Congratulations on making your mind to take the leap into freelance writing!
You’re roaring to go and can’t wait to show off your amazing writing skills. There’s just one obstacle: finding your first paying client. You have no clue where to find writing jobs online. You were sold with the idea of a fancy and flexible lifestyle that freelance writing warrants.
Don’t worry, I’ve been there. Five years ago, I graduated from college and scored my first freelance writing gig at a content mill (iWriter). That was a big mistake (among many others), but we’ll talk about them later in the article.
Right now, let’s start with looking at a few ways to find writing jobs online for beginners (who have no experience).
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Confused How To Find Online Writing Jobs As A Beginner? Start With The List Below…
Before we begin looking at a few ways to find jobs, let me tell you a little something:
There’s no prize for working your ass off and getting paid $5 for an article. Other writers might be getting paid $100 for the same kind of work, so you may as well get paid MORE.
Anyway, when you’re starting out, here are four ways you can score jobs.
1. Apply Through Job Board Postings
The most straightforward way to start making some quick income is by applying for jobs. After I was done with burning the midnight oil for low-paying gigs at iWriter, I was regularly hanging out at the Problogger job board. At the time of writing the article, here are a few jobs posted on it.
As you can see, there are jobs in a number of niches including local marketing, digital marketing, SaaS, superheroes, and even vaping. Here are the top pros and cons of applying through job boards.
Pros Of Job Boards:
1. The job ads are posted by companies that understand content marketing – It means there are chances that companies are willing to pay writers for high-quality content.
2. You can quickly validate your writing skills and niche by pitching your services – If more companies start showing interest in your services, then it means you’re on the right path. Else, you might need to rethink your niche and positioning.
3. Occasionally, job postings even specify the kind of rates they are willing to pay so you can estimate your monthly income. For example, the job posting by Authority Hacker below clearly states that they are willing to pay 7c to 15c per word. And that it’s a long-term goal.
Earlier, the same job post stated that they want the writer to deliver at least one high-quality blog post per week. Which means you can expect to write four articles a month.
If you browse the blog of the company, you’ll find that they often post long-form content that crosses 2000 words. Hence, at 7 cents per word (their lowest offered rate), one article can get you 140$. If you write four articles every month for them, it comes out to $560 per month. Not too shabby, eh?
My freelance writing career took flight with my first decently paying ghostwriting client only through Problogger (think upwards of $3000 per month retainer).
However, I had already had about five awesome articles in my portfolio then and I had not gotten decent responses for Problogger job ads for about six months. Which brings me to our next section.
Cons Of Job Boards:
1. The decently paying jobs on job boards would still require and hire experienced writers – It’s a catch-22, I know. But ideally, you’ll need a few published articles to make job boards work well for you.
2. You’re still competing against an ample number of job applicants – While you’re not bidding for jobs (think Elance and Upwork)
Joshua, the Head of Content at Ahrefs conducted a test for hiring freelance writing to see where he receives most applications. He found that the Problogger job post landed 22 applications.
3. Most job postings fall under few commercial niches – Think industries like make money online, blogging, SaaS, digital marketing and finance.
Note that you’ll mostly find blog post job ads, at about 5 cents/word or less here (with the occasional 10 cents a word or higher gigs). Most companies and entrepreneurs that post jobs here don’t have huge marketing budgets. So you can make $50 to $100 per article, which is still not too bad for beginners.
2. Pitch Other Job Boards
We’ve exclusively talked about Problogger until now, but here are some other job boards that you can also check for freelance jobs.
2. Be a Freelance Blogger $50+ Job Board – The jobs posted by Sophie and his team here are mostly aggregated from other boards, but they are manually vetted. Hence, you’ll see only see decently-paying jobs.
4. Freelance Writers Den
You can also subscribe to the morning coffee newsletter.
7. Remote Jobs
8. LinkedIn Jobs
9. Snag Opportunities On Craigslist And Reddit
In his second year of freelancing, Danny Margulies had already made six figures as a writer on Upwork. Indeed, he swears by the freelance marketplace to generate $100,000+ per year.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>The only tools I need to make $100,000+ per year freelancing: <br><br>1) Laptop <br><br>2) <a href=”https://twitter.com/Upwork?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@Upwork</a> <br><br>3) Google Drive<br><br>4) Simple <a href=”https://twitter.com/Wix?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@Wix</a> website (could probably get by without but adds perceived credibility)<br><br>5) Sticky notes <br><br>Let’s not over-complicate this.</p>— Danny Margulies (@OmahaCopywriter) <a href=”https://twitter.com/OmahaCopywriter/status/1112166354281512963?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>March 31, 2019</a></blockquote>
<script async src=”https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>
4. Cold Pitch Businesses In Your Niche
Jorden at Creative Revolt is obsessed with cold pitching. She built a business touching $5,000 per month in four months. She was able to achieve the feat by finding prospects through Limeleads (a high-quality B2B leads database that you can filter by industry) and cold emailing them.
In his cold pitching experiment, Nigerian writer Bamidele Onabulasi was able to land a $625 writing gig in a couple of hours. No wonder that cold pitching is the quickest way to land high-paying clients initially. Here’s the email pitch he used.
How To Find Businesses You Can Cold Pitch
There are an ample number of ways you could find prospective businesses. Here are the top five ways.
1. Read startup updates at Techcrunch
2. Reverse engineer other freelancer’s clients
3. Check out the sponsors at industry conferences
4. Check out PRWeb and pitch your services
Before we move to the next way of finding a freelance job, let’s look at:
3 Tips To Make Cold Emails Work For You…
As you might have noticed, Bamidele had built social proof and an impressive writing portfolio (he was already published at Forbes and Huffington Post!)
Which is why, as a beginner, without any writing samples, you will likely not have such a staggering success with cold pitching. However, when I reached out to Jawed Khan for help on cold pitching, he aptly said, “cold pitching is a numbers game.”
Even our star cold pitcher, Bamidele, sent 104 pitches in 5 days.
That said, let’s break down the 3 essentials of cold pitching.
1. Stay consistent – If you’re unable to send 20 cold emails a day (like the beast Bamidele), then send 5. Can’t do 5 every day? Then stick with 3 emails a day. The numbers will soon add up, but don’t burn yourself out before you find success.
2. Pitch the marketing manager (or the CEO if it’s a big company)
3. Personalize your pitch – Outreach emails have a disturbingly low response rate (below 10% as per a study of 12 million emails). So you’d better research and invest time in crafting your pitch. Here’s one personalized cold pitch that I sent.
The effort of researching the recipient and respecting their time clearly stood out for the recipient.
Here’s Abass sharing his advice on cold pitching.
“From my perspective, landing jobs with cold email are much like pitching editors. Write to Their Interests – In both the subject line & the body of the email, make sure you’re talking about what you could do for them. Who you are is secondary. Do Your Homework – Emailing the appropriate executive, with customizations that show you did a bit of research on the company or them, specifically go a long way to separate you from the pack of potential candidates for the job you want. Have a specific Call-To-Action – In the case of emailing to get a job, what you really want is an interview, so ask for it, and share a calendar scheduling link to make it easy for them.”
Note that such personalized pitches can start taking 15 minutes or even more per email. So you need to strike a balance between numbers and personalization.
Final Thoughts On Finding Freelance Writing Jobs!
It’s better to walk off low-paying gigs to create space for better-paying gigs. Personally, I worked for a content mill only for a month and rejected dozens of low-paying clients. So, you should know your worth and keep at it until you get the best!