Looking for Freelance Jobs? Here’s Where to Start

Freelance jobs abound. If you're hoping to make money online, here are some ideas of where you can start.

“How do you find gigs?”

This is pretty much the first question anyone asks me when they find out I freelance. And why shouldn't this be the first question asked?

After all, if you can't nail down a job, there's no point in doing this thing. The good news? There are plenty of websites offering access to freelance gigs. (You do have to be on the alert for home business scams masquerading as home business opportunities.) If you're looking for freelance work, these are my favorite strategies for getting work.

Freelance Jobs Through Networking

One of the best ways to get freelance jobs — especially higher-paying gigs — is through networking. My network is where I've gotten the bulk of my jobs in the last seven or eight years.

First of all, the network I built through gigging has been amazing. Word of mouth means that many of my clients come to me.

However, it's also possible to network with other writers. When I have more work than I want to do, I frequently recommend another writer in my network. Additionally, many clients ask writers to make recommendations when they need multiple freelancers.

Cultivate a network of other writers as well as potential clients and professionals. Attend conferences and meetups so you can connect with others. I've been able to get a lot of solid work over the years, just through networking and keeping up connections.

Content Producers: Low Barrier to Entry

A number of websites produce content for consumption by others. These websites, like WriterAccess, ConstantContent, and Textbroker, offer you the chance to connect with content buyers.

With these sites, there's a relatively low barrier to entry. Plus, if you do a good job, you will be paid more. I did some work through ConstantContent and received acceptable pay for my efforts. At Textbroker, you take a writing test and are eligible for the highest-paying jobs only if your quality is considered top-notch. However, there are plenty of lower-paying jobs you can use to improve your skills.

Freelance Management Platforms

Another option is to sign up for freelance management platforms.

For example, I've made thousands of dollars by being on Contently. I've also had solid success using ClearVoice. These platforms allow you to create a profile and make yourself available for freelance jobs.

In some cases, you might be invited by a current client to get on a platform, and you can go from there. However, it's usually possible to sign up for these platforms on your own and look for job postings and casting calls.

Freelance Job Boards and Resources

As you look for freelance writing gigs, you can also stop by regular job boards. One of my very favorite sites is Freelance Writing Jobs, which was started by Deb Ng and bought by Splashpress Media recently. Now, Susan Gunelius (someone I respect in the world of freelance writing) handles most of the editing. The site offers job leads, and helpful tips on getting started in the world of freelance writing.

I'm also very fond of Media Bistro, a great place for information on the world of media, and jobs. You can get a free account, or pay for a premium account. The free account, though, will get you access to the job board — where you can find plenty of legit freelance jobs. These jobs are often ongoing and sometimes offer remote positions.

And, of course, no freelance writing jobs list would be complete without mentioning the Problogger job board. If you are interested in staff writing jobs on blogs, this is the place to be. You do have to be selective, though, since many of the jobs don't always pay very well.

You might also pay for access to job boards in places like the Freelance Writers Den or by joining FlexJobs. While these resources cost money to access, the reality is that the barrier to entry is higher — and that usually means higher-quality leads. Many of the gigs you find come with higher pay.

Freelance Marketplaces: Just Don't

One popular option is to head over to freelance marketplaces to bid on available jobs. I never enjoyed these very much. I did a job or two through Guru.com, but quickly tired of having to constantly try to undercut other bidders while figuring out how to compensate for the fact that these marketplaces often take a cut of what you make.

This is not my first choice for looking for freelance work. In fact, it's all about devaluing yourself. You have to lowball yourself to get anywhere. It takes a lot of time and I hates it, precious, I hates it.

Often, those who use these sites are pickier than you expect and you end up with all sorts of problems. You could waste hours just trying to get through one job — hours that could be more profitably spent.

Bottom Line

There are plenty of opportunities out there. Get started on a content site that will allow you to submit as much or as little as you can, and get a steady stream of income going. In the meantime, you can apply for gigs on job boards, or bid for jobs in freelance marketplaces. The important thing, though, is to start writing. If you can get in some good practice, while making money, you can move on to better-paying jobs.


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