If you’ve been reading my monthly income reports, you know that I’ve seriously increased my writing output, and it’s been paying off.
Whenever I find an income stream that works, I want to share the wealth with my readers. The same way I did when I discovered the surprisingly un-scammy world of affiliate blogging. So today I’m sharing exactly how I get freelance writing work most often:
I ask former clients.
This is the number one most likely way to get new work. Former clients are people who’ve hired you before, so they know what you can do. If you did a good job before, it’s likely you will again.
If it’s been awhile since you worked with a former client, you can give them a reason, but you don’t have to. I do if it’s relevant. For example, when I wanted to start working again with a client who commissions me to write tech tutorials, I was sure to let them know I hadn’t been in touch lately because my job as a web developer, learning new tech skills, had been taking all my time! I definitely think that tidbit worked in my favor when they decided to hire me again.
I ask other freelancers.
In a lot of fields, you’ll find that freelancers are very territorial and won’t share gigs. Not so in online writing. News sites and blogs need such a massive amount of content in order to drive traffic, it’s more than one person could possibly do.
Take my work at Forbes. I am one of hundreds of bloggers there, and the company is always looking for new ones. So when fellow writers ask me how they can work at Forbes, and I think they do good work, I forward them to my editor. Asking nicely will get you far! Insulting your fellow writers, like this Tumblr anon did, will get you nowhere.
An aspiring writer who is just getting started in his career asked me where I find new writing work. I considered all my original leads, and it turned out that for all my current jobs except for anime sites, I found them through a woman-only Facebook community! It’s a community for women writers that’s invite-only, and because it’s exclusive the leads are great.
I definitely think invite-only Facebook communities are the way to go. They’re invite-only to keep people who aren’t very invested out, and if you’re serious about writing you’ll definitely pass the moderators’ vetting process. Here’s a great selection of exclusive groups for writers to start with.
Always check your LinkedIn.
When I tell people about this blunder, it sounds like I’m exaggerating. But I really missed out on a $4,000 reviewing job because I forgot to check my LinkedIn for an entire week.
I have “writing and editing” listed at the top of my LinkedIn bio. Because of that, people looking for writers sometimes send me in-mail, which I usually never check. A lot of the time it’s stuff I’m not interested in, or doesn’t pay well. This time it was the exact opposite! And by the time I checked a week later, the website had filled the position. Don’t be me. Get your in-mail forwarded to your email, or set up alerts.
Sometimes I find jobs this way! But not through local meetups for writers. Writers can give you leads to jobs, but rarely are they looking to hire anybody themselves! So instead, I go to meetups in the field I want to find writing jobs in.
For me, that’s WordPress. I go to meetups for people interested in building WordPress sites, learning to manage business blogs, and stuff like that. A lot of the time, the organizers or people who are attending are looking to pay for content for their blogs. And sometimes, they’re looking for web design, which I also do, so these meetups are doubly useful for me!
But I avoid cold calls.
It’s been a long time since I’ve gotten a job from just calling or emailing a client outright. So I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone.
Instead, I’d suggest returning to my second step, asking other freelancers. If you know somebody, or know somebody through somebody, who works somewhere you’d like to work, ask them about the best way to contact a potential client. Some prefer, for example, that you provide three potential pitches for topics you could write about in the first email.
Have you ever gotten a writing job in one of these ways? Or perhaps a different way, even an unusual one? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.