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Freelance writing is one of the easiest fields to get into as a beginner.
If you have a basic grasp of grammar and passable writing skills there’s a writing job for you.
This article details the beginner writing jobs available to you and what you need to do to qualify for each company.
Content mills are where many beginners start their journey. They can concentrate purely on writing because the company you work for deals with the hassle of getting the clients themselves. You will typically report to an editor, who will be your primary contact point.
Most content mills have different levels, which are based on your writing ability. Over time you will be able to access higher paying articles.
The majority of content mills give you a basic rate of $0.01/word and pay via PayPal. However, higher paying articles are available, which is why it’s not uncommon to see professional writers continuing to work with content mills.
Article Document is a content mill that requires you to work your way up your chosen niche. You should stick to one niche when you work for them, at least in the beginning. You don’t see where your article is going to be posted and you only see the title, the deadline, and any additional information, such as keywords.
Keep in mind that you can be paid through revenue share and directly via ghostwriting. You can also connect your social media accounts to earn additional funds through social media assignments.
Applying to Article Document is simple. You just have to fill in some basic personal information and a US zip code. Once your application has been confirmed you’ll receive an automatic content rating of 5/10. From here you can earn from $0.03/word up to $0.10/word and beyond.
Blogmutt is a content mill that is different than most of the others. There are no specific titles and no editors. Your work is reviewed directly by the client and you’re required to come up with the titles based on keywords and some sample links. This requires you to think outside the box as you have far more creative freedom.
The standard post length is about 350 words, which pays a flat rate of $8. The larger pool of writers has meant that getting paid via PayPal can take a few days. What’s not mentioned is that you only get paid if the client chooses your article, which means the only way to get paid is to make your work stand out from other writers.
Keep in mind that Blogmutt is not asking for specialized writing. All you have to do is provide a writing sample. If that writing sample has the basics of grammar and punctuation covered you’ll be accepted.
Speedlancer is one content mill that reached mainstream news, with features done on it with Business Insider. The concept of Speedlancer is that no task will ever take longer than four hours. They estimate that good writers can complete every article in no more than 90 minutes. They pay much better than other mills, with $59 for a 600-word blog post.
To apply you need to be able to provide a professional resume, links to some of your works in different styles, and a link to an online writing portfolio. The complete beginner may struggle to apply to Speedlancer, but if you’ve been working for a few months you shouldn’t let the long application intimidate you.
Take note they don’t respond to every application. There are also non-writing-related tasks, such as web research and lead generation.
Speedlancer pays once a week faithfully. However, to get paid you must have a PayPal account. The staff are also very responsive to Skype messages to ensure that are no delays in completing orders.
4. Hire Writers
Hire Writers is a content mill that has existed since 2013. On this site, there are a total of five levels from beginner to advanced. Writers who work here will always start at the bottom level. Hire Writers typically has a higher level of clients and a higher level of base pay than other content mills.
Keep in mind that Hire Writers pays out via PayPal every Friday, but you need a minimum of $10 first. They also charge penalty fees for not completing a job by the deadline. This is a percentage of the total article’s value.
The beginner level of pay is poor, with just $2.50 for a 300-word article. However, the level of pay does increase the higher up the ladder you get. It’s possible to earn $20 per article at the highest level. Clients can also pay bonus payments for outstanding writers.
Textbroker has been in action since 2008 and is one of the most popular content mills around today. Beginners need to submit a writing sample to get accepted. This determines their ‘Quality’ rating. Your quality rating determines exactly which articles you can write. The higher your rating the more you’re paid.
You’re reviewed for quality on every article you write, with a general quality rating given after every five articles written. Textbroker makes it fairly easy to get to the higher levels, where you can be earning five cents per word for a five-star article.
The only pitfall is that some of these ratings can be inconsistent, so you should be aware that a single bad client can break your earning potential.
The good news is with Textbroker, you can also have clients send you direct request orders and you can join teams so you can have a chance at writing on topics that you enjoy.
Writer Access claims to be searching for quality US writers. That means getting accepted is slightly harder because the site has a pretty involved process. After you’ve created your Writer account and added the basics like a resume and contact information, you’ll be asked to write an experience summary, up to 500 words. You’ll then have to write more third-person summaries for the industries you have experience in.
If you’re approved you’ll be added to the directory. Only later will you be asked to join the directory of writers, which will require further writing samples, a headshot, PayPal information, and the completion of the site’s General Writing Test.
This is a lot of effort but even two-star writers can earn 1.4 cents per word. Higher level writers can earn seven cents per word and payments are released via PayPal bi-weekly.
At the six-star level and up available assignments are rare, however.
HubPages is a large blogging community that’s ideal for the total beginner to get started with. You don’t need to pass any exams or submit any work samples to get authorized to work with HubPages. After you register, you automatically get a sub-domain name for your first blog.
The goal is to populate your hub and steadily gain traffic. You gain money through a 60-40 revenue share split and are paid after $50. It’s unclear exactly how many clicks you need to earn a specific amount of money. Remember that you’re earning money through ads, but it depends entirely on your model and a variety of other metrics.
What you need to know is that you can write high-quality content on anything you want. This is why it’s good for beginners because you can let your mind run wild. This will allow you to concentrate on perfecting your craft and earning a small amount of money at the same time. Additionally, since you choose the topics this is the perfect site to build up your writing samples, so you can score higher paying private clients.
All money is paid via PayPal on the 28th of the month.
Marketplaces for Freelancers
Freelance marketplaces work differently from content mills. Instead of taking assignments from a central dashboard you apply for each project individually. These projects can pay much more than the work from content mills, and you may even obtain a private client. Take note there’s no expected pay for marketplaces. They can pay as little or as much as you can imagine.
You need to put more thought into each project proposal, however. For beginners it can take longer to get your first job.
Upwork used to be the marketplace Odesk. The process of applying for projects on Upwork is much the same as it was on Odesk. Just navigate to your preferred category and start searching for projects. You’ll be asked to provide an estimate of how much you want to complete the project. The client will have a budget too to give you an idea of how much they want to pay.
You’ll be asked to write a comprehensive project proposal outlining exactly how you will complete the project and what you will do to help the client achieve their goals.
Once you’ve completed a project, and the client authorizes it, you’ll typically be paid via your PayPal account or you can receive a direct transfer to your bank account. After work is approved by the client it usually takes 5 days for it to clear the escrow system if it was a fixed rate project and hourly gigs are paid weekly.
Any freelance writer can sign up for a profile on Guru. All you have to do is fill in your information and update your profile with some samples of your work. Guru will provide you with job opportunities every day, and you can also search manually via the site.
Like with Upwork, you’ll be asked to produce a project proposal and a guide for how much you expect to be paid. If accepted, the employer will pay first. The money goes into the SecurePay escrow system. When you complete a milestone, or whenever the project is completed, the money will be released into your account and you can get paid through PayPal.
10. People Per Hour
People Per Hour categorizes its projects based on the perceived expert level of freelancers. The majority of better-paying clients always opt for ‘Expert’, so it’s within your interests to concentrate on working your way up the ladder. People Per Hour also offers a video calling option. To succeed you should make yourself available via video calls. This will make you more attractive to many clients.
You’re paid via an escrow system. The client pays People Per Hour and it’s only released to you after the project has been declared completed.
Freelancer is the only major freelance marketplace that hasn’t been combined with another brand during its existence. Known as the world’s biggest hub for freelancers, all you have to do is fill out your profile and add some social media links and you’re ready to get started.
Freelancer makes it easy to find writing work in your specific area. Go to the main categories page and you’ll notice a huge list filled with different types of writing work, including how many different projects are in that category.
The product proposals you need to produce on Freelancer are usually less detailed than on other websites, so you can apply for lots of different projects over a short space of time.
Job Boards for Freelancers
Job boards aren’t necessarily geared specifically towards freelance writers. These are like classified ads where jobs for freelance writers happen to appear on occasion. You should scour them every so often to see what comes up. They could involve working for individual clients or companies.
You should go out of your way to make sure that you apply with a professional resume. Just because something is on a job board doesn’t mean prospective clients aren’t expecting a professional approach.
Craigslist is one of the most basic job boards online. A surprising number of companies search for freelance writers here. Although ads are segmented based on location, you should still search for ads in other US cities. Most of these jobs are remote and clients won’t require you to be in the area.
When applying for jobs on Craigslist make sure you do your research on the companies before giving out sensitive information. Craigslist does have legit jobs, but there are many who run scams or those who falsely advertise as writing jobs when they are actually pyramid schemes.
13. Pro Blogger
The Pro Blogger job board is an extremely popular job board and more geared towards freelance writers than Craigslist. Working via Pro Blogger will give you access to new listings every day. What makes this stand out is the variation in the opportunities available.
For example, it’s possible to find both blogging jobs and content managing jobs in the same place. The clients on this site are typically searching for writers who specialize. Increase your chances by showing specialist work when advertising yourself.
Keep in mind when applying for jobs here majority of the clients are looking for you to appear as a professional. While beginners can land jobs here, it’s important to have some sort of writing resume. The clients pay to post on this job board, so usually they are looking for a writer that plans to be in the business for the long haul.
Freelance writers can do more than just write articles and blogs. MediaBistro is the perfect job board for freelancer who wants to do more than write basic articles. If you refine your search results correctly you can also catch email marketing jobs and public relations gigs. There are even editing jobs available.
The search function can be unnecessarily clunky, so you need to be prepared to play around with it to get the jobs you want. The best way to get the results you want is to broaden your search, such as by using terms like ‘freelance writer’.
Keep in mind most positions advertised are based in New York City. You’ll need to search to find the remote roles available.
15. Blogging Pro
Blogging Pro specializes in blogging jobs. There are copywriting and print opportunities, but they are few and it’s difficult to get accepted for them.
The pay system for the majority of these gigs is on a per-post basis. A lot of these listings don’t reveal their rates, however. You’ll need to speak directly to the client to find out more about this. If you’ve already chosen to work for a content mill, as detailed above, you should know that many of the listings on Blogging Pro have also come from content mills.
The job board Indeed.com is a similar board to Craigslist. There are literally thousands of listings on here and not all of them have anything to do with freelance writing. There can be some gems on here, but it takes hours to scour through anything. Many of the listings are completely out of date and it’s not uncommon for clients to fill their positions and forget to take the ad down.
Be aware that not all freelance writing gigs on Indeed are remote positions.
The Freelance Writing Gigs website is a job board like any other at first glance. What separates it from everything else is that the freelance writing gigs available are compiled into a daily post. The owner of the website creates a daily blog post detailing the various new roles available.
Read some of the previous days to make sure you haven’t missed anything. Each blog post details the compensation, how to apply, and what the client is expecting. Many the roles posted are from third-party websites, so this should help to limit your search hours.
Tips for Marketing Yourself as a Freelance Writer
As you grow in prominence you should aim to attract your own clients. Private clients are the real money generators in freelance writing because you aren’t paying anything to a middle man, as you are in the case of content mills.
Private clients are also the hardest to obtain. Beginners usually won’t have any private clients because they’re not well-known enough yet. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t already be aiming to bring in private clients. Here’s how to get started.
Build Your Platform
Your platform is your website and it will be the hub of everything you do. Building a website doesn’t have to involve a major investment. A simple WordPress website with a premium theme can be built for less than a hundred dollars. Populate it with information about you, your education, and your career. Also include some writing samples to show clients what you’re made of.
So what are some tips for building a great website?
Start by treating it as a resume. Include only what’s relevant to your clients. Your platform should also be well-connected to your social media profiles. Finally, make sure that you update it regularly. Nothing turns away potential clients like a site that hasn’t been updated in a year.
Establish Credibility as an Authority
The best way to establish credibility for your brand is to produce good work consistently. That takes time, though. In the meantime you should consider making yourself active in freelance writing circles. Sign up for a LinkedIn profile and join some freelance writing groups.
Answer people’s questions and ask your own. Make the group as active as possible. Over time you’ll gradually gain respect and people will recognize you. It’s a great way to show off as someone who knows their industry, and that’s a powerful form of word of mouth marketing.
Blogging is the best way for you to show off your writing skills and to improve your visibility via Google at the same time. You should aim to blog at least once per week. What you write about doesn’t matter much. You just need to ensure that it’s relevant and people are interested.
Expand your blogging capabilities by reaching out to other bloggers and exchanging guest posts. This will expose your freelance writing brand to an entirely new audience.
Give Before You Receive
One of the best ways to expand your base as a freelance writer is to do more than just be a freelance writer. Some of the most successful writers in the world have a constant stream of work because they’re known for more than just writing. They’re creating podcasts, writing helpful guides on blogging, and making eBooks.
This allows you to give something back to the community and create another stream of income at the same time.
Conclusion – It’s Easy to Get Started
Now has never been a better time to get started with freelance writing. There are more opportunities than ever. But you still have to promote yourself. Start marketing from day one and you’ll have a big advantage over your competitors.
Where will you start writing today?