11 Strategic Ways to Get New Clients as a Freelance Writer (2023)

Whether you’re learning how to become a freelance writer or an experienced freelancer slogging through a slow period, figuring out how to get clients can be nerve-wracking.

Here’s the hard truth: You have to hustle to get new writing clients. Even the most experienced freelancers have to expand their circles on a regular basis to ensure they have a stable stream of paying work.

Websites that post freelance writing jobs are plentiful, but require a critical eye. It’s easy to get sucked into a trap of getting paid $1 for every 300-word post you research and write. And while that might be a good place to start, especially if you’re looking for freelance writing jobs for beginners, it pays to take a more strategic approach once you’re ready to level up your income.

How do freelance writers get new clients?

If you’re going to get high-paying writing gigs and repeat clients, you’ll have to think beyond the job board.

While these strategies can be more effective in the long run than job sites, they might take longer to show results. A job board offers the possibility of an immediate project, while the ideas outlined below sometimes return client opportunities months or even years after you put in the effort.

When you’re ready to go the extra mile, here are some fresh ideas for how to find clients.

1. Personalize your cold calls and emails

Don’t send your pitch to a generic inbox. Do some research to figure out which editor will review your pitch, and then spend more time sleuthing to find their contact information.

(Video) Step by Step: How to Start Freelance Writing in 2022 (Make $5k/Month)

“Make sure the right people — the decision-makers — see your message,” advises Francesca Nicasio. “If you’re dealing with a small business or startup, the company’s founder is usually a good bet.”

Yes, this takes more effort than dashing off an email to a company’s inbox for general inquiries. But it’s far more likely to land you a byline.

2. Partner with other freelancers

Do you know any project managers, web developers or graphic designers? Their projects often require top-notch writing skills, which opens opportunities to work together.

If your web development buddy knows you’re willing to team up for a website redesign project, she can recommend you to the client. By sticking together, you might find ways to help one another.

“I have a list of writers I trust to get my clients to hire,” writes Paul Jarvis, who specializes in web design. “I know writing makes or breaks websites and I know the difference a professional makes. So I always suggest experienced writers to all my design clients and they often hire them.”

Supporting other writers can generate referrals, too, as writers who don’t have the bandwidth for a project often want to pass along the name of a qualified writer who can do it instead.

3. Volunteer your services

Volunteering may not pay the bills, but it’s a useful way to network without having to deal with small talk at happy hour.

(Video) 11 Strategies to Find HIGH PAYING Clients as a Freelancer

“Volunteering is a great way to get to know influential people who can help with your freelancing career — especially if you volunteer to do the writing and promotional duties for those projects,” writes Narendra Motwani. The people you meet while volunteering could turn into connections at companies you’d love to write for.

4. Book a speaking engagement

This tip only works if you’re comfortable in front of a crowd. But if you’d rather give a speech than approach strangers at happy hour, it could be a fit. And remember, even speaking in front of 20 people counts; you don’t have to keynote to an audience of thousands of people to be effective.

In an ideal world, you’d speak to audiences that could become clients. For example, if you write in the healthcare space, look for opportunities to speak to people who work at healthcare companies.

But even if you can’t find a perfect match for your niche, getting in front of any audience could pay dividends. Share knowledge that shows you have something to offer, and the people who see you speak might pass your name to someone who needs your expertise.

5. Get back in touch with former clients

If you’re not in regular contact with previous clients or organizations you’ve volunteered for, you could be leaving business on the table.

This outreach can be as simple as a short email or LinkedIn message to check in with someone you once worked with. Look for a way to mention that you have bandwidth for additional work. “You never know when a client might send work your way simply because you popped up on their radar at the right time,” writes Samar Owais.

6. Search for opportunities on Twitter

You’ll never get any work done if you spend all day on Twitter. But by scheduling time each week to use Twitter’s advanced search, you might notice when companies are looking for help.

(Video) Best Strategy for Getting New Clients as a Freelance Copywriter

David Masters has a quick how-to that will get you started and help you refine your search terms. Or you could lean on a service that aggregates Twitter opportunities, like Sonia Weiser’s Opportunities of the Week newsletter.

7. Use your skills in a different way

If you feel like you’re banging your head against the wall trying to land a certain type of paying work, push yourself to be more creative about how you use your skills.

For example, can’t find a freelance writing job you feel good about? Consider going after transcription jobs instead. You might find a new niche you enjoy!

8. Write a niche blog

If you’re looking for work as a blogger, you should certainly write a blog of your own. Your blog should focus on a niche, says Carol Tice of Make a Living Writing, although the topic doesn’t have to line up exactly with your target market.

“Clients love to see that you understand how to develop many strong story ideas on a single theme, stick to a topic, write great Internet headlines, attract subscribers, and how to get engagement — comments and social shares,” Tice says. “[Potential clients] will want you to do all that for them.”

9. Sell a product

You only have 24 hours in a day, but selling a product you created help showcase your expertise, which can lead to clients over time. Plus, it never hurts to make money while you sleep.

Considerwriting an ebook or white paper as a starting point. With so many online platforms and tools available to digital sellers, it’s never been easier to collect money for your work. If you’re not sure where to start, check out GumRoad, ConvertKit or Substack.

(Video) Why Cold Pitching is the BEST Way to Get Freelance Writing Clients as a Beginner

10. Pitch guest blog posts

Guest blogging might not bring in revenue — only some sites pay for guest posts — but it will get your name in front of a lot of potential clients. In fact, some businesses find freelance writers by looking at who writes for their competitors’ websites.

Don’t spread yourself too thin by guest-blogging for everyone, though. After all, you’ll need plenty of time for paid work as it comes in.

11. Sharpen your skills

Still getting nowhere? You might consider investing in yourself by taking some online writing courses.

Of course, you never want to put yourself in a position where you’re spending more than you can earn, but sometimes it’s worth paying for training to set yourself up for success. Many online courses offer feedback from the instructor and interaction with other students, and that could lead to insight about your own skills or approach.

What are your tried-and-true methods for reeling in new clients?

This is an updated version of a story that was previously published. We update our posts as often as possible to ensure they’re useful for our readers.

Photo via fizkes /Shutterstock



How do freelance writers get clients? ›

Luckily, there are many ways to achieve a solid, reliable list of clients you can turn to.
  1. Join the ProBlogger Job Board. ...
  2. Attend Business Networking Events. ...
  3. Create Email Campaigns. ...
  4. Join FlexJobs. ...
  5. Partner With Other Freelancers. ...
  6. Jump on Twitter Opportunities. ...
  7. Build a Niche Blog. ...
  8. Volunteer Your Services Online.
Aug 5, 2022

What are 3 actionable tips for freelance writers to help source clients? ›

Tip #7 to Get More Clients As a Freelancer: Update Your LinkedIn Profile
  • Upload a clear profile picture.
  • Keep experience and skills updated.
  • Include your best work to the “work samples” section.
  • Write a killer summary with your skills and achievements.
  • Ask for and add recommendations from former clients.

How do freelancers get first clients? ›

Know Where to Search

Finding freelance jobs can go three ways: you contact a potential client directly to offer your services, a client reaches out to you to request your services, or you use a job board to find open listings. Using a job board to find freelance work is where things can get dicey.

How do I market myself as a freelance writer? ›

How to Market Yourself as a Freelance Writer
  1. Choose a Freelance Writing Niche. ...
  2. Create a Freelance Writer's Website and Writing Portfolio. ...
  3. Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile. ...
  4. Start a Blog. ...
  5. Form an Online Presence. ...
  6. Create an Author Bio. ...
  7. Set Up a Google My Business Account. ...
  8. Start Networking.
Aug 3, 2020

How do freelancers get noticed? ›

Promoting your freelance services on social media gives clients another way to find you. Some social media platforms, like LinkedIn, are designed for professional networking. On Instagram or Facebook, you can choose to use your personal profile or create a separate one for your freelance services.

Is it hard to find clients as a freelancer? ›

As a freelancer, you already have solid experience in your field. But in the process of building out a clientele, you also have to work on your people skills and learn to be a great salesperson. Scouting clients isn't easy; it can be intimidating to sell yourself, or promote your skills.

What are the 5 guiding principles freelancers? ›

  • Adopt the 5 guiding principles. Share how this looks in practice for you - employ the ongoing work from various. ...
  • Apply 'Nothing about us without us' ...
  • Keep talking & sharing. ...
  • Bulk-buying & Bartering. ...
  • Schools & YP. ...
  • Build development ladders.
Jan 31, 2021

What are 3 things that good writers do? ›

  • Good writers make a good first impression. ...
  • Good writers make their endings strong, too. ...
  • Good writers organize their articles and stories so that readers can follow along without getting lost or confused. ...
  • Good writers rewrite. ...
  • Good writers don't just tell something, they show it.
Mar 17, 2009

How do I get direct clients online writing? ›

Sites to get direct clients
  1. Upwork - it is among the most trusted sites by companies worldwide. ...
  2. Fiverr – it's a global marketplace where you can sell your writing services to potential clients. ...
  3. PeoplePerHour – similar to Upwork and Fiverr, PeoplePerHour also has global connections to companies seeking freelancers.
Feb 17, 2022

How do beginners get clients? ›

How to Find Your First Client: A Guide
  1. Educate yourself. The first key in getting clients is to know your market. ...
  2. Get an online presence. ...
  3. Leverage social media. ...
  4. Network. ...
  5. Use inbound marketing. ...
  6. Pet personal. ...
  7. Demonstrate value. ...
  8. Be consultative in your approach.
Aug 5, 2022

Why am I not getting clients as a freelancer? ›

Your Industry Is Doing Poorly

Sometimes, the reason you're not getting clients is not about them or about you, but about the industry you work in as a whole. In certain economic trends, some industries tend to do poorly while others tend to boom.

What do clients look for in freelancers? ›

Freelancers should come with high ratings and reviews.

Additionally, clients can view a freelancer's feedback history and contracts to gain insight into their work quality and how well they work with others.

How much should I charge as a beginner freelance writer? ›

Beginners tend to charge much less, like $. 08 per word or $20 per hour. Those with many years of experience, on the other hand, can charge upwards of $1.00 per word and $100 per hour.

How do I break into freelance writing? ›

How to Become a Freelance Writer: Step-by-Step Guide
  1. Build a portfolio. Small businesses hit just as many highs as they do lows in the beginning. ...
  2. Start pitching. ...
  3. Start your own blog. ...
  4. Scour job boards. ...
  5. Embrace the side hustle.
Aug 24, 2022

What is a good rate for a beginner freelance writer? ›

Here's a breakdown to help you gauge your per-hour rate based on your experience level: Entry Level — $15 to $30 per hour. Intermediate — $35 to $60 per hour. Experienced — $65 to $100 per hour.

Why am I not getting clients? ›

More often than not, the reason you're struggling to find new clients is due to internal factors rather than external. The more honest you can be with yourself about your business, product, or service, the better. If you're stuck in a rut, switch to a new marketing campaign to try and actively pursue clients.

How do I become a top rated freelancer? ›

Become Top Rated

You earn a Top Rated badge by building an impressive reputation on Upwork. This includes a proven history of success with multiple clients, consistently delighting your clients with your work, and contributing to a safe and vibrant marketplace by knowing and following the Upwork Terms of Service.

What is the top problem you face as a freelancer? ›

Finding clients

Acquiring clients is the most frequently cited challenge faced by freelancers. It is especially an issue for new freelancers who haven't built up a body of work or worked with enough clients to establish a word-of-mouth reputation.

How do you impress a freelancing client? ›

8 Ways to Impress Your Freelance Clients
  1. Communicate Proactively. ...
  2. Be Reachable (Within Reason) ...
  3. Practice Patience. ...
  4. Detail Your Invoices. ...
  5. Stay Organized. ...
  6. Be Honest. ...
  7. Pursue Education. ...
  8. Remember Your Client's Interests.

How do I find people looking for freelancers? ›

The most popular methods business owners use to find freelancers are:
  1. Freelance job boards.
  2. Networking.
  3. Industry-specific sites and meetups.
  4. Referrals.
  5. LinkedIn.
  6. Craigslist.
  7. Social media (Facebook, Instagram, etc.)
  8. Traditional job sites (ZipRecruiter, Indeed, Monster, etc.)
Aug 2, 2022

How many clients should a freelancer have? ›

Some freelancers do all their work for one or two clients even while full time freelancing. Others juggle dozens of clients at a time. This is because every client has a different workload size and every freelancer has goals for the clients they want to take on.

What are the 7 principles list? ›

Humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality: these seven Fundamental Principles sum up the Movement's ethics and are at the core of its approach to helping people in need during armed conflict, natural disasters and other emergencies.

How do freelancers stay organized? ›

Create a system that will work for you. As a freelancer, you have to keep track of a lot of documents. Take the time to organize them, so finding them will be easy. Important documents include receipts, invoices, contracts, model release forms, emails, client accounts, tax forms, business legal documents, etc.

What skills are quintessential traits of successful freelancers? ›

Qualities of successful freelancers
  • Self-discipline. Not having a boss means the buck stops with you - you're responsible for staying focused and getting the job done. ...
  • Financially-aware. ...
  • Good time management. ...
  • Motivated. ...
  • Professional. ...
  • Flexible. ...
  • Good networking skills. ...
  • Resilience.

What makes a strong writer? ›

The following is a brief description of five qualities of good writing: focus, development, unity, coherence, and correctness.

What are the six qualities of good writing? ›

The Six Traits of writing are Voice, Ideas, Presentation, Conventions, Organization, Word Choice, and Sentence Fluency. It creates a common vocabulary and guidelines for teachers to use with students so that they become familiar with the terms used in writing. It develops consistency from grade level to grade level.

How to get high paying clients online? ›

How to Get High-Paying Clients? 9 Proven Ideas
  1. Know Your Strengths. ...
  2. Get Clear on Your Ideal Client. ...
  3. Create a Portfolio Website. ...
  4. Let Them Find You. ...
  5. Be Active in Your Community. ...
  6. Demonstrate Social Proof. ...
  7. Sell Value Not Price. ...
  8. Create a Strong Support System.
May 1, 2023

How do I find US clients for content writing? ›

How do freelance writers get new clients?
  1. Personalize your cold calls and emails. ...
  2. Partner with other freelancers. ...
  3. Volunteer your services. ...
  4. Book a speaking engagement. ...
  5. Get back in touch with former clients. ...
  6. Search for opportunities on Twitter. ...
  7. Use your skills in a different way. ...
  8. Write a niche blog.
Oct 29, 2020

How do freelance writers accept payments? ›

How to Get Paid as a Freelancer: 5 Reliable Payment Options
  1. Physical check.
  2. Free and fee-based online payments.
  3. Bank transfer.
  4. Accepting credit cards.
  5. Tradeouts.

How can I attract clients fast? ›

10 Ways to Get New Customers
  1. Ask for referrals. ...
  2. Network. ...
  3. Offer discounts and incentives for new customers only. ...
  4. Re-contact old customers. ...
  5. Improve your website. ...
  6. Partner with complementary businesses. ...
  7. Promote your expertise. ...
  8. Use online reviews to your advantage.
Apr 6, 2017

How do I sell myself to clients? ›

How to Sell Yourself
  1. Research the Target. Before visiting a customer, examine the company's website. ...
  2. Create a Story. At some point in the relationship, the customer is going to want to know what you're all about. ...
  3. Anticipate Inevitable Questions. ...
  4. Be a Professional. ...
  5. Ask Thoughtful Questions. ...
  6. Close on Next Steps.
Mar 22, 2012

How do I get my first 10 clients? ›

How To Get Your First 10 Customers Onboard?
  1. Identify the need. ...
  2. Identify your market. ...
  3. Position your Product as the Answer. ...
  4. Identify your first customers. ...
  5. Use your Network for Acquiring First Customers. ...
  6. Founders do the marketing. ...
  7. Acquiring your first 10 customers through a Private Mailing List.
Feb 1, 2021

Why I failed as a freelancer? ›

When a freelancer fails, people often think it's due to a lack of skills, but that's not always the case. Usually, they fail because of a lack of business acumen or the discipline required to become a successful freelancer.

Why being a freelancer is hard? ›

Client acquisition: You must constantly find new clients to maintain a steady flow of work, which can be time-consuming and very challenging. Lack of benefits: Freelancers do not typically receive benefits such as health insurance, paid time off, or retirement plans, which can be a drawback for some.

What makes freelancer fail? ›

Failing to Stand Out

Freelancing is very different to working for a company; you have to be able to sell yourself, and create your own brand. If you don't stand out from the crowd, your voice (and business) can easily get drowned out. Start by making a 'life list' of achievements you can highlight in a pitch.

What are client red flags in freelancing? ›

8 red flags to avoid bad freelance clients
  • Demanding an urgent response. ...
  • Asking for free or trial (unpaid) work. ...
  • Starting without a contract. ...
  • Complaining about cost. ...
  • Lack of commitment. ...
  • Cutting corners. ...
  • Payment terms longer than 30 days.
  • Unclear scope.

What questions to ask when hiring a freelancer? ›

Here are some potential questions about your work experience and background:
  • What do others say about working with you?
  • What is your approach to working?
  • What experience do you have freelancing in this industry?
  • How many clients do you normally work with at one time?
  • What do your clients enjoy about working with you?
Feb 16, 2023

How successful are freelancers? ›

According to Upwork, 1 in 3 US workers engaged in freelance work during 2020. Some of the most successful freelancers earn hundreds of thousands of dollars per year through platforms like Upwork, Freelancer, and Toptal.

How much should I charge for a 500 word article? ›

For one interview source when writing for an editorial brand, I aim to earn at least $0.75 a word when I'm thinking about how much to charge for 500-word article, and it depends on the topic. That averages to at least $375 for an article.

Can I make $1000 a month freelance writing? ›

Even with little or no experience, you can make $1,000 or more per month as a freelance writer in a short period of time. But that's just the beginning! Some of the go getters I know earn as much as $100K- $200K a year from freelance copywriting jobs (more about that below)!

What should I charge per word? ›

5–7.5 cents per word is below average, and more beginner rates. 8–11 cents per word is a general average. 12–15 cents per word is slightly above average for writers with more experience. 15+ cents per word is an experienced writer (plenty of samples, client testimonials/references, not all on content mills)

How many hours a week do freelance writers work? ›

3. Most freelance writers work 21-30 hours a week.

Can you live off of freelance writing? ›

Can you make a living as a freelance writer? The short answer is, yes, you can. I've been paying my way by writing for many years now. There's no reason why you shouldn't make a living selling words, too.

How do I start freelance writing with no portfolio? ›

Here are a few ideas to get you started.
  1. Writing Spec Clips. Writing 'on spec' (or speculation) refers to writing done without a guarantee that the work will be published or paid for. ...
  2. Pitch to Publications and Blogs. ...
  3. Write Affiliate Marketing Articles. ...
  4. Write Mock Pieces. ...
  5. Choose a Design. ...
  6. Complete Your Bio. ...
  7. Add Samples.

How can a freelance writer make money with no experience? ›

10 Ways to break into freelance writing without experience
  1. Write samples. ...
  2. Find a writing agency to support you. ...
  3. Launch a blog. ...
  4. Write for friends and family. ...
  5. Network with other freelance writers. ...
  6. Get your start with a content network. ...
  7. Revise and refresh your grammar. ...
  8. Learn about SEO.

How much should I charge for a 1000 word article? ›

The low end for a 1000-word research article is around $75, while an experienced writer may charge closer to $250 or more. Blog article. Less technical articles are often quicker to write, so you may want to charge less. A 1000-word blog article averages around $50 at the lower end and $175 at the higher end.

Is it hard to get into freelance writing? ›

A freelance writing career takes hard work, good time management skills, and the ability to hustle to find new gigs. To help build a rewarding career in this field, study the twelve freelance writing tips every author should know.

What is the average income for a Freelance Writer? ›

A Freelance Writer in your area makes on average $29 per hour, or $0.36 (1%) less than the national average hourly salary of $29.32. ranks number 1 out of 50 states nationwide for Freelance Writer salaries.

Are freelance writers in high demand? ›

High-quality freelance writers and brand journalists are currently in high demand and stand to be for years to come. Although the content marketing and freelance writing markets were already growing before COVID-19, the pandemic accelerated their growth, opening a sea of opportunities for freelancers.

Do freelance writers actually make money? ›

Freelance writing can be a fantastic way to earn money and can even lead to full-time income if you can consistently produce quality work.

What type of freelance writing pays the most? ›

Healthcare and medical writing

The healthcare and medical sector is one of the highest-paying niches in freelance writing. Content in this niche requires similar skill sets to technical writing—as well as extensive knowledge of the healthcare industry.

How much should I charge as a new freelance writer? ›

Another major difference to consider is the amount of experience you have. Beginners tend to charge much less, like $. 08 per word or $20 per hour. Those with many years of experience, on the other hand, can charge upwards of $1.00 per word and $100 per hour.

What is a good hourly rate for a freelance writer? ›

Here's a breakdown to help you gauge your per-hour rate based on your experience level: Entry Level — $15 to $30 per hour. Intermediate — $35 to $60 per hour. Experienced — $65 to $100 per hour.

How do I find my niche as a writer? ›

Find Your Ideal Freelance Writing Niche In 5 Simple Steps
  1. Step 1: Identify your area of expertise. ...
  2. Step 2: Identify what you're passionate about. ...
  3. Step 3: Identify opportunities or gaps in the market. ...
  4. Step 4: Identify the crossover of these areas. ...
  5. Step 5: What's next?

How do I find my freelancing niche? ›

When determining your niche, be specific enough to filter out potential clients who don't properly align with the products or services you are offering. Hone your area of focus on a specific deliverable, industry, client size, or objective goal.

Who is the richest content writer in the world? ›

J.K. Rowling

British author Joanne Rowling, also known as J.K. Rowling, is the richest author in the world with a net worth of $1 billion. Rowling is the author of the hit children's fantasy series "Harry Potter." The seven-volume series sold over 600 million copies and has been translated into 84 languages.

Do freelance writers pay taxes? ›

In the eyes of the IRS, freelance writers are independent contractors. And as an independent contractor, you have to pay self-employment taxes if you earn more than $400 in a calendar year. The self-employment tax rate is 15.3%. It represents 12.4% in Social Security tax and 2.9% in Medicare tax.

How do I create a six figure freelance writing career? ›

Keys to becoming a 6-figure freelance writer
  1. Master your mindset. If you don't believe it's possible to earn over six figures as a freelance writer, it's going to be really hard to get there. ...
  2. Set up your parachutes. ...
  3. Get the price right. ...
  4. Know where to find high-paying clients. ...
  5. Sell yourself. ...
  6. 3 Comments.
Apr 4, 2023


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