How do you get freelance writing jobs in 2020?
Getting freelance writing jobs can seem difficult — especially if you are a beginner.
It shouldn’t be.
I know how it feels to be a beginner freelance writer with no experience, no clients, and no platform. And I know how challenging it can be to get freelance writing work at that stage.
Rest assured, getting jobs as a beginner (or experienced!) freelance writer isn’t as complicated as many would like you to believe.
Getting Freelance Writing Jobs Shouldn’t Be Complicated
Getting work as a freelance writer shouldn’t be complicated. I’ve been a freelance writer for almost a decade now, and within this period I’ve done the following:
- I’ve worked with dozens of clients across a variety of industries. I’ve worked as a freelance writer with clients in the real estate industry, I’ve worked with clients in the health and weight loss industry, and I’ve worked with clients in the education niche as well as other niches.
- I’ve had several five figure months and six figure years. This is despite starting freelance writing as a teenager in a developing nation without the best of backgrounds (you can read about me here!).
- More importantly, I’ve pretended to be a beginner freelance writer (using an alias and without relying on my platform and existing connections) and succeeded in getting lots of freelance writing jobs TWICE just to show that anybody can make a living working as a freelance writer. This is well-documented on this blog — and in both instances I was earning four figures in two months. I believe I’m the only freelance writing “guru” who has done this in the industry. You can learn more by checking out the Earn Your First $1,000 as a Freelance Writer challenge.
How Profitable Can Freelance Writing Work Be? Here’s How Much You Can Earn
Of course, one of the first questions you’d ask when looking for work of any kind is the pay. It shouldn’t be any different for freelance writing.
The profitability of freelance writing jobs depends on so many factors. This includes:
- Experience (entry level vs more experienced) — jobs for experienced freelance writers will always pay more (sometimes significantly more!) than entry level freelance writing jobs.
- Location and use of the English language — there is always a preference for native-English speakers and pay is generally higher for freelance writers located in native-English speaking countries like America, Britain, etc.
- Niche and level of specialty required — technical, specialized niches generally pay more (sometimes MUCH more) than general niches. Example of these niches include health, law, etc.
- The type of freelance writing service you’re offering — certain freelance writing job types pay more than others. You’ll generally earn a lot more as a copywriter than as a blogger, for example.
That said, freelance writing can be quite profitable.
Research by Contena shows that you can earn at least $24,000 annually doing entry level freelance writing jobs. That boils down to about $2,000 monthly for an entry level freelance writer. More experienced freelance writers, particularly in specialized niches can earn even more: up to $145,500 annually (or about $12,000 monthly). This depends on several factors (such as the ones listed earlier) and whether the freelance writer is working part time or full time.
The chart below (also courtesy of Contena) gives an idea of how much you can expect to earn as a freelance writer in some specialized niches:
Of course, it will take a level of expertise and experience to get to a stage where you are commanding $50 per hour and up to 95 cents per word, but there is an abundance of good quality freelance writing jobs out there that pay really well. So you can forget about the content mills and the writing jobs that pay a pittance.
Types of Writing Jobs You Can Do
The following are the most common types of freelance writing jobs you can do and their average pay:
As you can see, depending on where you are located, all the above freelance writing job types can be quite profitable. It is worth clarifying, though, that the above figures are only estimates (and the monthly averages were approximated) but these ranges can give you an idea of how much you can expect to earn doing these freelance writing jobs on a full time basis.
A technical writer, for example, can expect to earn an average salary of $61,448 per year (or around $5,100 per month):
A ghostwriter can expect to earn an average salary of $43,000 per year (or around $3,600 per month):
A press release writer can expect to earn an average salary of $66,141 per year (or $5,500 per month):
More importantly, you can do all of these types of writing in a variety of industries; I’ve personally done freelance writing work for clients in the law, health, education, real estate, and telecommunications niche to name a few.
So, it is a good idea to start by deciding on which of the above types of freelance writing you want to focus on and on what industry you want to be writing for before using some of the methods below to find jobs.
26 Ways to Get Well-Paying Freelance Writing Jobs [in 2020]
Now that we’ve gotten some of the basics out of the way, how do you actually get those freelance writing jobs?
Below are 15 ways as well as 11 websites and resources you can use to get writing jobs. In other words, you have a total of 26 ways to get freelance writing jobs.
Not only are these methods effective (I’ve used several of them and gotten great results) but I can confirm that they actually work in 2020.
1. Apply to Jobs On Lists of Websites that Pay Writers
It’s been almost 10 years since Writers in Charge published its first list of websites that pay writers (back when practically nobody was publishing this kind of list!). Ever since, we’ve gone to publish several other lists of websites and publications that pay writers — and this site now links to almost a thousand different websites and publications that pay writers — and these lists include information about what they want, how much they pay, and how to apply.
These include our lists of:
- 30 Websites That Will Pay You to Write
- 45 Websites that Will Pay You to Write
- The Ultimate List of Magazines that Pay Writers (featuring hundreds of magazines in over 24 different categories)
Combined, these lists present over 500 different freelance writing job opportunities for interested writers in dozens of different categories including: health, parenting, religion, business, culture, boating, travel, education, sports, parenting, fitness, agriculture, design, fantasy, environment, etc.
By using these lists, you can get freelance writing jobs for magazines, websites, and other types of publications that pay writers.
You can start the process of getting freelance writing work by applying to write for the websites featured on lists such as these. They pay really well, and many pay well over $50 (and up to several hundreds of dollars or even thousands!) per article.
2. Make Use of Freelance Job Boards
You don’t have to stop your search for freelance writing jobs with lists of sites and publications that pay writers. You can also take advantage of freelance writing job boards.
Jobs you’ll find on freelance writing job boards are often more recent and up to date — and there is the added advantage of being able to get a lot more jobs than you can find on any list. For example, in my list of freelance job boards I highlight more than 10 job boards that you can take advantage of. Combined, these job boards post more than 100 writing jobs every week — if you are able to secure just a dozen jobs from these sources every month, you might not need to look elsewhere!
That said, you’ll need to put in some effort when using freelance job boards; not all of the opportunities they post are specific to writers, and many of the jobs aren’t as vetted as the lists we publish on Writers in Charge — so you might find a lot of low-paying writing opportunities on these job boards.
Some of the top writing/blogging-specific job boards include:
3. Take Advantage of Resources that Feature Freelance Writing Gigs
Besides job boards, there are also resources that feature freelance writing gigs. Most of these resources are created by other freelance writers, so they provide an added advantage of the writing jobs featured being both well-organized and high-paying.
We have the All Freelance Writing Jobs board by professional blogger and freelance writer Jenn Mattern that categorizes writing jobs and opportunities based on the quality of the offer and pay (pay is categorized as very low pay, low pay, semi-pro or pro rate depending on the amount offered) and where most jobs pay at least $50 – $100+ per article.
There is also the anonymous, crowd-sourced Who Pays Writers? that lists how much different blogs and publications pay and how soon they pay. Many of the publications and blogs featured pay really well — often in excess of $100 per article.
Then there’s the premium Junk Free Jobs Board created by Carol Tice as part of her Freelance Writers Den community. It costs $25 per month to join the “Den” and there is usually a waitlist. Besides the fact that Carol is a strong advocate for writers getting paid really well (which means there are only well-paying jobs), other advantages of joining the Freelance Writers Den include access to a strong community of freelance writers as well as training to help you succeed at applying to freelance writing jobs, negotiating good rates with clients, and lots more.
4. Cold Pitch Potential Freelance Writing Clients
Perhaps the most effective way to find high-paying freelance writing jobs is to compile a list of potential clients and manually reach out to them via email. This is called cold pitching.
A good place to start is by taking advantage of resources like the Fortune 500, the Inc 5000, and other similar databases of the most successful companies. You can also use databases of startups like Crunchbase and AngelList to find startups based on specifics that include employee number and recent funding that you can pitch.
If you’re ready to put in some manual (though rewarding) effort, you can use Google to find a list of thousands of different organizations that you can reach out to across different categories. I discuss how this can be done in depth in my Earn Your First $1,000 as a Freelance Writer series. I also have several resources on cold pitching that you can take advantage of.
5. Get Writing Jobs on Reddit
There are several ways you can take advantage of Reddit to get freelance writing jobs. The first is by using the Reddit search engine.
For example, simply searching for the term “freelance writing” on Reddit brought me several results from which I was able to find the following:
There are also individual subreddits that freelance writers can take advantage of for work opportunities. Many of these subreddits are community of other freelance writers sharing the occasional job opportunities. They include:
There are also subreddits that allow you to post a request for writing jobs or that allow you to apply to writing opportunities posted by others. These include:
Depending on which of the above three options you use, Reddit can serve as a good source of freelance writing jobs.
6. Get Writing Jobs on Twitter
Twitter can also be a great place to discover freelance writing work opportunities.
Here’s an example of a freelance job opportunity for writers I discovered while looking for writing jobs on Twitter:
Here’s another freelance writing job example I got from the same search:
Both of the above posts came up when I searched for the term “freelance writer needed” on Twitter. Both posts were made just days before my search, meaning they were recent job opportunities at the time of my search.
You can get a lot more freelance writing job opportunities on Twitter by tailoring your search term accordingly. You can use any of the following search terms or a variation:
- freelance writer needed
- freelance writers needed
- content writer needed
- copywriter needed
- technical writer needed
- freelance writing jobs available
You can be as creative as you want with your search terms, but the idea is to use terms that people would ordinarily use to indicate interest in freelance writers.
More importantly, you want to ensure that you select the “Latest” tab after submitting your search so that Twitter only displays the most recent posts related to your search.
7. Get Writing Jobs on Facebook
You can also take your job search further by leveraging Facebook for writing job opportunities. Just like with Twitter, you want to use the Facebook search engine. You can search for similar terms to the one for Twitter above. These include terms like the ones below and their variations:
- freelance writer needed
- freelance writers needed
- content writer needed
- copywriter needed
- technical writer needed
- freelance writing jobs available
You can also take things to the next level by joining Facebook groups for freelance writers. While there are top groups for freelance writers, many of these groups have tens of thousands of members and are often flooded with low paying offers. You want to avoid these. Instead, look for niche groups that relate to the kind of writing you do.
For example, a technical writer might want to join a group for technical writers while a press release writer might want to join a group for press release writers. A real estate writer might join a group for realtors.
8. Start a Blog
One of my favorite ways to get freelance writing jobs is by blogging — for good reasons.
First, there is the data:
- Businesses that blog get an average of 67 percent more leads per month than businesses that do not blog.
- Small businesses that blog get 126 percent more lead growth than small businesses that don’t.
Then there’s my own personal experience:
While I’ve been a freelance writer for about 10 years now, I have routinely had five figure months and six figure years. In the almost 10 years since I’ve been a freelance writer, I’ve gotten more than 90 percent of my clients from my blog.
My personal experience makes blogging one of my most preferred ways to get clients.
Getting clients via blogging also doesn’t have to be complicated. In a nutshell, here are the steps involved:
- Decide on a niche for your blog; the more specific you can get, the better.
- Register a domain name (I recommend Namecheap), choose a web host (I recommend SiteGround), and setup your blog.
- Setup your key pages — this includes your about page, a services page, and a contact page.
- Develop a content schedule and start updating your blog with new content.
- Use guest blogging to promote your blog.
Of course, if you want to get writing jobs by blogging the above is just a basic summary; if you want more comprehensive steps, I have practically written to death the subject of getting clients by blogging. You might want to take a look at my blogging challenge where I outlined steps I used to get clients and earn four figures in freelance writing income within three months by blogging — using a pseudonym.
9. Create a Website
I believe that every freelance writer should have a website.
Besides the fact that having a writer website makes you look more professional, your website can also serve as a portfolio and a portal through which new clients can discover you.
A good writer website should meet the following conditions:
- It should be niche. Your website should clearly indicate your writing specialty and make it easy for you to rank for niche keywords.
- It should make it very clear that you are a freelance writer available for hire. I can’t over-emphasize this.
- It should contain relevant samples of your work so potential clients can have an idea of what you can do.
- It should contain a list of services you offer and clarify them.
- It should include an easy way to contact you.
Once your writer website meets the above conditions you can start promoting it by using any of the following methods:
- Include it in your email signature where you indicate that you are a writer.
- Link to it across your social media profiles.
- Put it in your signature across online forums you’re very active.
- Promote it through guest blogging.
- Print a business card and including your website URL on your business card.
10. Create a Hire Me/Services Page
If you already have a website or a blog, especially an established one, you can increase your job prospects by creating a hire me page.
Many freelance writers have blogs and websites that do not indicate that they are available for hire and that do not list the services they offer. They then wonder why nobody is reaching out to hire them.
The only way potential clients can know that you are offering freelance writing services is if you make it clear on your website that you are available for hire. And one of the best ways to do this by through a hire me page.
Ideally, your hire me page should:
- Use a compelling headline that communicates the benefits (or results!) that potential clients will get if they hire you.
- List all of the services you are offering to potential clients — possibly expanding on these services so that clients know what is entailed.
- Outline very clearly — with research and case studies, if possible — what clients will get when they hire you.
- Make it very easy for potential clients to reach out to you by including as many contact options.
I go into more details on how to create an effective hire me page here.
11. Use Guest Posting to Promote Your Writing Services
One of the advantages to using guest blogging to get clients is that it can be a quick way to get high-paying freelance writing jobs if done right.
I have written for several top blogs and publications including Business Insider, Glassdoor, and Problogger. These top publications in turn have resulted in a lot of client inquiries and writing jobs for me.
Getting results from guest blogging can be very simple. I’ll boil it down to the following steps:
- Ensure you only select publications/blogs that your target clients are reading — and make sure that these publications/blogs are established publications with actual readers.
- Pitch relevant content ideas to the editors of these publications.
- If your content idea is approved, make sure it is outstanding. Putting your best effort into your guest post is a good idea because your guest post won’t only serve as a kind of potential advertisement for your service (in your bio), but it will serve as a sample of your writing to potential clients.
- Make sure your bio clearly communicates that you are a freelance writer for hire.
If you are interested in guest blogging as a whole, you should check out my ultimate guide to guest blogging.
12. Partner With an Agency
You can also get writing jobs by partnering with an agency. Any agency involved in building or promoting websites will be a good fit.
If you partner with a marketing agency, they can outsource writing work for their client websites (such as blog posts, press releases, newsletters, guest posts, etc) to you. If you partner with a design agency, they could refer clients that ask them about content to you in exchange for a cut of the fee you’re being paid.
Regardless, many agencies have clients that actively ask them about content, or that they can easily prod to create content, and partnering with such agencies can be a good way to get writing work.
13. Reach Out to Popular Bloggers
Many high-profile bloggers do not write the content they append their name to — be it guest posts or blog posts, and this is much more common than you might realize. This might be a good opportunity for you to land easy freelance writing jobs if you’re open to ghostwriting work!
For example, the below screenshot shows an email I once got from an agency that has some of these high-profile influencers as clients:
In essence, they wanted me to ghostwrite articles that these clients sign off their name to and use as if they wrote themselves. I’ve gotten (and taken advantage of) several such requests over the years and they can be quite lucrative.
Look for high-profile bloggers and influencers that are actively using content marketing in your niche and contact them about possibly ghostwriting content they can use as their own.
14. Get Other Writers to Refer Clients to You
You might know a successful freelance writer or two that you have a close relationship with and that is successfully booked with freelance writing jobs. You should leverage your relationship with this freelance writer to fill your pipeline with writing jobs.
Make it clear to your network of writing friends that you are on the lookout for jobs and that they should refer relevant freelance writing opportunities they cannot take to you.
Freelance writers have several reasons for not taking advantage of a job opportunity; this includes the job not being the kind of job they do, the pay being low (for them!), or the fact that they are overbooked. Notwithstanding, this presents an opportunity to you.
For example, I once had a wonderful relationship with a client who commissioned me to do guest posts and landing page content. At a point, the client asked me if I do press releases:
I responded that I didn’t and asked if the client won’t mind a referral:
The client did not mind a referral so I sent him to another writer in my network:
On a normal day, I’d have said “no” and that’s the end. And this is exactly what happens with a lot of freelance writers; they get inquiries for services they do not offer and either turn potential clients down or ignore them.
For you, this could be an opportunity. Let writers you have a good relationship with (emphasis: a good relationship) know that you wouldn’t mind them referring work they cannot handle. Offer them a commission if that’s what it takes.
15. Get More Business From Existing Clients
Perhaps the most underestimated way to get freelance writing jobs is by focusing on getting more work from existing clients.
For example, earlier on I listed 13 different types of freelance writing jobs and their average pay; while a client might have reached out to you for one or more of these job types, this doesn’t mean that they are not interested in other job types. A client that might have initially contacted you to handle blog posts might be interested in press releases as well. This presents you an opportunity to get more work and earn more.
I once had the opportunity to work for a client in the accounting niche. The client was a company that specialized in creating certified public accounting (CPA) educational products and reached out to me to help them secure guest posts on top publications. I would eventually go on to handle other content needs for them (such as creating landing page content — which wasn’t what they initially reached out to me for) and earn significantly more from these “extra” services than what they originally reached out to me for.
11 Websites and Resources For Finding Freelance Writing Work
Beyond simply giving you advice, the following 11 websites will equip you to start getting freelance writing jobs. While most of these platforms are particular about the freelance writers they let join their platform, strong writing clips and a good portfolio will give you an edge. More importantly, these aren’t Upwork-type platforms where it is easy for clients to take advantage of freelance writers. Most of the jobs you’ll find here pay really well!
16. nDash: nDash boasts having 8,000+ writers that include journalists, lawyers, and former marketing executives in its community. They connect freelance writers with clients and are one of the leading platforms for getting freelance writing jobs.
17. CloudPeeps: CloudPeeps boasts over 20,000 customers in more than 150 countries. What makes them a great platform for finding freelance writing jobs, however, is the effort they put into vetting their freelance writers and the emphasis they place on these freelance writers getting paid well. Rest assured, you’ll only find high-quality, well-paying writing jobs here.
To give you an idea of how much you can earn from writing jobs on CloudPeeps, information available on their rates page show that content creators can expect to earn $30 – $80 per hour if they charge hourly:
And up to $100 per post if they charge one-off rates:
18. Contena: If you’re looking for writing gigs, blogging gigs, editing gigs, and other types of content related jobs, Contena is the platform for you. While they don’t publicly specify rates for most of the jobs posted on their site, and you need to register to use their platform, the little information we have at our disposal shows that this is a good, and one of the regularly updated, platform for freelance writers looking to get writing work.
19. Contently: Contently helps connect freelance writers with top brands that pay well for high-quality projects. You can be assured that the jobs you will be getting on this platform will be well-paying ones. The following screenshot shows some of the rates available in their rates database:
20. ClearVoice: ClearVoice is another platform you can take advantage of as a freelance writer looking to get hired. Like most of the other platforms featured in this section, ClearVoice focuses on ensuring freelance writers get paid well. It also allows you to set your own rates on the platform.
21. Kolabtree: Kolabtree is a platform that helps you land more specialized freelance writing work compared to the other platforms listed in this section. It is especially designed for freelance writers in the science industry who want writing opportunities.
22. Copify: Copify boasts several high-profile customers that include Amazon and eBay, and they offer really attractive pay to their freelance writers. You can sign up through their US site, their UK site, or their AU site, and start taking advantage of the available writing jobs on their platform.
23. Ebyline: Ebyline helps connect freelance writers with well-paying job opportunities. They have clients that include Toyota, eBay, and Bed Bath & Beyond.
24. ASJA: ASJA is the American Society of Journalists and Authors. Besides being an invaluable resource for writers in their database, they also have a “Freelance Writer Search” feature that allows potential clients to search for writers in their database.
25. Skyword: Skyword is another platform that allows you to find work as a freelance writer. They manually vet the portfolio of every writer that uses their platform, and this is understandable when you consider that they have clients the calibre of IBM, Mastercard, and Colgate using their platform to find writers to hire. They also have writing jobs in pretty much every vertical.
26. Writers Access: Writer Access boasts over 33,000 customers and about 1.3 million projects delivered. This means, for you as a writer, there are enough job opportunities available as well as potential clients to write for. More importantly, you can either sign up to their Basic Marketplace (for free) and get paid up to 10 cents per word or their Pro Marketplace and get paid 11 cents to $2 per word.
How Do You Get Freelance Writing Jobs?
There you have it.
The above are 26 very effective ways to get freelance writing jobs — and we’re not just talking any writing job, but the well-paying ones.
What other methods do you use to get writing jobs that has not been covered in this article? Share them in the comments below!