Freelancing. This is something that can often be compared to Russian roulette or playing the lottery. You basically shoot with your eyes closed and hope to hit a bullseye. This is something that people spend their life tirelessly doing and sometimes to no avail, I’ve been there, and am mostly still there. Freelancing is HARD, and requires the time, dedication and drive to succeed. Getting your first paid “anything” feels like winning the lottery, and you will be on cloud nine. Then you will do it all over again: the email silence, the candid rejections, and the coveted hire!
But nothing starts there, this isn’t a road that is taken lightly or that you can just dive into. It will be a long arduous journey, or maybe it won’t be. Freelancing is a game of luck and chance. You might get the first job that you apply for… or you might get the hundredth. Either way, getting one won’t make the next one easier. You will always need to be on your feet and thinking ten steps ahead. Freelance writing is competitive, and you need an edge, a voice and a niche to succeed. I’ll go months without anything, and suddenly boom! Though, more often than not, I won’t take the measly pay and the ring around from some clients.
Why People Tell You to Start Freelancing
Pinterest will tell you to quit your day job and start freelancing! Like, do it right now! There are income reports flooding the page telling you how people make $20 000 a month both freelancing and blogging, and it’s easy! But this isn’t really the case, you need to be diligent about finding work, and continuing to find work. The thing is, if you take a step back and think about it, you will realize that Pinterest makes you believe everything is all sunshines and lollipops. But that has little to do with reality. And guess what? We live in the real world, and freelancing is a tonne of blood, sweat, tears and hard work.
Why You Should Actually Start Freelancing
If you are dedicated to working for yourself, and love the idea of writing, designing or creating for a variety of areas, then freelancing is for you. But you also have to be self motivated and have a thick skin, because rejection will be more often than not. I love sending out a pitch to a potential client or website, but after that I know that nine times out of ten you won’t get anywhere! If you know this, and going in you target the places you think you will be perfect for, then jump right into freelance. But be warned, until you are making enough, don’t quit your day job just yet!
First Steps: Ways to Start Freelancing
There are a few ways to break into freelancing. These all have their pros and cons, and require the same amount of dedication and time commitment! You can cold call, find specific links or go through a freelancing / remote work websites. I am going to highlight two of these, cold calling/ pitching and using freelancing websites.
Method One: Cold Calling and the Cold Pitch
There are many websites that accept submissions or take on freelancers. You can often find these opportunities in the bottom links of a website, or in a book. I love the Writer’s Bible, and it is honestly filled with so many resources, contacts and information, it is a book that cannot be missed. I love it because it also walks you through the different parts of a pitch, which is your secret weapon for getting work.
What You Need to Know About Pitching
I learnt pitching is one of my classes during my masters, and this was one of the skills that I definitely took away from it. We were pitching all the time and trying to get our professor to give us the go-ahead to write a story. Now, even in a classroom setting this was useful because she was a professional freelance writer. It was good to hear the harsh criticism of the pitches and know what editors were truly looking for.
Rejection is Daily When You’re Cold Pitching: So Expect it!
Using cold pitching often means that your email is going to end up in the person’s trash bin. Editors who don’t know who you are might just delete your email without even opening it. That’s okay, and you are allowed to follow-up with them! After the follow-up leave it be, and try somewhere else. Even if one of your pitches was not accepted, doesn’t mean that your next one won’t be accepted. Keep trying and chipping away at the ice block!
Finding Freelance Jobs on a Freelance Work site
I can say that I am one of those people who scours the ten freelance sites I follow every day for the best links. Then I send in my cover letter and resume and hope for the best! Most of the time I hear nothing, and again think to myself this is a fruitless effort.
Why is it Hard to Get a Freelance Job this Way?
Getting a job through a freelance site can be difficult because there is tough competition! Actually, it is not just tough, but painfully excruciatingly tough. Even if you are an expert in your field and have written about the specific topic they are asking for a million times, you will most likely hear crickets 90% of the time.
Another 9% of the time you will hear, but as you delve deeper into the job you will find out that it is either “$0.01 per word” , “volunteer” or “requires 5 samples that are the websites property”. I only have one word of advice when you hear these 3 things, RUN!
So, Where Should You Look For Freelance Work?
There are a lists and lists of places that you can find freelance work online. Each has their definite pros and cons, but they all have one thing in common, I check these ones daily because they actually have a good selection of writing and freelance jobs to choose from, which makes the time you spend sifting through the side actually worthwhile.
Freelance Writing Gigs is a consistent resource for finding freelance jobs. They post (almost) every single day, and the list is long! They do not post just a couple of opportunities, they post the “gigs” in a nicely ordered list by category. So, if you are looking for blogging posts only, or you are looking to dive into technical writing, then you are going to the right place!
This little freelance writing website is beautifully designed and pretty to look at to boot. Though it is not updated all that often, there are some gold mine finds on this site, and it is definitely worth bookmarking. They let you know what rate the job is going for, whether it is in the lowest rate, or “pro-rate”.
Genuine jobs is not all about writing, it is a place that combines a number of great freelance and remote work opportunities in a free searchable list. I love going through all the listings and see what people are hiring in various areas. This is a great resource for people who also love working in graphic design or as an virtual assistant or in tech or really any other field imaginable.
This site is not just for freelance, instead it is for all jobs related to media and communications. But a simple search of “freelance” lets you find big opportunities from great names (I’m talking actually big companies that you recognize from their logo!).
I have talked back and forth about Flexjobs and what I thought about using it to find freelance work online. There are a tonne of opportunities here for every single speciality!
Why You Just Have To Keep Going When It Comes To Freelance Writing!
Freelancing is a tough go. There is a reason that I have a full-time job! There is a lot of rejection and disappointment. There are a lot of unopened emails, and unanswered pitches. But that doesn’t mean you don’t just push for the next opportunity! If you are committed to sinking the blood, sweat and tears into freelance writing then you are already ahead of most people.
So, get out there, and push to be the freelance writer you want to be!