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How to Freelance Write Online, Part One: Attracting Private Online Writing Clients

Updated on March 29, 2012
When you learn how to freelance write online you can take your work with you and live an active lifestyle!
When you learn how to freelance write online you can take your work with you and live an active lifestyle! | Source

Have you ever considered making writing your full time career? Do you want to learn how to freelance online and make money from writing website content, articles, reviews, blog posts, press releases, and even fiction and poetry? Keep reading to see how I have gone from working for pennies to working for dollars...hundreds of them a week!


Four years ago something happened that turned me from a fiction and poetry writer into someone seriously considering writing as a career. I was a stay-at-home mother with two small children and a sudden need to earn money...immediately! Working outside of the home and putting my children in daycare was a terrifying thought, so I went online and started searching out ways to make money online.

I found a website titled Get a Freelancer and started learning how to freelance write online. I am writing this hub to help other writers who also aspire to make online writing their full time career. Hopefully you can avoid some of the mistakes I made while trying to learn how to freelance online.

For instance, I worked for a week straight on my first online writing job, and never got paid! I got suckered and almost gave up trying to write online. Thankfully, I continued on but grew smarter. Over the years I learned how to freelance successfully while protecting my own interests.

Today, I support my family with money earned from private clients and money earned through a web content writing service. This guide will help you learn how to freelance write online while avoiding some of the mistakes I made in the beginning. Let’s start with some tips on securing private online clients.

All of these methods come from my own experience writing online. This is how I learned how to freelance write online successfully.


What Does It Take to Write Online?

You can learn how to freelance online if you are willing to do all of the following.

You have to provide excellent customer service to write online for private clients. Respond to messages promptly. Live up to deadlines. Protect yourself while serving honestly
You have to provide excellent customer service to write online for private clients. Respond to messages promptly. Live up to deadlines. Protect yourself while serving honestly | Source
  • Work hard to prove your talents and win that first private client.
  • Write on a variety of topics without plagiarism.
  • Write without a byline as a ghostwriter (most of the time).
  • Give up all rights to what you produce once paid by your client.
  • Write according to the guidelines of your client.
  • Learn the tools of the trade, including how to incorporate keywords into your writing without stuffing or making the text sound unnatural.

If you can do those things, then you can secure private clients who pay you to write online.


Establish an Online Presence

Set up an author’s website that includes pictures, samples of your work, and an attractive resume of your writing experience. You will use this website to market your online writing services, but it will also be useful when handing out business cards to obtain private clients offline.

Consider setting up accounts on social networking sites and maybe starting a blog to further market yourself as an online writer. If you are considering writing as a career option, then you will need a strong online presence.


Learning how to freelance write online requires consistent hard work. Get ready to learn a lot, work a lot, and eventually earn a lot.
Learning how to freelance write online requires consistent hard work. Get ready to learn a lot, work a lot, and eventually earn a lot. | Source
Some writers turn their nose up at online freelance sites that routinely promote low pay. Yet, those sites can help you establish private clients online if you use them correctly.
Some writers turn their nose up at online freelance sites that routinely promote low pay. Yet, those sites can help you establish private clients online if you use them correctly. | Source

Make Use of Freelance Bidding Sites

My journey learning how to freelance write online started with a site called Get a Freelancer, which is now just freelancer.com. This is where I initially got ripped off, but I was able to start my online writing career once I learned how to properly use the site to my advantage.

These sites draw attention from a lot of non-U.S. based writers willing to produce (usually low quality) web content for extremely low prices. I am not willing to write around the clock to make twenty bucks, but I have developed this strategy for winning private clients on this particular site:

1. Set up a free account, with a professional picture and well written profile page.

2. Bid on jobs at the lowest price you are willing to take for a one-time job. The key here is a “one time” job, you won’t be writing at this rate more than once per client. Only bid on jobs you feel confident doing well. I usually bid around one to two cent per word, which is considered high for this type of site. Yet, I was able to secure a lot of jobs at this rate once I received a few high ratings from clients.

3. When you get a job, complete it on time to extremely high standards.

4. Turn in the job, sending an email to the client stating that you would love to work with them again at your regular rates. Give them a link to your personal writer’s website or another place where they can reach you. Freelancer.com gives you their email address when you win a job, so send this note there, not through the site.

5. Wait to see if they contact you for further work. Stick to your regular prices. Do not write for the lower price since they have now seen the quality of writing you can produce. Many clients will be willing to pay a bit more if you are reliable and produce high quality work.

I admit that I no longer use this method for securing clients online. I have a steady following of clients and receive regular referrals, so I don’t have to work as hard for my clients anymore. Yet, I wouldn’t be in that position had it not been for securing my first clients in the manner detailed above. You have to start somewhere, right? More importantly, you have to be willing to work hard when learning how to freelance and write for money online.


Networking with others is important when trying to learn how to freelance write online.
Networking with others is important when trying to learn how to freelance write online.

Establish a Forum Reputation

Find forums related to affiliate marketing and online marketing, such as the warrior forum. These are not forums for writers, but for online marketers making money promoting websites and products through websites they build. Many of these marketers build hundreds of websites, and they have a constant need for high quality web content and blog posts. Many also need short articles to be used for article marketing. I make a lot of my online writing money from these marketers.

Many only want to pay bottom dollar for their web content, but those are not the private clients you want to secure. If you spend time communicating on the forums and getting your name out there as a high quality, creative web content provider, you will find clients willing to pay decent money or even great money for high quality, unique web content.

Most marketing forums have a section where members can post ads looking for writers and other freelancers. Pay attention to that section, but get active in other sections as well. Make sure you are focusing on the busiest forums.

Just be careful securing private clients in this manner. Make sure you are paid at least half upfront for every job with a new client. I have secured clients that now pay me entirely upfront, but it wasn’t that way before I had a solid reputation as a creative web content provider.


Word of Mouth Referrals

Most of the clients that send me regular work today came to me as personal referrals from previous or current clients. This is why you must do your very best work for every single client, even if they are not paying what you would like to be paid eventually. Most website developers and affiliate marketers know many other people in their line of work. If you do a great job for one client, there will be referrals made and higher paying clients coming your way. Learning how to freelance write online requires you to start at the bottom and work your way up (in most cases).Fortunately, it didn't take me long to start getting referrals.


Writing as a career typically requires some type of pitch work.
Writing as a career typically requires some type of pitch work. | Source

Pitch Established, High Profile Websites

Find established websites on topics you would like to write on, and send pitches through their communications form. Do not go to a website looking for writer’s guidelines. Many of the best sites do not list those guidelines, but will give you some work if you send them a pitch that grabs their interest. It helps if you have a professional writer’s website to refer them to for samples of your writing style.

You have to familiarize yourself with the site. You don’t want to send them a pitch on potty training toddlers if they just ran that story last month.

Try to come up with an idea for something fresh that will speak to the website’s market. Alternatively, find something they have recently covered which you can go more in-depth on or continue the story on. You may even be able to offer a piece covering an alternative view on a topic they have recently covered. If you have a unique slant on an old niche topic, then you can do well with a niche website.

There is money in writing for some websites, but you frequently won’t know what they pay until you grab their interest and get an offer for your idea. If I already have the idea planned out or written, I tend to take every offer I receive because it will often lead to further work. It can even lead to work for affiliated websites which pay more.

When you first learn how to freelance in writing, you will have to learn how to write a concise pitch that grabs attention.


Consider a Specialty – or Two!

Writing as a career online is not limited to writing basic web content or articles for article marketing. Many affiliate marketers maintain massive websites covering website and product reviews within a specific niche. I have become well known as an excellent review writer, and I get tons of referrals for that work. Sometimes it doesn’t pay as well as I would like, but I enjoy writing reviews and the assignments are often never-ending.

New products and websites are always being introduced, so I am hired over and over to add to those review websites. I have found that clients prefer to work with one writer that they know will produce high quality work consistently. If you can get just one client with a high need for content, you can establish your online writing career rather quickly.

If you can write sales letters and landing pages, press releases, or eBooks, you can specialize your online writing career in those directions as well. How long it takes you to come by that first consistent client is up in the air. Who knows! It is different for everyone learning how to freelance write online.


If you are desperate to make money from writing online, you are more likely to fall victim to scams and take pay that is far too low for your skill. Treat yourself with respect!
If you are desperate to make money from writing online, you are more likely to fall victim to scams and take pay that is far too low for your skill. Treat yourself with respect! | Source

Final Words on Securing Private Writing Clients Online

Writing just for the money can be dangerous. It can turn your love of writing into a chore of writing you hate. It can cause you to get sloppy and you will earn a bad reputation, drying up those lucrative referrals. While I now make a living writing online, I had to learn how to freelance successfully just like everyone else. I worked hard to prove my skill and pull in loyal clients willing to pay decent or even excellent rates.

Treat every client with the same respect, even if some are able to pay less than others. Protect yourself and stand firm on your prices, but be reasonable. I sometimes make concessions on prices for regular clients that I enjoy writing for; especially if they routinely refer me to other clients able to pay more.

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    • ananceleste profile image

      Anan Celeste 5 years ago from California

      Very interesting. I have been trying to do this. But is like walking in the dark. I know I can write but have no idea on how to promote my work.Voted up!

    • Peter Allison profile image

      Peter Allison 5 years ago from Alameda, CA

      Good hub!

    • TheInspiredLife profile image
      Author

      TheInspiredLife 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Ananceleste, I learned everything I know by trial and error. I will be adding to this series very soon, so stay tuned! My methods may not be what all writers want to do, but I generate a steady flow of private clients and support my family writing online, so it is satisfying for me!

    • TheInspiredLife profile image
      Author

      TheInspiredLife 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thank you, Peter!

    • Hunbbel Meer profile image

      Syed Hunbbel Meer 5 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan.

      It is a great piece of writing, full of informative content.

      I agree with you on the following lines: "Writing just for the money can be dangerous. It can turn your love of writing into a chore of writing you hate. "

      I am striving to become a freelance writer myself. I belong to a third-world country. The cost of living, when evaluated in $$$, is quite low, which enables the people there to compete on bids. However, I am not yet ready to do that. I have done some one-off jobs at ridiculously low rates i.e. $3/500 words, but I am not going to do that any more.

      Thank you for sharing this article.

    • TheInspiredLife profile image
      Author

      TheInspiredLife 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Hunbbel, thanks for commenting! I know the reason for the low bid rates from other countries, and did not mean anything negative toward those writers. It just makes it difficult for US writers to get a decent rate through those sites. I have found many clients are willing to pay more if you take them on as personal clients after doing a job through those sites. I worked for crazy low rates when I first started as well...I needed the money and did not yet know what my skills were really worth. I learned the hard way, but I wouldn't change it for the world. The process taught me a lot.

    • prairieprincess profile image

      Sharilee Swaity 5 years ago from Canada

      Thank you! This is very good advice. I had not thought of taking a job from a board, and then approaching them later to work at your regular rates. It's nice to hear of someone that's really making a living at this. It's hard when you are first starting.

    • TheInspiredLife profile image
      Author

      TheInspiredLife 5 years ago from North Carolina

      I agree, Prairie! It was very difficult when I first started, mainly because I had no idea what I was doing. I was a fiction and creative nonfiction writer, but had only dealt with print publications prior to stumbling upon online writing sites. I learned everything on my own as I went along. I will be extending this series with part two, hopefully tomorrow!

    • bredandagnes profile image

      bredandagnes 5 years ago from Ireland

      Great hub, very informative. may give me the confidence to start!

    • TheInspiredLife profile image
      Author

      TheInspiredLife 5 years ago from North Carolina

      I just looked at one of your hubs and you certainly should give it a try, Bredandagnes! There are many marketers and website owners looking for writers with your skill...you may be surprised how fast it takes off once you put yourself out there.

    • internetgeek profile image

      Nizam Khan 5 years ago from Hyderabad, India.

      Awesome Hub and well explained. Thanks and voted up :)

    • TheInspiredLife profile image
      Author

      TheInspiredLife 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thank you for stopping by and reading, Internetgeek!

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Great information. I want to freelance full-time, but I haven't quite focused myself to make that happen. Your article is very helpful. Thanks! Voted up!

    • TheInspiredLife profile image
      Author

      TheInspiredLife 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks for reading, Victoria Lynn!

    • VirginiaLynne profile image

      Virginia Kearney 5 years ago from United States

      Good information. I've joined a content producing website which does the work for me of getting clients. I choose jobs I want and then the client does have to approve them (or ask for a re-write). I have had 5 rejections out of 206 pieces completed but those were all from first time users of the site who really didn't know how to say what they wanted. Like you, I now mostly write for a few specific clients. Although I can write all sorts of things, I've discovered that some pieces take a lot more time and thought and I actually prefer to write blog posts which may be repetitive and dull but are a quick easy piece. This is a great hub to help people know how to go about this career.

    • TheInspiredLife profile image
      Author

      TheInspiredLife 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Virginia, I also work for a content service...I wonder if we work for the same people LOL I still take some private clients though. Some referrals I keep, others I refer on to the writing service for others to grab them up. Thanks for reading!

    • anglnwu profile image

      anglnwu 5 years ago

      Great tips. I've to bookmark this for reference. Thanks.

    • ytsenoh profile image

      Cathy 5 years ago from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri

      Since we can no longer bookmark, I will save this hub in another manner. I gave you big thumbs up because it was well written and well organized. You have a lot of helpful and meaningful information and advice. Thanks very much.

    • MelChi profile image

      Melanie Chisnall 5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Very useful tips, you've given me a lot to think about. Great hub - thanks! :)

    • DanaTeresa profile image

      Dana Strang 5 years ago from Ohio

      Thank you so much for the advice. It looks like a lot of work but it is something I would really like to pursue as I have a host of recent condtions that make it diffucult for me to hold a conventional job outside of the home. I know I can write. My biggest challenge will be convincing others of that as I am 100% new to the whole thing! This hub has given me some excellent guidance.

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