Struggling to find freelance writing jobs?
We know exactly how that feels. As a freelance writer, low-quality gigs are easy to find. You can head to Craigslist and find companies paying pennies and demanding high-quality content.
But the best freelance writing gigs require a little imagination, networking, and long-term work to score.
The good news? It’s not impossible to have a steady stream of work.
In this guide, we’ll share 16 places for you to find freelance writing jobs as a beginner, intermediate, and advanced freelance writer. That includes:
- Content mills
- Cold pitching
- Guest posting
- Joining a directory
- Becoming an apprentice
- Warm pitching
- Job boards
- Find opportunities through other freelancers
- Pitching tools you use
- Social media
- Job listings
- Leaning on existing clients
- Optimizing your website for leads
- Start a podcast
Where to find freelance writing jobs for beginners
As a new freelance writer, finding part-time or full-time freelance writing jobs online can feel like an uphill battle. You might think everyone has more experience than you, or that you’ll never make it without the right network.
The good news is that neither of these statements are true. While there are more ways to find writing opportunities the further you progress, there are still great ways to score your first few freelance writing jobs.
1. Content mills
One of the first places that freelance writers can find writing jobs is through content mills. These sites are often marketplaces or platforms that pair up a writer with a content writing job.
If you’re just getting started with freelance writing, content mills and marketplaces like Upwork and Fiverr can seem tempting. After all, you don’t have any past clients to refer work your way, and a limited network to find leads through.
In fact, freelance writer Alex Boswell says:
I scored my very first [freelance writing] client on Fiverr where I charged him between $120-$160 a piece (between 1500-2000 words) and he has been a repeat customer.
I think the secret to Fiverr is having a thoroughly awesome pitch as well as a a specific angle. (Mine was being an active academic meaning I have top notch research skills/tools/resources.)
There’s a catch though. You won’t make big money this way, and you won’t find those star clients you really want. You’re also often ghostwriting, where there’s no byline and you can’t use the work for your portfolio.
There’s a low fee associated with content mills, but they can offer a high volume of work. This is one of the reasons they’re a popular choice for new freelance writers looking to earn a steady income.
You could land your first freelance writing job with a content mill for $20 an article, but it’s a place you’ll want to move on from pretty quickly. There are better ways to find freelance writing jobs out there.
2. Cold pitching
Some freelance writers look to cold pitching as a way to attract new clients to their business. This is where you get in touch with someone that’s never heard of you before, to pitch them your services.
Some freelancers send cold pitches by email, phone, or through social media platforms like LinkedIn. Cold pitches are often a quick “hello”, followed by a pitch designed to get the potential client on a call to discuss how their writing services can tie into the brand’s marketing strategy.
Cold pitching can work for certain writers and specific clients, but it’s not something we recommend. After all, most of us don’t like our first interaction with someone to be a sales pitch.
Instead of cold pitching to clients, try warm pitching instead. This is where you pitch to people who already know you. It’s better suited to intermediate writers, so we’ll cover that in more detail in the section below.
3. Guest post
A great way to find freelance writing jobs is to show, not tell. The ideal way to do that is to have a portfolio of previous work, but as a new writer that’s tough.
The next best thing? Write guest posts for the kind of businesses you’d love to work with some day.
Writing articles as a guest blogger has so many benefits to you as a writer and a freelancer. You get the opportunity to refine your communication and relationship management skills with the commissioning editor. You can work on your writing skills, and learn to follow a style guide and brief.
You’ll also start to get a feel for which niches, topics, and types of web content writing you enjoy the most. You could discover a real talent for making complex technical language feel easy, or uncover a love for writing about retail trends.
One of the major benefits of guest blogging is the opportunity to build a portfolio. After your first guest post you’ll have one sample for your portfolio, and every future post is another that you can use to demonstrate your skill, talent, and personality.
Plus, as freelance writer Laura Bosco explains:
“Folks who hire my clients (I do a lot of B2B) or who are in their networks see my byline and want to chat.”
“The prospects are pretty far along in the decision process. They want a writer. They know they like what I do. And they’re interested in working together. Which means, if they’re a good fit, I have to do very little proposal-ing or pitching on my end to start the relationship.
Being able to show that you’re an amazing writer can help you get hired for paid freelance writing jobs in the future. Guest posting for a business can turn into a long-term contract with them, or you can use these writing samples with your own byline to impress another company.
4. Join freelance writer directories
Sometimes finding the right freelance writing jobs is all about being visible in the right locations. Give yourself more chances to be found by potential clients by joining freelance writer directories.
Look for a freelance writer directory that matches your skillset, ambition, and location.
Here at Peak Freelance, we have our own freelance writer directory for members. It features high quality, vetted writers from our community and gives clients an easy place to find great writers for their project.
5. Become an apprentice for a successful freelance writer
Being a freelance writer can feel like a lonely path in the early days – especially if you’re not part of a community like Peak Freelance. It doesn’t have to be, though. For a creative and effective way to find freelance writing jobs, consider becoming an apprentice.
Freelance SaaS and eCommerce writer Kaleigh Moore has talked about the benefits of being an apprentice. It’s how she started her writing career, and now she’s a highly sought-after expert in her field:
“It was also helpful because it gave me an inside look at a pro writer’s writing process (as in: I saw what she included in a writing brief, reviewed her direction/tone notes, etc.) and got to be part of her editing process, where I learned through her example how to improve a piece and make it stronger.
We had regular calls so she could make sure I understood the assignments she sent me, so she could offer some general guidance, and to answer my questions.
It was sort of like having training wheels: I got to dip my toes into the world of freelance writing without having to close my eyes, plug my nose, and cannonball all the way in.”
By becoming an apprentice for another well-known, established writer, you get more opportunities to learn, refine your skills, and become an even better writer.
You can also pick up related skills like proofreading, editing, research, and communication.
Plus, you’ll benefit from mentorship, and the increased confidence in your value as a writer. When you’re ready, you can then take these skills and head out there to pitch for intermediate freelance writing jobs.
How to find intermediate freelance writing gigs
With a few successful freelance writing jobs under your belt, it’s easier than before to find work. You can ask your network, pitch to people who already know you, and respond to postings on job boards with impressive samples.
Here are seven more ways to find freelance writing and copywriting jobs as an intermediate writer.
6. Warm pitching
Earlier, we talked about why cold pitching isn’t a great way to get freelance writing jobs. That doesn’t mean all pitching is bad though–you just have to do it in the right way. And that way is warm pitching.
Warm pitching is where you introduce yourself and your services to someone that’s already aware of you. They don’t have to be a close connection, but you’ve interacted a few times. Maybe you follow them on Twitter and engage with their content, or you’ve replied to their email newsletter and had a conversation about something.
The difference between cold pitching and warm pitching is that you’re not an unknown. Instead of being an unfamiliar face, the person you’re pitching knows you. They’ll have you down as someone that’s friendly, engaging, and interesting.
Plus, they’ve probably checked out your social media profile or website. The first time they’re seeing your name doesn’t happen inside their inbox.
When you’re warm pitching, you aren’t starting at zero. You’ve already established some kind of connection. This makes it more likely that your potential client will trust you and consider hopping on a call with you to discuss working together, or send a test project your way. And that first project could become a long-term freelance writing job.
7. Job boards
Clients don’t want to spend forever searching for the perfect writer. To simplify things, they’ll often post an ad on a job board and wait for the applications to come to them.
With job boards you can browse open listings and read job ads from clients actively seeking freelance writers. You won’t need to sell them on the idea of why your skills are so useful – they already know they need them. This means you can focus on demonstrating your skills, sharing your samples, and impressing them with your personality.
The listings you find on job boards can be a little hit and miss. Sometimes you’ll find extremely low paying gigs with less than ideal conditions, but there are some great opportunities to be found. Check back regularly and apply to any postings that spark your interest.
Often the best freelance writing jobs don’t make it to an online listing.
Instead, people choose to offer job opportunities for writing work to people within their network. In a busy world where people want to find a good writer fast, networking is a powerful skill to learn.
Networking can get a bad reputation. It isn’t all about schmoozing people so that you can make or find a sale in the future, but more about building relationships with the people around you.
Everyone has a network, even if it’s small. Your friends, family members, and people you’ve worked with in previous jobs are all part of your network. Let them know you’re available for freelance writing jobs, actively engage in conversations and moments, and look for ways to help them out too.
Want to become a relationship-building expert? All Peak Freelance members get access to our networking masterclass with Marijana Kay. She shares how freelance writers can build a network the non-sleazy way.
9. Find opportunities through other freelancers
Networking isn’t just about getting your name in front of potential clients, either.
You also want to network with other freelancers–especially freelance writers. Other writers can be a valuable source of freelance writing jobs, because great writers will often find themselves with more work than they can take on.
Freelancers working in different but complementary services are also a useful source of referrals. Web designers, developers, journalists, and anyone involved in the marketing and communications side of a business is likely to need a good freelance writer in their network.
When they’re working on a client project that needs high quality content or copy, they’ll look to you.
Actively look to expand your network. This’ll give you more opportunities to create connections with the right people–whether they’re fellow freelancers or potential clients. Once you’re connected, stay engaged.
Talk to people on social media, support their wins, and let them know you’re around if they need your expertise.
10. Pitch to the products, tools, or software you use
Sometimes the best freelance writing jobs are the ones where you know the product or subject inside out. You can effortlessly write about the product, because you’re a long-time fan. This makes pitching products and tools that you already use a great way to find writing gigs.
This approach works especially well for software writers. Use CoSchedule to manage your marketing? Pitch them a guest post idea, or ask if they’re hiring freelance writers. You already know the product inside out, so you can suggest a potential article or write an in-depth guide for them.
You don’t need to be a SaaS copywriter or technical writer to take advantage of this, though.
If you’re a keen photographer, pitch your favorite camera brand or accessory company.
Food writers can contact their most-loved kitchen appliance brands.
Beauty writers can pitch the skincare brand they’ve loved since their teens.
Having a natural affinity for and experience with a brand’s product or offer gives you bonus points when pitching for freelance writing jobs. You can genuinely recommend the brand, offer insider tips, and give the piece more depth as you have experience of being a consumer.
11. Social media
Social media platforms like Twitter aren’t just great places to network with other freelancers. They’re a useful source of freelance writing jobs too.
Commissioning editors and content leads will often take to Twitter or LinkedIn to let their network know they’re open to pitches or seeking a writer. When they do, reply, make a connection, and find out more about their needs.
With so much content posted every day on social media, finding these opportunities can be challenging. To make it easier, follow prominent writers and experts in your niche.
If you’re in the B2B SaaS world, for example, follow people like:
If you see someone post an opportunity once, follow them so you’ll see the next one in your feed. Look at who other freelance writers follow and see if you’d be interested in hearing from them, too.
Don’t forget to make use of the search function, too. Twitter and LinkedIn both make it easy to search for content using keywords like “looking for a writer”, “writer wanted”, or “open to pitches”. Scan the results for relevant opportunities, then make a friendly introduction. It could lead to your next freelance writing job.
12. Job listings
While you’re not looking for an in-house job if you’re freelancing, keeping an eye on relevant job postings can give you an insight into which companies might need your support.
Companies that are investing heavily in their content marketing efforts or are launching a new project are likely to have high content needs. While they’ll build some of that capacity in house, it always helps to have freelance content writers on hand to pick up writing projects if the team gets too busy. That’s where you can step in.
Run a job search on a platform like LinkedIn. Next, research the company in more depth, and use LinkedIn to find relevant contacts in their marketing department. Connect with and build relationships with these people. Once you have, you can make a warm pitch to them to ask if they need any support from freelancers.
Even if you don’t score a freelance writing job from your new connections directly, as people that work in the content writing space they’re usually pretty great people to have in your network.
Where to find high-paying freelance writing jobs
As an experienced writer you’re successfully working with clients on projects that interest you, but it’s time to take it one step further. You’re now on the lookout for those dream clients, high-paying freelance writing gigs, and a freelance writing career that you love.
All the work you’ve done so far on crafting high quality content and building your network has paid off. You can now tap into your network for referrals, upsell existing clients, and make your leads come to you. Here’s how to make it happen.
You’ve worked on some freelance writing jobs already, and impressed clients with the results you’ve achieved for them. Now it’s time to start converting those existing client relationships into potential referrals.
Referrals from clients who know and love your work are really effective. They’ve had a great experience with you, and pass that trust and enthusiasm on to the person they’re referring to you. Think of a referral as a warm lead that’s excited to meet you.
Clients sending referrals your way is great news for you as a writer. Not only does it mean more work and the chance to work on higher paying projects, but it’s a testament to your quality of work. Not every referral will convert, but the fact you’re receiving them shows you’re well on your way to finding more high-paying freelance writing gigs.
Not sure how to make the ask? Inside the Peak Freelance membership, we’ve shared an email template to help you ask for referrals from your clients. You can use this tried-and-tested template to open up the conversation, and create a way for clients to easily refer potential work your way.
14. Existing clients
Sometimes your ticket to high-paying freelance writing jobs is right in front of you. If you’re already working with great clients, find opportunities to convert those jobs into more valuable contracts.
One way to do this is to ask to upgrade your contract. If you’re writing one blog post a month for a brand, suggest upgrading to two or four instead. Make the suggestion alongside a reason why it’ll help them – for example they’ll be able to achieve their goals faster, or you have an idea for a series that could translate to more leads.
You could also switch up your arrangement entirely and suggest a retainer. This is where you’re contracted to your client for a set number of hours or deliverables per month. Retainers give your clients more freedom over how they allocate their budget and your time, and they give you the guarantee of a set income per month. And if this works well, you can always increase your retainer.
Another way to earn more money from existing clients is to offer additional writing services. If you currently write blog content for a client, why not suggest a whitepaper that they could use as a lead magnet. You score an additional freelance writing job from them, and they get a valuable piece of content.
Wanting higher paid writing gigs can also be a sign that it’s time to raise your rates. After all, you only have a set number of hours every week. It’s how I went from earning $2,000 per month to $10,000+ per month without working more hours.
The goal might not be to get more clients, but to maximise your earnings from the clients you do have.
Raising your rates for new clients is as easy as adjusting the pricing on your website or price list. For existing clients, it can feel like an awkward conversation. Inside the Peak Freelance membership, we’ve shared a template that you can use to navigate the conversation successfully.
15. Get leads through your website
Once you’ve gained a reputation as an expert writer, the leads end up coming to you. You no longer need to trawl job boards or send pitches to brands.
Instead, your hard work, reputation, and portfolio bring clients your way.
These potential leads will usually make their way to your website. Often they’ve Googled your name, so take time to optimize your website for SEO. Other times they’ll find you through the engaging author bio you’ve included in your existing articles and guest posts.
Your freelance writer website doesn’t need to be flashy (a simple WordPress site will do), but it should give your lead plenty of great reasons to approach you.
Here’s a great example from Ana Chevalier:
Create or commission a simple website that features an insight into who you are, the type of freelance writing jobs you enjoy, and a stellar portfolio. Some writers reference their rates on their website, while others keep this private–the choice is yours.
Make sure your website features an easy way for leads to contact you, and a compelling call to action to encourage them to do just that.
After all, more leads equals more high-paying freelance writing jobs.
16. Start a podcast
Sure, starting a podcast might feel like another marketing activity you don’t have time for. After all, it can take lots of time to get a podcast off the ground (and actually make it worth your time.)
However, freelance writer Nelson Jordan did this and landed writing clients as a result:
“The Working From Home podcast has been a great source of clients for me. Although not why I started it, I’ve written guest blogs for some of the companies I’ve interviewed, had several referrals and one of the companies hired me directly after appearing on the show.”
This tactic is a great way to find freelance writing jobs once you’ve already got a steady stream of high-paying work. You can use those clients as income, and spend extra time you free-up starting a podcast.
Find the support you need to start (and scale) your freelance writing business
Follow the steps above and you’ll be able to find freelance writing jobs that match your experience more easily.
You already have the skill; now you know where to look for the right opportunities.
Once you’ve found the opportunities you’ll need to impress your clients, manage relationships, and figure out how to run your freelance writing business effectively.
Join the Peak Freelance community for access to our expert tips, advice, and support to help you grow your freelance writing business.
You’ll get access to effective email templates that we’ve used to deal with clients and secure work, plus interviews with content industry experts and companies that actively hire writers. There’s an active community of freelance writers looking to reach their goals, too.
Ready to get started?