Becoming a freelance writer takes hustle, organization and perseverance. You’ll need to build a portfolio, seek out gigs and manage your workload to keep a steady flow of income. Rarely do all the pieces fall into place all at once.
For most freelance writers, building up to a full-time income is a process that takes anywhere from a few months to more than a year to accomplish. A good place to start landing jobs and building up writing samples is on freelance writing job boards.
There are a lot of job boards out there, but we’ve narrowed it down to the top sites that provide the best opportunities for writers to land freelance gigs without having to jump through a ton of hoops.
Problogger Job Board
ProBlogger was started more than ten years ago as a resource to help bloggers make money online. In addition to hundreds of helpful materials like ebooks, podcasts and courses, you’ll also find a job board.
Though the jobs listed on ProBlogger aren’t as numerous as they are on other freelance writing sites, we’ve found them to be of much higher quality. They generally pay better, too. Employers have to pay to list their jobs here, so you can rest assured you’re dealing with legitimate companies with the means to pay for good writing.
While companies pay a fee to list jobs, the ProBlogger job board is free for writers. Some jobs allow you to apply directly through the ProBlogger interface, while others point you to the company website or other third-party services to apply.
One thing to note with ProBlogger is that since the jobs are of a higher caliber, they’re also highly competitive. We recommend checking this board daily or following them on Twitter so you can apply to gigs you’re interested in as soon as they’re posted.
MediaBistro Job Board
MediaBistro is a website that covers all things related to the media industry. On their job board, you’ll find positions with media powerhouses like CNN and PBS all the way down to niche writing jobs at specialized digital media outlets. We like MediaBistro because the jobs aren’t limited to print and digital, but include writing jobs in broadcast, PR and production as well.
MediaBistro allows you to set up job alerts based on keyword, location, industry and specialty for quick access to positions that are a good fit. When you create a free account, you can save your resume on file to speed up the application process and save jobs you’re interested in to come back to in the future.
For freelance writers who are interested in pitching story ideas to publications, MediaBistro offers a helpful paid service called MB Unlimited. Through MB Unlimited, you can access mastheads (the list of editors who you’ll want to direct pitches to) and editorial calendars (the publication’s schedule of topics they’re planning for upcoming issues). MB Unlimited also gives members access to training courses and other perks.
Upwork is a global freelancing platform that helps clients hire all kinds of freelancers, from graphic design to translation and of course, freelance writing. When it comes to the volume of available jobs, Upwork is hard to beat, with a reported three million jobs posted every year.
Upwork uses a proposal system where you can bid on jobs via a short summary of your qualifications and what’s included in the price you’ve quoted.
In addition to job listings, Upwork is also a self-contained remote work platform where you can message back and forth with clients, set project outlines and deliverables, and get paid. If you apply to and land a job through Upwork, you’re required to use this platform to complete the job, with Upwork taking a fee that’s based on the invoiced amount.
For freelance writers, Upwork is a great place to get your foot in the door, with jobs as small as $10 or $20 that you can easily complete to build out your portfolio before bidding on larger projects. Due to the sheer number of jobs on the platform, not all of them are high quality. For best results landing legitimate work on Upwork, look for clients that have a verified payment method and at least a few reviews from past freelancers who have worked with them.
BloggingPro is job listing site dedicated specifically to blogging jobs. We like BloggingPro because of the diversity of its listings; you’ll find open positions writing about all kinds of subjects, from gardening to video games and everything in between.
Like ProBlogger, BloggingPro requires companies to pay to list their jobs. The fee is a bit more affordable than ProBlogger, however, so it strikes a nice balance between the quality and number of available jobs.
While there are a few full-time and part-time positions listed here, most gigs listed on BloggingPro pay per word, per hour or per blog post. If you’re an independent worker who can write fairly quickly and adhere to deadlines, you make a decent income from jobs found on this site.
Compose.ly is a freelancer writing platform that works a little differently than most job boards. Instead of searching through and applying to individual job listings, you apply to become a Compose.ly writer and then are assigned work based on your skills and interests. Writing gigs on the platform cover a range of materials, including blog posts, web copy, press releases, product descriptions and more.
You must apply and be vetted to be accepted into Compose.ly’s writer program, but once you’re accepted (and assuming your client feedback is positive) you’ll enjoy a steady stream of writing work. Writers are paid a minimum of 80% of the contract price on each gig, sometimes more. They also offer a nice feature that releases payment after a certain number of days so writers can get paid on time.
Clippings.me is an invaluable resource for building your writing portfolio to land freelance writing jobs. Without any development knowledge, you can build and launch a sleek, organized portfolio to showcase your writing to editors and hiring managers.
Clippings.me is free to sign up and you can get your portfolio up and running in a matter of minutes. Adding your writing samples is as simple as uploading a file from your computer or pasting a link from anywhere on the web. You can give your portfolio a theme of your own design or choose form one of several pre-made templates.
To draw inspiration, you can browse thousands of portfolios from other writers, journalists and content creators. They also offer a full how-to guide for setting up your portfolio. To make your Clippings.me portfolio stand out even more, you choose to add premium features like a custom domain or unlimited writing samples.
For best results landing freelance writing jobs with Clippings.me, tailor your portfolio to the type of work you’re hoping to land–copywriting, technical writing, journalism or whatever niche you’re interested in. For more ideas on how to build a winning portfolio, check out this post on building a writing portfolio with no experience.
The first step is creating a writing portfolio; the second step is putting yourself out there. Use the job boards above to start applying for gigs and building your career as a full-time freelance writer.
Musings and updates from the content management team at Clippings.me.