As a kid I loved to read. You could always find me with a book in my hand (or with one nearby, just in case I got a few free moments to squeeze in a chapter or two). This love for reading naturally led to a dream of becoming a writer. I loved getting lost in the worlds that authors created and wanted to do the same for others.
As an adult I talked myself into following a more ‘practical’ path and went to college for something that had a higher likelihood of success than becoming a writer. But I still had that desire to find a way an incorporate writing into my life. After graduate school I decided to stay home with my kids, and I tried to find writing work on the side for years with no luck.
I basically decided that legit writing jobs were few and far between (I was so wrong!) and tried to forget about getting paid to write.
Then, my husband lost his job and we went from being a one income family to a no income family. I needed to find something to do to bring in money and bridge the gap until he was working again. I wanted to find work that I could do at home because we had three small kids at the time.
The idea of writing online came up again and – since I was desperate – I finally got up enough courage to talk about that goal with others. I discovered that I had a friend who made money writing online and she opened my eyes to a long list of places that pay writers for content. Once I knew where to look there had an abundance of writing opportunities.
A quick search on Google will provide you with a long list of sites that claim to pay writers for content. The problem is that it can be difficult to distinguish between the sites that are legit and those that want to pay pennies for content. Below I outline five of the best websites to look at for freelance writing work. Clearly this is not an exhaustive list, but it is a good place to start.
Upwork is a freelancing writing board that posts jobs for freelancers of all types – including writers. I got some of my first paid writing assignments through Upwork. I even landed a couple of clients that paid decent, were a lot of fun to work with, and had me complete multiple projects over time. There is good work to be found on Upwork as long as you are willing to put in the effort to navigate through all of the options. Here’s what you need to know about Upwork:
- In order to create a profile, you need to be able to link to some type of work online. My sister tried to create a profile without any samples and it was denied because it was too generic. (I outline how to build up an online portfolio before you get hired in my free offer that you can find here.)
- Upwork acts as a ‘middleman’ between you and the client which helps ensure that you get paid for the jobs you complete.
- Some of the postings are junk and ask for extensive work for extremely low prices.(You should ignore those and take your time to find posts that are a good fit for your skills and pay decently.)
- You will pay Upwork a fee from each job you complete.
I have a video where I go through my Upwork profile and the job board to give you an idea of what to expect.
Craigslist is more than just an online garage sale – it also has postings for jobs. I found a really fun writing job at a crafting retreat through a posting on Craigslist. Here’s what you need to know about Craigslist:
- You are on your own when it comes to your interactions with the client. This means that no one (other than you) is going to ensure that you get paid for the work you complete.
- You will work directly with the employer to establish the terms of your employment. In my case, the owner of the retreat wanted one or two blogs a month on topics related to crafting. He paid me through PayPal upon completion of each post.
- You may be able to find some agency work through postings on Craigslist. I recently made a video explaining how to find postings for writing gigs on Craigslist and came across some postings for agency writing work. You can see the video here.
Freelancer.com is a job board similar to Upwork that connects freelancers to people looking to have work completed. Here’s what you need to know about Freelancer:
- There is a lot of competition for the jobs that are posted.
- There are quite a few postings with ridiculously low pay rates.
- It is a beginner-friendly site that does not require links to writing work in order to create a profile.
- Like Upwork, you will Freelancer will collect a percentage of each job you complete.
- You can pay for an upgraded membership and purchase individual upgrades when you submit a bid
Creating a profile and applying for work on Freelancer with the free membership is worth a shot at the beginning of your career. I have a created a video of setting up a Freelancer profile and exploring the job board. See it below.
Indeed.com is probably the most well-known online job site currently available. This last year I spent some time searching Indeed for additional writing opportunities. There were a lot of remote writing jobs posted on Indeed that looked interesting to me. The problem I found with Indeed is the level of competition for positions. It is difficult to get noticed for postings with such a high volume of applicants. I still say it is worth your time to explore the options on Indeed – you may find something that is the perfect fit for your experience and interests.
Fiverr.com is a freelancer website that is set up differently than Upwork or Freelancer. On Fiverr you post your skills, rates, and offering and wait for clients to contact you. I have hired out work on Fiverr for logo creation and other graphic design needs. You can establish yourself as an expert in a particular writing niche and (hopefully) attract clients who need your services.
Clearvoice.com is a writing platform that connects writers with employers/clients. On Clearvoice you create a profile and then wait for it to be approved. Once approved, you wait to get matched for potential opportunities that may be a good fit for your experience and interests. There is no list of available work so it can feel like you are in the dark. Clearvoice is designed for more experienced writers who already have a portfolio of work.
I have personally explored each of the sites mentioned here for paid writing work. In order to avoid getting overwhelmed with options, choose one platform and explore it thoroughly before you move on to the next.
If you are ready to finally find paid writing work online, check out my free resource that outlines the first step you should take to get started.
If you are ready to get serious about writing online, keep an eye out for my training program The Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Writing Online and Getting Paid. In this guide, I go over everything you need to know to get started building a career writing online. To get the latest on this and other projects, sign up for the email list and I will keep in touch.