Freelance writing is one of the most popular jobs from home. Many opportunities where you can get paid to write require little if any experience or formal education. There are a lot of opportunities out there that pay extremely well.
When it comes to online writing careers, you have a lot of specialties to choose from. Today we are exploring some of the most popular options and a few places you can find work for each.
Get Paid to Write Poetry
Though not quite mainstream, you can make money writing poetry. The Poets & Writers database contains over 800 submission opportunities for poems, stories, and essays. Search by genre to find editorial guidelines, submission instructions, and contact information.
Get Paid to Write Greeting Cards
Few people can hack a steady gig of writing greeting cards. It’s demanding work. Rates can vary from $10 to $300 per accepted verse. Some will accept one-time submissions while others only work with contracted individuals.
- American Greetings – does not accept unsolicited work, watch their job board for Creative Job openings
- Avanti Press
- Blue Mountain Arts
- Freedom Greeting Cards
- It Takes Two
- Moonlighting Cards
- Oatmeal Studios
Greeting Card Association has some great tips for getting paid for this type of writing.
Get Paid to Write Ads
Ad writing will always be in demand and this is one of the higher paying freelance writing jobs. A high-converting ad will make a business more money after all. As such, this is a writing opportunity that demands a certain skill set as opposed to your creativity or research skills. You need to know what words and phrases evoke emotion and make people take action and make purchases.
- Personal clients are the way to go here. When you spot a poor ad campaign, contact the site owner offering your services. See the next section for further instruction.
Get Paid to Write Articles and Blog Posts
Content writing is perhaps the most readily available online jobs for writers at the moment. Every website, blog, and social media profile needs a steady stream of high-quality content to succeed.
- 45+ Websites that pay for articles
- Sites that pay $.10+ per word
- 140 Websites that pay writers ($50+ per article)
- 37 Blogs that pay up to $300 for guest posts
Corporate clients are some of the best clients to have. There are several ways to market to corporate clients. Any company with a website, from the florist down the street to a Fortune 500 company, has need for content, and if you learn the rules of SEO optimization and web copy you can provide that content to them.
- Cold Calling – Cold calling is a classic but effective way of marketing to businesses. It can be as simple as calling and asking if they have a current or ongoing need for a freelance writer, or it can be a sales script; it depends on your style.
- Email – Many writers aren't in the business of sales, and they would much prefer to send an email rather than call their prospects. Emailing works nicely because it allows the business owner to respond at his or her leisure. You can create an in-depth campaign, or you can simply email and ask if they have considered hiring a freelancer. Either way, reaching out to businesses in any form can help you obtain very good clients.
- Mail – It's not exactly the most technically advanced way of reaching out, but sometimes mail still has its benefits. It would be best to pair this method with other methods, but sending out some nicely made postcards or flyers can help generate awareness of your services.
- Business Cards – Never underestimate the power of a nice business card. Any business you enter should know that you're a writer, and leaving your card can result in some lucrative contracts down the road.
“Content mills” usually act as a middleman between the writer and the client in need of content. These are usually low-paying gigs though often more easy to land for newcomers. Expect to earn around $10 per hour at the sites below. (See end of post for places to meet potential personal clients.)
- Demand Studios
- Constant Content
Get Paid to Write Reviews
You likely have an opinion about every product or service you have ever used. There are several sites out there that are willing to pay you for sharing those opinions.
The list above does not include those sites that require a blog or fall under the survey category. Please see our posts on places for bloggers to get products to review and our list of legit survey companies for those.
Get Paid to Write Kindle eBooks
It's a brave new world in the publishing industry, and now you can become published simply by creating an account with Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and uploading your formatted document along with a cover. A free cover creator is available if you don't want to pay for design services, though hiring a freelancer on Fiverr is crazy cheap. You can even publish articles (minimum 5,000 words) and shorts on the Kindle. Having your work available for sale on the Kindle right next to e-books is great for business, and if you price your publications at $2.99 or higher you earn 70% royalties on all your sales. There are many benefits of publishing with KDP including:
- Being a published author
- Being able to recite the success of your work in your credentials when proposing for new work
- Establishing credibility as an expert in your field
- Making your name more easily recognizable as an author
- Obtaining clients from prospects who read your e-books or articles
- Earning money while you sleep; write it once, and the royalties keep coming in
Get Paid to Write for Magazines
Writing for magazines is either the most well-known or the least well-known method of obtaining work as a freelancer, depending upon who you ask. Some freelancers get into the world of freelance writing for the express purpose of being published in a magazine. Others, however, don't even know that they can query magazines and publications, or that the possibility of having their work featured in these publications even exists.
Magazines exist for just about every industry. Subscribe to Writer's Market, and you have access to the contact methods, guidelines, and other important information for almost every major national publication, as well as several smaller publications.
Master the art of the query letter, and send them frequently, crafting a well-written story idea and including a couple of quotes or references to sources that have agreed to work with you on your story. Most publications offer very good rates. Collectively speaking, the rates you can obtain from publications can range anywhere from $0.30/word to $2/word. National publications usually pay around $1 to $2 per word.
You may not be able to break into publications right away, but if you query often and develop a relationship with editors in the fields in which you'd like to write, you can eventually acquire work. Some freelancers earn their entire living from writing for publications.
Get Paid to Blog
Blogging is of course my favorite way to get paid to write. It does take some time to see a return however. Blog on the side while paying the bills with the opportunities above. See our 7 steps to start a blog and make money.
Writing Jobs Boards
There are several job boards that list writing opportunities almost daily. Sign up to receive notifications from each.
- LinkedIn Jobs
- Problogger Job Board
- Morning Coffee Newsletter
- FlexJobs – paid membership but high-quality telecommuting opportunities
- Freelance Writer's Den – high-quality, researched writing gigs and online training
Expert Tips to Getting More Freelance Writing Jobs Online Fast
I reached out to several of my successful colleagues in this industry for a few tips and words of wisdom. You can take these five ladies’ advice to the bank when it comes to getting freelance writing jobs online.
My top tip for someone in desperate need of landing more freelance writing projects is to dig deep and identify exactly what kind of freelance work you most want to do, who your ideal client is and where you can find them, and then go to those places. Gaining new freelance clients is so much about building relationships and trust between you and the client! Also, by providing little thoughtful “extras” with your work — everything from submitting your project ahead of the deadline or adding a title to the piece even if that wasn't requested — your client will grow to appreciate you and your work that much more so you will increase the chance of getting repeat work with them.
We get into great detail on this subject in my 7-week e-course, Set Yourself Up For Freelancing Success, but you can get a sneak peek of it (plus additional helpful tips for freelancers!) in the free version at SaganMorrow.com/set-yourself-up-for-freelancing-success.
Don’t Get Desperate, Get Excited
Erin Lindstrom, Your Hot Copy
Let's be real, there's nothing sexy about desperation. Desperation sends “I need you vibes” into the big U. My top tip, is a big ole mindset shift.
Reframe: You're SO READY/EXCITED/PUMPED/INSPIRED to help people using your gift. You're a strong writer and you're here to help other's express themselves. Once you believe that, it's just logistics. Find the people who need your support. Reach out from a place of service. Continue to develop your skills as a writer. Learn how to close a sale. Make sure you’re not wasting money while trying to build your biz. Millions of people (seriously, millions) need help expressing themselves in written word. Believe that you can then go get 'em, tiger.
Have You Tried Everything? Really?
When someone tells me they’re desperate for freelance work, my first question is usually, “Have you connected on LinkedIn with every past editor and writer who knows you, and let them know you’d appreciate their referrals?”
This is one of the easiest ways to get new business quickly, but often the answer is ‘No, I haven’t!’
Marketing will never get any easier than asking people who already know and like you to keep an ear out for you. Often, editors will say, “I have something.”
But the bigger question is, “Why are you desperate?”
Do regular, proactive marketing to quality clients, and you won’t be. Cut your expenses, if you can, while you build your business. Being a desperate freelancer is a ticket to starving, because you keep feeling compelled to take low-paying gigs. Successful freelancers approach clients from a position of power — from being fully booked, from upsetting existing clients better projects, proactively asking for raises, and with lots of prospective client nibbles to choose from.
Natalie Bacon, The Finance Girl
My advice to someone who is desperate to land more freelance gigs is twofold. First, master the art of pitching by making your emails professional and including the right information (see my post for a template). Second, set a goal to apply for a certain amount of gigs every day. It's not enough to pitch once a week because you will get rejected a lot (everyone does, including the pros). Keep pitching as much as possible. Do it every day.
Don’t Be Desperate
Gina Horkey, Horkey Handbook
Don't be desperate.
Sorry if that sounds harsh, but freelance writing (or any other sustainable business) isn't built overnight. It takes constant planting, tending, watering, etc. before you can harvest.
Here's the thing, when you're desperate, you don't make the best long-term decisions. You focus on immediate results, not what's best for your business six months or a year from now. For example, you might ignore red flags and take on difficult clients, or negotiate against yourself to land the gig and resent the low pay later on. And the negative spiral doesn't end there.
Instead, go into building your business with a long-term mindset. Give yourself at least two years to build a sustainable business (you want it to support you for years to come, right?) and figure out your individual success metrics. Then consistently expend the effort to achieve those success metrics week in, week out.
Not sure what this might look like? Check out this post/plan/challenge I put together precisely for this purpose. You got this – why not you, why not now?
Ready to roll? Check out this Kickstart Your Freelance Writing Biz course.