How I Made $20,050 in 30 Days From Writing About Golf and Marketing

This was my 20th month as a freelance writer

Michael Leonard
Dec 31, 2019 · 6 min read
Photo by IrinaSoboleva on Deposit Photos

The goal of this post is simple… I want to show you what’s possible with your laptop and a wi-fi connection.

If this post inspires one person to make money (or make more money) as a writer, then my mission is complete.

Less than two years ago, I was a broke blogger. I literally couldn’t pay the bills with my blog.

I already had my millennial life crisis, quit my $100,000+ career and was committed to building an online business, despite not having any experience.

At the time, I was racking up credit card debt like somebody stole the thing. But I was able to turn my financial situation around largely because of my freelance writing business.

In less than two years, I built a full-time writing business working part-time.

In September of 2019, I made $20,050 as a freelance writer.

This income was separate from my blog, coaching, and online course sales. This $20K is from writing for other entrepreneurs, websites, and blogs.

No, this money wasn’t passive.

No, it wasn’t overnight riches.

But after attempting nearly a dozen online business models since 2017, I know that freelance writing is the easiest way to start making consistent money online.

I want this post to have zero fluff and show you exactly how I made this much money as a writer. No cubicles, no boss, no schedule (if you’re into that sort of thing).

Here is a breakdown of how I landed each client, and what I wrote to make over $20K in 30 days.

Client #1: Digital Marketing Niche

My title: Ghostwriter

How I landed the gig

I’ve worked on and off with this digital marketing company since September of 2018. We took a break a few months prior as they were doing site updates and didn’t need new content. After a brief hiatus working together, I had reached out for him to be a guest on my podcast and he offered me this project as well.

Originally, I got this client back in September of 2018 by applying for a job post on Upwork. After one assignment, we went off Upwork and I started creating recurring blog posts for his personal brand and company website.

Summary of work

  • 17 Blog Posts @.20 cents per word (between 950–2,500 words each)
  • Total = $4,653

Client #2: Golf Writing

My title: Contributing author

How I landed the gig

If anyone would have ever told me I’d get paid to write about golf, I would have thought you were insane. But I’ve made over $20,000 from this client and published 75+ golf posts. As a golfer of 20 years, this content is easy, fun, and doesn’t require much research.

I landed this client from a ProBlogger job post in May of 2018. He loved my pitch and chose me over 300+ applicants. We’ve worked together ever since and have helped him grow his blog to over 100,000 unique visitors a month!

Summary of work

  • 8 Blog Posts @ .10 cents per word (Between 600 to 2,000 words)
  • Total = $1,155
Photo courtesy of Michael Leonard

Client #3— Golf writing

My title: Contributing author

How I landed the gig

As much as I don’t like Upwork at times, I guess I can’t hate it on that much. I found this job listing on the content mill and reached out via email.

He needed help setting up his website, an SEO plan, and writing content, so it was a great fit for both of us. Since starting our partnership, I’ve published a few posts and created a few lead magnets. For this particular month, I only wrote one long-form blog post.

Summary of work

  • 1 Blog Post @ .15 cents per word (2,300 words)
  • Total = $352

Client #4: Financial Advisor

My title: Ghostwriter

How I landed the gig

When I started freelance writing at the end of 2017, my niche was originally personal finance. Since then, I switched to digital marketing and entrepreneurship, but an old client reached out (at my old starting rate) to do a few simple blog posts in September.

Originally, I landed this client via cold pitching. At this point, I realized I could crack $20,000, so I took the gig and pumped out four pieces of content.

Summary of work

  • 4 Blog Posts @ .10 cents per word (500–600 words)
  • Total = $320

Client #5: Entrepreneur

My title: Ghostwriter

How I landed the gig

I’m surprised to say that I landed this client via Instagram. At the end of 2018, I was releasing a lot of motivational/inspirational content, and this client found my account.

Even though I only had >1,000 followers on my Instagram at the time, he saw my writing portfolio in my bio and liked my work. He needed help with some ebooks and lead magnets so we started working together in January 2019.

Since then, he’s been my top paying client and someone I’ve enjoyed working with tremendously. We had a huge month together in September. Here’s a breakdown of what I created.

Summary of work

  • Website copy
  • Podcast scripts
  • Ebook (50,000 words)
  • Speech writing
  • All between .20 to .25 cents per word & some flat-rate projects
  • Total = $13,410 ($360, $1095, $11,057, $495, $403)

Medium Affiliates

Even though I took nearly a year off of writing on Medium, an old post still landed me two affiliate commissions.

  • Total affiliate commission = $160

Total Breakdown

  • Client 1: $4,653
  • Client 2: $1,155
  • Client 3: $352
  • Client 4: $320
  • Client 5: $13,410
  • Medium affiliate income: $160
  • Total monthly income: $20,050

What to Take Away From This

Here are my five biggest takeaways from making $20K in one month as a freelance writer:

  • There are tons of different types of content you can write. As you can tell, I got paid to write lead magnets website copy, social media captions, blog posts, ebooks, and more.
  • You can land clients in a lot of different ways. Whether it’s Upwork, cold pitching, social media, job boards, LinkedIn, etc. — don’t limit yourself to only one method. Get your name out there so you can land clients and make more money writing.
  • There is so much potential to scale fast. In my first 12 months, I scaled my writing biz 10X and made $20K in my 20th month as a writer. Few, if any, online businesses yield those types of returns in less than two years.
  • You don’t have to be an expert. While I know my niches well, I don’t have any formal degree in writing or super special skills. Also, you don’t need a resume or degree to start writing.
  • People will pay you to write about pretty much anything. I still can’t believe I get paid to write about golf, personal development, and entrepreneurship. Bottom line — if you have a passion and show initiative, people will pay you to write about it.


Hopefully, you can see that with a strong work ethic and a commitment to learning, you can do anything.

If you’re looking for a way to make money online without taking surveys, blogging, flea market flipping, Uber, walking dogs, etc… freelance writing is the easiest way to get started.

The main reason I wrote this type of post is that posts like these inspired me to quit my job and build an online business. While the freedom and money are great, the monumental shifts in my life from entrepreneurship have been even more fulfilling.

If you’re unhappy with your job, there is no reason to stick around. Life is too short to spend 40–60 hours of your life working at a job you hate.

Also, please remember, this won’t happen overnight, so please don’t quit your job after reading this.

Make a plan, start a side hustle, scale it, and then quit.

If I can do it, so can you.

Better Marketing

Advice & case studies

Thanks to Niklas Göke

Michael Leonard

Written by

Inspirational Writer, Coach, & Creator of Inspire Your Success Podcast. Earn your first $1K as a writer —>

Better Marketing

Advice & case studies

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