Cold pitches, referrals, job sites and Twitter are the best methods to find freelance gigs
One of the hardest parts of freelancing is finding clients, and unsurprisingly, it’s one of the most common questions I get. These are some of my favorite methods for finding freelance gigs.
1. Filter Twitter Hashtags and Follow Other Freelancers
Twitter’s a necessary evil. Thankfully, it’s filled with fleeting moments of joy like this Fleetwood Mac cover and a wonderful community of freelancers and editors.
Twitter’s filled with job opportunities that you won’t find elsewhere. Put in a little legwork by mining Twitter with its best feature: hashtags. I like to search the following terms:
You can also search for terms like “writer wanted,” “write for us,” “pitch me,” and “open for pitches.” Fair warning: you will find unrelated content like baseball tweets or tweets from fellow freelancers.
You can save some time aimlessly scrolling by following accounts that share writing gigs, freelance opportunities, and more. Some people I recommend following:
I retweet job and freelancing opportunities as I see them.
Always follow the instructions in the tweet (use the included email address or link) when submitting your information. You should also immediately reply to their tweet with a note that includes their handle, who you are, your website, and a quick thanks. For example:
@handle I’m a freelance writer with experience writing about X. Thanks for posting this opportunity! I just sent you an email. Can’t wait to hear from you! [Website link]
Please remember when you see a call for pitches from marginalized voices, only respond if you’re a member of that community.
I’ve landed writing gigs from Twitter. I’ve connected more with other freelancers, writers, and editors on the platform. If you’re not on Twitter, you need to be.
2. Browse and Search LinkedIn
LinkedIn is honestly an underrated tool. The LinkedIn “Jobs” page is always littered with hundreds of freelance opportunities. Aside from browsing the “Jobs” page, actively searching through content can help you land opportunities. Again, be wary of low-paying and predatory listings.
Editors and companies may post opportunities through their personal pages. Just toggle from “Jobs” to “Content.” You can find these freelance gigs by searching a keyword.
Some keywords to search:
- “Freelance writer”
- “Freelance designer”
- “Freelance blogger”
- “Freelance content creator”
- “Freelance social media”
Save time scrolling by subscribing.
There are several newsletters for freelancers that are a blessing. Most newsletters for freelancers are free, though some have paid tiers (or sponsored spots available for freelancers who can’t afford them). A few newsletters I think are worthwhile:
4. Search Job Boards
Job boards are an easy place to start your search — but watch out for low rates. When I began freelancing, I’d search and apply through these sites constantly. Know that there’s a lot of competition when applying for these. Always follow the basic application instructions — and follow up!
There’s a lot out there, but a few of my favorites are:
5. Leverage your Personal Network
Your friends, family, and former coworkers could be your first clients. I’ve gotten quite a bit of work from friends I worked with at college publications or people I worked with at different jobs.
When you start freelancing, let your people know! You never know when someone may need your skills or can connect you with a potential client.
I love the Freelancing Females Facebook group. It’s filled with advice, encouragement, and both job and freelance opportunities for all creatives. Freelancing Females recently launched a well-organized and searchable job board.
7. Facebook Groups
While I love Freelancing Females, it’s definitely not the only Facebook group out there! Joining entrepreneurial Facebook groups can lead to job opportunities. Sometimes small businesses and entrepreneurs will post opportunities you won’t see anywhere else. To make this worth your time, you must build relationships with individuals in this group. Responding to questions you see in these groups can be enough to spark a conversation.
8. Referrals from Other Freelancers
Cultivating connections with other freelancers can be your gateway to another job. Sometimes freelancers won’t have time for a specific client and will refer them elsewhere. You could be that person. Remember: freelancing is built on community over competition.
9. Be Bold and Cold Pitch
This is the most proactive approach on this list: go after the clients you want with a cold pitch. This approach is pretty ballsy: it makes you put yourself out there. But it also gives you a unique opportunity to convince brands, websites, and outlets you’re interested in working with that they need you.
First, identify the right clients. If you’re a freelance writer who wants to write about dogs (like me!), look up websites that publish dog-related content. If they have a blog, they need writers. If the website looks like something you’d like to contribute to, it’s time to pitch yourself as a contributor!
You do this by writing a letter of introduction (LOI). I use this format. My emails look like a version of this (though I personalize as I go):
I’m Kaitlyn Arford, a freelance journalist. I saw your post on [LOCATION] and wanted to reach out.
[A one-liner about me that directly applies to what they are looking for. I typically include that I have a journalism degree and include client names if the work is similar]
You can see a few relevant clips here:
[link to clip one]
[link to clip two]
[link to clip three]
I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your time.
Your Next Steps
There’s a lot of work available for freelance writers (even during a pandemic). If you’re looking to freelance, begin with those you know. Ask your parents if their work needs any help with marketing. Check in with your college friends: can they connect you with anyone at their work? You never know where your next opportunity will come from!
Freelance writing doesn’t mean just writing for household names. In fact, you can make more money and have a more consistent workload working with brands and businesses.
Keep accomplishing greatness, friends. You got this!
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