If your goal is to become a freelance writer, you probably have two areas of focus. You want to see your work in print and you want to make money. It is possible to do one without the other, but they don’t have to be exclusive. However, for most people who need a paycheck, the focus is first on how to make money freelance writing.

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Look for Freelance Writing Content Generation Sites

One of the easiest ways to begin making money with your writing is to find a site that pays you for each article you write. These sites are called content generation, content markets or even content mills. They offer you a set amount of money for every article you write for their clients. You won’t get rich with these sites, but they can be a great way to break into the world of freelance writing and begin getting paid.

The idea behind these sites is pretty straightforward. They have clients who need content and writers willing to write it. The clients post their jobs online and the writers commit to write the required content. The writers know up front how long the content should be, what the subject is and the rate of pay.

Once the work is submitted, the client reviews and either accepts it or requests revisions. Once the work is accepted, the payment is put in the writer’s account. While the details may vary by site, this is the basic way these sites operate. You often start out with payment as low as $5 per 500-word article, but you can find sites that will pay you $35 or more for an article the same length. Of course, the higher-paying sites are stricter with their requirements, so it is best to begin with the sites that are more accepting of beginners, such as Textbroker or Writer Access.

Online Bidding Sites

Another way to make money freelance writing is to use bidding sites to find clients. These sites include Upwork, Guru.com and Freelancer.com. They allow writers to create profiles and display their portfolios. At the same time, they have clients who post jobs that the writers can bid on. The writers provide details about themselves and explain why they are the best fit for the job and submit a proposal with their rates.

The client selects one or more writers and hires them to do the job. Once it is complete, they are paid for the work. Many times, you will find clients with ongoing work so that you don’t have to spend all of your time hunting for jobs. Pay with these clients can range from just a few dollars per article to over $50 an hour. The more experience you have, the more you can charge.

Online Job Boards

You can find many freelance writing jobs through online job boards. Search Craigslist in any city and you will find a list of jobs for freelance writers. Other sites allow clients to post jobs as well, such as the ProBlogger job board. The competition is stiff and it can be difficult for a new writer to win work.

The key to getting these jobs is to look for work in which you have non-writing related experience. For example, if you worked in a doctor’s office, look for jobs in the medical field. If you worked in a car repair shop, hunt for writing jobs in the automotive industry. While clients often look for someone with previous writing experience, they may overlook your lack of experience if you have “real-world” experience in the topic.

You can also search job boards that are designed for all types of careers. For instance, many people turn to indeed.com or Monster for local jobs. However, they are just as good a source for online work such as freelance writing. Flexjobs is a site that focuses solely on jobs where the workers can telecommute or work full-time from home, and it often includes writing jobs.

Another site is Media Bistro that offers jobs for writers. You can also check out sites such as iWriter, Fiverr, Freelancer, and Upwork.

To reduce the number of writers vying for the same jobs, search for specific job boards. For example, enter a search for real estate job boards if you worked as a realtor or finance job board if you have a background in banking. While you won’t find the massive number of jobs as in the general job boards, you will also have less competition. In addition, you will only be sorting through job listings in a subject that you are knowledgeable about.

Get to Know LinkedIn

If you don’t have a profile on LinkedIn, set one up. Make it professional and focus on your freelance writing career. You can include information from previous careers, especially if you are willing to write for clients in those industries.

You can browse the job openings on LinkedIn and apply to any that you qualify for. In addition, you can make connections with people who may be interested in hiring you for freelance writing. Join writers’ groups and you can learn about other sites where you can make money freelance writing.

While you can apply for jobs directly on LinkedIn, you want to use a more subtle approach if you are networking. It is important to get to know your connections before you ask if they are interested in hiring you. LinkedIn is best used in conjunction with other methods of finding online writing work rather than making it your sole focus.

Beware of Scams

Not all jobs online are legitimate, so be careful when you are searching for work. Find out as much as you can about the companies or clients with the job postings, and never give away your work for free or pay a fee for a job. Numerous legitimate jobs exist online, but scams also abound. You don’t want to spend your time writing only to find out that you aren’t getting paid.

Numerous opportunities exist for freelance writers online, but it can be hard to get a start. Try out one or more of these ideas and you will soon be earning money from your writing.