Some good decisions and a lot of luck fueled my journey as a freelance writer.
My name is Anangsha Alammyan. I’m a 28-year-old freelance writer from India. I have a day job as an assistant professor in civil engineering at a premier engineering college in India. Pretty soon, I’m quitting that to become a full-time writer.
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the freelance writing lifestyle chose me.
When I started out, I had no idea my online writing attempts would take me down this path.
The first time I dreamt of being a full-time writer was in September 2020 when my country was still in the middle of a pandemic. I had a stable income through my writing on Medium. I wrote stories about book recommendations, feminism, and personal development, and made about $1000 a month — not a lot, but definitely more than the average salary of an Indian software engineer.
I wanted to quit my job immediately, but my close friends told me to wait for at least six months and see if I could keep this steady income stream up. That sounded reasonable, and I agreed to give this a go.
In November 2020, I landed my first freelance writing client. I never set up a profile on Upwork or Fiverr — the two places on the internet all freelancers swear by. Instead, all I did was what I’d been doing for the past few months: I kept writing on Medium. One day, I received a message from the owner of one of the largest publications on Medium asking if I’d be interested in doing some freelance work for them. This sounded interesting, and after a brief Zoom interview, I landed a $1500-per month writing gig that involved writing five 300-word blog posts every week.
Earlier, I used to write one article a day on Medium. With the new gig, my writing on the platform trickled down to three articles a week. This was okay because I found the work for the freelance client extremely interesting. Aside from all the fun I had researching for these new articles, I also got some amazing networking opportunities and made friends with some truly inspiring people.
Then, in December 2020, I discovered NewsBreak — a platform that paid an assured sum of $1000 for posting 12 articles every month. The best part? These articles didn’t have to be brand new, but I could very well repurpose my old Medium articles to qualify for the assured pay.
I ended 2020 on a high. With the money from Medium, NewsBreak, and my freelance client, I made about $3200 in a month. This was more money than I’d ever made in a month from my day job, and I was over the moon.
I kept writing, and the opportunities kept on coming my way. In March 2021, NewsBreak changed its revenue model to pay a fixed base pay of $60 per article and an additional $10 per 1000 views. This increased the scope of earnings from the platform, and there were months when I made $1700+ from NewsBreak alone. Of course, this meant I needed to write at least two NewsBreak articles each day, but since these were only 300-word long, it didn’t take too much of a toll on my time.
Then, in April 2021, something amazing happened that changed the direction of my writing career. I discovered an amazing platform called Swapstack where writers who have newsletters can look for sponsored brand collaborations.
I’d been building my newsletter since October 2020, but since I didn’t want to ask my readers to pay a subscription fee, I didn’t know how else I could earn money from it. That’s where Swapstack stepped in, landing me lucrative brand deals and helping me make almost $1000 a month from newsletter sponsorships alone. They also have a cool referral system where existing writers stand a chance to win cool rewards by referring new writers.
I played my cards right, and the stars must have truly been in my favor, because after a few weeks of being active among the Swapstack community, the co-founder, Jake, offered me a content marketing job for Swapstack.
This was a life-changing moment for me. I’d tried Upwork and Fiverr for a few days, but never seemed to find suitably high-paying clients. With the Swaptsack gig, I had an assured income stream each month and I could write about topics that really sparked a fire in my soul.
This is when my income streams began to truly diversify. Now, as of July 2021, here’s how a breakdown of my total monthly income from writing looks like (rounded up for the ease of calculation):
For the detailed income reveal, check out the original article.
This sounds pretty exciting and scaleable, but in truth, it’s not. The writing I do for my freelance clients takes up a lot of my time, leaving me barely a few hours every week to write for Medium. I also happen to be quite fond of my free time, meaning I can only work for five hours each day.
If I was willing to work longer and sacrifice all the things that keep me sane (reading books, taking solo walks in nature, working out, etc.), I could probably earn more money. But as of now, I’m quite satisfied with the way my freelance writing career is progressing.
In the future, I plan to outsource and automate some work, which will free up more time on my schedule. I also have an active YouTube channel which has a lot of potential to be a powerful income source a few months down the line.
Looking back, I feel super lucky at how things panned out for me. I didn’t really have a plan. All I did was write posts that helped my readers and showed up daily on one platform (Medium). I feel privileged that I never had to bargain on Upwork with clients or struggle to find people who value my writing enough.
If I had to do this all over again, I’d go ahead without a second thought.
It’s been a rewarding journey so far, and I’m so grateful to have forged my own path with no prior experience. I’m a civil engineer by training, and I’ve never taken a course on creative writing. I feel so happy that people all over the world could resonate with my words.
Being self-employed is an incredibly empowering feeling. Not only am I in charge of my own time, but I can also work from anywhere. But more than the time, freedom, and money, it’s the sense of fulfillment that drives me. I created a path for myself when no one in my family had even thought of doing anything outside of a government job. Even if my parents are still skeptical if freelance writing is a viable career choice, I couldn’t have been more proud.
Author bio: Anangsha Alammyan is a 3x published author and multiple-times Top Writer on Quora and Medium. She’s the creator of the Books Are Our Superpower Book Club, an online community for readers. You can connect with her on LinkedIn or send an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.