Life as a freelance writer can feel like a breath of fresh air after sitting in an office cubicle day in and day out. No time clock to punch, no dress code to stick to, no alarm clocks dragging you out of bed at the crack of dawn. It’s pretty much everything you dreamed of when you were a kid trying to stay awake during English class.
On the other hand, freelance writing can be a nightmare if you can’t find work. With that in mind, we’ve put together a directory of the best sources for freelance writing gigs.
This is a personal favorite, and comes highly recommended from the writers I work with. Upwork is a merged site combining the resources of Elance and Odesk, both pretty major players in the freelance writing game. Elance was known for a continuous, steady stream of high paying jobs from reliable sources. Odesk also brought together a large number of potential clients, but tended to offer jobs at a lower pay rate than found on Elance. So it’s a matter of looking through and finding the job that’s right for you.
Upwork holds funds in an escrow from the beginning of a project and releases them as work is approved. Clients have seven days once a project is submitted to approve or deny payment, a policy that is enforced by the Upwork team, and writers retain all intellectual rights to their work until payment has been made.
Problogger is a relatively new source for freelance writers, but has long been known as a reliable source for information. Jobs turnover quickly, often in less than 24 hours. This is both good and bad, as it gives you constant access to new jobs but means it’s important to make sure you have time to bid when you sit down to look.
What our writers like about Problogger is the diversity of the jobs there. There’s literally something for everyone, regardless of your occupation, education and areas of specialization.
This is a nice place to start if you’re looking for a free job board; some of the other sites you’ll find on this list have fees associated with them. (We’re not listing them here because they vary by experience, number of jobs bid for each month, etc. Make sure you read the terms and conditions when you start browsing around.) We also have to give the owners of the site props-payment for each project is prominently displayed, with low-paying jobs flagged from the get-go.
At last look, AllIndieWriters was also posting independent publishers that were looking for original work. So even if you decide freelancing isn’t for you, there are still opportunities to get your writing published and out where it can be heard.
Freelancer is another site that’s exploded in recent years, and has proven to be a reliable platform/job site for freelancers across a variety of industries. There are freelance writing gigs, but you’ll also find clients looking for translation services, software development, graphic design, etc. The site allows you to develop your own online portfolio and build your reputation with each job.
As with Upwork, payments are held in escrow and released on a schedule that both the client and the writer agree on at the beginning of the project. So no more haggling to convince your clients that payment is due. The Freelancer team also oversees disputes, and as with Upwork, you retain the intellectual rights to your writing until payment has been made. You can also view another article we wrote: Odesk and Elance Alternatives.
A Few Guidelines to Follow
Professional job boards like the ones listed above are a great source of freelance writing gigs; however, as with any resource, there are always a few bad eggs in every bunch. Before committing yourself to a freelance writing job, make sure you do the following:
- Research the employer. If a job poster is refusing to give their company information before you accept the job (it happens), consider carefully. You wouldn’t walk into a face to face interview without taking time to make sure the company is stable and has a good reputation on the market. Don’t settle for less just because it’s a freelance gig.
- Have all terms carefully spelled out before you begin. How do you get paid, and when? What is the scope of the project? (This is important. Horror story after horror story can be found online of clients who took what should have been a small job and asked for far more than they were paying for.)
- What is your policy if there are disputes? Will a deposit be withheld for your time to date if the employer decides to withdraw the job?
- Word of mouth is always your most reliable source of work, so cultivate referrals. Client recommendations will keep you in work for many years to come!