There are a great many people who may have all the requisite skills to become good or even great freelance writers, but they simply don’t know how to go about getting started. Or, they may not know how to advance to a level where income from writing can become regular enough to pay the bills.
As an online business owner, I have personally worked with more than 30 writers to help them earn steady income in the field of freelance writing. Some of the very same methods I use to find work for writers are those listed below.
Freelance writing has tremendous appeal these days because of what it offers: having the freedom to work from home, setting one’s own work schedule, and being free from direct supervision.
There will always be the built-in requirement of having to satisfy a client, but that is basically a by-product of having the skills to write like a professional in the first place.
If you do have those skills, and you also have the desire to be your own boss, finding freelance writing jobs can be the decisive factor which sets you free, and keeps you on the path to self-employment and self-satisfaction.
Here are my top 5 recommendations for getting yourself established into the business.
#1 – Establish your own website
Building your own website doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg these days, especially since many hosting companies are willing to provide their services on a monthly basis, which helps to keep costs down.
It also needn’t be anything elaborate, rivaling the sophisticated content of big corporations and organizations.
For your reference, here are dozens of best personal websites I have ever seen.
I am not suggesting that you need to build a complicated website for your freelance writing career. Instead – all you really need to have on your personal website is some background information about yourself, a way that you can be contacted for possible hiring, and some samples of your best work.
It’s only natural that a client would want to see what you’re capable of before hiring you for a job, so most of them will want to see evidence of what you’ve done before. Having a URL to point them to can be extremely handy and beneficial, so they can visit and evaluate some of your work.
It may even save you from having to write on-the-spot samples on a trial basis, so it’s well worth the investment. If you happen not to have the resources to do this right away, keep it in mind for when you have better cash flow, because it will always be a great resource that recommends you.
#2 – Include freelancing talents on your social media accounts
It’s a good idea to make sure that your freelancing talents are identified on any of the social media where you have accounts, and where you’re active.
The social media present a great way for clients to find you, and there are lots of hiring companies who do just that, when more immediate talent searches are not especially fruitful.
This needn’t be a passive activity either – you can do the searching from your end, simply by using the right set of search keywords in Twitter or LinkedIn for instance.
Something like ‘freelancer needed’ should do the trick, and get you some results to track down. You can also setup alerts on some social media sites so that you can be notified when another account-holder is looking for someone with your skills.
#3 – Check for postings on Freelance job websites
There are literally tons of freelance job websites, and while it’s true that many of them are looking to find great talent at the cheapest price available, you can certainly also find some that pay reasonably well, and have appreciation for the writer’s talent.
Some of these will require that you pass a writing or grammar test, so they can be sure you actually have the skills to represent their site positively, but once you pass any preliminary hurdles you can usually bid on jobs, or simply accept the ones which you are knowledgeable about.
Most of these sites simply act as the middle man, connecting clients who need freelancers with the skilled writers who can do that kind of work. In return for the service of connecting the two parties, some percentage of the price for each job is retained by the host site, while the freelancer is rewarded with the larger share. PeoplePerHour, FlexJobs, and Guru are good examples of these kinds of host sites, and if you qualify, they can become very steady sources of writing work.
Here are five other smaller sites which are definitely worth checking out:
- Problogger Jobs Board
- Blogging Pro Jobs Board
- Krop Job Board
#4 – Get listed on freelance directories
You’d be surprised at just how many freelance directories there are online, and these are consulted by companies looking for talent as often as the freelance job websites. Just by typing in ‘freelance writer directory’ on a search screen, you’ll find that there are plenty of opportunities waiting for you to get yourself noticed, and possibly contacted.
Here are some of the websites where you can find these directories:
#5 – Be an active networker and consider partnering
One of the most useful things you can do for yourself to boost your exposure to hiring managers is to network whenever possible with other professionals. They don’t even have to be writers necessarily, because other professionals come into contact with people who need writers.
A design specialist for example, might at least occasionally bump into people looking to hire someone for writing work, and if your business card is in his pocket, you might be contacted.
It’s also not a bad idea to form loose ‘partnerships’ with such professionals, wherein you notify them of design jobs that you hear about, and they notify you about writing work. The more people that you network with and partner with, the greater your chances are of being contacted by someone in need of your talents.
The trick of course, is to put yourself in situations and at events where these kind of professionals will be in attendance. How do you find them?
Scan your local business pages for one thing, and keep an eye out for any nearby gatherings of professionals which do not specifically exclude you. You can expand your reach in this area by going online and finding forums where the same kinds of gatherings occur regularly. Once you make yourself known at some of these, it becomes more likely that someone will at least want to give you an opportunity.
The Last Word
There has probably never been a better time to be a freelance writer, because so many Internet sites are always in need of high-quality content, and because businesses around the world require persuasive and appealing write-ups about themselves.
Once you get started with these 5 tips, you will undoubtedly find many other ways of finding freelance writing jobs, and some of these may lead to work that is both regular and high-paying. The more committed you are to finding these ways, the greater will be your reward.
About the author: Jerry Low