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 freelance writing 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?
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 whatever else, you’ll find a steady stream of employers looking for blog writers versed in these and many other subjects.
While most of the postings are (you guessed it again!) for those whose focus is journalism, 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.
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.
One of the top job boards for telecommuting, FlexJobs enables you to create a custom job search profile to meet your specific needs. Select your categories (there are several under “Writing”), your preferred work schedule, your experience level and more to hone your search results down to those that best fit what you’re looking for. You can also set alerts so you’re notified when new jobs matching your search criteria are posted.
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.
Created by Darren Rowse of ProBlogger, an authority site on blogging, you know jobs listed here will 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.
With exclusive job opportunities as well as posts pulled from sites like Indeed and Craigslist, this board consolidates a variety of gigs for everyone from newbie to seasoned freelancers. If you don’t want to see jobs from a certain source (Craigslist, for instance, can sometimes be sketchy), you’re free to narrow your displayed results to exclude them.
Freelance blogger Sophie Lizard’s community forum features this board where writers and clients can share scoops on job opportunities. Each opportunity must pay at least $50 post or 10 cents a word.
Lizard has also 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.
10. LinkedIn Jobs
If you’ve already got a LinkedIn profile (and you really should), don’t let it just 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 writing 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?
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. (Some writers have been able to make a decent buck on sites like Upwork, but they are often the exception rather than the rule and have usually invested huge amounts of time to make it happen.)
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.
Looking to get even more serious about your freelance writing. The Write Life published two e-books to help you find more paid writing gigs. Check out our shop to buy 71 Ways to Make Money as a Freelance Writer and Get Better Clients and Earn More Money.
This post originally ran in September 2013. We updated it in February 2017.
Kelly Gurnett is a freelance blogger, writer and editor; you can follow her on Twitter @CordeliaCallsIt.
Looking for freelance writing jobs? Check out The Write Life’s Job Board. Good luck!