5 Ways I Find Freelance Work

One of the most common questions among new freelancers (and even one that folks much more experienced than I am, frequently discuss) is how to find freelancing work. It’s not like working at a traditional job – work doesn’t just pile up on your desk when you’re out of the office.

So, how do you find work as a writer or an editor?

Here are 5 ways I look for work

1. Watch for others’ mistakes. My favorite way to find editing jobs is to always have my editor’s cap on. If I come across errors while browsing the web, I’ll email them to the webmaster or owner of that website. The key here is pointing them out in a way that’s helpful and not bitchy. Then end the email with “As a professional editor, I’d be happy to proofread the rest of your site for you. Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll send you a quote.

2. Contact event organizers. Creating and hosting an event means marketing materials, e-newsletters, press releases, etc. There are a lot of opportunities there to offer your services. When a local small business whose newsletter I subscribe to mentioned she was hosting an event, I got in touch. She had me do a review of the event for her website.

3. Check out other writers’ portfolios. Every writing book you read or site you come across will tell you to buy Writer’s Market to find magazines that hire freelancers. Well, another place to look for that information is your competitors’ portfolio. This is especially helpful for finding websites that might publish some of your work. Pay especially close attention to the writers who cover topics within your own areas of interest. And don’t hesitate to reach out to those writers and ask them about how they landed the gig.

4. Tell people what you do. This is something I don’t do often enough–but you should make sure all of your friends and relatives know what you do. Then, when one of their friends is looking for someone to help with copy on their website they can suggest said friend check out your website.

5. Be nice to those who reject you. Perhaps the strangest way I’ve ever landed a writing gig was through a reference–by someone who choose not to work with me. Our styles didn’t match perfectly, but one of her peers liked my work and hired me after she gave him my contact info. I’ve now worked with him on a few assignments, with a promise of more work to come.

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