Everything You Need to Know

Those looking to work from home have far more opportunities available than they may initially think. Freelance writing jobs, for example, offer dozens of shots for freedom to the right individual. Every blogger and website owner needs online content, after all. In today’s Internet Age, there are plenty of freelance writing jobs for beginners to choose from. Good grammar and research skills are all that is needed.

From product descriptions to blog posts to expert articles and eBooks, there is a little something for everyone looking to get paid to write.

Skills Required for Freelance Writing

You must have above par English and grammar skills. In addition to being able to write well, you also need to be organized and self-motivated to work at home.

What Types of Writing Jobs are Available?

There is such variety in today’s freelance writing gigs. There’s truly something for everyone. A few examples of positions you may come across:

  • eCommerce Descriptions – Writers are often hired to create and optimize product listings for Amazon, Etsy, eBay and beyond.
  • Blog Posts
  • Email Newsletters
  • News Site Articles
  • eBooks, Reports, Case Studies
  • Tutorials & Teaching Materials
  • Creative Writing Jobs
  • And more

How to Find Freelance Writing Jobs

Freelancing is a fabulous way to make money from home. It works for at-home parents, full-time workers, people facing physical challenges, and more. You have a lot of control over what you do, when you’ll do it, and where. With a good freelance writing business set up, you can easily make a great income working part-time hours. It’s one of my favorite ways to earn from home!
Finding work is one of the biggest challenges of freelance writing. Over time you might be able to depend on getting gigs from referrals and recurring work, but every freelance writer has to start somewhere.

Most often, that “somewhere” is job boards!

There are all kinds of job boards — some are free and some are paid. Some vet every potential opportunity before posting it to make sure the jobs are high-quality ones; others present every single job offer available. Some job boards are only for writers, while others have broader offerings with a writing section. If you’re willing to dig, you can find real gems on every board, no matter how crowded it is.

Writing Job Boards

There are two types of job boards when finding writing jobs from home — the ones that are free to access, and the ones you have to pay to access. There are far more free ones, and (no surprise) there’s a lot of competition for those. That said, many successful freelance writers got their start on free job boards. Try your luck at these and see what you can find!

Also, a few of these are called job “boards” but are actually email lists.

The Best Job Boards for Freelance Writing Jobs

Time is one of our most precious resources – especially when you’re a freelance writer hustling to find work. When you spend all day chasing down leads, and then making sure those leads aren’t scams or deadbeats? Then you have to find the energy and focus to pitch an editor? Well, that’s not the freelance life working for you. That’s you working for the freelance life. And that’s a ratio you need to reverse. NOW. Don’t waste another second!

To help you with that, I’ve put together a list of 10 of the top freelance writing job boards out there today. Add one or some of these to your daily routine and watch your freelance career take off. Find more quality jobs, better-paying gigs, and spend more time doing exactly what you want.

Problogger Jobs

Problogger’s Jobs board is one of the most high-profile free job boards you’ll find: new jobs are listed regularly and companies have to pay for their gigs to be listed, which should weed out most scammers. You can search jobs by job type, category, keyword and more. They also offer a host of free resources to make you a better freelancer; you’ll find their blog is updated often with useful content, and then there’s a podcast and selection of ebooks as well. The biggest downside to Problogger Jobs is that many of the job listings tend to pay poorly, but you can find some good clients with patience and attention.

BloggingPro

BloggingPro is well-known (and similar to Problogger Jobs), albeit with less additional resources to recommend it. Still, you can sort job searches at BloggingPro by keywords, location, and category – pay attention to the location to ensure you’re only looking at jobs that are listed as “remote,” “anywhere,” and “telecommute” since they do also list geographical location-dependent jobs. You’ll also find a series of articles here offering WordPress tips, and a selection of books they recommend for bloggers and other creatives.

Freelance Writer’s Den

The Freelance Writer’s Den runs on a subscription model with a waiting list – sign-ups tend to go fast, so it’s a good idea to get on that list! Many freelance writers swear by the resources and lessons they find in “the Den,” and one of those resources is their Junk-Free Job Board. Carol Tice’s job board pulls from a ton of excellent sources – FlexJobs, Indeed, Glassdoor, Gorkana, and more – and all are carefully screened. You’ll find some of the best jobs on offer here for a membership fee of $25 a month. Considering that’s in addition to having access to 3 live trainings each month, 3-4 new bootcamps each year, and access to all the archives, forums, Webinars, and podcasts you could want – well, it’s an amazing resource!

FreelanceWriting.Com Morning Coffee

FreelanceWriting.com’s Morning Coffee newsletter is something a little different: a curated newsletter comes direct to your inbox each Tuesday morning featuring 8 of the best writing and editing jobs listed on their site each week. This newsletter has been going since 1998, and it’s a serious resource! If you prefer not to wait, you can visit the FreelanceWriting.com job board whenever you like and sort job listings by keyword, skills, location – and job source, including listings that are exclusive to FreelanceWriting.com. They also have over 600 freelance writing articles on their site, over 700 writing guidelines in their database, and a list of writing contests.

Journalism Jobs

Journalism Jobs is an essential site for anyone interested in journalism – but many other writers can benefit from their job board as well! They post a large volume of gigs each week, and you’ll find listings from local papers, national papers, magazines, radio stations, and even TV listings! You can filter your searches by industry, location, and job type – and then it’s all up to you to pursue any and all opportunities you find. Using the job board is free, and they also provide career advice and a list of journalism fellowships.

Mediabistro

Mediabistro is a great, veteran resource – they’ve been around for over 20 years! Originally founded around media-focused industry professionals based in New York City, they expanded to encompass a job board and extensive resources for media pros (writers, editors, designers, and more) in many metro areas (and for remote workers). You can view job listings and apply to jobs for free. If you’re looking for more help, you can register for AvantGuild at $89 for a 2-year membership: as a member, you’ll get access to exclusive content like pitch guides and business how-tos, editorial calendars for magazines, easily accessible editor contact information for magazines, and more. Mediabistro also offers à la carte training courses on everything from the Fundamentals of PR to Social Media Marketing.

All Freelance Writing

Founded over 10 years ago, All Freelance Writing (formerly All Indie Writers) makes it easy to scan through job listings quickly based on pay ranges. It also makes it easy for those of us who love our RSS feeds – just paste their feed address into your favorite feed reader and you’ll get a constantly updated feed with the latest job additions. I also love how they break the pay ranges down into categories like “pro,” “semi-pro,” and “low pay.” It’s a reminder to value your work, charge what you’re worth, and take gigs that are commensurate with your experience.

My Best Tip for Navigating Writing Job Boards

No matter what board you’re visiting, there will be some jobs that are right for you and lots of jobs that aren’t right at all. When you enter the sea of job postings, it’s important to keep in mind one thing:

You shouldn’t apply for everything.

Here’s what I mean by that: It’s better to pick a few areas of interest instead of going into a job board expecting to apply for everything. You should also have a minimum rate you’ll be willing to accept.

Setting these kinds of parameters for yourself — topic and payment — will help you focus when there are so many options.

Profile Sites

These sites aren’t true “job boards” in the sense that gigs are posted and you send a pitch. Most of these sites are mostly run by digital marketing agencies that hire freelancers to produce content for their clients. Generally speaking, you’ll set up a profile, mark your specialties, and wait for assignments.

  • ClearVoice
  • Creative Circle
  • Constant Content
  • Contently
  • Skyword

Freelance broker sites like Upwork are an option, but many beginner writers feel they can’t compete with the cutthroat rates starting out. The upside with sticking it out is that many clients here are loyal. They want to work exclusively with one person they just like the security that comes with these platforms. You have to pay the bills first and foremost, however. If you can’t find anything worth your time, move along.

Content Mills

These sites typically hire a large number of writers to pump out an endless supply of blog posts and articles for their clients. While these sites are often open to freelance writing beginners, the pay reflects that. They aren’t worth the time in the long run.

That being said, many newbies cut their teeth on these sites. It’s a way to learn the ropes of creating online content without a lot of commitment. If you choose to test the waters here, don’t stay long.

Keep moving on up.

Here are a few sites to check out if this is an avenue of interest to you as a beginner:

What to Avoid When Looking for Writing Jobs from Home

A freelance writing job board is a world of opportunity. You never know what you’re going to find or how it might change your writing business for good. The possibilities are awesome! That said, there are a few things you should avoid when you’re looking for writing work:

  • Paying for the ability to work with someone. This is super scammy (in the freelance world, that is) and it never ends well. You’re better off doing some digging for legitimate opportunities. The only exception I can think of is that there are some great job boards that charge a fee to access them. Do your research to see if those are right for you — but paid job boards generally aren’t scams.
  • Writing for free. There’s an exception for the times when you’re trying to get some visibility in your target market. High-profile guest posts can be really helpful for building your business, but be very selective about what you’ll write for free. “Exposure” won’t pay the bills after all!

Even when you have plenty of clients, continue marketing and creating a prospect list for future reference. And always ask happy clients for referrals and testimonials to place in your portfolio.

How Do I Get Writing Samples as a Beginner?

Most of the really good freelance writing jobs – i.e., those that are reputable and pay well! – often require you to submit writing samples. Some may even ask you to write something specifically as an audition piece for them, though this isn’t as common. Writing is an art form, after all, and prospective clients want to feel secure before investing in you. Make sense? Writing samples are your portfolio and let you showcase your skills!

Of course, this leads you right into that awful job-related Catch-22. We’ve all faced it at some point. You need a job to get experience (or produce writing samples!), but all the jobs want you to have experience before they’ll hire you. It’s a real pain! But there are a couple of strategies I can suggest to help you work around it.

The first and easiest workaround is to begin a blog of your own and publish your own content. On the plus side, it gives you something to produce content for right away, a solo way to showcase that content, and can help establish you as an authority on whatever subject you want to write about. On the negative side, it’s free labor upfront with no guarantee of returns – and making a blog actually work for you is an entire career in itself! You’ve got bills to pay now! You can’t afford to waste any time.

This brings me to my second and better strategy for kick-starting your freelance writing career:

Have you considered guest posting for other websites or bloggers?

I can personally vouch for this method, even though I’m not officially a freelance writer. However, I do guest post regularly to promote my blog. Recently, I had a big site reach out to offer me a ghostwriting position after seeing one of my posts – and it was a decent-paying offer too!

These are just a few of the benefits you can reap by guest posting for other websites:

  • You will become familiar with the pitching process.
  • You will become familiar with the editing process.
  • You will be able to include your author byline at the end of each guest post.
  • You will get those writing samples for your pitches and applications going forward.

Guest posting can be a great way to go. Wonderful. Now – how do you find blogs to guest post on?

I’d suggest deciding what you want to write about right up front. Are you passionate about pets such as cats and dogs and know all about caring for them? Are you a fashionista up-to-date on all the latest trends? Are you a scientist with a wide knowledge-base and deep interest in the ocean? Whatever your interests and training are in – write on that topic! You already know so much about it, and your authoritativeness and passion will shine through in your writing.

Now that you know what you’d like to write about, start looking for websites or blogs that post about those topics. Also, make sure you’re targeting the best sites within those topics – you don’t want to waste time guest posting on a market with limited traffic. You can gauge how much traffic a website gets by examining their social media streams for activity and follow counts, along with checking sites like Alexa Ranking or Similar Web. You can even just check how high a site shows up in Google search results. You’re looking for sites with consistent traffic on recent content, as well – make sure it’s not just a few old posts that are getting all the visitors.

Here are a few of the benefits that guest posting for bigger websites or blogs that are in your wheelhouse can do for you:

  • Your potential clients are likely visiting these sites, so your guest post is a free commercial.
  • Guest posting on an established website or blog automatically lends you authority in that field.
  • Guest posting on an established website or blog means more eyes on your writing and author byline.
  • You’ll be more appealing to potential clients if they recognize sites on which you’ve been published.

Some of these websites may even offer to pay you for a guest post – however, check the fine print on these offers! You want to be sure your author byline will appear on the piece so that you have the opportunity to attract more clients and can use the post as one of your writing samples.

When you create your author byline, make sure it’s no more than a couple of sentences. Always put your name first, and be sure to include that you’re a freelance writer or online content creator.

Link to your website or a contact method so potential clients can reach out to you as soon as they’re impressed by one of your guest posts. Make it as easy as possible for them to offer you freelance work!

Once your guest post has been published, add it to your online portfolio. This can be as simple as a bibliography with links provided to each piece, or you can add some clippings. For example, provide the title and link to your guest post on your portfolio page, then include a brief excerpt that showcases the best or most intriguing part of your piece as well. It’ll really pop as a block quote.

When you’re pitching to a market or applying for a position online, you can easily link to your online portfolio.

I also recommend that you follow up with the website or blog for which you guest posted! Let them know that you would love to be considered should they ever have a paid contributor position available. If never hurts to plant a seed for the future, and maintaining positive business connections is paramount. Besides, you never know what might be available to you if you simply ask.

Sites That Pay Guest Contributors

You may not be able to get a steady stream of paychecks from these sites, but they do pay for accepted articles from guest contributors. And, many offer a byline. This is a great way to build out your portfolio of writing samples without doing it for free.

As you can see, there is no shortage of places to find freelance writing jobs. A little perseverance will have you a new gig in no time.

You should be well-equipped now to get out there and produce some writing samples! Need some more ideas? Check out Beyond Your Blog’s list of “Over 1,523 Publications That Are Paying Writers!

Important Tips

Follow the application instructions – provide links to examples, share your background and keep if brief. Watch for immediate disqualifiers like “Put ‘Color Me Bad’ in the subject line.” Clients do this to ensure you can follow directions. Miss it and your email is going straight into the Trash.

Recommended Tools

Every freelancer needs a few good tools. Some of my favorite for writers:

  • I highly recommend signing up with Grammarly. This tool will help detect grammar and spelling errors. It also includes a plagiarism checker.
  • If you are new to writing web content, it’s not a bad idea to sign up for Copyscape. Almost every client will ask for 100% unique content that must pass Copyscape. Plagiarism isn’t always on purpose, but it happens. Run your work through here first.
  • Google Drive is a popular choice for word processing and sharing files with clients.
  • You need some type of accounting system to keep track of money in, money out and money owed. My personal favorite is QuickBooks Self-Employed.
  • It is also a good idea to start a website or blog to share links to published articles with those interested in your services. A service like clippings.me can provide a free alternative until if and when you are ready to invest in a blog of your own.

Getting Started Writing Online

Make it easy on yourself and avoid trying to appeal to the masses. It will be far easier to market yourself and demand a good wage if you can offer specialized services. That applies to writing as well. If you want to learn how to be a freelance writer, first assess your knowledge and identify your specialties.

If you come from an educational or medical background, there is a large demand for that knowledge online. If you have a passion for travel, fashion or food, there is plenty of room for you too. Anyone can rehash general information. Website owners and bloggers are looking to hire those that know what they are talking about and can connect with readers on a personal level. Don’t leave anything off the table! If you are great at coupon matchups, there is a job out there for you.

Sites to Learn More About Freelance Writing

There are tons of great sites talking just about freelance writing that haven’t yet made it to the front page of Google, and it’d be a shame for you to miss them. Here are a few of my favorites:

1. Horkey Handbook

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you might have caught Gina’s name a few times. She’s a stand-out freelancer and work-from-home expert specializing in freelance writing and virtual assisting. Her blog, over at horkeyhandbook.com, is a phenomenal resource for freelancers at any level who want to start strong and grow fast.

Gina’s top tips:

1. Decide on a Niche (or Two)

Figuring out what you want to write about is a great first step. How do you do this? By brainstorming what you have experience or expertise with.

What do you have career experience in? Management, IT, marketing or sales? All of these are viable niches. How about your hobbies or daily life? Parenting, crafting and travel are all niches I’ve seen on job boards too.

Action step: Brainstorm a list of up to five niches that you have some experience or interest in. Then rank your list in order of what you’d like to pursue first. Don’t miss her 200+ writing niches download.

2. Gather Samples

This catches a lot of people up out of the gate. What if you don’t have any samples? Create some. Don’t let the lack of samples hold you back from pursuing a career in freelance writing. Samples are in your control.

You can write samples on your own blog, by guest posting on someone else’s or even in a Word or Google doc if you have to. The point is, that you need to have samples to verify you can write and display your unique voice and style.

Action step: Have 3-5 pieces ready in the niches that you want to write in to be prepared for pitching jobs.

3. Figure out Where You’ll Display Your Work

You don’t have to have your own website to start freelance writing. Would most people (including myself) recommend it? Yes! But it’s not absolutely necessary. There are other ways to display your portfolio instead.

I have two portfolios; one on my website and another on Pinterest. Pinterest is an easy and free way to display your portfolio. The only prereq is that each post needs to have a photo to go along with it, in order to pin it.

Action step: Decide if you want to display your portfolio on your own website or start a Pinterest board to display your samples instead. Contently is another free option.

4) Source Job Leads

One of the easiest ways to source writing job leads is job boards. It’s how I got started and built up my career in the beginning and it’s great practice for communicating with potential clients. It’s not the only (or maybe even the best) way long-term, but it’s a great place to start.

Where do you find jobs to pitch? My favorites are ProBlogger, JournalismJobs and various Craigslist cities (San Francisco and NYC are good ones to start).

Action step: Start looking for jobs to pitch. Use the list I gave you above, reach out to companies and websites individually or network with friends and family to see who might be in need of a writer.

5) Start Pitching

Last, but not least you need to start pitching! This might be the scariest step, but it’s imperative to launching your career and building up clientele.

My best advice here, is to pitch for anything remotely interesting or that you’re only a little bit qualified for (you’re a fast learner, right?). Women tend to only apply for jobs they’re 90%+ qualified for, whereas with men it’s closer to ~60%. You need to start thinking and pitching like a man!

Action step: Set a goal for how many pitches you plan to send per week and then go after it with gusto. Chalk up each rejection (or non-reply) as a win. Each No is getting you closer to a Yes!

2. Freelance Writers Den

This is an awesome community with limited acceptance. Carol Tice started this community in 2011. Inside you will find an active forum, writing job leads, learning resources and more.

Get on the waiting now! And don’t miss Carol’s Pitching 101 course.

Originally published in August 2013. Updated February 2019.

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