I know that one of the hardest parts of being a new freelance writer is finding your very first freelancing writing job. For the first six months of my career, I was convinced there weren’t enough brands out there to go around amongst us freelancers.
But I was so wrong. There are millions of brands that need freelancers, you just need to tap into the places where you can find them.
This is one heck of a hefty post, so you might want to bookmark it. Or, alternatively, I’ve put it all together in a checklist for you so you can have it on hand all the time.
Find Your First Freelance Writing Job with Jobs Boards
This branch of popular site ProBlogger advertises new jobs every day. The majority are in the marketing and business writing niches, and the pay for most jobs there is good.
2. Write Jobs
If you’ve got a journalism background, you might fare well on Write Jobs. A lot of the jobs posted here are for top-tier magazines.
You might balk at the idea of using Craigslist, but there are often some gems amongst the dirt here. I’ve used it myself to advertise for a job. Be sure to mix up the destinations you’re searching in to get the full mix of freelance writing jobs available.
This job board aggregates freelancing writing jobs from all over the world depending on the keyword you use to search. You can narrow down searches to your city or country and there are plenty of well-paying gigs to be found.
Relatively new to the job board mix, Contena offers a free programme as well as a paid membership. With the free programme you have limited access to the jobs advertised, but there are still some great quality offerings there.
Find Your First Freelance Writing Job with Blogs
Every morning (US), Brian Scott sends out an email filled with the latest freelance writing job ads from around the web. The vast majority are for magazines, but there are also some fiction ads and copywriting gigs.
This blog-cum-job-board publishes a new post every day filled with writing jobs pulled from all over the web. Pay varies drastically depending on what site the ad was originally posted on, but there are some gems.
Find Your First Freelance Writing Job with Portfolio Style Boards
Though not necessarily a job board in the traditional sense, Contently is the biggest content marketing site on the planet, and regularly connects up writers with huge, international clients.
Medium is packed full of awesome writers sharing their stories. The best thing is lots of editors trawl the site for new talent, so keeping up a regular appearance there can do wonders for your career. The “magazine” sections are great if you can get into them (here’s a great post about how you can do that).
Finding Freelance Writing Jobs on Twitter
10. Hashtag for Jobs
This hashtag has a regular stream of freelance writing jobs popping up every day from a variety of different middle-man type sites, as well as direct from companies.
Likewise, this hashtag is filled with all sorts of freelancing jobs, from writing and marketing, to developing and graphic design.
11. Hashtag your Niche
Try hashtagging your niche in Twitter as well. For example, if you’re a travel writer, try searching #travelwriter. You never know what brands might be checking in there.
Held on Mondays at 2pm Central Time, this Twitter chat covers all things content, and often has a number of brands and companies dropping by. Share your expertise here to get the attention of potential clients.
Join in this Twitter chat at 11am Central Time on Tuesdays to get connected to some of the best content creators on the planet.
12. Reach Out to Followers
The great thing about Twitter is that people can find you (make sure you include your job title in your bio!). When a brand or company follows you, check out their site to see if you could work together. If you can, shoot them a quick email mentioning that you’ve already connected on Twitter.
13. Search Editors
Twitter is a great place to search for people by their job titles. Simply search for your “niche” + “editor”. For example, if you’re a travel writer, search “travel editor” and start making a list of viable people you can reach out to. Connect with the editors by sharing their content, Tweeting them, or sending them a personalised DM.
14. Search CMOs/CEOs
Alternatively, you can search for CMOs (Chief Marketing Officers) or CEOs (Chief Executive Officers) and connect with them. Seek out people who run businesses and blogs in your niche and reach out to them.
Find Your First Freelance Writing Job on Facebook
15. Facebook groups
Facebook groups are all the rage at the moment, don’t you know?! There are two ways you can use this method:
- Firstly, you can join groups within your niche. For example, if you write for tech companies, join groups filled with tech company owners (a simple Google search will reveal all). When there, you can network with your ideal clients and share your value.
- Secondly, you can join groups filled with freelancers. Often, a designer will need a writer to work with, or someone will need an extra pair of hands for a project.
Here are some of my favourite FB groups for freelancers:
- Creative Freelancers Unite (run by yours truly!)
- Freelance to Freedom Project
- Female Freelance Writers
And for etiquette on how to network in Facebook groups, check out this epic post.
16. Freelance job pages
There are a few “Pages” on Facebook that share new jobs every day. You can opt to follow them in your newsfeed, so you get regular updates on new openings, or you can set a time to visit them throughout the week. This page is a good place to start.
17. Connect with company pages
Most companies on Facebook will have a company page. These are great places for you to connect with businesses in a more casual way – and people are more likely to get back to a FB message (keep it private if you can) than an email that gets lost amongst all the others.
18. Facebook Ads
If you’ve got a little spare money floating around, you can set up some Facebook ads to point potential clients to your services. Not only will this expose you to a new audience, but it’ll get your name out there in the early days.
NB: if you don’t have the funds to run ads, don’t do it! Save the money for a rainy day instead and use the other free methods.
19. Friends and Family
Never underestimate the power of the contacts you already have. Aunt Joan who lives on the other side of the country might know someone who owns a business that needs a writer. Sending out a post on Facebook to your feed might land you with some initial work to begin with.
Find Your First Freelance Writing Job on LinkedIn
20. LinkedIn Groups
LinkedIn Groups are kind of more professional versions of Facebook groups. Again, you can either join groups that align with your niche (so groups for app developers if you write about apps, for example), or groups filled with other freelancers who you can collaborate and network with.
21. Publish work on LinkedIn
I’ve done this a couple of times now, and each time I’ve attracted the attention of a brand in my niche.
The best way to utilise this tool is to mention companies you’d love to work for in the piece (either as an example or to align with one of the points you’re making) and tag them using the tag function. They’ll immediately see a notification that they’re included and will hopefully hop on over to see what you’ve written about them.
22. LinkedIn job search
The job search on LinkedIn is mainly geared towards full-time gigs, but there are often a few decent freelancing jobs on there, too.
The key is to get specific with your search, so write in your niche, like app writing jobs, or use the filters to really hone in on destination and the type of jobs you’re looking for.
23. Connect with editors/CMOs
Connecting virtually on LinkedIn can be a daunting prospect for new freelancers, but it’s an awesome way to get your face and services on the radar of amazing companies.
The key here is to keep things conversational and don’t sell from the offset. Simply shoot CMOs (that’s Chief Marketing Officers) of companies you love a message introducing yourself and telling them that you’re a fan.
That should be enough to begin with. From there, you can determine how the conversation will go if they get back to you.
Finding Your First Freelance Writing Job on Pinterest
24. Research relevant brands
Pinterest is great if you’re specifically looking for work in the creative industries (although there are brands NOT in the creative industries posting there, too).
The best way to use Pinterest as a client-finding tool is to search for specific keywords that relate to your niche in the search bar and browse some of the content that comes up.
This is a great way of finding brands that might be too new to show up in Google, or that know the value of great content (hence why they’re posting on Pinterest!).
25. Pin your services/portfolio
I’ve seen a lot of freelancers doing this and it’s AWESOME. Simply link your portfolio pieces to a pretty pin and create a dedicated board that shows off your work.
Potential clients can stumble across this, but it’s also a good way to get eyes on work you’ve already had published which, in turn, will boost your authority and give you more exposure to potential clients.
Carrie Smith from Careful Cents does this
Reddit is really hit and miss, right?
There are a few subreddits on there about freelancing that really aren’t worth the time of day – people are charging pennies and companies clearly don’t value creative work enough.
That being said, there are a couple of places you can either post to find work or browse through posts from companies looking for freelancers. A good place to start is the /r/hireawriter subreddit.
Instagram is a funny one. I still haven’t got my head around it yet, but I’ve heard of freelancers who have landed the majority of their client load from this pretty picture app.
You can either search hashtags, promote your services with stand-out graphics, and connect with relevant brands. Like Facebook, brands are more likely to respond to a message you send them on Instagram than an email that will get lost among the thousands of others.
One great way to utilise Instagram is to post special offers on your services or seasonal discounts with eye-catching images. It’s all about the visuals, so make them good!
28. Cold emailing
The vast majority of freelancers swear by cold emailing (or direct pitching, as I like to call it). This is where you research brands in your niche and shoot them a cold email introducing yourself and your services.
I have a whole post on this, that covers the research stage and what you should send them.
Finding Your First Freelance Writing Job In-Person
29. Local meet-ups
Never undervalue the power of human contact! In this digital age, coming face to face with potential clients is so important, especially in the early days of your career.
Local meet-ups are perfect for this, because they tend to be casual affairs filled with other people looking to make connections, too – cue less awkwardness.
Check out Meetup.com to get a list of events happening in your area, and be sure to get some business cards printed, just in case.
These are similar to local meetups, but are more professional, in that people go to actually learn something and to network with other professionals.
You might choose to attend a conference about freelancing, where you network and meet other freelancers who you can collaborate with, or you might go to a conference dedicated to your niche – for example, if you design websites for fishing companies, you might head to the annual fishing convention (that’s a thing, right?!).
31. Your local area
The very best place to start your freelancing career is in your local area. Small businesses are more likely to hire you without seeing any proof of your abilities because you share something in common – the place you live.
It’s worth nipping around local shops, restaurants, cafes, and businesses to drop in a business card. You never know who might be looking for a freelancer!
I also get a monthly directory of businesses sent to my house, which lists tonnes of services in my area that don’t necessarily have a brick and mortar aspect to them. It’s worth flicking through these to see if any companies catch your eye as well.
32. Email signature
How many emails do you send a day? If you’re anything like me, it’s a lot!
But so many people miss the chance to impress with their emails by leaving their signature blank. Don’t make this mistake.
Instead, fill in your signature with what you do (freelance writer, for example) and who you help (app companies, or fishing businesses). Link out to your website, too, so people can click through and find out more about how you can help them if they’re interested.
Writing for Freelance Jobs
Blogging is more of a long-term strategy for landing clients. Overtime, it will help you build authority in your niche and provide you with tonnes of samples for potential clients.
There are two ways you can blog for clients.
- Firstly, you can blog about similar topics that your clients do. This will build your authority and prove you’re a go-to person with in-depth knowledge on the topic.
- Secondly, you can blog about how you can help potential clients. So, if you write product descriptions for make-up brands, you might write a blog post like “How to Create Compelling Descriptions for Your Beauty Products”.
For more info on turning blog readers into clients, read this post right here.
34. Guest blogging
This is essentially getting published for free, which is why it’s important to choose where you guest post carefully.
Ideally, you want the audience to align with your ideal client, and you want the audience to be bigger than your own. This gives you the chance to expose yourself to a larger audience and share your services with a new range of people.
35. Newsletter/email marketing
Once you have a blog set up, you’re going to want to get an email list started.
Why? Because then you can reach potential clients directly in their inbox, and because you’ll then have a list of “warm” contacts to reach out to with your services.
When you’ve set up your email list, you can start sending out valuable content so potential clients see you as an authority on the topic, and you can share your services with exclusive deals and promotions for your loyal followers.
Phew, that was a long one today! I get SO many emails from new freelancers every day asking me how they can find their first freelance writing job, so here is my pretty much exhaustive list of all the places.
You’re probably going to want to bookmark this to come back to, or you can download the checklist below so you have it on hand all the time.