Why You Have Zero Financial Progress As A Freelance Writer

zero financial progress

I was not entirely convinced that I could land a high paying client until I landed an $80 for 700 words project. As a freelance writer, you must have goals and principles that will guide you through the entire writing journey else you will face a zero financial progress spell.

There was too much drama back in those days, facing it rough to pay my bills. All gratitude to Walter Akolo for being among the five mentors I have passed through because at least I can dine with my entire family and still have something left for tomorrow.

Don’t blame yourself for having not reached there yet.

The question you should ask is;

Why is it that both high and low paying clients want quality work from you?

It is the first question you should have looked into the very first day you stepped a foot into freelance writing.

How Did I Beat The Odds?

It is pretty simple; I got a breakthrough after getting answers to the question above.

You are trailing because you either found the answer late or maybe you don’t have the answer yet.

It is reasonable for a client who is offering $100 for 1500 words to expect quality articles that surpasses his/her expectations. But how about that client who is offering $10 for the same word count? Goodness, some are not even ashamed to pay you $7 for the same 1500 words.

I believe you’ve come across such clients in some freelancing platforms like UpWork.

Legendary Question

Why should you waste your two connects to apply for a $5 job that requires you to write a 1500 word article that is 100% unique and MUST pass Copyscape just because you have been promised a 5-star feedback review?

Huh! Why?

There is absolutely no reason. If you are going for such jobs, automatically you will have zero financial progress.

You must revisit your options if you are still sending applications to such job posts. You are past that stage even if you haven’t yet landed a client.

Low paying clients are the reason why you have little or zero financial progress.

Why Did You Become a Freelance Writer?

Ask yourself why

You have to ask yourself why you ventured into freelance writing.

If you fail to know the reasons why you became a freelance writer, then it will be hard for you to set your goals and freelance principles.

Some of us writing is a part-time job and for some, it is the only job – a full-time job.

Whether part-time or full-time, the constant remains to be time. Use your time well to add a few reasonable bucks to your payslip if it is a part-time hustle. A friend of mine Charles likes referring to it as Payslip Maximization. Let me know if that’s the correct term, hahaha.

What if you are a full-time freelance writer? Writing is your only option, the only source of income. Would you still go for a $5 job?

Cross your fingers and say NO YOU’LL NEVER!

If you ever want to make it in this industry, don’t just bid for jobs, you should learn to attract high paying clients.

Let me take you through the real math here.

Basic Arithmetic For Freelance Writers

We do away with $5 and add $2 to it.

Now take, for instance, the client is paying $7 for 1500 words.

  • Client Budget – $7
  • UpWork Service Fee – 20% therefore, (20% of $7) = $1.4
  • Withdraw Fee (to PayPal/Mpesa) – $1
  • Internet Services Fee (Research Purposes) – $1
  • Balance – {$7 – ($1.4 +$1 + $1)} = $3.6

Let us be realistic for life’s sake. With $3.6, how will you extract your profit, and what will be your savings? How about your labor? Who will take care of your PC’s future emergencies?

If that is the case with $7, where will $5 take you?

Do you agree that there are a lot of things to be worried about?

If you want to make it with any online job, you must be business-minded. The minimum wage per hour in the United States is $1. Who are you to remain with a balance of $3.6 for a 6-hour job?

Every skill, minute, and every coin matters.

Why does time matter? Imagine if google search engine stopped for one second. Or let’s keep it local. What happens to Kenyans when M-Pesa goes off-service for 2 hours? You already know the situation.

Enough lectures, welcome aboard to how you can scale from being paid $7 for 1500 words article to $100.

How A Freelance Writer Can Scale From $7 to $100/1500 Words Article

A. Be Professional

Most clients who pay better rates like dealing with professionals. This is so they can ascertain that they are spending high for value.

Being a professional does not mean that you get a degree in freelance writing. You won’t find it anywhere.

What you need to do is to specialize in one or two niches. If you have to exceed, don’t go beyond three.

If you exceed three niches, you will automatically be deemed as a generalist even if you are a pro in all the niches. This is why Upwork has advanced and given you two more slots apart from the general profile so that you can add two areas of specialization by creating specialized profiles.

High paying clients often avoid generalists at all costs.

B. Up Your Experience

zero financial progress-Up Your Experience

Zero job history does not mean that you have zero experience.

When I tell you to up your experience, I don’t mean that you go ahead and start begging for work from clients. I don’t say that you flock to low paying jobs.

Even the highest-paid freelance writer in UpWork started with zero job history, therefore, there is nothing to panic about.

One thing I like about warriors is that they never beg for mercy from a lion when they encounter them in the park. They play smart and deal with the threat no matter the circumstance, so, start acting like a warrior.

You have to face the industry as it is with valid methods that will make you win jobs. Take three days or even a week to craft two quality articles of about 800 words. Don’t pick random topics; instead, choose a topic that relates to your niche. These articles will be your samples whenever you send proposals or pitches to clients.


Don’t ever send samples in the form of Microsoft word document. Clients prefer links to published articles. If you don’t have published articles, you can always write the examples in Google Docs and share their respective links with clients. Follow this link to learn how to use google docs.

Crafting high-quality samples will prove that you have experience writing in your niche.

There is little chance that a client will ignore your talent if you supplied them with quality samples. This is how you win their trust when you tell them that you are an experienced personal finance writer, yet your UpWork profile has zero job history.

I have won several pitches with a 500 words sample article, who are you not to land a client with a killer 800-word article?

You can do it.

C. Spice Up Your Skills

There are many emerging trends in freelance writing. These trends have brought about continuous learning about freelance writing.

Successful freelance writers like Walter have gone ahead to create mini and full courses to keep you up to speed with what you should know before you dive into deep waters.

Therefore, how do you spice up your skills?

i. Get Training

Taking a freelance writing course is one way of spicing up your skills.

For example in several of my proposals on UpWork I happened to write;

I am a professional freelance writer who has taken a full writing course offered by one of the top-rated writers in UpWork Walter Akolo, the founder of FreelancerKenya.

The client will rush on the search bar to find if truly Walter is top-rated and see his achievements. He or she will head over to google and type in FreelancerKenya to confirm what he does and if FreelancerKenya exists. What next? Get hired because the client believes that you went through the right hands.

Don’t fake this because some clients may need proof to clarify your statement.

ii. Skill Value Addition

zero financial progress-Skill Value Addition

This is not like there are levels of writing skills, but yes, there are different levels of writers -entry-level, intermediate, and expert writers.

Being an expert writer does not mean that you must have been writing in the last seven years or so. It simply means delivering pure gold, as Walter usually says. Allow me to add a few words to that, being and an expert writer is to give pure gold using the maximum skills possible.

How do you increase/add value to your skills then?

If you had three skills on your profile – article writing, content writing, and copywriting, why not learn about SEO writing and add it to your skills? You will be having four, which makes you different from that writer who has 3. In fact, you will be having five because if you learn about SEO writing, you will stumble your foot on Keyword Research. Add it to your skills and you now have five.

The client will be like, why do you think that you are the right candidate for this particular project?

And you will be like;

I believe that I am the right candidate for the project 3*1000 words blog articles because; 

– Unlike other writers, I will do keyword research, find out which keywords your competitors are ranking for, then find long-tail keywords that you will easily rank for and which will generate organic traffic to your articles. Then I craft Search Engine Optimized articles with those keywords because my top priority is to make sure that they appear on the first page of google.  

Boom! This is what I call skill value addition.

D. Writer’s Website

Many freelancers ignore this.

A writer’s website is the best asset a freelance writer will ever have in his/her writing career. This is where you will be showcasing your skills and services to the world. You never know, you might get a direct client from this.

This website will have a blog page where you will be publishing your articles.

If a client happens to ask for your published work, you can always share the link to the article(s) which you’ve published on your website

Here is why freelancers should have their own websites

Bottom Line

You want better rates? Become an expert freelance writer by following this guide. These tips will help you to scale from zero financial progress to $$$ freelance writer and even higher.

If this is your full-time job, you can consider creating a side hustle and maximize your freelance earnings.

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