Mridu Khullar Relph had the dream freelance life. She had written for The New York Times, ABC News, CNN, Cosmo, and many other major publications. She lived in New Delhi, India, but was working for clients all around the globe. In 2013, however, things started to become more difficult.

Relph’s husband quit his job, which wasn’t a problem at first because she was expecting to sign a book deal. She spent half a year writing and rewriting her book, but then the deal didn’t go through. A bunch of her freelance clients lost their budgets or went under, and she hadn’t spent time trying to replace them.

“For the first time in 12 years of full-time freelancing, I was beginning to panic,” she said in an e-mail. “Of course, the more I panicked, the harder it became to get back on track, to kick ass, and to get the assignments I needed that would start paying the bills.”

how to make more money freelancing

Mridu Khullar Relph

As her savings were slowly being depleted, cash flow was terrible, and Relph’s confidence was bruised. “But I took quick action, made tough decisions, and started getting back on track,” she said. “By the end of the year, we were beginning to get stable again. January 2014 ended up being the most profitable month of my entire freelancing career.” In 2014 Khullar Relph also joined the NewsRoom freelancer pool at NewsCred.

“The Shortest Path To Cash”

After Relph went through this rollercoaster year, which is not uncommon in the freelance world, she decided to write a book for writers in her position. Recently, she released the e-book titled, “The Freelancer’s Guide to Making $1,000 More This Month,” which details how she did it, and how others can follow her path. A Kindle version is available now, on Amazon, for $11.99.

The book is centered on “the shortest path to cash,” she said, which are steps that writers can take to immediately make money. For Relph, who also runs The International Freelancer, a blog and resource guide for freelancers, it meant concentrating on easy to obtain assignments that paid less. Instead of pitching stories to $1 a word publishers that paid writers in three months’ time, she’d send inquiries to companies that paid $200 for a blog post and paid within the week.

“Slowly, as cash flow improved, I started adding in the tasks and the markets that would take longer to bring in the money,” she said. “But in the immediate short term, when cash had become really tight, I did honestly just think about what would get money in the bank the fastest, even if it wasn’t work I particularly enjoyed and cared for, and focused on that.”

In “The Freelancer’s Guide to Making $1,000 More This Month,” Relph wrote that freelancers should ask their clients for more money, and not be afraid of negotiating. Some of the tactics she highlighted include being ready to walk away from a job that doesn’t pay enough, and not offering to send in assignments immediately. That way, editors will know that writers are busy and in-demand.

There’s a section on how to write a letter of introduction, as well as a sample that writers can follow. Relph advised readers to pitch to online outlets, which are often more willing to publish writers, and to look at publications in other countries, which may pay better. She lists all the different types of stories that writers can pitch, such as profiles, personal essays, exposés, and trend pieces.

how to make more money freelancing

Write Well, But Think Business

The book is also comprised of interviews Relph conducted to bring her advice to life. For example, in the chapter on the importance of social media, she talked to freelancer Laura Laing, who found a client from a Facebook tag. That client ended up paying her more than $9,000 for her work.

Relph is a big fan of utilizing LinkedIn to find clients. One piece of advice she gave was to ask editors for recommendations on the site. “Freelancers who make a habit of this find that they get a ton of work out of clients who’re searching for freelancers on LinkedIn, and get much better response rates when they send In Mail (the LinkedIn messaging system) to editors,” she wrote.

While writing may be enjoyable for the freelancers who pursue it, it’s not just about job satisfaction. Relph said that freelance writers have to be business-minded and entrepreneurial in order to survive on their craft. “They are go-getters who create assignments and roles for themselves where others perhaps wouldn’t have. Like entrepreneurs, they need a big appetite for risk and the ability to withstand failure and rejection. More importantly, most successful freelancers I know run their numbers constantly—how much do I need to earn, what have I earned this month, how will I make up the difference, etc.—and are never afraid to walk away from rates and contracts that don’t make sense to them or align with their goals.”

how to make more money freelancing

She continued, “Writing is an art, but freelancing is a business. Be an artist when you write, but be a hardcore businessperson when you pitch those assignments, negotiate those rates, and invoice those clients.”

Freelancer To Dos: 

 1. In a bind? Think about how you can increase your cash flow. Start small and target online, lower-paying publications. After building up your savings and reputation, send inquiries to bigger, better-paying outlets.

2. Negotiate and know your self worth. Writers need to go after what rates they want, and know when to accept a job or when to walk away from one.

3. Send letters of introduction to drum up new jobs, and be willing to pitch different types of stories.

4. Get active on social media. Ask editors for LinkedIn recommendations and get active on Twitter, Facebook, etc.

5. Realize that you’re running a business, and your survival depends on it. You may love to write – but can you bring home the bacon with it?

6. Download Relph’s book and check out her website for more actionable insights on how to make it as a freelancer.