Where do I find freelance writing work? Start these FREE places.
Freelance writing is a pretty broad term that encompasses a lot of different jobs. You do not have to have a background in newspapers, or online writing, or a particular industry to go into business as a freelance writer. You DO have to know how to write based on the specifics of each individual client but with some trial and error, just about any writing job can be learned (whether or not you do it fast/naturally enough to make a living at it is another story — but practice certainly helps).
The question I hear the most from friends just getting started is this: Where do I find freelance writing work?
Indeed, a big part of a freelance writer’s workload is actually finding work. When you are just getting started as a freelance writer, the amount of time you spend looking for employment may outweigh the amount of time you are actually “on the clock” on a project. If you keep at it though, that amount of time eventually gets smaller. Here are a few shortcuts I’ve drafted that answer the question “Where do I find freelance writing work” — and not one of them will cost you a penny.
Where Do I Find Freelance Writing Work?
|Craigslist is a scary good place to find writing work|
- Craigslist. Yeah, I went there. Craigslist can actually be a fantastic place to look for job postings, and to create your own freelance writing advertisement. On occasion you will stumble upon individuals who need you to help write their memoir from scratch and are offering $50 — but there are also some lucrative, legitimate opportunities on there. If you are nervous about agreeing to work for a new company you find on Craigslist, then Google the company name along with the words “work as a freelance writer for…” See what you find in the way of negative or positive reviews. Tip: Do not limit yourself to Craigslist postings from your geographic location. Look in all major markets to see what companies are looking for work from home writers. I’ve found that freelance writing jobs from companies based in California, New York and Las Vegas pay the best (you’re welcome).
- Local newspapers. With newspapers cutting back on staff, there may be some freelance opportunities where you live. Search for the name and contact information for the local editor (usually really easy to find on the newspaper’s website) and send an email with your qualifications and any links you may have to previous writing. If you do not have newspaper experience, or much writing experience at all, talk about the other qualities that would make you a good freelancer. Are you a long-time local who understands city politics? Do you have kids in school and a pulse on the parent community? Do you party all night every weekend and know all the trending hot spots? Editors are generally strapped for time so throw out some story ideas and let them know what topics you can cover best. It makes it easier for them to say “yes” to a specific story idea than to give an open-ended “sure, okay” that never amounts to anything.
- Local businesses. Did you know that 70 percent of small businesses have a website? Many local entrepreneurs know that a website is a vital component of doing business in the digital age, but they also lack the time or talent to make theirs shine. Drop off a few business cards to local companies, or send emails to the contacts you find on their websites. Offer to write product descriptions, blog posts, e-newsletters or even offline documents like press releases (very easy to write and there are many, many templates online).
- Magazines. Landing a spot in a magazine is a little bit tougher, but generally pays higher than other jobs. It might be worth it to you to spend some time and effort upfront pitching ideas to magazines. Even if only a small percentage of your ideas are accepted, you can make up the time you spent drafting your ideas and sending them off. Always read a few copies of the magazine, and browse the online edition, before submitting your ideas. Most magazines will have writer’s guidelines right on their websites. Do a Google search for “Magazine name writer’s guidelines.”
- Blogs. There are many people and businesses who make money from their blogs. The
idea is to keep these digital databases well-stocked with industry-relevant content. Sometimes these blogs are attached to retail sites and other times they stand alone as moneymakers for their owners. If you have a group of blogs you enjoy reading, look at them a little closer and see if there is a “write for us” link with information on how they hire bloggers. If you have expertise in a particular area — say weddings or banking — look for company blogs that talk about issues you understand. Send a note of inquiry. Some blogs accept guest posts but do not actually pay for the posts — so you want to watch out for that too. If you are trying to build up your credibility as a blogger, you may want to do a few freebies upfront but obviously you cannot earn a living that way for too long.
My best advice is to look at your life and figure out what you already know and can easily write about with a little supporting research. From there, decide who might be in need of your freelance writing services.
What’s your best answer to “Where do I find freelance writing work?” Where have you found freelance writing jobs?
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Tags: Freelance Friday