Some of you guys emailed me after reading this post and asked where I find freelance writing jobs.
I want to be clear that I am not a freelance writing genius. I have not been able to quit my job and write all the time. I am still riding the struggle bus. However, I have learned a lot about freelancing lately, so I at least have a few good tips on how to get started.
I've tried several outlets to find freelance jobs, but Elance is my favorite for a few reasons.
You're protected. This is by far the best thing about Elance. When you're hired for a job, the client has to pay Elance before you start working, and Elance will pay you after you complete the job. That means that if you agreed upon $100 for a job, they can't come back after you completed the work saying they only want to pay you $50, because they've already paid Elance in full.
Everything happens through one site. Everything that is exchanged is through the website. This means that if a client does try to not pay you or change the terms of your agreement, you can file a complaint with elance. They will then be able to see everything about your job and determine whether or not the client is breaking an agreement.
You can sort by category. Elance is a website for all kinds of freelance jobs, not just writing. There's a writing category, but it's split into several other categorties: creative writing, technical writing, ghost writing, etc. This makes it easy to see what's available in your area without sorting through thousands of jobs you have no interest in.
Apply for a lot of jobs. Don't just apply to one job a week and expect that to go anywhere. I would say that for every ten jobs I apply to, I get one. Sure, that's a lot of work for one job. But it's a job!
Read the entire job before applying. When you apply to so many jobs in one place, it can be tempting to just scan the details before applying. Since so many people do this, a lot of clients will place a "secret phrase" somewhere in the details that they'll ask you to write at the top of your application to ensure you read everything.
Reference the specific job in your application. If you only say, "I've attached my resume, I look forward to hearing from you!" then you're no different than the rest of the applicants. Instead, say something like, "I am interested in this job because ____. I believe my previous experience ____ qualifies me because of _____."
Treat every job like it's your dream job. You have no idea what a tiny copywriting job could lead to. Make sure all of your work is your best work. Meet your deadlines, be professional, and turn in work that you would be proud of if a famed publishing house was reading it.
Send a thank you email. Most of the people who hire through Elance are going to come back and continue using the site. If they already know they like working with you, they can save themselves the time of looking through applications and resumes for future jobs. Why not leave a good impression and remind them of that?
Freelance writing is almost always going to be hit or miss. It's a lot of work for what may turn out to be a bunch of one time gigs. However, it can also lead to repeat jobs. The first six months of using Elance, I just did little jobs. And then one day, a client liked a little job I did, so he offered me a bigger job. Now I write for him every week, and I never would have been able to do that without sticking out the little jobs first. So stick it out!
Do you do any freelance writing? Have you ever used Elance?