Leaving Work Behind

Freelance Writing Jobs: How To Find Your First

Written by Tom Ewer on April 4, 2012. 137 Comments

Freelance writing jobs

As many of you know, I am an advocate of making money online through freelance writing. As far as I am concerned, the barriers of entry are relatively low and the opportunities are numerous.

Plenty of Leaving Work Behind readers have contacted me asking how to find freelance writing jobs. Some people don’t know where to look, what to look for, how to apply for jobs, and so on.

And this comes as no surprise — taking those first few steps can be rather intimidating. I say that from personal experience. When you have certain freelance writing websites telling you that you should be commanding rates of $100 per hour and up, taking that first step can be a paralyzing experience. However, in this post I want to show how the process can in fact be relatively simple.

Freelance Writing Jobs: Don’t Be Afraid To Start Small

Whilst you can make upwards of $100 per hour doing freelance writing jobs, there is absolutely nothing wrong with starting at a lower level. Don’t be intimidated into thinking that you should be aiming for “jackpot jobs.”

My hourly rate was $20 when I started. These days it’s more like $150 per hour. And it’s not just me; my friend Gina was able to go from $50 to $150 per hour in a matter of months.

My equivalent hourly rate at the moment is well under $100 per hour, but I have no problem with that. I have regular work, I don’t have to look for jobs, and I have prospective clients coming to me (rather than vice versa). Edit 27/10/14: my equivalent hourly rate is now around $150, which aptly demonstrates what is possible with freelance writing!

The fact is, you can’t walk straight into $100 per hour jobs as a beginner freelance writer. You need to build up your skill set and portfolio. There is nothing wrong with taking on a $20 per hour job and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If you had two regular clients paying you $20 per hour, eight hours per day, you’d be earning upwards of $40,000 per annum — that’s nothing to sniff at. It may not pay the bills, but it can be your start point.

Besides, there are other benefits to starting out modestly:

And remember: you can always ask for a raise once you have proven yourself. If a client is unwilling to increase your pay, you can always walk away (on good terms, of course). Working for a below-ideal rate does not have to be permanent, but it is nothing to be afraid of in the short term.

Avoid Content Farms

Let me get something straight: when I say you should be ready to start on modest pay, I am not suggesting that you work on so-called “content farms” (such as Text Broker, Elance and oDesk). Quite the opposite in fact. There is no reason that a reasonably competent writer can’t work on something real; something rewarding; something that you will be able to display in your portfolio with pride.

I am talking about finding work where you will be valued — where you will be able to further your skills and connections. I have never worked for a content farm and I never will. It’s just not necessary.

Browsing Freelance Writing Job Listings

For the purposes of this article I am going to be referring to the ProBlogger Job Board as a means of sourcing work. It features a number of online writing opportunities; most typically related to blogging. It’s also where I found my first two freelance blogging jobs.

ProBlogger Jobs Board

The first thing to bear in mind is that when it comes to finding work, you have to throw a lot against the wall in order to find something that sticks. I submitted quite a few applications to get my first couple of writing jobs. Once you have a good template pitch set up it only takes a few minutes to submit an application, so don’t be afraid to get stuck in and send out a whole bunch. What’s the worst that can happen?

What To Look For:

What To Avoid:

Freelance Writing Job Opportunities Are Plentiful

Paid to Blog JobsMultiple Leaving Work Behind readers have gotten in touch with me, voicing their frustration that they can’t find viable freelance writing job opportunities online. But take it from me as someone who researches freelance blogging job opportunities every single day for Paid to Blog Jobs: there are plenty of opportunities out there.

On average, I list around 70 new freelance writing job listings on Paid to Blog Jobs every week. That’s over 300 listings per month, or over 3,500 a year. That’s a lot of opportunities!

Bemoaning a lack of opportunities is a poor excuse; succeeding as a freelance writer is simply a case of hard graft. Find as many job sources as you can (or sign up to Paid to Blog Jobs and I’ll do it for you) and apply to any opportunities that interest you. Be sure to check your sources every day to check up on what’s new; although you can get a job on a listing that is days or even weeks old, it is always good to get your pitch in early.

Your Pitch

It is absolutely vital that you make a good first impression with any prospective client. They will be receiving multiple applications; you should try your best to stick out from the crowd.

By far the best piece of advice I can give you is to follow their instructions. If they request specific information, make sure that you give it to them. Nothing demonstrates a lack of professionalism more than an inability to follow simple instructions in a job listing. It is a really easy way of filtering out potential candidates.

The makeup of your email will of course vary depending upon the type of client you are targeting and the existing portfolio you have to show off. Here is a copy of the application I submitted for my first client, WPMU DEV:


I came across your available writing position and would like to apply for the role.

I am confident that I tick all of your boxes in terms of what you are looking for. I am very proud of my blog (Leaving Work Behind). There are of course plenty of articles available to read on the blog, but I would suggest that the following posts demonstrate my writing style and capabilities:

I would consider myself pretty savvy with WordPress. I also have a good understanding of CSS and HTML (I used to build websites manually back in the day), and a passing familiarity with PHP.

A little bit about me – I am a 26 year old male living in the UK. I currently have a full-time and very flexible job in property development (it is a family business). I am looking to resign from that role as soon as possible and become self-employed. The role that you are offering may be an ideal opportunity for me to do that. Initially I would be available to work say 16 hours a week, although we could work on that. Rest assured, I am an extremely efficient worker, so you get a lot of bang for your buck!

I’d love to become part of what is already an established and popular blog, and would be very keen to help you take it to the next level!

Thank for your time – I look forward to your response.

Kind regards,

Tom Ewer

There are a few things to note here:

Here is the email I sent when applying for my second job at ManageWP:


I noticed your job listing over at ProBlogger and would like to apply for the position.

I consider myself a highly competent WordPress user. I am currently a staff writer at WPMU. You can find examples of my work here: http://wpmu.org/author/tom/

I also have my own blog (http://www.leavingworkbehind.com/) which showcases to an extent my ability to customize WordPress themes.

If my services are of interest, please note that I cannot start work until mid-January 2012.

Thank you for your consideration.

Kind regards,

Tom Ewer

As you can see, this application was much more brief than the first. It was in fact rather speculative; I submitted a bunch of applications in November 2011 in the hope of attracting advance work in January 2012. Fortunately, Vladimir Prelovac (the CEO of ManageWP) decided to overlook my claimed availability, and I started writing for the blog shortly thereafter!

Despite my application being brief, it was still successful. I believe my involvement with WPMU was a big plus; one job can easily lead to another.

What Next?

So what do you do if an application is successful? Being a successful freelance writer is an ongoing process: once you have the job, you need to do good work!

With that in mind, I have a few tips that should elevate you above the norm:

The fact is, your clients probably have to put up with a lot of crap in the process of running their business. Do your job well, exercise initiative and ensure that you are an asset rather than a burden and you will be progressing in no time at all.

Photo Credit: mpclemens

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137 Responses to “Freelance Writing Jobs: How To Find Your First”

  1. Aleshia Green
    April 5, 2012 at 1:40 am

    ok great post on finding freelance jobs. Thanks for the example application ideas…I have always found my application never spills all the beans about myself..but I do think having a place the employer can refer to ..via..your own website is a good idea.

    • Tom Ewer
      April 5, 2012 at 7:30 pm

      Glad to be of help Aleshia! :)

      • Charles
        May 30, 2014 at 5:32 pm

        Thank you so much for writing an article detailed and brief at the same time. This was exactly what I needed to read because I have been having a rough time trying to pick up even the smallest jobs. Do you have any recomendations for brand new freelancers (without a portfolio to provide prospective clients) getting a starter job?

  2. Jeffrey
    April 5, 2012 at 4:49 am

    You literally read my mind on the answers to questions I was looking for again, Tom! I had a freelance writing position before, but it fizzled out and I haven’t really been trying to find a new once since.

    Thanks for the great advice, especially the email scripts. I’ve been looking over the ProBlogger job board, and it does seem a bit limited at times. But I think you’re right when you say you need to send out a lot of applications to get things going.

    • Tom Ewer
      April 5, 2012 at 7:31 pm

      Hey Jeff,

      Glad I could be of help! I personally think it is just a case of persistence over time – I am confident there are good opportunities available. People aren’t paying $50 to post listings for nothing.



  3. Emily Hunter
    April 5, 2012 at 10:18 am

    This is a great post! One of the things that I’ve found to be priceless when looking for a freelance job on Elance is the necessity to look like I’m serious about the job in the first place. Usually, I’ll have a template in the back of my head, but jump off of it almost immediately as I show the reader the enthusiasm that I’ve got for their position.

    When I first started getting serious, I got my first job the next day after completing some of the tests and giving them what they wanted. It’s led to some long-term gigs. The best part about it is that when I do get rejected, it’s not out of hand anymore – mostly it’s for things like ‘you don’t match my style’ which to me is a lot better than ‘no reasons specified.’ Keep it up!

    • Tom Ewer
      April 5, 2012 at 7:32 pm

      Hey Emily,

      There’s absolutely nothing wrong with “personalizing” your template email – quite the opposite in fact! Sounds like you’re doing great :)



  4. Ruth Zive
    April 7, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    Here’s the thing Tom – it is VERY hard to raise your rates (particularly with existing clients) once your set them.

    My rate is $125/hour and more than 80% of my clients provide repeat business.

    I stay away from all job boards, including ProBlogger. Instead, I reach out directly to the VP Marketing reps at large companies and point out that I can extend their internal resources and provide copywriting support so that their team can be focussed on strategy and bigger picture stuff.

    Another great strategy for me is to approach companies seeking to hire permanent, full time copywriters or social media strategists. In those cases, even with an hour rate of more than $80, it is CHEAPER for the company to outsource the work – so even as a stop gap measure (until someone is hired), companies often respond favourably.

    Certainly nobody she feel badly about taking on lower paid gigs. They should just be realistic about how much money they are going to make, and if it fits within their model (and helps them to realize their goals) then they should go for it.

    At the end of the day, we are selling our time. It’s a question of how much you think your time is worth.

    • Tom Ewer
      April 7, 2012 at 5:30 pm

      Hey Ruth,

      For the most part, I agree with you. I don’t agree with your assertion that it hard to raise your rates with new clients (or even existing ones, to an extent). If it’s a word of mouth recommendation then that might be tough, but at the end of the day, I am a believer in supply and demand. If your rate reflects your value against comparable writers, you shouldn’t have problems in the long run (in my opinion).

      Having said that, you are working at a higher echelon than the people I am writing this article for. They are not likely to be able to adapt your marketing approach and land high-paying clients straight away, because they do not yet have the experience or a strong enough portfolio.

      I honestly believe that it can be intimidating and overwhelming for people who are new to freelance writing to read “you can earn $125 approaching marketing reps and cold calling companies”, etc. I know that kind of stuff intimidated me a few months ago – I felt like it was expected that you should earn that much – like “only” earning say $25 per hour (which full time is comfortably above the US salary average) represents a failure.

      Getting a few modest-paying jobs with regular clients is a great start to a freelance career – and can in itself provide you with a livable income. It can give you confidence and bulk out your portfolio. Once you’re on the ladder, you can then look to take the step up (which will likely involve finding new clients).

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts :)


      • Ruth Zive
        April 7, 2012 at 5:37 pm

        If you are REALLY comfortable working for $25/hour then I have a proposition – work for me! I need to start outsourcing some of my copywriting work, and I think that your writing, at $25, would be a bargain.

        Wanna chat?

        • Tom Ewer
          April 7, 2012 at 8:01 pm

          I’m not comfortable with working for $25 per hour now ;) although I started off being paid less than that. However, maybe we can work something out (depending on your budget) – fire me off an email if you’re interested!

        • Nivea
          June 12, 2013 at 11:37 pm

          Hi Ruth! I would love to work for you, if you need an extra set of hands. Please let me know! And if not, I’d love to know what your portfolio includes. I could use some start-up advice. All the best!

        • attyguide
          June 29, 2013 at 11:46 am

          I am okay with $25 per hour! Although your post is quite old, yet I would like to try! Check out my blog attyguideblog.wordpress.com

          I have an experience of over 6 years in the field of freelance writing.

        • Al Leone
          July 27, 2013 at 1:26 am

          Hi Ruth. I am a professional pianist and and an excellent writer. I have written for many companies, mostly in advertising. Sadly, I developed a horrible spine problem and now am bed ridden for months and cannot help my wife income wise which is killing me. If you truly have an opportunity for me, I will work as well and as hard as I can for you. Thank you so much. I hope to hear from you soon. The best e-mail for me is
          pianomn128@aol.com….. My name is Al

        • Brian
          August 19, 2013 at 12:33 am

          Reading through this blogg, I ran across yours…I am just starting out…but can write…got a topic and and a focus, I can do it for you. Been writing for a long time, just not for a job…Im a teacher, so I spend a ton of time editing and writing myself. Can we chat to see if I am a viable consideration?

        • Marie Lourdes
          October 15, 2013 at 1:41 pm

          Hi Ruth
          I have been reading your comments on “leavingworkbehind.com”, and am prepared to work for $25 per hour to build up experience in this domain. I have vast writing experience as I have been writing monthly newsletters for my clients for the last 12 years but am now retired, with a lot of free time. I love writing and researching topics and am quick and accurate. I would love to hear from you.

        • victoria christenson
          June 19, 2014 at 3:10 am

          Hello Ruth,
          I have been looking for freelance writing work and came upon this blog with your comments regarding a need for copywriters. I have writing experience as I have been the editor for a neighborhood magazine. In the magazine I have written restaurant reviews. Other experience includes interviewing business owners to glean information, building biographies and writing content, contributing to the building of their websites. I love writing and researching topics. My favorite areas of interest include children, health, travel and business. I am quick and accurate.
          Looking forward to hearing from you,
          Victoria Christenson

        • victor
          August 1, 2014 at 1:24 pm

          Am OK with the $25 you can get to me if am needed @ vroland101@gmail.com

        • Robin
          November 6, 2014 at 7:38 pm

          I am comfortable working for $25.00 per hour, as I am new to the freelance writing market. It has been my dream to have a career as a professional writer, all of my life. I would be happy to discuss the opportunity of helping you with some of your work!

        • Robert Frauenthal
          January 24, 2015 at 6:19 am

          Dear Ruth,

          Hi, I’m new to writing. But I’d be interested in doing some of your ‘outsourcing’ at $25 and hour! My present employer is an ESL publisher and his ‘school’ is in trouble although he seems to have found another one in the Philippines? I’ve been writing for him for about 18 months but he can’t pay me hardly anything. My age is advanced so I applied for Social Security, however they won’t even send me the ‘card’ for 2 more months and I need to eat now! My cat is hungry too!

          Anyway, let me know what you think? GBU

          Robert in South Korea

          • Tom Ewer
            January 24, 2015 at 4:30 pm

            Hi Robert,

            This article is nearly three years old so I doubt Ruth will read your message I’m afraid. Having said that, there are loads of free resources here on the blog (check out the archives), so you might benefit from looking around :-)



  5. Joseph Archibald
    April 7, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    Hey Tom, thanks for the Tweet message about your post – yeah – super article! Very informative!

    I started my writing career earning 5 bucks per 500 word article. And yeah – used to take me almost an hour for each article because I crafted them “with delicacy”. Probably needless to say that I burned out after about 3 weeks of being chained to my laptop for 14 hours every day of the week just trying to make a living.

    Do you intend to continue with your writing career, Tom? I can see the benefits are substantial – $125 per hour. Hmmm… seems I’m in the wrong job these days then :-)

    Thanks for sharing your experiences Tom!


    • Tom Ewer
      April 8, 2012 at 2:20 pm

      Hey Jo,

      Wow – that sounds like it was a whole lot of work! I wrote this article in part for your past self – people who just don’t realize that there is a better way than just working for content farms.

      I’m certainly going to be continuing with my writing for the foreseeable future – it is a fairly “safe” income, it seems pretty easy to find new work, I can do as little or as much as I want, and it can be fun. The only downside is that it’s not scalable.



  6. Joseph Archibald
    April 8, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    The way things are going right now Tom, I may have to consider getting back into the “safety” of writing for clients all over again. What I thought was going to be safe income, actually turned out to be something otherwise – income from a blog I always thought would be safe and sound, but nope – my blog income got clobbered with the downfall of BMR, along with a few of my money making sites which were rankings nicely in Goog.

    I s’pose you could say that this type of work is scalable in some regards – Ruth Zive who’s commented here – she’s obviously intent on employing you, thus in essence she’s “scaling up”.

    • Tom Ewer
      April 8, 2012 at 10:59 pm

      No business is without risk, and websites are no exception. That’s life!

      I’m not sure about Ruth being “intent” on employing me ;)

      However, it certainly is scalable in theory, but not to the extent of certain internet marketing business models (and it would be highly employee skill dependent too).

  7. Barbara Saunders
    April 9, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    I learned the hard way that $20 per hour, even if you can get it for 40 hours a week (which is unlikely,) is in no way comparable to a $40,000 W-2 job. The self-employment taxes are significant. Another secret: $20 per hour jobs are different jobs than $100 per hour jobs, and they do not represent a progression. The client that pays you $20 will never pay you $100. Those two clients are also probably not in the same market and don’t refer to each other.

  8. Charlotte
    April 9, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    Hi Tom,

    I noticed in your first email above that you were still employed when you were applying for freelance jobs. My question is, did you have a notice period for your f/t job, and if so did you put the freelance work on hold before you worked your notice period, or start the freelance job in your spare time to begin with?

    Only reason I ask would be that I have one month’s notice at my current place, and when I get to the point where I decide to go freelance, I’m considering whether to start applying for freelance jobs before I hand in my notice to be safe?

    Great article by the way!

    • Tom Ewer
      April 9, 2012 at 8:09 pm

      Hey Charlotte,

      First of all, thanks :)

      I quit my job at the end of December. I started writing for clients in October. So I was essentially working two jobs at once (although the writing was only about 2-3 hours per day to start). At the time I wasn’t prepared to quit without the foundations of new income in place. That’s how I played it!

      If I were you, I’d start applying for work now – get some clients, and take the short term lengthy hours. It’ll save you some sleepless nights compared to starting with nothing!



  9. Brendan
    April 10, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    Hey Tom,

    I’ve applied for lots of jobs so far at the job board mentioned and have zero replies from anybody. Thanks for giving us the template and more to work with regarding what we want to show.


  10. Torin Denniston
    April 16, 2012 at 6:20 pm


  11. Leaving Work Behind
    April 16, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    You are welcome :-)

  12. Bon Crowder
    October 4, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    Hey Tom,

    I’m going whole hog at this freelance thing and I’ve finally got a bite. But I’m a little concerned about what they are asking. I wonder if I just have overly sensitive ethics or if I’m right.

    This is the ad: http://jobs.problogger.net/view/6409

    I applied and they responded that they would like me to do a paid trial. I’m cool with that. The two things that concern me are these:

    1. I have to do the legwork to find the sites to guest post on (seems mostly okay, but is that going to be a whole lot more work that I think?)

    2. They want me to write under a pen name. But I’m still supposed to create a “bio” for this pen-person, including links to the client site.

    Is it okay to write under a fake name? These people say they are white hat, but that seems a bit shady to me.

    Am I right or just paranoid?


    • Tom Ewer
      October 5, 2012 at 8:57 am

      Hey Bon,

      To be honest I don’t like this at all. They may be legit, but it’s just not the type of client I like working with. Far better to find a real blog to work for (in my opinion).

      One question — what if your post doesn’t get accepted by a site? Will you still get paid?



  13. Isabelle Boulet
    January 8, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    Tom, thank you for your candor in sharing those figures, and for all the great information you provide on “Leaving work behind”.

  14. Vicky
    January 17, 2013 at 8:31 pm

    I think I may be looking in the wrong places. I enjoyed this article.

    I have done some freelance ghostwriting and blogging but don’t seem to be able to find the steady work. I use my writing as a way to maintain my humanitarian work so it is frustrating when I constantly need to look for more work. I keep enough of my earnings to feed myself and cover the basic necessities, the rest goes to those who in crisis.

    How do you find the steady work? An even bigger question for me is how do you weed out the good from the bad?

  15. Victoria
    April 6, 2013 at 1:41 am

    Tom – Thank you for sharing the templates you used to get blogging jobs. I was worried that I would add too much info or not enough info when applying.

    Thanks for steering me in the right direction and also proving that it is OK to use your own blog posts as examples of work.

    This is what I have done on my site.

  16. Traci Estabrook
    July 31, 2013 at 8:25 am

    I have been actively scouring the ‘net searching for freelance jobs and as you can imagine, I have applied to some “content farms” as you mentioned above, unaware that they were indeed referred to as such for a good reason. I to have submitted proposals and applications only to have no one respond to them as well.

    Your words, responses, advice, resources etc is an astounding bit of information available for free and put “out there” to truly help others, which is not often seen in today’s world. Thank You! I am searching for freelance work right now, hoping to supplement my unemployment income and eventually earn even a part-time income from the writing I do.

    I have booked marked this page and starting tomorrow, I am going to be altering the way I look for writing positions.

  17. sweethearttx
    August 5, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    I have been freelancing for a while, but only recently left my day job to pursue it full-time. I thought this was a great article. :) http://www.writerliz.com

  18. Avnish
    August 9, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    Really effective way to get first freelance writing jobs and improve it in right way. I will apply same method for my freelancing business improvement. Thanks.

  19. John Shea
    August 12, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    Hey Tom,

    Great guide here, I’ve been blogging now for a year and tend to jump from one shiny object to the next. I’ve had some success with guest blogging and just found your blog today, it was enlightening to see that someone is doing so well with freelance blog writing.

    I tried looking into Elance and ODesk but it seems they are over run with some fierce competition for most gigs. I am going to check out the Pro Blogger job board and see if I can land some gigs to bring in some side income.

  20. Mike Edwards
    August 16, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    Great article Tom.
    I believe your description of getting started is very honest and accurate. Your bold blog participant that makes 125 dollars an hour sounds bogus. Why would someone so well paid be scanning the getting started articles unless they are looking for newbies who are easy to dupe as subcontractors. If the work pays so well, why invite competition at her party? For a professional, her spelling and editing are not very good.
    Thanks again for your encouragement and insight.

    • Tom Ewer
      August 19, 2013 at 2:42 pm

      Hey Mike,

      If you’re referring to Ruth I can assure you that back when she made that comment she was making $125 per hour minimum. I know she earns a lot more now. She was commenting because she’s a friend of mine :-)



  21. Micheal
    August 17, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    I am finding it hard to believe any of the rates displayed in the article or the comments. I have been doing some freelance writing for a few months now during the few free periods at work and i get paid $3 for 1000. Forget $50, even $5 per 500 words seems hard to believe.

    • Tom Ewer
      August 19, 2013 at 2:44 pm

      Hey Michael,

      It is of course your prerogative not to believe that it is possible to earn $150+ with freelance blogging, but being more open minded might make it easier for you to boost your rates.



  22. Anthony
    November 7, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    This is great advice, bud. I’m on the ProBlogger board now. Thank you.

  23. Christopher Cuna
    January 4, 2014 at 4:41 am

    Hey Tom,

    This post was extremely helpful for me and made me an big fan of your site. I read this 3 months ago when I decided to finally take freelance writing seriously rather than the usual content mills. To be quite honest, I still come back to it. Because if anyone made an awesome beginners post for freelance writers seeking jobs; It’s this one.

    Christopher Cuna

  24. Cayleigh Stickler
    January 10, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    Thank you for the wonderful post, Tom. The resources you’ve included (the job posting board and a sample letter) are invaluable. After reading this article, I feel more confident in embarking on a freelance writing journey.

    I am working on taking my skill set to a new level, trying to learn HTML and other coding. Off the top of your head, do you know any good websites that teach these?

    Thank you, and I am looking forward to reading more of your articles.
    Cayleigh Stickler

  25. Ahmed Khan
    February 10, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    Hi there,

    I really like your blog and am desperate to leave work. I am a very fast typist and hold a MA degree.

    1) Where can I earn around $150/ hour

    2) Is hiring your services to do job application forms for CEO and Execs a good angle for freelancing, is there a lot of work out there for people hiring freelancers to do their job applications?

    3) I have tried a few things on line and none of it seems to come to fruition, it can be frustrating.

    Your advice and guidance is much appreciated.



    • Tom Ewer
      February 10, 2014 at 4:06 pm

      1. You can earn $150 per hour by working efficiently for clients who pay good rates. There’s no shortcut I’m afraid.
      2. I have no idea I’m afraid — it’s not something I have any experience in.
      3. Yeah it sucks; all you can do is keep on trying…

  26. Nimra
    February 20, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    Hi! I really loved the post! I’m currently working for someone who is paying me 1.5$ per article of 500 words. I spend a lot of time on the articles I write but I don’t get paid enough. It is “apparently” because of where I live.
    You look like someone who offers great advice. Do you think I should continue working with her? I don’t want to leave because I might not find some other job. I’m a student and I have to pay for my expenses. I would really appreciate it if you could guide me.

    Thanks for the amazing post! Waiting for your response.

    • Tom Ewer
      February 20, 2014 at 10:51 pm

      Hey Nimra,

      If you need the money then don’t quit. Find a better paying client and quit when you’re in a position to do so.

      A client who tells you that you’re not worth more because of where you’re from is not someone you should be working with. As far as I’m concerned, you’re either good enough or you’re not — regardless of whether you’re from.



  27. Ashlee
    March 24, 2014 at 2:17 am

    This is a great post! Very helpful.

    March 29, 2014 at 7:10 am

    I am grateful of the encouragement. I used to be smart and I feel am not utilizing this talent. I am an agriculturalist and wish to get a place and do writing.
    Thank you

  29. Natalie Willcox
    April 10, 2014 at 10:29 am

    I have found the posts interesting to read and great that you are approachable. I am a beginner in all facets of writing and may be taking on more than I can bite as I have no idea about the writing industry.

    Even though I have never wrote a thing in my life, I like the idea of being able to write and get paid. Do you have some start out advice or know of a reliable website for total beginners?

  30. Ramon Ibraheem
    April 26, 2014 at 2:05 am

    Hi Tom,i got fascinated with your blog,though i’m a first timer on this site but yet i learned more than i could bargain.I really appreciate you for sharing your experiences of the past with everyone here. Do you have an advice for beginners .my email;ibraheem.adewale@gmail.com

  31. Debbie
    May 7, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    Hi Tom!

    I have a true passion for writing and decided to look into freelance writing. I’m also considering copywriting. I’m hitting a wall when it comes to getting started. Would you happen to know of anyone that would be interested in working with a “new to the business” writer? I have tons of time on my hands right now as I am not employed full time therefore giving me time to dedicate to writing. I would greatly appreciate your feedback.

    Deb :-)

  32. Lauren M
    June 12, 2014 at 12:44 am

    Tom, this article was beyond helpful.
    I decided recently that I want to work for myself through writing, but I’ve struggled with finding someone to write for! It’s true that I don’t have a portfolio and I imagine that’s the reason for the lackluster response… I think blogging for a while is a great idea…
    Preferably, I want to write in lifestyle, health and entertainment. I’m studying copywriting as well.
    I started a blog and I’d like to create some example posts. But I’m uncertain of what types of blogging styles to avoid. Should I simply emulate articles from publications that I can see myself writing for? Is there anything I should avoid (or strive for) specifically?
    I’d really appreciate your advice. Thank you!

    • Tom Ewer
      June 12, 2014 at 9:30 am

      Hey Lauren,

      Primarily I’d advise that you simply start writing and see where it takes you!

      Having said that, there’s certainly no harm in emulating the style of publications that you would like to write for. Of course, it’s good to inject your own personality too…



  33. Daniel Doty
    June 14, 2014 at 12:11 am

    Hi Tom,

    First I wanted to express my thanks for an awesome article for getting started!

    I am actually just trying to get started in this field, even though I have a Bachelors in Technical writing and wrote a user manual that was nationally published for a video card manufacture.

    I have also done extensive computer hardware reviews, which of course requires a pretty good writing knowledge.

    Until I actually found this article I really had no idea where to start looking for a writing job at.

    Any further tips you can send my way would be dearly appreciated.

  34. Shawn B
    July 3, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    I would like to thank you for this very informative blog post!

    About a year ago, early December, 2013 to be precise I began freelance writing for my first time. It’s quite funny, because my first gig earned me 1$ per 500 words; the reason I did this was to gain a positive review on a freelancer site that I am registered with. But lo and behold, after a year of freelancing the highest pay per 500 words that I got (after about 70 to 80 projects) was about 35$ to 40$, but it was quite rare.

    Currently my average pay rate is 6.50$ to 10$ per 500 words, but from reading your blog post it encouraged me to open my mind to the possibilities of earning an average of 30-50$+ per 500 words; that’s certainly a livable income for me if it’s a large, ongoing project. Also, now I’m going to consider offering my writing services directly to companies, which was exactly what you had recommended.

    Anyways, after a year of freelance writing, I’m beginning to open my mind to the possibilities.

    Thanks again for sharing this blog post!


  35. Md Abdul Khaleque
    August 29, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    Your website is very informative. it is really helpful for all new freelancers. In your writing, you are honest and generous. This quality in online writing, on webpages is rare. By reading your article, I am embarrassed. It is awesome. Thank you for this good article.

  36. Me
    November 14, 2014 at 7:17 pm

    I usually use arivatoday.com for writing gigs and translation jobs and so far I get about 300 dollars a week on average from these. I am also a translator so I get tonnes of work sometimes.

  37. Tamika
    November 19, 2014 at 5:50 am

    Hello, Tom

    I am a newbie freelancer and haven’t gotten paid doing any yet. So far I have blogs on WordPress.com, Hubpages (which your payment is based on ads), and Guru but I believe I should not be posting on these sites. I’ve seen some where the writer is being paid pennies for a 500-page article. I believe these clients are ripping us quality writers off and I can see this just by being a new freelancer. When I say, “new”, it isn’t that I haven’t written before, but I haven’t got experience based on having a degree or going to a college. My experience is simply from me naturally writing, as I feel that a writer, I put a little piece of my heart in whatever it is I write. Because I don’t have the whole, “degree” of writing, clients may feel I do not qualify. I assure you I am a true writer and just need the chance. Anyway, can you please advise me. Thank you, so kindly.

  38. Dylan
    December 3, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    Hey Tom,

    I’m very new and inexperienced to the whole idea of freelance writing. By that I mean I’ve never had any written work published anywhere nor been paid for any work. In fact, I’m still a high school student working in a fast-food joint. I am, however, very interested in becoming a freelance writer. It’s actually one of my biggest career goals. I just have no idea where to start! Your example email definitely helped me a lot with the idea of how to reach out to someone. But other than that, where do I start? How do I gain the ability to be compensated for my writing?

    Thanks a ton, Tom!


    • Tom Ewer
      December 4, 2014 at 10:59 am

      Big question Dylan! The potential avenues are myriad. You may want to read through my archives to start with: http://leavingworkbehind.com/category/how-to-freelance/. Get back in touch with me if you’re still not sure how to proceed once you’ve gone through those posts!

      • Dylan
        December 5, 2014 at 3:46 pm

        You definitely make it seem fairly simple. Though of course there is obviously some work and practice involved.

        But just to make sure I’ve got the basic idea down, starting out would just require some examples of written works for an application to someone looking for a job?

        Per usual, I appreciate your time, Tom.


        • Tom Ewer
          December 8, 2014 at 11:30 am

          Hi Dylan,

          You’ve got it about right there: it is pretty simple, but requires hard work and persistence.

          And yes, you have got the basic ideas down. It certainly helps to have your own blog and already-published online articles too (guest posts are a good way to get these).



  39. pankti mehta
    December 23, 2014 at 5:13 am

    I am passionate about writing.Please informme if there any articles or how to start on?

  40. GINWI
    December 25, 2014 at 12:12 am

    What you have written is very inspiring to me .It has reassured me quite much , thanks.

  41. leena
    December 28, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    Hi Tom,
    The information you have share for the writers who have desires to become freelancers is really precious. You have explained it unlike some exaggerating websites and it, surely will assist me in future. I am English literature postgraduate from India and looking forward to enter in freelance writing field and what I wanted to know whether the blogs and clients you have shared do hire writers for any country and what kind of writing genre I should prefer to do freelance writing? Expecting your precious guidence.


    • Tom Ewer
      December 29, 2014 at 10:40 am

      Hi Leena,

      Most clients I’ve worked with would happily hire from any country; what’s important is the quality of writing, not the nationality of the writer.

      To answer your second question, you can write in many fields. Either choosing something you’re familiar with, or picking a field that you think could be lucrative and building your knowledge base in that area is a good option.



  42. leena
    December 28, 2014 at 4:06 pm


    I would like apologize for few grammatic errors as the comment I did on my android phone.

  43. Michael Kamau
    December 29, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    hi Tom.
    I works in turn as a teacher. from 8am to 11am. is there any regulations on the hours one can work online?
    however am in Kenya. is the freelance writing open to all despite the originality?
    an eager to make a try.

  44. leena
    December 30, 2014 at 7:54 am

    Thank u so much for your guidance, I’ll be taking steps in that direction.

  45. Amanda M
    January 19, 2015 at 9:26 pm

    Thank you for taking the time to write this post. I am very new to freelance writing and just now starting to apply jobs. You’re advice helped a lot.
    Thanks a lot!

  46. Robert Frauenthal
    January 24, 2015 at 6:50 am

    Hi, although I’m much older than most of the people commenting on this site I just want to add that I’m eager to find some real work instead of being ‘milked’ for pennies an hour. I’ve been writing for a former employer who I worked for when I was an ESL teacher and had visa troubles in Korea. He had a school in Mongolia and is in the Philippines now looking at another school, but his school in Korea is in real trouble as most of his teachers have quit. After working for him twice, I understand why they ‘quit’. Anyway I just wanted to thank you for being so open and honest. Open and honest people are very difficult to come by these days. I really, really, really appreciate this site and I’ll be back!!! GBU

    Robert in Korea

  47. Sophie Cussen
    February 20, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    This is a really useful article for me. I’m just starting out and want to see if I really can change my career – from data analyst to writer! I’ve been writing for years but kept a lot of it to myself because I just didn’t know how or where to pitch my writing (nor ideas). This has given me a good start. Thanks Tom.

  48. Trista
    February 26, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    I wanted to be sure to say, thank you. This may be the first time ever, certainly the first time I can recall, that I actually felt like I gained knowledge without all the other junk and get rich schemed hidden agenda stuff. You are very straightforward and your writing conveys that you genuinely are there to be helpful and that you care. The fact that you displayed your actual applications as an example gave me a lot of confidence. It’s so intimidating trying to start in unfamiliar territory. Keep up the really great work!

  49. sarah
    March 12, 2015 at 10:09 am

    kinda late on the $25 per hour deal but hopeful i can get something closer to that. presently i am an essay/academic writer. the writing companies pay peanuts so i am wondering how best i can get direct customers. as of present anyone paying $10 per page is a good rate i can work with. any help? :)

  50. Jake mitchell
    March 15, 2015 at 3:32 am

    I’m 32 w/ a dead end job who’s miserable doing anything but write. I’ve never attended schools or classes for writing but friends who’ve reached out to me promise I was born to do just that: write. Problem is I don’t have ANY clientele or i have never been paid to write. I accel with everything and anything Addiction/substance abuse, well- because I’m a recovering addict myself (4 1/2yrs) and i always write about what I know or have learned through my experience, strength, and hope. I can’t seem to land a single job-even at a low startup hourly pay ($20ph). I have a free WordPress blog but that’s it. How can I further show my talent writing but continue to help other addicts and their families? I have a story to be told. Please email me personally or- because of your popularity, you cant- please help point me in a realistic direction. Thanks!!!

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