How to Become a Successful Freelance Writer like Anna Codrea-Rado

    How to Become a Successful Freelance Writer like Anna Codrea-Rado

    A lot of individuals consider throwing in the employee-company towel and creating their own business. 

    One of the fastest-growing self-employment opportunities out there is becoming a writer. A job that allows you to work on your own time limits, work from virtually anywhere with access to the internet, and demand your own salary.

    Although it may sound too good to be true, this is a very real chance for those who want to make strides in their self-employment.

    Ever dream of Becoming a Freelance Writer or Copywriter? Lacking Inspiration and don’t know where to start? Read the story of Anna Codrea-Rado and get inspired! After that, we’ll share some tips to start your own freelance writing business and find freelance writer opportunities

    Anna Codrea-Rado’s Story

    Journalist, freelance writer, and talk show host Anna Codrea-Rado has a variety of talents. Reputable publications and journals, like the New York Times, the Guardian, BBC, Wired, the Paris Review, New York Magazine, the Atlantic, Refinery29, Vice, etc., have published her writing. She writes on tech, culture, and entrepreneurship.

    But before this, Anna had lost her job and totally hit rock bottom, struggling with imposter syndrome, anxiety, and other stressful situations.

    Today she offers her advice to young freelancers through a newsletter with over 15,000 readers and also vocalizes freelancers' rights.  Anna started the #FairPayForFreelancers movement in 2019. The movement demands that the industry pay its freelancers more equitably, properly, and quicker. Anna began the Freelancer Salary Gap project in 2020 to monitor pay differences for independent workers.

    How did she do it?

    Anna has a thorough experience in the freelancing field so much so, she can’t remember what it feels to be an office employee, “In the beginning, working for myself was a shock to the system, but now I can’t remember what it was like going into an office every day.” 

    Interestingly, Anna is the author of You’re the Business: How to build a successful career when you strike out alone, where she describes her story to young writers looking to work for themselves. She also has a newsletter where she writes on different topics revolving around her career and day-to-day.

    Productivity Is a Rocky Road

    A typical day for Anna to succeed looks like it runs from 6 AM to 5 PM. Her participation in Writer's Hour, a virtual writing session with more than 200 writers from across the world, is one of her secrets to success. Creating routines and beginning the idea-generation process early on in the day, according to her, are effective. She also employs the "deep work theory," which refers to the capacity to concentrate only on a mentally taxing activity while employing the Pomodoro technique. This is working in chunks; she takes a break in between her writing and gives her mind a break. She uses background music to help her focus as she writes.

    An important thing to implore as a writer is to take your lunch breaks away from your desk. When she worked in New York City, Anna walked around Manhattan and took in the fresh air from the street. 

    Although freelancers are allowed to establish their own hours and work whenever they want (even through the night), Anna has a rigorous deadline of 5 PM since she works best in the morning. Being a self-described workaholic, Anna feels bad leaving her desk at 5 PM, but she understands there is a limit to juggling work and life.

    Perhaps, the best advice Anna has written about is that there are many different ways to streamline your writing process. She states, “There are two main skills I need to be good at this job: writing and organisation.” The wrong thing to do is to think writing faster is better. She quotes Melissa Febo who says, “Do you want to be known for your writing, or for your swift email responses?” As amusing as it is, Anna pushes the idea of creativity being a chaotic process and that you must trust this process.

    Paychecks and Transparency 

    In her blog “A day in the life of a newsletter writer,” she talks about her productivity and some behaviors she implements to get the most out of her freelancing job.

    Anna‘s wage was roughly €55,000 before starting freelance, When she began freelancing her wage was €47,000. She wants writers to understand that there are obstacles in their way of achievement, thus she is quite open about her pay grade. Her candor regarding her compensation illustrates how different success is for a freelancer and an employee of an organization. One of the things Anna is vocal about is her paycheck. She doesn’t worry about finding work but rather, about receiving paychecks. It's hard to find reliable clients and that is what makes her job more hectic. 

    Moreover, A freelancer needs to find diverse jobs for oneself and rely on several sources of money to get by. They can also face writer‘s block which is a struggle because their primary source of income.

    Nevertheless, she does get paid doing what she loves:

    “I pretty much work the same, if not more, hours I did in regular employment; I probably take less time off, and I definitely spend more time worrying about work than I used to. And yet, on aggregate, I’m still happier overall for some reason.”

    --- Anna Codrea-Rado in “What's become easier about freelancing – and what hasn't” 

    Anna Codrea-Rado’s Perspective On Writing 

    It has been over four years since Anna Cordrea-Rado became a freelance writer alongside publishing her book and starting her podcast. Her perspective on freelance writing has changed a whole lot going from working as a journalist in newspaper firms to working for herself. 

    She compares writing to moving a house since it frequently results in sitting on the floor, surrounded by boxes and a jumble of clothing, but after a cup of tea and some rearranging about, everything is neatly packed away.

    Anna discovered that authors have a love-hate connection with the act of writing. Although it may be your passion, it is essentially only a cognitive challenge that might be taxing. On most days, she feels exhausted but yet finds comfort in and familiarity with the field. She has a large network of freelance colleagues who would support her writing efforts rather than being her competitors as they would be in a traditional employment.

    Even while everyone tells you that working from home and on your own schedule is the dream, there are undeniably emotional difficulties that come with being a freelancer. The good news is that Anna recognizes her calling as a writer as a result of all of this. She has discovered a genuine chance to embrace who she is and utilize her voice to further discourse on differing ideas as a writer. She advocates for rights and movements that support minorities and struggling individuals in her field. She has found it simpler to manage her freelancing ever since she discovered a purpose for her writing.

    To leave the readers with words of inspiration from Anna herself, “Your purpose as a writer can’t come from what you do or any one opportunity. It can only come from who you are.”

    Freelance Writing Quick Facts

    • Industry estimates indicate that the global freelancing business is valued $1.5 trillion and growing at a CAGR of 15%. In the USA alone, there are approximately 70.4 million freelancers.
    • According to Statista, the five richest authors in the world between June 2018 and June 2019 earned a combined $235 million.
    • According to Elna Cain’s, a freelance writer and coach with over 20,000+ successful clients, survey of over 530 freelance writers, the top three markets for freelance writing are lifestyle, SaaS/eCommerce, and digital marketing.

    How to Become A Freelance Writer

    Interested or inspired, yet? If you are and you have no writing background, we are here to share how to make a living writing! Or, if you do have exceptional writing skills, you can follow along and see how you can launch your career as a freelance writer.

    Choose a Subject

    Freelance writing can entail a variety of subject matters so you have to decide what interests you the most. If you have a science background, medical writing might be for you. Software companies are also searching for writers to help write blogs and articles about the latest updates in tech if that is your forte. If you simply want to blog about home and lifestyle, advertise as such. The whole point of writing is to enjoy it. And remember it isn’t just about being able to produce grammatically correct work--it is about connecting with an audience and reaching out to their emotional and logical appeal. You want to keep readers interested. So, choose a field of writing that you will remain excited about in the long term.

    No experience? No problem?

    If you have no experience as a freelance writer, you can do mock work. Mock work is what it sounds like--made up! But that is just fine as it is a way to show brands and potential clients that you have what it takes to be a writer. You can create mock news articles, landing pages, advertisements, and more to practice your skills and display them in a portfolio. If you are having trouble coming up with prompts you can use the website Sharpen. Sharpen creates project prompts for 21 distinct categories that encourage analytical reasoning, creativity, and inventiveness. Sharpen is mostly used by product designers but for the generated ‘brands,’ you can create web pages and advertisements. However, to be a freelance writer, you should also focus on your nonfiction writing skills. Hone your researching skills by taking note of reliable resources and learning how to cite them. To do this, use Google Trends. Google Trends is a tool that tracks the most popular Google Search terms across various geographies and linguistic groups. Choose a popular topic and write on it.

    Alternatively, all those essays you thought weren’t going to add up to anything in highschool can be edited and configured to display your skills in language and diction!

    Display Your Work 

    Perhaps the most important part is to take all your mock and real work to display them professionally on an online portfolio. This implores you to either create a website through Wordpress, Canva, Wix, and more or, create a Google Drive folder in which you have stored all your work. The website and folder must be readable by a link which will not only be included at the heading of your resume but also on any website or platform you choose to advertise.

    Make use of Social Media and other Networking Sites 

    Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn are great ways to advertise yourself. You can upload photos of your writing and link your website. Through these sites you are able to build a community of individuals seeking out your skills. The tricky part is breaking in algorithms. We suggest keeping up with trendy hashtags and topics, write short snippets on those and posting them on your page. Make use of reply buttons and post daily stories to update your followers on your writing journey.

    Make a Fiverr and Upwork Account

    The online marketplace Fiverr is open to users worldwide. Fiverr links freelancers with individuals or companies wanting to recruit. An excellent starting point for newcomers to internet freelancing is Fiverr. However, you would first need to establish a reputation. This means advertising yourself professionally and making your profile stand out. What is something unique you offer that others don’t? 

    We do want to add that Fiverr is more for one-time or short term gigs. If you are looking for a long term solution, Upwork is the place for you. Upwork allows you to offer more variable projects to people and is based on free membership.

    Learn the ins and outs of one before you engage with the other as managing both for a beginner can be difficult. 

    Everything Worth It Comes With a Challenge--So, Keep Your Head Up! 

    Every freelancer encounters difficulties while starting a fresh venture. Lack of employment is arguably the largest obstacle a freelancer must overcome. This happens when starting out as you’re new to the field and you haven’t got enough reputation for clients to start hiring you and at the same time, you’re trying to build your reputation but again, no one wants to hire you!

    Build up your credibility. Focus on producing a few standout samples of work and showcasing your superior abilities instead of worrying about having a portfolio full of notable names. Additionally, you should look for work at your local shops and the places of employment of your relatives or friends so you may amass a variety of experiences and showcase them.

    The best course of action is to create the ideal pitch and send out cold emails to companies and editors. Alternatively, you might submit an application for a freelance position on Indeed, where several companies are seeking to employ a content writer for their website or marketing firm. You must also familiarize yourself with the fundamentals of marketing for them. You can accomplish this by reading marketing-related materials and searching up guides.

    Time management is another issue you could encounter. This is what occurs when you actually obtain clients and find it difficult to balance all of your obligations with the job that you have planned. Managing your time can be difficult when it comes to any job and staying inspired as a writer is perhaps the biggest problem that contributes to this. Set a rule: if you're just starting out, give yourself a break every hour or 30 minutes. Additionally, make a list of your top priorities and get rid of everything that could be a distraction.

    Unreliable clients are another problem that challenges freelancers. Some customers make unreasonable requests and eventually withdraw. Or they can refuse to pay you even after you have completed half the task. But try not to worry yourself! This problem can be avoided if you set up a system that binds them to you like taking an advance payment or half. When you first start out, make sure you are aware of your limits and that you are not required to accept every job. When you want to keep getting work, it's easy to give in, but you should know your worth and only work with dependable clients.

    Part-time and full-time Salary 

    According to Indeed, The average salary for a freelance writer is $22.17 per hour in the United States with Las Vegas, New York, Los Angeles, and Phoenix is among the top-paying cities. ZipRecruiter also lists the yearly salary for a freelance writer as $68,691 per year or $33.02 an hour. This is if you are working full-time and have a set income ready for you. However, your salary can go above and beyond this based on what you are asking for or be a bit lower if you choose to work part-time. 

    Freelancing is all about sourcing multiple streams of income from various businesses. The more clients you bring in, the more pay you get. The race for a high income can be tempting, however, we don’t recommend you tire yourself out in your first month or two of working.


    1. What is freelance writing?
      A writer who works independently is referred to as a freelancer. They can blog, generate material for a fresh campaign, or write for magazines and even technical writing to create social media postings to boost a company's following.
    2. How to be a freelance writer?
      The best methodology to use in order to become a freelancer is to research the field you want to write for, understand grammar, writing style, and tone, create a professional portfolio website or folder, and market your writing on various platforms.
    3. How much does a freelance writer make?
      For freelance writers, ZipRecruiter reports hourly pay ranges from $5.29 to $79.33, the bulk of freelance writers in the US presently make between $18.03 and $37.50 per hour. However, this may vary if you decide to take up more jobs.
    4. How to become a freelance writer with no experience?
      You can start practicing writing and create “mock” tasks to develop your skills and add to your portfolio. Create newspaper reports, ads for your favorite food place, write for a friend, etc.
    5. How to start a copywriting business?
      You should make sure you understand the ins and outs of copywriting as well as design a plan to become an excellent copywriter in addition to setting prices and creating an online portfolio. This entails studying guides and honing your copywriting skills.

    Lisa R.Hanger

    Lisa R Hanger is a successful content writer whose experience ranges from blogs, articles, journals and more. Starting off her career as an academic writer after graduating in linguistics from the University of Virginia. She honed her skills in rhet...