Both beginner and experienced writers struggle to find consistent freelance writing jobs. The truth is, except for regular releases such as social media posts, articles, or newsletters, many writing jobs are temporary. However, often freelancers would rather not take full-time jobs.
Recurring clients and referrals are the saving grace of experienced freelance writers, but what about beginners? How can any freelance writer find and maintain enough clients for sustainable income? Here are some tips on finding clients.
Maintain A Portfolio
It is not true that only experienced writers have a writing portfolio. You are probably confident to some degree about your writing skills, or you would not be entering the freelance writer space. If you are a new writer and do not have articles or pieces publicly shared, maintain your own public portfolio.
One way to do this is to open your own blog. It does not even need to be heavily marketed or overly decorated. It just needs to be professional enough so that you can display your writing skills in various niches, including technical writing, creative writing, interest pieces, and the like.
You get to show off your writing style and increase the possibility of finding new clients who value what you value and appreciate what you have.
One con is that you need to spend some time on it; you need at least 5 to 10 articles to make it look populated.
The pro is that it makes it easy for you to send your portfolio to potential clients.
Create A Social Media Platform
Another way to find freelance writing jobs is to have a social media platform that you can be found on. It is easy enough to make a Facebook Page or an additional Instagram account.
A major pro is that potential clients will be able to message you personally without you needing to give out your email address or mobile number.
One con, on the other hand, is that you will need to post every once in a while.
A suggestion for a beginning account is for you to post 9 to 12 times, enough for a full Instagram grid and just enough for a healthy Facebook page.
Join Freelance Communities
There are quite a few freelance communities and groups, especially on social media platforms, that you can join. Many share freelance writing job postings, others share tips, and you also get to learn about the many industries that require freelance writers.
If you are new to the freelance writing world, this is important. There are SEO writers, bloggers, social media content writers, technical writers, ghostwriters, e-book writers; the list goes on and on.
The more industries you know that need freelance writers, the easier it will be for you to approach organizations and pitch yourself to find freelance writing jobs.
One pro is that you will have access to job postings and to tips about different freelance writing platforms or clients that you don’t want to be a part of.
A significant con may be that you have competitors for those job postings, or that you end up not applying because you feel intimidated by the other writers.
Our advice: Just go for it!
Create Profiles On Job-Posting Sites
One thing that a profile on a job-posting site gives you is a good summary of your experience and expertise on a public platform, easy for you to share and easy for clients to find.
Some sites require a quick aptitude or personality test for freelance writing jobs, which allows you to match more specifically with clients.
One con is that you will need to spend time in setting up the profile, getting verified, and then matching with the right clients. Many times you will send out multiple messages, and not be noticed by any.
However, the pro is that the website itself vouches for your expertise and qualifications, as it needs to verify you and technically promote you by making you discoverable in the freelance writing business.
Do Minimal Branding
If you already have a blog site and/or a social media platform showcasing your writing services, make yourself either memorable or recognizable with minimal branding. It does not have to be over-the-top.
We would suggest two or three brand colors in various combinations, and a maximum of two brand fonts (one header and one body font).
The pro of this is that you automatically look professional and credible, which will mean a lot to the clients browsing dozens of freelance writer profiles to find a match.
The con is that you need to decide on the brand colors and brand fonts, as they will follow you as your opportunities expand.
If a color and font combination no longer pleases you when you add freelance writing jobs, you will need to carefully communicate the rebrand so that old and new clients can still find you.
If you are cold-calling, -emailing, or -messaging anyone, make sure that each message is personalized. If you are messaging an organization that writes about healthy foods, share why healthy food is something that you would like to write about.
If you are messaging an organization that looks for ghostwriters, emphasize how you are able to replicate a writer’s style to to their specifications.
The pro of personalizing messages is that the client will be able to tell that you, at the very least, know what they need and what they stand for. The con, of course, is that personalizing messages takes time and attention when it comes to finding freelance writing jobs.
Typographical errors are the biggest challenge when it comes to copy-pasting messages, so be sure to proofread everything before applying for freelance writing work.
Contact Other Freelancers In Related Industries
The deeper you dive into the freelance writing life, the clearer it should become that many many industries need to hire freelancers, writers with a specific writing niche, and that writers work with many other roles and positions.
Make friends with freelance proofreaders and editors in various industries. Connect with illustrators and layout artists whose clients might be offering copywriting jobs.
Freelancers often have lists, official or unofficial, of other freelancers they can recommend to their clients. These may be friends, or just people they enjoyed working with.
If you are one of these, you will benefit greatly from connecting with them and letting them know you are open to work.
The con might be if your circle becomes too small, as your group can become overloaded with projects and become less efficient or productive as a result.
If you want to get your name out there, at the very least searchable on Google, look out for guest writing opportunities.
While these may not be paid opportunities (a con), you will technically be promoted for free by the blog you are guesting on (a pro). Public writing samples in the form of guest posts are exactly what you need.
You may also be discovered by clients who actively look for guest bloggers to hire.
Let Family Members and Friends Know Your Skills
It is as simple as an email signature update, or a social media platform line. Family members and friends enjoy updating one another, and someone somewhere might drop a line about what you do and what you write and you can find clients in this way.
Make sure to keep your blog handy or mention a website you’ve written for, so they have a reference especially for article writing!
One possible con is that you get pulled into a freelance writing job for a friend of a friend or a family member for a reduced rate; the pro is exposure and the possibility of more clients.
Follow Up With Past or Potential Clients
To maintain your freelance writing career, if you have a past client that you know has other projects in the pipeline, or if you have a potential client you were already able to meet, don’t hesitate to follow up with them to find writing jobs.
With past clients, don’t forget to ask how they are and what they are up to; it’s awkward to have that part of the conversation after you mention looking for projects.
With a potential client, be clear and polite; mention that you are planning for the months ahead and would like to know if you will be making time for their project.
The pro of this method is that you maintain the relationship with these clients, whether or not they have projects for this.
The con is that it calls for a level of acceptance that you might not be the freelance writer they are looking for, and that it might be time to move on to other clients.
Maintain Relationships with Other Freelance Writers
Freelance writers are one another’s best competition and strongest supporters. No one freelance writer can take on every single opportunity presented to them, and they are a great resource for you.
Experienced freelancers, however, usually have trusted new freelance writers they can recommend to current and potential clients.
Should you have a chance to meet or work with another freelance writer, stay in touch socially or at least on social media platforms.
React to their posts, offer support and encouragement. As you stay on their radar, they may open their contacts to you.
The pro is that you widen your circle of clients; one con is that you need to live up to the expectations of the client.
Consider Volunteer Writing for Non-Profits
Another way to have your byline out there, especially if there is a cause you are interested in, is to volunteer your freelance services as a writer for nonprofit websites or newsletters. First check if they do bylines and how they credit their writers.
Reach out, explaining your interest, your hope to volunteer, and propose several topics. Nonprofits thrive on volunteers; it might be a good way to get started!
The con of course is that you don’t get paid; a pro is that the right partnership can get you the right kind of writing exposure.
All of the tips here take some work to do properly and get more clients with. All of them take time, others may take money.
The most important part is that you know your own strengths in writing and what kind of writing you want to do. You know how to support clients and are willing to network.
With consistency, determination, and very wide nets, you will find the clients that you want to write for. Just remember that you need to invest.
Best of luck on your freelance writing journey!