As a writer with over 12 years of professional experience, with three of those years spent figuring out how to own and operate my own small copywriting business, I have plenty of folks ask me how I do what I do. When I meet new people, and they ask what my occupation is, the easy answer to give is “writer” or “copywriter,” though the sum of my work emcompasses so much more than simply writing a few paragraphs, having my coffee, petting my cat, and calling it a day (or whatever non-writers think writers do)!
That said, writing does make up at least half my income in a good month, and my years spent clacking away at keyboards, word processors, and even typewriters have enabled me to grow my own little business into what accountants term as “viable.”
Starting your own writing business isn’t easy – in fact, it can be a bit intimidating, especially if you’re a newbie freelance writer. Selecting your business formation, whether or not you’ll have partners, figuring out if you need to rent office space and/or seek out childcare, all so you can have your ducks in a row, can be an arduous process.
Combine those details with the added stress of being a newbie writer, and you have a recipe for anxiety! Don’t worry – actually finding freelance writing jobs for beginners to get a portfolio going is the easy part! What will be difficult is figuring out how to start turning down clients when you really get those writing muscles strong.
To help you get started as a new freelance writer, we’ve compiled a list of websites and publications that offer freelance writing jobs for beginners, and will help you on your way to the top of the writing heap. Read on, wordsmiths.
Freelance Writing Jobs For Beginners – 10 Resources
#1 – Upwork
Upwork is probably one of the most well-known, if not the most well-known freelancing website. With jobs for writers, designers, developers, and more, Upwork is a freelancer’s go-to. I honestly can’t remember the last time I got a job through Upwork, as I primarily work through word-of-mouth, SEO, and my own business development. But Upwork takes care of a lot of that work for you. You sign up for a profile, set up your portfolio/links, and then you can start applying for job postings and/or employers can seek you out for an interview.
#2 – Writer’s Domain
Writer’s Domain lays out all its steps on the website homepage: Register. Submit a writing sample. Get paid. Seems pretty easy.
Unfortunately, when I tried to register, the website said it wasn’t accepting English/North America writers, and that I would have to be put on a waitlist. The French and Spanish writer waitlists were also closed, but all other applications were open, including for Australian and U.K. English writers.
That said, if you live in America but are familiar with writing for Australian clients or United Kingdom customers, then go ahead and apply! It certainly can’t hurt.
#3 – Textbroker
On Textbroker, you sign up as an author to start earning income. Signing up took me less than one minute, and I like that they included “sole proprietorship” as an option when selecting whether you were an individual or business – so many of these websites make you choose without allowing you the options to define your writing business.
After signing up, you do have to submit a writing sample to “set your quality rating.” Unfortunately, you have to submit a writing sample and be approved in that sense before you’re allowed to view the available jobs. The good news is, there seems to be a fair amount of work to go around, especially if you have multiple specialties or writing niches. I selected quite a few niches, going off of what I had written on in the past, and that seemed to pay off.
#4 – Remote.Co
Remote.Co is basically a job search website like Indeed, LinkedIn, or FlexJobs, but it specializes in remote and freelance work. Keep in mind that sometimes, even scams get through to these perfectly reputable websites; for example, I just saw a wordy job posting for a company who wanted writers who have “never been paid to write” – my first thought was, “Hm, I bet their rates are extremely low!” and guess what? They were.
Be vigilant, and make sure you’re getting paid what you’re worth! Even if you’ve never been paid to write before, the fact that you’re even reading this article means that you have some skills, and you deserve to be paid for your time!
Go here to check out Remote.Co for yourself.
#5 – Working Nomads
This is one I hadn’t heard about until I started doing research for this article, but I’m glad I found it! Working Nomads is a well-laid-out website that provides job listings for writers that I haven’t seen previously – and believe me, I scour job boards daily, because, as we all know, the hustle is real. This may be my own new go-to job board!
Go here to check out Working Nomads.
#6 – Freelancer
Freelancer has a variety of jobs that pay a plethora of amounts – anywhere from $10 – $750 or more. In order to “win” a project, you have to bid on it, which requires you to take Freelancer’s certification tests (like English language tests, writing tests, etc.), and credits to bid with. You have to pay for exams, which cost around $5/exam. You can also sponsor your bid so that the employer sees it first for $4.99. Freelancer also shows off your project completion rate on your profile.
Go here to check out Freelancer.
#7 – Guru
For the “Basic” (i.e., free) plan on Guru, you get 120 bids per year with a job “fee” of 8.95%, meaning that Guru takes almost 10% of the total job cost. This is very important information to keep in mind when bidding on jobs and/or setting your rates on this platform! I would take my normal rate and simply add 8.95% or more, considering you don’t get many bids per year on the free plan.
Go here to check out Guru.
#8 – iFreelance
Hot tip: there are more writing opportunities available in the “Subcategories” section of iFreelance. Maybe it’s a slow month, but when I checked out the freelancers’ haven, I didn’t see very many opportunities other than in the translation category. But that’s great news, if you’re a writer and a translator!
Go here to check out iFreelance.
#9 – BloggingPro
BloggingPro looks like the child of Indeed and Working Nomads. There seem to be new gigs I haven’t seen anywhere else, and I know that in many writers’ forums I belong to, other writers frequently use this website. I like following what other writers do and learn from the best, and I’ve always had good experiences with Blogging Pro!
Go here to check out BloggingPro.
#10 – Freelance Writing Gigs
I’ve used the Freelance Writing Gigs website for years and have gotten some solid clients off of it – meaning, these clients pay on-time and I still write for many of them! That’s not to say that you won’t find some bad apples on any of these websites – be sure to thoroughly vet your clients before signing on to do work with them, no matter how much money they offer, or how much you need the portfolio boost. It’s not worth it to sign on with a bad client, do a ton of work, and not get paid!
That said, Freelance Writing Gigs is one of my favorite websites. They post new gigs on Mondays and Tuesdays, so be sure to check in early on those days – pretty much any freelance writer knows about Freelance Writing Gigs, so they’re going to be on that website early at the start of the week; basically, I’m saying that you’ve got competition, and it’s all about getting your inquiry emails out early!
If you go to the homepage, click on the link that says, “Freelance Writing Jobs,” with the most recent date. If a listing is older than a week, the job poster likely found a writer.
Go here to check out the Freelance Writing Gigs website.
Other Options For Freelance Writing Newbies
For those of you with a true entrepreneurial spirit, you can certainly go find your own clients! I like to use LinkedIn to do cold outreach and connect with folks who are decision-makers at their companies. I also use Indeed and even Craigslist to find writing gigs. I focus my efforts on cities that have “remote ok” (or some similar language) in the listing, so I know that working from home isn’t an issue, and I also tend to look at cities with a higher cost of living.
Many of my clients are on the West Coast, so are used to paying higher prices (i.e., they’re generally not going to balk at my rates, because they understand my value!).
To be completely honest, the most success I’ve found is when I’ve just reached out to folks to see what their needs are – AngelList is another great resource, and one that often posts jobs. AngelList is a website that lists new businesses and startups that fit into that keyword I mentioned earlier: viable. This is key. These are businesses that have seed funding (typically over $1M) and often, even more than that; I like using AngelList, because to put it bluntly, I know that the businesses listed have the funds to pay my rates.
Additionally, I always keep myself open to negotiation when it comes to rates. Many writers think that going below your standard rate means that you’re undercutting your value (and others’) in the industry. I can see these writers’ points, however I need to feed my family! Writing for a lesser rate typically doesn’t bother me, especially if it’s an interesting project or a good client. “Good” clients can be hard to come by, and I’d rather work for slightly less for a client who never pays me late versus getting promised my highest rate and wait for months to be paid.
As a new writer and potential business owner, you’ll need to decide what works best for you, whether it’s simply signing up for one of the above websites offering freelance writing jobs for beginners and waiting for the clients to roll in, or whether you want to go out after clients yourself – for the record, I recommend the latter.
Happy writing and business-owning!