This is a guest post by Carol Tice. Carol is a six figure freelance writer and the founder and “den mother” of the Freelance Writers Den, the number one community for freelance writers in the world. The Freelance Writers Den opens to freelance writers only twice a year — for a few days. As I write this in early December 2018, it’s currently open for a few days and you have very limited time to take advantage of this community that has turned thousands of freelance writers into success stories.
Do you feel like you live in a writer-pay desert? I hear this complaint from freelance writers a lot. Some typical comments: “I live in a small town where there are few opportunities. “My area is economically depressed, so rates are very low. “There are no big businesses nearby, so there aren’t any good gigs. “I’m not in the United States, and there’s no good pay here. “My English isn’t that good, so I can’t earn well. “All the writing jobs on the Internet pay $5 an article now. I can’t find anything better.” Think you can’t find good-paying work as a writer where you live? I think you’re wrong. Actually, I know you’re wrong. How? For 20 years, I lived on an island with a population of about 25,000. And I’ve earned six figures from my writing every year since 2011. Here are seven ways you can find good-paying freelance markets, no matter where you are:
- Realize it’s a global business. If you have a computer and Internet access, you can do writing work for clients anywhere in the world. I live near Seattle, and have had clients in New York, Canada, Australia, and the U.K. Stop thinking of your potential client base as who’s in your neighborhood, and target the clients you want, wherever they are. Yes, some companies and publications prefer to work with someone local — but increasingly, more and more don’t care where you live.
- Swim in a different pool. If all you can find are low-paid keyword article assignments on Craigslist, guess what — you should stop looking on Craigslist. Start thinking about what industries or hobbies you know about, where few others are experts. Then, pro-actively target publications and corporations in that niche. Send them a marketing email, a postcard, cold-call them — whatever marketing mode you prefer. But you’ll always make more from a client you prospect and find than from one that’s looking at a stack of 300 resumes.
- Tap the government. No matter where you live, there are federal, state, county, province, prefecture, township, city, and other government agencies. No matter what your interest — healthcare, transportation, child welfare, energy — you can find a government agency involved. Governments are constantly marketing to promote the benefits of their programs. They hire freelancers, and usually at moderate to high hourly rates. I did my first government contract this year, for a regional transportation agency, at $60 an hour. Do some networking to connect with marketing managers, or scour government-job websites for opportunities.
- Go back to school. Universities, think-tanks, and research institutions dot the globe. They do copious marketing as they try to encourage alumni to donate, seek research grants, and release papers that explain their discoveries or political views. If you’re a college grad, start with your own alma mater to explore the freelance possibilities.
- Check the newsstand. In particular, look for local editions of U.S.-based major magazines, and business papers. If a U.S.magazine does a special edition for your country, they may be looking for some local feature stories — and usually pay first-world rates. Wherever you live, local business weeklies and your newspaper’s business section are packed with information about companies big and small. Discover the largest corporations based in your region. Keep an eye out for fast-growing medium-sized companies or startups that have landed venture-capital money. Don’t assume only American companies pay well for writing — big companies pay writers well the world over, and in every language.
- Watch for U.S. companies abroad. America abounds with multinational companies with branch offices around the world. If you live abroad and there are U.S. companies operating in your area, they can represent great pay opportunities. They may need a local bilingual writer to help them explain their programs or products in a culturally sensitive way, or to promote a local branch office — and you could be perfectly positioned to help them out.
- Write travel. If you live somewhere exotic, market some travel articles about what there is to see and do in your part of the world. There are a boggling number of U.S.-based travel publications and websites, and many pay well for pieces on far-flung locales.
How did you find your best-paying gigs in the past year? Leave a comment and share your strategies. Carol Tice writes the award-winning Make a Living Writing blog and is the founder of the Freelance Writers Den, the number one community for freelance writers that has created thousands of success stories..