Are you a freelance writer looking for gigs or perhaps a blogger branching out? We read all these articles about writers making good money but many of us are stuck accepting low paying gigs just to pay the bills. Here is a freelance guide for landing gigs.
Starting With Bidding Sites is Okay
Most of us got our start on Upwork and Guru, and that’s okay. Sometimes the best place to look for work is where there is a ton of it posted, even if the pay isn’t great. Honestly, sometimes I land gigs on freelance websites where the pay is pretty good, you just need to hold out for those jobs. However, job sites are not the place to stay if you really want to have a career as a freelance writer, for a few reasons.
There are too Many Freelancers on the Platform
On many gigs, you’ll see that fifty freelancers have applied even if it was recently listed. Competing with this many writers is a fight for the bottom. Most people on Upwork want a lot of work at a (heavily) discounted price.
Low Paying Clients
There are so many freelancers on Upwork that many clients think they can get the job done for very little pay that isn’t enough to live on in a first world country. You’d have to pick and choose what to accept to build your portfolio.
There are Fees on Sites Like Upwork
On Upwork, the fee is a sliding scale based on your contract with each client. The first $500 you earn they take 20%. After that, they take 10% until you reach $10,000 and 5% after you exceed $10,000 with that one client. Not all clients are long term though so having the reduced fee is unlikely.
The Client Experience
Having funds in escrow on Upwork does have its advantages. Unlike freelancing on your own, there is the guarantee of getting paid. However, there are scams. A lot of clients want free test articles and then they’ll ghost. There are clients that will say your article isn’t what they wanted, leave bad feedback, and then use it anyway. However, sometimes there are really great clients that you work with for a long time. I had a client on Guru that I worked with for over a year.
While working on freelance sites, you can perfect your pitch. You learn to sell yourself as a freelancer. You learn your worth. You realize that charging very low rates is not sustainable and your work is worth more. You learn to pass on projects that aren’t for you. You learn what you enjoy writing.
So What Should You Do to Land Gigs Instead?
Become an Expert
What do you know a lot about? What are you good at? What is your niche? Begin marketing yourself in that area. Research and master it. I like writing about blogging, making money from home, and entrepreneurship. That may not be for you, but you can discover what you do like and what you are good at and start your niche in that area.
Work on Your Writing
The more you write, naturally the better you are going to become. You may not post or sell all of it, but you should be writing every day. You might consider taking an online class. For me, I decided to return to school to improve my credentials. (That wasn’t the only reason, but it was one of them.) While you may not be ready for that, there is plenty of courses-even free ones-online that you can look into.
Revamp your Website
You need to have an excellent website. You can DIY it but if you can’t code, I definitely recommend Squarespace. It’s hard to mess up a Squarespace site. They are pretty much all beautiful and really easy to make. A blog is one of the best ways to establish a portfolio as a freelance writer besides client work. Make your website work for you.
Put in a lot of Effort
You should be doing something towards your freelance writing business every day. Like I said before bare minimum you need to be writing every day but you also need to be searching for gigs and places to pitch every day. If you’re feeling stuck it might be that you aren’t investing enough in your business to make it grow. It really needs to become your focus.
Spread the Word
Don’t hide your business. There’s no reason to be embarrassed. You might know people who know potential clients for you. Start with people you know.
Utilize Social Media
You can find a lot of gigs on Twitter. You should get your handle on all the social media platforms but focus on a couple and master those. For finding gigs, the best places to look are Linkedin and Twitter. But you should have a presence on Instagram and Facebook too. Occasionally you can find something in Facebook groups.
Sometimes you can land work from other writers you meet online. They might have an overflow of work or take something that just wasn’t their expertise. You might find a mentor. The possibilities are endless. Facebook groups are good for this.
Places to Look For Gigs
Problogger Job Board
Competition can be kind of fierce here because most writers know about it. But its still worth a shot. Check it daily and have jobs emailed to you as well.
If you already have a degree, Linkedin is a great place to look. I haven’t gotten many hits on applying for jobs, but I have had people reach out to me through messenger for gigs.
Use your website and guest post to build your portfolio. Bare minimum, have a hire me page. Consider asking clients for a testimonial to put on your website.