In this post: Finding writing jobs from home is one of the biggest challenges of new freelancers. Every freelance writer has to start somewhere. Here's where to start.
Freelancing is a fabulous way to make money from home. It works for at-home parents, full-time workers, people facing physical challenges, and more. You have a lot of control over what you do, when you’ll do it, and where. With a good freelance writing business set up, you can easily make a great income working part-time hours. It’s one of my favorite ways to earn from home!
Finding work is one of the biggest challenges of freelance writing. Over time you might be able to depend on getting gigs from referrals and recurring work, but every freelance writer has to start somewhere.
Most often, that “somewhere” is job boards!
There are all kinds of job boards — some are free and some are paid. Some vet every potential opportunity before posting it to make sure the jobs are high-quality ones; others present every single job offer available. Some job boards are only for writers, while others have broader offerings with a writing section. If you’re willing to dig, you can find real gems on every board, no matter how crowded it is.
My Best Tip for Navigating Writing Job Boards
No matter what board you’re visiting, there will be some jobs that are right for you and lots of jobs that aren’t right at all. When you enter the sea of job postings, it’s important to keep in mind one thing:
You shouldn’t apply for everything.
Here’s what I mean by that: It’s better to pick a few areas of interest instead of going into a job board expecting to apply for everything. You should also have a minimum rate you’ll be willing to accept.
Setting these kinds of parameters for yourself — topic and payment — will help you focus when there are so many options.
What to Avoid When Looking for Writing Jobs from Home
A freelance writing job board is a world of opportunity. You never know what you’re going to find or how it might change your writing business for good. The possibilities are awesome! That said, there are a few things you should avoid when you’re looking for writing work:
- Paying for the ability to work with someone. This is super scammy (in the freelance world, that is) and it never ends well. You’re better off doing some digging for legitimate opportunities. The only exception I can think of is that there are some great job boards that charge a fee to access them. Do your research to see if those are right for you — but paid job boards generally aren’t scams.
- Writing for free. There’s an exception for the times when you’re trying to get some visibility in your target market. High-profile guest posts can be really helpful for building your business, but be very selective about what you’ll write for free. “Exposure” won’t pay the bills after all!
- Bidding sites. Sites like Elance and Upwork are attractive, but they’re essentially a race to the bottom, rates-wise. It’s not a good way to build your business until you’ve got enough expertise to charge significant rates and stand out from the crowd.
- Content mills. Content mills are easy money, but they aren’t much It’s helpful to write a little bit for a content mill if you need to build a portfolio of clips, but in that situation I’d only recommend writing for sites that play you a flat fee (rather than by the amount of traffic your article gets).
Now let’s get on with the good stuff!
Free Writing Job Boards
There are two types of job boards when finding writing jobs from home — the ones that are free to access, and the ones you have to pay to access. There are far more free ones, and (no surprise) there’s a lot of competition for those. That said, many successful freelance writers got their start on free job boards. Try your luck at these and see what you can find!
Also, a few of these are called job “boards” but are actually email lists.
- All Indie Writers
- AuthorsPublish (geared toward authors, but there’s some work for freelancers, too)
- Be a Freelance Blogger Job Board
- Beyond Your Blog (an email llist and directory of websites that pay)
- Craigslist (Manhattan, San Francisco, and Chicago are good places to start)
- Creative Circle (in major metropolitan areas)
- Ed2010 (aka Whisper Jobs)
- Freedom With Writing
- Freelance Writing Gigs
- Funds for Writers
- Journalism Jobs
- LinkedIn Jobs
- Money Making Mommy Job Leads Board
- Morning Coffee (another email list)
- Online Writing Jobs
- ProBlogger Job Board
- Simply Hired
- Sologig (includes writing jobs!)
- Virtual Vocations
- The Writer’s Job Board
- Writers Weekly
- Worldwide Freelance (a database of “markets” — aka publications — where you’d pitch ideas)
Paid Job Boards
There are a few paid job boards out there for freelance writers. Some are broader job boards where you can search for writers, and some are just for freelancers. Here are a few of my favorites:
These sites aren’t true “job boards” in the sense that gigs are posted and you send a pitch. Most of these sites are mostly run by digital marketing agencies that hire freelancers to produce content for their clients. Generally speaking, you’ll set up a profile, mark your specialties, and wait for assignments.
Sites That Pay Guest Contributors
You may not be able to get a steady stream of paychecks from these sites, but they do pay for accepted articles from guest contributors. And, many offer a byline. This is a great way to build out your portfolio of writing samples without doing it for free.
- A List Apart – web design content
- Today I Found Out – sharing interesting facts
- College Humor – Millenial humor
- Screen Rant – entertainment, wants writers to commit to 20+ articles per month
- SitePoint – web development
- Wide Open Country – country music/lifestyle
- Money Crashers – personal finance
- The Sportster – sports
- Listverse – Lists
- Flywheel – WordPress
- International Living – living abroad
- Theme Park Tourist – theme parks, want commitment of two articles per month
- Photodoto – photography
- RankPay – SEO & content marketing
- Back 2 College – older students
- WineFrog – wine
- 5 Best Things – reviews
- Curbly – DIY
- Desert USA – North American desert information
- SHTF Blog – survivalist
- She Budgets – family finance
As you can see, there is no shortage of places to find freelance writing jobs. A little perseverance will have you a new gig in no time.
Facebook Groups for Freelance Jobs
If you want to find freelance work quickly, I’m a huge advocate for Facebook Groups. There are closed groups for every type of blogger and online business owner. Every day I see people asking for help and referrals. Get into these groups and start offering your expertise when appropriate.
- Facebook for Freelancers
- VAs for Hire
- VAs for Hire and Pinterest-Friendly Content for Bloggers
- VAs Buy, Sell & Barter
- Social Media Managers
- Social Media Jobs
- Living the Laptop Life
- Rockstar Bloggers & VAs
- Courage to Earn
Tips from Gina
I started my freelance writing business as a side hustle. As of the first of the year, this is now my full-time gig. I’m the breadwinner for our family of four (my husband is a SAHD to our two toddlers), so I’m very motivated to ensure that I’m successful in my online business pursuits.
If you’re a fellow writer and looking to boost your monthly income, you should consider giving it a try too. Here are five steps that you can take starting today to get you on the freelance writing track. Are you ready?
1. Decide on a Niche (or Two)
Figuring out what you want to write about is a great first step. How do you do this? By brainstorming what you have experience or expertise with.
What do you have career experience in? Management, IT, marketing or sales? All of these are viable niches. How about your hobbies or daily life? Parenting, crafting and travel are all niches I’ve seen on job boards too.
Action step: Brainstorm a list of up to five niches that you have some experience or interest in. Then rank your list in order of what you’d like to pursue first.
2. Gather Samples
This catches a lot of people up out of the gate. What if you don’t have any samples? Create some. Don’t let the lack of samples hold you back from pursuing a career in freelance writing. Samples are in your control.
You can write samples on your own blog, by guest posting on someone else’s or even in a Word or Google doc if you have to. The point is, that you need to have samples to verify you can write and display your unique voice and style.
Action step: Have 3-5 pieces ready in the niches that you want to write in to be prepared for pitching jobs.
3. Figure out Where You'll Display Your Work
You don’t have to have your own website to start freelance writing. Would most people (including myself) recommend it? Yes! But it’s not absolutely necessary. There are other ways to display your portfolio instead.
I have two portfolios; one on my website and another on Pinterest. Pinterest is an easy and free way to display your portfolio. The only prereq is that each post needs to have a photo to go along with it, in order to pin it.
Action step: Decide if you want to display your portfolio on your own website or start a Pinterest board to display your samples instead. Contently is another free option.
4) Source Job Leads
One of the easiest ways to source writing job leads is job boards. It’s how I got started and built up my career in the beginning and it’s great practice for communicating with potential clients. It’s not the only (or maybe even the best) way long-term, but it’s a great place to start.
Action step: Start looking for jobs to pitch. Use the list I gave you above, reach out to companies and websites individually or network with friends and family to see who might be in need of a writer.
5) Start Pitching
Last, but not least you need to start pitching! This might be the scariest step, but it’s imperative to launching your career and building up clientele.
My best advice here, is to pitch for anything remotely interesting or that you’re only a little bit qualified for (you’re a fast learner, right?). Women tend to only apply for jobs they’re 90%+ qualified for, whereas with men it’s closer to ~60%. You need to start thinking and pitching like a man!
Action step: Set a goal for how many pitches you plan to send per week and then go after it with gusto. Chalk up each rejection (or non-reply) as a win. Each No is getting you closer to a Yes!
Although launching a new freelance writing career can be intimidating, it’s not impossible. If you’re a decent writer, there is work to be had online.
Start by determining a niche or two that you can write in, gathering a few samples and figuring out where you want to display them. Then start sourcing jobs and pitching them.
Use these five steps to get start today. What do you have to lose?
Gina Horkey is a writer for hire, with a background in personal finance. She also offers business coaching services and recently launched a course, called 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success for aspiring writers for the web.