Are you looking for a way to start making money as a new freelance writer? Maybe you’re a stay-at-home mom who wants to bring in a little extra income. Or maybe you desperately want to leave your 9-5 job (like I did 7 years ago!) but you don’t know where to find beginner freelance writing jobs.
Well, my friend, there is MONEY to be made as a freelance writer – even if you’re starting from scratch with no experience.
I should know. When I first started freelance writing, I had ZERO experience in writing or marketing. The only thing I knew was that I wanted to make enough money to leave my job as a waitress. I had had it up to HERE with being underpaid and overworked.
So I set out to learn everything I could about freelance writing. And within a few weeks, I had landed my first high-paying client. A few months later, I was making more money than I ever thought possible – all from the comfort of my own home. And now, 7 years later, I’m a 6-figure freelance writer.
If I can do it, you can too! And I’m here to show you how. Here are the top 3 ways to find beginner freelance writing jobs (tried and tested by yours truly).
Side Note: This article assumes you have already set up a portfolio or at least have some writing samples. If you haven’t done that yet, check out my other article on setting up a beginner freelance writing portfolio.
Social Media is a Goldmine for Beginner Freelance Writing Jobs
Let me start by saying I HATE social media. I really, really do. It’s easy to get sucked into the black hole of scrolling for hours on end, or to get discouraged by all the negativity, and I just don’t have the time, patience, or mental energy for it.
But I’ll be honest – social media is a GOLDMINE for freelance writing jobs. So how can you make the most of this valuable resource and find good freelance writing jobs?
Here’s the thing, you DON’T need to be on every single platform. You only need to invest time and energy into the 1 platform that your ideal client is hanging out on.
Focusing on just 1 platform will also help you to avoid overwhelm and burnout.
If you want to find the BEST freelance writing jobs without wanting to poke your eyes out, you have to be strategic about it.
Choosing the right social media platform for freelance writers
So ask yourself, where does your ideal client spend their time online? If you’re not sure, create a list of all the companies you would LOVE to work for.
These are the companies that:
- Can afford to hire a freelance writer (i.e. they have a healthy marketing budget)
- Understand the value of quality content
- Are in an industry that you’re passionate about or have experience in
Once you have your list of companies, you need to figure out WHO at that company would hire freelance writers.
Depending on the size of company, this will look very different. For example, if you’re targeting a small business with less than 10 employees, the owner is likely the one making decisions about budget and hiring.
But if you’re targeting a large corporation with thousands of employees, there might be an entire team dedicated to content marketing (including hiring freelance writers).
So based on the company you’re targeting, research WHO exactly would be responsible for hiring a freelance writer:
- Business Owner
- Marketing Director
- Content Marketing Manager
- Digital Marketing Manager
Side note: I find that companies with a small marketing team are the EASIEST to get hired by when you have no experience because they are always looking for new talent to help them create quality content. The rate might not be as high as a larger company, but when you’re just starting your freelance writing career, any paying gig is a good gig!
The key here is to be strategic about WHO you’re targeting with your social media outreach. Once you’ve figured out who the decision-makers are at your target companies, it’s time to start reaching out to them on social media.
The next step is to find out WHERE that person or team hangs out online.
- Which social media platform do they use most?
- Are they active on Twitter or LinkedIn?
- Do they belong to any relevant Facebook groups?
For example, if you’re targeting female solopreneur coaches, they’re likely to be active on Instagram and in Facebook groups.
But if you’re targeting the marketing team of a large corporation, they’re likely to be more active on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is my FAVORITE platform for so many reasons:
- It’s where my ideal client hangs out
- Everyone there is serious about business (i.e. no one is there to waste time scrolling for cat videos)
- It’s easy to research businesses, connect with the right people and build relationships
I’ve landed some of my biggest clients from LinkedIn, and you can learn more about how I use LinkedIn to land high-paying writing clients here.
Once you know where your ideal client hangs out online, it’s time to start connecting with them and offering your writing skills. But before you start randomly spamming them with your portfolio or pitch, you need to build trust.
There are 2 ways to do this:
Optimize your profile
Your profile is what potential clients will see if they decide to check out your social media page, so it’s important to make a good first impression.
Even if you’re a beginner freelance writer, your profile should be:
- Up to date – create a few posts that are relevant to your niche and/or target client. This shows that you’re active, invested in your page, and knowledgeable about your subject matter (and a real person, not just a bot!). Don’t start feeling stressed that you have to post all the time – I only post a few times a month, just to keep my page active without feeling overwhelmed.
- Professional – No selfies and avoid any personal details that could turn off potential clients.
- Helpful – your about section should answer the question, “What’s in it for me?” In other words, what can you do for potential clients? How can your writing skills help them solve their problems?
Personalize your messages
When you connect with someone on social media, take the time to write a personal message. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy (in fact you should keep it between 3-6 sentences). Just a let them know why you’re reaching out (i.e. you admire their work, you have something in common, you loved their recent post about XYZ topic, etc.) and ask if they ever work with freelance writers.
Here’s my go-to freelance writing pitch template when connecting with potential clients on social media:
Looks like we both work in the world of [NICHE] marketing! Loved your recent post about [XYZ TOPIC] – so many great takeaways.
Do you ever hire freelance writers? I specialize in writing blog posts, articles and email newsletters. Happy to send samples!
Easy peasy, right? Feel free to copy/paste this message and change the details to fit your needs.
The key is to be personal, helpful and brief. No one wants to read a novel when they’re scrolling through social media, so keep it short and sweet.
If they don’t reply to your message, that’s okay! Just move on and connect with someone else. The worst they can do is say no, and you’re bound to get a few yeses if you reach out to enough people.
Not only that, but if they connect (become your “friend,”
“connection” or “follower”), you’ve started building a relationship. You can continue to engage with their content. And even if they don’t need you right away, they’ll be more likely to think of you when they need freelance help in the future, or recommend you to someone else who’s hiring.
I’ve pretty much built my entire writing career on social media by connecting with other professionals in my field and offering my services. It’s a great way to get started as a beginning freelance writer.
Cold Emailing as a Freelance Writer
Another great way to find freelance writing gigs is to reach out to businesses directly via email. This is called cold emailing, and it’s one of the most effective ways to get your foot in the door with a new client.
Just about every freelance writer I have ever met has gotten at least one job from cold emailing. Some people swear by this method! You can certainly land freelance writing gigs this way, but I do find that it’s a lot more time consuming than social media.
It’s really easy for email recipients to delete your message without even reading it, so you have to put in a bit more effort to make sure your cold email stands out. Be prepared for a lot of rejections (or just no responses at all) when cold emailing – don’t take it personally!
In fact, if you really want a freelance writing career, I recommend you get comfortable with the idea of rejection. It’s just a part of the business, and it doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you or your writing.
I’ve gotten pretty good at cold emailing over the years, but it definitely didn’t come naturally to me at first.
Similar to the process for finding clients on social media, you’ll want to start by finding businesses that are a good fit for your skills and niche.
Build a list of contacts to cold email
If you know the kinds of companies you want to write for, do a Google search for businesses in that industry. For example, if you want to write for health and fitness companies, search for “health and fitness companies in (your city/state/country).”
Start sleuthing and use a Google Sheets to track your research. I like to include the following columns in my “Leads” spreadsheet:
- Company name
- Contact name (if you can find it)
- Email address
- Personal note (something you noticed about the company that you can use in your email)
- Status (i.e. contacted, not interested, follow up later, etc.)
How to find email addresses
Some companies have an “about us” page that lists all the employees and their contact information.
Others will only have a form on their website that you can fill out or will have a generic “firstname.lastname@example.org” email address.
If you’re having trouble finding any email address, there are a few sneaky ways to track one down:
- Check the company’s Facebook page (the email is usually listed in the “About” section)
- Do a Google search for “[COMPANY NAME] + contact us.” This should bring up any contact forms or customer service pages where you can find an email address.
If all else fails, try using a paid tool like Hunter.io or just move on to the next company on your list. There are plenty of fish in the sea and you don’t need to waste a ton of time on one lead that you can’t track down an email address for.
Consistency is key
When it comes to cold emailing, the key is to be consistent. I recommend batching your outreach so you can do it more efficiently. Dedicate a little time each week to:
- Adding contacts to your list of leads
- Sending out emails
- Following up with leads
The people you email are busy, just like you. They probably receive a ton of emails every day and yours might get lost in the shuffle. That’s why it’s important to follow up! I like to give people a week or two to reply before sending a second email.
If after a few emails I still haven’t heard back, I reduce my contact to once per quarter. This way, you’re staying top of mind without being a nuisance.
How to write a cold email pitch
Once you have a list of companies you want to reach out to, it’s time to start writing your cold email pitch!
Keep your email pitches short, sweet and personalized, just like your social media pitch. You want to:
- Connect or compliment them to build rapport and show you’ve done your research
- Write 1 or 2 sentences about how you can help them based on what you know about their business
- Include a call to action (CTA) that asks them to take the next step in hiring you
Here’s an example of a cold email pitch that I’ve used in the past:
Looks like we both work in the world of [NICHE]! I’ve been following your company for a while and am really impressed with [COMPLIMENT]
My background in [BLANK] has taught me a lot about how to capture the attention of customers in your industry.
Do you ever hire freelance writers?
P.S. Here’s a link to a recent writing sample that fits your [brand voice, audience, etc.]
Best subject lines for cold emails
Your subject line is the first thing the recipient will see when they open your email, so it needs to be interesting enough to make them want to open it and read more.
There are different tactics that will fit different brands and personalities. For example, emojis in the subject line can compel or repel depending on who you’re emailing.
Some of my favorite subject lines include:
- Need help with your content writing, [NAME]?
- Does [COMPANY] need a writer?
- Experienced [NICHE] writer for [COMPANY]
- Content question for [NAME]
Personalizing the subject line is always a good idea. If you can include the recipient’s name, do it!
You want your subject line to be short and attention-grabbing but not too salesy or spammy. You want the recipient to actually open your email and read it, not hit delete immediately.
For a while now, many email marketers have been using the subject line “question” or “question about [COMPANY].” It *does* get people to open it up, because they think it could be a potential customer with a question…
But then when they see it’s a pitch for freelance writing work, the recipient gets turned off. I’ve used it in the past and felt it was a little deceitful. I’d rather have the subject line be more clear, and know that the person opening it is actually interested in hearing more about my offer.
If you want to stand out in someone’s inbox, you can also be more creative with your subject lines. This can be especially effective if you’re emailing a creative company or individual. You could really tailor the subject line to match the company’s branding and show some personality.
Here are a few ideas:
- Writing that wins customer ❤️’s
- Crazy good writing on tap for [NICHE]
- Can’t. Stop. Writing.
- 🖊️ + [COMPANY]?
If you want to go this route, just make sure your pitch inside the email is still relevant to what they’re looking for. You don’t want to come across as too unprofessional or too salesy.
Network Your Way to Freelance Writing Clients
You might have heard the expression, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” While I don’t think this is always true, the saying does hold some weight when it comes to finding writing jobs for beginners.
This is because a there’s already built-in trust. If you’re looking for new clients that don’t come from your personal network, you’ll likely have to put in a little more work upfront to prove that you’re a competent writer.
But if your friends or family can vouch for your skills and give you a warm introduction to their contacts, it takes some of the risk out of hiring a new freelance writer.
If you know an entrepreneur, ask if they need any help writing content for their business. If you know someone who knows a business owner, see if they would be willing to make an introduction.
Even if you don’t have any personal connections in business, there are still plenty of ways to network and find your first freelance writing jobs:
In-person networking events
Attend local meetups or conferences related to your niche. You can introduce yourself as a freelance writer and offer your services to anyone who might need them.
I’m in a membership for freelance writers and you wouldn’t believe how many of them find work just by going to their local Chamber of Commerce or business association meetings!
And the stories I’ve heard! Business owners at these events are shocked to learn that there are people out there they can pay to handle all of their writing needs. There’s no reason you can’t be that person!
Eventbrite and Meetup are great resources for networking and finding online freelance writing jobs near you, or you can do a simple Google search.
If you have a specific niche you write for (like real estate), try searching for events and conferences related to that. For example, “real estate conference in Atlanta.”
Online networking events and communities
Can’t make it to an in-person event? No problem! There are plenty of online networking events that you can attend from the comfort of your own home.
Some Facebook Groups have networking events where you can introduce yourself and your services to the other members. This can be a great way to find a freelance writing job because it opens up your pool of potential clients to people all over the world, not just those in your local area.
LinkedIn also has groups that occassionally host networking events.
There are also online forums related to just about every niche and industry out there. Do a quick Google search to find some that are relevant to you and start participating in the conversation. You never know when someone might need a freelance writer!
Other Ways to Find Online Writing Jobs
Social media, cold emailing, and networking are my favorite ways for finding freelance writing jobs, but that’s just what I’ve found to be the most effective.
There are plenty of other ways to find online writing jobs as well. Here are a few that you can try:
Other Freelance Writers
You might be surprised how many writer post freelance writing jobs on their own personal websites or social media accounts! Many freelance writers get swamped with projects and end up outsourcing some of the work or pass it on to other writers.
So make sure you’re following other freelance writers in your niche. Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook Groups tend to be the best places to find this overflow freelance writing work.
There are also online communities for freelance writers, like the Freelance Writers Den, that you can join. These communities offer a wealth of resources and support to help you succeed as a freelance writer. And these private communities have freelance writing job boards that are vetted to make sure they’re quality opportunities.
Job Postings for Junior or Entry-Level Positions
If you don’t have a lot of experience, you can search for entry-level writing jobs on platforms like Indeed or Craigslist, or searching LinkedIn’s job listings.
These job listings will generally be full-time, “in-house” positions, which means you’ll be working directly for the company rather than as a freelancer.
But there are sometimes remote freelance writing jobs posted on these platforms too, so it’s worth a look!
Many successful freelance writers got their start on a platforms like freelance job boards like:
These platforms act as a middleman between businesses and freelancers, and they’re a great place to find beginner writing jobs. The pay is generally very low, and you’re competing with a lot of other freelance writers (many who are overseas and, while the quality of their work might not be great, they can afford to write for very low rates).
I really don’t recommend using these platforms at all, but I know some people have had success with them so I wanted to include them here.
If you do decide to give them a try, just be aware that you’ll likely need to write a LOT of low-paying articles before you find a client who’s willing to pay more.
A content mill is a company that outsources writing assignments to a large number of freelance writers. The pay is very low, and the quality of work can be hit or miss. I once saw content mills described as “the sweatshops of the writing world,” and that pretty much sums it up.
I would stay away from content mills unless you don’t mind working nearly for free, and you just want the experience.
A lot of marketing agencies have in-house writers that they use for their clients’ content needs, but sometimes they outsource to freelancers. You can pitch directly to marketing agencies using the social media or cold email pitch strategies above. They also post writing jobs on job boards sometimes, so you can keep an eye out for those as well.
And when you start freelance writing, working with an agency can be an amazing education! You’ll learn about search engine optimization (SEO), online marketing, effective copywriting… and so much more. It’s a fantastic way to develop your writing skills!
Plus, you’ll get to see how a team of professionals creates and executes an entire content strategy, which is super helpful when you’re trying to land bigger projects or clients later on.
Just be aware that the pay from marketing agencies can vary widely. Some pay great, others pay minimum wage. It just depends on the agency and the clients they’re working with.
Whew! That’s a lot of different options to find writing jobs! But don’t let this overwhelm you. Focus on one or two of these methods – and just make sure to be consistent with whichever you choose. That’s the most important part!
Any of these approaches will work, so don’t get sidetracked attempting to do them all at once. If you want to become a successful freelance writer, just take messy action on the one that makes the most sense for you and you’ll find freelance writing jobs in no time!