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Monday, July 11, 2011

The State of Fulltime Freelancer's Income, 2011

First, thanks to all of you who participated in this year's income survey; we collected 176 responses so far. (Didn't get around to it? You can still take the quick, confidential survey. Thank you!)

Now for a snapshot of the results:

Both new and experienced freelancers took the survey. Nearly 10 percent are newbies, freelancing for a year or less; another 21 percent have been freelancing for 1 to 3 years; 24 percent for 4 to 6 years; 13 percent for 8 to 10 years; 12 percent, 11 to 15 years, and nearly 19 percent have been freelancing for 16 years or more.

The good news is that nearly two-thirds of freelancers--65 percent--made more money in 2010 than 2009. Twenty percent made less, and 14 percent made the same amount both years.

And just how much is that?

* 27 percent made less than $20,000 in 2010
* 23 percent made between $20,000 and $39,999 in 2010
* 22 percent made between $40,000 and $59,999 in 2010
* 14 percent made between $60,000 and $79,999 in 2010
* 7 percent made between $80,000 and $99,999 in 2010
* 7 percent made more than $100,000 in 2010

So, there's good news and bad news. Half of full-time freelancers are making less than $40,000. Yet more than a quarter--28 percent--are making more than $60,000 as freelancers. Better yet, when asked about how they expect to fare in 2011, 60 percent said they're on track to make more in 2011 than in 2010. Just 15 percent expected to make less; 19 percent expected to make about the same both years; and 6 percent said it's too early to tell.

Coming next--I reveal the kinds of of work freelancers are doing today.

***And now for my big news! I've inked a deal with Writer's Digest for my new book, which will release in April, 2012. Writer for Hire: 101 Secrets to Freelance Success will build on my earlier books on freelancing, Six-Figure Freelancing and Ready, Aim, Specialize! I've been working on the book for several months and am excited about it. Stay tuned for more facts about what freelancers are making today, and how we're succeeding even in a challenging economy.


  1. Congrats on your newest book...and thanks for doing and sharing the survey.

    As I awake from endless book promo and try to revive my freelance income, this is heartening news. I'd love to join that top 7 percent!

  2. Great information Kelly and I'm excited about this new book of yours. :)
    Was there any correlation between years of experience and amount of money made? My suspicion would be that the more experience, the more money.

  3. Very interesting stats -- thanks for sharing them.

    AND...fabulous news about the book! Congratulations!

  4. Congrats on the book deal! I really loved reading Six-Figure Freelancing. I'm sure your latest book will be just as great.

  5. Congratulations on the book deal, Kelly! Great news...I look forward to reading it!

  6. Congrats, Kelly! Just saw the news about your forthcoming book with WD! :)

  7. Hi Kelly:

    Thanks for doing the survey.

    I'm a member of the group that will earn less than $40,000 this year, BUT I am on my way to doubling or more than doubling last year's income.

    I'm a "glass half full" type of person, and when I look at the positives in your post as well as what I see as positives in mine - and the fact that editors\clients come back to me now - I consider 2011 a success.

    "Writer for Hire: 101 Secrets to Freelance Success" sounds great. I'll soon be the owner of your freelance writing instruction trilogy :)


  8. Thanks, Sarah, Christina, Kristine, & Steve...I'm excited about Writer for Hire. A LOT has changed in the freelance landscape since Six-Figure Freelancing came out in 2005, so I'm looking forward to the new book coming out. And Steve, I like your approach and attitude! :)