Get paid to write. For many, especially those who love writing, those words sound too good to be true. You search for jobs for online writers and let the fantasy carry you away. No boss looking over your shoulder, writing your own schedule, writing profound prose that changes the world – what could be better than that?
Then reality sets in, especially when you are just starting out.
There may not be any bosses staring you down, but looming deadlines can be even worse. That flexible schedule is fun – till it’s not and you pull an all-nighter to meet a deadline. And that profound prose? Well, you may get some of those opportunities here and there, but you’re likely to find that your bread and butter lies in, er, less profound pieces.
Writing is a business. It takes drive, self-discipline, self-motivation and a whole heck of a lot of hustle. As you build your business and find your niche, things will settle down and you can focus more on projects in those areas you love. But you first have to find your niche and that can take some time. (link to niche post)
We’re getting ahead of ourselves though. If you’re reading this then you have at least some degree of interest in writing online. Maybe you are a seasoned pro looking for a sweet side gig, or maybe you’re just starting out and looking for ways to get started in this wacky, wonderful, exasperating, exciting world of writing. Either way, this list is for you.
Words to the Wise
Before you get started, here are four very important things to keep in mind as you look for online writing jobs:
- Join a writer site or two. There are several very good writer groups on Facebook and LinkedIn where writers help each other. You’re going to need all the support you can get – we all do.
- Set up a writer page. You don’t necessarily have to have a website, but at least create a good LinkedIn profile that highlights your writing experience and skills and has some of your samples, or even a Facebook page so you can direct prospective clients to it.
- Pay is a huge controversy. Some writers say that you should never, ever accept less than X amount, but I personally don’t think that’s realistic. It’s OK to start out at a lower pay, but don’t stay there. With every job you accept, try to hit a higher rate. Some places start you out at a certain level, and that’s fine. Use that time to learn, really hone your skills, and work your way up to higher and higher levels – with better pay.
- Writing is a highly specialized skill and while you may be grateful for the work, that client needs your skills. You are a benefit to them. You are valuable to them. They need you to do something for their business that they can’t do themselves, be it time, expertise, subject matter, or skill. Remember that.
So here are some ideas for finding online writing work:
1.Writing Job Boards
These boards tend to have a wide variety of jobs for online writers, from blogging to articles to case studies. Take your time and go through the posts. Some will be long-term, others freelance. Pay attention to whether the jobs are remote or if you have to spend any time in the company’s office.
Great writing job boards:
- Writers Weekly
- Binders full of Writing Jobs (Exceptional Facebook Group)
- Rat Race Rebellion
- Indeed (search “remote” or “off-site” writing jobs)
2. Writing Platforms
Some people want to lump all writing platforms into one big pile and call them all “writing mills” which carries a bad stigma of overworked and underpaid writers, many of whom are subpar. That simply is not the case. There are good writing platforms out there, you just have to be a little discerning and selective. Don’t jump on every platform that pops up and if you do find yourself on one that winds up really stinking, don’t be afraid to jump ship. You deserve better.
The best writing platforms out there right now (in my opinion):
There are more writing platforms out there – many, many more – but these three are the best. They pay well, are easy to use, and treat their writers very well. Ask 10 writers what their 10 favorite platforms are, and you’ll get 100 different answers. So, go ahead and ask, but in the end you have to decide for yourself what level of quality you are willing to accept in a writing platform.
Important tip: Make sure you complete that profiles for the platforms that you join. Keep them updated and make sure they always look great and totally highlight your absolute awesomeness.
3. Freelance Writing
This is a broad term that can encompass any of the other entries on this list. It usually means a mixed bag that can include guest posting on blogs, writing for businesses, writing articles for publications, and more.
4. Paid Blogger
Many businesses use blogs to attract new customers, engage readers, and encourage customer loyalty. They also need someone to write all of those blog posts. You may be hired to do the whole shebang, come up with post ideas, write the posts, and manage the blog. However, many writers start out working with a content manager and write the content. Whatever the case, being a paid blogger is one of the best jobs for online writers.
You can find blogging jobs at several of the links on this list as well as these:
5. Social Media
Social media is booming, and many businesses are scrambling to get great stuff out to their followers and fans. You can make that happen as a social media strategist. The beauty of being a social media strategist is that you can do other types of writing as well. Take a day or so to fill in the company’s social media calendar and you have tons of time to pursue other projects. You could also pick up gigs as a social media evaluator or risk analyst.
You can find social media jobs on many of the job boards listed here, or on these sites.
I have another special tip for you. If you don’t know much about social media but would like to learn, Coursera has some great courses on the topic. If you can’t afford it, apply for their financial aid. If you qualify you could get a substantial discount on the course, or you could get a full ride and the course is free.
Journalism jobs usually require some background in the field, but it is not impossible to break into the field without any actual newspaper experience. Check with small, local publications to get your foot in the door and some experience under your belt.
You can also check these sites:
7. Guest Blog Posts
You could pick up some cash to write guest posts for other people’s blogs. The beauty of this set up is that many will also give you a byline and a link to your site. I could write reams (that’s old school for “a lot”) of information on guest blogging, but let’s not reinvent the wheel, shall we? Neil Patel did a stellar job with his Guide to Guest Blogging. If you’re serious about it, take his words to heart.
Places to look for guest blogging opportunities include:
- My Blog Guest
- Be a Freelance Blogger (free download)
- Make a Living Writing – List (love her or hate her, Carol Tice has some outstanding information on her site and every writer could benefit from at least some of her wisdom)
- Freelance Writing Jobs – List
8. Business Writer
Business writing can include marketing content for brochures, press releases, letters, case studies, and much more. You can find these types of jobs on many of the sites mentioned in this list, but you may do better to hit the pavement and reach out to some businesses that are local to you. While there are plenty of remote opportunities for business writers, if you’re just starting out local businesses can help you get experience and build your credibility.
Aside from WriterAccess, you can also check out these sites for business writing opportunities:
There is nothing like getting paid to write, but it helps if you are hungry. Hungry people work a little harder, have a little more drive, and keep pressing on no matter the obstacles that pop up. You need that if you are going to survive in this field.
Keep your ear to the ground because new sites launch every day. Don’t jump on the next greatest thing without first looking before you leap, but don’t necessarily discount it because it’s new either. If you’re not sure which of these areas are good for you, investigate. This excellent article from Business Insider highlights several writing jobs on this list, plus several others not mentioned here.
It takes work and perseverance, but it’s so worth it. So, how bad do you want it?
Stephanie M is a writer living in East Central, Alabama, but she didn’t always lead such a peaceful, carefree life. A few years ago she made a daring escape from the “cube farm” at a Federal Agency in Washington, D.C. (after eight very long years) where she worked. as an analyst focusing on disaster response, technical writing, program management, and FOIA.