6 Ways for How to Search for Clients as a Freelance Writer

Last Updated on: January 3rd, 2017

6 Ways for How to Search for Clients as a Freelance Writer

Being a freelancer has its pros and cons.

Working from home is the biggest pro for many people. Not earning enough (or not earning at all) is the biggest con.

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While it’s great to be able to set your own hours, work in your pajamas (yes, I’m guilty of doing this!), and not have to deal with commuting, it is often hard to get started on the path to success.

You have to find your own clients.

Income varies from month to month.

You have a lot of competition. There are many other freelancers out there, willing to do the same type of work as you, often for a smaller amount of money!

So… even when things are going well for you, you still need to remember to actively look for work. Your client(s) might suddenly decide they don’t need you anymore… or cannot afford you anymore.

What will you do if that happens?

Find more work, right?

But how?

Here are 6 Ways for How to Search for Clients as a Freelance Writer:

1 – set up a writer website

2 – contribute to blogs (and sites that pay)

3 – choose a reputable job board

4 – keep bidding and emailing

5 – make cold calls

6 – pool your resources

We will look at each of these in more detail now, and by the end of this article, you’ll have a whole shitload of ideas and things you can do to find your next client!

And if you *really* want to succeed in the freelancing field, I highly suggest you take Elna’s course, Write Your Way to Your First $1k.

1 – Set Up a Writer Website

I get queried a lot on Facebook from people about freelancing.

When I ask for their website URL, I get told, “I don’t have one.”

Or, “It’s under construction.”

OMG!!! Seriously? WTF???

It amazes me that many freelancers STILL don’t have a website that they can send potential clients to!

Let me tell you something.

Having a writer website is STEP #1 in freelancing.

Why?

Several reasons, actually, and if you do it right, your website will be the magnet that pulls in quality clients.

Reason #1: Your website acts as your portfolio.

It showcases your work.

If you have a blog, it provides samples of your writing.

You can list your guest posts there, too.

Reason #2: You can list your testimonials on your website.

After completing work for a client, you can ask them for a testimonial… a few nice words they can say about your services, and how happy they are with them.

Testimonials are powerful. They show others (potential clients) that your prior clients were satisfied with you.

Reason #3: Your clients need to know who you are.

You need an ABOUT page.

Your clients might want to know more about you. Saying “I’m a freelancer” simply just isn’t enough. You can mention your accomplishments. You can say where you are from. You can say almost anything you want.

Your ABOUT page can be wonderful and amazing if you use these 10 tips.

Also… don’t forget to include a HIRE ME or SERVICES page.

You can list all of the services you offer.

You can also list your rates, too, if you want.

On this site, I’ve created one page that mentions all the services I offer. Then I created a separate page for each service, with my rates for each one.

There is some controversy over listing your rates, however. Some people say it’s good to do this, because clients like to know your rates before they hire you, and it saves both you and them time. Other say you’re missing out on an opportunity to connect with someone. (For example, potential clients will contact you and ask you for your rates. Even if they cannot afford you, you will know that they are looking to hire, and perhaps you can still “sell” your services to them anyway!)

The main purpose of setting up a website is to generate leads. You can demonstrate your ability as a writer (from the content in your blog), and you will gain visibility from promoting your content on social media. Eventually, your freelance business might even grow into professional writing service! Many of the best writing services started out with one good freelance writer looking for clients.

While you might not realize this, you are actually “in business” when you first take up freelance writing. 

If you’re just starting out, you should remember not to be happy with only one steady client. When I first started freelancing 3 years ago, I had only one client. He was both my best and worst client, too.

I learned 10 important lessons from him… and made many mistakes.

To avoid these mistakes (and many others), I highly suggest you take Elna’s course, Write Your Way to Your First $1k.

2 – Contribute to Blogs (and Sites That Pay)

Many clients want to see a sample of your work before they will accept you as a guest (free OR paid).

This is why it’s important to have a writer website! You can list your previous guest posts on your site, and direct others to these published works.

In addition to writing posts on your own blog, you can also contribute articles as a guest to sites in your niche so clients can see how you write.

Look at my portfolio. I have listed all my guest posts there, as well as the round-up posts I’ve contributed to. This shows my clients that I am well-known, have a large social following, and am active on social media as well as across the internet. They’ll be more likely to hire me because of my content marketing experience even though I might only be writing for them.

(It’s always a bonus for the client if you can help promote their posts on social media!)

To find blogs to guest post on, you can read The Definitive List of Blogs That Accept Guest Posts.

For ULTIMATE GUEST-POSTING SUCCESS, you should also abide by the tips and strategies I followed in How to Land Guest Posts on High-Traffic Sites.

Listverse is just one place you can search for clients as a freelance writer

Many blogs will accept good quality articles, and some will even pay you for it.

Make Money Writing Articles: 37 Blogs That Pay Up To $300 For Your Guest Posts is an older list (from 2015) of blogs that will pay you. Although most sites still pay, TopTenz no longer accepts guest articles… but ListVerse does.

These sites are usually very specific about what they will accept, so make sure you follow their submission instructions 100% properly so your efforts will not be wasted.

image for blog post of lists of where to get paid to write

Another great resource is Bamidele’s Lists of Where to Get Paid to Write (Websites that Pay Writers.

This is a great list of blogs in many different niches, so there is something for EVERYONE there!

(And it’s updated regularly, so bookmark that post!)

3 – Choose a Reputable Job Board

Job boards are good to use, too, when you are searching for clients as a freelancer.

This is where clients go when they need freelance work, including writing, done.  However, there are thousands of job boards, and not all of them will present you with the opportunities you need to find a quality client.

Employers post what they are seeking, you look at the jobs available, and then you apply.This is where clients go when they need freelance work, including writing, done. However, there are thousands of job boards, and not all of them will present you with the opportunities you need to find a quality client.

Problogger has a job board. I’ve used it. I’ve found a couple of clients there. Be a Freelance Blogger also has one.

However, there are thousands of job boards, and not all of them will present you with the opportunities you need to find a quality client.

Some job sites attract only clients that are out to get cheap labor, and may not be willing to pay reasonable rates for quality work.

Reputable job boards usually confirm the legitimacy of the job posters for the protection of their members.

Among these are Upwork (formerly oDesk), Guru, and Freelancer.

Another site, Crowded, curates freelance job postings from different platforms. Its members can then apply to these jobs.

Then there’s iWriter and Textbroker. (I confess I have not used ANY OF THESE CONTENT WRITING MILL SERVICES!)

It is important that you choose your job boards carefully because you will be spending a lot of time on them. Also, make a point of using any assessment, free training, and tips the job board may have to offer.

You can also check on the hiring history and feedback for potential employers. This will give you an idea if the company is going to be a quality client or not.

Upwork is another place you can search for clients as a freelance writer

4 – Keep Bidding and Emailing

It is not enough to simply choose good job boards. You have to use them!

Some sites are exclusively for writers, so this is where your competition is likely to be fiercest. But don’t get discouraged! The writing market is big enough for everyone!

The secret for searching for clients as a freelance writer is to keep bidding on job postings within a reasonable price range. Bid for or apply to as many as you can to increase your chances of getting a client. You might have to  go through 50 or 100 job postings before you get a bite, but you never really know which one will be the winner. While this may sound like a lot of effort, it’s not. All you are doing is reading and applying for a job!ou need to put yourself out there so employers will see your work.

It’s not like you’re lifting 50kg weights at the gym! 😉

You need to put yourself out there so employers will learn about you and see your work.

If you can get email addresses of the employers, make sure you follow up a week or two later. Do not email them every day. That is annoying. Give them time to read their emails and respond to them. Chances are, they are extremely busy running their businesses, and will get to your email eventually.

However, if you have not heard anything within 10 days, then email them again. Just send them a short email asking if they had time to review your application or previous email.

*If you use Gmail and a Chrome browser, you can add the Streak extension to see when your emails are being read. It’s free! (Yes, I use it.)

5 – Make Cold Calls

Once upon a time, freelance writers had to do cold calls to get a gig, usually to newspapers and magazines.

The market is much wider now, but the idea of actually calling a potential employer to offer your services is a bit foreign to online-only freelancers.

Cold-calling is effective. In fact, you might be surprised at just how effective it is! It is an effective marketing strategy for many businesses, so why not for freelance writing?

Yes, it’s scary. It is not the most comfortable thing to do. The idea of going up to an employer (in person or on a call) and boldly offering your writing services is enough to make anyone nervous!  However, if you do your research and know that you can be useful to the employer, you may get a better reception than you think.

Knowing what they may want before you go to them is necessary. Make your pitch relevant. Explain how you can help them and how they can benefit from hiring you. For example, if you know a business who does not have a website (such as a restaurant in your neighbourhood, you can offer to create a website for them, write blog articles for them, create and manage their social media profiles, etc.)

You can also search for potential clients by looking for newly-launched websites, because these are the ones most likely to need content.

Here are some tips on how to make successful cold calls.

 image of two women collaborating on a project, trying to search for clients as a freelance writer

6 – Pool your resources

Freelancers are all after the same thing: new clients. While it’s great to have high-paying clients, it might take you longer to find them.

To find new clients, you can team up with freelancers you know offering complementary services such as web development, graphic design, and SEO marketing. If you work together as a team, you can pool your resources and share your leads. You can even develop a website together, contributing your individual skills to acquire clients requiring multiple services.

How Do YOU Search for Clients as a Freelance Writer?

Being a successful freelancer is not easy.

You need to put in a lot of effort to find clients that will pay you a reasonable rate.

However, you do not have to go into it blindly. There are a few tried and tested strategies on how to search for clients as a freelance writer.  You can try one or more of these suggestions, and see what works for you.

In addition to the 6 ways mentioned here, you can also try some of the sites listed in 10 Ways to Find a High-Paying Freelancing Job to find clients.

And if you *really* want to succeed in the freelancing field, I highly suggest you take Elna’s course, Write Your Way to Your First $1k.

What other ways can you search for clients as a freelance writer? Share in the comments!

 

I offer a free e-book to my blog subscribers, along with other goodies free of charge in some of my emails… so pick up your copy of 20 Blog Post Must-Haves today! Wording Well's freebie: An e-book titled 20 Blog Post Must-HavesAnd don’t forget that I’m a a freelance blogger, writer, and editor for hire. (And an author who can help you create an e-book to give away on your site, sell, and even turn into a print book… to help you earn passive income.)

20 thoughts on “6 Ways for How to Search for Clients as a Freelance Writer

  1. Hi Lorraine, how’re things? Great post. One way I find promising clients is by checking out trade show exhibitor lists (whether the expo is past or future). I’ve picked up some good clients that way… 🙂

    Cheers,
    Kevin Casey

  2. Hi Lorraine,

    All the 6 points are undoubtedly helpful in getting freelance writing jobs.

    Being a freelance writer & blogger, I follow some of the techniques, but from now on, I’ll go for all the 6.

    I hope my career would be much more flourishing by following your guidelines.

    Thanks & keep sharing such nice thoughts.

  3. Hello Lorraine,

    A nice article for every blogger and freelance writer to learn one or two things from.

    Freelance job is awesome when you have the knowledge and skill to find a potential client. Many freelance writers online give up their goal simply because there’s no mean for finding clients.
    But your post have cleared the air on that 🙂

    Thanks for such a lovely post. Do have a good week ahead

    • says

      Hi, Babanature.

      There are many ways for finding clients if you are a freelancer!

      I forgot to mention that advertising on social media can help you get clients, too.

      I have gotten some just by talking about my services on Facebook.

      Enjoy your week as well.

  4. Lorraine!

    Great resource for new writers. Personally, I stay away from freelance marketplaces like Upwork but I know it’s proven to be successful for other writers like Danny Margulies http://www.freelancerfaqs.com/can-find-high-paying-work-upwork-part-1-interview-six-figure-freelancer-danny-margulies/

    I’m strongly believe, like you, that having a home base like a writer website is key to having a sustainable freelance writing business. Without a website, it will be extremely hard to secure work.

    Thanks for the tips!

    • says

      Elna, I know Diana Marinova has also had a lot of success with Upwork.

      I prefer job boards and word-of-mouth marketing.

      I have given referrals to other freelancers, and have received a few, too.

      I think all writers should have a website. They do not need to have a blog, but it helps.

      Thanks for stopping by! I am glad you found the post useful.

  5. Hi Lorraine,

    Happy Monday 🙂

    I read the post title on Triberr, and how could I not come over!! Yes, we have been having lots of festivities our end, which has surely kept me busy, but it’s back to work now!

    You’re right about all that you mentioned – it’s certainly not easy searching for clients, and freelance writers would know that for sure! I too started Aha!NOW, mainly to showcase my writing skills initially, and one thing led to another – and there’s been no looking back. I do most of what you mentioned, and over time, your old clients keep coming back to you, if you are good, isn’t it?

    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice week ahead 🙂

    • says

      Harleena, you have built an empire on your website… and you and Vinay must be thrilled!

      I know you don’t do much (if any) freelance writing anymore, but I appreciate your story and your comment because you are proof of how having a writer website can lead to bigger and better things!

      Your site is more than just a blog. Since you added the community forum component, it is a social media platform… and having the skills to build that is really quite special and extraordinary. I am so proud of all you have accomplished! And while raising children, too. 😉 Who have perfect attendance nonetheless! (Yep, I remember your daughter’s school record.) Wow!

      Perhaps, instead of Aha!NOW, your site should have been called Aha!WOW. 😉 😉 😉

  6. Hi, Lorriane.

    This is a very nice article related to freelancing career.

    I do agree what you said. It’s important to create a website for freelance service. Having a website can help to promote your business and build trust with your clients.

    Last month, A guy from Guna watched my YouTube video and contact me for freelance webs designing. He needs me to build a Buddypress blog.

    I asked $200 for that project, but he found a freelancer who can do that only $100 on Fiverr. LOL!

    So, he ask for $150, but I focus on $200.

    Eventually, I got the project with $200 while others are offering $100.

    The reason, he came with me because he read my articles and found many authority bloggers and entrepreneurs are enjoying the articles on my blog. What’s more, I have my own business where he can easy to contact for next time issue.

    Honestly, I never experience with find client on freelance site, but thanks for sharing me here.

    • says

      Kimsea,

      I am so proud of you for “sticking to your guns” (a saying we have) and maintaining your $200 price.

      Good for you!

      Negotiations have their place, but when you are doing a specific job, sometimes you have to be firm and unwavering.

      (I’m trying to teach you a few words today.) 😉

      I actually don’t like Fiverr. I think a lot of people there are very talented, and don’t get paid what they’re worth, even with all the additions that customers can order.

      Having a website is much better. Plus, Fiverr takes a portion of their money. If you have a website, the only time you have to give a portion of your money to someone else is if you use PayPal and have to pay fees there.

      Thanks for commenting and sharing your awesome experience!

  7. says

    Hi Lorrain

    Very well researched post with your vast experience as freelancer is also visible in it.

    I worked as ghost writer for three years for a website of a UK NGO and I know how difficult it is to handle a client who off and on informed me several offers of rates quite lower than mine and it irked me a lot and also affect my productivity. Then I got a few more clients to never be worried if any of them receive an offer lower than my rates.

    You are right that seeing is believing. If a freelancer does not have samples to show he would just be trying to prove how good he is because clients want to know where you are already published and what was the quality of those places.

    Many thanks for sharing this very informative post with a lot of resources to get more and more freelancing orders.

    Have a super successful week ahead.

    • says

      Hi, Mi Muba.

      Having samples is important. Any time I am interested in hiring someone (to outsource work to), I ask for samples.

      I hire only those who have a strong grasp of the English language and who can prove their worth to me.

      It irks me when I am approached by writers who have no site, so samples, and no social media accounts other than Facebook. They expect me to help them, but they can’t even help themselves!
      Geez.

      So part of this post (Point #1) is for them!

      I just hope they listen… 😉

      Thanks for dropping by and for re-connecting with me recently. We have been out of touch for quite a long time!

  8. Hey Lorraine,
    Wonderful resource for freelance writers dear. I have followed these exact tips to escape content mills and live a decent life online.

    I have never created an account for freelance sites though. Site like Upwork, as I have heard have low quality jobs and clients are not certain. I prefer clients whom I can trust with my work and so I guess I left that route.

    Thanks for this post.
    -Swadhin

    • says

      Swadhin, I tried Freelancer but not the others. I prefer job boards, actually, but most of my clients actually approach me.

      I have gotten several from Facebook, just from engaging with others, and many have approached me (I did not know them until they they did!).

      So… clients can pretty much come from anywhere!

      Guest posting has helped me as well. However, I have not done any guest posting in a while.

      Thank you for visiting my site again. 🙂

  9. Hey Lorraine,

    One of the best idea to start a writer’s website. You are right, it acts as a portfolio. People can easily come to know about your writing skills.

    Creating your freelance account to the famous websites like Upwork and Freelancer can be really helpful. I have never tried the bidding game.

    I have gone through many websites like Fiverr which provides the chances to get more clients by bids.
    Thanks for sharing this wonderful article with us.

    ~Ravi

    • says

      Ravi, I have tried a few different ways to find clients.

      My best move was creating this site. It clearly showcases my talents and gives me a lot of exposure to others!

      I have never sold my services on Fiverr, but I have hired people from there!

      Thanks so much for sharing this post, and for your comment, too.

      Reciprocal commenting is awesome, and I wish more bloggers followed this etiquette!

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