Find Online Writing Jobs in Unexpected Places: Try Craigslist, Fiverr and Thumbtack

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Ever considered looking on Craiglist or Fiverr for freelance writing gigs?

These sites probably aren’t top of mind for most writers; we tend to think of them as offering low-paying opportunities, or worse, scams.

But check out writer Kristen Lawrence’s story: she used Craigslist and Fiverr to make $2,000 a month on freelance writing gigs, she wrote on The Penny Hoarder.

Shocking, right? On top of those earnings, Lawrence’s experience writing for clients she found on these platforms led to bigger and better jobs. So while writing an article for $5 isn’t sustainable in the long run, the relationship you make with that client could kick-start your freelancing career.

Here’s what Lawrence had to say about finding online writing jobs via these two websites.

How to find freelance writing jobs on Fiverr

Fiverr works best for new writers who are looking to build a professional portfolio. These projects offer little pay, but if all the writing you’ve done is for your own blog, you’ll need to expand your list of clients before you can land bigger fish.

“It might seem like drudgery to work so hard for such little pay, but you don’t have to stay on Fiverr forever,” Lawrence writes. “I had an account for a couple of months until I started getting more lucrative offers, and then I closed it. I have only been freelance writing since October 2014, so I’m thrilled to have better-paying opportunities coming my way so quickly.”

Getting jobs on Fiverr is pretty straight forward. As long as your profile is complete and you sell your skills well, you should start seeing requests within a few days.

What about Craigslist? You’ll find writing jobs there, too

Through Craigslist, Lawrence found an editing job in Berlin that paid $15 per hour and a freelance writing job based in the States that paid $1,200 per month. One of the benefits of this platform, she says, is that you can look outside your own city for writing opportunities.

“Look at the writing jobs in major cities, such as Los Angeles, New York City, Boston, Houston, Philadelphia, Miami, London and Berlin, to name a handful,” she writes. “I check the ‘writing/editing’ section under the ‘jobs’ area of major U.S. cities first, then make my way into Canada, and finally Europe and Australia.”

Another place to find writing gigs: Thumbtack

While the Lawrence didn’t mention Thumbtack, it’s another platform you should know about if you’re trying to break into the freelance writing scene and find clients. Full disclosure: I work for Thumbtack HQ in San Francisco, so yes, I’m biased. But on top of working for their marketing team, I actually use Thumbtack as a professional writer and editor to make money on the side and have gotten a few well-paying jobs there.

If you’re not familiar, Thumbtack introduces customers to local service providers, from massage therapists to house cleaners to photographers. As a professional, you’ll pay a small fee per introduction, compete against up to four other professionals for the job, and should expect to get hired about one out of 10 times you send a quote.

Getting a job is pretty straightforward: Write a well-written message that includes your qualifications, personalized to the customer’s project. Have a completed profile with as many reviews as you can get. Have a good profile photo. Follow up. You know the drill.

Since setting up my profile on Thumbtack, I’ve made $1,000 from clients who have hired me. And here’s the best part: I never would have found these types of jobs otherwise. I tend to do mostly blogging work, but through Thumbtack I was hired to edit a self-published urban suspense novel, write flowery product descriptions for a luxury watch brand and craft professional bios for executives at an electrical subcontracting firm. I wouldn’t even know where else to look for this type of work, yet through Thumbtack, the work found me.

If you sign up for Thumbtack, you’ll find yourself weeding through quite a few folks looking for writers to contribute content for $25 a post, and don’t waste your money quoting on those jobs. But if you can learn to read between the lines — tip: focus on customers who provide a ton of information as opposed to simply filling out the forms — you will land some quality projects.

For more details on how to use Craiglist and Fiverr to land online writing jobs, read the full post on The Penny Hoarder.

Have you landed freelance writing work in unexpected places? How did you did you do it?

Marian Schembari is a writer, blogger and community manager based in San Francisco.

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Marian Schembari is a writer, storyteller and brainstorm partner based in Germany, who left her heart in San Francisco, New Zealand, London and New York. Part of her heart belongs to the internet, too. Marian believes in the internet’s power to invite a real, deep look into our... .

Marian Schembari | @MarianSchembari

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  1. Really interesting article! I’ve personally never found myself able to compete with the writers at Fiverr (1,000 words for $5!), but never thought of it this way! To treat these small jobs as a link to connect with other potential clients – now that’s definitely worth a try!

    • I totally know what you mean. I felt sort of sleazy taking on projects for rates this low, but at the same time, if you’re starting a freelance business from scratch and have no work in your portfolio, you need to start somewhere! What I really like about these services is that it’s often businesses using them, and businesses are likely to have more work (and often pay more).

  2. I’ve heard it said that you can’t use content mill pieces on your portfolio. I’m not sure why people say that. In any event, I use a few on mine and doing so has helped me get other jobs.

  3. Andrea Leigh Ptak says:

    No. No. No. Undervaluing writer helps no one but the people who publish your work at poverty rates. Volunteer for a non-profit to get experience and clips. PLEASE, stop encouraging third-world rates for first-world writing!

    • Andrea,

      I’m still on the fence. It seems like most of the columnists here are against taking low-paying freelance jobs, and while I haven’t tried it yet, I still see them as a potential way to practice freelancing. A person definitely couldn’t make a career out of it, but I might poke around on fiverr just to see what’s out there.

    • I agree — volunteering is a great way to develop experience and build clips. (Though as a former nonprofit program manager, I’d recommend writers build some experience before pitching their services.)

      While we don’t generally encourage relying fully on the bidding sites, we thought Kristen’s strategy of using them to find clients she could then work with again (outside the sites and for higher rates) and to pitch international jobs (to take advantage of exchange rates) was innovative. Quite a few writers have shared their experiences of landing lucrative projects on bidding sites in the comments of this post, as well. To each their own, I suppose!

      TWL Assistant Editor

    • Andrea, I totally 100% agree. Undervaluing writers does no one any favors. HOWEVER, what if you have no portfolio? What if you’re starting from scratch? What if you’ve never done a certain type of work before? For example, I want to get into editing books, which is more lucrative for me than writing articles (even the well-paying ones). But what author is going to pay a newbie thousands of dollars to edit her baby? Which is why I charged $250 and snagged a client who was self-publishing and her options were to hire no one or hire someone inexperienced (but eager) for cheap.

      So I agree with you in theory, but practically we all have to start somewhere. I’m not saying I’ll take this type of work forever, but as I move into freelance full-time and expand my client base and portfolio, I’m okay with working for less.

  4. Harris,
    Yep, the same problem. I don’t see the point of working for ridiculous pay like that. But other freelancers do. It’s actually quite difficult to get a satisfying job at these sites.

  5. Therese says:


    Thank you for sharing your views. I totally agree with you. I started from nowhere without any portfolio. I was lucky enough to get my first job on recipe work with the first application, and now have grown to more than $1,000/- per month. I can earn more, but restricted due to my working patterns.

    We need to start small, build a portfolio and then gain the respect of the clients. I even did some work for free, and in one instance when the client realized that it was not only the money which kept me going, work poured in. I still work for the client and the relationship has grown from January 2014.

    I firmly believe that freelancing is not only earning money, but enjoying what we do and giving a fair return to the client.

    I started in 2014, but I am happy to say that I have work until I continue to work with a very few selected good paying clients.

    Start small, have a very good attitude towards work, work hard, trust in God, identity good clients and give your best.

    You are on your way to success!


  6. Jag Romero says:

    Hi Marian,

    I’m writing an article for our blog on everything that you can get done on Fiverr for a small business. Wondering if you might like to contribute and would love to link back to your site as well.

    I’m looking only for your first hand experiences (what you have actually done), a story of how it worked, a link to the Fiverr gig that you used and liked, and how it generally worked out for you. Also it would be great to link to your site and have a photo of you if possible.

    Let me know if you would like to be part of the article. It’s for our blog

    Thank you so much!

    Kind Regards,

    Jag Romero
    (EA to Rob Rawson)

  7. Don’t waste your time writing for anything less than the reality.

    The reality is what you create. It’s not a dream, it’s what you do.

    Don’t settle for $5. Settle for $500,000.

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