Based in Chicago, Illinois, The Freelance Beat is a blog exploring the triumphs and challenges that freelance journalists encounter in their early and mid-careers.

Stepping up your side-hustle in 2017? Try these freelance writing sites

Stepping up your side-hustle in 2017? Try these freelance writing sites

From Craigslist to Upwork, there are a lot of job boards out there where freelancers can find gigs. They vary in terms of quantity and quality. I haven’t signed up for all of these services, but I’ve been looking closely at them lately as potential sources of extra income.

The Washington Post recently announced it will add several dozen reporters to its ranks, but most newsrooms are opting to do more with less as they look for new revenue streams to make up for print losses. According to a 2016 Pew Research report, newsrooms have gotten rid of more than 20,000 jobs between 1994 and 2014, which represents a 39 percent decline. Freelancers can only do so much to fill the void of shrinking newsrooms, but we do provide stories that may otherwise go overlooked.

Most of my freelance income comes from my reporting, but I’ve begun to think about seeking corporate and additional editorial clients from these sites. Given that many per word or flat rates have not kept up with the cost of living, I’ve started to look for other ways to find freelance work. Here’s a list of places where you can find other freelance writing work, editorial or otherwise, to support your side hustle.

  1. LinkedIn Profinder (paid): LinkedIn recently launched LinkedIn Profinder, a freelance marketplace which matches independent workers with local clients. You can submit 10 proposals to potential clients for free, but after that, you’ll have to pay for a premium subscription starting at $47.99 per month, billed annually. The platform matches you with a variety of writing clients ranging from grant writing and copywriting to blogging and some editorial work for up-and-coming websites. They’ll typically send you an email or notification with a project description once jobs open up in your area. In my experience with LinkedIn Profinder, I found the lack of payment security a problem. The platform does not have a place to verify clients’ bank accounts like other platforms do. With that in mind, make sure you put an iron-clad contract down, and maybe ask for half of your fee up front.

  2. Upwork (paid): On the other hand, Upwork, another popular site which pairs freelancers with mostly non-editorial clients, does have a payments platform to ensure that your clients can pay you electronically through direct deposit, PayPal, electronic transfer and so on. The site lets you browse the jobs available on the site. Payment for these kinds of jobs can range from $5 to several thousand dollars. Choose wisely. I haven’t used Upwork myself, but I have heard mixed reviews about the site, particularly from guests on Clients From Hell. Make sure that you communicate with your Upwork clients through the platform at all times, get a solid agreement with your client and talk to an actual Upwork person over the phone if you have issues. Also, please note that Upwork takes 5 to 20 percent of your earnings from the site and may charge premium memberships. Price your services accordingly.

  3. Writers of Color (free): Set up by prominent writers Jazmine Hughes, Durga Chew-Bose, Vijith Assar and Buster Bylander, Writers of Color is a directory of—you guessed it!—writers of color, spanning across different cities, ethnicities and subject expertise. It’s not exactly a job matching site, but you can post your name, clips and subject expertise for editors to see. Also, follow their Twitter account to find editors who explicitly are looking for writers of color. They connected with my editor at Pacific Standard, which led to a couple features for the Pacific Standard website. You’ll find a mix of full-time, freelance and part-time gigs on the Writers of Color twitter account.

  4. MediaBistro (paid): MediaBistro members can join the Freelance Marketplace. You’ll have a brief free trial, but after that, you’ll be charged $21 per month or $145. (AvantGuild members will receive a slight discount). You can create a profile for editors to assign you work, upload your portfolio and access editorial calendars and editor contact information, which will be helpful in pitching magazines in particular. It appears to be more oriented toward journalists and public relations professionals.

  5. Freelance Writing Jobs (free): This website is updated daily with freelance, full-time and part-time positions for writers and editors. It’s a mixture of editorial writing, “content producing,” and other kinds of work. I’d approach some of these positions with the same caution as one might treat Craigslist, though sometimes, you can find really good editorial postings on here.

  6. Contently (free): In a similar vein as MediaBistro and Writers of Color, Contently lets you set up a profile to display your work. Contently features some editorial jobs, publishes articles with valuable freelance advice and has a crowd-sourced freelance rate database similar to that of Who Pays Writers, which was founded by Manjula Martin.

Where do you find freelance writing gigs? Let me know in the comments or email me at Oh, and happy new year!

Editor’s note: The Freelance Beat has partnered with Contena, a site which curates higher well-paying writing jobs, but the opinions and experiences expressed in this blog post are those of The Freelance Beat. Contena did not sponsor this post.

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