3 Simple Ways to Find Better-Paying Freelance Writing Clients in 2022

Carol Tice

Smart ways to find freelance writing jobs. Makealivingwriting.comNote: If you’ve been looking for freelance writing jobs on content-mill sites and job boards, you’re probably frustrated. Most pay bottom feeder rates. It’s something I’ve been  hearing from writers for a long time. But great freelance writing jobs are out there, you just need to know how to find them. Check out this post from the past to learn how. —Carol.

Do you feel like it’s a pipe dream to find freelance writing jobs that pay pro rates?

I hear a lot of comments like this from writers who are about ready to give up on their writing dreams.

They write me to say:

“It just seems like there aren’t any good-paying clients out there.”

Have to say, I disagree. But whether you think freelance writing is a land of unlimited opportunity or a field no one can earn a living at seems to depend on your personal experience.

If you want to start landing well-paying freelance writing jobs, you probably need to do two things. Here’s what you need to know:

Well-paying freelance writing jobs are out there

Just this past week, I referred a $150-a-post finance blogging gig to my Freelance Writers Den Junk-Free Job Board. And heard from a writer who’s found daily papers that still pay $1 a word. Another writer let me know she dropped a $30-a-post client and replaced them with one that pays $175.

How do you go from getting paid crappy rates for freelance writing jobs to pro rates? The two things that I think matter most are:

  • Make a mindset shift. My experience is that if you have the mindset that lucrative writing jobs are out there and you’re not going to stop until you find them, you can end up earning a nice living.

If you buy into the negativity that all articles are now worth $10, you won’t earn more. So ditch your pre-conceptions for starters.

  • Look for work in the right places. Once you make that mindset shift from scarcity to abundance, you’re ready to look for the kind of clients that will help you move up and earn more.

What can you do to find better-paying freelance writing jobs? Here are three tips:

1. Swim in a smaller pool

Are you looking at mass job boards such as Craigslist, just like 10,000 other writers? Stop.

Instead, find niche freelance writing job boards that fewer writers see, with jobs not all writers could do. For instance, I found some great business-finance gigs with Gorkana alerts. This marketing consultancy also puts out healthcare and media writing job alerts, too.

These more exclusive job listings can take a little sleuthing to turn up — they might lurk on a professional association website, or run on the back page of an industry trade publication. But it will be worth the effort, as the quality of the jobs offered will often be worlds removed from what you see on Craigslist. I got a gig writing for a major TV network’s website through a niche board.

2. Ask around

Get on a local writer listserv or go to local writer networking events. For instance, I’ve attended local Media Bistro live events in my town, and belong to a Seattle LinkedIn group, Women in Digital Journalism, that’s a gold mine of info about markets in my town. (These are also great places to get referral business, too.)

Especially for local markets, other writers in your town are the best sources to get the real dirt. Who takes six months to pay you? Who pays $1 a word?

Who’s growing, and who’s about to fold? Other local writers can be a great source and save you a lot of time. So find your local equivalent of these types of networking groups, whether virtual or in-person.

3. Think bigger

Instead of guessing who might be able to pay a decent rate, do some research to identify prospective markets that are likely to pay well. Remember, most writer jobs are never advertised — the business owner or editor is too swamped to wade through resumes or to even write an ad!

Many good gigs happen when you tap into the huge pool of hidden demand for writers.

How can you tell if a market can pay well? Your clue is that the organization has money.

Many startup online job sites have little or no revenue. To earn more, you need to move beyond these shaky operations to find more established, successful markets.

Target publications that pay pro rates

If you write for publications, get Writer’s Market with online support, dial their search engine up to five dollar signs (the highest pay rate), and see what comes up. Make that your pitch pool, instead of whatever magazines you happen to see on your local newsstand.

You’ll find national publications with big circulations tend to pay better. Also good are niche publications that have a well-heeled readership (CEOs, doctors, lawyers, etc.)

Pitch profitable companies

If you write for businesses, research revenue and target bigger companies. Move up from whatever you’ve been focused on — if it’s been solopreneurs, find companies with a few employees. If it’s been $1 million businesses with one store or office, try $10 million ones with multiple locales.

  • Use annual revenue as a guide. The best pay is usually with companies with $10 million or more of revenue. My best client ever in terms of hourly rate was a $1 billion privately held consulting firm. It’s a myth that the Fortune 500 don’t hire freelancers — I’ve written freelance for several of them, so I can tell you they do.
  • Pitch companies that sell products and services. I like to look for companies that sell a physical product or valuable service that they deliver in the three-dimensional, real world. Steer clear of websites whose only revenue is online ads and the only “products” are your articles. That model isn’t succeeding for most of the businesses that try it.
  • Also look for longevity. If they’ve been around five years or more, they’re likely profitable, and serious about marketing. And that means opportunity for you, at professional rates.

Find great freelance writing jobs

If you’re hoping to make 2022 your banner year for freelance writing, but you’ve struggled to find work that pays well, get your mind right. Then use these strategies to find great clients and get paid pro rates.

Where are you looking for freelance writing jobs? Let’s discuss on Facebook or LinkedIn.

Freelance Writers Den: Learn how to grow your income.

78 Comments

  1. Joel Kirk

    I just got wind of this website, Carol.

    I started twice, once in 2012 after I got out of college and a second time in 2013 after I got laid off from a low-paying temp job, to start a freelance career. And, I failed both times.

    The first time, I found myself answering some ads on Odesk (now Upwork) and stressing out to make the cut for unrealistic pay for big articles. The second time, I actually did get a ‘job’ on Odesk(making a wiki page for a small business who didn’t really want to listen about the time put into the page – especially if they’re unknown) as well as a job, also on Odesk, creating little marketing bits for a company that outsourced for their client, Walmart.

    I was underpaid on both, and found the work put in didn’t generate enough money to last one or two weeks.

    I would like to work for media or film sites since I have a big love for cinema. I have already applied to WhatCulture and Screen Rant, and I need to create two more samples for Slashfilm…but there should be more out there.

    • Carol Tice

      Unfortunately, most of the online entertainment sites don’t pay very well…it’s a super-competitive niche, because who wouldn’t like to write about pop culture? You might want to diversify and think about other interests where you could find better pay — my Escape the Content Mills course has an initial lesson that helps you identify where your skills fit with where the money is.

      And teaches you to get off Upwork and places like that — by now, you’ve probably figured out they’re not a place to make a good living, for most writers.

  2. Matt

    Good article, thanks, and gives me some new leads to follow up. I’m very new at this business, and just trying to find my feet! Question:

    Okay, so you say contacting big firms with lots of cash is the way to go. But who do you contact at such firms? Where do you get their details?

    Thanks, and keep up the great work!

    • Carol Tice

      Great question, Matt! There are quite a lot of resources and approaches you can use to researching that and qualifying good prospects. I put all my techniques in my Get Great Clients e-book — you can check it out here: https://makealivingwriting.com/ebooks

      I usually go for the marketing manager or marketing vp, as far as who your point person is.

  3. Melissa

    Good day to you Carol!

    I liked your encouraging article very much. Being a freelance writer, I have encountered the problem of material reward of my work. I agree that well-paid writing services are not very easy to find. However, having a 3-year experience in the field, I have involved in the network of freelance writers and become a member of the their large community base, so that the recommendations for them become my personal job-board. I also became aware that your competence in writing, expecially academic wiriting works for you as well. My recent platform is essaywriter.net. I generally prefer their system, order variety and full-time writers support. Currently I am thinking of ways to develop my writing qualification, I would very grateful for any possible advice. Thanks.

    • Carol Tice

      Hi Melissa –

      Unfortunately, writing essays for students to plagiarize from is an unethical writing niche that doesn’t help you build a viable, good-paying freelance writing career. Students get expelled for using the essays you write.

      You’ll want to diversify into more legitimate forms of writing if you’re serious about building a real income in writing.

  4. Shivanand Gunness

    Who is the lady that says she find a client that pays $175 a post? Can i have a link to that client?

    • Carol Tice

      Shivanand, I make more than that per post right now. But no one’s going to give you a link to their client, so you can try to poach them. You have to find your own. Check out my ebooks tab for the Get Great Clients ebook, if you’d like to get started on that!

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