One of the most challenging steps you’ll face as a newbie freelancer is figuring out where to find freelance content writing jobs. A few years ago, one of the only places to find consistent remote work was Upwork (and before that, it was Odesk and Elance). Upwork, of course, still exists, but it’s increasingly competitive and getting pricier for freelancers all the time. Although it can still offer a good place to kick off a freelance writing career, today, it’s just one option among many.
A few thoughts on Upwork
Upwork is the Craigslist for remote work. Anything you can arrange via a computer, from a remote location, can be advertised on Upwork. The platform has been around for over a decade (a millennium in the digital age) and launched the careers of many (including my own).
Why I moved off Upwork
But, I have moved entirely off Upwork in the last few years for a few reasons:
- The fees charged to freelancers on Upwork are unfair, in my opinion.
- The platform makes it challenging (even impossible) to move away from should you land a long-term client.
- It’s often hard to compete with other freelancers and still make a living wage.
There are, of course, still a few benefits to platforms like Upwork, and this isn’t to shame anyone from using it. If you are getting started, it can help you get a few projects under your belt, find your niche, and offer security in online transactions.
Just remember Upwork freelancer service fees take a significant cut of your earnings:
- 20% for the first $500 with a client
- 10% for between $500.01 and $10,000 with the client
- 5% for over $10,000
What if you want to avoid the fees? Where can you turn when you want to move off of Upwork or have a few more avenues to search for new freelance writing gigs?
7 places to find freelance content writing jobs beyond Upwork
Upwork is no longer the end-all-be-all of location-independent work. These days there are many more spaces to find freelance writing jobs than ever before. What I’ve learned in recent years as a freelance writer is to leverage online networks and lean into freelancing communities.
The following are a few suggestions and best bets for hunting for freelance content writing work. Depending on your skills, career, and niche, these communities may differ slightly. I am a female writer, and therefore some of the following are specifically for female writers.
Still, you can easily bend these parameters to whatever niche you fit into. Once you crack the code of these online communities, you’ll find dozens of places for suitable gigs.
1. Facebook Groups
Although I’ve never been a Facebook advocate, the social media platform is quite conducive to professional networking (and this is coming from someone with seven Facebook friends).
For example, as a female or female-identifying person, there are likely hundreds of professional groups catering to you. Check out your local Girl Gang group. These are communities that exist in dozens of metropolitan areas to offer networking and job opportunities for all types of entrepreneurial women.
For POC, the LGBTQI community, and women, there are other private groups for all types of gigs, writing, editing, journalists, marketers, and more. These offer more spaces to learn from others, find jobs, talk about rates, and get support for client dilemmas.
Don’t be afraid to work these community groups to your advantage. Do you want to learn a new skill? Want to question a strange client interaction? Want to know if a rate is fair? Ask your community.
If I’ve learned anything over the last few years, it’s that editors live on Twitter. As a writer, it’s an excellent resource for finding editors, pitching editors, and catching calls for pitches.
If you have a specific publication you’d like to pitch, your first destination should be Twitter. Google “publication name” + “editor,” and you’ll quickly find the right person. Editors always have a Twitter account. Follow these people and catch timely tweets for when they are actively looking for pitches.
Soon, you’ll find your Twitter feed filled with places to pitch and freelance-friendly publications. Twitter is a world full of ideas and opportunities for writers. When in doubt, scan Twitter for #pitches.
Podcasting is not just for murder mysteries, news, and Joe Rogan. It’s now where you can boost your skillset and find a community within your line of work. Do a little digging and find regular podcasts on SEO, marketing, social media, content writing, copywriting, and whatever else floats your boat.
By bumbling my way through the podcast verse, I’ve found many of the job boards and communities mentioned here that have helped me find freelance writing jobs. Several of my top-rated podcasts as a location independent worker and writer include Ed Gandia’s High Income Business Writing Podcast and Tropical MBA.
As a writer, I’ve also landed in several online communities with free-educational content (and sometimes significantly more through the paywall). MediaBistro is one of these examples, offering a “job board, community, and career destination for media and content professionals.” I have taken several of their classes and am continually browsing their job board.
Again many of the resources, including the job board, are free, but the MediaBistro Unlimited Membership is $119.88/year or $14.99/month.
In my opinion, Medium is like a blog but better because you didn’t have to spend all the time and resources to build a readership. Write about whatever you want, when you want, and potentially make money thanks to their payment structure.
Medium is like a pre-built, well-respected, and well-read collection of writers. There are hundreds of Medium-specific publications that curate or write content around specific topics. Two popular examples include “The Mission” and “Better Humans.” Sometimes these Medium publications pay writers to create content, sometimes they drive your monthly payouts based on increased readership.
Medium is an excellent place to keep the work you are passionate about, with a byline. So long as you work within the Medium Partnership program, there is the potential to earn a little income. It’s a great space to build a readership and to get noticed.(Note: You’ll need to publish at least one story and have 100 followers to qualify for the program).
Annual membership is $50 or $5 a month.
6. Dynamite Jobs
Built by the people behind Tropical MBA podcasts, the Dynamite Job Board (and newsletter) is an excellent resource for remote gigs of all sorts. Companies posting to this job board tend to follow the Tropical MBA values (value location independence, value creativity and entrepreneurship, and a work-life balance). The team is picky about who posts positions here, which offers a bit of added security.
It’s free to browse and apply.
7. Paid Patreon Newsletters
Over the years, I have stumbled on several jam-packed newsletters curated by fellow writers. Two worth particular notes are Sonia Weiser’s “Opportunities of the Week” and Study Hall’s “Digest + Work Opportunities + Listserv” newsletter.
The fine folks browse the internet for calls for contributions, new jobs, and awesome-paying gigs. For a small monthly Patreon contribution (usually under $5), you get new work opportunities delivered straight to your mailbox.
Robin Bull, from Confessions From the Couch, also updates a list for writers and bloggers. This page is “updated weekly…and sometimes multiple times per week!” It used to be available only through Patreon, but Bull has graciously offered it for free these days. Don’t forget to send Confessions From the Couch some support should you land a paid gig from this list.
Find freelance content writing jobs and grow your biz
Although this non-exhaustive list leans towards the female content writer, I think there is a little inspiration here for everyone. I guarantee there is a Facebook group, podcast, and newsletter waiting for you – no matter what your demographic, skillset, or writing niche. If you want to see our latest resource, check out our blog—25 legit ways to find freelance writing jobs in 2022.
With more avenues for freelance content writing jobs beyond Upwork, the next step is to start applying. The more applications you send out, the more responses you’ll get. It’s only a matter of time before you land one.
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