So, you have your portfolio or your clips. You know your niche and you are ready to get started freelance writing.
The only question is: where do you find freelance writing jobs?
But to be honest, that’s not the right question either. The real question is where to find freelance writing jobs that actually pay well.
Now we’re talking.
The internet is full of freelance writing job opportunities but most of them pay crap. Some places want content for free and they will ‘promote you’ in exchange. Others want to pay you $0.01 per word. I had one offer a couple of years ago: $20 USD for a 4,000 word researched article.
Sadly, I’m not joking.
The problem is, freelance writing, in general, can be a very saturated market. So finding jobs that pay well and are regular are a bit trickier. But just because they might be harder to find, doesn’t mean that they aren’t out there.
Here are a few ideas for where to find freelance writing jobs online based on my experience.
Tip: If you plan on getting into digital writing, knowing SEO will help you get ahead. If you aren’t familiar with this yet I HIGHLY recommend the SEO the Easy Way ebook.
Twitter can be a goldmine for freelancers and journalists. So many editors for online publications, print magazines, blogs etc. send out calls for pitches here. So, if you don’t have a Twitter account yet- get one. If you do have one, make sure it’s professional and indicates that you are, in fact, a writer. Not just a chocoholic who loves cute animal memes (not that there is anything wrong with that). Do some research for your favourite publications and ones you are interested in writing with, find their editors on the website, and then try to find them on Twitter. Then it’s just down to some good old social media stalking to wait and see who is looking for what.
You should also keep an eye out for certain hashtags like #freelance (there may be more specific ones depending on your niche) and follow accounts that tend to share these types of opportunities. A couple of accounts to follow include:
Another social media platform where you can find work opportunities is Facebook. There are TONS of Facebook groups out there dedicated to freelance writers looking for tips and work. For me personally, I’ve had the best luck with a set of groups called ‘Binders’. These groups are for women and non-gender conforming individuals and there are big generalized groups as well as many subsets for specific areas, niches, etc. For example, I’m in groups for Canadian writers, Travel writers, and finance writers on top of a couple of general ones.
They post all kinds of jobs for all levels of experience which makes it handy for those just starting out as well as more experienced writers. I have landed gigs for Fodor’s Travel, LiveStrong, Good HouseKeeping (which also led to O Magazine) and more from these groups.
Start a Blog
Being a blogger has been a huge boost in my freelance writing career. Before I had built up my portfolio, I could send editors to my blog as a place to see my writing. Plus, it shows I have experience writing online which includes writing for SEO (if you plan to write online, this is one of the biggest skillsets you can have.)
As I started to do more freelance, I created a portfolio section here on my blog and indicated I was open to new opportunities. I’ve had a few travel-related companies and brands find me through my blog and ask if I would be interested in any freelance work for them. A couple of them were one-off experiences but a few more are long term. For example, I write about Egypt for a luxury tour company. They found my Egypt blog content, loved it, and asked me to write for them.
Don’t have a blog yet? Check out my post on how to start a blog. It’s not as scary as it seems!
LinkedIn can get you some potential leads as well. I don’t have a ton of luck here, but I also don’t go looking on LinkedIn either. Rather, I have had a few people reach out to me via the platform asking if I was available for work or specific projects. So, if you don’t have an account yet, set one up. Add the companies that you have written for, what you write about, and indicate that you are available and looking for work. You never know!
Upwork & Fiverr
I’m hesitant to include websites like Upwork and Fiverr here because, well I don’t love them. First off, they take a commission from your pay. Secondly, many of the jobs here are crap. Actual crap. However, when it comes to figuring out where to find freelance writing jobs online, they are an obvious place to look.
When I first started getting into freelance writing, I did find a very lucrative job on Upwork writing social media posts for a company. I was paid by the hour and just had to research things and find links for them to share on Facebook. Exciting? No, but it was fast, easy work that ended up allowing me to make about $20USD an hour. Not bad for someone just starting out and while it isn’t the writing I necessarily wanted to do, it was still good practice and experience.
I do have a couple of friends who have been successful on Fiverr. Personally, I haven’t used it so I don’t have any comments. However, feedback seems to be the same- there are some jobs and people who will pay well, but also a lot of really cheap opportunities to avoid.
Contently works a bit differently. You create an account and a portfolio and then companies will approach you. This is probably because the companies that use contently are bigger ones who can afford to be pickier. This also means they tend to pay pretty well too. I have yet to land a job from this platform but I have a friend in travel who got some great paying jobs from here for a cruise line and another friend in personal finance who has several clients through this platform. It’s worth setting up your profile to see. If nothing else, it’s an easy online portfolio.
Do your Own Research
Do you really want to write for a certain publication? Do you have a story that you think would be perfect for a specific website?
You don’t have to wait for people to announce that they are looking for something specific, you can make the first move. Most websites or companies will have a ‘write for us’ section on their website with guidelines and who to contact. So do your research and shoot your shot.
Approach Businesses with Blogs
How many businesses have blogs? Lots, right? Well, chances are they don’t really have writers for those blogs. Especially smaller local businesses. Which means the door is open for you to swoop in and introduce yourself and offer your skills.
I write blog posts semi-regularly for a couple of different companies. One of the biggest ones is for a Canadian insurance company. They wanted a travel/lifestyle section to appeal to their readers that they could potentially tie insurance topics into without having it seem too boring. So, they hired me to create content on more everyday topics like road trips, recipe ideas, and even home decorations to share on social media and in their newsletters.
Word of Mouth
The best way to get work, in my experience, is by word of mouth. I am currently at the point where I rarely look for work anymore- it comes to me.
Because I work primarily in a niche field (personal finance) without too much competition. Which means companies are always looking for new, experienced, and knowledgeable writers. I have a decent portfolio, I run two blogs which means I know how to write for SEO and online media. I’m a shoo-in.
So, when I get hired by one company and do a good job, they talk. Almost all my regular finance gigs have stemmed from working with one person who shared my name to someone else who shared my name etc.
So, when you do get hired for a project, do a good job. Write well, edit before you submit, be polite and get everything done on time. You never know, it could be your break-in and lead to multiple opportunities down the road.