How To Land Freelance Writing Gigs

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Carla Tensuan

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Freelance writing is often considered a glamorous profession. You get to be your own boss and work from wherever you want, plus you get to pick the topics that interest you. However, some challenges go along with finding freelance writing gigs.

For one thing, it isn’t easy to know where to start looking for freelance writing jobs. How do you get that first gig? Or the next one after that? You can spend hours combing through job listings, but it can be tough to tell which opportunities fit you best. You can go about getting work in many ways, but it’s important to remember that it’s not just about using your best skills. With a lot of determination, you’ll find yourself earning a living in no time.

Check out these four tips for scoring freelance writing gigs.

Know your specialization

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First things first: figure out what your specialties are. Are you a web content writer? Or a press release writer? Or a creative copywriter? These are the questions you’ll need to ask yourself before even looking for freelancing writing jobs. This is because, once you get on job boards and freelancer marketplaces, it can be tricky to decide what types of writing you want to specialize in. Think about your strengths as a writer and creative professional. Do you enjoy sharing informative content? Or maybe you craft the wittiest social media captions? Or perhaps you’ve been writing in specific formats, like articles or press releases, for years?

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Build your portfolio

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Once you know what you want to write, you can build a portfolio to show off your work. This will help you stand out and give potential clients a sense of how you can fulfill their needs. Start with a PDF of three of your best writing samples. If your writing hasn’t been published in print or online, that’s fine. You’ll want to tweak your portfolio for every potential client, just as you would your resume. Upload your PDF portfolio on a file storage service like Google Drive.

Make connections and network

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You don’t have to rely on job sites or freelancing platforms to land your first gig. Make the most out of your existing connections, both professional and personal. Don’t be afraid to tell your friends and family that you’re getting into freelance writing. If you have a LinkedIn account, you can set your profile to inform your network that you offer writing services and are open to work.

Evaluate what you’re looking for

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You’ll be busy sending proposals left and right when you’re starting. Or you might apply for whatever opportunity comes your way. And like many new freelancers, I made the mistake of bidding for gigs that promised plenty of work or pay. Don’t be misled by such projects. Look for jobs that pay fairly and offer work within your preferred specialization and niches. A year into freelancing, I decided to drop specific clients because the niche was well outside my comfort zone or the pay was too little for all the hard work. As a budding writer, it’s okay to be more discerning.


Freelance writing can be a competitive industry, and there are many talented and skillful writers out there. To succeed, take your time, get the basics down, and then see what you can come up with. Never give up, and put yourself out there.

About the author

Carla Tensuan is a freelance writer, editor, and communications specialist. She specializes in crafting creative copy, blog content, and press releases. She enjoys listening to podcasts, reading books, and practicing yoga in her free time. She lives with her husband in Manila, Philippines.