Are you interested in becoming a freelancer?
Or, a freelance writer?
Whether you want to be an online writer, copywriter, editor, graphic designer, or social media marketer, you need some freelance jobs!
But, with so many writing jobs online, how do you figure out which freelance job is the best for you?
What is the onboarding process to land an online writing job?
When I first started as a freelance writer, I made a ton of mistakes, and I know that I probably lost jobs and money because of that.
I don’t want that happening to you.
Let’s dive into the best job boards you can use, what your job is as a content writer, what type of projects you will do and how to submit your pieces so you can get paid for your writing (or social media posts or editing).
Best Freelance Job Sites for Writers
Since my knowledge is in online writing, I will share with you the information you need to land some freelance writing jobs. These are content writing jobs that you do for businesses online.
All of these freelance job sites are legit freelance jobs, but always make sure to read each job ad. These aren’t freelance sites like Fiverr or Upwork. Those freelance marketplaces don’t value your writing at all! Please stay away from them.
But first, what is a freelance job?
If you’re wondering what does freelancing mean, I’ve got you covered. Freelancing means working for yourself and not for someone else. You will still work with businesses as a freelancer or freelance writer, but you are self-employed. So remember this: you don’t work for them; you work with them!
Let’s look at the best freelance job sites to find writing gigs.
Contena is a job board that curates online writing jobs from other job boards, social media, and from career/job pages for businesses.
It’s one of the quickest ways to land writing jobs because you only need this job board to find gigs. As well, this freelance job site also has educational training material, coaching, and alerts so you don’t miss out on freelance jobs.
Finally, Contena uses Pro rates which shows you rates in different industries. As a new freelance writer, you can see if the niche you choose has the best rates.
If you’re interested in using Contena, use my special 10% discount code elna10. You get 10% off any option or 10% off each payment if you choose the payment route. AND if you pay in full you receive a 20% discount PLUS your coupon will stack on top of that!
Problogger is a popular free and legit freelance writing job board with some great entry-level freelance jobs for newbies.
The only downside to using a free job board is that everyone else knows about this place too!
So, there is a lot of competition when using these free job boards, but that’s not to say you can’t land some great gigs. You just need a strong pitching process when using these job sites.
Make sure to visit this site twice a day and try to be the first to reply to these gigs to stand out.
3. Freelance Writing
Freelance Writing is another free freelance job site that curates writing gigs from many sources like Craigslist, Indeed, and more.
I was able to land my first real writing job using his job board. So, make sure to check this site often and apply to any freelance job that is remotely interesting to you!
4. Writer’s Work
Writer’s Work is one of the new freelance job sites I’m using.
What I like about this site is that it has a modern user platform and it’s easy to see what new freelance jobs are available quickly.
I also like that they have some educational training videos to help improve your writing skills.
Writer’s Work can also act as a project management tool where:
- You can set goals
- You can track your writing output – words typed and the time it took
- You can write out your documents and use their Grammar editing tool
You can also create a profile and can use that profile link to share in your pitches or marketing strategies.
If you are bootstrapping it and can’t have a writer website, using something like Wirter’s Work might be a good option for you.
Writer’s Work is budget-friendly, at $15/month or a one-time fee of $47, and it’s great tool for anyone new to freelance writing.
The Contact Person for a New Freelance Job
To figure out if a freelance job is legit, get to know your contact person.
So, who wants a content writer or freelance editor or even a social media manager?
There are many types of businesses that require a writer. Let’s look at four of them.
1. Start Ups
Start ups can be a great way to enter into online writing. When I first started, I picked up a health writing gig for a start up meal planning site.
The pay wasn’t high, but since this was a new freelance job for me, I took it and I’m glad. It was bylined – showed that I wrote it – and it showed the type of projects I like – blog writing.
I was able to use those blog posts for my portfolio to pick up more health gigs (if I wanted more health gigs, but as it turned out, I leaned towards digital marketing as my freelance writing niche).
When looking at start ups for a freelance job, know that they have a very limited budget for content marketing.
They are using their budget for paid ads, lead generation tools, social media marketing, and more.
Content marketing is a small portion of their marketing strategy.
Brands are the complete opposite of start ups. Brands can be the big guys in the marketing world. Think Walmart, Pampers, American Express, etc..
Brands can also be newer businesses that are growing and becoming popular.
Typically, brands have the budget for their content marketing strategy and will pay writers what they are worth for content.
Picking up a brand gig is more challenging than a start up gig, but it can be a goal for you (as it was for me!).
3. Small Businesses
Small businesses are my ideal clients, and there is no shortage of freelance jobs if all you ever have are small business clients.
Rates for small business’ content marketing vary depending on the niche and how large their business is.
Since I write for mostly digital marketing clients, my rates are high because of the caliber of writing they require – long-form industry-specific content.
Finally, another type of client you may have are magazine clients. Magazines usually pay $1 per word and can be very high paying.
Personally, I never wanted to write for magazines because getting paid can take weeks or months.
With small businesses, I get paid after each project, at the end of the week or the end of the month.
Magazines also require citation using APA, MLA or Chicago styles. For me, I like the conversational nature that blog writing has and the ease of formatting blog content than I would have to do for a magazine article.
So we got to see some types of clients that you will run into as a freelance writer, but who are the people you pitch to or email?
When you start outreach and contacting these businesses, who do you usually connect with? Here is a short list of contact people:
- Content manager
- Blog manager
For most of my projects, the content manager or owner is my contact person.
Out of all the types of contact people, editors might be more stringent on revisions and edits. I’ve worked with a couple of editors and found it a challenge for me. But that’s okay. When you work as a freelancer, you can pick and choose which clients you want to work with!
Project Scope for Your Freelance Job
When figuring out the best freelance writing jobs for you, you will probably focus the most on the type of project that’s being advertised.
As you start looking at job boards, you will see a lot of titles for a content writer.
Let’s look at six typical projects you will see on job boards or that businesses need for their content plan
1. Blog Writing
I believe all businesses online need a blog. A blog is typically the first step in a lead generation strategy for businesses.
They may use social media to attract a lead, and the lead will click over to their blog. But, it’s the WRITING on their site – the blog post – that can convert a lead into a client or subscriber or customer.
And, since many business owners aren’t the best writers – or don’t have the time to dedicate to writing – they look to us as the professional writer to help them create some awesome content for their blog.
2. White Papers
White papers are more formal in nature than a blog post. White papers are used as a lead magnet to help grow a business’s email list.
While many types of white papers are technical and business-related, as a freelance writer, you can balance the tech jargon with some natural writing that is easy to read.
These papers are also longer than a blog post but much shorter than a book. Think around 10-18 pages. Because of the type of information and length of white papers, they can be a very lucrative freelance job.
3. Email Copy
The money is in the list.
For practically every successful business and blog online, they use email as their main marketing efforts.
Email marketing is still a powerful tool to gain leads, and income, and business owners know this. They would likely hire out copywriters or online writers for their email marketing copy.
From sales funnels to promotional campaigns, businesses need this type of content to help them grow.
Rates for this type of freelance job is high, but you do need a proven track record to land these types of gigs. Starting your own email list can help with those metrics as well as doing some “free” work in exchange for a testimonial can help you gain that information.
Ghostwriting is another highly lucrative project for content writers.
As a ghostwriter, your name is nowhere on the content you produce for your clients. You write in the voice of your clients, and the client receives credit for your content.
Because of this setup, ghostwriters are usually compensated heavily for this. As the writer, you can’t market your ghostwritten work or tell anyone about it (unless the company says you can).
That’s why authors, actors, influencers, and more hire ghostwriters for their eBooks, emails, or other types of content.
Tip: be careful of finding ghostwriting gigs on sites like Upwork or even on some job boards. These types of ghostwriting projects are usually in bulk and very low paying. Do not take these types of freelance jobs!
Copywriting is a service your can offer as a writer. Think of copywriting as persuasive writing to help move a person from point A to point B.
Your words have to “sell” the reader on what you are writing about. Typically, copywriters are used for sales pages, landing page copy and other promotional materials.
Through the use of story-telling, copywriting principles, and effective copy, you can pick up some high-paying writing gigs as a fairly new writer.
Within my first year of online writing, I landed a website copywriting gig for an influencer. I wrote mini sales pages and product descriptions for her so that she can use that to promote her products.
6. Article Writing
Personally, article writing is similar to blog writing in that the type of information and format is similar.
However, articles can be more comprehensive with up-to-date stats, case studies, and interviews. They are also published on magazines or online magazines.
For example, Carrie Madormo writes articles for Reader’s Digest.
What Makes a Good or Bad Freelance Job?
When trying to decide what is the best freelance job for you, look at the content plan for each gig you have.
Businesses want content either:
- Bi-weekly – two times a week
- Ad-hoc basis – whenever the client needs content.
You have to see if that freelance job can fit your schedule. Remember, you need more than one writing job to make a living as a writer.
I wouldn’t bank on one or even two freelance jobs for your monthly income.
One business – or both – may go under or reduce their content projects. Also, you may learn later that one of the clients is a horrible client or a scope creeper.
Because of this, pick up a few different types of projects. As a new content writer, I picked up two weekly blogging gigs, and two ad-hoc blogging gigs and helped me make a living writing.
I also didn’t work 50 hours a week to fulfill those projects. My weekly blogging gigs were easy for me and the ad-hoc gigs had long deadlines (30+ days).
Another thing to look at when figuring the best freelance job for you is the entire scope of the project.
Many freelance writing job ads will just list out the content writing responsibilities and may casually mention they have more work for you if they hire you.
Many businesses are looking for an all-in-one person to do not only blog posts, but also:
- Social media posting
- Email copy
- Social media automation
I personally wouldn’t take these writing jobs because it looks like you’re chained to a job for an employer!
As a freelancer, you pick and choose your work and it’s better to work with a variety of clients doing small projects.
It’s okay to pick up a big project here and there, but don’t be sucked into the bait-and-switch when applying to freelance writing jobs on job boards.
Requirements for a Freelance Job
You’ve got your list of the best job boards and the types of projects you can do as a freelance writer.
Now, let’s look at the requirements many of these job ads want for their writer.
I’m all for you landing your first freelance job, but remember this – you are no longer an employer; you’re a freelancer, a collaborator.
When a company asks for your resume, they are in the wrong mindset. They are looking at you as an employer.
Of course, it’s okay if you do have a resume for your online writing. There is no shame in providing that, but just remember why you decided to freelance!
2. Cover Letter
Many freelance writing jobs will ask for a cover letter. Again, I’m not one to provide a company with a cover letter, but if you have to, then go ahead. A cover letter is like your pitch, so it’s easy to write up since you email your pitch already.
3. Writing Samples
All freelance writing jobs will ask you for your samples. Your writing samples can help businesses decide if your writing is up to their standards, how engaging your writing is and your credibility in your writing niche topic.
So, before finding that perfect online writing job, figure out your writing niche and write some samples in those niche topics.
For example, let’s say you want to be a parenting writer. Here are some potential writing samples that show your credibility as a writer in this niche:
- How to Get Baby to Sleep Through the Night – Surprising Advice from the Experts
- How Using this Simple Approach Can Relive the Stress During the Kindergarten Drop-off
- What 45 Moms Say About Breastfeeding in Public
For many online writers, they link their portfolio in their pitch email. Your portfolio is a page on your website or a page online – like my Contently portfolio – where you list all your writing samples.
A portfolio on your writer website is a great way to hook a potential client into a paying client. Not only do they see your samples, but they can click around on your writer website to get to know you better.
And this can help them decide if you’re the writer for them much faster than if you linked to a few writing samples from various blogs.
Here is my portfolio page on my writer website.
Submitting Your Work to Your Freelance Job
There are generally three ways you can submit your writing work to your freelance job. Make sure that before you start your project, you know the preferred method for providing your work to your client.
By far, the most popular method for many businesses is to have their freelancers submit their work via email.
As the content writer you can add your article from either MS Word to your email. Or, if you wrote your article in Google Docs, you can email that to your client directly or grab the sharable link and use that link in your email.
I would title your email the name of your project and include your author bio with a headshot.
As well, I always mention in my email to let me know how they liked my client piece. I don’t usually do revisions since none of my clients ask for revisions, but if they do, I gladly revise parts of my post for them.
Other writers, however, tell businesses they will do up to two-three revisions before they start charging.
2. Backend of WordPress (Or Similar Content Management System)
Another popular method businesses and brands have writers submit their work is to upload their article to the backend of their WordPress site.
I’ve had several clients give me access to their site so I can upload my content and images.
With these types of freelance writing jobs you may also have to:
- Add your images
- Set the meta description
- Create the feature image
- Set the social media description
- Schedule the post
3. HTML Format
A less popular way to submit your work as a freelancer is to submit your piece in HTML format. Technical content blogs for example may want your content in this format.
It makes it easier to upload to their WordPress site. I have never had to submit my content this way, but I do often submit my author bio as HTML to make it easier for the client.
So, how do writers get paid online?
The most popular and preferred method for online businesses is to use a Paypal Business account.
While there are other online merchant services you can use, it may be a challenge for your clients to use that type of payment system.
So, if possible, get a Paypal account for your writing business.
You can generate your own invoice statement if you want – I do – or use a free invoice generator:
Free Invoice Generators
After you receive feedback (for new clients only or depending on each client), submit your invoice and ask for a testimonial – if you already don’t have a testimonial from that client.
Land Some Amazing Freelance Jobs!
Figuring out your best freelance job as a writer should take some time. You need to figure out the job boards you will use, the type of projects you want to write, your writing sample topics, job requirements, and more before you land your first gig.
So grab a coffee, bookmark this post and get your writing on!
Over to you –
Is freelance writing something you’re interested in doing?
Let me know the comments!
And, if you found this post helpful, I would sincerely love it if you shared it and or linked to it to help others learn more about this business!