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Ready to start a freelance writing career? I highly recommend Gina Horkey’s 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success. It really will teach you everything you need to know to start earning money as a freelancer!
Being a busy mom means I don’t have much time to devote to my business. I’m definitely a part-time freelancer.
And when I’m searching for freelance writing gigs, so many of them make me cringe.
If I took these jobs, I’d be on the computer all day long, and get burnt out before too long. I’d be working all day and not earning much. I’d probably lose heart in my business and be tempted to quit.
All because I accepted the wrong types of gigs.
I’m sure you’ve seen ads similar to the ones I’m talking about. These crazy people and businesses expect writers to:
- Be on call for new assignments
- Finish a post within half an hour of receiving the task
- Write well researched content for the “competitive” rate of $0.01/word
- Produce three posts each day, seven days a week
- Have a massive social media following to promote posts
- Write just for the experience, you know, for free
- Be available for Skype meetings during all business hours
- Regularly research topics in which they have no experience
As a mom to 11, I don’t even bother applying to gigs like these. I know they’ll end up consuming my life.
And life’s too short to spend it all in front of a computer writing about topics I don’t enjoy, for people who don’t care, for very little money.
Again, if you’re looking for an amazing course to help you learn how to get started as a freelancer, I highly recommend Gina Horkey’s 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success. It’s the course I took back in 2015, and I made my investment back within a couple of weeks.
Things to Look for in Freelance Writing Gigs
Now that you know what kinds of ads I don’t respond to, let’s talk about some details that are essential for when you want to find freelance writing gigs that won’t require you to give up your life.
As a freelance writer, you’re not a doctor or a plumber. You don’t want to be on call. Or have to sit around all day at the beck and call of a client.
Similarly, you don’t want to have to rush to knock out an assignment in thirty minutes. Quality suffers when you’re rushing.
So when looking for gigs, search for ones where the editors are more flexible.
Yes, you still will have deadlines. And you need to know when your assignments are due, and get them in on time. But, YOU should help establish those deadlines.
That way you can work on it around your schedule, not when someone else dictates. Make sure that the freelance writing jobs you take on give you the flexibility you need.
Clients Who Aren’t Super Demanding
You can’t always tell what your clients will be like until you’ve worked together for a bit. But, if you find out they’re super demanding, you don’t have to keep working for them once you’ve finished up the content you agreed to.
Here are signs to watch for:
- A client who frequently calls without scheduling
- Or emails at all hours and expects an immediate response
- A client who frequently asks for revisions that change the scope of the initial project
- Or wants you to “rewrite” content they’ve found online
- A gut feeling that says no
Trust your gut — if something sounds too good to be true or just seems off, it’s wise to listen and reevaluate the situation to look for red flags.
And remember to set boundaries–otherwise you’re letting your client know you don’t respect yourself. That means they might not respect you either!
When I first launched my writing career, I took jobs that paid very little. I didn’t have confidence in myself at that time. As I’ve written more and gained experience, my confidence has grown. I know that writing is a skill that shouldn’t be paid for in pennies a word.
Here’s what I tell myself – maybe it will help you as well…
As a busy mom, you can do plenty of things with your time. If you take time away from your family to work on your business, that task needs to help pay the bills.
Once you establish your portfolio and have some clients, it’s time to start increasing your prices. Raising your rates is a good thing, so don’t feel scared. Yes, you might lose a client or two. But you’ll replace them with better ones!
Remind yourself that better-paying gigs are out there!
My Best Tips to Find Freelance Writing Gigs
We’ve covered the basics on what jobs not to take and what to look for. But how do you go about actually finding the ones you want?
Here are my three best tips for landing good freelance writing gigs.
1. Pitch! Even if you aren’t 100% qualified
If you aren’t pitching, you aren’t going to land gigs. But, we often hold ourselves back, only applying for gigs where we meet every requirement.
Challenge yourself to apply to more gigs, even if there are a couple of bullet points in the job description you don’t meet.
In your pitch, remember to:
- Sound confident. Don’t be wishy-washy.
- Use terms like “quick learner” or “similar experience” if they apply.
- Tell the truth without embellishment.
In addition, you’ll want to look for gigs that look interesting to you. Because if you enjoy the work, it won’t feel like as much of a chore to get it written.
Wondering where to find gigs?
You have a few options for finding gigs as a beginner. The ones I use most are job boards and networking. But cold pitching is a solid way to land gigs as well. Let’s look at each of these in more detail:
Freelance Writing Job Boards
I found my first writing gig on a job board. Over the years, I’ve found lots more work on them. The one on ProBlogger is my favorite. I’ve also applied to several from Contena. However, its prices have risen substantially since 2015, and if I didn’t have a lifetime membership, I’d likely not want to pay for this service.
If you’re bootstrapping your business, free job boards are a better place to start. Don’t let a lack of funds convince you that you can’t find decent freelance writing gigs!
Most of my gigs now come from relationships I’ve built over time. They come from other writers I know or as referrals from clients who I used to work for.
Take the time to build relationships – they’re so important!
Other writers are not your competition. They are your coworkers. Treat them as such, and you never know what friendships you’ll create. Or how you’ll get some great leads from these other writers.
You can also cold pitch companies. If the thought terrifies you, think about local businesses for which you could create content, and start there. Having some background information about the type of content you’d create can help give you confidence.
Then you can branch out into other businesses.
Other Ways to Find Work
Here are some other places to find freelance writing gigs:
- Craigslist (use the “Gigs” section of major cities like New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles)
- Facebook Groups (many people will share their excess work in online communities, so start building relationships!)
- Social media (search for #needwriters or #writerswanted to start)
- Email newsletters (it’s the first way I advertised when I started paying for guest posts, and many other small businesses do the same. They want someone who already knows the brand.)
- Business owners you know – they may not need you, but they might be willing to refer you to someone else. Your network can be a powerful ally for you!
2. Have Patience
My best freelance gig to date came to me six months after I pitched. When I got the email, I had to do some quick research even to remember which company this was.
You never know when the opportunity will present itself, so don’t give up prematurely. While you wait, keep pitching!
You can’t throw your hands in the air and say, I’m just going to wait for them to come to me. It might not happen for quite a while!
3. Do Your Best, Always!
Did you sign up for a gig that isn’t quite what you thought? Are you undercharging for a piece you’ve already quoted?
No matter what, do your best work. If you are able, finish what you said you’d do. Keep giving your best consistently. Even on the jobs you don’t really like.
Because in freelancing, quality matters. There are plenty of people who can write junk. Don’t be one of them.
Keep doing your best time after time, and eventually, people will notice.
- You’ll be more likely to get quality references.
- Clients will be more likely to pass your name along.
- Or give you a promotion and raise.
- And of course, you will feel good knowing that you’ve done your best. Even if nothing comes from it right now.
You Can Earn Money as a Freelance Writer – Even as a Busy Mom!
You don’t have to have a ton of time to impact your family’s financial situation positively. Freelance writing seriously changed my life – and it can change yours too.
When I started, my family was well below the poverty line. We were barely making ends meet. And now we are living comfortably on my income. We aren’t rich by any stretch of the imagination. But we are completely debt free, and the future is bright.
Don’t let being busy stop you. Streamline your life. Cut a few non-essentials. Ask yourself what a better future is worth, and then go for it.
You can do this.
And if you need a great course that’ll teach you how to confidently pitch for gigs, check out 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success!