How to Earn Money as a Freelance Writer During College

Working as a freelance writer can be a great way to cover your living expenses while you go to school or hunt for that dream job. The money you earn freelancing can help pay for textbooks, meals, and tuition without creating additional debt. 

As a college student, you likely have some solid writing skills that you can leverage to earn some money. Plus, freelance writing will give you all the flexibility you need to attend irregular class hours, study for big exams, and get homework done on time. 

With that in mind, here are some tips and resources to help you get your freelance writing business off the ground.

1. Learn How to Write for the Web

First, it’s important to understand that writing for the web differs from academic writing. If you’re used to writing university papers, you may want to take an online course that teaches the basics of writing for the web. Web content is typically more engaging, informal, and conversational. You want to avoid long paragraphs and break up your writing with headings whenever possible. SEO is also important to consider, especially if you’re advertising SEO services to your clients.

If you’re looking for ways to brush up your writing skills, LoveToKnow suggests taking online courses from websites like International Webmasters Association and Media Bistro. You can also find many free online courses, YouTube guides, and how-to articles if you’re just looking for some quick information.

2. Establish Your Business

Once you’ve honed your writing skills, it’s time to put your business together. Start by establishing your business as a formal entity so you can easily manage your business finances and tax records. Acquiring an EIN (also called a Tax ID number) will enable the IRS to identify your business. An EIN will also allow you to open a business bank account and hire employees if you wind up growing your writing business into an agency down the line.

Next, get set up with a number of digital tools to streamline the administrative side of your business. Often, these are the tasks that take the most time, and you don’t get paid for them! Take advantage of automation tools, project management apps, and bookkeeping software to improve your productivity. 

3. Find Your First Clients

Ready to find your first clients? Consider writing a few sample articles to show clients what kind of work you can do. Once you have a few published pieces, it will become even easier to land new gigs. Peak Freelance suggests creating content for fictional clients that are similar to those you want to target with your services. For example, if you want to write health and wellness content for fitness companies, create sample blog content or ad copy focused on this industry. 

There are many ways to find your first clients. Look on freelance job boards, talk to people in your network, build your personal brand on social media, attend networking events, and try cold-calling local businesses. The first few clients are the hardest. Once you get past this part, it only gets easier!

Starting your own freelance writing business could be a great way to pay your way through college. At the very least, the income you generate will help to reduce the financial strain that comes with college tuition. So start practicing your writing skills and get your business established today!

Jesse Clark is a traveler, so she’s no stranger to experiencing wanderlust and that strong desire to travel. She’s already had enough experiences to last a lifetime, but she’s not stopping anytime soon. Visit Jesse at