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Finding Freelance Writing Work: Luck or Strategy?

 finding freelance writing workBy Allison VanNest, of Grammarly.com

The luck of the freelancer is a fickle thing. Before you throw in the towel and start filling out job applications, try changing your freelance strategy instead. In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, here are six ways to make your own luck when it comes to finding freelance writing work!

Apply Early and Often

“It has been my experience that individuals who are hiring tend to choose early,” says Writer Allenia Tapia. Unlike a traditional job search, where the wheels of hiring move slowly, the early freelancer usually gets the gig. Make a habit of checking your job boards every day (twice daily is even better) and apply to any promising jobs as soon as you see them instead of flagging them for later.

Spread Your Net Wide

Do you focus on just one job board or clearinghouse to find work? Then you may be missing countless opportunities elsewhere. While sites such as Media Bistro or ProBlogger are great for finding certain types of work, you shouldn’t limit yourself just because you’ve found work there in the past. “Find as many job sources as you can,” says Professional Blogger Tom Ewer, “and apply to any opportunities that interest you.”

Don’t Ignore the Niche

Casting a wide net doesn’t mean ignoring niche sites and publications. The big sites like Elance have the largest number of jobs…but they also have the largest pool of freelancers vying for them. In addition to being a great wordsmith, you undoubtedly have other interests and experience to draw on. Turn your passion for bird watching, gaming, or organic gardening into another stream of income by pursing specialty publications. There’s much less competition, and you’ll get to write about something you already love!

Resist Complacency

If you already have a couple of regular clients paying your bills, it’s tempting to stop hustling and start relaxing. Unfortunately, freelance income is uncertain, and relying on one or two clients can backfire big time. “There is a high degree of uncertainty in our chosen field,” says Freelancer Noemi Tasarra-Twigg. “While we may have enough regular clients, who’s to say that next month, one or two might need to cut back on their expenses? What if we suddenly lose a client (or more)?” Though you may be so busy that you have to scale back your efforts to find new clients, you should never stop altogether.

Don’t Sell Yourself Short

According to pro writer, Kelly Gurnett, “[T]he Internet is chock full of people who are willing to pay pennies on the dollar for hours of your highly skilled time.” Content mills and their ilk pay considerably less than a living wage, even if you’re a super speedy writer, and the time you spend slaving away for a few dollars is the time you could have used to find high-paying, engaging, and quality work elsewhere. Check out the rates in Writer’s Market or at the Editorial Freelancers Association to find out what your time is really worth.

Make a Commitment to Error-Free Work

While you shouldn’t rely on one or two clients to provide your entire income, repeat business and referrals are a freelancer’s bread and butter. Writers who turn in sloppy work that needs an hour or more of clean up to be publishable aren’t likely to be offered a second gig by the same client. Build time into your schedule to proofread your work, preferably allowing for a rest between writing and proofing, and don’t rely on Spell Check to catch everything. Happy clients are much more likely to work with you again and pass your name on to their colleagues.

Do you have a tip or trick for finding freelance work? Please share it in the comments!

About the Author:

A self-proclaimed word nerd, Allison VanNest works with Grammarly to help perfect written English. Connect with Allie, the Grammarly team, and nearly 690,000 Grammarly Facebook fans at www.facebook.com/grammarly.

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