How to Find Paid Freelance Writing Work

Looking to find paid freelance writing work? Here's a primer to get you started, whether you're a beginner or a seasoned veteran.

When it comes to finding the next gig, you need to be prepared to visit job boards, join a website, or even ask in your network. As a freelancer, it can take a few years to establish yourself to the point where you might not need to apply for gigs or pitch publications. And, even if you do get to that point, it’s always a good idea to keep your options open and your job-hunting skills in tip-top shape.

Strategies to find paid freelance writing work

Here are the basics of getting your first paid freelance gig. These strategies can also work for more seasoned freelance writers.

Build a network

Building your network is one of the best ways to get started freelancing. Some of the best-paying jobs don’t come as a result of replying to a job posting. Instead, many of the best gigs are the result of who you know — just like with any other job. As you build your freelance career, make sure to focus on building a network.

  • Friends and family: Let the people in your life know what you do and that you’re open to new opportunities. They can refer you to gigs you might not realize are available in your immediate area. Plus, when they hear of something, they have an interest in connecting you.
  • Other freelancers: You might be surprised to find that other freelancers aren’t your competition — they can be your network. In addition to offering support and helpful information, other freelancers can also put you onto gigs. If their clients are looking for other writers or another freelancer can’t take on a job, you could be their recommendation.
  • Join a Facebook group: There are plenty of social media opportunities to virtually meet up with freelancers. Check to see what Facebook has in terms of freelance groups. There are a few niche groups for different types of writers. For finance writers, the FinCon Freelancers group can be a good resource.
  • Forums and membership sites: You might also build a good network with the help of forums and membership sites. Even if you have to pay a small fee to be involved, it can be worth it for high-quality job leads from a good network.
  • In-person events: Conferences and trade shows can also be good places to meet potential clients and network with others. Attending an appropriate conference can open your prospects if you have a niche. Plus, you can connect with potential corporate clients by taking a stroll through the exhibition hall.

Your network should be there for you. Try to keep it updated regularly, checking in occasionally to ensure you’re on the radar. Also, be a good member of the network, recommending other freelancers when you can and throwing them work when you need to pass on a client.

Use job boards to find paid freelance writing work

When I started, I spent a lot of time on the job boards. There are different levels of boards that can help you find paid freelance writing work.

Low barrier to entry, low pay

The first thing to realize is that, in most cases, a website with a low barrier to entry is likely to also come with low pay. While you can find gigs that pay better on these websites, for the most part, you’ll start with low pay. But if you just need some quick hits, these sites can be worth it.

  • Problogger: These are usually ongoing gigs that don’t pay a lot. However, this isn’t a bad place to start if you want regular work.
  • BloggingPro: Another blogging job board, you can find some solid regular gigs, some of which are even mediocre to high-paying.
  • Media Bistro: You can see jobs for free. Sign up, and have job leads emailed to you each day. This is an example of a site with a relatively low barrier to entry with the potential for ongoing remote or freelance work of better quality. However, you do have to weed out media jobs that might not be remote.
  • Freelance Writing Jobs: This website aggregates freelance gigs from different websites and posts them each weekday. It’s a solid go-to if you just want a quick survey of jobs from around the web. Most of them don’t pay particularly well, however.
  • Remote: You do need to sign up, but it’s free to look through various remote work opportunities.
  • Remote Bliss: Similarly, it’s possible to find a variety of jobs using this website. However, many of the jobs aren’t specific to writing, although you might find gigs that work with your skill set.
  • Content Runner: Sign up to work with different clients, and the more you work with them, the smaller the fee. It’s an interesting model with a low barrier to entry, that’s not quite the same as working with a marketplace.
  • Writer Access: This is another website that you sign up for and then pitch your rate. It makes it easy to apply for “casting calls.”

Medium barrier to entry, mediocre pay

When you have some sort of barrier to entry, such as signing up and/or paying a fee, you might get better access to better-paying gigs. And, of course, if you end up paying a fee, keep the receipt — you can probably deduct the fee from your taxes!

  • Freelance Writers Den: You have to pay $25 a month to access the Den, but it can be worth it. The Den keeps a “junk free” job board that’s members-only. Every gig also pays a minimum of $50 an article, so you don’t have to wade through stuff that pays mere pennies per word.
  • SolidGigs: For $19 per month, you can have job leads emailed to your inbox. The company only sends the best available jobs, and that allows you to skip some of the low-paying gigs and get access to jobs that might be more worth your time.
  • Writers Work: This one is interesting, allowing you to pay a one-time price of $47 and then get access to the job board anytime. Otherwise, you pay $15 per month. It might be worth it to pay that $47 and access jobs first.
  • Opportunities of the Week: Sign up on this Patreon and pay a small monthly fee, and you’ll get a researched newsletter of freelance jobs available.
  • Contently: Sign in for free, and build a portfolio. Potential clients are usually higher-quality on this site than many others. You can be approached by potential clients and you don’t have to worry about Contently taking a cut because the companies hiring you are paying Contently.
  • ClearVoice: Similarly, ClearVoice is a content management system that other companies can use. You can build your profile, look through gigs and submit pitches on this platform. It’s a solid place to do a little work and find a reasonable caliber of client.
  • Freelancer: The jobs on this website can be higher-quality than what you see on sites like Content Runner and Writer Access, but they will take a cut and you could end up making less than you’d like.
  • TextBroker: You have to take a writing test for them to determine what level you write at and which jobs you’re eligible for. The pay is rarely more than mediocre, even for the best jobs, but it’s one way to see ongoing projects and just some basic work.

High barrier to entry, better pay

The harder it is to get a job, the better it’s likely to pay. At least, some of the best gigs come from sources that aren’t readily available to everyone. Here are a few places where you might to jump through extra hoops, but it might be worth it to do so.

  • LinkedIn ProFinder: You can make high-end connections using LinkedIn. With this resource, you do need to pay a monthly fee of almost $50 in order to stay a part of it, but it can put you higher in searches and if you tailor your approach, it can help you connect with better clients.
  • FlexJobs: You can choose to pay by the month, quarter or year. For some, using FlexJobs makes sense on an annual basis because it gives them constant access to jobs, and is more cost-efficient. You can increase your chances of getting the better gigs by taking skills tests and creating a fleshed-out profile.
  • The Writer Finder: You have to go through an application process with this website, including providing links to clips. However, you can choose your pay preference, including a section that allows you to ask for $400+ per 1,000-word article. It at least sets expectations. After that, they do the work of matching you with potential projects.

A word about freelance marketplaces

You might have noticed that a few places are missing. Think:

  • Fiverr
  • Guru
  • UpWork

These are freelance marketplaces that encourage you to undercut yourself and make it a race to the bottom. While it’s possible to make money on these platforms, they can take a lot of energy without making a lot of money. There are a number of other resources that might be more profitable in the long run.

While this list isn’t comprehensive, it should give you a solid starting point for finding paid freelance work as you build a network and work on getting better clients for better pay.

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