Breaking into Freelance Writing

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One question that I receive in my inbox more than any other is “How did you land your first freelance writing job?” I actually stumbled into it. A friend suggested it to me after I helped her with the wording for a few sales letters. I was in college at the time and had no idea that someone would pay me to use my writing skills. Fifteen years later—I’m still freelance writing and busier than I have ever been. The types of writing that are in demand have changed over the years, but good writing skills continue to be in demand.

If you’re in search of your first freelance writing gig or need some new avenues, here are a few places to consider.

Your Community
A good place to start is with the people who already know, love, and trust you. I have a friend who posted a simple flyer on his church’s bulletin board. Less than a week later he had his first freelance writing gig. Do you belong to any clubs or organizations? Are there any libraries, bookstores, or grocery stores in your neighborhood? These places tend to have public bulletin boards. If you frequent a store and are friends with the manager, ask if you can leave a stack of flyers. Don’t forget the Internet. Craigslist is probably the most popular online classified service, but there are others; oodle.com and gumtree.com are a couple. Your hometown newspaper probably has an online classifieds website.

Social Networks
I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how big social media has become. The main purpose of these networks is to connect people. If you subscribe to any of these networks, make sure your connections know that you are a writer and are available for work. FacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter are probably the most notable. There are others. If you’re not sure where to start, Wikipedia publishes a great A to Z list of social networking websites. The list includes the number of registered users and the purpose of the social network.

Online Employers
Writers debate whether or not it is a good idea to use a middle man to obtain jobs. Online employment services been a great source of extra income for me. What’s so good about using online employers is that you only have to worry about writing. The clients come to the service and you bid on a job. If they like your bid, they choose you and you do the work and get paid. As a newbie you will probably have to start with projects with small budgets. Make each and every client happy and in no time your good rating will make you attractive to more and more clients, and you can charge more money for your services. I have used Elance for about eight years. In my experience, the clients are more professional and are willing to pay writers fair wages than with other services. There are people who want the cheapest price instead of the best quality, but you will find those people with all the services. Most of the clients I work with on Elance are small business owners, but I have also worked with software developers, CEOs, radio station personalities, artists, and individuals simply needing an updated resume.

The following is a list of a few more popular online employment services.

In an upcoming article I will provide more details about my experience with these services.

Online Publishing Sites
Writing articles for online publishing websites is a good way to break into freelance writing. People on the Internet want information and they want it now. There are basically two flavors of these types of websites: those that pay you for the content you write and those that allow you to post on their site and pay you based on the traffic you generate. I am just starting to tap into this area. I will post an update of my success.

The places I’ve listed are typically newbie-friendly. If you try one and it doesn’t work out, do not give up. Believe in your skills and training, and keep moving forward. Feel free to inbox me with questions.

I wish you well in your writing endeavors.

Lee

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