It’s another round of #askpete, and today’s prompt comes from Barbara in the private Facebook group…
“You’re always saying that freelancing is THE fastest way to make money blogging, etc…but where can I find freelance writing jobs? Where do you find these bloggers in need of your services?”
Aside from Upwork or checking Problogger jobs, let’s take a look!
You can make amazing side (or full) income offering your services to OTHER bloggers…a heck of a lot quicker than it takes to build up respectable blog income on your own website.
You don’t need a huge following (or really any following…but you WILL need other things. We’ll cover that in a second…)
It won’t be easy, but let’s dive in and see where we can find these lucrative gigs 🙂
1 – Before you begin, here’s what you’ll need:
You will need ANY ONE of the following three things, but the more you have (got all 3? You’re already booked), the easier it’ll be to get work:
- A portfolio of work
Hustle – If you have NO following, no experience, and no contacts, the only thing you really have to offer is “I will work my BUTT OFF for you.”
We call this the hustle pitch, and it works surprisingly well. Even if you DO have a portfolio, this is always a great thing for your pitches. Express your willingness to hustle for them 😉
A portfolio – This is where your OWN blog comes into play. It’s 10x easier to get freelance writing work when you can SHOW what you’ve written.
If you’ve also done freelance or ghostwriting for other entities, show that too! That shows you can adapt to different niches.
Pro Tip: Blog long enough, and you’ll actually start to attract freelance clients who just enjoy the way YOU write…these are the best clients, as you just get to write how you write!
Contacts – It really is all about who you know. This is why I PREACH to bloggers to build relationships every single day. In the long run, these efforts will bring WAY more opportunities compared to a single Pinterest strategy or SEO strategy. Make friends, and get referrals.
2 – Where to find decent freelance blogging and writing jobs:
Let’s start with the less useful ideas, and work our way up to the gems 🙂
While this is probably the easiest way to pop onto a website and search for jobs, it’s super competitive, and will not pay that well usually (unless you’ve already been doing a ton of work on Upwork already, in which case you could make serious cash).
I straight-up do not recommend this route. However, my friend Thomas Kuegler got his start here, and found it pretty easy to find work (2 years ago though).
Blogging Facebook Groups
Ok, so Barbara actually brought this up specifically.
YES. IT IS. But there’s 2 huge caveats:
- You need to be on good authority with the group, and possibly even the group owner. You can’t just pop in groups and start spamming for work. You need to be a contributor for a while first.
- There’s a right way to ask, and a wrong way.
The wrong way to pitch for freelance work:
“Does anybody need help with their blogging?” or “Is anybody looking for writers?” or “Is anybody hiring a freelance blogger, here’s my blog URL: https://linklinklinklink”
Not the best pitch.
The right way(s) to ask:
“Hello everybody! I’ve recently begun taking on more freelance work to build up my portfolio. I specialize in Pinterest marketing and management, as well as graphic design. Does anybody know anyone looking for some help? If so please let me know, and I can send them my full portfolio, including testimonials from current clients.”
HOWEVER, overall, Facebook groups aren’t a solid strategy for coming up with freelance writing gigs…but you might get lucky. A better scenario would be this:
In her FB group, Michelle actually started a thread specifically for connecting clients and freelancers. Goldmine!
Blogging specific and freelance writing job boards – Problogger Jobs!
Now THIS is a legit strategy.
The Problogger Job Board is the most well-known one.
While these can be a bit competitive as well, it’s much more reasonable that competing against Upwork contractors who’ll take $14 an article. The people POSTING jobs on the PB job board are usually bloggers themselves, or at least marketers.
Not small business owners 🙂
There are also a few different job boards to find freelance blogging gigs, but here’s an awesome Penny Hoarder article that shares those. Go check em out!
While this outreach and pitching process will look a LOT different than pitching bloggers, you can actually have decent luck finding blogging jobs through LinkedIn outreach. You can do this in a few different ways:
- You can use your connections, and ask for referrals.
- You can find the specific companies (or small businesses! More on that in a second…), and send them Inmail pitches. (You might be surprised how well this works. For one, they’ve come to EXPECT pitches…but not about their content marketing.)
- You could keep sharing your blog content on LinkedIn, along with LinkedIn-ish copywriting….and people will eventually reach out to you 🙂
Ok listen up.
- Other bloggers
Reaching out to your network and asking for referrals is perhaps the most powerful way to get leads.
Start with the “why,” be specific, and straight-up ask people for leads. It works.
I’ve recently taken an interest in freelance writing, and I’m looking for another 2 clients in the [industry] space. Do you know anybody I can reach out to who might need the work?
Small businesses maybe who want to up their marketing game?
Any tips or leads you could give me would be greatly appreciated!
For other bloggers:
Reach out and ask if they need help with anything!
This email worked. This person is now a client of mine.
Granted, I offered FREE work, and she obliged. I spent a few hours helping them out…which led to PAID work 2 weeks later.
If this is what it takes to build good connections (i.e. even if it HADN’T led to paid work), would this be worth it?
Couldn’t I also have reached out and asked for referrals after doing this?
Finding a virtual assistant job (remotely)
I decided to throw in a whole new paragraph for virtual assistants since it’s possibly the simplest (dare I say “easiest?”) type of work to find online.
It pays well.
It’s straight-forward work.
You can be a VA from anywhere in the world
If you’re interested in becoming a VA, check out my friend PT Money’s guide How to Find Legitimate Virtual Assistant Jobs.
Let’s talk about getting local freelance writing and marketing work
Working for other bloggers is cool, but you really WILL need to have connections beforehand. Cold pitching people is tough.
(Unless you’re offering free work like I was above).
For local clients, there are 2 better strategies:
- LinkedIn, as discussed above…but with a twist, and
- The local Chamber of Commerce (or similar club)
The “twist” with this LinkedIn strategy is really just specifically targeting local businesses…once you check out their website and social media profiles and determine what they need.
(A general side note for bloggers: general web design is a skill that WE often take for granted–forgetting that the rest of the world might actually stink at making websites. My friend Patrick has a whole guide here for starting a business in web design specifically. I’ll recommend that for more info, but generally speaking–DON’T underestimate the web skills you’ve learned as part of blogging. It’s actually quite valuable).
A foolproof formula to find LOCAL jobs:
- Go to Google Maps and start searching for small businesses. ANY small and locally-owned businesses (no chains)
- Make a list of people/businesses to reach out to, organize it in a Google Doc
- Dig into their websites and social media presence (probably just Facebook am I right?), and find where you could add value to their business.
- Pitch them in person, or maybe over the phone. DO NOT EMAIL.
If you try to be a real human about it (i.e. walk into their store and start chatting with them. Don’t be a robot emailing them pitches), you WILL find success via this method.
It make take 10 or 20 meetings, but you will.
Using the local Chamber of Commerce method
Can you say “gold mine?”
Not only do these types of organizations almost ALWAYS have such directories (almost always available to the public as well), but you KNOW those businesses are committed to growing.
Else they wouldn’t be members of these clubs.
This is your yellow pages for finding local freelance writing jobs. Smile and dial baby.
But before you smile and dial, here’s two vital tips:
- Figure out WHAT they need, WHY it’s important, and HOW you can serve that need
- Bring em coffee 😉
Before you attempt to get a meeting, etc, dig into their website, blog content if they have one…etc, and figure out what they need. You should also be prepared to SHOW them why it’s important they fill their need.
Then, show them how you can fill their need (as you’ve previously filled it for other businesses hopefully? Else use the hustle pitch, or the free work pitch).
Meet with them a build a real relationship. Offer to buy them coffee to talk about their business. Tease them with the “need” maybe. Do whatever it takes to start talking to people, in person, and 1-on-1.
That’s how you get local freelance writing and blogging opportunities. If you want to make money writing, there’s no better place to start than goin local!
Hi Pete! I feel so famous! Nothing like hearing your name on the air to shake out a little sparkle of stardust. Fabulous job answering my question, too! In fact, this morning I was looking up local Chambers of Commerce (sometimes called Business Improvement Associations, or BIAs) to see what businesses I might pay a visit to. You are so right that I can use my blog as a portfolio piece. I am actually a graphic designer by training (and preference, I could happily make pins and buttons and little web graphic things all day) but thanks to my own website/blogging bootcamp I can do a lot more stuff too. Thank you!
Oooo good tips. I was blanking on what else they might be called lol.
And it was an excellent question btw. Feel like I’ve seen it asked in several FB groups.
I found a freelance writing job through Problogger! They don’t have as many job postings as other websites, but I know their postings are legit. Thanks for sharing these other great resources!
Seriously helpful article Pete! I have a feeling I’ll be revisiting this one frequently.
While writing a post about benefits of LinkedIn (even for nontraditional professionals like freelancers), I discovered LinkedIn ProFinder. Another great option for freelance writers to find legit jobs! May want to give it a go someday.
ooooo very cool.
Thank you Megan! Gonna look at it.
Good list. Been really enjoying James’ newsletter of writing gigs at http://www.skefe.com as well.
Wow, such a useful list! Thank you so much for sharing this. It would be much more better if you will start doing videos for YouTube channel and publish your tips in more interactive way. Keep doing this!
Hey thanks! I’ll try 🙂