9 Proven Ways to Get Your First Freelance Writing Gig

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Find out how you can get freelance writing jobs if you're a beginner and use your writing skills to make money from home.

Your first writing gig may be your most important one. It may also be the toughest one to get.

As a freelance writer, clients want to see that you have experience.  However, if you're new to freelance writing, then you may not have any experience to share. It's a frustrating circle.

The good news is that there are several ways to get that first writing gig and get the valuable experience that you need to make money as a freelance writer.

Let's talk about how to get your first writing client and then how to step things up and get more writing gigs.

#1 Freelance sites and freelance job sites

Job sites provide you with the opportunity to gain a freelance job. The downside to many freelance job sites is that they often don't pay well.

However, if you're looking to build your portfolio and your experience then the fee is secondary. You can quickly get the experience that you need through freelance sites.

Here are some tips to get writing work through freelance sites:

  • Only bid on projects you are qualified for.
  • Mention that you are a skilled writer and are looking for opportunities to demonstrate your expertise and establish your reputation as a skilled writer.
  • Bidding low will increase your chances of being selected and getting the experience you need to get better-paid writing jobs in the future.

Job boards and freelance sites specializing in freelance writing jobs

Using job boards is a good starting point for finding freelance writing jobs – especially if you're just getting started. Unlike freelance sites, you don't need to bid on job boards. You respond to the ads. There are free and paid job boards.

The job boards and freelance sites below specialize in posting freelance writing jobs. They will give you a good idea of what kind of writing jobs are out there.

  • Blogging Pro
  • ProBlogger Job Board – This is one of the most active job boards for blogging-related jobs. Freelance writers have reported getting higher-paying writing jobs here. You'll find many gigs for blog post writers, editors, proofreaders, copywriters, ghostwriters, researchers, content marketers, SEO consultants, and more.
  • Contena – This job board is one of the best places to find well-paying, freelance writing jobs. You can also find content, editing, and blogging gigs.
  • nDash – How to become a writer at nDash
  • Toptal  – Apply as a freelancer with Toptal 
  • The Freelancer by Contently – Register to Freelance with Contently
  • iWriter  – iWriter works on a rating system. You can earn up to $80 per 500 words once you're promoted up the ranks. You can choose the topics you want to write about.
  • TextBroker  –  TextBroker gets over 100,000 content orders every month and gives beginners and experienced writers access to thousands of writing opportunities. You can write a broad variety of content and choose when and how much you write. They also work on a rating system. Your earnings per word will depend on your quality level. Or you can set your own rate per work regardless of your quality level.
  • Constant Content –  Create a profile, then browse and claim writing jobs that match your interests, expertise, and rate. You can set your own price. They claim that their top writers earn up to $90,000 per year.
  • Freelance Writing Jobs
  • Freedom with Writing
  • All Freelance Writing (job board)
  • Journalism Jobs

More Job sites/job boards for freelancers

  • ZipRecruiter
  • FlexJobs (paid job board)
  • Virtual Vocations (paid job board)
  • Craigslist – Do a search at your local Craigslist to find writing jobs.
  • Dice is a job posting site for technical positions and may occasionally have postings for tech writers.
  • We Work Remotely  – Some of the remote writing jobs I saw there include freelance WordPress content writing for Ellipsis Marketing LTD, and freelance essay writing at Livingston Research.

Job aggregators

Job aggregators are meta-search job engines that aggregate job postings from other sites. Your search will pull up results from many sites, job boards, newspaper job postings, company career pages, recruiter sites, and more. When using a job aggregator, you'll find more results and you'll save a lot of time. Instead of searching several job boards every day, you can just use one job aggregator. If you're only looking for writing jobs, I would recommend searching the job boards and freelance sites that specialize in writing jobs. But if you're open to a variety of work from home, you'll get more results from job aggregators.

  • Indeed.com, the largest job search aggregator, aggregates job postings from job boards both online and offline. Indeed includes contract positions and work-at-home jobs.
  • SimplyHired
  • CareerJet
  • LinkedIn Jobs: Did you know that LinkedIn has a huge job board that scrapes career sites and job postings on the internet?
  • JobRobot: This biggest German-language aggregator is useful to find European job opportunities.

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Here are some popular freelance sites:

  • Guru
  • Upwork – the largest marketplace for online freelancers has thousands of writing jobs available and is one of the best sites to find freelance writing jobs.
  • Freelancer
  • People Per Hour
  • Fiverr – A quick search on Fiverr for writing services came up with many types of writing jobs, including writing articles and blog posts, website content, podcast writing, book & ebook writing, technical writing, SEO writing, creative writing, email copy, product descriptions, resumes and cover letters, sales copy, press releases, scriptwriting, white papers, case studies, speechwriting, and many more. I'm sure you'll find some writing gig in this list that you can offer.

See my blog post with more popular freelance sites.

Grammarly The #1 Writing Tool

#2 Be Active on Social Media

Social media is a free and effective way to get the attention of freelance writing clients.  Use social media to network with potential clients, get traffic to your site, promote your writing services, and find writing jobs.

  • Pinterest – One of the best ways to get tons of free traffic.
  • Facebook – Find specialized Facebook Groups.
  • LinkedIn 
  • Twitter
  • YouTube and more.

Many writers are getting writing gigs through LinkedIn and Facebook Groups.

#3 Do Some Free Work 

Non-profit organizations need help. Your valuable writing skills can benefit them and give you the experience you need. And people who work for non-profit organizations are generally very good about paying it forward. When you do a great job for them they may become your best referral source.

Churches and non-profits are not the only ones that need help. Contact local publications. Their testimonial can give you some extra credibility.

Provide quality work – even when doing free work. This will get you your first samples and testimonials that will help you get paying clients.

#4 Do Spec Work

Some freelance providers can benefit by doing work on spec. This means the client doesn't pay for the work unless they like it. They pay you if they use your work. It seems risky, but whether you get paid or not, you're getting material for your portfolio. Ask for referrals from people you know to get work like this.

Getting More Clients As You Get More Experience

How many clients do you want to have? Do you want a full schedule, 40 hours or more a week? Or do you want just a few clients annually? Part of building a freelance business that meets your goals is to focus on marketing your business and getting more clients. Here are a few tips and strategies to get more clients for your freelance business.

#5 Network

network to get freelance writing jobs

Networking both online and off is a fantastic way to build a solid freelancing business. Online and offline you can connect with potential clients and partners. Partnerships with other freelancers can be extremely profitable.

For example, if you're a web content writer, you might partner with a graphic designer to create complete website packages for your clients.

And when you know other business owners and build those connections, you never know where work or referrals will come from. And speaking of referrals, that's the next point.

#6 Referrals

Word of mouth is excellent. It truly helps build a freelance business because the testimonials for your business is coming from someone else. You can encourage word of mouth by offering a referral bonus. For example, any client that sends a new client to you gets a percentage off their next project. You can maintain your referral business and track referrals by simply asking each new client how they've heard about you.

#7 Showcase Your Freelance Portfolio or Resume

show your writing portfolio

Having a winning portfolio is one of the best ways to get more clients and establish your credibility. Your portfolio or resume helps establish credibility. It gives potential prospects some confidence that you can do the job.

Put your portfolio on your website or blog. Post writing samples but make sure you have permission from clients to do so. List the companies you've worked with.

When applying for specific writing jobs, it's important to target your resume to the particular writing job or work you're applying for. The more targeted your resume is, the more effective it will be. Include information showing relevant skills or knowledge about their topics or industry. And emphasize those in your resume.

#8 Guest Posting

Guest blogging is writing original content that will be published on someone else’s blog. Writing guest posts is a great way to get exposure through your author byline and build your portfolio.

Find high-traffic, popular blogs, contact them, and offer to write unique, quality articles about subjects that interest their readers. In exchange, you will get a byline where you can promote your freelance blogging services and a link to your blog that will give you exposure.

#9 Build a Website or Blog

build a website

Many writers start with freelance sites and rely on their profiles from those sites, but don't get stuck there. I recommend getting your own website or blog so that clients can come to you when they need you instead of having to chase down work all the time.

Having a website allows you to show your portfolio, showcase your specialty and skills, provide links to relevant posts, grow your mailing list of potential clients, and gives your clients an easy place to refer new clients to.

Make sure your website includes your portfolio, testimonials/references, about me page, services page, pricing information, contact information, policies and procedure page, FAQ page, and contact page.

But most importantly, make sure it shows why you're the go-to person for your type of writing service. Stand apart from the crowd and you're more likely to attract the precise client you're looking for.

You can get your first-year domain name registration for free
from Bluehost if you're hosting with them.

Don't know how to build a website or blog? Read my blog post here, How to Set Up a Money-Making Blog.

Don't know how to build a list? Read my blog post, How to Build a List and Automate Your Email Marketing to Explode Sales.

As you probably already know, there are abundant opportunities for freelance writers online. You just have to get out there and get them.

What to Do Next to Get Your First Writing Jobs:

Get some of the resources below. I've included free and paid writing resources I recommend.  Taking quality specialized courses will help you get writing jobs faster.


There is a lot of information available about how to get started in getting writing work from home.

Related Posts:

If you're interested in writing jobs from home, you might also want to read my blog post about finding freelance blogging jobs

Many writers are interested in getting proofreading jobs. Here are some articles about getting proofreading jobs.


  • The Freelance Writers Den. The Freelance Writers Den is the premier online resource for writers looking to launch and build lucrative freelance writing careers. They provide courses, bootcamps, coaching, live events, recordings, templates, forums, and more for writers to help you grow your writing income.
  • AWAI – American Writers & Artists, Inc. Learn how to begin writing for money and find freelance writing jobs with American Writers & Artists Inc.  AWAI has a variety of training programs for writers, from copywriting courses to training sessions and programs for travel writing, visual communication skills, and more. Their goal is to help writers expand their skills and abilities to make money with freelance jobs that fit their talents.

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