This article gives some tips for finding work as a freelance writer on the Internet. It also gives suggestions about where to find additional information for freelancers.
If you are looking for work on the Internet as a freelance writer, you can get discouraged if you have worked for websites that do not value your time as a writer. Instead of playing “hit or miss” with websites, here is a list of some websites to try and some publications which might help you in your quest to become a full-time freelancer.
Elance.com and Guru.com
Both Elance.com and Guru.com have projects for writers. The projects encompass all sorts of writing, including ghostwriting, copy writing, creative writing, resume writing, and specialized writing such as legal writing. There is competition because you are bidding against other people for the same job, so your proposal has to stand out. It helps to create a strong profile so prospective employers will want to hire you.
It is important to be careful when choosing a prospective job. Look at the employer’s history. Has he or she awarded jobs in the past or is there a 0% listing for contractors actually hired? Caveat emptor, or “buyer beware” applies here. You can apply for these jobs, but they may not be awarded if the employer does not have a track record of hiring freelancers from the site. If you have a limited number of applications per month (each site has different limits for different levels of subscribers), you may want to bid on jobs where the employer has a good track record of hiring directly from the site.
Also be mindful of the amount the jobs are paying. Some of the jobs pay well; others do not. Is your time really worth $1.00 an article? A few of the jobs actually list that amount, as incredulous as it seems. The more freelancers accept positions paying so little, the more jobs paying $1.00 will be posted. It might be helpful for freelancers to walk away from such “offers” en masse so that prospective employers get the hint that our time is much more valuable than that.
Craigslist actually has some good jobs available, but this is truly a “hit or miss” approach. You have to really scrutinize the job listing because some of them are not worth the Internet space they take up. The old adage applies here—if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. However, just like a job search, there are good jobs and there are duds. Just remember never to give out personal information such as credit card and social security numbers.
Additionally, never pay anyone a fee to write for them. That doesn’t mean you can’t subscribe to Elance.com or Guru.com, which have free and paid memberships. It does mean, however, that before you accept a writing assignment from craigslist.com, make sure you’re not paying a fee to perform work for the employer; otherwise you’ve probably found a scam. There are scams all over the Internet—not just for writers—so caveat emptor applies here as well.
Content markets such as Examiner.com and Demand Studios
There are lots of content mills on the Internet. These online sites accept different types of articles for publication. Some of them require a lot of work for very little money, while others require strict adherence to guidelines and have time limits.
Look at some of the published articles before you decide to write for these online content markets. Make sure you are comfortable knowing what is required of you. For example, do you have to promote your own work or will the site do it for you? Decide what you are willing to do to write for these sites. There are literally hundreds of online content mills. While it’s a great way to break into freelance writing, some of them do not pay what you’re worth. Still others accept substandard content. Make sure you are comfortable with your choices.
Resources for Writers
There are some excellent books for freelance writers. One of them is The Wealthy Freelancer, by Slaunwhite, Savage and Gandia. Another is The Well-Fed Writer, by Peter Bowerman. Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and other sites have a long list of books for different types of writing, such as writing novels or copy writing. You may want to put some of these on your wish list.
You can get some great ideas from free digests sent to your email address on a weekly or monthly basis. Some of these free subscriptions are Worldwide Freelance Writer at www.wordwidefreelance.com, Writing Etc. at www.filbertpublishing.com, and Writing-World at www.writing-world.com. There’s also a day dedicated to freelancers entitled International Freelancers Day. This features free lectures on the subject of freelancing and it has its own Facebook page. The lectures are helpful and geared towards all types of freelancers, especially writers.
You are generally not going to become an overnight sensation as a freelancer, but if you stick with it, you may find that it can be a good source of income for you. The goal of it being your only source of income can be within reach if you choose your projects carefully.