Are you interested in working from home and becoming a freelance writer?
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? 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)
- AllIndieWriters 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.
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 and coach. 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 coaching students and 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. For a more info on this check out my gal pal writer, Ariel Rule’s guide to landing work through Twitter.
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 staying 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. AllIndieWriters 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:
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 Pays 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.
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 2016.
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 AllIndieWriters 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!
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!