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. Rajab Ali Mohsin

    I am a freelance content development expert having hands-on experience in creating blog articles, research assignments, eBooks, thesis papers, resumes, and other professional writing services. I have been imparting content development services to US, UK and Middle Eastern clients since 2007. Most of my career has been working with content mills and indirect customers which has been pretty much lucrative for me (As I live in a country where living costs are considerably lower as compared with developed countries). Being an ESL writer, I’ve now decided to enhance my writing skills and to get the really good paying jobs through direct clients. Your article is really motivating – any ideas how I might network or have my writing evaluated so that I can achieve my long-term goals?

  2. Rik

    Hello Carol,

    Firstly, thanks a lot for creating this platform, it is priceless for newbies like me.
    Now coming to the point, I have been a writer for nearly a year. This may mean that I am not actually a newbie, but thing is, all I have done till date, around 130 projects, were academic. When I started out, I had simply no idea regarding this domain, and I took up whatever I could find out of sheer desperation to avoid a cubicle.
    As months went by, I realized that the potentiality of freelance writing is much higher, and as a result have cut off from academic works, since I feel the latter wont really lead to something more concrete and frankly, its unethical. I have been following article writing for about a month, and honestly, there is so much written and so much going on around, it’s like trying to gulp a bucket full of water!
    My objective is to start simple, teach myself and grow, and I will really like to have a small suggestion from you on how to achieve that. Thankfully I don’t have people dependent upon me in economic terms, so I am taking things lowly. For example, I recently had an article published for $5, and i celebrated! But I know only one or two of such places, and therefore have very limited clue of how to take the first steps upstairs.

    • Carol Tice

      Glad you figured out to get yourself away from the essay mills — that is an unethical niche and doesn’t build your career. You wouldn’t even want editors to know you ever did that!

      You might want to take a look at my Escape the Content Mills course…I recommend doing that over Black Friday weekend might be on sale then… 😉 It’s at Useful Writing Courses. Or check out my Step by Step Guide to Freelance Writing Success ebook. Both those resources focus on first steps to finding decent-paying clients…also, they’re dirt cheap!

    • Rik

      Thank you soo much for these links 🙂 …will be making sure that I check them out thoroughly.

  3. Kayla

    I used to think writing jobs that paid $100/post (or more) were hard to find. Now I know it just takes the right connection to at least get a shot at them.

  4. Christie

    Carol, this article is the final kick in the pants I needed. You stated what I needed to validate in my own head when you said quit using CL and other mass-searched job boards. I know my strengths and they are greater than the pool of these jobs that are hard to nail, but starting as a freelancer after a 15 yr corporate job I was unsure if I should go forth totally cold calling. I feel now like cutting that cord and moving forward with cold calling for work after reading this article plus several others of yours. I hope that after a few tries it’s going to be easier to find work cold calling than trying to be the first person to respond to an ad on a job board (which is nearly impossible!) for work this is lower paying than I can likely negotiation outright. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Carol Tice

      Well…it doesn’t have to be cold calling. There are lots of ways to do freelance marketing, from in-person networking to sending queries or letters of introduction via email.

    • Christie

      Yes I should have said “cold emailing” rather than cold calling. I started today, I sent out 20 short-and-sweet LOIs to area manufacturers for technical writing work and in an hour I already got 2 inquiries for my resume for future work they might need! That’s 2 more responses than I’ve gotten from job boards all last week! yippie!

    • Carol Tice

      Exactly. Proactive marketing wins every time. Thanks for sharing your success story!

  5. Ron Jobs

    I am a developer/internet marketer and I often need copy for websites and blogs. It has been a major challenge finding good writers online. Apparently all freelance websites are full of people that don’t even live in the US and claim that English is their first language. I am always looking for good writers but definitely cannot find them on these websites. I would think if you are on one of those sites you should provide links for your credibility, may be a link to your linkedin page and provide some writing samples. This will help you stand out in the crowd and then if you have writing skills you can name your price.

    • Carol Tice

      Ron — at the risk of being a little self-promotional, have you checked out the writers at my Freelance Writers Den community? We have 1,400 members, nearly all are experienced freelance writers and native English speakers, and you can post a free job listing or search our database of member profiles for someone with the expertise you want — check it out at https://freelancewritersden.com/hire-a-writer

      Any mass platform with tens of thousands of writers on it tends to be dominated by low-skilled workers, as most pro writers I know wouldn’t be caught dead on there.

    • Ron Jobs

      Thanks Carol! I will check it out.

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