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Starting out as a freelance writer can be confusing, can’t it?
You have no idea what steps you should take, how you should be spending your time, or if you’re even doing the right thing.
But the truth is that it doesn’t have to be that way:
Starting a freelance writing business simple, easy and doesn’t require anyi money to get started. You just need to know the right steps to take, at the right time, to get your business moving.
That’s where this article comes in, because in it I want to show you exactly what you need to do start a freelance writing business.
Here’s what you can expect…
What You’ll Learn
- The 7 free essentials you need to get started
- 9 easy ways any beginner can make money (without experience)
- How to find a profitable writing niche
- Where to find jobs that accept beginners (at good rates)
- How to write a pitch that will jump out of their inbox and into your bank account
Who Am I To Teach You All Of This?
Four years ago I was a dead broke shoe-salesman, with £18,500+ in debt; working 10 hours a day for £5 an hour. I had no qualifications, no connections and no idea what to do with my life.
That was until I stumbled across an easy system for starting and growing a freelance writing business that transformed my life, freed me from debt, allowed me to travel to over 30 different countries and generate more than $120,000 in income.
Then my passions turned to helping teach others start their own freelance writing businesses. And, I’m on the mission to help 1000 people like you start and grow a profitable freelance writing business.
As a writer my work has been featured in some places you might have heard of:
So, Matt approached me to write this article for you because, well…I know my stuff which lead me to create the Freelance Writers School .
And if you follow the steps and the advice in this article, you too can start and grow a full-time freelance writing business.
What Is Freelance Writing?
A freelance writer is what I like to call a “Pen for hire”.
You exchange your words (or time) for money, regardless of your niche or medium.
You provide a writing service to a client based on their needs, which you’ll work out in advanced or will be published in their job description.
Let’s say you’re a freelance writer who writes blog posts, and you’ve been contracted to write an article for Matt’s site.
You’ll pitch an idea (or be given one) and you’ll work on this independently. The amount you’ll charge will be calculated on the amount of words, or the amount of time, it takes to write an article.
You get paid when he’s happy with the article (you can get paid before once you’re more established), and you work together to make it right for his readers.
You’re not an employee and you’re an equal partner to your client. Whilst this is a service and you’re obligated to provide what the client wants – the same way your phone provider is – this is a relationship between the two of you.
Why Become A Freelance Writer?
I’ll admit I’m bias, but freelance writing is one of the greatest jobs to do.
Since 2014 I’ve been able to travel to over 30 countries, relocate to Germany, write for millions of readers, help people change their lives and earn more than $120,000.
All whilst being able to sit at my laptop, sip coffee, and create art.
You’re in control of your income – as long as you’re willing to put in the work – and can rid yourself of the shackles of a nine-to-five lifestyle. (Or use it to grow your income outside of your job).
There are drawbacks, because you have to: find your own clients, motivate yourself, do your own taxes and learn extra skills.
But if you want a life that you control, to do work that you love, whilst earning $40,000+ from the comfort of your own home, then every drawback is worth it.
Quick Start Checklist: Do You Have What You Need?
There are a few essentials you’ll need before you get started.
The good news is that they’re freely available to anyone who wants to start this type of business.
Here’s a short checklist:
- Computer: So you have somewhere to do, and save, your work.
- Internet Connection: You’re here so you’ve got that down.
- Email Address: Make it professional – [email protected] isn’t going to woo any clients.
- Word Processor: You can get this free from Google Docs or you can use Microsoft Office .
- Free WordPress Blog: So you can have a portfolio; but also practice writing and scribble down ideas as you go.
- A Paypal Account: That way you can get paid.
- A Desire To Write: Because this job is hard if you don’t enjoy it.
That’s really all there is to it. The rest of it can be learned on the job. There’s no need for any extra products, or investments. If you find you do need anything you can just learn as you go.
For example I’d been writing for a year before I knew what the legal requirements for an invoice were. It didn’t stop me making money or building a business, it just gave me an extra 60 minutes work at tax time.
You also don’t need any qualifications. I have none, and I failed English at college. If I can do it, so can you.
Get started and learn as you go.
9 Ways Beginner Freelancers Can Make Money
Before we get into the nitty-gritty, I want to show you some of the ways that you can start making money writing in the next few months.
These methods have lower barriers to entry and you can mix and match them whilst you find what you like to write, and to increase the amount of income streams you have.
#1: Freelance Blogging
Freelance Blogging is how I’ve made 90% of my money over the course of my career (in conjunction with option #11 too).
It’s also one of the most beginner friendly ways to make money writing because the barriers to entry are much lower than elsewhere.
There are two main options you should look at:
- Content Marketing: Writing blog posts for companies who are using blogs, social media and SEO to grow their business.
- Helping Bloggers: Lots of successful bloggers don’t have time to create all of their content anymore. You can come on board and help them with their workload. (100% the most fun way to earn money).
Unless Google drops off the face of the earth tomorrow, or people decide they don’t want independent help and advice, then this is a way of making money that is here to stay too.
#2: Freelance Website Copywriting
One of the easiest ways to break into freelance writing is by helping people create the copy for their new website. Here’s the thing:
Hundreds of people get new websites made for their businesses every day. But they have no idea what they should write there. And why would your local plumber have any idea what they should write?
Two of my first ever clients were local businesses (they were across a corridor from each other, so when I landed one I landed the other) who needed their websites writing for them. I saved them money doing it with the agency, and they helped me get my business off the ground.
If you can find a local business with a new website where you can easily see they need better writing, or get friendly with a local design agency, you could find an endless stream of income.
#3: eBook Writing
If you’re a specialist on a topic – let’s say from your past job, or what you studied at college – you can get your break into the industry writing eBooks for people.
My first ever freelance writing job came writing a fitness eBook for a client through Elance (now UpWork), because I was a personal trainer when I was in my teens.
Take a look at this video interview from Dave Koziel and Aleksander Vitkin :
Dave’s entire business is built on freelance writer’s creating eBooks for him. And that’s just one guy. Think of how many sites sell eBooks, or offer them as a free download.
#4: Podcast And Video Script Writing
Think Podcasters and YouTubers do everything off the cuff? Think again.
Many of them have scripts that they work from to keep them on track and focused. And, even as a beginner, you could be the one to write them.
One of my students, Rebekah Donovan , got one of her first gigs writing for a podcast in the health niche, without any experience as a freelancer.
Speaking of Podcasts, Transcription is also a great place to get your foot in the door because it’s a non-skilled position. (You’re basically getting paid to write what someone said).
However it can be incredibly valuable content for an online business. So, if you see a podcaster using transcription, you could be the one to help her.
Do you speak a second language, or is English not your first language? If so, there’s a market for you here.
Many bloggers and content writers want to reach a wider audience, and if you can translate their content into: German, Spanish, Russian, French, Arabic, Chinese or any other language where there is high demand for content, you may have a niche.
To make a professional note: you need to qualified to be a translator. However if you’re a fluent speaker of two languages, many potential clients won’t mind, as long as it’s accurate. Just be sure to declare up front.
#7: Review Writing
Review’s come in a lot of different forms. You’re on an Internet Marketing site so you’re probably only thinking Amazon and Digital Product reviews, but your scope here fits into any niche:
- Product Review Writing: Amazon, Digital or other. This can extend into blog posts too, like this review Matt did of SERPed . And if you really want to grind, you can get paid by services like DooYoo to write reviews too.
- Show And Performance Reviews: If you’re interested in the arts, you can get involved with publications that will pay you (or at least cover expenses) to go and review shows. I got plenty of experience doing this with a local publication.
- Service Reviews: You can be hired to write a review on services in your niche. For example, writing about the customer service provided by a hotel or a retail chain.
These all branch off into their own mini-niches too, that you’ll find as you become familiar with the niche you’re writing for.
#8: Product Description Writing
When someone once asked me what I do for a living, I read out a mental list of topics and he said, “Oh yeah, I suppose someone has to write all of them!”. What he was referring to was Product Content Writing.
Take a look at this random page for a fridge on Amazon that I pulled up:
Someone has to write them, right? And they’re readily available jobs. I once went through and wrote product content for over 200 customer claims sites.
It was as mind numbing as possible, but it sure felt good when I got that pay cheque.
Here’s a surprising fact:
Many bloggers, business owners and even authors don’t personally write all of their own content.
Often they bring in someone like me, a ghostwriter, to help them with their workload and create content they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to write.
In all niches you can find clients screaming out for ghostwriting clients, and if you’ve got the ability to adapt and change your writing voice, this can be a long-term contract that pays well.
Step #1: Find Your Writer’s Niche
Choosing a freelance writer’s niche is d*** scary.
By saying “I only write in this niche”, it feels kinda like you’re shutting yourself off from thousands of other paying clients you could work for.
And, you are…
But that’s a good thing. Let me explain:
Working in a niche is kind of like playing a video game. At the early levels you get all of the lowest grade items, small payouts for your quests and all of the higher level characters can kill you in one swipe.
But as you progress the levels, and specialise is a skill – magic, stealth, strength – you start getting better items, bigger payouts, and those n00bs will think twice before they try and fight with you.
The same goes for niching down. At the start – where many freelancers spend their time – you can only get the low-paying entry level jobs because you’re not good enough, knowledgeable enough or well-known enough.
But once you get through those entry level jobs and start working yourself up through a niche, you build a portfolio and can start writing for other higher paying clients and begin commanding, $60, $100 and even $200+ an hour for your services.
So whilst you decrease the amount of total clients you can work with, you increase the amount you can earn.
In this section you’re going to learn how to find your niche and unlock a world of higher earning potential.
Start With The Past…
When I first started thinking about niching down I had no idea where to look. I didn’t feel like I had any real interests and skills (outside of writing) that could make me any money.
I told my Mum about this problem and she just looked at me like I was an idiot. “You’ve got lots of skills, what are you talking about?” she said.
She ran upstairs, grabbed me a pen and paper, and told me to write down ten things that I’d done, achieved, enjoyed or read about in the last five years.
Here’s what that list looked like:
- Worked as a personal trainer
- Backpacked around Australia and Europe
- Coached soccer in America for one year
- Was the highest KPI seller in my retail store
- Played in a semi-professional rugby league
- Mentored an 18 year old through his fitness instructor program
- Written guest posts for Lifehack and Addicted2Success
- Learned basic Spanish
- Read a lot of books on productivity and business
- Took a Salsa dancing class
It was surprising to me to see how many skills and pockets of knowledge I had that were at least above a complete beginner level.
Although not all of them were winning ideas, the options in bold are what I felt I would be comfortable writing about for a larger audience. .
If you feel that you don’t have any knowledge or skills you could write about, I’d highly recommend trying this task for yourself, and don’t underestimate any skills you might have from the past.
To steal a little from Ramit Sethi, even speaking English is a skill!
Follow The Money
The next best place to look for your writers niche is where you spend your money. This is usually a great indicator of what you’re interested in, and topics you could write about.
As I wrote about in this article , you can look at:
- Recent Amazon purchases
- Recent eBay purchases
- Courses and classes you’ve taken (both online and in-person)
- Your direct debit / monthly subscription payments
- Items you’ve always wanted to buy (but never had the budget for)
- The types of books you buy
Are you the kind of person who spends $50 on a haircut? Perhaps there’s a career writing in fashion and grooming.
Are you the kind of person who takes Thai cooking classes? Food blogs might be calling your name.
Are you the kind of person who has subscriptions to SERPed and Ahrefs? Then maybe a life of SEO writing is in your future.
The Drill Down…
Once you’ve fleshed out all of your ideas, you’d do well to group them into their major niche categories. This could look like:
- Internet Marketing
The final step is to drill your niche into its relevant sub niches and where you can write for them. Each niche has a tree that looks a little like this:
For example, if you were to write in the travel niche this could break down like this:
And if you want to write in internet marketing – much like I did – you might find a breakdown like this:
Each niche and sub niche will have businesses, blogs and podcasts associated with them. This is where you begin to really see all of the opportunities in your niche and where you can begin to look for jobs.
What If My Niche Doesn’t Have A Lot Of Money In It?
Trust me, it does.
Unless you’re into Albino Badger Wrestling or Bon Jovi Themed Horse Racing Events, you’re going to be able to be able to find at least one form of income. Although, those niches probably need freelance writers too.
You can break down a niche into a lot of different chunks and there’s money to be made in all of them. Take your niche – I’m going to use Travel for this – and explore to see which of these elements it has.
Perform a quick Google search of “your niche + blogs”, for example, “travel + blogs”:
If there’s blogs about your niche – which there will be – here’s one really lucrative opportunity for you to Freelance. In fact the more niche you go, the more money you can make for blog posts, because writers are few and far between.
For example, Model Railroad Hobbyist will pay a minimum of $230 for a blog post about model rail interests. And, as AllFreelanceWriting.com points out in this article , some writers have made over $1000 writing for them.
Companies With Products
If there are businesses in your niche selling products or services or information, there is an opportunity to make money with them.
For example, if I look for Travel Companies on Google I find STA Travel. On their site there is a section about Adventure Tours:
Somebody has to write all of this copy, why not let it be you?
Think of how many pages there are like this across the internet that you could get involved with. For every page on the internet, there’s a chance to write great copy (at a price).
Where there are affiliate programs there is money to be made.
For every product you can find here, there are blogs and niche sites and businesses making money from them. And, all of those sites need copywriting to sell those products:
Not sure of the opportunities here? You can create: blog posts, sales pages, product reviews, website copy. Just about anything that involves writing and can help sell a product.
This Step In Short
Take some time to explore the niches that you want to work in. They can be based in:
- Your past experience
- Where you spend your money
- The topics you’re interested in
Then explore the niche a little bit deeper; what products or services need you to write for them? Are there bloggers, product reviews, industry websites, news sites et al. that you could create for?
If you get this step right, the rest of your business will effortlessly click into place.
Step #2: Where To Find Freelance Writing Jobs Online
In this step I want to show you where to find freelance writing jobs.
Don’t worry…you don’t need to pitch to anyone yet.
But as early in your career as possible you should get into the habit of checking job boards, content sites and classified ads. Why?
So you can get used to what a job description looks like, the little nuances in them, and seeing which work you’d like to do (and which you wouldn’t).
There are three sub-sections to this section:
- Advertised Jobs: How to find people that are actively looking for writers.
- Non-Advertised Jobs: Choosing who to pitch to and finding those hidden jobs.
- Super Secret Insider Info: Simple methods I use to find clients that work.
They’re all easy to do, they just take practice, but you’re never more than an email address away from your next client.
Easy Places To Find Advertised Jobs
These are the easiest types of job to find because they come from clients who are actively seeking your services.
They normally come in the forms of:
- Freelance writing jobs Boards
- Website Job Alerts
- Classified Ads
- Content Sites (like UpWork)
You can find all of these freelance writing jobs online for free.
But keep in mind that they’re often high competition and low paying. They should be used as a tool to help you build your business and not as the lifeblood of it.
However I have found lots of clients here and built long term relationships with them, that have grown both of our incomes over time.
Not all the jobs here will be in your niche(s), but that’s completely normal and the whole point of having a niche!
That being said, let’s look at how to use them effectively…
How To Effectively Use Freelance Writing Jobs Boards
Freelance writing jobs boards are the place to find mid-range job with established clients.
Some people will say that job boards need you to be a better writer, but I don’t think that’s true. You just need to be good enough to get paid.
Below are the only job boards I’d recommend looking at. The rest are normally rehashed links back to the pages here:
- All Indie Writers
- Blogging Pro
They all compile freelance writing jobs that have been posted there, or direct you to jobs posted on classified sites giving you the cream of the crop.
There’s not much to this, really. You don’t need to sign up or do anything magical. You can just start bookmarking freelance writing jobs that you like the look of.
I’ve used this method to land some of my most consistent clients like Nichehacks and Canva , so you’ll definitely be able to find some higher paying work here too.
Setting Up For Freelance Writing Jobs Alerts
If you’re interested in taking on high-paying, corporate clients, you can use job alerts to notify you of work that is posted in your niche.
I use Gorkana for freelance writing jobs alerts because they have a ‘Journalism Jobs’ section; but you can also sign up to specific job boards, or use Matt’s advice in this article to set up Google Alerts.
Don’t read too much into the titles of jobs on these job boards – like Journalist or Customer Content Creator – they’re just business jargon.
All you need to do through a site like this is set your filters, find a search that suits your needs and then choose their update option. Like this email subscription box here:
That gives me a lot of emails a month, like the ones below, with job information.
These are usually pretty effective because they don’t just send you needless updates, they send them out only when a job gets posted:
Classified Job Postings
Classifieds are an underrated job search tool, but they can be highly effective. There are even services like FreelanceWritingGigs.com that pool the best of the best together for you for free.
You can look for these job postings a little closer to home as well using sites like:
And refine your search under the jobs section of your local area. Like so:
Getting Stuck Into Content Sites
Content sites are a great stomping ground for beginners. You can get a lot of experience, and get paid for it because of the sheer volume of jobs.
I wrote about all of these sites more in depth in my huge article about all the ways to make money online . But, here they are in short for you:
- People Per Hour
The lessons you’ll learn in this article will help you get jobs on these sites. But if you’re looking for a more tailored experience for this type of freelancing you can read this article about how I made $1,593 a month from UpWork and how you can too .
That’s it for advertised jobs, time to move on to unadvertised jobs.
Dig Out Those Unadvertised Goldmines
There’s an unwritten rule in Freelancing that says:
The highest paying jobs are never advertised.
And it’s one of the most true statement you’ll ever hear. In fact, a solid 90% of my client base
right now didn’t advertise their jobs. I went to them, or they were referred to me, and they’re willing to pay more.
I don’t know why it works that way, but you’ll just have to accept that’s the way this world works.
But that begs the question: how do you know to pitch to them if it’s not advertised?
The short answer is that you don’t. You just have to go out there and speak to people, network and find out what they’re looking for.
However there are a few strategies you can employ to make your search a little easier.
Finding People To Cold Pitch
Earlier you looked at breaking your niche down into categories – like Blogs and Companies – now you’re going to use those same searches to find people to pitch to.
When I first got into the Internet Marketing Niche, I’d look for the parts of the niche that interested me:
- Social Media
Then I’d narrow them down even further to find what I could write about. Take social media, for example, there were a two options open to me:
- Blogs about Social Media
- Social Media Tools
So I’d go and look for all the social media tools I could. Which lead to me pitching to Share As Image (now Stencil) and becoming their Content Manager . And, to me landing an epic blog post spot on Buffer:
Think of how you can apply the same to your niche. What do the different parts of your niche break down to? You can find:
- Corporate Sites
- Tools and Plugins
- Local Businesses
- Fortune 500 companies
And from all of those you can break down even further, like if you were to look at retailers for the travel niche, that could be:
- Hiking stores
- Camping equipment
- Travel Agents
- Online Guidebook Shops
That’s just the tip of the iceberg as well. There are probably hundreds more options on top of that.
Be thorough. Dive deeply into your niches and find all of the options of companies that will need writing in some form, as you looked at before.
From there you can add them to your list of people you can write a cold call email too .
Finding Referral Clients
If you don’t have any clients at all this is a step for the future. But, I can show you how to get around that in the next section.
Referrals are one of the most powerful ways of landing a client. Because you come with a guarantee, from someone they know, that your work is of a high quality.
I regularly send out emails like this to clients, asking if they know of anyone who is looking for a freelance writer. And, sometimes you land a winner. Like when our very own Matt referred me to Colin Klinkert of SERPed , where I became the content manager there.
Search For Local Clients
You have a huge network you’re not even aware of.
Just cast your mind out to all of the people you know and all of the people that they know. There is an endless supply of people who could hook you up to a new client.
- Old Classmates
- Current Classmates
- Old Work Colleagues
- Current Clients
- Old Clients
- Your Hairdresser/Barber
- Your Social Media Friends
- People You See When You Walk The Dog
The list goes on and on and on. Who’s to say what’s going to come your way through these channels?
Two of my first ever corporate clients came this way. A Training Company and a Language Interpretation service that operated across the hall from each other. The first owner was my cousin’s best friend, the second just came and sat in on the meeting and chose to buy in.
There will be hundreds of businesses in your local area that other writers have never even thought to pitch to, either. While they search the furthest reaches of the internet, why not walk into their building and request a meeting?
And, as Sean Ogle once told me when I interviewed him for a Podcast (that never actually aired):
“Get to local events – conferences, marketing events and anything else. There is no substitute for meeting people in person.”
You can find a whole host of these events on MeetUp or pay attention to local publications and magazines.
2 Super-Secret Insider Methods For Finding Online Jobs
There are some really easy other ways of finding clients, too. In fact they’re right under your nose and they can be accessed easily.
Here they are…
The Upside-Down Method
I want to share with you the most effective way I’ve found of getting to write for people. These are instantly warm or hot leads you can pitch to, and the success rate is much higher than any other way I’ve tried.
Take a look at one of the online magazines or blogs in your niche. And, find for times that a freelance writer has contributed. Usually they’ll have a biography that tells you they’re a freelancers, like this bio from Kristi Hines on Nichehacks:
Now, even if there’s not a link in their profile, almost all freelancers have an online portfolio – whether that’s on their own hosted site or a free WordPress blog – so you can find that by searching in Google for their name (include freelancer or blogger if their name is really generic):
Once you’re on their site, look for pages with names like Portfolio or Latest, where they show you a list of the clients they’ve worked (or are working for) by sharing their latest or most successful posts:
Right in front of you right now there is a full database of potential clients that are open to having freelancers work for them. They’re at least paying one freelancer so they’ll be open to others, too.
Using this method – including Kristi’s Site – I’ve been able to land writing work with a lot of big, high paying clients. Oh, and stay tuned for a niche little tip on pitching later on, too.
The LinkedIn Lead Generator
This process is a similar to the above. But, with a little twist that you can guess from the title. You do it on LinkedIn instead.
Once again, find yourself a freelance writer on one of your favourite publications in your niche. Then, instead of looking for them on Google, go ahead and search them on LinkedIn:
From there head down the page to find their Freelance Work Experience. This will either be under the tab of their company name, like it is for Kristi here:
Or under different experience tabs like it is on my personal LinkedIn Profile:
Once again you have a tonne of companies to reach out to and pitch to because they’re interested in freelancers.
Don’t worry about stealing income from that freelancer, either. Normally you’ll be working in-addition to them so it’s not like you’re taking food off their table. You’re just putting it on your own.
Okay, that’s how to find potential clients all wrapped up. Now, how can you actually get them?
This Step In Short
Freelance Writing jobs can be found in three different ways:
- Advertised: Where it’s posted on a freelance writing jobs board, forum or freelancer site etc.
- Unadvertised: Where you contact a company or person unsolicited looking for opportunities.
- Referral: Where friends, family or current clients send new clients your way.
Advertised jobs are best found on job board like ProBlogger Jobs or Freelance Writing Gigs.
Unadvertised freelance writing jobs take some searching; but you can use methods like The Website Hijacker to find companies that are open to working with freelancers.
Or, get involved in your local community and find the people around you who are open to it.
Referral clients come from asking the question and generating warm leads from people that you know. This can be a great method of automating your marketing.
Step #3: Build Your Sales Tools
Writing is far too subjective for someone to determine what makes a good writer and what makes a bad writer.
You can see it for yourself in literature. There will be writers and novelists who have a huge following but write in a way that you just can’t stand to read. I can’t bear to read Harry Potter, but J.K Rowling is still out there making a fortune.
The way someone can choose whether you’re a good writer, then, is:
- Whether they like your writing style
- How good your portfolio is
- If other people have published your work
- What other people say about your writing
They won’t even use all of these. They’ll be happy with just two or three of them. So don’t worry if you can’t tick all of these boxes. Heck, most freelancers can’t hit all four of these when they move from one niche to another.
But you do need to do need to be able to showcase your work to people, in order to land the client. So let’s look at how you can start to build these up.
A Rock Solid Portfolio
Your portfolio is where you can show people your work and let them make a decision for themselves. There’s no right or wrong way to do a portfolio, but it should be:
- Frequently Updated
- Relevant To Your Niche
- Relevant To Your Skills
I’m going to show you a few different examples of portfolios so you can get an idea of what I mean.
Portfolio #1: Simple And Visual
This portfolio from Copywriting Is Art is simple, but really effective. If you’re going for a copywriting angle, this is a great one to follow:
Simple imagery gives it authority and is easy for people to see that there is an endorsement of his work. When you follow the links through the image you get a comprehensive breakdown of the work done, too:
Portfolio #2: Direct Links
This portfolio is my own personal one at JamesWritesThings. I use screenshots of my posts, with headlines that link directly to them:
Again it’s simple and effective, but it serves to show people I’ve been published elsewhere and can be trusted to write for their site. When they see a site they know, it’s also a big bonus.
Portfolio #3: Excerpts And Logos
This final portfolio comes from Erin at The Travel Copywriter . She again uses visuals – much like the graphic I showed you at the start of this post – to create a sense of authority:
And to create less of a barrier between a potential clients and buying from her, she’s added excerpts of her articles with additional links to grab attention:
Your Portfolio, Then…
You can see in all the above samples that they aren’t anything special. They don’t sing and dance, they just provide the information that’s needed. So don’t worry about needing a big ol’ website full of widgets.
Just create a space – using a site builder or WordPress or your own domain – and put your work online.
But, What If I Don’t Have Portfolio Pieces?
If you’re getting started you won’t have anything that even resembles a portfolio yet. And that’s okay, I’m going to show you how to create a portfolio from scratch, with little to no effort. There are two steps to it.
Step #1: Start Your Own Blog
Start a blog about your Niche and start writing it. Use different techniques, use different styles and start writing as though you’re creating for a huge audience.
You don’t have to share it with anyone if you don’t want. You can have it on a private link for all that matters. But you do need to give people an opportunity to see your style in the context of your niche.
Step #2: Find Freelance Writing Jobs And Complete Their Tasks
I used to use this method a lot when I first started writing. Because, it gives you something more tangible to work with. And, they can go on the blog you’re going to start.
Head to one of the freelance writing jobs boards or content mills and find a job posting. It doesn’t matter if it’s current or expired. Look for one with a pretty specific description, like this one:
Then just go ahead and create an article or piece to that specification and stick it on your blog.
This process has two benefits:
- You get to experience what clients are looking for and work to specification
- You get to build out your portfolio with real-world examples
You can even go the extra mile and screenshot the job and present it to a potential client you’re pitching too, so show what you’ve done. Anything that gets you noticed from the other freelancers that are entering the field.
Okay, there’s another way you can pad out your portfolio and gain endorsements from people. That section deserves a whole section of it’s own…
Guest Posting is my go-to strategy for building a profitable portfolio quickly.
It gives you valuable experience working with someone who will publish your work. It also teaches you to work to guidelines, deliver to an audience and what it’s like to have your content published.
For example, the guest post on Buffer that I mentioned earlier has brought me a tonne of emails like this:
And having written for sites like Addicted2Success and Lifehack and got a decent amount of shares showed that I could write for a big, well developed audience too.
Landing guest blog posts is a whole topic within itself. So when you choose this option, I’ll hand you over to this expert post from Venchito Tampon .
Testimonials are powerful pieces of information. In fact, 90% of consumers say that online reviews impact their buying decisions . So these glowing endorsements from people can play a huge part in this.
This Step In Short
There are three components you need to sell your online:
- Portfolio: Where potential clients can get a feel for your style, tone and the results your work can deliver.
- Guest Posts: Having an endorsement of your work on someone else’s site, even if only slightly relevant to your niche, can have a big impact on converting customers.
- Testimonials: These reviews of your work – from paying customers – can be the final blow in converting a client. Seeing a glowing recommendation can put their mind at ease and make them more likely to buy.
You can build a portfolio yourself by just writing blogs for your niche , or by finding jobs and writing them for your own site to gain experience.
Guest Posts can be obtained by following the link in that part of the section.
Testimonials can come from anyone who has seen or used your writing and can be built up over time. The sooner you get someone to write one though, the better.
Step #4: Writing Pitches To Get You Clients
Pitching is a numbers game – more on that in the next section – but you can create pitches that grab attention.
In fact, I’m not only going to show you how to pitch: I’m going to give you my own pitching strategy that you can copy and paste for yourself.
But first, let’s talk about what makes a good pitch…
Pitching To The Right Person
The first question about pitching is usually:
Who do I pitch to?
This is an important question because it can make or break whether you get spoken to or if you just get lost being passed around between departments in a company.
If you’re applying for an advertised job this is usually posted, like in the footer of this posting here:
But when you’re not it’s a little more difficult. There are three points of contact that you need to look for:
- Direct Email: The best you can find is a direct email. This is usually to an editor, marketing manager or content marketing executive.
- Department Email: There are often emails that go to someone in a department – marketing etc. – that you can get through to someone on.
- Contact Form: If there’s nothing else find a contact form under the ‘contact’ page on a site or a publication
Email Tools: You can also use a tool like Hunter.io to help you find the most contacted emails for the site.
And if you really can’t find anything you can use this sneaky little hack that I came up with.
When you’re on a site that you want to get in touch with go to the footer where you’ll often find tabs like this:
Click the Terms & Conditions tab (or Disclosure policy as it’s called here) and it’ll bring up a page full of legal jargon. A quick search of the page and you’ll be able to find and email contact,
like this one right here:
Gotcha. Now, you can pitch to someone in the company and find a way to the right person.
Pitching 101: How To Stand Out From The Crowd
Considering freelance writers are a group of individuals paid to write things…you suck at writing pitches.
Sorry, it’s just the truth.
Don’t worry, I did too. In fact, so did every freelance writer I know at one point or another.
Because pitching is hard. You’re trying to convince someone to pay you instead of the hundred other people they could choose from. It’s a daunting proposition.
That usually means your pitches go on far too long. They miss the point. Or, they’re too short for anyone to know why you’re even writing to them. But I’m about to give you a simple acronym to help you remember how to write a perfect pitch every single time. It goes like this:
- Easy To Understand
Okay, it’s not exactly the most masculine acronym I’ve ever created, but I know you’ll never forget it. PETAL pitches are the best kind, because they’re guaranteed to get responses. I’ve taught them to lots of writers and they’ve always come good.
Let’s break them down:
Personal is simple. When you’re writing to someone, you should address them by their name.
This will normally be the prefix in their email (‘james’@pitchtome.com) or on their job description.
If that’s not available I’d suggest you opt for a “Hey Guys”, or “Hi Team” because it sounds a lot more personal than just “Hello”.
Easy To Understand
The people you’re pitching to often receive a lot of emails. So you need to be clear, concise and focused on why you’re writing to them. Especially if you’re cold pitching to someone who doesn’t know they’re being pitched too.
Basically you need to make sure nothing is lost in translation.
I usually combat this by saying exactly why I’m writing to them. Like:
My name’s James and I’m a freelance writer from Manchester, England. I’m writing to you to see if there was any room for a freelance writer on the Company X team? I think I’d be a perfect fit!
Now they can make no mistake about why I’m in their inbox right now.
There’s a rule in Newspaper writing:
Put the most important information at the top and put the least important at the bottom. Because newspaper editors cut the information from the bottom of the article.
The exact same rule applies to pitching. Put the most important information at the top incase they don’t make it to the end of your pitch. You’ll see more on how that’s done in the copy and paste section next.
You need to state what you’ve done. Where you’ve worked. Provide information that’s relevant to the job you’re pitching for. And, any additional information that’s required.
As a writer it’s normal for you to…waffle on. You know, write more than is necessary. It comes with the nervousness with a pitch. But follow this rule for writing your pitches and you’ll be fine (this is stolen from Winston Churchill):
A good pitch should be like a skirt; short enough to be interesting long enough to cover the subject.
The 100% Golden Rule Of Pitching You Must Obey
If you disregard everything else you learn about pitching in this article please remember this simple rule:
Read the job description.
When you’re pitching for an advertised job there will be part thrown in there to keep you on your toes. Specific requirements that will affect you getting the job or not.
The most common form of this is them asking you to put something in the pitch to prove that you read it. Like this job pitch where I had to put two specific words in the subject line:
So make sure you go through everything with a fine tooth comb before you send anything. Copy and pasting is great, but not if it loses you a job.
The Copy And Paste Pitch Template
Okay, so that’s how you should be pitching to get clients.
But I’m about to save you a lot of time by giving you a fill-in-the-blanks pitch for you to use.
You can edit this however you want but it is a sure-fire template that will help you land clients:
But James, What About The Headline?
I didn’t forget, I promise.
I’ve tested a lot of different headline techniques and I’ve found two that work, at least for getting people to reply to your emails.
The first, if you’re applying for an advertising job is to put a simple subject like this:
But if you’re making a cold pitch, the undisputed best headline in my experience – and that of other writers I speak to – is to ask a question in your headline. I can’t tell you why this works, but it seems to be really effective.
Toy around and find your own unique stamp. Play with headlines and ideas to see what’s going to get you the most return.
Okay, you’re getting on to the final section, are you ready?
This Step In Short
People are pitching to your potential clients all the time so you need to craft pitched that make you stand out from the crowd. To do that, remember this (manly) PETAL acronym:
- Personal: Written directly to someone; in a conversational but professional tone.
- Easy To Understand: Be clear about what you’re writing or pitching to them for, and why they should care.
- Top-Loaded: Put the important information at the start and make it less important as you go down the pitch.
- Accurate: It should fit you, your niche, the job description and what your capabilities are.
- Lean: Short enough to be interesting; long enough to cover the subject.
Always remember to read the job description and edit your pitch to fit the specific client you’re talking to.
Ask questions in your headline, or reference the job listing, to get the best open rates.
Step #5: Setting The Right Price
Let’s talk money.
I’ve purposely saved this until last because it’s the most highly debated topic in freelancing.
And, I want to make sure it get’s the coverage it deserves. But, I’m not going to spend too long telling you about it. Why?
Because, regardless of the arguments for and against what your prices should be, it comes down to you. Let me explain…
First, It’s About What You Want To Charge…
More to the point it’s about what you feel comfortable charging. When you first step onto the scene you probably won’t feel like you can charge $100; you’ll not have the portfolio to back it up, either.
So don’t charge it.
If you feel comfortable charging $10, charge that. Then up it when you feel comfortable charging
$20 and $30 and $40 and so on.
But do remember you have to put food on the table and you need to respect your time. After all, you can’t get it back.
I started at $10 and hour, and I now comfortably charge $60-$100+ an hour depending on the project.
Secondly, Don’t Worry About Pricing Out
One of the best lessons I learned came from the team at Nifty Marketing. In this post they share how they set themselves a minimum that they refuse to budge on to attract the calibre of client that they wanted.
Set a minimum price that you will not go under by any stretch of the imagination. It can be whatever you think it needs to be, but don’t just take work for the sake of it. Respect yourself and be proud of what you will work for, as well as what you wont.
Thirdly, It’s About Negotiation…
Always be open to negotiation. Now if you have a minimum prices, that’s the lowest point you can negotiate to. But also be open to negotiations on different things.
For example, let’s say you pitch $50 an hour and your minimum is $30, you have $20 wiggle room to negotiate with there. There’s nothing wrong with having different prices for different clients on different projects. It’s the way the freelance world works.
Different Pricing Structures
There are a couple of ways that you can charge client with freelance writing.
This is exactly what it says on the tin; the price you’ll charge per hour. This can chop and change depending on the client, too.
It’s not unusual to charge $30 for one client and $50 for another, because the jobs come with different specifications and require different levels of effort.
And, as you saw in the last point, you need to be open to negotiation.
I’m terrible at Math, so the simple way I use to work out an hourly rate is:
- How many words per hour
- How much research is needed
- The average price of work in that niche
For example if you have an easy, stream-of-consciousness style article in the Self Help niche.
That would charge less because you can get 1,200 words out an hour on that, you don’t need as much research and you can wrap it up in just a few hours. Also, the payment in that niche is lower.
But if you have a really niche, in-depth topic, that requires a lot of research – like SEO or Engineering – you would charge more. Why?
Because not only would you be writing less per hour, you’ll be spending a lot more time writing and referencing. You’ll also have to block out a bigger chunk of your day to do it.
The price per hour is also dependant on your experience. If you’re an established expert you can charge more than if you were the new kid on the block.
Price Per Word
We don’t mess about with the clarity of our titles in writing do we?
Price Per Word is one of the most common pricing strategies.
I use it for almost all of my articles, especially on those longer articles – like this one – because it often works out fairer for you and the client. And, it’s easier to pitch. When a client hears 15 cents per word it sounds better than $150 for 1000 words.
I use a similar system to the above for working this out. If you’re productive you can really increase what you earn per hour.
Price Per Project
This is a standard pricing package for small businesses and copywriting clients. For example, when I created the copy on this training company website, I set a fixed price for all of the content:
I find the price per project is normally based on your hourly rate, the hours you’re expected to work and a negotiation with the client. You can create a lot of ‘savings’ benefits here for a client, too. Where it feels like you’re doing more work and saving them money.
Each client and project has it’s own specific needs. So, it pays to have a flexible option where people can talk to you and you will flesh out a price together for the work that needs to be done. This works on a per-client basis.
There are a number of ways you can get paid, too. This is usually when you bill out when you receive money:
- 100% Up Front: This requires a built up level of trust but once that’s established it’s easy to employ.
- 50% Up Front: Clients are often open to this method – 50% up front, 50% on completion – because the risk is lower.
- Upon Completion: I don’t usually employ this method unless it’s per word pricing or with a client that I really trust. Because you can retain the rights to the article until they pay, there is also the option to keep it and sell it on if you do get stiffed.
Insider Tip: The Subscription Payment Model
Okay let me lay a little bit of insider knowledge on you:
Clients are sometimes flaky. They’ll need six articles one month, two the next, disappear for a couple of weeks, come back with more work than you can handle and then drop off the map forever.
That’s just the nature of the beast. Not all clients are like this, but there is always a level on inconsistency.
But there is a way you can make it more consistent and guarantee yourself an income. You just need to employ a subscription model.
With every client that that likes this model they agree to:
- A fixed number of hours or articles per month
- For a set price
- To be paid at either 100% or 50% up front
- For a fixed-term (three, six, nine months)
That way you are definitely getting paid and you have guaranteed work every month.
Clients are usually pretty responsive to this model too so don’t be afraid to pitch it.
This Step In Short
Setting the right price is personal to you. There is no right or wrong price to charge. Just what you feel comfortable charging, the value you offer and where you’re positioned in your niche.
But, as a rough guide, I’d suggest these prices:
- Beginner: $20-$30 per hour / $0.05 per word – $0.10 per word
- Intermediate: $35-$50 per hour / $o.15 – $0.20 per word
- Expert: $50+ per hour / $0.25 – $0.50+ per word
Look to employ a subscription payment model, or a 50% up front model when you’re negotiating with a client to make sure you get paid.
Step #6: The Extras You Need To Know About
In this step I want you to explore some of the ways to improve and refine your business. And, learn about other technical aspects of the job.
Every piece of work will come with a brief. Sometimes that can be professional and in the shape of guidelines, like this:
Or it’ll be in a brief document like this (text covered, just in case):
There are also times where you’ll be asked to create the project brief. Or, it’ll come in the form of an email chain or a written on a napkin or something illegible you have to decipher for yourself.
But it’s essential that before you start on a project you create a clear brief for you and the client. Point out what it is you believe you should be delivering and if that is in line with what the client wants.
There is nothing worse – for you and a client – than going in blind and hoping you hit the target. It’s a waste of time and effort.
Ask as many questions as you need to and go into as much detail as possible. The clearer the picture the better the end product.
I don’t recommend offering any more than two rounds of revisions. Why?
Because you’re a good writer. And you’re crafting articles or content based on what an audience wants. You’ve done you research and you’ve decided this is the content that is going to work.
You do have to pay attention to what the client is saying and offer some changes based on what they ask for. But by the same token you have to respect your time and the decisions you’ve made.
As long as the article is in line with the above revisions and the thoughts laid out in the plan, then you’re fine to only offer limited revisions.
I didn’t know this when I first started out, you may not have either, but there are minimum legal requirements for an invoice that you need to meet. More than just slapping what you did and your price on a sheet of paper or in a document and sending it across.
If you’re creating your own invoices follow one of these links to see what requirement your country has (English speaking countries only):
- United Kingdom
- United States
- New Zealand
But I highly recommend using a service like FreshBooks to manage your invoices. You can just input the client data, send it across, and the rest of it is taken care of for you. They also come with a tonne of different payment options too:
Contracts / Terms & Conditions
A contract can come in many forms and has to be made up of certain criteria, like this one from HMRC in the UK:
Contracts will sometimes be sent to you to be signed, others will be be an email correspondence or done through a Skype call. And, there is a good chance you will never have to enforce a contract, but you should have one in place.
They cover your back; make sure you get paid the right amount for the right amount of work; cover your client and make your business more professional. Much like a project brief, be clear in:
- What’s being done
- When it’s being done by
- How much it’s going to cost
- What the end product will look like
- What you’re offering
For example, you could do all of this in one sentence:
So I’ll going to be writing How To Become A Freelance Writer Online, it’s going to be 10,00o-15,000 words at the rate we agreed for the last article, and I’ll have it done by April 11th, is that correct?
They accept it. You’re covered. It’s that simple.
Recommended Reading & Development
Phew! Okay, onto the last bit now.
Like I said right at the start of the article, you don’t need any qualifications to become a writer. But there’s a lot you can read and practice on to become a better writer and create stronger, more impactful content. Here’s some of my biggest recommends:
- Write To Sell – Andy Maslen: Probably the best book on Copywriting I’ve ever read. It’s not long, but it’s really in-depth and clears up a tonne of questions you have early on.
- On Writing – Stephen King: If you’re trying to create content with a story feel to it, this book is an endless supply of hints and tips to create them.
- Made To Stick – Chip & Dan Heath: Amazing for finding out how to write and create articles that people remember.
Wrapping It Up…
I hope by now you have a clear picture of what it takes to be a freelance writer and how to start your business the right way.
It may seem overwhelming at first, but it really is as simple as choosing one of these steps and taking action until completion. As Matt often says, “Keep it simple, stupid”, and it’s a motto that works here too.
And if you want to take all of the information from this article and learn how to put it into action, you can also take my free email course where I’ll show you a simple trick to help you get your business to $1000 per month. You can sign up here .
You Might Also Enjoy…
- Ali Raza5.5.2016
Very detailed and awesomr guide. If someone is into Article writing then this is a best guide anyone can see.
What do you say on offering a little extra or something a bonus the client isnt expected? It always worked for me. Whats your take on it?Reply
- Matthew WoodwardMay 5th, 2016 at 11:13 am
What kind of extras do you offer?Reply
- James JohnsonMay 6th, 2016 at 2:25 am
I’d definitely be interested to see what you add to ‘sweeten’ the deal for someone. It’s not a strategy I tend to run with, but if it works for you, go for it.
- Ali RazaMay 7th, 2016 at 10:37 am
Hello James and Matthew!
I’m not an article writer actually but if i was one, i would surely be offering something like :
1. Let’s say if Im assigned to write 1000 words, I won’t mind adding 100 new words as a good gesture.
2. I could inter connect my other services as a bundle and offer him/her discount.
3. I would add some references link or some more evidences as a backup to prove my stance. (I know some do write it, but it’s again the type of article nature, but i won’t mind having them included.
4. If the person who is providing me work, I won’t mind writing a free bio for his profile. This thing alone can give you a lot of trust which can result in into big businesses.
Remember, thing big, don’t go for small money, focus big. If you follow the above steps and try to build a strong business relationship, I believe thats the best strategy for long term and big business.
Man… all your posts are epic lol.
You didn’t mention iwriter or textbroker, (maybe I missed it)
but they are great spots to get your feet wet, iwriter has 3,000 jobs a day, and once you become a 5-star writer your earnings jump up huge. Just over-deliver on your articles for people and they will notice ($tips) and request you personally (higher earnings per article). After you finish an article contact the client and ask them how they liked it. ~ leads to future on-going better paying projects. From there, you can start saying “I am a 5-star writer” for x, can builds your street cred 🙂
– end ramble.Reply
- Matthew WoodwardMay 5th, 2016 at 11:13 am
SUPERB additional tips and insight, thank you 🙂Reply
- KamaalMay 5th, 2016 at 1:41 pm
How iwriter website works , when it comes to writer’s protection ? For example lets say if someone post a job as a client there for 2000 words . A writer put his hard work and submit the article for apprval and client Rejects the article intentionally .Reply
- DavinaMay 6th, 2016 at 3:03 am
I agree Kamaal. I worked with iWriter and I experienced (or knew others who experienced) intentional rejection. That’s why it’s good to find your own clients like James has explained in this article.Reply
- Matthew WoodwardMay 6th, 2016 at 10:30 am
What do you mean by “intentional rejection”?Reply
- DavinaMay 6th, 2016 at 11:37 am
I mean clients who never intended to accept the article they requested, so when you submit it they reject it with no valid reason. It may be because they are not willing to pay, they changed their mind about what they wanted, or they just enjoy wasting people’s time.
Regardless, I enjoyed the tutorial by James, and will be using it to further my freelance writing.
- Matthew WoodwardMay 7th, 2016 at 1:42 pm
Ahhhh I understand, well it could also be that the article sucked and wasn’t to their standards. I reject articles frequently!
- MercyMay 6th, 2016 at 10:31 am
I once worked there and I can tell you it’s a weird platform. First, they have no way of test/ranking their writers, but to ensure that clients are always happy with their services, they have allowed them unlimited freedom to hire and fire as many writers as they wish.
For new writers, try it at your risk!Reply
- James JohnsonMay 6th, 2016 at 2:28 am
I’m personally not a huge fan of iWriter and Textbroker, so I didn’t include them here. I feel there are more sustainable ways of building a Freelance Business.
But, if you’ve found a method that works for you, go at it balls to the wall!
Thanks for the extra advice 🙂
- Process Server in IndiaOctober 1st, 2018 at 3:04 am
Well done Matthew I need a few days to check everything and it really is worth the timeReply
- Matthew WoodwardMay 6th, 2016 at 10:29 am
No problem 🙂Reply
- David Hartshorne5.6.2016
Excellent article James! So much valuable info and tips to action!
Personally, I’ve landed my first writing gigs through contacts. I find Upwork difficult to pitch on at the moment as I think there are lower paid jobs on there. The other writing job boards like ProBlogger have better quality adverts.
- Matthew WoodwardMay 6th, 2016 at 10:29 am
Do you have any other additional tips/secret sauce to share 🙂Reply
- Anil Agarwal5.6.2016
I think SEO copywriting is killing it.
If you are good at SEO and writing, you can make a lot.
Freelance writing is giving more and more people the option to start making money from home.
Thanks so much for providing such a valuable information at one place Matthew. Keep up the great work!Reply
- Matthew WoodwardMay 7th, 2016 at 1:47 pm
Yes, learning how to do keyword research doesn’t take long – but allows you to charge more/stand out from the crowd!Reply
- Ed Bloom5.6.2016
James – what an epic blog post! Thank you Matthew for commissioning James to put together what should be considered the defacto guide to freelance writing online.
As someone who is now trying to make a real go at being disciplined in writing at least 5,000 words a week for my own blog this post is super useful and motivating.
James/Matthew – have you guys ever written about how to structure kick a** blog posts. (i.e. what’s your formula for how you write such long and useful posts, do you write out a high level structure with headings first, the put meat on the bones etc.).
I’d love for you to go deep on how you structure your writing at some point in the future 🙂
- Matthew WoodwardMay 7th, 2016 at 1:41 pm
I don’t have a set structure, but I like to deliver first and explain later. So for example I always open with a what you will learn section, and then the results of what they are about to learn before teaching how to actually do it.Reply
- Siddharth Kamble5.7.2016
Hey James, Nice article. You did very good and deep research for this topic. Really man.. Whenever I came on this blog, I always got some nice piece of information. Hats off to you guys..Reply
- Matthew WoodwardMay 7th, 2016 at 1:38 pm
Thanks Siddharth, James is an expert at what he does 🙂Reply
Just a brilliant article that really opens up many more doors in the world of freelancing than I first thought were available. I’ve just made five pages of notes on this piece – here’s to the future! Thanks James!Reply
- Matthew WoodwardMay 7th, 2016 at 1:38 pm
Good luck with your venture, don’t be afraid to jump in with both feet and learn as you go!Reply
- Adam Silbernagel5.7.2016
This is a great piece with a lot of great info. As someone who is sick of the 9-5 grind, this will surely be an article that i come back to again and again as I start down the trail of freelance work. Thanks again.Reply
- Matthew WoodwardMay 9th, 2016 at 10:42 am
No problem Adam, I hope you manage to quit your job!Reply
Wow! What an excellent guide for freelance writers. Thank you for this piece.Reply
- Matthew WoodwardMay 10th, 2016 at 11:36 am
No problem, although I cannot take credit for this one 🙂Reply
Awesome site, brilliant post, and a bit cheeky I love it!
I’m just starting to set up a website, blog etc and I’ve been scouring for articles for beginners advice and this is the best stop so far
This is really going to help me!
- Matthew WoodwardMay 15th, 2016 at 5:27 pm
No problem Dan, I see you already made a start on your own personal brand 🙂Reply
- Pauline Steinbrink5.13.2016
This is an an awesome article with lots of valuable information and insight on the nuts and bolts of freelance writing. Very encouraging for someone looking to be independent from a standard job. Thank you!Reply
- Matthew WoodwardMay 15th, 2016 at 5:25 pm
No problem Pauline, I hope you put it to good use 🙂Reply
But…but….. what about all that SEO writing work at $5 per 500 words.
You didn’t mention how we can clean up writing that in five minutes.Reply
- Matthew WoodwardMay 15th, 2016 at 5:24 pm
Yes you can do that, but that’s really at the entry level/bottom end of the market and there are far more lucrative ways to make money with your writingReply
- Onehalf AU5.15.2016
Thanks James for sharing your experiences and tips on freelance writing. Freelance writing comes with a lot of perks and challenges. If you want to succeed in this field, you have to get familiar with the ins and outs of the trade. You also have to make sure that you have all the required resources for producing great content for your client such as computer, reliable internet connection, etc.Reply
- Matthew WoodwardMay 16th, 2016 at 8:36 am
And if you are traveling, don’t forget about https://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/tutorials/how-to-blog-work-on-the-road-while-travelling/Reply
This was such an epic article that I had to have two bites at it. Great suggestions. Just this past week I had a change of circumstance which has forced me to choose a path. I’m hoping to make a go of freelancing but scared how to start as I am not young and have a family.
My niche is more towards fiction, but I’m not scared to put the time into research and also write non fiction. This has given me a lot of confidence. Thanks again.Reply
- Matthew WoodwardJuly 7th, 2016 at 10:56 am
Age and family is an excuse, just roll your sleeves up and get started. Getting started is the hardest part but it can be done in less than a day!Reply
As someone who has been grinding on Upwork for a couple of months (fairly successfully) and figured there must be a better way, this article is incredibly helpful.
Many thanks for the insight and advice!Reply
- Matthew WoodwardJuly 5th, 2016 at 12:34 pm
No problem Kathryn – how have you been doing with upwork so far?Reply
- KathrynJuly 5th, 2016 at 12:48 pm
Fairly well. I know a lot of people don’t like Upwork, and for some very good reasons. For me, though, it was a good place to start: it’s provided experience, the assurance that I DO, in fact, know how to write, the beginnings of a portfolio, and a few contacts that may turn into longer term clients.
The increase to charging 20% from any earnings is a step too far for me though.
I’m feeling like it’s time to “graduate” from Upwork and move up to bigger and better-paying things, and this article has given me some areas to think about and work from, so thanks for that!Reply
- Matthew WoodwardJuly 6th, 2016 at 4:48 pm
Ahhh I wasn’t aware of the change in fee, I’m sure that will come back to bite them in the behind!
It sounds like you are already well on your way with your journey though especially if you have long term clients that have developed from upwork – I would start by asking them for referrals to new clients in exchange for a discount 🙂Reply
Nice post,Thank you so much for providing such a valuable information at one place Matthew. Keep up the great work!Reply
- Matthew WoodwardJuly 12th, 2016 at 11:27 am
No problem, glad to be of service!Reply
Great Article. Also will be starting my Content writing services soon so it is a great resource for me.
I wanted to ask a question for the rates specifically For experts it is mentioned $50+ per hour. Now assuming least I write in 1 hour is 500 words so my rate the comes to $0.10 per word isn’t it?
But in article it is quoted at $0.5 per word? In that case per hour rate should be $250 & not $50 as stated.Reply
- Matthew WoodwardJuly 23rd, 2016 at 11:11 am
It depends, some people can command much higher rates than others, but I’ve never seen anyone writing at $0.50 per wordReply
- Ruben Baestaens8.28.2016
Great article, gave me some content ideas for in the future.
- Matthew WoodwardSeptember 5th, 2016 at 9:09 am
No problem Ruben!Reply
Great article. I am just starting out in copywriting and just wanted to know if you would advocate membership of any UK based copywriting associations? Specifically the PCA (Professional Copywriters Association) or the PCN (Professional Copywriters Network)? I have found quite a few articles advocating membership of the PCA and nothing to discredit it. It does offer what looks like an interesting course to get you started but the website itself is b***** awful, once you sign up to it the sales emails you get trying to sell you the course are poorly worded and formatted. These things seem a bit strange for a professional copywriters association?! The PCN is presented much more professionally but it’s not entirely clear how they would help someone like me who is just setting up in the business. Would appreciate your thoughts?Reply
- Matthew WoodwardOctober 7th, 2016 at 10:20 am
Well, this is the first time I have ever heard of it so it seems like a w**** waving thing more than anythingReply
- AndrewOctober 7th, 2016 at 10:26 am
A very well-researched and detailed article for aspiring freelance writers looking to get started writing online. In my opinion, Upwork, Guru, and PeoplePerHour are freelance sites that feature a wide variety of jobs across different industries. They all feature writing jobs but the pay is not great in general, but there are high-paying jobs posted on these sites too. I am not sure though should I call them content sites.
Freelance writing jobs boards are a great place to find writing jobs. These sites usually work as a search engine, featuring writing jobs advertised all over the internet at one place. There is a big question mark on the legitimacy of the jobs listed on these sites though. However, most jobs seem to be legitimate opportunities.
A great source for paid article writing jobs is freelance article writing jobs sites like Textbroker.com, Online Writing Jobs, Greatcontent.com. iWriter.com, and more. These are called content mills, notoriously though. But they are great places for beginner writers to build a portfolio, learn SEO content writing and get paid immediately for writing articles.
Then there are some websites and blogs that accept writers with expertise in a certain niche or more. The writer usually submits a pre-written article on a topic covered by these sites and if it is approved by the site owner or webmaster, the writer gets paid. The pay rate can be based on the world count or an article-produced basis.
Some other websites (usually large content based sites) like wisebread.com, wiseGEEK, com, and LoveToKnow hire writers to contribute articles to their site. The applicant usually has to write a sample article or two and then the sample articles are evaluated by the editor. If the work is approved, the applicant is hired to write articles for the relevant site.
So the market for freelance writing is vast and there are many different ways to find work in freelance writing online.
I would like to thank you very much for producing such a great article packed so much helpful information for both the beginner and seasoned freelance writers. Keep up the great work 🙂Reply
- Matthew WoodwardNovember 1st, 2016 at 3:08 pm
Thanks for your additional insights Shaheen!
It sounds like you have or are working as a freelance writer yourself?Reply
Thanks for your kind inquiry Matthew! Well, actually I have been writing online content since 2013 for small businesses and individuals who run a website or blog.
My favourite topics include make money online, online and Internet marketing (e.g. SEO, SEM, SM, SMM, PPC, article marketing, content marketing, etc), eCommerce platforms and software, web design and development, web hosting, plumbing, locksmith, home edition/extension, home improvement, roofing, general constructions, personal finance, insurance, online jobs and businesses, work at home guides, side hustles for extra income, blogging tips, website and blog monetisation, and more!
I would rather call myself a web designer and developer anytime soon as I am currently doing a full-stack web design and development course.
- Matthew WoodwardDecember 13th, 2016 at 10:12 am
Sounds like you have a lot of experience in a lot of areas that you can leverage!Reply
- Sulaksha Gad11.23.2016
Nice article. It is the very useful article for newbie copywriters like me.
Can you tell me about legal requirements in India for invoicing?
- Matthew WoodwardNovember 23rd, 2016 at 10:09 am
You would have to speak to someone from India about that sorry =/Reply
- Sulaksha GadNovember 23rd, 2016 at 10:21 am
It’s ok. Thanks for your valuable reply.
I find reading this article a joy. Extremely helpful is It and interesting and very much looking the forward to reading more of your work ..Reply
- Matthew WoodwardJanuary 5th, 2017 at 9:22 am
Hope it helps you out!Reply
- Craig Rogers4.14.2017
To echo the good feedback you’ve had for this article, it’s a great piece, informative, honest, practical and most of all – useful.
I am also just starting down the road of freelance writing and about to put together my first blog. Your article has inspired me no end. Anyway, enough gushing.
Great work – thanks.Reply
- Matthew WoodwardApril 14th, 2017 at 8:46 am
Thanks Craig, I hope it helps you reach your goals!Reply
Extremely helpful is It and interesting and very much looking the forward to reading more of your work .Reply
- Matthew WoodwardAugust 4th, 2017 at 2:15 pm
No problem JohanReply
- HDR Photo Editing6.29.2017
Thanks for providing deep information on freelance writing , much inspired 🙂Reply
- Matthew WoodwardJuly 11th, 2017 at 2:03 pm
No problem, now get writing 🙂Reply
- Luke Ouma Pengo6.30.2017
I like to start writing my self.Reply
- Matthew WoodwardJuly 11th, 2017 at 11:58 am
Take action Luke 🙂Reply
- Chris Yates1.11.2018
Holy Cow !
James, an amazing article and has certainly given me more than enough information & motivation to get of my backside and actually make a start.
Being a web designer ( primarily back-end code, PHP etc ) I have always dreaded the moment when I finish the actual site coding because I know there is only one thing left to do… write the d*** content
But now I find myself at a bit of a cross-roads, after reading this article I am actually looking forward to making my first “proper” blog.
James & Matthew, thank you for such a great article guys !
Hope others found it as informative and motivational as I have
All the best & hope you have a cracking 2018 !Reply
- Matthew WoodwardJanuary 11th, 2018 at 1:16 pm
No problem Chris I hope it translates into success for youReply
- James JohnsonJanuary 12th, 2018 at 12:53 am
Thanks so much for the kind words!
All the best for 2018.
Thanks for the article, lots of good information. Makes it sound super easy but I have to warn newbies, unfortunately a lot of the freelance work sites like Fiverr and Upwork are super competitive even for the crappiest paid jobs. If you don’t already have a portfolio on the specific site, it’s extremely hard to crack. In Australia many hundreds of experienced journalists have been laid off from newspapers and magazines that closed down due to low readership. They are now competing with everyone else for the online content jobs. On top of that people in first world countries like Australia who need minimum $20 per hour just to survive and pay rent are competing with writers from third world countries who can afford to write for much less money due to lower cost of living.
Newbies – it’s great to have a career you’re passionate about and can do from home, but it will most likely take at least a year to get enough work to support yourself (in Australia at least) – most freelancers I know have to keep their full time job for some time before they can rely on freelance income. You gotta start somewhere though! Great tips mateReply
- Matthew WoodwardJanuary 11th, 2018 at 1:10 pm
Great advice Tracey!Reply
- James JohnsonJanuary 12th, 2018 at 12:51 am
James here – the author of the article. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
You’re definitely right that it can take a little while to get your business going. But I wouldn’t worry about competing with journalists, or anyone else, whilst starting your business.
For example, if you’re an Aussie and you need to make $20 per hour to live, you could always look for work *outside* of Australia to make up the difference. You’ll write in British English, so you could look for jobs with English companies. Alternatively, you can focus on higher paying American jobs (of which there are THOUSANDS) .
Whilst it is true there are writers from outside first world countries who are willing to work for less money; I wouldn’t worry about this, either. This is often low-value businesses looking to get cheaper labour within their price range. The quality here is often hit and miss – which is often the case for people with just an “ok” grasp of the English language – and they don’t tend ot stay on this path for too long.
If your work is of good quality, and you value your services, you won’t run into too many snags.
But, you are right, you should definitely settle in for the long haul and not expect super quick success.
- James Johnson1.12.2018
James here – the author of the article. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
You’re definitely right that it can take a little while to get your business going. But I wouldn’t worry about competing with journalists, or anyone else, whilst starting your business.
For example, if you’re an Aussie and you need to make $20 per hour to live, you could always look for work *outside* of Australia to make up the difference. You’ll write in British English, so you could look for jobs with English companies. Alternatively, you can focus on higher paying American jobs (of which there are THOUSANDS) .
Whilst it is true there are writers from outside first world countries who are willing to work for less money; I wouldn’t worry about this, either. This is often low-value businesses looking to get cheaper labour within their price range. The quality here is often hit and miss – which is often the case for people with just an “ok” grasp of the English language – and they don’t tend ot stay on this path for too long.
If your work is of good quality, and you value your services, you won’t run into too many snags.
But, you are right, you should definitely settle in for the long haul and not expect super quick success.
- Sanju Suresh1.12.2018
Neatly explained I really enjoyed reading. Keep up the good work!Reply
- Matthew WoodwardApril 2nd, 2018 at 1:25 pm
Glad you enjoyed it SanjuReply
Wow! What an excellent guide for freelance writers,
I hope it help me to build some positive.Reply
- Matthew WoodwardApril 2nd, 2018 at 12:43 pm
Best of luck, hard work and perseveranceReply
Nice article with more details.
Freelance writing is the best way to make money online.
First and foremost we have to do some research on a topic and then writing article on it will give good result.
As soon as the client accepts our written article we will get paid. In other words this is the one of the fast way to make money online.
Anyone with basic english written communication skills can get in to this freelance writing online job.Reply
- Matthew WoodwardApril 3rd, 2018 at 11:03 am
Hi Rob, yes it is a good way to make money online. Thanks for your comment 🙂Reply
- Joinal Abden1.15.2018
Thank you very much for sharing this valuable information. 🙂Reply
- Matthew WoodwardApril 2nd, 2018 at 1:22 pm
No problem JoinalReply
- Himanshu Gupta1.18.2018
Great Post 🙂
Really a game changer for anyone just starting freelance career 😀Reply
- Matthew WoodwardApril 2nd, 2018 at 11:32 am
Glad the post is doing its jobReply
- Kevin Steele1.29.2018
One of the big problems with Upwork as I am discovering is trying to get your profile accepted in the first place. Even with a 100% complete profile with some “dummy” articles to use as a portfolio I am still banging my head against a brick wall trying to get past Upwork’s automated “bots” which are doing the rejecting. Does anyone have any advice as to how to get accepted?Reply
- Matthew WoodwardJanuary 29th, 2018 at 10:40 am
Have you sent a ticket to support?Reply
This is such an awesome point. “You’re not an employee and you’re an equal partner to your client” So many freelancers forget this and end up taking less than ideal rates. We are equal partners with our clients and it’s not a master-slave relationship. Great article.Reply
- Matthew WoodwardApril 2nd, 2018 at 9:51 am
Thanks Sheeroh, it is so easy to forget!Reply
- Amit shakyawar3.27.2018
Thanks for this information it’s very helpful for me.Reply
- Matthew WoodwardApril 2nd, 2018 at 8:54 am
Hi Amit, you are welcome!Reply
hey I think your article is great I just enjoyed it
according to me, the niche is very important.
There are many online writing jobs for every topic you can think of, but if you are a good researcher then you can write about anything.
But it’s better to write on specific assignment than any random assignment.
Peoples often take the paying jobs in freelance without knowing if they can’t do it or not.
So my advice is don’t fall into that trap.
Take those jobs which are easier for you, if you don’t know anything about something then it will take a lot of time in research which is the loss of time.
You can write about things you know better because it takes very little research by which you can finish your work quickly and can get paid.
For this above reason finding a niche is very important.
nyc blog btwReply
- Matthew WoodwardApril 3rd, 2018 at 1:58 pm
Some good pointsReply
- Matthew WoodwardApril 18th, 2018 at 8:57 am
- Elliott M. Womble5.3.2018
I am a recently retired Baltimore City Public School System English teacher and freelance copywriter. I just wanted to say thank you for this awesome article about freelance writing jobs.
I’ve read probably hundreds of articles about free lance writing and this is the best I’ve read!
Thanks again for the great info.
Elliott M. WombleReply
- Matthew WoodwardMay 4th, 2018 at 9:27 am
Hi, thank you very much, it’s most appreciated!Reply
- Do Dentistry5.9.2018
Great post shared i really need this post your blog is very useful to meReply
- Matthew WoodwardMay 10th, 2018 at 10:10 am
Glad you found it usefulReply
- Matthew WoodwardMay 28th, 2018 at 10:23 am
Thanks, let me know if you have any questionsReply
- MD.JAHED HOSSEN.5.29.2018
Hello! Thanks for writing this post. Your blog post has been extremely helpful, thank you so much! I absolutely LOVE this article! Your blog posts have been so helpful for me Elna! I’m a new blogger and trying to discover some freelance writing gigs, so this was extremely helpful.TqReply
- Matthew WoodwardMay 29th, 2018 at 10:12 am
No problem, good luck 🙂Reply
My suggestion is to focus on a niche. This way, you have more of a chance of standing out. This prevents you from being another writer.Reply
- Matthew WoodwardMay 31st, 2018 at 10:14 am
- sankha sengupta6.5.2018
very nice article for bloggersReply
- Matthew WoodwardJune 6th, 2018 at 1:06 pm
Thanks very much, hope you found it usefulReply
- Matthew Woodward7.20.2018
No worries, welcome back!!Reply
- Alice Reinhardt7.22.2018
Thank you for making this easily to understand.Reply
- Matthew WoodwardJuly 24th, 2018 at 10:40 am
No problem Alice 🙂Reply
Thank you for providing valuable information that is very helpful for beginners and I always inspire from you and your blog.Reply
- Matthew WoodwardJuly 24th, 2018 at 10:31 am
That’s great to read, thanks very much 🙂Reply
- Shona Parker9.14.2018
This is amazing and it is incredibly kind of you to share your expertise for free. I haven’t set up my blog yet, I am writing it on paper first but I am loving it and would love to do a little freelance writing alongside my English tutoring so I am going to follow your tutorial and let you know how I progress. In the meantime, you have another follower!Reply
- Matthew WoodwardSeptember 14th, 2018 at 8:59 am
Great news Shona! Sounds like a cool plan. Please keep me updated.Reply
- Shilpa Singh10.2.2018
Wow, so much Knowledge. Thank you… Thank you so muchReply
- Matthew WoodwardOctober 3rd, 2018 at 10:29 am
You are welcome Shilpa, I hope you found the guide useful.Reply
- Faheem Ul Hassan10.5.2018
Hi Vey good ArticleReply
- Matthew WoodwardOctober 5th, 2018 at 9:26 am
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Are you interested in working from home and becoming a freelance writer?
I’ve been a freelance writer for over four years now and I get asked a lot about where to find freelance writing jobs.
And not just any gigs. Good quality freelance writing gigs.
I know when I first started, I was obsessed with landing my first client . I had no clue what I was doing; I was a stay-at-home mom who decided to leap into freelance writing full-force…well, part-time full force…from scratch.
So, you know what I ended up doing? I stalked other freelance writers. I went to their websites, looked at where they were writing, read blog post after blog post, made a ton of mistakes along the way, but eventually found how to attract high-paying clients .
But, you don’t have to do that. I’ve found 20 ways a beginner can land freelance writing work. And good writing work too! I’ll go through each of them in detail for you today!
If you’re just thinking about freelance writing, bookmark this post and come back to it when you’re ready to take action .
1. Start Cold Pitching
Do you know cold pitching is a fabulous way to land recurring gigs? There’s much less competition and you’ll have a better chance at landing a gig when you contact clients directly.
What is cold pitching?
It’s when you contact bloggers, entrepreneurs, companies, small businesses or startups and let them know how you – a freelance writer – can help grow their business.
Yes, I know, it sounds hard (and scary) doesn’t it? Especially if you’re brand new to freelance writing. But, you know what? It’s totally easy to do.
First you need to locate businesses to cold pitch to. Maybe you noticed they don’t have a blog – but should. Or, on Twitter you see they are trying to grow their online presence and you think your content can help with that.
Once you locate these places, all you have to do is draft up a cold pitch and send it off!
In your pitch make sure to include:
- How you found out about them
- Who you are
- How you can help them
FREE: Click here and grab my ultimate cold pitching swipe file
2. Pitch to a Job Board Ad
If you’re new to freelance writing and you want to find quality jobs, responding to job ads is your best bet. It’s also the main way many new writers use for finding consistent work.
And it’s something I tell my course students to do as it helps you gain confidence as a new freelance writer.
A bonus to using job boards over a freelance market place like Upwork or Guru to find a writing gig, is there isn’t any bidding. Entrepreneurs, small businesses, and start-ups post job ads to freelance writing job boards and you pitch to these ads.
Sometimes you are asked to give your rate; other times the job ad specifies a starting rate for content.
While there are paid job boards you can use, I would suggest you first start using free job boards. I was able to find my first freelance writing job writing 800-word blog posts for $100 on a free job board.
Here are the job boards to start pitching to:
- Blogging Pro
- Canadian Freelance Writing (you don’t need to be Canadian to apply to these jobs)
- All Freelance Writing Job Board
Check out my step-by-step guide on an insanely fast way to find freelance writing jobs using job boards.
3. Follow Tweets From Job Boards
Did you know social media can be a goldmine for landing gigs? I didn’t know either until it happened to me several times. Twitter is a great place to find freelance writing jobs quickly and it’s a great way to build relationships with potential clients.
And by following certain freelance writing job boards you won’t be hard-pressed trying to land a gig during a dry spell. For example, I found this tweet recently:
Want to know which job boards I follow:
4. Ask Friends, Family and Work
Okay, this may be a no-brainer, but you never know until you ask! Before you make your leap into freelance writing, let your friends and family know.
Doing this can help secure your first samples as a new writer. Your friend or family member may need you to edit their résumé or just write an ad for their flower shop.
When you decide to quit your 9-5 job to do freelance writing full-time, let your work and coworkers know. They may end up being your first client and can provide you with your first testimonial!
It’s also important to be ready at all times for potential writing gigs in your day-to-day life. This means creating business cards that you can quickly give to friends and family.
You may also end up finding another writer in your town! I’ve met two freelance writers where I live and meet up with one of them regularly !
5. Use Your Website
The best way to attract high-paying clients is to have a professional looking website. But, if you are just starting out, this may not be an option for you right off the bat.
Maybe you have a personal blog that you’ve built during your spare time. You can definitely use your site to offer your freelance writing services …in the beginning.
Eventually, though, to really ramp up your business you’ll want to invest in a self-hosted WordPress site and create a professional looking writer website.
*Check out my super simple, techy-free step-by-step tutorial to start a blog for your business (there’s even a video to show you how to start your website).
Don’t think a brand spanking new writer can do this?
Just take a look at my course participants’ websites after taking my complete freelance writing course :
And if you want to get away from churning out 500 word posts for a measly $20, this is the route you go. I teach in-depth the precise pages to have on your site and the type of copy that attracts prospects in my course – since I know having a strong writer website is essential to a successful business.
6. Guest Post (For Free!)
What? How can writing for free pay off ?
The quickest answer is that when you guest post on popular sites hundreds and thousands of people will see your writing.
And you can bet one of those viewers is a potential client. For me, this is how I was able to first build my portfolio and eventually land more clients.
Pitching to job ads is great, but if you don’t have a good set of samples – especially from pieces published on other people’s sites – it will be hard to land a quality client, but not impossible.
I didn’t have any published articles or samples when I landed my first quality writing gig, so it can happen, but it’s difficult.
So, where do you guest post? It’s up to you. You can do a quick Google search, “niche + write for us” and see what happens.
This is the result for, “parent blog + write for us”
Visit their guest post guidelines and pitch your post idea!
And don’t forget to spend a few minutes drafting your author bio . This is the best piece of copy you have to convince readers to come over to your site. I use several different author bios depending on where I am guest posting. For example, for my guest post over on Successful Blogging , I wrote:
Elna Cain is a freelance writer . She writes for Blogging Wizard, PageWiz, WPKube and more. She works closely with B2C and B2B businesses providing blog writing, ghostwriting and copywriting services. Not quite sure freelance writing is for you? Why not try her totally free course, Get Paid to Write Online !
7. Network With Other Freelance Writers
You know, the best thing you can do for your new freelance writing biz is to network with other writers. Remember, we are all in this together and it isn’t a competition!
When I first started, I reached out to a few freelance writers (that I was stalking at the time!) and asked them their opinion on a starting rate. While most said go with your gut, I was grateful for their interaction and their patience with my numerous questions.
A few months later, I had freelance writers refer work to me! How amazing was that? In fact, one writer introduced me to my ideal client and I can’t thank her enough!
And now, when I’m swamped and can’t take on more freelance writing work, I offer my course students first dibs on potential jobs! It’s a win-win when you network.
So, if you’ve been following a freelance writer – ahem, me! – go ahead and reach out them .
8. Start Warm Pitching
Hold up! Didn’t I start this post by telling you to cold pitch and now I want you to start warm pitching. What gives?
Well, to maximize your chances at landing a quality writing gig, you need to work both ends – indirect and direct approaches.
While cold pitching is a direct way to land work, warm pitching, on the other hand, is a more indirect and slower way. It all centers around creating relationships with brands and business.
For example, when I find a business in my niche, I follow them and Like their Facebook fan page. That way I can keep an eye on them and engage with their posts when I can.
So, if they tweet out a post on their blog, I’ll read it and then respond in hopes of getting on a prospect’s radar:
Over time, I will nurture this relationship and then I’ll formally introduce who I am and inquire about a writing gig.
9. Say You’re For Hire
How easy is this? If you have a social media profile – which you should! – advertise that you’re for hire. It seems obvious but many new freelance writers don’t state whether or not they are for hire.
Prospects won’t know if you have time to take on more clients so when you tell them you are for hire, it just makes it easier for them to consider you.
Also, it lets other freelance writers know that you are available for writing work.
Early on when I first started freelance writing, I was lucky enough to land a writing job from simply saying I was for hire. A prospect messaged me on LinkedIn and told me another writer had referred me to him.
I had no clue who this writer was, so I messaged her back and asked how my name came up in their conversation. She had replied by saying my “for hire” signature had alerted her that I was looking for work! Presto, landed a gig!
10. Visit Local Printing and Design Companies
Another great way to land consistent work is to contact your local printing and web design companies. Sure, you can go to your business district and let the local dentist or local pet shop owner know that you’re a writer for hire, but this takes a lot of time out of your day.
A quick way around this is to visit only web design companies and let them know there’s a writer available. These businesses have a full roster of clients that need web content.
This is what I did early on in my freelance writing career and it’s helped with finding consistent work.
11. Pitch Your Story
For many print journalists and writers, when they decide to go online and freelance, they stick to writing for publications and selling their stories.
While this can be extremely lucrative (for publication you can get upwards to a $1 or more per word), it’s highly inconsistent and it takes months to get paid.
But, it’s still a great option for writers. All Freelance Writing has a library of publications that accept and pay for submissions.
Many sites pay for your story too! For example, National Geographic pays for your travel stories. Do a Google search for “publication pay submission” or “magazine pay submission” for ideas. Generally you have to cold pitch your story idea first and then pitch each additional time for subsequent stories.
12. Join Facebook Groups
There is a lot of potential for writing gigs on Facebook. If you know the groups to join then you should have no problem finding consistent work.
But, this approach does take time as you are building relationships with potential leads. For me, I belong to several entrepreneurial Facebook groups and I do my best to join in on the conversation.
I might also throw out a question to see if there are entrepreneurs that need help and are overworked.
For example, I might ask, “What’s the one thing you wish was easier in your business?” From here I’ll take a look at people’s answers and if content is mentioned, I’ll respond with a, “if you ever need some writing, I’m your gal!”
Some Facebook groups to join are:
- The Smart Passive Income Community
- The Entrepreneur Incubator
It never hurts to give it a try and put yourself out there! Many entrepreneurs aren’t aware of job boards or just don’t have the time to sift through hundreds of pitches.
If you put yourself out there in a Facebook group, you could very well end up with a gig that hour.
13. Ask for a Referral
Okay, this way means you have to have a client already, so if you don’t, then this may not be a good way for you.
However, if you’ve landed a few clients, this would be a great time to ask for a referral. I know, it can be scary! It was for me when I first started, but then I thought, the worst they can say is no or they can’t.
You can email a client and ask, or use social media like I have done in the past:
Using this tactic has generated me thousands of dollars in freelance writing income and when I have a spot open for another client, I always first approach my existing clients to see if they have someone in mind.
And since most of my clients are quality clients, I know with confidence they will refer me to another quality client.
By the way, I did end up landing that client and love writing for them .
14. Try Craigslist
I’m sure you’ve seen or heard that Craigslist has low quality writing jobs and it’s not a place to score gigs. Well, I know for a fact Craigslist can be a well of quality clients.
You just have to know what cities to look in. If you want the best gigs around, check the New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Houston and Miami sites.
Businesses in big cities often have big budgets. So do a quick search in each of these cities a couple times a week and get pitching !
15. Pitch to Sites That Pay Writers
Besides publications and magazines, there are hundreds of blogs that pay for your guest post.
What? Why did I tell you earlier to guest post for free when you can get paid to guest post?
Landing a paid guest spot is a bit more challenging then landing a free guest spot. So, while you’re building your portfolio with guest posts, you can also pitch to job ads and paid guest blogs to earn some cash.
To get started, check out Sophie Lizard’s, 75 Blogs that Pay $50 to $2,000 a Post by signing up to her newsletter. You can also go on Pinterest or search in Google for blogs that pay for guest posts.
Personally, I never used this approach only because it’s a one-off gig. You write the piece, pitch, wait to see if it’s approved, then get paid a few weeks later. Then you do it all over again.
I’d rather pitch to guest posts for free while pitching to job boards and landing recurring gigs for more consistent pay.
16. LinkedIn Jobs
Did you know LinkedIn has a job board ? I never did until recently. I have no idea why because I do spend a considerable amount of time networking on LinkedIn.
Go to their job board and all you do is put in your job (“writer”) and see what pops up.
From here you can decide how you want to approach these businesses – use a warm pitch or a cold pitch. If you have the time to invest in building a relationship and you have clients already, I would use a warm pitch approach. But, if you are itching to land work now, go ahead and add these places to your list to cold pitch.
17. Use a Content Agency
Okay, I don’t mean any content agency. The big ones usually don’t pay well and the work isn’t the greatest. Instead, you want to look for smaller content agencies.
For example, Tom Ewer of Leaving Work Behind , has a small content agency called WordCandy . They’re in the WordPress space and are always looking for writers.
I’m also in the works of creating a content agency. Ink&Link will be a content, marketing and design company and we will cater to entrepreneurs and startups. I’m not sure if we will stick to a niche (digital marketing), but it’s all in the works for 2018.
The advantages to working with a small content agency is:
- Usually better pay
- Better training
- 1:1 support
18. Use a Freelance Writer Directory
Did you know these exist? They do! Well I only know of one but it’s a good one and you never know right?
The point is, when you’re just starting out as a freelance writer, you need to put yourself out there. So by guest posting, pitching, being on social media and in directories, you are everywhere at all times. This increases your chances of a prospect finding you and hiring you!
Jennifer Mattern of All Freelance Writing has a directory of freelance writers for hire. When you pay $15 you can post your profile with your headshot.
Here’s Alicia Rades’ profile:
This might be worth a shot for you so give it a try!
Reddit is another social media site where you can find potential writing gigs and post that you are a writer looking for gigs.
And don’t think you’ll only find low-paying gigs on Reddit. I recently saw this on their subreddit /r/HireAWriter .
Other subreddits to pay attention to:
- /r/ForHire – a place for companies and entrepreneurs who are hiring. This isn’t specific to freelance writing so you’ll have to sort through the postings. You can also advertise your services in this subreddit.
- /r/WritingOpportunities – is where you can find publications that pay writers for submissions.
20. “Wow” Your Clients and Make More Money!
I’ve talked a lot on my blog (and over on FreelancerFAQs ) about wowing your clients.
If you can free up time for your clients or make them more money with your content, you’ll probably make more money too.
Well, one of my clients asked me to write for several of his other blogs not because I produce the best content, but because I also format my content for easy uploading and readability, I provide the most up-to-date stats and facts in my posts and I’m easy to work with!
I have clients telling me all the time that I’m their go-to writer. Because of this, I don’t have to pitch every day; if I wow my clients, they’ll give me more projects.
Get Serious About Freelance Writing
I just showed you 20 legit ways to find freelance writing jobs. Not just any jobs, good paying jobs.
Are you ready to take action and kick some butt?
If you enjoyed this post and found it super helpful, please make sure to Pin it! 🙂
Over to you – tell me which ways you’re going to start finding freelance writing jobs!
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Hi I’m Elna and I’m a freelance writer and mom blogger . I help people just like you become a profitable freelance writer. Within 6 months of starting my freelance writing business from scratch I was able to earn a full-time living as a part-time freelance writer while taking care of my twin toddlers. Check out my free email course Get Paid to Write Online and learn the steps you need to take to be a freelance writer.
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Comments Leave a comment
Hi Elna, I have gone through the great ’20’ and I feel so encouraged that I have decided to give it a trial, but I don’t know where to begin, help with that please?Reply
I suggest you take my free course to get you started! https://elnacain.com/course/getpaid/Reply
I’m 17 (living in the UK) and I really love the idea of being a free lance writer or something similar. However I’m concerned that I should have different aspirations? I mentioned it to my friend but she said that I should be thinking about a job that is a bit more stable. I still live the idea of free lance writing though as writing has always come very naturally to me. I’m in my final year of collage ( what you guys would call high school?) And I’m not sure what the most useful thing for me to do next would be. Do you have any ideas about what kind of degree I could do at university or useful stuff I could do in a gap year, or even right now? Thanks you!
All the best,
I’m sorry but I can’t advise you right now. I would probably find a job to help you figure out what you want to do later on. You can also try freelance writing as s side hustle after high school!Reply
This is some awesome material! I’m going to get started on all of it now. I’m going to look into your course as well. Thank you for sharing.Reply
You’re welcome! So glad you found these tips to find a freelance writing job helpful!Reply
Hi Elna, This was all very helpful. I’m a science writer by trade in the government sector and recently began searching for ways to make some extra income writing evenings and weekends and came across your article. Do you have any feedback about what type of contract I might be expected to sign. I interviewed over the phone for a non-science editing position yesterday and they expressed interest in hiring me as an independent contractor. Within the day I received an Adobe Sign editor’s contract with a number of my responsibilities to the Agency laid out, as well as expected pay and notice that I don’t get paid unless the Agency gets paid by the Client. So my question is, Is a contract pretty standard for independent contract writing jobs, in your experience?
For big agencies, probably yes! I personally work with small businesses and rely on writing service agreements than contracts!Reply
Thanks very much, Elna! I’ll keep this in mind. Thanks again for the useful blog postings on writing.Reply
Hi Elna, this was really helpful. I wanted to ask a couple questions. My degree is in politics. After uni I had a baby and have decided I want to be a stay-at -home mum. However, I am (and have always been) interested in writing as a career. Would people still hire me if my degree isn’t even related to writing professionally?
I also feel pretty overwhelmed thinking about where to actually start. I’ve only ever written for uni and things at home that only I have read. I don’t have a blog and I’m not sure what I would write about. I feel I would like it to be parent related as opposed to politics. Does it need to focused on one area?
I honestly feel like I won’t be able to get started or actually get a paid job.Reply
That’s great you want to start freelance writing. It’s the perfect gig for stay-at-home moms! What’s great is that you don’t need a writing degree or even any degree to be a freelance writer! You should your expertise and credibility by starting a blog and guest posting! As for your topics, you can explore that over time! Good luck!Reply
This post has been SO helpful! I love it! Thank you for all your insightful tips and tricks! I am currently in the process of starting up my own website for blogging, and when I learned about freelance writing I knew I had to try it out! So I just have one question for you, would you suggest having a blog while freelance writing? Maybe as a way to provide a little extra work for clients to refer to as sample work from me? I was originally going to blog and go the advertising route to provide an income off the blog, but freelance writing seems much more interesting to me.Reply
You’re welcome! So glad you found some tips to help you get started freelance writing! As a freelance writer, it’s a good idea to have a blog. You can sell your services on it, showcase your work and start a blog as a way to have samples to begin with! Good luck!Reply
Thank you for the valuable information! I work as a court reporter and I would love to start doing some freelance work on the side. The information you provided will be a big help!Reply
That’s awesome! Good luck as a freelance writer!Reply
Hi Elna! Thoroughly enjoyed this delightful, informative article. I am a full time paralegal with a B.A. in Journalism. I’m about 5 years away from retirement…and would like to shift from full time paralegal work to freelance writing. I’ve been writing a column (“Throwback Thursday”) in the local paper for a year now, for free, but of course I get the bylines from those which is how I’ve built my portfolio. How would you reccomend I transition to freelancing. I’m interested in writing about legal topics for lay people…such as how to find a good attorney…and small community life…and parenting.
That’s awesome you have such rich experiences that can lend great to freelance writing. I would find a way to scan those articles and upload them to Contently or some portfolio platform as proof you are a writer and have byline content. If not, maybe transcribe the article and link to the online version of the newspaper!
From there you can have a freelance writer website that promotes your business or you can just get to pitching businesses or go to job boards. I hope this helps!Reply
This past year has been a roller coaster ride for me. I want to give freelance writing a try. I did get accepted to a content mill site, but the jobs on there go so fast I can never get a chance to grab one to work on. 🙁 I do not have a portfolio and I’ve never made one. I also do not blog anymore. So, how can I get into freelance writing? How do I build up a portfolio or show my writing? Free hosting is all I can do now, and I’m sure that is going to be a turn off to a client. Any tips would be great. Thanks.Reply
I would try to stay away from content mills and they pay so little. As for a portfolio the quickest way is to draft some articles and publish them on Medium or on LinkedIn. You get a live link and you can link that in your pitch emails. You can start without a blog for a bit but not sure how successful you can be! It’s worth a try though!Reply
Thank you, Elna! Your blog is the handle I’ve been reaching for as I look for solid footing during a change in the terrain of my life’s journey! Awesome!Reply
Hi Elna (or any other writers who see this),
Great article…but I am a little lost in the sea of advice for newer freelancers. I am hoping to get some simple advice; here is where I am at as a freelancer:
I have been creatively writing (stories, abstract ideas, short films) for years. I went to school for exercise science and have a ton of knowledge and experience in the fitness and nutrition industry, but I found that my passion is creating things (writing/art/film).
I am a stay at home mom also, to 4 kids and I would love to actually make money while I am at home and exercise my creative talents. So I started a blog 8 years ago, where I share my journey as a homeschooling christian mom. I have found that writing can be a lonely venture, so I would like to write for other people. I have found upward and craigslist of course, but nothing that has rendered results. I also professionally review books.
I read 10-20 books per year, write almost every day, but I am having trouble knowing what the next steps are to building my credentials, especially without a degree, prior payed experience, or a high volume of readers to my blog. I really just want one simple freelance gig, but I can’t seem to land one. I feel like I’m on a raft in the middle of the ocean!Reply
Thanks for sharing your story. Even though you want to be more creative, if you want to get paid for your writing as a freelance writer, you need to realize this is a business. I would rely – in the beginning – with what you are good at and have expertise in. This, for you, is health and exercise science. I would form my freelance writing business around creating health content for a client. From there you need to figure you our ideal client. This post may help you out: https://elnacain.com/blog/ideal-freelance-writing-client/ From there you can hone your copy on your writer website to attract that right client as well as market your business!Reply
I noticed that you suggested creating health content for a client. I am a retired medical practitioner with a secondary degree and experience in areas related to public health and safety. I believe I could be helpful by writing content for, or at least editing for, medical science or public health entities. I’m willing to cold-pitch but don’t know where to find these. I’m not even sure of whether cold- pitching is best for the sciences or public service. Please advise?Reply
With that niche I would probably guest post in that topic on big blogs where my clients might read. I would connect with businesses in that niche on LinkedIn and follow them on Twitter. Find out about these companies first and then you can cold pitch them later.Reply
Thanks so much Elna!Reply
Hi Elna, thank you so much for sharing!!! I have recently become interested with the idea of freelance-writing. Most of the things I have written, are in story form, and have never been read by anyone out side of my close group of friends. However, I have always been told that I have a gift, and I do enjoy writing. So, I thought, maybe, I’d try getting free-lance writing a shot. Thank you so much for these great tips!Reply
That’s awesome you are open to the idea of freelance writing and getting paid to write. Freelance writing is a business so your writing will help other businesses make money, attract leads and so on. So remember that when you are thinking of your freelance writing niche.Reply
Thanks so much for this wonderfully helpful blog post.
I have one question though, when you find jobs on LinkedIn, they are mostly for long term projects, as in, they make you a part of their content team, even if you work from home. Apart from job boards, how can I find short term or one time projects that will both add to my resume and build my confidence?
Thanks again though for this insightful post!Reply
Good point. The job boards I mentioned in this post do have one-time projects or recurring gigs. The best way to secure a one-off project is to do submissions. So looking for publications that are seeking submissions is your best bet!Reply
I thoroughly enjoyed the article and am waiting for my husband to get off work to discuss taking your course. I have been struggling to find the next step in my career and I keep leaving my job searches to research free lance writing instead. I have always loved writing creatively and journaling, and I think I’m ready to really jump into this for a career.
You mention starting a blog is beneficial for starting out and creating content. My initial fear is what to blog about, I have so many interests that I feel it’s hard to pick one and really be informed and educated about the subject. They include animals (2 time dog mom), hiking/outdoors (I live in the wonderful PNW) , motorcycles, travel, personal growth, all things sweet, and of coarse writing. How do I choose? Or somehow combine a couple?
Thank you again for the great articles! All the information makes it much easier to really make a effective start and far less daunting.Reply
That’s great you want to start freelance writing! I hope your husband is on board with this 🙂 As for your blog topic, remember that your personal niche is different than your freelance writing niche. I blog over at TwinsMommy.com and that’s my passion and personal niche. I talk about being a work at home mom, working at home, having twins and making money blogging. But this blog is geared towards writers. For you though, you can pick your paying niche (freelance writing niche) and pick a personal niche (this can be a lifestyle niche where you blog about several topics). So let’s say you pick the pet industry as your paying niche, then your writer website would reflect copy for a Pet Writer for hire. Then you can have your lifestyle blog if you want and blog about pet life, motorcycles, personal growth etc.. Make sense? You can also have a writer website that’s all about pet writing, have a portfolio with pet writing and then link to your lifestyle blog. This is what I do for my writer website. I link to THIS blog on my writer website even though it has nothing to do with my niche (digital marketing). Make sense?Reply
This is a great article, thanks for sharing so many tips.
I’ve always been a huge writing enthusiast but I’ve never been brave enough to really commit a huge amount of time to making money from it. Every now and again I think about making money from writing and I come up with different ideas but then something else comes along that takes up my time instead.
In the past I wrote on Hubpages and published a few articles on there. I have 50 odd pages that I’ve written on a range of topics, including some of my university essays that I shortened and published. Do you know if linking to some of these articles will be acceptable as samples?
Thanks again for the article and the help (in advance).
That’s great you want to get started freelance writing. And you do have a portfolio online so that is awesome! You can definitely use those posts as samples showing your credibility as a writer online!Reply
I want to do work without investmentReply
Fantastic article and I’ll certainly be looking into your suggestions as I begin my foray into the world of freelance writing!
A lot of it is USA-based but I think it’s equally as useful for a UK resident such as myself! Did you start writing alongside a more ‘traditional’ job or did you just throw yourself into it full time from the beginning?Reply
You’re welcome! So happy you found this post helpful for you living in the UK! For me, I was a stay at home mom so I didn’t work at that time. I was a bit bored with the day-to-day of taking care of twins…you know diaper changes a million times a day, and cleaning up messes just as much. I needed a creative outlet so I explored work at home stuff online and my husband told me about freelance writing and being a virtual assistant. I immediately gravitated towards writing!Reply
This is the first post that I’ve read of yours and I just want to say thank you for publishing such an informative piece! I’m currently entering my senior year of college and I have recently become passionate about getting started with freelance writing. I’ve always enjoyed writing and would like to turn it into a career that allows me to pursue my goal of traveling to every country in the world (or most countries at least haha). I have no writing samples/portfolio and that’s where I’m kinda stuck right now. Im going to check out your blog for more tips on getting started! Thanks again!Reply
Congrats on your last year in college! So, you want to be a freelance writer eh? 🙂 That’s great to hear. You can definitely get started from scratch. I mean, that’s what I did 🙂 The thing to remember is deciding on a topic to write about, creating samples in that topic and then putting yourself out there!Reply
Great post, Elna! Thanks for sharing with us “wanna be’s.” Quick question…. How/where did you learn how to properly format your content for easy uploading and readability? By this, I am assuming you mean content that easily can be uploaded on a laptop, notebook, or iPhone? Can you offer us a great resource? Thank you!Reply
Thanks so much! I learned over time how to properly format online content! I read up on it, viewed other online content and practiced! When it’s properly formatted then it’s easier to read making conversions better for the client!Reply
You are such an inspiration for me. I’m so glad you made this amazing and informative post! I have a few questions and if you get the chance to answer them that would be wonderful.
Currently I’m working full time at a daycare and I’m trying to transition into writing freelance. It would be so amazing for so many reasons. Two reasons being writing is my passion and starting college I’m going to need a more flexible work schedule. My first question is do you think I’ll be able to, starting out at least, work nights? I can’t answer emails or calls at work because I work with children and I work long hours. Will companies want to work with me if I’m only available at night?
I’ve always loved writing but I’ve discouraged myself from doing so for so long. So my second question is, should I first take some writing courses and build my skill or should I use freelance writing to build my skill along the way?
I have nothing, no samples. At least not anything that I’m proud of or that would entice companies. What is you advice here? Should I just write something, anything? Should I go for free writing opportunities to build my portfolio?
Lastly, there is the small problem of… My atrocious spelling/grammar, and I’m a terribly slow typist. Any advice?
I can’t thank you enough for your time and expertise. As far as I know this is your first post I’ve ever read and after reading this and a few other related posts I’ve become a fan of your writing.Reply
Thanks so much for reaching out to me! I’m so happy you are thinking about freelance writing! It really is a great way to work at home! As for your questions, clients won’t be bothered if you contact them in the evening. I work with clients in the UK, Germany, Tel Aviv and more! So, what’s my time is not their time! I would suggest though to try to wake up before you work to answer emails and pitch, even if for 30 minutes in the morning.
As for writing courses, I don’t think it’s necessary. Instead I would do more of a freelance writing business course like mine or others. Write Your Way to Your First $1k helps you with getting your business up and some writing tips for blogging. This blog also has some great resources for writing: https://elnacain.com/blog/improve-samples-new-freelance-writer/ and https://elnacain.com/blog/writing-mistakes/
As for spelling and grammar, I’m not the best writer either! I make a ton of spelling errors (probably in this post too!). I use Grammarly and I have a proofreader (my hubby!) so as long as you use an editing app or have someone look over your writing you should be fine. And the act of writing every day will help improve your writing skill! Good luck!Reply
These are some GREAT recommdations, so thank you so much for writing this. Because of this post, I definitely plan too take some of your courses.
I have a couple questions. 1) I was published on a site that no longer exists. How can I share those articles as samples? 2) My passions are office supplies and helping people to learn/study better. Do you think I could be a profitable writer in those areas?Reply
Thanks so much! So glad you are interested in learning more about freelance writing tips! As for your question, if the site no longer exists you can’t promote that piece unless you have the raw copy. Then you can add an annotation to it and upload that to your blog or Contently. As for your passions, you can skew that to more of business writing or even productivity for businesses writing tips? Explore that and look online for that type of business (even if it’s office supply businesses or some form of business supply app like ShoeBox).Reply
Perfect. Thank you!Reply
Thank you for sharing this. It gave me a lot of ideas on how to start off. I have always been told that my writing is very good if not excellent. But thats mostly with term papers and things of the sorts. I have also won a couple of essay contests. I have never done freelance before and the only writing samples I have are some short stories, term papers, and research papers I’ve done. I also have some poetry. Do you think I could really blossom at being freelance with the little experience I have?Reply
That’s great you want to get started freelance writing! Writing for school or university is different than online writing (this post lays out some tips: https://elnacain.com/blog/5-grammar-rules-every-blogger-must-know/ ). But in saying that, it just takes practice and reading online content to be familiar with it! If you have the passion and motivation you can become a freelance writer!Reply
Hi there, I was wondering if you could offer any advice. I have now submitted two heavily researched health/medical articles for a popular body building women’s magazine, one article (two page spread 1000 words) was published last week, and the other (3-4 page spread 1500 words) is due for publication in the next month. How can propose to the editor, to transition me from doing this for free, to freelancing in a paid role? I have a medical degree and am writing about medical/health related content. I would love to continue writing for the magazine, but equally, I would like to get paid for the many many hours of research, though synthesis and data collection I put into these articles. Any advice is kindly appreciated.Reply
What I can tell you is use those two samples as just that – samples in your writing. It is credible and leave it at that. You can no longer accept work from them and move on! Now you have samples for your portfolio and you can search for freelance writing jobs in the health and medical niche!Reply
hi Elna, I’m so new to this, but I’m happy and highly impressed by your post. It’s a good resource for us who don’t know much about freelance writing.Thank you!Reply
Thank you so much! Glad you found this site the go-to resource for freelance writing tips!Reply
This is awesome!, I never thought of myself looking for “Freelance Writing” articles and tips but I just got laid off (truck driving), and it just happens that I purchased a book that it teaches about “How to fully fund your own worry-free retirement starting at any age”, well, in one of its pages it says that freelance writing is one of the several and a good way to retirement.
And since I love reading and writing, here I’m, reading, learning, soaking all I can, and thinking about jumping into this writing adventure, and thanks to all the tips and comments placed here, my desire it’s growing by the seconds.
Thank you, Elna and everyone, involved for such encouraging time.Reply
I’m sorry to hear you got laid off but ecstatic that you took action to change that and now want to be a freelance writer! Congrats and how exciting!Reply
Hey hey! Thanks a lot for sharing this, I’ve already learned a lot and I’m bookmarking this post for future reference. I graduate from university tomorrow with a Bachelor’s in communication, and I’ve been itching to dip my feet into the writing world outside of creative writing. Wish me luck!Reply
I have read your article and I seriously become a fan of your writing. It inspired me a lot.
I am really interested in writing and I do write as well but I couldn’t stick to on one subject like sometimes I write about nature or a journey, sometimes on a relationship. So I am confused which type of writing job I should choose.
Could you please help me with this?Reply
In the beginning I took any online writing job I could find. So as a new writer I wrote about VFX, HR, social media marketing, blogging, automotive, dentistry and IoT! That’s okay. Doing this will help you find YOUR freelance writing niche. And it did for me – digital marketing.Reply
Hey Elna, thanks for all the advice and jam-packing this article with so many resources! Thanks for asking what I plan to do to start finding jobs! I’ve shared your article on FB while letting my friends and family know my endeavors and joined a few writer groups. I even cold pitched to my client today whom I’ll be catering a private event for! I plan to make use of all the tutorials and online courses you shared to learn me into a high paid freelance writer and will start free guest posting on blogs asap, peruse the job board sites and start making pitches. Right now I’m networking with other experienced freelance writers ;)!
Have you heard of Jospeh Campell and the Hero’s Journey? Well, right now I’m on my journey and in the phase of mentorship and as a student ready to learn and start kicking butt I appreciate your guidance and time.
Una pregunta. Question – does having a college degree give me an advantage and are there any avenues that I can use this to grab higher paying jobs? As I begin to create a portfolio and resume, how can I use my instagram pages to attract clients and jobs? Please take a look and get a feel for what I have to offer (links are in my bio on my rawsalvaje instagram)!
I have a lot to share with personal experience and speaking with passion from the heart about health and diet. I know lifestyle, health and diet topics are my niche, in particular veganism and raw foods. I have strong spiritual practices such as fasting, meditating, yoga etc and know there is a client base looking for writers on these topics. Are you able to advise me or direct me to clients and sites focused on these topics?
I’m also interested in writing poetry and prose as well as short stories. Here is where my creative and adventurous spirit comes alive. In my younger years I created a belief systems that one could not be a poet and get paid. Now I release that limited thought and allow myself to express my creativity in abundance and receive in abundance. Are there any particular clients and sites to check out that focus on a need for the poetic and fantastical?
I’m a veracious reader and would love to read and write book reviews and get paid to do it too!
Most my life I’ve had a career in the food industry as a chef. I know there are many opportunities to make money writing recipes and menus or food articles. Can you direct me to sites that are looking for this area of expertise : )?
I want to develop a reputation as a writer who can provide full spectrum material from articles written in opulence and articles for the proletariat, easily accessible for all minds. I want to offer works ranging from the James Joyce to the George Martin styles. a few weakness are that I am terrible with spelling lol, am not very present on social media such as tweeter or linkedin and not sure I want to be and then I also do not have a website or portfolio yet.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my comment and hope to hear from you! If you feel connected, it would be really great to speak through email!Reply
Hey, Elna! I appreciate your input more than you can imagine. I graduated with a BFA in Creative Writing for Entertainment, and while my focus is mainly writing scripts for film and commercials, I also blog. (Mostly for my own entertainment.) Still, it’s good to know there are ways to get going. Believe me, I’ve tried. But being a graduate with two kids and no hubby makes the task a bit daunting when I’m a “lone pilot.” Thanks again for your inspiration.Reply
By far this is the best and most informational site I have found thus far, I have trouble trying to narrow down my niche , I also read on another freelance writing blog, that knowing marketing strategies, and things like SEO is needed to be successful. I am pretty good at writing but I don’t know about online, especially for blogs and companies. I mostly like to write fiction story’s and academic papers. I have noticed that the better paying jobs are copywriting, writing or starting a blog and jobs like that. Do your course help to write better, as well as help with narrowing down a niche? Some of the information out here is so confusing. Thank you so much in advance!Reply
My course is not a writing course; it’s a business course. I do, however, share with you what clients want when you write for them and that’s what counts the most!Reply
This post was so helpful! I find myself coming back to it every now and again too. Thanks so much. I really like the idea of warm pitching.Reply
Thanks for this list. It is really helpful. I recently decided to try freelance writing, and I was accepted for an online writing gig site. This acceptance has boosted my confidence to much. Just to know they liked my writing sample and said yes means a lot to me. Now, I am sure I can apply anywhere, and even if it is a no from others, I still have my yes to hold on to that keeps me going. Great post.Reply
Thanks so much! Glad you got a gig! Yay!Reply
Excellent information as always. I have started to apply to some of the job board adverts. Hopefully it will reap some fruits.
If an aspiring writer wanted a general idea of how good his blog or website was, what is the best way of getting feedback on this sort of endeavor?
I do all my own work, in terms of making a website, using a piece of software called ‘Mobirise’. I think it does a reasonable job, but would like some idea if I am going in the right direction.Reply
Thanks so much! Crossing my fingers you get a gig!!!!
As for your blog, you can ask other writers to review your blog if you want! Good luck!Reply
This is truly motivating and I can’t wait to get started. I was just wondering about the business aspect. Before starting so I need to set up a business license? If so what kind do you suggest? Are there any websites that can help? ThanksReply
In Canada (and the States I think) you can run a small business under your own legal name and you don’t have to register it. If you were running a dog grooming business or something, you’d need a formal “business license” but even with a home-based business you may still need one, but it’s unlikely and it’d depend on your city’s policy. Even if required, I’m sure many people unknowingly skip this step and life goes on!Reply
Im alot more at ease since reading this article, and Thank You for putting it out there for all of us who are just starting out,, Thanks AgainReply
Thank you so much for stopping by. Glad you found some ideas to land a freelance writing job!Reply
Thanks! I’ve posted before but my comment was never posted.
#7, is true. Vet these
writers as well like you would vet your clients. Not all writers who you connect with want to reciprocate but take advantage. Thanks for the post.
Feb 19 · Current versReply
Thank you so much for writing this! I’m already a freelance writer, but I’ve been struggling to attract clients. Hopefully I won’t have this problem anymore!Reply
That’s great and I know you’ll succeed this year. You are learning new freelance writing tips so there ya go!Reply
Thank you so much for this post, it is very very helpful but also very overwhelming. It is just too much information at once. I am also going through your course for freelance writers-newbies and I am thinking how I will start to become a successful freelance writer. Anyway, thank you very much for sharing your wisdom!Reply
Thanks so much! So glad you are enjoying the course!Reply
This is wonderful, I am a beginner just looking for ideas and “how to” on becoming a freelance writer. I stumbled onto this article in my search and it seemed to put an ease on things. I had no idea where to even begin, but with your 20 suggestions, I feel maybe I can get started. I have only written a little poetry, so this is a new direction for me. I am currently working on my Associates in business, so I have a little free time to try this out. Thanks for sharing this and giving insight on the subject, it is appreciated!
Thank you! So glad this post has given you some direction to get paid to write online! Take it one day at a time and learn as much as you can!Reply
Thank you so much for this article it has really helped me to out together a kind of plan ( I am a complete newbie to this!)
Is the advice in this article relevant for someone from England (me)?
I have wanted to work in the writing industry since I was at school (I am 35 now) but have ended up working in social care instead (With a BA degree in that field rather than anything to do with writing) but have now decided to try and follow my dream and see where it takes me!
Yes, this advice is helpful for anyone online! I’m happy to hear you want to get paid to write! Good luck!Reply
That is such a helpful post, I am SO thankful for you taking the time to share all of this. As someone who travels a lot, I’m seriously considering freelance writing and this article is exactly what I needed to know how to get started 🙂Reply
That’s awesome! I know many freelance writers that travel and they love it!Reply
Hii…Elna thank you for such a helping post….but how would I know what to write…I mean on which subject or about what I should write??Reply
Really enjoyed this post!
I’m interested in becoming a freelance writer but the one thing I’m sort of stuck on is the part about “branding my name”. To be honest, I don’t really care for my legal name mainly because it just sounds too average or regular to me to be branded. Have you ever spoke with anyone else of the same mind? What could you suggest?Reply
Many freelance writers use their name, but you can add some identifiers like “writes” or “biz” or things like that to stand out!Reply
I appreciate all the information that you have given us. It’s something that I have been thinking about doing and I plan on going through the different steps you have here and putting myself out there. I love writing. Even if this was only a part time thing for a while it would still be great to write for people. I read an article about becoming a blogger too and she suggested even starting out as a ghost writer. What are your thoughts on ghost writing?Reply
That’s fantastic that you want to start freelance writing! Ghost writing is a highly profitable freelance writing niche, but since you can’t promote your writing, it’s hard to gain more clients. I suggest you write for clients under your name and then you can offer ghostwriting services!Reply
Hey, I’ve been reading your article throughout the day. I’m excited at the prospect of freelance work, but golly is it overwhelming.
I’ll be following your advice while pushing away self-doubt. I’ve been writing for a majority of my life, I’d love to be an author.
I’m just curious how well you think my ability with personal creative writing, will translate to freelancing. Some of it seems to official and like a different ball game altogether.Reply
That’s great you want to dive into freelance writing. As for your question, I’m not too sure! I know there are freelance writers that eventually became authors. Two of them are Alicia Rades and Brent Jones. As long as you can adapt your writing for an online audience and make it more conversational, you’ll do great!Reply
My goodness. Where was this post when I started freelance writing 3 months ago? I’m a mother to a 7 month of son and this will be very helpful. Thank you so much!Reply
That’s great you found the post NOW though 🙂 Congrats on your little bundle of joy!Reply
Thanks Elna, this is great! And you do it all with twin toddlers!? You certifiably rock!!Reply
Thanks so much! My twins are 5 and in school this year. But, they’ve been sick MORE than they’ve been in school so really, they are here all the time 🙂 ha…There were home all last week for March break so was able to do some client posts and one blog post! That’s a win for me!Reply
I’m just now reading this article and I found the information to be very helpful and encouraging! I’ve always loved writing and I never knew where to start and now I am very excited with hopes of going full time and leaving my current role. Thank you so much!Reply
Thanks so much! Glad you enjoyed this post!Reply
Hi there! Just curious what kind of education you have that allows you to be a writer? Is a formal degree necessary?Reply
Nope! You don’t need a formal degree to be a freelance writer. I have a BA in psych and don’t use that degree for my writing. What you need is the motivation and passion and desire to learn to make it!Reply
You might want to update this blog post–the @wahjobagency Twitter account hasn’t been active since 2016!Reply
Got it and thanks!Reply
This was a brilliant post and it has filled me with confidence that it is possible! Thank you very much!Reply
You’re welcome. So happy you found the confidence to find your first freelance writing job!Reply
I would really like to start freelancing but i dont have any formal writing degree or certificate, should this affect how much work i will receive.
Is there any course you would recommend?
You don’t need a formal degree to be a freelance writer. You just need the passion, drive, motivation and tenacity to do it!Reply
I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. Although it’s more of a marketing position, I write content two days a week for a financial advisor, but it isn’t enough to pay the bills. Maybe it’s just the area I live in but I can’t land a writing gig to save my life. And writing is a real passion of mine so it’s very frustrating. I’ll try and apply some of your tips and advice. And I feel like no matter how many emails and resumes I send out, I rarely get a reply.Reply
Have the tenacity and motivation to keep going! You can do it and keep on hustlin’Reply
Hey Elna! I am currently working towards breaking into the field of freelance editing and your advice has helped me immensely. I’ll be finishing my degree this year and I’ve been feeling anxious about future job opportunities (and lack thereof). After reading this, I feel so much more at ease. Do you have any tips for students who still need to gain experience?Reply
Freelance editing is a great skills. You can even target other freelance writers than need a copyeditor! I know many do. To gain experience I would do some free jobs in return for a testimonial. Get the experience and the credibility at the same time!Reply
Elna, thank you for this wonderful article. It is full of resources, and it has motivated me to begin work as a freelance writer. I am currently a single parent of two witty little boys, who works full time outside of the home. In reading this article, I have found a renewed strength and a bit of a push to move forward with optimism to start little by little until I am able to eventually work more time from home. I appreciate you sharing this information.Reply
That’s great! I’m so happy to hear that you are following your dreams and passions!Reply
I really enjoyed reading this , and i am very interested in becoming a freelance writer, but my cash flow makes it impossible for me to buy and host a website for now.Reply
You can get started without spending lots of money! Hosting is all you need to start in the beginning and then later you can invest in an editing tool or job board!Reply
I am very impressed with this article. The depth of the information you relayed within your post is extremely helpful and easy to follow. This is probably one of the best articles I have read on becoming a freelance writer.
Thank you so much! I’m glad you found this post helpful in finding a freelance writing job!Reply
I’ve been rigorously studying freelancing for a while now (I plan on getting started after school ends in the first week of April) and I have to say your bog has been very helpful, especially this post. I thought cold mailing and job boards were the only places to find freelance writing job, and that it would be quite tough finding a job given the competition, but after going through this list, I think finding a job would be easier.
Thank you so much for sharing this!Reply
That’s great! Yes, there are multiple ways to find and land freelance writing jobs! This post has a lot of great suggestions to help new writers like yourself! Good luck!Reply
Hi, Elna! Thanks for writing this post. I am planning to go full-time freelance this year, and your post helped soothe my worries about not being able to find quality work 🙂Reply
That’s awesome! Freelance writing is a great option to eran a side income 🙂 Good luck!Reply
Your blog posts and tips have been motivational to say the least! I landed my first gig as a freelance writer by speaking with a contact at a local radio station. Turns out, he needs help creating fresh information for his website. He is happy to be a part of my new venture and even happier that he won’t have to write all of the copy himself! I was even able to negotiate a higher rate than may be expected for a newbie!
This is my foot in the door and I’m following some of your other tips in order to get myself out there even more. I’m an introvert, so this is new and difficult for me. I have questioned myself countless times and am feeling a bit impatient, but I’m trying to trust the process and take it one day at a time. The warmth and encouragement that come through in your writing have helped keep me going. Thank you Elna!Reply
What an awesome story! Way to go! Introverts rock in this area! Good luck!!Reply
Thank you so much for the detailed information given. I no longer feel that I am in a maze and will carefully follow your advice. I live in Nigeria and I am particularly interested in Relationship issues, Abuse as well as Parenting. Can you advice on where to look for writing opportunities in my areas of interest? Especially taking my location into consideration?Reply
Research parenting guest blogs to start growing your portfolio! Then check out job boards for parenting gigs.Reply
Hi… I want to try my hands in blog writing can you please help me because i don’t have any experience before(i mean don’t have any sample post. can u suggest me how to get a kick start in blogging and earning. Hoping a helpful revert.
The best way is to create samples yourself or to guest post!Reply
Thank you so much for all this information. I have one question, however. I have a Mac, and I keep hearing that every client wants writers to use only Word. Is that true, or is there another program I can run that will be accepted? Thank you in advance.Reply
I don’t think there’s a preference. I usually send my work via Microsoft Word but I’m sure clients will accept a Google Doc 🙂 Just let them know before they hire you.Reply
I am totally new to this. I stumbled across a site on my facebook news feed for “freelance writers”. My curiosity led me to discover that such a thing exist. I enjoy writing mainly for my school assignments and topics that I am passionate about just leads to words flowing effortlessly from my head. I think I really want to learn more about this now that I have discovered it’s a thing! Glad your very informative post was the first I read. Now I am even more interested. I am also stunned by your dedication to respond to each person’s response. You really love what you do.
I am not sure which way to go atm, but thank you so much for this.Reply
Thanks so much for commenting! I love helping new writers and hearing their stories. I suggest you learn more about getting paid to write 🙂Reply
That good I have been doing this for 50 ys when I was a kid and I have working through computer 🖥 and paper 📝 of a lot of time it my hobby love 💗 to work as a writer 😭😭Reply
Elna I have to say, your writing is truly the most informational! I kept reading, thinking wow! This is awesome information! I can’t wait to comment and let them know how much I loved this article. But, I didn’t realize who wrote it until the end… I guess I was just so into the content. But then I realized no way Elna again!!? You always have the BEST articles! Another article I loved! I hope to freelance write soon and do it well like you! Well done Elna! I only came across your work about 1-2 months ago I think but since I found you, you are always inspiring me! I’m definitely a big fan of yours! Its no surprise people want to work with you! You are great at what you do!! Thanks again!Reply
Thanks so much <3 >3 <3 Coming from a teacher too! I blush!! I’m glad you found some great tips to learn freelance writing! Thanks for stopping by.Reply
Do you think the market place for freelance writers is saturated. I tried signing up with Upwork but my application was rejected. The reason for this was they already have a vast amount of writers with the same skills as my own. Their advice was to apply again once I had acquired further skills. I registered my skills as – SEO article writer, blogger and proofreader. Do you think I should have included a nich?Reply
Ugh! Sheverley I was also rejected by Upwork…twice! And I have felt so disheartened over the last few days trawling through the dreadful propositions on Freelancer and Guru…truly nothing more than slave labour, and when I look at the profiles of the so-called Writers my jaw drops as they don’t seem to have even a rudimentary grasp of the English language. It seems quite obvious to me that most of those profiles are fake. Not that the “job” propositions are worded any better! In fact many of the jobs are clearly students getting someone else to write their research papers for them. Surely this is NOT okay?! This article is awesome – and I’ve read plenty! Thank you Elna. I will keep the dream alive and pursue ALL of the above.Reply
Thanks for letting everyone know the truth about freelance marketplaces!Reply
No, I don’t think it’s oversaturated. The freelance marketplaces are, however. So get away from Upwork and places like that and create your own writer platform!Reply
Hi Elna, thank you for this piece! There are so many great resources listed. My question is, if I prefer writing articles for online publications instead of copywriting, would you recommend focusing on that? Or is copywriting much more lucrative than article-writing? Thank you again.Reply
I do mostly blog writing and can make a living off of that! You can incorporate your copywriting skills into your blog writing/article writing. This will make your posts more valuable and you can charge a premium for that.Reply
Hi there! I was hoping you could give me some examples of what types of samples I should be writing when pitching for a job. Thank you!Reply
You should pitch samples in your writing niche! 🙂Reply
Hi Ms. Elna … Sharing is caring ! 😊 It’s very informative. Hope one day I can also write online. Thank you for your tips. Big help to people like me who is new into writing/blogging. Hope you can be my coach one day. For now I’ll be having some research first before entering into the world of writing. More power to you ma’am.Reply
I’m interested in becoming a freelancer. Although I have no experience.Reply
That’s okay! I started with no experience other!!Reply
This is very informative. I have always had a passion for writing and recently started a self hosted blog. my goal is to really get my name established, since I have no published work…yet and actually start doing what I am passionate about. This list gave me the tips I need to start on the right path. I will definitely subscribe and get the email course.Reply
That’s great to hear! So glad you found some great tips to get a freelance writing job!Reply
Thank you for taking time to create this. I am living abroad, dating abroad, and working abroad. Ready to get serious about writing!!Reply
That’s awesome! Good luck!Reply
So I am about to hand in my notice and try writing from home, only thing is I have never had any work published. Is that a bad thing?
Thank you so much for your advice in this post- I look forward to trying out some of the steps and possibly sharing my progress 🙂
When I started freelance writing I didn’t have anything published either! You can totally rock this!Reply
Hello Elna, is it more difficult for a non-native English speaker to get freelance writing/editing work than a native English speaker, especially for a fresher? I would like to know your opinion on this.
It might be, but it depends. Here’s a great post that talks about that: https://www.freelancerfaqs.com/freelance-writing-jobs-non-native-english-speaker/Reply
Wonderful blog! I’m just wondering if you have a post on being Canadian and contracting with US companies for freelance work! I’m also Canadian, and, as someone just starting out, am wondering how taxes, etc, work in this context!Reply
When you work with non-Canadian clients you don’t need to charge them tax or GST/HST. Be sure to bill in USD to benefit from our low dollar! When you file your taxes you’ll just pay regular income tax and CPP on the business income. I’m not an accountant so YMMV.Reply
I have read blogs that are informative but this one is VERY informative and helpful. I haven’t gotten stable client but I am sure by putting all the 20 steps into practice, I will manage to get clientsReply
Thanks so much 🙂
Glad you found some great tips to find freelance writing gigs!Reply
Bookmarking this blog post. I just started writing guest posts for a client and I get few bucks for it. The article is 600 t o1500 words that pay 3$ to 10$ which I think is an unreasonable price. I wanted to earn more so I should start paying attention more in writing. I would love to earn and learn more in freelancing jobs such as this because I’m also a mom.Reply
You’re right! That isn’t a lot of money. Check out this post and my latest for some good tips!Reply
Hi Elna. Thanks so much for posting this! I’ve recently finished high school and really need to make some cash haha. I love writing and its my dream to be a freelance writer…but do you think I need a website to better promote myself? Also what if all people want is someone with experience?Reply
Hi Elna, thank you so much for your practical tips and positivity! I have been thinking of getting into freelance writing for so long and your advice makes it seem really ‘do-able’, even for a beginner! 😀 Cheers, JoReply
So happy you want to be a freelance writer 🙂Reply
Thank you so much,and so glad to you found some new ideas.Reply
These are all great ideas. The problem, which I haven’t heard anyone address, is that all these places want to see a portfolio of your work. If you’re just starting out, it’s not likely you have one. In my case, I did extensive technical and creative writing for my previous company but it was all considered intellectual property for them, thereby preventing me from including it in any personal portfolio of mine. How does one build a portfolio if you already need one to get started?Reply
The easiest way is to create samples yourself. Place them on your blog or on a Google Doc or on Medium.com. After you have these samples, go to Contently to sign up to a portfolio account. It’s free. Then upload your posts or place your links there and it will populate your sample. Give your Contently link to job offers 🙂Reply
Your advice is greatly appreciated. I have yet to begin, and I needed someone to point me in the right direction. Thank you! I especially value your tip that suggests newbies begin by posting to free job boards. It seems to be a wise suggestion for many reasons!Reply
You’re welcome! Glad this post helped you!Reply
SO happy I found this blog! I’m the owner of a brand spankin’ new MA in Literature, but can’t find a company I’m excited about for full-time work (and I can’t move…boyfriend’s work visa and all…), so I’ve started looking into freelance! It scares the hell out of me, but I’m motivated and you’ve given some great starting points and advice! Wish me luck!Reply
That’s great! Yes, it does take time to market your service and find clients! Good luck!Reply
I am so happy I found your blog! I have been trying to figure out how to turn freelance writing into a career, and I think reading your posts have really helped. Tomorrow I read GPTW Lesson 3 and I cannot wait. My plan is to begin my own blog as well soon; reading your posts have really lit the fire in me!
Thanks so much! I love hearing from my subscribers so much! Happy to hear that you want to do some freelance writing as a way to make money online! Yay! Enjoy the lessons!Reply
This is great! It’s especially helpful for me as I am leaving my 9-5 job soon. I can see some LIGHTS now 🙂Reply
Glad you are doing what you really want to do! Good luck!Reply
Thanks for this extensive list. The accompanying links were very helpful as well. Appreciate you sharing.Reply
I am very interested in writing for some extra cash. I am unemployed, and I have a child with autism, whom I’m homeschooling. I was wondering, do I have to own my a website in order to find freelance writing jobs?Reply
So happy you are interested in learning about freelance writing! You don’t need a website really to start, but it does make it easier to land jobs! For now you can use a site like Contently to host your portfolio for free (just upload them on their platform) and then link to that in your pitch emails! Good luck!Reply
Thanks, Elna. Warm emailing is one of my favorite ways of finding new clients. Will try Reddit, too!Reply
Thanks John! I hope you land some gigs!Reply
I love reading your blog. This article is evidence that you are a goddess of freelance writing.
I have been trying this for some time. I haven’t had much luck, scratch that, I haven’t had any luck. I feel like there is a secret formula that is hidden from me. I have read so many blogs, followed all sorts of advice but I still feel something is missing.Reply
Don’t give up! You’re doing great. If you are still struggling, you might have to enroll in a course!Reply
Thank you so much for this post! It was so helpful. I’m currently in the process of starting my own freelance writing business and I look forward to using the resources that you provided! Thanks again!Reply
That’s great! Good luck!Reply
Hi Elna! Thank you for the insightful post! I am just starting out with freelancing and your article has provided a lot of useful informations! I have one question though; in order to sign up as a freelancer in websites such as Upwork or other related sites, do you have to be a US citizen? (Because I am not!) If yes, does that mean you can only apply for freelancing jobs in your own country? I hope to hear from you soon!Reply
No you don’t have to be a US citizen. I’m Canadian!Reply
Elna, this was such an incredibly helpful wealth of information for someone (me!) who’s just dipping their toe into the water of freelance writing and hoping to make a full time career out of it. I can’t thank you enough for putting this together. This article is the first time I’ve ever heard of your blog or had the pleasure of reading your work and I’m so impressed and inspired! Honestly, I hope to be as skilled and successful as you one day. Thank you so much for giving back to up and comers like me with this article. Love love love it! Thank you!Reply
Thanks so much! So happy you enjoyed this post. Good luck finding some freelance writing jobs!Reply
How brilliant you are Elna. I went through your website and I could feel such positivity in your words. I really want to congratulate you on the kind of person you have turned out to be. There are very few people who sound as enlightened as you do. Your help through the words on this blog will definitely help me because if they don’t I don’t know what would. Keep it up Elna, go as far as the wind.Reply
Thanks so much!
So happy to know that you enjoyed this post to help you make money as a freelance writer! Good luck!Reply
Thank you for this informative blog. This indeed enlightened a writer like me to be extra cautious as to what sites to visit. I have been writing as freelancer for barely a year now. Lately, I have been hired by a private client through a website not included in the ones you have mentioned. In just 5 days, I have written 22 articles/blogs for her but unfortunately, I was not paid. Worst, she became inactive on skype and on the site where we both are members. What disheartened me more was that I have found some of my blogs already posted online on different sites. Coming across this blog, I now have several options as to what sites to visit and what to do as well. Thanks again. By the way, I am a stay-at-home mom too.Reply
Sorry to hear your story about your first freelance writing job. I would definitely try out the job boards I mentioned in this post and start guest posting too!Reply
Hi Elna, thank you so much for your helpful post, made my search a lot easier! I’ve been searching for a freelance job lately because I like writing and I have some spare time to do this. The above ways are quite useful and I will try them in no time. Do you have a subscribe button? I love your blog and would enjoy following you.Reply
Thanks so much for your comment. So happy this post will help you research freelance writing jobs!
As for your question, I do have a subscribe button! Many of them! If you go to my homepage ElnaCain.com I do have a guide you can grab or if you check out my courses I offer a lot of free ones you can sign up to!
I’m clapping as you take a bow! Not just for providing us with good information but workable resources. My inner voice is saying, ‘see… search and you shall find’. Now, I’m off to a good start on this freelance brick road. Enjoy…Reply
Thanks for the applaud 🙂 I’m so happy to hear that this post will help you find freelance writing clients so you can grow your income for sure! Good luck!Reply
I’ve read and seen many blogs on “How to start freelance career?”, but I find yours the most thorough and detailed, with valuable information.
And yes, you’re right; I’m also pursuing as a full time freelance writer, but getting works is way tougher than I expected. I usually lack in marketing and selling myself, but after reading this post, I feel confident and relieved. Looking forward to apply these tips, and boost my selling.
Anyways, awesome post and keep posting. Good Luck
I was frustrated with my job and made a decision to become a freelancer, but getting started is difficult. I’ve read several blog posts about starting as a freelance writer but yours has become my favorite. So many useful links and precise steps to take. Thanks!!!Reply
Thanks so much!Reply
Hello an thank you very much Elna this article was very informative and helpful. I am a writer and have been looking to use my skills to generate income. I had no clue where to start.I am happy to have came across this article. It gave me not only valuable information but inspiring motivation as well. And I definitely look forward to reading more content from you. Again thank you very much.Reply
So glad this helped you navigate your way into freelance writing! Good luck!Reply
How does one get paid though? And how one can be sure that someone will pay once a piece has been written down? How to go about setting up a payment method? Any answer would be appreciated.Reply
Hey! I use PayPal to do my invoices. I’ve been doing that for three years and every client has paid!Reply
Great advice I plan on using tomorrow. I’m veteran motorcycle newspaper freelancer ex columnist lost my fire after a few years away .
My son Brian sent this article and him for it.
I all newcomers happy writing mi success.
Right on, write on,
Thanks so much. Glad your son told you about this post. It will help you revive your writing for sure!Reply
Thanks so much! I’m working on my website now, and am a little mortified about how few samples I actually have to put on it. Hopefully if I spend some time following your tips, I will be able to improve it substantially.Reply
Aww thanks so much! It’s okay to launch your freelance writing site without any samples! You can definitely start a blog to help you in a pinch!Reply
This is amazing! Thank you for writing this. However, I was wondering if you might have some tips for minors looking to make money. Is there anything on this list to steer clear of or any alternatives for younger people such as myself?Reply
You can start freelance writing in high school! Don’t let age stop you!Reply
Thank you so much for the tips here! Let me know of anything I can do for you including spreading the word about you!
One question I have: Do you find that freelance writing is seasonal? I was speaking to another writer earlier today, and she told me summer can be a slow season. Let me know if you’ve found ways around that! Thanks!Reply
It depends if summer is a slow time. The first year for me was but after that it wasn’t. I have recurring clients and get new prospects every week!Reply
Thank you so much for the great article, Elna! Now I know where to start. 🙂 I, personally, found 6th tip the most helpful. I had no idea that I can search for blogs, who need guest bloggers just by searching “my blogging nieche + write for us” on Google. 🙂Reply
So glad to help! Now go get guest posting!Reply
Thanks for sharing your expertise tips on how to become a freelance beginning writer, with the high-paying jobs. I found the information extremely helpful and am looking forward to the rich rewards from my first writing gig!Reply
You’re welcome! I’m glad you found some tips!Reply
hello Elna, i want to say a big thank you for this post, not only does it point us, budding freelance writers, in the right direction but it does so in the most simple manner.Reply
You’re welcome so much! Glad that this post will help you find a freelance job!Reply
Not only did you provide amazing information and helpful links but most importantly, you related to a wide audience. With that in mind, you maintained a positive outlook for all writers in different levels of their careers. I, personally, am just researching for ideas and ways to get started. Your article was not only helpful, but inspirational as it was honest and relatable.
Thank you so much for the time you took to create such a helpful page.
I recently came across some of your posts after searching for new ways to find and pitch freelance writing clients. While I’ve been working as a freelancer for a few years now, it never hurts to look for ways to expand my business. There’s a lot of crap out there on the Web that offers the same old suggestions for locating writing clients (usually accompanied by a heavy sales pitch to sign up for an expensive workshop). This article offered fresh ideas and unique details about the standard job sources–I was really impressed! Thank you! I am going to put some of these ideas into my business plan this month.
A few other things I plan to try: 1) buying cheap advertising in some niche publications where writing services aren’t usually advertised but the need is high; 2) adding an online content store to my author’s website I’m developing, so I can sell ready-made content directly to clients (kind of like Constant Content but without the middle man); and 3) pitching to website developers who might want to offer content services as a package deal to their clients. I have no idea if any of these strategies will work, but it’s always better to do something than nothing, right?Reply
You have a good plan to market your business! I’ve never done paid ads so good luck!Reply
Thank you so much for these steps in becoming a freelance writer! I have always loved writing, but never knew how to really get myself out there and this post has helped me out a ton!
Glad you found this post helpful! Finding a freelance writing job can be a challenge when you’re brand new!Reply
Hi Elna, thank you for the inspiration. I’ve always wanted to have a breakthrough in freelance writing and this piece is worth more than Gold. Thank you very muchReply
Do you think it’s possible to start freelancing as a student in college?Reply
Sure! Try it out as a side hustle 🙂Reply
Wow thank you so much Elna. I am actually working on being a freelance writer and I didn’t know where to start. Your article really helped me a lot! ! Following your advice, if anyone is looking for a “writer for hire”😀Reply
So glad this helped! Good luck!Reply
I’m a recent college grad and decided recently to try my hand at freelance writing while I work on my first novel. I’ve been overwhelmed at the prospect of starting and figuring out where to look but your post makes me think it’s doable. Thank you for your guidance!Reply
Good luck on your first novel! Gald you found some tips here!Reply
Thanks for this down to earth tutelage, I have received a great impartation which I will apply. You are part of my success story that just began. Thanks once again!Reply
I feel inspired to come across this article.All my life I have wanted to be a writer and this just give the motivation I needed.Thank you so much,you are an inspirationReply
I’m so happy you told me this! I’m glad you have the motivation now to really put yourself out there and start being a freelance writer! Good luck! <3Reply
I’m just now starting to explore the possibility of working as a writer and came across this article. I’ve always enjoyed writing and I think I’m fairly good at it, but I don’t have any specific training or education besides what I learned in my college English classes, and English wasn’t my major so I only took what was needed for GE requirements. In your experience, does one need any specialized training or education to be taken seriously in the writing world?Reply
You sound like me! I didn’t do great in English in college either. I don’t have a journalism degree. My degree is in Psychology! I’m a mom and I was still able to make a business out of this! It’s totally doable.Reply
Your article is helpful, and I plan to try some of these. Over the last couple years I’ve inadvertently picked up some writing jobs by good fortune that have paid .30 – .50/word, but writing was always a sideline. Now I want to do more of it – but searches are yielding abysmal and depressing results. My content is rarely and minimally edited (by professional editors)and I turn it in on time with solid grammar and syntax. I’ve been looking and finding gigs at .01/word or less. No wonder so much of the writing I read on the web is crap, including articles written by those who don’t know the difference between “less” and “fewer.” I hope your tips will help me find some quality gigs. After all, my name is attached to it even if there’s no byline.Reply
I have been looking for a job as freelancer but up to now it seems to be impossible.Reply
What methods have you tried?Reply
I am a first year student at college, and while I’ve always loved writing, I’ve been wondering whether I have the skills to work in freelance writing. I just got out of high school last year, and while I can write essays for school, I don’t know how I would transition to doing freelance writing work, especially since the type of writing required is so different. My main concern is that right now my writing might not be “good” enough. I don’t have any sample content to show clients, aside from academic essays. What tips would you have for starting out?Reply
I think you have the potential to be a freelance writer. I would start a blog or create samples on Medium or LinkedIn. Start writing posts that you want to get paid for. So finding a niche like business writing, digital marketing writing, parenting, gardening etc.. and then creating content around that. Then finding the clients that want that content! Good luck!Reply
I have gone through your 20-ways to find freelance-writing job and found it wonderful for the new comer. I used to write short stories, short drama etc., some of which were published different weekly and annual imagines. I have completed my 30 years of job career in different national and international development projects in Bangladesh and now would like start my days with freelance writing jobs.
Your kind guidance on to proceed on that would be greatly appreciated!
Glad you found some tips to help you!Reply
I absolutely love this article Elna. Thank you so much for providing your top techniques on how to start as a freelance writer. I think I have read so much content from numerous bloggers about writing content, starting blogs, making a living writing, etc. but have not yet come across anything quite like your article. I was already familiar with some of your techniques, but this was only a few. The first thing I am excited to do is take your course. I am a stay at home/work at home wife and mother. I was laid off from my job of 7 years almost 3 years ago and have been struggling with contributing to my household after my last pregnancy. I have written for pleasure most of my life and want to be able to continue being home for my family. I never thought that I would consider cold pitching but the way you put it just makes so much sense. Literally reading your article I was in such awe and had several “A-ha” moments. Again, thank you for sharing.Reply
Wow thanks so much! I’m so happy to hear that you are interested in writing and getting paid for it! So happy if you want to take my Writeto1k course 🙂 So many happy students are in and the private Facebook group is buzzing! Thanks!Reply
Good post. This is a great blog! I am so glad I found it. I have a question though. Do you think it is difficult to find clients for a non-native English speaking writer?Reply
It doesn’t have to be as long as you can show that you have a handle with the English language 🙂Reply
This is a great blog! I am so glad I found it. I have a question though. Do you think it is difficult to find clients for a non-native English speaking writer?Reply
It might be a challenge, but not unheard of. If you have excellent English writing skills, then it should be no problem. Your writing will speak for itself!Reply
Great list! I’ve been working as a freelancer and I think you definitely nailed it and I believe that this would help a lot of aspiring freelancers. Looking forward to more helpful post.Reply
Thanks so much! Glad you found this post helpful!Reply
This blog post was super informative. Thank you from the UK!Reply
This is the most helpful post that I’ve come across thus far. Thanks for this!Reply
So glad it was helpful 🙂 I’d love it if you told your friends and shared it 🙂Reply
I just became unemployed and have had blogs in the past, but reading this was kind of a wake up call. I have a lot of work to do before I can even consider getting a paid gig.
Thanks for the tips I’ll definitely be putting them to use!Reply
Glad you found some inspirations and tips!Reply
Thank you so much Elna for these 20 tips. I am new to freelance writing and have recently read Writer For Hire: 101 Secrets to Freelance Success by Kelly James-Enger, and would recommend it to anyone, but was still feeling that I needed more. A quick google search led me to this blog post of yours which has given me the extra boost I needed. Many of my ‘How do I get started?’ questions have been answered. I am taking one of your free courses and am planning on taking your ‘Write To 1K’ course very soon. The price for your course is very reasonable and I can’t wait to start. A quick scan of your blog has assured me that I have found a goldmine of resources and I want to thank you again for taking the time to share your learning curve and your experience with us all.Reply
Thanks so much! I haven’t read that book but I’ll be sure to check it out during my down time (if I get any!ha). I’m glad this post gave you that extra umph to get going. And, when you enroll in my course, you’ll get that support and more motivation to really get this out of the ball park!Reply
I haven’t come across such a comprehensive guide anywhere in the internet. Very insightful and straight to the point. Good work Elna!Reply
I haven’t come across such a comprehensive guide anywhere in the internet. Very insightful and strait to the point. Good work Elna!Reply
Thanks so much 🙂 Glad you found some tips to help you start finding a freelance writing job!Reply
Thanks for this wonderful posts. Before reading your post I was in a dilemma whether to leave my 9-6 pm job. I have a 1 and half year old daughter who stays at home under maid’s care and I don’t get quality time to spend with her. Thanks once again for this wonderful posts. And I am gonna need all your help.Reply
Hi Elna, I just bumped into this post when I was just beginning to give up because finding freelance writing tasks that pay well has been the hardest task. I have been stuck with content mills for the longest time (I started freelance writing sometime in 2011), I have written tonnes of articles for very little pay usually $7 for 500 words. I look forward to revitalizing my writing career with ideas you shared. I’m taking up the challenge to find better paying gigs.
Thanks for sharing!Reply
That’s great to here. I’m glad you found this post and it’s given you inspiration and tips to help you break free from content mills 🙂 Good luck!Reply
Awsome article Elna,feeling so inspired.Thanks!Reply
Thanks for this post. You have suggested heaps of options I hadn’t considered.
In your final tip, you talk about how you are known for your well-researched pieces. It would be great if you could give some insight into how you generally conduct research before you write. (No pressure, but I’d find it useful.)
Thanks so much. Glad you found a lot of options to help you find a freelance writing job as a newbie. As for researching, Google is my best friend! I also have a swipe file of sites I use for my clients…Reply
Wow,very informative and inspiring.Reply
Thanks for the crash course! I found it very knowledgeable and enlightening. I’m still confused and nervous, especially since I’m writing a book at the same time. If you have more tips, I’d love to talk to you one-on-one.Reply
I know a lot of freelancers writing novels and doing freelance writing! You can do it for sure! Thanks for stopping by!Reply
Thank you so much for this. I’m a stay at home mom & homeschool my kids. I have always loved writing and looking for a way to earn a little extra money. I found this post very helpful.Reply
So glad you found this post and are ready to start freelancing writing 🙂Reply
Hi my name is Peggy and I am an amateur writer and have a couple of poetry books that are self-published and I was thinking about getting into freelance writing. because I need to bring in some extra money to help get me and my husband get caught up on our bills and stuff from when Southeast Louisiana got flooded last August on the 13th in 2016 so if you have any suggestions for me or tips to get me started that would be great. Plus I wanna work at home and be able to set my own schedule because my husband is going to be having surgery soon because he has Barretts Esophogitis (A condition of the throat) So maybe you can email me when you can.Reply
I think freelance writing is a great option for you! I encourage you to check out my Writeto1k course as this will give you a foundation for a sustainable and profitable freelance writing business! https://writeto1k.comReply
This is a great list, Elna.
Even I still have trouble finding Freelance work time to time and I don’t want to work for too low of a bid. Having extra places to find work really helps. Shared on Twitter.Reply
Thanks so much!Reply
Finding freelance writing jobs is one of the hardest task. We need to reach out and convince people why they should trust and hire you. The content mills and freelancing sites are making harder and harder but with correct methodologies (pitching, out-reaching, networking) we can get high-paying clients easily.
I am very thankful to you, I have bookmarked this page so I can try new way from the 20 and I am sure I will get the big fish.
Thanks again Elna.Reply
Your post is one of the best I’ve ever read in my search for advice on freelance writing. I currently work in public relations, and I’ve wanted to break out and go down the freelance writing/editing route for a while now but it’s very daunting. 😣
One of my biggest concerns was finding legitimate jobs, and your advice has really given me the courage to go the extra step.
May I ask what your thoughts are on transitioning into freelance with a current job? I’d like to start, but still need a steady income in the meantime.
Also, I’m at a complete loss at what rate to charge. Is there an industry standard? I don’t want to sell myself short, but I also don’t want to scare off potential clients. Any guidance for starting rates?
Thank you so much for your post! I’ll definitely continue following your blog.Reply
Thanks so much for that comment! For your questions, it’s possible to do freelance writing as a side hustle until you’re ready to do it full-time. A lot of my course students are doing that.
I suggest finding time before and after work to devote on your freelance biz. As for rate, it all depends on your experience, niche and writing skill. This is something I talk about in my course as well. I started out at $.04/word but my first gig was at $.10/word.Reply
I suppose I really need to suck it up and finally learn how to really use social media, because I’m trying most of the other techniques and they don’t seem to be working for me. It’s very frustrating; even when I can find publications in my niche, they don’t seem interested in new writers or work.
Also, does #7 mean you’d be willing to add me as a LinkedIn contact?Reply
Yes, if you want to be an ONLINE writer, you do need an ONLINE presence and social media is where it’s at. I don’t check LI very often, but go ahead!Reply
Hi there Elna!
Your blog post has been extremely helpful, thank you so much! I’ve been doing some freelance writing on Upwork for a while now. I don’t take any gigs that pay anything below $10/100 words, but it’s often difficult to find clients that appreciate your work there. Most of the gigs are the “$0.5/100 words ABLE TO WRITE 3000 WORD A DAY AT LEAST” type which is sad. I’m gonna run with some of your suggestions here and see how it goes.
On another note, the above wasn’t really what got me to comment here. I rarely (if ever) leave blog comments. I just wanted to say how impressive I found your ability to keep up and respond to all those comments throughout a whole year (till now!).
It’s quite rare to come across a blogger that’s dedicated to this extent. I specifically kept scrolling down just to see if you had given up at some point haha. Oh and, just in case you still have more work that you don’t have time to handle, I’d be happy to help you reduce your workload lol!
Keep up the great work!
Thanks 🙂 Yes, I stay away from Upwork since clients on that platform want a deal and the cheapest writer. Thanks for commenting too 🙂Reply
Currently I am in high school and working a part time job, I probably only work an estimated 8 hours a week though. I have been longing to be a writer for quite some time, I’ve been wanting to be a freelance writer but sadly, most of the sites that pay you require a credit or debit card and I do not own one. Is there any freelance writing jobs that would possibly pay me in cash or something along those lines?Reply
All my clients (except one) pay via PayPal. The other pay via Stripe. You don’t need a credit card to set up but need a bank account 🙂Reply
Great Post Elna Cain…
You have shared some really encouraging information for the new-comers. Many successful freelance writers will hesitate to do so but you are EXCEPTION.
Thanks and keep it up. From now onward I Will be following you always.Reply
Thanks so much and you’re welcome 🙂Reply
I can’t believe the tons of info in this post! Thanks so much! Many of these… I would not have even thought about. So much wealth of info!Reply
You’re welcome! 🙂Reply
I just discovered your blog and want to say how right on you are about the above. I’ve reached a dead end with freelance writing and after reading some of your posts, I have learned some of the reasons why, like not having an online presence for example! You’re also absolutely right about bidding sites (which was in another post). I’ve tried them before and they weren’t helpful. Anywho, I wanted to ask about #10. It seems like a great tip! But am wondering how open the web design companies are to providing writers with a list of people in need of web content? I definitely want to try this out.Reply
Thanks so much and I’m happy to hear you figured out why you weren’t succeed at freelance writing 🙂 As for your question, web design companies wouldn’t give you a list; you would collaborate with them. Usually the are contracted to do a site with site content and if their staff writer is too busy or not there, they may hire it out. That’s where you come into play!Reply
Thank you so much for replying, Elna! Thank you for all of the information you provide on here. Your advice and posts have given me a lot to work with during this time of dead ends instead of beating my head against the wall trying to figure out how to get more work. I’m at the point where I am down to one job while the other is communicating less and less with me so it’s making me nervous. Thank you, thank you, thank you for providing this resource!Reply
Thank you so much for this information. I’m currently a massage therapist and pregnant with my first child. Knowing I’ll need extra income for baby expenses has me searching for alternative ways to make money before the baby arrives. I’ve always enjoyed writing and hope to finish my first book within the next two years so getting paid to write seems fabulous. From the tips you’ve provided, my first steps will be to google “publication pay submission”, check Craigslist and Sophie Lizard’s newsletter. I look forward to getting back to you shortly with an incredible praise report!! Thanks again!!Reply
You’re welcome and congrats on your little one! Freelance writing is a great side hustle for mamas! 🙂 If you have any questions just email me!Reply
I am a journalism student and I graduate next year! I am starting to look for small writing jobs now to build my resume. This is a wonderful resource for me, thank you so much.Reply
Thanks so much Lisa!
Glad it will help you when you graduate 🙂Reply
Hi Elna my name is Margie Bilyeu-Clark. I read the twenty ways to become a freelance writer and I am actually writing to books for fun and I am good at it I would like to join in on the writing fun. The tips were great and I enjoy writing I never knew there was such a thing as this until I seen your name pop up and I was curious about what you do and it sounds like what I like to do in my spare time.Reply
Great comprehensive list Elna! The key takeaway is to hustle for your first writing job(s). It’s about putting in the time and hard work in order to get that first paid gig!Reply
You’re right; you gotta hustle hard in the beginning. Not so much after a while though (if you have a good marketing strategy!) 🙂Reply
Thank you for the encouragement…It’s that first step that is the scariest! I have written and designed all too many things in my lifetime and going/doing this new phase of my ‘connecting the dots’ and reaching out to find my nitch and have fun again with words and thoughts….My oh my!!!! Infinite possibilities open-up!!! Onwards and upwards! Take care 😊Reply
That’s great to hear Stephanie! Good luck and sending you good vibes..Reply
I am amazed and wowed!! I am so happy that my fingers did the walking and I found you!!!! It’s like you are in my head and before I could ask a question or think a thought….You answered my question. I will start as you have suggested!!!! Much love to you and your sharing and caring of us writers’ …Have a great evening!!!Reply
Aww! Thanks so much <3 I love hearing such enthusiasm from new freelance writers! Go get ’em 🙂Reply
I have been interested in writing extensively since a very young age, writing either poetry, novels, short stories etc. Eventually I ended up in the corporate sector writing business plans, marketing plans and various other corporate documents. But freelance writing has been in my blood, just never really had the inspiration to follow this dream of mine. I will apply your guidelines and intend to forge a new career path in freelance writing. I don’t think it would be a problem that I am living in South Africa since the internet has created a global community…
Thank you for your very informative post…Reply
This post is absolutely amazing! Thank you so much for sharing your personal experiences and insights as a freelance writer. I recently began a freelance writing/editing business, and will definitely use this page as a reference as I continue to research, learn, and grow. 🙂Reply
You’re welcome. So happy to help and if you need more help just contact me 🙂Reply
I read a lot of blog post about freelance writing but yours is the most helpful. Thank you a lot for your help. I have a bit of a problem. I would be happy if you tell me if there is a light at the end of the tunnel. So I have a masters degree in creative writing and I have a pretty good portfolio but the problem is, it is not in english. I am Bulgarian and I wonder if that would be a problem for the blogs and online magazines out there. I would be really happy if you share your opinion on the matter.Reply
What an informative and fun article. While I’ve been writing for years, I’ve never had the courage to venture out because I haven’t got a degree, and feel very intimidated by a lack of formal education. But, when I say I’ve been writing for years, I mean I have been asked by everyone to write almost everything…including breakup up letters, condolence cards to the family of a murder victim, return texts in the middle of a text-fight (those are fun) and even an anonymous letter to a woman who’s best friend spotted her husband with another woman. (Not fun.) I’ve written proposal letters for house-hunters, eulogies, on and on and on….and I love it. I’ll write anything (within my knowledge base) and be happy doing so. Finally, after my last request from a long ago former coworker, to write a plea to Salvation Army for assistance, I decided to try to finally do what I love and learn to profit from it.
Your article captured me all the way through, and as I read, I clicked links and signed on with a few sites. Finding this article was truly a God send, because I feel the fresh cool breeze of hope. Maybe I can actually do this.
You’re awesome. Thanks so much.
What a fun journey! Ha…writing does come in any form 🙂 I’m proof that you don’ need a journalist degree to be a professional online writer. While I do have my BA degree in Psych, most of my writing is in digital marketing 🙂 Go figure.
If you ever need help just reach out to me!Reply
Wow Elna! Really very good and great tips to help!! Cold pitch is really not so simple but I think that’s something I can learn. 🙂 THX and good luck! IsabellaReply
I have a great lesson in the course and a 30 day challenge I’m working on with my students that centers around cold pitching!Reply
Ok. Thanks for this great tip, Elna! 🙂Reply
You’re welcome. I hope you find a freelance writing job and get paid to write 🙂Reply
Great article! May I ask, do you take any precautions for relatively unknown clients? I ask this because I’ve twice produced material on eLance and never been paid with the client going completely dark upon submission!Reply
You’re mistake is going through a freelance marketplace like eLance or Upwork. You can set up a contract if you want, but sine I only work with high-paying clients, I don’t typically have a contract.Reply
Thank you very much for this valuable information, Elna! I’m just beginning on this new path and feel inspired with the possibilities. I’m now following you on Twitter as well. 🙂
With much joy and gratitude,
So happy you found this post helpful. If you ever need any help just email me!Reply
Great information I actually have very little skill with posting blog etc. I am your basic blockhead but I spend hours writing stories songs poems devising quotes gleaned from my heroes and seem to lack the bravado to go to the edge and jump this year is my time to unleash the muse thanx for being there.Reply
Thanks for this, it’s VERY helpful! I do have one question… How do most of these freelancing gigs pay you? do you have PayPal or do you use something else?
I started a blog a year ago and I would like to make a living writing now! (I know I’m late… but better late than never I say!)
http://twincitiesview.com you should check it out and give any advice to help this Mama out… please and thank you! : )Reply
Thanks so much for commenting. As for payment I primarily use PayPal and there hasn’t been any issues. But, I’m trying out FreshBooks since they also do Stripe payments. I hope this helps!Reply
This article has expanded my writing possibilities and inspired me to carry-on. Thank you.Reply
So glad to hear that Melanie! Good luck!Reply
Wow, I have learned so much from this post… more than I could have pieced together from other posts all over the place. I also clicked on your links to referenced posts as needed, as I read through, and it was so helpful! Thank you so much!Reply
Thanks so much! Yes, this post was a big one when I wrote it 🙂 So happy to hear you learned a lot!Reply
Thanks so much for this amazing list. I am new to the “leap off the bridge” mindset that is doing freelance writing for a living. I have made my living in the past in management and small business ownership (aftermarket automotive parts store, a NAPA to be precise). I have a BA in Sociology and I have also worked in non-profit management and social work but my dream has always been to write. So after selling the business I decided to follow my dream of being a writer. I have done some blogging and have a novel I’m working on along with a few academic papers that were published while in college. I also have written curriculum for young adults that was published by a Christian publisher some years ago. However, even with some marginal knowledge about writing for a living, I found the amount of information out there to be overwhelming and much of it is people simply promoting scams or trying to sell you on their program. Your post is a breath of fresh air compared to much of the other “content” out there about freelancing. Thank you for taking the time to shareReply
Thank you so much for your kind words and comment.
I know there are a lot of fluff type articles trying to promote riches from freelance writing or some other freelance gig. But, the truth is, it takes a lot of work and dedication to land consistent work and to make a living from this.
It’s definitely not a get rich quick thing here! I’m so glad you liked this post!Reply
Elna, I’m wowed! I want to be like you when I grow up. Hahahaha. Just kidding! I love your blog. I got some great ideas from this post today. I’ve been thinking of freelancing but somewhere along the way I get cold feet. You just increased my confidence level with this article. Thanks a lot.Reply
I’m so happy to hear this! Gaining confidence is key to having a successful freelance writing biz!Reply
You may just started a fire under my butt. It’s just what I needed. I’ve been treading through the thick waters of Upwork for too long. I need my break and I am determined to make it happen!
Thank you so very much!
Hooray! That’s what I want to hear. Stay away from Upwork woman!Reply
Today a single job is not just enough for most of us so we opt to find another one on the side. Writing has always been my passion ever since so it’s good to know that there’s an article like this to guide me through doing something I love and earn at the same time. ThanksReply
That’s great. So happy you can find some ways to land a client!Reply
A lot of freelance jobs ask for a resume. How do I create a resume relevant to freelance writing that will stand out?Reply
I’ve been freelancing for two years and barely a handful has asked for a resume. Maybe two. If they do I point them to my LinkedIn profile.Reply
Thanks Elna for this awesome piece.
I am glad our mutual friend Ruth referred me to this page.
It is very informative .Reply
Thank you so much for writing this post Elna. It has been really very helpful indeed. I have been a part time freelance writer for about 6 months now but still feel like I am finding my feet. This post has given me a boost and some new options to follow up. It certainly seems like the strategy should be to go at it hammer and tongs and never, ever give up! Thanks again. I look forward to exploring your website some more.Reply
Thank so much for your kind words. I’m always here to help new freelance writers. I love helping everyone and that’s why I created my course. It’s there to give you success!Reply
I absolutely LOVE this article! Your blog posts have been so helpful for me Elna! I’m a new blogger and trying to land some freelance writing gigs, so this was extremely helpful.
Thank you for the post! I’m a bit overwhelmed at the wealth of content I am about to scour on your site. Hours of learning, here I come! I received my first two clients a month ago (one from my dad who is a web developer and the other upon referral from my first client). I am serious about gaining more clients and setting out as a full-time writer, but the process of finding new clients has always intimidated me. I am excited to apply your advice. Congratulations, you just won a new “stalker.” 😉Reply
Yes, it can be overwhelming with all the information out there. That’s why I like my Writeto1k course – it’s all packaged in one spot of everything you need to land your first $1k and more!Reply
nice blog. very needful information.Reply
What a great post Elna! I have a contract that will be ending soon and so I will be looking at this in more detail again. Bookmarking and pinning it!Reply
That’s great! So happy to hear that you’ll be trying some of these tips 🙂Reply
To echo everyone else, thanks for putting this together.
Business dev is always a tricky subject for freelancers, myself included, so I appreciate that you took the time to share your secrets!
Definitely bookmarking this as a resource.
You’re welcome. I’m so glad you found some good tips to help you grow your freelance writing business! Good luck and I love reading your guest posts!Reply
Hi Elna. Great post. I’ve been a freelance writer, and digital nomad for three years now. I, unfortunately, started out on one of the writing mills that pays very little. I made quite a bit on there, but eventually left as I was writing 8-10 hours a day for next to nothing. I’ve tried a number of your suggestions and the one I’ve had the most luck with, by far, was cold contacting. I’ll contact 10-12 websites a day and send them a sample of my work. I get a few new clients a week, plus all of my repeat customers. It’s gotten to the point I need junior writers to pick up some of the slack. For anyone out there interested in being a freelance writer there’s plenty of work out there.Reply
That’s great you are doing cold pitching. You can really get great gigs by finding websites that need content. Good luck!Reply
Thanks for sharing the great article (very informative and well-organized)
In fact before you try to find your first freelance writing job, you need to build up your skill set and portfolio.
That may be not easy for beginner but not impossible with walking through your article Elna.
Yes, of course you need a portfolio to showcase in your pitches but I wanted to help new freelance writers WHERE you can find freelance jobs. For a lot of newbies that’s the hard part.Reply
Thanks for a very informative post Elna. I had no idea it was possible to find writing gigs via Reddit or Twitter.Reply
This was incredibly helpful, thank you so much!Reply
Elna…thank you! This was exactly what I needed to read today. I’m new at pro blogging but wanted more info on how to get out there with my voice. Bookmarked!Reply
You’re welcome! I’m glad you found some great ways to find a freelance writing job.Reply
Elna, I wanted to drop in to say a huge THANK YOU for your “Write your way to your first $1K” course.
Absolutely loving it.
It’s both a confirmation of what I’ve picked up elsewhere, but also a rich source of
– pitching templates
– sources to get both paid and unpaid guest blogging gigs
– best pitching practices
and pitching is what I need to focus on next.
Love your simple writing style too. That’s quite a skill you have there.
I Will definitely try these great tips to find work. ThanksReply
That’s great to hear Kamran.
Thank you so much for this valuable piece, Elna. Is anyone aware of other content agencies hiring?Reply
Not sure. I don’t land gigs with content agencies so not too sure.Reply
As usual another great post, I didn’t know there where so many places that newbies can find work. That is a great list and I will be putting them to work very soon, or as soon as I finish your course. I may be contacting you soon to look over your shoulders as you are teaching us from your great course “Write Your Way To Your First 1K”. I can’t praise it enough, keep up the good work Elna.
Thanks so much. Glad you found more places to find work!Reply
This is awesome and loaded. Thanks for the tipsReply
Thanks so much and glad this helped you out.Reply
Thanks for the great tips!Reply
Thanks for the tips. My blogs are little followed I hope to increase visits . Thank you againReply
This is an awesome post! Very informative and extremely useful. Good job! You definitely made a fantastic impression on me. I will be in touch as I seriously want to leave my “procrastination sphere” to a “professional world” of blogging. I am an English tutor and it’s just ripe for me to hold the blogging world to ransome and claim my share of the fun that goes with blogging.
Thanks for the detailed information. Every word you wrote moved me to get in touch with you. I am glad I did.Reply
Awesome!!! Just what I needed thank you for all of the tips on different platforms and websites to use, compiling a list as we speak! I’ve been writing for a few years now but not as a full time freelancer so this should help me!Reply
Thank so much Elizabeth!
Yeah, this was an epic post for me for sure!Reply
Wow, this is an awesome list! Thanks so much for taking the time to put this together and sharing it with us!
I’m hanging on to this one :).
Have a great day and weekend.
Glad you liked it! It’s one of my biggest posts and I’m super proud at how it turned out! I never realized all the different ways you can land a freelance writing job! Or, at least different ways to help you land a job.Reply
Excellent tips, Elna! This is super inspiring and so useful. I wrote a post on how I make a side income from freelance writing here: http://www.biancabass.com/work/ways-to-make-money-as-a-freelance-writer – it’s particularly for aspiring freelance writers in the UK.
I’m new to blogging and would so appreciate your thoughts 🙂
Keep up the great work – I look forward to seeing what you do next!
I’ll make sure to read your blog post! Glad you enjoyed my biggest post and hope you found some good ways to source jobs.Reply
Great tips here. Shared and saved to our writers resources Trello board. Definitely network because established writers have way more work than they can handle and will pass some along to you.
Some writing courses with membership sites – like Carol Tice’s Writer’s Den – have job boards and make networking easy. I go out of my way to identify the best writers, teach them our process, and introduce them to agencies that pay well.Reply
Thank you – this is the most useful article I have ever come across with respect to freelance writing! I can’t tell you have much time and effort you have saved me by listing all these fabulous websites and tips.Reply
So happy to hear this. I love posts like these – that give you all the ways you know? I believe these are literally the only ways you can score a gig online. I could be wrong? But no one else has told me of any new ways.
If you need any more help just email me !Reply
I must say that this was perhaps the most useful article for freelance beginners. I already visited and applied several of your tips.
I’ve been thinking about freelancing for over a year now but only recently started to investigate where to begin.
I have a question for you, What do you think about content mills? Is this a good way to start as a beginner with no prior experience or portfolio?
thanks for your help!Reply
Thanks for leaving a comment! As a new freelance writer I advise you stay away from content mills and freelance marketplaces. These are typically low-paying and don’t take consideration the value you bring as a writer.
Instead, I teach to set up your own website and pitch to job boards and connect with businesses and entrepreneurs. Email me if you need help or check out my course for new freelance writers!Reply
Hi Elna, thanks for your answer.
I checked your course yesterday when I stumble upon your website and I thought it was a great way to start but I honestly can’t spare that kind of money right know.
I will definitely keep an eye on that course in the near future and take it as soon as I can!
Keep up the great work you do!Reply
My Writeto1k course is helping many new writers. I’m always updating it and providing the best information possible. Hoping to have you on board in the future!Reply
What a fantastic resource you’ve put together here, Elna. Great job!
Reddit… now there’s one I’ve never thought of using. Going to check that out.
Next item on my to-do list for the day…?
–> APPLY TO JOBS
Hey, a few quick questions for you…
(a) I see you share counts are tallied and put in your post meta data on your blog page. Did you manually code that, or is there an easy way to draw that data from SW?
(b) What plugin do you use for creating your on-click popups? Is that PopupAlly by chance?
As you can probably tell, I’ve got design on the mind, as Brent Jones Online is almost ready to roll again. In fact, I even borrowed you home blog page idea of adding a call-to-action in my header. 🙂
Glad you found some new ways to source jobs!
(a) Since Twitter stopped (easily) showing its share counts, yes it’s all custom from top to bottom.
(b) I use Thrive Leads with custom CSS to change the look of it.
And when I say “I” I mean my talented husband 🙂Reply
If there’s one course I’d recommend to anyone starting out as a freelance writer, it’d be yours. It was exactly what I needed when I started out and it’s helped me immensely over the past few months to put things into perspective. This post is just a teaser of what to expect from Writeto1K, but then again, all your blog posts are packed with the most useful tips you can find online. I can only say thank you for sharing them with us!
And thanks so much for including my website in your post! It was such a lovely surprise! 🙂Reply
Yes, this is an exhaustive list and I’m happy it’s getting such great feedback. Thank you so much for your kind words about Writeto1k! I’m so happy to hear you are loving it and it’s working for you and that you also enjoy my blog posts!
No problem for including your site in my post! Love your site and all my course participants’ sites! You all rock!Reply
Thanks for including my website in your post, Elna! You’ve been instrumental in helping me launch my own freelance writing career and I’m thrilled to have found your course. Looking forward to kicking it up a notch in the new year!Reply
Thanks so much! Glad you are doing great as a freelance writer! Thanks again for mentioning my course and how great it’s helping you become a successful freelance writer!
You will definitely kick it up a notch for 2016! Go get ’em!Reply
Thanks for the Twitter tips! There are so many twitter job leads that are CRAP – No, I won’t write you a 1,000 word post for $2! – that I’d stopped relying on twitter to find job postings. Am checking out the accounts you shared!Reply
Catherine (I thought you fixed your Gravatar?)
You’re right. There are a lot of junk job tweets and you have to sort through them. The ones I mentioned may have a few crappy ones, but generally pretty good. I haven’t landed a gig using Twitter this way. Mostly having prospects contact me via Twitter because they see my presence on this platform.
Glad you liked!Reply
Thank you so much for posting such a brilliant list of ways to find Freelance writing jobs. I don’t usually print out blog posts, but I’ve printed this one (all 30+ pages of it) so that I can use it for reference when I am need of inspiration,
Have a great week
That’s fantastic. So glad you enjoyed the post and found pieces of nuggets to help you! Wow, 30+ pages! That’s some post! In fact, I know it’s my biggest post on this blog to date!
So, thanks for taking that extra step. If you want a PDF version let me know and I can easily give it to you! Thanks again!Reply
Fantastic article! I’ll definitely add this one to my bookmarks! Although I’m not exactly “new” to freelance writing, I have decided to make this year “my year.” My year to get off the job platform sites like Upwork. My year to make more money from freelancing, my year to pitch to clients – both locally and nationally. My year to be more successful than I have in the past. Many of the tips you shared in this post were several of the ones that I had already planned to do this year to ramp up my business. But, you’ve also added several others that I hadn’t considered! Thanks for the great, informative post!Reply
This is great news to hear! So happy to learn you found some new ways to revitalize your pitching game! I feel these 20 ways are the only ways to land a good paying freelance gig, but I could be wrong!
Let me know how your pitching game turns out and feel free to email me to bounce ideas off of me!Reply
Great Post! You are right; It is good to be everywhere all the time. So far, I am not. And I am depending too much on one client at the moment; as you know. I will take your advice and join some more groups and directories. Thanks again, IlkaReply
Yes, I’ve been in your shoes more than once! Actually, I’m sort of relying on one client as we speak 🙂 So, I need to always be hustling and always find opportunities to network and try to land more clients!
Glad you found this exhaustive list useful! I hope you’re enjoying the course!Reply
I will enjoying this course very muchReply
Great post. It’s a crash course for any newbie in freelance writing. I’m ‘almost’ jealous. ???. Thanks for being a great coach.
Your students always stand out.
Keep the fire blazing.
Hi Elna I am interested in writing. In high school I actually wanted to become a writer for photography, blogs,health, creative writing. But now about 8 years later I have no experience and no schooling but would love to get into it. Where do I start even creating a portfolio? I’d love to take your class but unfortunately I do not have any upfront money for that. Thank you in advance if you reply.Reply
I have a lot of free resources to help you land your first client. Check out my blog and my free get paid to write online course to get some ideas of what you need to do!Reply
So glad you liked this huge post! You know it’s my mission to help any and all new writers find the good paying gigs! I want all y’all to skip over content mills and churning out post after post for $5!
This list will hopefully inspire and help many! Thanks girl for your support as always!Reply
Great post, Elna! Every writer needs fresh ideas from time to time – thanks for sharing!Reply
Thanks, so glad you found some new ideas. Yes, it’s hard when you’re spinning your wheels, using the same places and methods to land work. That’s why I decided to make this list of possibly ALL the ways to land a gig!Reply
Wow, what a great crash course Elna, for both experienced freelancers and newbies alike!
Warm pitching is one of my favorites, particularly when a business has already connected with me on social media. It feels like an open door just waiting for me to step through.Reply
Thanks so much! Yes I like warm pitching, but sometimes I have better success just using job boards. I’m a bit impatient 🙂 and have a million things on my plate so when I can, I’ll do some warm pitching. I’m finding for me, the best chance of my landing work is via referrals. Once you have those awesome clients, there’s a goldmine more clients and more money!Reply
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