Last week I published a post called “How to Figure Out How Much to Pay Yourself as a Freelance Nurse Writer,” and, honestly, I sort of agonized over posting it. On the one hand, I felt the question (from a student in my Ultimate Health Journalism Basics for Nurses workshop) was a good one. On the other hand, I felt concerned that the numbers I threw around might sound unattainable to nurses just exploring a freelance writing career.
So today I want to assure you that it’s possible to earn six figures as a freelance nurse writer. Does it require work and discipline? Yes, it does. But is it one of those ideas that’s possible mainly in “theory” – and virtually impossible in actual practice?
No, it definitely is not.
To make $100,000 in a year, you need to bring in $8,334 per month in revenue. That may sound like a lot, but when you break it down by anchor client or high-value projects, it’s not actually as difficult as you might think – as I’ll illustrate below.
You can earn six figures as a freelance writer. Not only do I do it (regularly), but so do nurses I’ve mentored over the course of my career. Here’s my not-so-secret, two-step process for getting there.
Step 1: Get Anchor Clients
The absolute #1 “secret” to succeeding as a freelance writer, as far as I’m concerned, is landing multiple anchor clients. I’ve written about anchors before, so I won’t go into great detail here. Suffice it to say that an “anchor client” is one that provides you with a predictable amount of monthly revenue. This may be due to a contract you sign to provide X number of deliverables in exchange for Y dollars each month (a “monthly project retainer”), or it could be simply that an editor likes you and therefore assigns you a fairly predictable number of articles to write each month.
The value of the income stability that anchor clients provide cannot be over-stated. If you want to succeed in this business, land you some anchor clients.
For purposes of illustration, on our quest to reach $8,334 in monthly revenue, let’s say we have the following anchor clients, who collectively contribute $4,450 per month to our coffers:
- Client A: 8 health articles per month on a contract paying $400 per article, for a total of $3,200 per month
- Client B: 5 blog posts per month on a project retainer valued at $1,250 per month
These anchor clients provide roughly half our desired monthly revenue, so we need to figure out how to get more. That’s when we move on to step two.
Step 2: Go After High-Value Projects
You might start out your career writing short blog posts or articles at $250 a pop, but you’re not likely to reach six figures per year doing that. Instead, you’ll have to learn how to execute high-value projects, like websites, ebooks, lead magnets, medical copywriting, and other types of writing that clients pay big bucks for.
Soliciting high-value projects doesn’t require as much writing experience as you might think. When I first started going after website writing projects, I had no experience doing it at all. Basically, if you’ve successfully written one of a particular type of high-value asset, then you should feel confident seeking out more of the same.
Furthermore, almost any type of content asset can become “high-value” if you learn how to make the case for value over price to the client. Using this approach, I’ve charged as much as $800 for a blog post to $40,000 to rewrite a 40-page website. (And, heck, my pricing on the website probably was low!)
Again, for purposes of illustrating how high-value projects can get us to our $8,334 monthly revenue goal, let’s say this month we successfully ink contracts to provide:
- One white paper, at $2,000
- One thought leadership piece for a healthcare executive, at $800
- Two blog posts for a nursing website, at $250 each
- One health article that you pitched to an editor, at $584
Guess what? We’ve made our goal!
$4,450 from anchor clients + $3,884 from hustle = $8,334 exactly.
It Takes Time to Achieve This Level of Success
Does this require hustle? Yes. Does it require investing time in marketing your business? Yes. Is it attainable? Yes.
Now, you’re not going to achieve this level of success in your first month of freelancing. Or maybe not even your first year.
Let’s be realistic.
But it probably won’t take you decades, either.
It took me five years (working part-time) to reach $85,000. It took me seven years (still only working part-time) to reach $100,000. I know other writers who put more effort into their businesses who reached the six-figure milestone much faster than I did.
My point is: it can be done. Not only is making $100,000 as a nurse writer achievable, it’s not even that difficult after you master the required business basics and fine-tune your marketing skills.
Post your thoughts about this “secret” two-step process in the comments! I want to hear what you think.
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