If you’re a freelance writer, the task of finding quality, well-paying gigs can be a daunting one. Where do you even start? How you can guarantee the jobs you’re looking at are legit instead of scams?
Let’s get the bad news out of the way first: the Internet is chock full of people who are willing to pay pennies on the dollar for hours of your highly skilled time. (Keep reading for some words of warning about these people.)
The good news is that we’re here to help you weed out the dreck and find the sites that are actually worth your time and effort. (Click to tweet this list.) Whether you’re a copywriter, editor, creative writer or anything in between, these sites offer the well-paying, reputable jobs you really want.
Better yet? While some sites charge a monthly fee to access their job listings, all of the resources below are free.
So where can you find freelance gigs?
BloggingPro Job Board: Also listing a healthy dose of copywriting jobs (you can search postings by category), this board is, as the name suggests, right up a blogger’s alley. Whether you’re into health and fitness, pets, writing code or what have you, you’ll find a steady stream of employers looking for blog writers versed in these and many other subjects.
Freelance Writing Gigs: While anything on Craigslist should be taken with a grain of salt, this site does increase your chances of finding a decent gig by consolidating writing job posts from Craigslist boards all across the country, allowing you to locate telecommuting gigs you might never see if you were only browsing your local board. That said, Craigslist is still Craigslist. This site tries to exclude any posts that look like scams, but the onus is still on you to vet each listing carefully.
Journalism Jobs: While most of the postings are (you guessed it again!) for those interested in journalism jobs, you don’t necessarily have to have Lois Lane dreams to find a gig here. There are also editing positions, ad copywriting and other jobs thrown into the mix. Some are location-based, some can be done remotely.
LinkedIn Jobs: If you’ve already got a LinkedIn profile (and you really should), don’t just let it sit there. Networking goes a long way in the freelance world, and LinkedIn is a great resource to do some networking through common connections.
While you’re doing that networking, check out the Jobs section and sign up for email alerts when jobs are posted that match your interests. Many will be location-based, but who’s to say you can’t approach these employers with a proposal for freelance services? Maybe they need someone to fill the gap in the hiring interim, or maybe the job could just as easily be done remotely but they hadn’t considered that.
Pro tip: You know that “people who’ve recently viewed your profile” notification you see when you sign into LinkedIn? If you don’t recognize some of the names, why not reach out to them and say “I see you’ve looked at my profile. I’d love to explore if there are any ways we can help each other.” Can’t hurt to try, right?
MediaBistro: Check out the freelance section of the site for a wide range of jobs from industries like TV, PR/marketing, magazine and book publishing and social media–a little something for everyone.
Morning Coffee Newsletter: This weekly e-newsletter provides a nice compendium of freelance writing and editing jobs of all shapes and sizes from around the Web with competitive pay rates. Save yourself the time of scouring numerous sites and let this newsletter bring the decent jobs right to your inbox.
ProBlogger Job Board: From Darren Rowse of ProBlogger, an authority site on blogging, you know jobs listed here are going to be from serious employers who have an idea what good writing is really worth. Plus, given ProBlogger’s high profile in the blogosphere, you can often find jobs posted by some big-time blogs here.
The Ultimate List of Better-Paid Blogging Gigs: Freelance blogger Sophie Lizard has compiled a free ebook listing 45 blogs that pay $50 or more per post, broken down into sections like Writing Blogs, Food Blogs, etc. She also includes some good tips on how to approach these blogs, how to promote yourself once you’ve landed a post, and more.
50 Markets That Pay Freelance Writers 10 Cents Per Word: Okay, so this ebook isn’t free, but it’s only $4.99, and if you land even one 500-word project, it will have paid for itself several times over. This book offers a compilation of contact information and guidelines for 50 magazines, newspapers, websites and ezines that accept freelance pieces, so whatever your specialty, you’re bound to find something that appeals to you.
Sites to avoid
Especially if you’re just starting out, it’s tempting to be lured into content mills like Demand Studios or free-for-alls like Guru, oDesk and Elance, where it looks like you might stand a better chance to land something even if you don’t have the biggest portfolio yet.
While it may seem like these sites are your best best when you’re a newcomer, they’re largely a crapshoot when it comes to winning a project. These sites are a rush for the lowest bid, and you’re competing against hundreds if not thousands of other desperate freelancers prepared to sell their firstborn for the chance to write someone’s 250-page ebook.
Even if you’re brand-spanking new to the game, no one deserves a gig that pays one cent per word. And chances are if someone is looking for the sort of writer willing to write a word a cent, they’re not going to be the best client to work for. Don’t sell yourself short just because you’re new. Have a little patience, keep persevering, and you will find those clients who truly value you.