A comprehensive guide to Finding Freelance Writing Jobs for Beginners
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When starting out as a digital nomad, a lot of people get overwhelmed by the possibilities. You can teach English online, make social media content, become a virtual assistant, the options are endless.
But there’s one skill that almost everyone has some experience in, which is writing. Whether you’ve done essays in school or an amateur writer in your own right, you have been a writer in one form or another.
That’s why it does not come as a surprise that so many people automatically look for freelance writing gigs when they are first diving into becoming a digital nomad.
With the internet and job search being so easily accessible, even in the comfort of your pajamas, it is now so easy for people to start pursuing and learning about remote writer jobs at their own pace. Let’s take a more in-depth look at these growingly popular online writing jobs for beginners and how to find them.
What you need to become a Freelance Content Writer
First, let’s make this clear – not everyone can be a professional writer. While anyone who writes technically has the skills, you do need to be self-driven and control to make it work. A degree may not be necessary to start a career, although it does help you jumpstart your career by having this credential.
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Experience is also one of those things that aren’t always required but could come in handy. Many beginner freelancers underestimate their actual “experience.” Have you ever written a report? Long-form email? Sales letter? All of these are technically your writing samples and could be considered “freelance” writing work. It is the art of refining how you write them that keeps you ahead of the game. Continued education and learning how to research will be your best assets throughout your career, writing or otherwise.
Acquiring Experience as a Freelance Content Writer
Creating your own blog or website is the most obvious point to start, though there are several sites out there that also allow freelancers to post with guest blogs if you do not want to create your own site. However, you should always be wary of where you are posting and ensuring that the sites are legitimate so that it does not harm your future career with unhelpful guest posting.
Working towards your own blog would be your best option! Think of it as your resume, and every time you create a new article for other publications you can also add it to your site to show your future clients what you are capable of.
When you are first starting out in the industry you will find that some of the fees you are being offered are far below what you’ve been told to expect. New freelancer writers will get lower wages, but that doesn’t mean you have to settle. Look at your first job as an opportunity to build your portfolio.
Ask your employer beforehand if you can add your byline or at least reference the article like yours. Sometimes, the experience may be worth it even without proper credit, but that is completely up to you and what you decide to accept.
Finding Your Specialty as a Freelance Writer
Once you’ve moved on from the standard beginner freelance gigs, you may be thinking about honing your craft.
The next step for you is to figure out where your interests lie.
What is it that you are genuinely passionate about? Interestingly enough, a niche topic, no matter how small, is actually better than no topic at all.
Being a specialist in an area means that you know what you are doing, can target your potential audience directly, and you are more likely to get future referrals.
Starting your own website and adding a blog to your resume is a great way to showcase your skills while at the same time practicing building a portfolio.
Bluehost is an excellent platform to utilize in order to host your blog. We recommend using Bluehost especially if you are planning to use a WordPress template – one of the world’s largest blogging platforms.
In order to set up your hosting account on Bluehost, you have to purchase a domain name first.
Start brainstorming what you want your blog to be known as. It can be as simple as your name, or you can get creative and use a domain name that will stand out from the crowd.
A pro tip to choosing a domain name: make sure that it is easy to remember and your name clearly states what your blog is about. For example, you do not want to name your blog “I like potatoes” when you are writing about tomatoes. Ok, bad example, but you get me (I hope).
Once you have chosen your domain name you can start choosing a hosting package plan from Bluehost that will best suit your needs and you can move on to choose a WordPress template that will allow you to showcase your work.
Another essential tool for writers is Grammarly. It will help to ensure that you will not have to worry about small spelling mistakes on and off the assignment and will continuously help with improving your grammar and other skills.
Trust me, Grammarly will be your new best friend!
Figuring Out How to Price Work for Remote Writer Jobs
Every area of writing pays differently. A medical writer, for example, will earn much more than the typical lifestyle bogger, unless they have a huge following. But someone in a very obscure niche, like baseboard building, may have absolutely no competition and will be the only person available to write an article with expertise.
If you find a niche without a lot of competition that is in high demand (good for you), you could charge an exorbitant amount for an article.
The truth is – you need to know what you want, where you want to be, and set your prices that you are comfortable with. There will always be someone who will be willing to pay for your work, but the trick is knowing whether or not you can wait until you reach that price point.
Start lower and raise your rates until you are at a price you are comfortable with. Always let clients (current and future) know beforehand that you are raising prices so that they are not surprised by the sudden change and to give them ample time to find another writer if necessary.
Offer Specials to Entice New Clients
Other options for getting higher-paying clients when starting out is to offer deals or packages. For example, an agreement of five blog posts for the price of four (per month) is a pretty good deal. Or let loyal customers know that each post earns them points to an extra few words.
Once you have provided your clients with services that they are happy with, you can ask for referrals. Remember, the type of best marketing is through word of mouth, so take advantage of the opportunity to get referrals from your happy clients, so that you won’t be hustling to find new customers in the future!
Applying to Remote Writer Jobs
The very first thing you should keep in mind is that the sooner you apply, the more likely you are to be at the top of the list. Even if there may be a more qualified candidate towards the bottom of the applications, most employers don’t have the time to search through the hundreds of applications and will start at the top and work their way down. That is your opportunity to impress.
Below is a list of 25 different places to apply or search for remote writer jobs. Each one is different and not all will be a fit for you, but knowing what is out there is critical to new writers. Don’t knock it ‘til you try it!
A platform that may or may not be for you, but it is a great place to start. To apply you are given a test and your writing samples are evaluated with a star system. If accepted, each job you write for is also rated which can help to increase your stars. The higher the score, the higher paying the job!
This site has been around for a long time and has undergone a lot of changes, but the main draw now is their daily job listings. This isn’t a bad list to look at even if you don’t find a daily fit for your niche, but you never know what may pop up.
The other unique part of this site is that they have been around forever and have a great writing community who share their thoughts and knowledge freely with other writers. Anyone can apply to guest post and get their voices heard. If published, you can get valuable feedback!
For new writers, this is a great way to get your work out there without feeling like you’ve wasted your time.
Sign up for this site and get personalized job alerts based on location, skills, and other set preferences.
Twitter is a platform that we have a love/hate relationship with but is excellent for fostering relationships. A way to get jobs through Twitter is either by referral or simple connections.
Follow the right people, comment with valuable information, and post relevant content to be well on your way to getting noticed, though you do have to put some time in to stay active.
This is a great website to use for both new and seasoned writers.
The reason a lot of people don’t hire freelancers is that they have no credibility. A referral is a direct recommendation from a happy client and shouldn’t be taken lightly. These will eventually come regularly, but until then you can start by dropping hints to current clients.
Add in each email tagline that you accept referrals and maybe even give a finders fee to existing clients that recommend your services.
Craigslist is often avoided because of the number of scams that come through there, but these could honestly happen on any platform if you aren’t looking out. The biggest rule to remember is that if it looks too good to be true, then it probably is.
A handy platform for the beginning freelancer. Much like Upwork and other content platforms, profiles are created and jobs are posted. With Freelancer.com you can add your own writing samples and actually submit a bid.
This can go one of two ways in that it makes for lower job prices, but also allows for competition to be greater since there are a lot of applicants. Work your way up there, and you can eventually get long-term gigs.
Ok, this one isn’t necessarily a site for the beginner writer, nor is it your typical job board, but it gives a different example of the type of work out there.
Salesfolk is a company that exclusively writes cold emails for its clients. They hire writers based on experience, but also their personality. Known for being gurus and having a great sense of humor, this group isn’t easy to get into but could teach you a lot and open up a world of opportunities.
While they aren’t always accepting writers, they do offer job openings and have a scholarship for their cold emailing academy. The reason this could be acceptable for beginners is that they aren’t looking for the typical professional.
If you are transitioning from any form of management position, desk job, etc., then you will most likely qualify to be one of their future writers! If accepted, you get paid and receive a large amount of education that you won’t find elsewhere.
BloggingPro is your typical job listing board like Indeed.com, but on a smaller scale and focused on writing. The difference between this type of site and a larger one is that you get more specific jobs.
You can find those on Indeed as well, but they tend to fade as a new job gets posted by the minute. This one may only have a few openings a day, but that gives you a better chance of landing it due to less competition from other job boards!
Problogger is the number one resource as it actually allows you to start blogging. On top of that, they offer jobs and thousands of articles with other career growing resources.
Family and Friends
When first starting out, it is more than likely that your first jobs will be from family or friends. Which will be good for your learning curve.
You always want to put your best efforts, but be very careful to set boundaries and let others realize your worth, many won’t know they are taking advantage of you by asking for extra small tasks. Treat family and friend’s referrals as if they are your portfolio and use those for landing future jobs.
Never underestimate the power of connections. Join as many as possible and, while it is beneficial to interact and become a little better well known, always scan for potential future jobs. Save them for later and apply all at once with a standard response to make the process faster.
Pro tip: there are secret Facebook groups for writers. Make friends with a seasoned writer and I am sure they will invite you to these groups!
A unique one for any multitalented writers out there. While they do have jobs for blogging and copywriting, they also offer services such as editing and translation. A platform that combines multiple skills could be extremely beneficial and timesaving if you are looking to go that route!
Advertised as a leading resource for remote and flexible jobs, hence the name, Flexjobs is an invaluable resource with tons of job opportunities. They also have a very comprehensive list of resources to help writers new and old.
For, you guessed it- recent college grads. Specifically meant to help find jobs based on your degree, this is a great opportunity for newer writers to see what might be out there.
Another job posting platform that will make your job search a little easier. Dashboards and tracking are available for the freelancer and employer to ensure everyone is fulfilling their duties.
With this platform, the job poster can pay a premium fee to get to the top of the list. As a freelancer, this is important to recognize as these top jobs will be very saturated, but also most likely well paying. It can pay to check back on job boards once a day and get in on the first round.
Available for everything from designs to writing, most freelancers are accepted to add a profile to this platform but with hundreds of others, it is much better to reach out and apply to specific jobs you’d like that to wait for them to contact you. Be sure to set your rates immediately as they have been known to offer very cheap work.
Another freelance job platform like Upwork, but older. Add an hourly rate and skillset. Always ensure your profile is concise and up to par before applying to any jobs.
A job board on the higher end. Add your profile and skills and let employers know you’re available. As jobs are posted, submit personal proposals. Once accepted, enjoy the convenience of their messaging and payment dashboards.
A professional profile here is critical. You can search through job posting and applying feature that can be a great opportunity to nail a high paying gig or two.
Scanning through jobs is simple and even location-specific. Treat this platform as your resume and give as much detail as possible.
Pitching is the oldest practice in the trade. Have an idea? Then let someone know!
It’s probably a great idea, but only if you tell someone about it, and in a comprehensive way. Look up publications and their work that would fit your potential story.
Once you have a possible fit, be sure to read the guidelines thoroughly before submitting your idea. This actually pays the most but can be highly competitive.
Indeed is one platform that most people have seen and used. It’s been around for a long time and has everything from bartending to housesitting jobs. You can find some great gigs on there if you search and filter though. Try signing up for specific job alerts to get notified first!
A platform that posts weekly jobs that they have been personally vetted to be worthwhile. Even better, they also have resources like courses for writers to improve their skills.
SimplyHired is a U.S. based platform that lets you search easily by your location, but offers other remote opportunities as well. They also have tools such as salary calculators that can come in handy when trying to apply.
Relatively self-explanatory, this isn’t necessarily for the beginner, but could be your big break! Journalism isn’t easy to get into and is a skill utterly separate from blog and article writing. However, for individuals with certain investigatory personalities, it may just be the perfect fit.
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