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When I started freelance writing, I was consumed by all the different places that you could find freelancing work. I am pretty sure that I signed up on about a hundred websites! (Maybe I’m exaggerating.) Do you know how many profiles I spent hours creating?
More than I am prepared to admit to myself!
And almost every single one was a complete waste of time.
So, of course, I don’t want you to make the same mistake! Knowing the best freelance writing sites before you begin searching for writing work is essential and can:
- Save you tons of time searching for trusted freelance writing sites.
- Allow you to focus on creating incredible profiles on just a few sites.
- Connect you with genuine employers faster.
Most of the websites that I signed up on led to dead-ends, potential clients who never responded, and even clients who fueled my freelance writing nightmares. (Perhaps I’ll have to tell you about those one day.)
This is why I’m telling you about some of my favorite freelance writing sites today!
(This is the third blog in a four-blog series dedicated to helping freelance writers succeed. Check out “The Most Successful Niches for Freelance Writing” and “Want to Make More Money Freelance Writing? Here’s How!” to get even more advice on starting a freelance writing career!)
The suggestions in this article are all platforms I have used personally and my freelance writer friends have found success using. No matter your level of writing expertise or particular freelancing talents, you are bound to find a website in this article that is perfect for you!
Upwork holds a special place in my freelancing heart because it was the site that not only landed me my first paid online writing job but also introduced me to the company that I am still working for years later. (Doing my dream job as an editor, I might add.)
You can find listings for all types of freelancing jobs – from writing to graphic design to creating classes and courses – posted by clients from all over the world (which can be a good or bad thing). There is a constant flow of new jobs added throughout each day, so you can always count on new opportunities being presented.
Upwork offers the following to freelancers:
- Chances to be labeled Top Rated and Rising Talent based on performance, bringing in more jobs
- Multiple options for payment, including direct deposit, Paypal, Payoneer, wire transfers, and local funds transfers (and payment protection!)
- The ability to control what you earn. With both fixed price and hourly charging available, you can decide how much you get paid for projects.
- A mobile app that you can download to look at and apply for jobs on the go (The app was my favorite way to scroll and look at jobs. I would favorite them and then apply for the job on my computer.)
- A place to send your proposals and sample documents safely and securely
What I like about Upwork:
- Creating a thorough and well-done profile is not a waste of time; it can actually bring clients to you. Upwork sends its job posters suggestions for freelancers that are a good fit for them, and a great profile can get you on a potential client’s radar without any extra work from you.
- You can ‘favorite’ jobs as you scroll through the listings to save any jobs that you want to apply for but do not have the time to apply for right then. This prevents you from searching for the job later and allows you time to write a customized and fantastic proposal for each one.
- Your clients can rate your work from 1 to 5 stars. This rating shows up on your profile and can show a potential client that not only are your skillset and portfolio excellent, but so are your deliverables and work ethic.
What I don’t like about Upwork:
- You have to pay to apply for jobs. Upwork allows you to purchase ‘connects’ for $0.15 each. (They are sold in bundles that can give you discounts.) Each job you apply for costs a certain number of connects. If you don’t get the job, you lose those connects.
- Upwork takes a 20% cut of your earnings from a client until you reach $500 lifetime earnings with them, then it switches to a 10% cut. While you can curb this cut by charging enough for your services to cover the cost of paying it, if you are just starting and cannot charge much, you will earn even less.
- Upwork has a strict policy about going ‘off-site’ with a client that you find through Upwork. The site connects freelancers and clients, but it also wants to make money, as well. Therefore, you don’t want to be caught finding clients on Upwork only to take the work and payments elsewhere. It could result in a suspension of your account.
Fiverr is a website that lets freelancers of many talents offer their services. Just some of the freelancing services you can find on this site are writing, translation, programming, digital marketing, and animation. If you’re looking to find freelancing work, Fiverr is one of the most all-encompassing freelance job sites.
Unlike most other freelancing websites that have the clients posting jobs for freelancers to find, Fiverr does it the opposite way. Freelancers post their services and offers for businesses to find. When you join, you create your own postings that include your service, the price, and any other details, and companies that are looking for freelancers find YOU.
Fiverr offers the following to freelancers:
- Over 200 service categories that offer countless freelance opportunities
- Posting your jobs, or ‘gigs’ as they are referred to on the site, is completely free
- The ability to make ‘Gig Packages’ that offer particular services at three different price points
- Three payment options – Paypal, direct deposit, or a Fiverr Prepaid Card
- An option to apply to join Fiverr Pro – which is reserved only for the best freelancers – for better job opportunities and pay
What I like about Fiverr:
- I love how freelancers that are talented and go above and beyond are given the opportunity to join Fiverr Pro. (Rewards are my lifeblood; it’s the ex-teacher in me.) The best part is that it’s not just open to experienced freelancers – new freelancers can also apply! So, even if you are new, if you have impressive skills, you can get in!
- The freelancer-run job dynamic is wonderful. Since your gig listings include thorough explanations of your services and set prices, when a potential client reaches out to you, they are already aware of what service they will be getting. They are more likely to pay you the price in your listing instead of negotiating a lower price.
- Fiverr has such a massive amount of freelancing jobs available that the platform itself can serve as inspiration and motivation for you to better yourself. You can spend time looking through job listings in your specific niche and others to find ways to further your own business. You may even find other freelancers to collaborate with!
What I don’t like about Fiverr:
- The competition is FIERCE. You are listing services for clients to search for and find, so you must put together gigs that stand out. It’s up to your gig listing to attract clients.
- Like Upwork, Fiverr takes a 20% cut of your earnings, leaving you to decide whether to charge more to cover the cut or accept less money for your work.
- Again, like Upwork, Fiverr has a policy restricting you from contacting your clients outside of the website, and breaking this policy can result in your account being shut down.
ProBlogger is a freelance job board that focuses on content creation, making it a potential gold mine for freelance writers. While freelancers can search the job board for free, the employers have to pay to post their jobs, with posting prices starting at $70. As a result, you will rarely find cheapskates and scam artists posting jobs on ProBlogger.
With new job listings being added every day, ProBlogger brings a steady stream of possible work your way. Want to know the best part of this freelancing website? It doesn’t require you to work with clients through the site! Because ProBlogger is a job board, all it does is allow the employer to post its job listing for you to find easily. Once you click on the job, it brings you off the website to the official application.
ProBlogger offers the following to freelancers:
- The chance to build a client list without being restricted by the website’s limitations and regulations
- A blog that provides loads of information that you can peruse for free to learn more about being a freelancer
- A place that is centered around content writing jobs that allows you to search for jobs without having to sift through tons of non-writing listings
- The ability to receive full payment for your services without a percentage being taken out
- A free subscription to ProBloggerPLUS, the site’s weekly newsletter that includes tutorials and other resources to help advance your career
What I like about ProBlogger:
- You already know what I’m going to list first. I love the site’s lack of restriction when it comes to communication between freelancers and their clients. Being able to build your personal client list through this job board is priceless.
- There are no fees taken out of your payments, and you don’t have to pay to apply for jobs. ProBlogger is essentially the Indeed of freelance writing jobs. It lists the jobs for you to find, but you are not obligated to the website.
- The fact that employers have to pay even to list their job opportunities on ProBlogger pretty much ensures that you won’t have to deal with fraudulent offers and crooked clients.
What I don’t like about ProBlogger:
- The job listings are open to all writers, but most of them require writers with some experience. So, it may be difficult for a beginning freelancer to find work with this site until they gain experience or build a portfolio.
- Job boards tend to have hundreds of listings, even when you limit your search with keywords. Looking through all of the available jobs can quickly become a time-sink. (I suggest putting a time limit on yourself when looking through any job board.)
- Since you will be communicating with the client directly, you need to be experienced in price negotiation. There will be times that the client responds and wants to pay you an insanely low rate. You must remember your worth as a writer, or you will be working for pennies. Turning down a job is okay!
Want Even More Job Opportunities? Try These!
What are the best freelance writing sites? This is the question most freelance writers ask when they are starting their search for clients. But I’ll tell you a little secret:
Freelance writing sites are not the only place that you can find freelance writing work.
While websites made specifically for freelancing may offer you the most job opportunities, there are other ways to grow your client list and make money as an online writer. LinkedIn and the Morning Coffee Newsletter proved to be great job resources for me.
Want to know the first thing I did when I decided to become a full-time freelance writer? I signed up on LinkedIn. Why? Because LinkedIn is a social network that caters to those who want to network and build their careers.
Not only is LinkedIn a place to build a professional network, but it also has a job board where you can apply for jobs.
I took the time to set up an impressive profile, making sure to showcase my skills and give an in-depth look at my experience. (I’m actually redoing my LinkedIn profile right now to switch gears and add the expertise I’ve gained over the past few years – slowly but surely).
The great thing about LinkedIn profiles is that they can serve as a ‘resume’ as you network. How? Because you can connect with established companies and promising startups along with other professionals. As you add more people and businesses to your ‘friend’s list,’ those people and businesses can see your profile, giving them a chance to reach out to you for your services.
I cannot say that I got a TON of jobs from LinkedIn – because I didn’t. However, the few jobs that I did get were well-paid, led to months of steady work, and opened up other opportunities.
The Morning Coffee Newsletter is not a website at all; it’s a newsletter sent straight to your email with truly fantastic job offers. Freelance Writing, another website that you can look into for freelance writing work, curates and sends the newsletter to subscribers every week.
I don’t think I ever received a Morning Coffee Newsletter that did not impress me with its job listings. All the jobs were from reputable companies that offered considerable rates.
In fact, the first writing pitch I ever sent was in response to a job listing on the Morning Coffee Newsletter.
And I have to say that having potential writing jobs delivered to me every week was such a nice reprieve from the constant search for clients on websites.
This newsletter probably won’t give you enough work to pay all your bills (at least not right away), but it can open up doors for you that might not have been opened elsewhere. And it will pay you while doing it.
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My Advice – In Case You Want to Hear It
So, I’ve told you where to find writing jobs, but where do you start? Juggling so many sites and networks can get confusing and becoming overwhelming fast. Let me tell you about my strategy.
This is what I would suggest you do to jumpstart your freelance writing career:
- Sign up on Upwork and set up your profile.
- Make a LinkedIn profile and begin networking.
- Subscribe to the Morning Coffee Newsletter.
- Start looking for jobs on ProBlogger.
- Join Fiverr and create your first gig.
Once you start joining freelance websites, you will want to make a schedule for job searching. (This is important because you can easily spend hours doing it.)
Try something like this:
- Spend 1 hour on Upwork 3 times a week.
- Spend 30 minutes networking on LinkedIn each day.
- Spend 1 hour on ProBlogger 3 times a week.
- Spend 30 minutes on Fiverr twice a week, scoping out your competition to optimize the gigs you have listed.
- Apply to at least 1 writing job from the Morning Coffee Newsletter each week.
You can adjust the time that you spend looking for jobs as you gain and lose clients, but this list provides a good starting point to help prevent job search burnout.
Perhaps the best advice I can give you is this: take your time. It takes time to find jobs and steady freelance writing work, and then it takes more time to build up your clients.
Then, it takes more time to figure out how to balance your work and your life.
Take the time to create unique and well-crafted pitches and proposals for each opportunity. Take the time to look for trustworthy and established clients. Take the time to hone your craft in your free time. Take the time to give your freelance business a well-built foundation so that it doesn’t crumble because of one lousy client.
Giving yourself the time to learn and grow as you build your freelance writing business is essential.
Slow and Steady Really Does Win the Race
I’ve already said that becoming a successful freelance writer is not easy – even I haven’t hit what I would consider the ‘peak’ of my career as a freelancer. It takes a certain kind of person to look for work consistently until the work becomes consistent. It takes hearing ‘no’ many times before you hear ‘yes.’
But when you start to see the fruits of your labor, you can rest easy because that is just the first harvest!
How did you land your first freelance writing client? What’s your favorite freelance website for finding jobs? Tell us in the comments below!
(And don’t forget to check back next week for the fourth and final blog in this series!)