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How do freelance writers get paid?

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So you want to become a freelance writer. It’s time to use your writing skills. Now the important question: how do freelance writers get paid?

You know how writers for companies get paid. Most of them are on salaries, and they’re told what to write. Those who aren’t on salaries are paid by the hour.

Things are different for freelancers. There is the benefit of controlling our own hours, but we have to trade that for finding consistent work. It can be nerve-wracking, especially at first until we build up a client base.

It’s not always clear how writers work. It can be hard to find out how freelance writers get paid. This isn’t just about how to set rates, but the systems used to get the money into the bank.

Revenue share vs. pay-per-word vs. pay-per-project

There are a few ways that freelance writers get paid. One of those is through revenue share.

I have this option for my entertainment journalist. I write a set amount of articles each month and I’m paid by the view. It often means looking for trending topics, ones that people are searching for on Google. The more views I get, the more I get paid.

I love this way of getting paid. It can mean a post is constantly making me more money. I’ve had one post make me upward of $2,000 and it is still going. I wouldn’t have got that had I settled for a flat rate.

However, I can’t always rely on revenue share. I do have clients who pay by the word or by the project. I tend to have a set rate for certain word counts. It’s just the way that works the best for me. Not all clients are going to pay me the same amount, even if they want the same word count. It depends on where my expertise is and how much research I’ll need to do.

How freelance writers get paid

So, how does the money get into the bank? This will depend on the location of clients and the methods of payment you and them both prefer.

I’m pretty flexible with payment systems. I’ll accept money via PayPal, Payoneer, or a direct bank transfer. The latter is for Canadian clients because it can be faster. I don’t have any Canadian clients right now, but I could do in the future.

PayPal and Payoneer are both trusted methods of payments. I see the money directly. The downside of PayPal is the payments can easily be disputed and digital services still aren’t protected. However, this is a risk I’ve taken for many years and so far been pretty safe with it.

You could look into other software. I believe QuickBooks has a way to pay directly. I’m not 100% sure, though.

You can set your own method of being paid. The client will have to figure it out on their end. However, something that I will warn is that not everywhere has access to PayPal. What are you going to do for someone who genuinely can’t use that system if that’s the only one you accept?

Some people prefer to pay by check. I don’t accept this from private clients. It takes too long for the money to get to me and then be cashed. I do take check for some of the revenue share that I do. This is because it’s already become a trusted source of income.

MORE: How do freelance writers get their first clients?

What questions do you have about freelance writing? What do you need to know about how freelance writers get paid? Share your thoughts in the comments below.