Are you looking to begin a career as a freelance writer? Working from home and being your own boss as a freelancer is a great way to begin living your dream life.
Better yet, writing is a talent in demand, so you’ll find a whole range of opportunities available. You have the chance to work for a variety of businesses, using your expertise as a writer to craft engaging copy and content on-demand.
But, it’s hard to know how to get started when you first start out as a freelance writer. If you’re wondering ‘how do I find a freelance writing job‘, fear not!
These tips will help you find quality freelance writing jobs. Follow this guide and you’ll be ready to get started as a freelance writer right away!
How to Get Hired as a Freelance Writer
If you’re itching to get started as a freelance writer, you might be tempted to scour the job boards right away - but it’s worth taking some time to prepare yourself first. This will make it easier when you do apply for jobs, and give you a little extra confidence, too.
Follow these steps for things you can do before and while applying for writing jobs to help you get hired.
Step 1: Have a Portfolio Ready to Share
Businesses employing freelance writers want to know that the person they hire will do a good job. That’s why it’s so important that you have a portfolio available. But, what exactly is a portfolio?
Simply put, your portfolio is a collection of your work that should demonstrate your skills and experience.
Depending on your current writing experience, you might already have writing samples to use. Organize them on a website. Make sure that each piece is easy to access. Potential employers don’t want to spend time searching, scrolling, or following a long chain of links to find your content.
If you don’t have examples from previous work, don’t worry. Writing your own blog posts is a great way to build a portfolio that demonstrates your writing skills. It’s useful to have writing on a variety of topics and in a variety of tones, so try writing on different subjects.
Don’t feel that your collection should only be blog posts, either. You could show samples of marketing emails, website ‘about’ sections, and sample press releases. This is the kind of content that is often in-demand, so it’s worth showing your ability to create it.
Many freelance writers struggle with building a strong portfolio. Why? It’s too tempting to include absolutely everything you’ve written.
But no-one is going to read it. And if it won’t convince potential employers to hire you, you’re wasting your time (and theirs).
Aim to only include pieces of writing that demonstrate your writing at its best, and it should all be relatively recent (within the last two years, ideally). You could create multiple portfolios for work on different topics to avoid confusion (especially if your writing focuses on two or three different niches).
Step 2: Prepare Your Resume
Your writer resume tells potential employers about your experience and skills, so make sure it’s up-to-date and easy-to-read. While a portfolio might be more valuable, some employers may want to review your resume first.
You may already have your own resume prepared in a certain way, and if you’re happy with it - go ahead! If not, consider the following sections for a rough guide as to what you should be including:
- Header with name and job title
- Relevant experience (listed in chronological order, with the most recent first)
- Clients (big names are always impressive to a potential client, even if you’ve only done one small job for them)
- A short summary paragraph
- Key skills, highlighting what makes you the perfect writer for the job
- If you work within a certain niche/niches, make this clear on your resume
When preparing your resume, make sure you include any relevant experience you have, no matter how big or small. You should also consider highlighting experience relevant to the specific gig (so change up your resume according to the job you’re applying for).
If you haven’t yet completed any writing gigs, try to draw on skills in any previous jobs you’ve had where you’ve created content or used your writing skills. Don’t forget that your resume is also an example of your ability to write well (so check spelling, punctuation, and grammar), as well as your ability to be concise and to-the-point.
Step 3: Keep Working on Your Writing Skills
Even if you don’t have any orders yet, keep practicing your writing skills. Waiting for that first writing job can be difficult, so use the time to create your own blog posts, content, and articles.
This will help you build a solid portfolio of work and improve your writing skills. You could also offer to guest post for free on other websites of blogs. You can gain valuable experience just by going through the process of creating content to be published online while you’re adding to your portfolio.
It’s also important that you read what you want to write about. If you have a niche, you can become a better writer by reading similar content online. Why? Because this helps you learn how others tackle your subject while helping you learn new things about your niche.
You can see how other writers craft their sentences and use their words when creating content for an online audience. This will help you develop your writing skills.
Step 4: Work with a Niche
Think about writing on a specific topic (such as health and wellness or technology). Selecting a niche may feel like you’re limiting your scope and shutting yourself off from other potential gigs. But, this is a good thing.
For instance, if you always work across a broad range of styles and subject areas, you’ll only ever get the lower-paid gigs, because you don’t have the required subject knowledge for the top-dollar gigs. But, as you solidly work on one niche, and become more experienced and knowledgable in it, you’ll be able to land higher-paying opportunities.
So, how do you choose a niche? There are a number of things to think about when selecting the topic(s) that you’re going to focus on. Use these questions to help you find your writing niche:
- Are you nearly an expert in any area? Consider the subjects that you have above-average knowledge in. No matter what your area of expertise is, there’s more than likely to be a market for it. So, do you have previous work experience, life experience, qualifications, or training that would make you an authority on the topic?
- If you can’t think of a specialist area, what are you passionate about? Are you prepared to invest time and energy to learn a lot about a subject area? What would it be?
- Are there any gaps in the market? Looking for gaps in the market is a great way to identify a writing niche - but always make sure it’s something that you want to write about!
- Do any of these areas intersect? If you can find something that you’ve got a lot of knowledge about and can identify a related gap in the market, you’re found a winner!
- Whatever niche you’re considering, are you interested enough in the topic to continually write about it, without repeating yourself or losing interest?
Still stuck? Here are a few interesting and potentially lucrative niches to consider:
- Health: You can write about health in a wide range of ways. From medical knowledge to fitness, training products, and diet, there’s a range of avenues to explore.
- Travel and Hospitality: Travel encompasses a wide range of areas, including travel blogs, as well as tourist boards, travel insurance, luggage, airlines, restaurants, and hotels.
- Technology: Technology is, by nature, a growing market, so it’s a good one. Add technology to any subject matter, and you’ll find lots of opportunities (pet tech, health tech, and sleep tech, for example).
Choosing a niche will help you become an expert in your field, and comes with the possibility of eventually becoming the go-to source for your subject area. It’s always easier to get hired when you’re a pro in one or two industries.
When you’re just starting out, you may consider writing on a variety of topics in order to find your niche, as well as to keep some cash flowing in. You can focus on your niche while still accepting other jobs. And eventually, write only on your chosen topic for higher rates.
Step 5: Market Yourself
Finally, you need to consider how you are going to market yourself as a freelance writer. Even if you aren’t an employed writer, it’s a great idea to put yourself out there and market yourself. Why? When you work for yourself, you also need to sell yourself, because no one is going to do it for you!
This is particularly important at the beginning: if you don’t market yourself well enough, you won’t get many clients. Some hard work at the beginning can really pay off. As you gain clients, you’ll get more people coming to you through referrals.
And marketing yourself will enable you to develop your own personal brand, and help yourself be viewed as an expert in your field.
Some of the key marketing tasks that you should consider making part of your schedule include:
- Sending cold emails and follow-up emails
- Regularly updating your portfolio/website
- Asking for letters of introduction
- Tapping into your network
- Being active on LinkedIn
- Being active on your preferred social media network(s)
- Connecting with fellow freelancers
- Connecting with agencies
- Attending conferences
- Doing content marketing
Avoid falling into the trap of treating marketing as an afterthought. Build your reputation as a writer. Be an active and valuable voice in your industry. Schedule marketing activities into your daily schedule and make sure you keep it up.
Where to Find Freelance Writing Jobs
Now that you know how to increase your chances of getting hired, it’s time to start looking for opportunities. These tips and resources will help you find one or more freelance writing jobs:
Freelance Job Boards
One of the best places to find writing jobs is on freelance job boards. These job boards display many freelance writing jobs you can apply for, and are regularly updated. The following job boards are some of the best for freelance writing gigs:
- Problogger: Problogger posts new job listings on a regular basis. You have the option to search for jobs by category, job type, and keywords. As clients have to pay to post their listings here, you’re unlikely to find scam posts. Problogger also provides a great set of resources and information to help you improve your freelancing career.
- Blogging Pro: Blogging Pro is similar to Problogger. You can search through a whole range of job listings by category, keywords, and location. Do note that they also list jobs specific to location, so make sure you’re only searching for ‘remote’ or ‘anywhere’ listings.
- Contenta: Contenta is a members-only job listing board for writers. You have to pay for your membership, but you can access everything you need to become a freelancer, as well as exclusive job postings.
- FlexJobs: FlexJobs lists a wide range of work-from-home job postings, including writing jobs. They screen all postings so you don’t get spam, and you can use a number of filters to narrow down your search.
Don’t forget to check job boards on a regular basis. While it can be tempting to sit and wait for a response from one job ad, it’s always best to apply for as many suitable gigs as you can find.
Cold pitching is a great way to land repeat orders. When you contact a client directly, you have a stronger chance of getting the gig, due to less competition.
So, what is cold pitching? This is simply when you reach out and contact potential clients directly. Potential clients range from startups and small companies to bloggers and entrepreneurs. You contact them via email and explain how you, as a freelance writer, could help grow their business.
This may seem a daunting task, particularly if you are new to the world of freelancing - but it doesn’t have to be! All it takes is some research, creating a pitch, and sending it off. Here’s how to do it.
- Step 1: Research and locate businesses you could pitch. Perhaps you have found a new startup company that doesn’t have a blog attached to their website, or a company that has an outdated website that you feel needs updated copy.
- Step 2: Now you know who you’re potentially writing for, you can draft your pitch for them. It doesn’t need to be overly long. But it should always include: how you found out about them, some key details about who you are, and what you can offer to help them. Always focus on how it could benefit their business
- Step 3: Send your pitch off with a professional email. The next step is waiting for responses. Don’t be put off if it takes a while, and don’t put all your eggs in one basket either. Try to locate multiple sources, and send off a batch of emails. Just be sure to write a tailored pitch for each!
Always make sure you outline a specific need that you can fill with your writing. It’s not enough to say only that you’d like to write for them. You’ll be much more successful if you can show what your skills will bring to their business, and why they need them.
Browse through Job Postings
The traditional route for finding jobs in the modern age is to use online job posting websites. And, that applies to freelance gigs as well. Freelance writing jobs are often listed on standard job websites, so don’t forget to check these frequently. For writing job ads, search regularly on:
Just because these sites are not dedicated to freelancing gigs doesn’t mean that they are not a valuable resource. You’ll find hundreds of jobs listed under ‘freelance writer’ on Indeed from digital marketing agencies, media companies, and startups.
Don’t forget that jobs posted on these boards are usually location-based, so change the cities and areas you search in and look for remote listings. With Indeed, you can leave the location search tool blank, which will show remote-based jobs from companies all over the country.
It’s also worth remembering that as a freelance writer based at home, you can choose to work for employers all over the globe. Don’t feel that you have to stick to your home location, as you may have the chance to develop an overseas client base.
If you’re based in the US, it’s easiest to look at other English-speaking countries for international customers. The UK, Australia, and New Zealand would be good places to start. But, it is also quite common for companies based in Europe and beyond to need content in the English language - so it is certainly worth reaching out to potential clients based in countries where English isn’t the first language, particularly if they fit well within your niche.
Find Jobs on Social Media
In today’s world, social media is a valuable tool for far more than chatting with friends and posting pictures. There are plenty of professional opportunities to be found in Facebook groups and pages, as well as Twitter accounts. This is a good idea if you often forget to check job boards, as you’ll see them posted in your social feed.
- Find jobs in Facebook groups: search for freelancer group and job listing groups. Often these are closed groups that you can request to join, and access regular posts from others detailing new job postings.
- Follow the right Twitter accounts: Twitter accounts that post writing jobs include @Write_Jobs, @WhoPaysWriters, and @JJobs_tweets. Give them a follow to see all the latest freelance writing jobs available.
- Use Twitter for job searches: You can use Twitter’s advanced search engine to find jobs. Search for phrases such as ‘writer wanted’, and display the results by ‘latest’ rather than ‘top’. This will show you the most recent tweets including the phrase ‘writer wanted’. You may have to do some scrolling to get to something that’s relevant to you, but it’s a great way to find potential gigs you might never have come across otherwise.
- Check LinkedIn job ads: LinkedIn is great for professional networking, and there’s a whole section of job ads. Search for home-based writing gigs. Remember that these ads cost money for a company to post, so they’re serious about finding someone.
- Use LinkedIn tools to find clients: LinkedIn can be used in other ways to find jobs. For example, use the ‘who viewed my profile’ tool to see who has been on your LinkedIn page. If you see that your profile has been viewed by a member of a company that could be a good fit for your niches and skills, send them a message! By visiting your profile, they’ve already demonstrated an interest in you - so now return the favor!
Using these resources will also enable you to engage with other freelancers and make valuable contacts online. Stay active on social media, and become a helpful and professional voice within the community.
Network in person
Just because your job is home-based, it doesn’t mean that face-to-face interactions are not valuable to your career path. Simply put, the more people you get to know, the more jobs you can find.
For this reason, you should talk to everyone you know about what you do. You never know who could put you in touch with your next client, so don’t underestimate the value of chatting with friends, family, and neighbors about your work.
Networking in person also means attending in-person networking events. There are hundreds of in-person networking opportunities that you can attend, so get searching for something in your area! Again, Facebook and Twitter are great for finding out about them.
Don’t feel that you should only attend marketing events, either. Think about what your writing niches are, and head out to nearby events that are relevant. For example, if you write about health and fitness, attend a fitness convention or expo and hand out your business cards to the businesses with stalls there.
You can chat with potential clients in person. They’re more likely to remember you next time they need their website updating or are starting up a new marketing campaign.
Marketing events and writer’s events are great to meet potential employers and other freelancers. And any convention or trade meeting for a niche you write about is a great chance to drum up some business and get your name out there in particular industries.
Whatever networking events you choose to attend, make sure you are positive and friendly, and that you listen to other people. Show genuine interest in other professionals as well as potential clients (you might get some business or referrals)!
If you do make connections through in-person networking, always follow-up professionally and promptly. if you’ve promised you’ll send someone information, do it as soon as possible. If there’s a potential client that you briefly spoke to, send them an email to remind them of who you are and thank them for talking to you.
Becoming a freelance writer is a great way to take control of your career and do something you’re excited about. You could potentially make a fulltime income too! To get started, remember to:
- Prepare your portfolio, resume, and sharpen your writing skills.
- Choose a niche to work in, and then market yourself accordingly.
- Search for jobs on freelance job boards, job postings, and social media, as well as cold pitching.
- Network in person and keep building your brand and knowledge.
All it takes to start your freelance writing career is a little organization and determination. And you’ll soon be on your way to your very first gig.
What are you currently doing to find writing jobs?
What’s working for you (and where do you need help)? Let us know. We’d love to support you in your budding freelance career!