in one basket though. Freelance writing companies seem to come and go very easily.


@pleonasm - There is a difference between a scam and a low paying gig though and everyone has to decide where they are going to draw the line. In some cases you do have to do a few free or low paying articles in order to have something to show and get better jobs later on. The question to ask yourself is whether you're better off putting a finished product on your own blog.

Also, sometimes freelance writing rates that are somewhat low are much easier and faster to research and develop than ones that are paid more highly by word.


Joining a freelance writing business can be a great opportunity for a writer, but please be careful you don't join a scam site, or one that is exploitative. Make sure they have been in business for a while, that they are respected in the industry (believe me, if they have any kind of reputation, the internet will know about it), that they pay on time and that they pay enough. Don't get involved with anyone who says that they will pay you ad revenue (unless they are an extremely popular and established site) or that your compensation is a byline and 'possibly more at a later date'.

This can be a real job, but it's a job that a lot of people are eager to do and that always means you have to be extra cautious that no one will take advantage of you.

That goes triple for freelance creative writing sites, because in my experience those are almost always scams.

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