How to Find Great Freelance Writing Jobs

When you’re a new freelancer, finding freelance writing jobs may seem like an overwhelming task. And I understand how finding a gig—any gig—can feel a bit like luck. Where do you even start looking? And when you find someone looking for a writer, how do you know the job is any good?

freelance writing jobs

The good news and the bad news about online freelance writing jobs

OK, here it is. The good news is, when you Google “freelance writing jobs” you’ll find a lot of postings. The bad news is, when you you’ll also find a lot of low-paying postings and straight up bad gigs. Learning to tell the difference is an important part about finding success as a freelance writer. Finding gigs that pay what you need is another important part.

How to discern a good freelance writing job from a bad one

The first thing to keep in mind is “good” and “bad” gigs are subjective. You need to know ahead of time what kind of job you’re looking for and what type of client will suit your needs. If you’re new to the freelance world you may not know this yet and will learn through trial and error. That’s OK! But take a few minutes to think about the types of freelance writing jobs you’d like to have. Writing blog posts and articles? Media releases? Business profiles? Journalism? Think it through and write it down.

After you know what type of writing you want to do take a few minutes to figure out who your ideal client is. Are you looking for someone who is hands off? Someone to collaborate with? Do you want to be able to meet in person? And do you want one-off clients or ones you have an ongoing relationship with? There are no wrong answers here, just what’s right for you. Knowing what types of clients you’d like will help you avoid overwhelm as you comb through the vast array of freelance writing jobs out there. It will also keep you from applying for gigs that aren’t a good fit for you.

One more tip: keep a close eye on how the job postings are written. If you see phrases like “looking for hungry writers,” or a value attributed to the quantity of articles they’re looking for rather than quality of writing, these should trigger warning bells in your head. These gigs are often low paying (pennies per word, if that) and demanding. Even if you don’t have much experience yet, you can do better.

How to figure out what you need to earn as a freelance writer

Even though many writers aren’t numbers people, it’s important to learn how to budget so you know how much income you need in order to reach your goals. Do a bit of number crunching and determine what you need per month to get by. Also figure out how much time you have to dedicate to your freelancing. From here you’ll have a good idea of how many clients you can take on and how much you need from each one.

If you’re wondering how to set your prices, check out my free 15-minute course on how to price your work. Setting your prices takes a bit of effort but it will help you stay away from jobs that don’t pay enough.

When you look at online postings you may feel like you have to lower your prices or standards in order to get work. Don’t give up! There are great freelance writing jobs out there but sometimes you have to know where to look.

Where I look for great freelance writing jobs

I encourage writers to think outside of the box when looking for work. Even when you need to get clients fast you shouldn’t lower your standards. The main ways I find work are from referrals, networking with other writers and Twitter (really!). There’s always someone looking for a writer but people have to know you’re a writer in order for them to think of you and reach out.

Job boards are a great starting point for freelancers who don’t have established networks. The good gigs are scooped up quick so if this is your go-to then you will need to check often and apply a lot. It’s a numbers game so don’t become discouraged if you don’t hear back from many or most of the places you pitch.

Here are a few suggestions for job boards I’ve found good.

One more tip: I’ve learned it’s important to keep looking for freelance work even if you have a full client load. Developing strategies to keep the marketing machine going during busy times ensures you won’t have so many dry spells. And the better your clients are, the less you’ll need in order to reach your financial goals.

When you are a new freelancer, finding freelance writing jobs may seem like an overwhelming task. And I get how finding a gig can feel a bit like luck.

Hiring a Writer? 10 Things You Should Know

If it’s your first time hiring a writer or even if you’ve done it before but find it a bit awkward, you’ll love this post.

These 10 tips for hiring a writer were written by Cynthia White who is a freelance writer based on Vancouver Island. I love this topic because I spend time talking to writers and Cynthia had the idea to speak to people thinking about hiring a writer. Love it.

10 Things You Should Know About Hiring a Writer

I’m a freelance writer, just like my friend, Robyn. I asked her if I could write an article on hiring a writer for her blog because she blogs only about writing-related topics, and I blog about anything that strikes my fancy.

When a new client wants to hire me, there are several things that I run into repeatedly, things that the client doesn’t necessarily understand. I thought it would be useful to tell a little bit about what it means to hire a writer and give some insight into the writing process.

So, here are 10 things you should know about hiring a writer:

10 tips for hiring a writer

  1. Most writers don’t work on a per hour basis. We usually price writing work by the word or by the project. We may have an idea what our hourly rate is, but we usually don’t say

    Why do we price our work by the word? I don’t know, but that’s the standard. We never want to be told to “write faster” because we’re being paid a certain amount per hour. So, we just tell you what the job is worth to us, and whether it takes us one hour or 21 hours, that’s our problem.

    If you have an established long-term relationship with a writer, very often writers just work for a monthly retainer. The writer agrees to give you a certain amount of work at previously agreed-upon intervals for a fixed monthly price.

    You want to know what the going rate is for a writer? Here are two articles about that.

  2. Professional writers aren’t cheap. You can definitely find someone on Upwork or elsewhere who will write for $0.01/word. But you won’t find an experienced professional writer to work for that rate. Even $0.10/word is cheap by our standards, but sometimes we’ll do that work if it’s pleasant, and we’re able to do it fast.

    With writing, you get what you pay for. The odds are against you getting a great job done for less than $0.10/word. For less than $0.10/word, you’ll be hiring someone who either doesn’t have English as a mother tongue, or who doesn’t have a degree in English or journalism, or who doesn’t have any experience.

    We’re going to do a better job of writing your articles or your blog, than you will. You may know your company better than we do, but we know how to write effectively. If we’re writing your blog, we know how the articles should look, how many links to include, how to optimize the work for search engine optimization, and how to make the work look polished.

    One advantage for you of hiring a professional and experienced writer is that some writers have a large and established social media following. Your writer may be happy to promote his or her articles about your business through their own personal social media platforms—especially if the writer’s name is on the article.

  3. It’s OK to ask for revisions. Writers can’t read minds. We may have a good idea what you want, but we can’t give you exactly what you want without some feedback. It’s OK to ask for revisions, and we expect that. The more feedback we get, the closer we will get to giving you the ideal product, just like with machine learning.

    Of course, there’s an old saying in freelance writing that if the client isn’t happy with the third draft, then there’s either something wrong with the client or something wrong with the writer. Three drafts should be plenty. If you’re asking for six, seven, or eight drafts, then the client doesn’t know what he or she wants. I let go of clients like that. I’ve been doing this for years, and I can afford to be choosy about who I want to work with.

  4. It’s OK to ask for photos to accompany articles. Most writers will charge extra for this, especially if they are original photos that we have taken ourselves with our own cameras. It’s extra work for us, and many clients prefer to furnish the artwork themselves, but it’s OK to ask. And if we’re being paid a reasonable rate, we won’t mind looking up a few royalty-free photos for you.
  5. Press releases cost more than regular writing. Press releases are not priced on a per word basis, but as a flat rate. (And the flat rate does not include the price of distribution, which is separate.) Why? Because writing them is a special skill that some of us have spent years acquiring. Press releases have a special format, a special language, and even writing the titles and subtitles is not for amateurs.

    A press release is not the job where you should pinch pennies. Why? Because when someone skilled writes a press release, it will get more “pick-up” or traffic, which is what you want. If you hire an inexperienced writer to write a press release, there may be a delay in the release going out because the company used to distribute the press release may have to rewrite it. Not good. Experienced freelance writers not only know how to write a great press release, but we know all about the pros and cons of including images or videos, and when is the best time to get them out. Most of us also have a relationship with a company that does the distribution. Personally, I use Ereleases if it’s for a press release originating in the US.

  6. It’s a good idea to pay us promptly. I wish I had a nickel for every client that I’ve ever had who was ultra-available when he or she needed me to finish a job and ultra-unavailable when it came time to pay. Cash flow is everything, and it’s not fair to make us chase you around for payment. The time spent reminding you to pay us is time that we could be working on other projects for clients who pay promptly. If you’re a new client, don’t be surprised if we ask to be paid up front or after each little job, just to make sure that we don’t do an enormous amount of work and never get paid for it. Yes, it happens.

    I’m, in fact, running into a problem with a new client right now. The client wants a certain number of blog articles each month. But the client only wants to pay for the published articles. That means I submit X number of articles each month, but they can sit on them as long as they want, and I won’t get paid until they’re published. That’s not right, and that’s not how it works. The writer should be paid upon submission. If the client takes a month to ask for revisions, that’s fine, but the writer should be paid. Otherwise, the writer is always being paid for a subset of what they’ve written for the client. I don’t think I’ll be writing long for these folks unless they change that policy.

  7. Need another freelancer? Ask us. Most of us have a well-established network of freelancers. We know other writers, editors, design people, and software people. If you need to hire someone else, ask us.
  8. We’re going to charge more for ghostwriting. Writers like to have their names on things. This gives the writer credibility, and if there’s a blurb about the writer and a link, this can help drive traffic to the writer’s website. If we’re writing for a client, and we’re not going to get to put our name on anything, for example on your business blog, then we’ll charge you more because we lose those added benefits.
  9. If you need something fast, be prepared to pay extra. Most freelance writers have several clients and schedule of work to be done. Sometimes a schedule may be in place for several weeks or months in advance. So, we can do your work, but we can’t necessarily do it tonight. If you need it instantly, be prepared to pay extra to move to the front of the line.
  10. We have other skills. Ask us. Often clients who hire writers don’t realize that many of us can do more than one type of job. The person who writes for your blog may also be an expert on social media. Your blog writer might also be an expert editor who could proofread your website or edit the text of other freelance writers. Some writers are happy to do ebooks, press releases, or copywriting (like sales copy). Some writers do some design work like for business cards or logos. Some writers have extensive business and marketing experience. So, if you have a writer that you like, and you have other jobs that need doing, ask your writer first.

The idea for this article came to me recently because I started with a new client who seemed very reluctant to ask for revisions. The client was afraid I’d be insulted because he wanted a few more statistics in his blog articles. I wasn’t insulted. I told him, “writers expect to be asked for revisions. It’s OK.”

I hope this is helpful for someone hiring a writer for the first time.

If it's your first time hiring a writer or even if you've done it before but find it a bit awkward, you'll love this post.

Other posts semi-related to hiring a writer

Creative Places to Find Clients

There are a lot of places to find clients but the well-known places are competitive. Since I like avoiding hustle whenever possible (unless, you know, I need clients YESTERDAY) I like looking in less-obvious places for freelance work. Part of me wants to keep these creative places a secret so I’ll be the only one who knows about them but a bigger part of me wants to help other freelancers find work so here we go. Maybe there’s a new idea or two in here for you today.

creative places to find clients

Creative places to find clients

Places to find clients idea #1: From your day job

While this is an awesome place to find clients you do need to pay attention to your company’s privacy policy and it’s better if you keep your boss in the loop with any outside-of-work relationships you have with work affiliates. Assuming everything is above board and your freelance work happens outside of your day job, doing some side gig stuff with people you interact with every day makes a lot of sense. On a professional level they know, like, and trust you as you do them. And you already know you can work well together. You just need to keep the boundaries in tact so you don’t overstep in either direction.

Places to find clients idea #2: From your family and friends

I’ve mentioned this before (the best way to let people know you’re available for freelance work is by telling them you’re available for freelance work) but it’s one of those sort of awkward things so I want to mention it again. What you don’t want is to bug your friends and family and have them throw pity work at you. You also don’t want them to assume since they’re your friends and family you’ll work for a massive discount (or for free). So how do you create an environment where your friends and family know you’re available for freelance work and are happy to pay you for it? Now, that is the finesse of it. Everyone will find her own balance so the takeaway here is to put yourself out there and let people know you’re available.

Places to find clients idea #3: From places you’re a client

This is another time where you’ll need to tread with care and be sensitive to appropriate timing but there’s nothing wrong with mentioning you’re a freelancer while engaging in small talk and allowing the conversation to go where it may. I’ve had many experiences where I’m asked to leave my card behind or picked up the odd client from a place where I’m a client. I love it! Of course you’re not becoming a client in order to find clients…that’s not a hustle I’d recommend, but if it happens organically…awesome!

Places to find clients idea #4: From guest blogging

Guest blogging, guest writing (whatever), is an interesting beast. If you look around the Internet for long enough you’ll see a wide variety of opinions and teachings on why you should do guest blogging, why you shouldn’t do guest blogging, why you should never write for free, why you should write for free sometimes, etc. etc. etc. I’m not here to talk about any of that. I think you should figure out what is going to move the needle forward and then do it with abandon. Anyway, got a little off topic there. If you get into guest blogging and are choosing good partners, this could turn into a writer-client relationship. Honest! I’ve seen it happen! So keep building into your relationships!

Places to find clients idea #5: From partnerships

This idea launches from the last one—build relationships with others and form mutually-beneficial relationships. This could be an agency, a freelancer with complimentary skills, or a local business. The big idea is you share clients. No you don’t get 100 per cent of the pay but you also don’t have to do 100 per cent of the work and in some cases this is an awesome arrangement.

Places to find clients idea #6: From local events/workshops

Something I’ve noticed about freelancers is they’re out in the community a lot. Working freelance has them attending events, observing meetings, and talking to a lot of different people. So what about throwing a little extra networking in while you’re already out? Do what you’re there to do but also mention you’re a freelance writer and if it makes sense, mention you’re available for hire or pass out a business card or two.

This last point is extra exciting to me these days because I’m in the midst of building a workshop for freelancers, which developed from a pre-existing relationship, turned into a partnership and is now a collaboration. Wow. When we began building these relationships this workshop was not even a dream. And yet, here we are.

There are a lot of places to find clients but the well-known places are competitive. Since I like avoiding hustle whenever possible (unless, you know, I need clients YESTERDAY) I like looking in less-obvious places for freelance work. Part of me wants to keep these creative places a secret so I'll be the only one who knows about them but a bigger part of me wants to help other freelancers find work so here we go. Maybe there's a new idea or two in here for you today.

I hope I’ve given you a few new ideas to try here. Remember, marketing is a long game and it’s something you sprinkle into every day—while you’re busy doing other things. If you want some more tips and tricks you’ll enjoy my article on learning how to rock your marketing even when you don’t have time for marketing.

Networking Tips for Introverted Writers

Are you an introvert? Are you a writer? Do you know you need social skills in order to grow your business? Me too. Here are some of my favourite networking tips for introverted writers.

networking tips for introverted writers

In November 2017, Jon Acuff stirred the introvert pot when he Tweeted “Is an introvert really an introvert if they won’t stop telling you they’re an introvert?” It was a weird thing to say but I guess he was trying to be funny about it. If you’re an introvert you understand this is a basic misunderstanding of what an introvert is.

Part of the problem is there’s a dictionary definition for introverts saying they’re shy. But it’s not that.

Introverts have these basic tendencies.

  • They enjoy alone time
  • They think best when they’re alone
  • They wait to be asked for their opinion
  • They start shutting down after too much time out
  • They are often called “too intense”
  • They find small talk cumbersome
  • Being in front of a crowd is less daunting than mingling with those people afterwards
  • They feel like phoneys when they network

The last three points are the ones I’m interested in today. How on earth do you network in a way that’s true to you when you hate small talk, making small talk with acquaintances is your worst nightmare, and you feel like a huge fake when you drag yourself out and do networking events?

Here are a few strategies I’ve implemented for not just surviving networking events but coming out of them with new relationships, clients, and boosted business skills.

Networking tips for introverted writers

Set mini goals

Networking events are overwhelming but I’ve learned to manage my stress and anxiety by setting mini goals to help me feel like I had a successful outing. Here are a few I’ve used in the past.

  • Introduce myself to one new person
  • Collect three business cards
  • Explain what I do to one person using my elevator pitch

I love mini goals because the MOMENT I achieve it all the pressure is off and I can go back to being a wallflower. Because I did what I came there to do.

Be a helper

I love learning and I love attending conferences. However, the networking and being around people part is tricky. Here’s how I turn things around: I volunteer. It gives me a purpose. When I have a purpose then speaking to people I don’t know is EASY. In fact, it’s fun.

Prepare ahead of time

Sometimes there are people-intensive things you just have to do. The best way I’ve learned to succeed in these times is to be over prepared. I research my location, the people I’ll be meeting with, the places I can retreat if I need some space. By being prepared I don’t have to worry about what to expect…I already know.

Bring a friend

This sometimes feels like a cop out but if you have an extroverted friend who loves networking events…why not ask him/her to be your plus one? You can’t use this as an excuse to stick to your friend all night but you can allow them to take the lead and help you network at your event. I’ve found this useful, especially when I’m attending media events.

Work out your anecdotes ahead of time

OK, this may feel silly and don’t go so far as writing them out on index cards unless you have to. But what if you prepared in advance for small talk? Think of opening lines, a few projects you’re working on, and some questions you can ask people you meet. When you have it worked out ahead of time you won’t stress when you’re in the moment, panicking because you know you need to say something but you have no idea what would be appropriate.

Plan an exit strategy

This can be a strategy to get out of a conversation or a strategy to get out of the event altogether. Think through what you’ll say or do so you don’t come off as rude or abrupt. “Powdering your nose” is one of those strategies, by the way, although I’ve never been brave enough to use it.

Remember, no one cares about you

Yeah, maybe that’s not very nice but it’s true! Everyone else at your networking event is just as wrapped up in him/herself as you are. Let this truth SET YOU FREE and relax.

Many introverts are drawn to writing as it's (in it's purest form) an isolated career path. Along the path of my freelance writing journey I've learned a few strategies for networking and doing the people stuff even when it's not a natural skill for me. Maybe one of these will work for you.

Many introverts are drawn to writing as it’s—in it’s purest form—an isolated career path. Also introverts find self-expression easier with a pen than their vocal chords.

However, when you’re a freelance writer there’s all this…people stuff. So much people stuff. And it’s important if you want to do anything with your career like grow it. Or get clients. Along the path of my freelance writing journey these are some of the strategies I’ve created for networking and doing the people stuff even when it’s not a natural skill for me. Maybe one of these will work for you.

Do you have any networking tips for introverted writers? I know this can’t be the only ideas out there and I’m always looking for new ways to get better at this skill.

Get More Clients Fast With These 7 Ideas

What do you do when you need clients NOW? How do you get more clients fast? These are the ultimate questions and when you’re in this position, you don’t have time to try things that “might” work. You need it to work. Now. Get more clients fast with these seven ideas. I can’t guarantee they’ll work, but they’ve worked for me so at least it’s a starting point.

get more clients fast

Let’s dive right in: ideas to get more clients fast

  1. Reach out to your long-lost clients
  2. This tip only works if you’ve had clients before, but assuming you have this is an excellent place to start. If you haven’t worked with a client for a couple months you can classify them as “cold” and they qualify for this tactic. Go through your cold clients and send them an email asking how their project/magazine/website/etc. is going and if there’s anything you can help them with.

    If you had positive experiences with clients in the past and they didn’t call you back for more, it may not be because they don’t like you or don’t have work. Sometimes they’re too busy to reach out…sometimes they don’t think of you…sometimes they have a project but haven’t got to letting you know about it yet.

    Do it!!!

  3. Ask for referrals
  4. Do it! Yeah it’s awkward, get over it and ask your current clients if they have any colleagues who could use your services. Tell them you’re looking to add a few more clients to your roster. Either they’ll tell you they don’t know anyone, they’ll give you a couple leads, or they’ll give you more work themselves. THIS WORKS!

  5. Tell your network you’re open for business
  6. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the best way to let people know you’re available is by saying you’re available. Mine your friends and family list for referrals. Remember, you NEED clients NOW. You’re in a spot. Lay it out in an interesting, polite way so it’s easy for them to think of you when they hear about someone looking for a writer.

  7. Run an ad
  8. I have a friend who does this and swears by it. Whenever she’s looking for a couple more clients she runs a Facebook ad for a week or two to a super-duper targeted audience and gets her money back tenfold. You have to know what you’re doing, and target the right audience, but this can and does work.

  9. Apply to job board postings
  10. Yes there are horror stories from job boards. Yes I would say you don’t get the strongest clients from job boards. However, you’re in a situation where you need clients now and job boards are filled with businesses looking for people just like you. You’ll have to look hard and put out a lot of inquiries but you’ll find clients.

    Here are a few suggestions for job boards I’ve found good.

  11. Do a Twitter search
  12. This is going to blow your mind.

    Using a Twitter search you’ll find real-time tweets from businesses looking for writers. Here are a few searches you can try.

    • #writerwanted
    • #ghostwriter
    • #hiring #writer

    I’ve connected with quite a few awesome clients through Twitter so I’m a fan of this one to say the least!

  13. Write guest posts
  14. I should qualify this with write paid guest posts. Writing free ones is a good long-term strategy but doesn’t work when you need clients now. Different goals.

    There are lots of websites and blogs that pay for content although there’s no set rate. But if you need cashflow…this is one way to get ‘er done. You’ll have to do the pitching so get ready to hustle.

So? Did you get some great new ideas to get clients fast?

These are emergency strategies for when you’re in panic mode and need clients quick. Even people with the best referral programs and ongoing marketing strategies run into this from time-to-time (but…not as much).

>What do you do when you need clients NOW? How do you get more clients fast? These are the ultimate questions and when you're in this position, you don't have time to try things that "might" work. You need it to work. Now. Get more clients fast with these seven ideas. I can't guarantee they'll work, but they've worked for me so at least it's a starting point.

While these are all effective I’ll encourage you not to rely on them strategies as your entire freelance approach—you will burn out! Too much hustle is unsustainable. Plus you’ll be hustling so much you may not find time to do the work!

Oh, and here’s something fun I’ve been working on. What kind of blogger are you…the ULTIMATE question! (This is just for fun.)