Looking to make money off your extensive vocabulary? High-quality writing jobs are easy to find – but only if you know where to look.
Fortunately for today’s freelance writers, finding good quality jobs shouldn’t take much effort. If you’re a great writer, the internet can be a splendid source of writing gigs where thousands of new jobs are posted every day.
This comes at a time when businesses rely heavily on quality content to succeed. If you’re a writer, there has never been a better time to strike out on your own.
With so many avenues to find work, how should you begin and where do you look? In this guide, we discuss how to find freelance writing jobs, as well as the types of writing jobs available to those who have a way with words.
Easy ways to find freelance writing jobs
1. Ask around
If you’re looking for freelance writing jobs, it’s best to start with those close to you. Letting your family and friends know that you’re accepting writing assignments can be the easiest way to score a gig for two reasons – first, trust has already been established due to your affinity.
Second, those close to you are most familiar with your writing skills. Because this removes the formality a writer has to go through to secure a writing job, it’s a great way for beginner writers to score their first gig.
Before ditching your full-time work in favor of the freelance life, let the people closest to you know so you can entertain project offers beforehand.
A line-up of assignments should tide you over once you resign from your full-time job. If you don’t have a solid portfolio yet, this is a good way to gain experience and rack up testimonials for the great work that you do.
2. Apply to freelance writing websites
Online job boards are the best bet for today’s freelance writers. They’re arguably the easiest way to score a writing gig online and the best way to connect with high-quality clients and projects.
You’ll find thousands of writing assignments in today’s freelance marketplaces but you’ll also find tough competition.
In highly popular freelance platforms like Upwork and Guru, a strong portfolio is highly recommended. Writers with more experience and credentials to back it up will encounter fewer waiting times in trying to land their first job.
Here are the best freelance writing platforms.
Upwork is a popular choice for freelance writers, as it offers robust features for its workers. Writers can bid on both long-term and short-term projects with options on milestone-based or fixed-price payments.
Since Upwork is a popular platform, newcomers may have to submit loads of proposals before landing a gig. Once you get your first client, however, it becomes easier to convince others of your expertise.
This freelance platform is great for first-time freelancers. To join iWriter, you’ll need to complete a form and finish two short 250-word writer prompts.
Your entry to the platform depends on the results of your test. The more experience you gain, the more money you’ll be able to receive per project.
One of the best platforms to find writing jobs, Guru allows you to create a comprehensive writer’s profile to attract hundreds of businesses who use the platform for their hiring purposes. Guru allows you to set your standard rate, feature your past works while showcasing your skills and expertise.
Textbroker connects talented writers with thousands of high-quality clients, and best of all, it’s completely free. The platform also offers tools that writers can use to work more efficiently while getting feedback on the content they draft.
See Related: Best Freelance Websites to Use
3. Pitch to businesses
One of the easiest ways to score the best freelance writing jobs is to cut out the middleman and approach companies and businesses directly. This also allows you to avoid service fees that are normally associated with freelance marketplaces like Upwork.
Get in touch with bloggers, companies, entrepreneurs, and small businesses and try cold pitching. You may have to do some research to get their contact details, but once you do, you’ll need to draft the perfect pitch.
Your pitch should include information about how you found them, who you are, and how you can help them.
4. Network with freelance writers
When you’re lost, consider reaching out to people with the same experience. Connect with other freelance writers and inquire about how they source their freelance writing jobs. You can also explore online groups with writing communities.
This approach not only gives you insights about where to apply but also how much a business pays, and if they’re good clients who are actually worth your time.
5. Participate in groups and forums
Consider tapping into the many writing groups and communities available online when looking for writing jobs. Some small businesses turn to Facebook Groups to look for writing talent, so try to find a local group where you can participate.
While you’re bound to find several job postings here, opt for being more proactive. If group rules allow, post a sample of your work or a recent project you completed to attract employers and position yourself above the rest.
You can also turn to forums like Reddit to look for writing jobs. Subreddits like /r/ForHire or /r/WritingOpportunities are often studded with job postings that you can sort through. You can also advertise your postings in forums like these.
9 types of freelance writing jobs
There are a variety of ways to make a living as a freelance writer and one of the most difficult challenges for beginners is finding out what types of jobs to pursue. Here’s a rundown of the most popular writing jobs for freelance writers today.
Suggested skills to have: Writing, editing, proofreading, search engine optimization, knowledge of CMS tools like WordPress, Drupal, or Joomla.
Launching your own blog and making money from it can be very challenging, but those who work hard are generously rewarded. Building a following is only half the battle, you also need to be knowledgeable enough to know the best ways to monetize.
If you find the prospect of taking care of your own blog too overwhelming, you may want to consider writing blogs for a client. You’ll find a plethora of businesses and web owners looking for writers of various experience levels to handle their blogs.
2. Web content
Suggested skills to have: Writing, editing, proofreading, search engine optimization, knowledge of a particular niche, and online research.
With most businesses going online, web content writers are in high demand. You’ll find many companies looking for great writers to generate content for their (or a client’s) website.
Most web content writing involves integrating certain keywords into articles for SEO, while others will only require you to write about a certain product, service, or topic.
Web content is paid in a variety of ways, including per word, per project, per article, or per hour. Some companies will even consider page views when deciding a writer’s pay. If you’re just starting out with freelance writing, web content writing is a great stepping stone.
3. Newspaper reporting
Suggested skills to have: Writing, editing, proofreading, investigative skills, online research, a keen interest in news and current affairs, and a journalism background
Since most newspapers look for writers with a journalism background, this option may be the most challenging to tread for freelance writers without the required educational background.
Newspaper writing is a tough job (with mostly meager pay), but it can be one of the most exciting freelance writing careers.
Since most major publications have their eyes set on experienced journalists, those with no experience may want to start small by writing for community publications or local newspapers.
4. Magazine writing
Suggested skills to have: Writing, editing, proofreading, online research, knowledge of current events, familiarity with a certain niche, search engine optimization
While some may consider newspaper writing boring and tedious, breaking into magazine journalism offers lots of exciting perks and experiences.
Do note that pay greatly depends on the magazine you’re writing for, and you may find it difficult to get your foot in the door due to competition.
Novice writers are advised to start with smaller trade publications for a higher chance of getting in.
Suggested skills to have: Writing, editing, proofreading, publishing knowledge
Ghostwriters are essentially writers who receive money for their work but none of the credit. In this set-up, an author hires a freelance writer for a fee. The author takes complete credit for all work produced, which includes the writing produced by the ghostwriter.
While this sounds a little shady to some people, ghostwriting is a very common practice. People who want a book published but aren’t particularly good at writing would naturally depend on more professional writers to draft their content.
Ghostwriters need to build their content creation skills by mastering content frameworks and knowing how to write attractive headlines. They may also be required to have knowledge of keywords and search engine optimization.
6. Real estate writing
Suggested skills to have: Writing, editing, proofreading as well as knowledge of home design, architecture, and real estate laws
Writing about houses, interior spaces, and landscapes requires special vocabulary. If you can make a shack sound like a dream home, then you have what it takes to be a real estate writer.
Real estate writers are often tasked with writing copy for busy real estate offices that need help with copywriting.
Apart from knowing how to write and describe spaces, real estate writers also need to know about home design and architectural trends, the process of renting and home owning, tips for homeownership, real estate laws, and market trends.
7. Press Release Writing
Suggested skills to have: Writing, editing, proofreading, and a background in advertising, journalism, or public relations
Businesses count on press releases to make announcements about company news, new products, or new services. It takes real skill to draft an effective press release as press releases need to be succinct but informative.
You’ll find a myriad of press release jobs on writing job boards, but you can also try cold-calling businesses to check if they’re looking for press release writers.
Since press release writing is often considered a specialty, most businesses are looking for press release writers who already have some sort of experience.
As such, writers looking for a press release job need to make sure that they’ve assembled high-quality samples to showcase potential clients.
8. eBook writing
Suggested skills to have: Writing, editing, proofreading, online research, familiarity with a certain niche
If you’re well versed in a certain topic, you may consider writing eBooks to be one of the most lucrative writing jobs. Fortunately, there’s a rich collection of templates and eBook writing software online, so you’ll find self-publishing to be very easy.
eBook writers can write about a vast array of topics including self-help, cookbooks, health and fitness, religion and spirituality, parenting and relationships, or politics and social sciences.
If there’s a market for the knowledge you plan to impart, there’s a good chance you can make money out of writing an eBook about it.
You don’t have to write your own eBooks to make money.
Some authors are also looking for ghostwriters who can write eBooks about a variety of topics under their name.
See Related: How to Become a Freelance Editor
9. Legal writing
Suggested skills to have: Writing, editing, proofreading, knowledge of legal terms or educational background in law
If you write well and have a legal background, being a legal writer can be one of the most lucrative freelance writing jobs. Legal writers may be brief writers, legal analysts, or legal correspondents.
They may be tasked with researching and writing legal documents such as memorandums, briefs, and motions, summarizing case laws and news, or reporting and analyzing news regarding the legal industry.
There are also less technical forms of legal writers which include feature writers, web content writers, and corporate writers.
These writers may be tasked with writing legal-related articles, drafting web copy for law firms and online publications, or writing press releases, presentations, reports, or academic material.
Becoming a legal writer requires more qualifications than a regular content writer and knowledge of legal terms is often a must.
See Related: How to Become a Freelance Editor (And Have Success)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What are the disadvantages of being a freelance writer?
The freedom freelancing offers are enough reason for a lot of writers to ditch their full-time job, but freelance writing does come with several disadvantages. For starters, looking for high-quality clients can be an arduous process.
Good-paying clients are often hidden among a sea of projects that only pay with peanuts, and the competition can be tough. Also, the frequency of jobs for freelancing writers may become unreliable. Sometimes it may take days to find clients, other times, it may take weeks.
Writers who wish to switch to freelancing should also know that their earnings will fluctuate. This is mainly due to the lack of consistency in available jobs. You can rectify this by having a budget and saving up your earnings to help stretch your finances.
How much should a freelance writer charge?
The rate for freelance writing is widely varied, with a plethora of factors that could influence your total pay. The five types of freelance writing rates are per project, per hour, per word, per page, or by a retainer fee.
Businesses that are looking for ongoing work will most likely pay freelance writers per project or by retainer.
Technical, business and marketing work will most likely be priced per hour or per word. So how much should a freelance writer charge? Our Freelance Hourly Rate Calculator should help you out.
How can I put together a portfolio with no experience?
Freelance writers, who have no experience often ask this question – how do you apply to write jobs when you have no experience? There are a number of ways to go about this. You may opt to do some work for free for friends, family, a local charity, or a nonprofit.
When you’re new to writing, trying to build experience by offering free work in exchange for samples is a great way to build a portfolio (as well as a collection of references and reputable clients). When doing work for free, don’t forget to set terms and expectations or you may end up with more than you bargained for. You may also want to try pitching to publications and blogs, writing ‘spec’ work, or drafting mock pieces.
Do you need to have a college degree to be a freelance writer?
Having a college degree helps in securing freelance writing jobs, especially if you have a bachelor’s degree in journalism, English, or communications. Those with a background in marketing and accounting will also be able to promote themselves better and manage their own finances.
While formal education will set you apart from others, you only need a solid command of the English language and grammar to succeed. Students looking to become freelance writers in the future should consider writing for school publications, as this improves their writing skills and offers valuable experience and professional writing samples.
Should I quit my job and pursue freelance writing?
If you don’t have a slew of projects ready upon resigning and savings to tide you over until your first freelance writing paycheck, then you shouldn’t quit your full-time job just yet. Know that one of the things you’re sacrificing with being a freelancer is financial stability – projects come and go and so does your pay. Going into freelance full-time requires careful financial planning, so make sure that you’re fully prepared.
Can you make a considerable amount of money with freelance writing?
Yes. As a matter of fact, you could make a living out of freelance writing only and nothing else. You’ll find a myriad of testimonials from successful freelance writers online who were able to generate income that reached six figures. As long as you’re driven to improve yourself while putting in the necessary work, you’ll find it difficult not to succeed.
What are the highest-paying jobs in the freelance writing field?
The highest-paying types of writing are those that require specialized skills to write. For example, legal writing, press release writing, and composing white papers are often associated with high rates because specialized education is needed in order to draft them.