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How to Get Hired as a Freelance Writer

Updated on December 1, 2013

Building Your Portfolio

Before you start freelancing, you need a portfolio. Hubpages is the perfect place for you to build your online presence while looking for freelancing jobs. You can always fall back on it between Freelancing jobs as well. The more you write, the more comfortable you will be with the act of writing -- not to mention your grammar and spelling will improve tremendously.

Your portfolio should contain samples of your best work. However this does not mean that all the work in your portfolio should be serious. One client selected my work over the other freelancers because the samples in my portfolio were about zombies, and his favorite television program is The Walking Dead on AMC. Keep a mix of both serious and light hearted samples that cover a wide range of genres to help you appeal to a more diverse group of clients.

Finding Trustworthy Clients

On January 2, 2012 a friend introduced me to Elance. While there are a lot of trustworthy places to find clients, Elance is my personal favorite. In 2012 I made enough money to send my family on nine separate vacations. In 2013 I slacked off on how many jobs I accepted, primarily to spend time writing a book which I hope to publish in 2014.

Once a client selects you for a job on Elance, they are supposed to find a milestone which then saves the funds in escrow until you complete the job. Once you complete the job, the client releases the funds. Then you can go on doing more work on the same job through further milestones, or you can mark the job complete depending on the needs of your client.

Elance makes it very clear that you are to never accept payment outside of their site (i.e. PayPal) because then they cannot help you if a client tries to get out of paying. And this gives the client security because if you screw up the job, do not finish, or mess up in some other way, they can ask Elance to help prevent you from receiving the payment for the work you did not do, or did not do correctly.

When you find a client who has a job that you might want to bid on, you can click that client's name to see their profile which includes feedback from freelancers who they worked with in the past. In return, the clients can see the same about you -- feedback from your past clients, which includes a scale of 1 to 5 on topics like timeliness and professionalism, as well as specific, personal comments about your job performance.

Feedback Is a Must!

6 Tips for a Perfect Bid

Now that you know how to find trustworthy clients, go to the Elance site and search for the type of job you might like to try. For example, you might want to try your hand at freelance accounting, IT work, writing blog articles, or even photography or graphic design. Once you find the job you think suits you, it is time to bid. Use these 5 tips to create the perfect bid!

  1. INTRODUCTION - You should always introduce yourself, even if it is just, "Hi! My name is (your name here) and I am the perfect person for your job."
  2. NAME YOUR PRICE - Even though Elance has you state your price and estimated completion time farther down on the proposal page, I have found that stating it in the bid gets the client's attention. "My bid of $75 is for your job of a 25-page white paper on the topic of rainforest amphibians, and I can complete the job in 1 week."
  3. RESTATE CLIENT REQUEST - As you see in the previous bullet point, I restated "25-page white paper on the topic of rainforest amphibians". This tells the client that you understand what they need, and that you actually read through the job proposal.
  4. QUALIFICATIONS - There is no need to state everything that is on your Elance profile. Not only is it redundant, but in a bid proposal, less is usually more. Give a brief overview and then invite them to contact you if they have any questions or require more information.
  5. SAMPLES - I like to attach samples right to my portfolio. However there are times when I invite the client to look at my Elance portfolio and contact me if they would like more samples beyond what they find there.
  6. CLOSING - This just needs to be something short like, "Thank you for considering me for the job" or "I look forward to hearing from you!"

How to Submit a Proposal

Advice from the Experts

Check out this video from Elance University which has even more tips and information about pitching your bid for jobs on their site!

What Happens If They Hire Me?

When I was first hired by a client on Elance, I was terrified. I had never done anything like that before! Fortunately the job was easy (3 blog articles) and the client was super friendly. Elance provides a workroom where you and the client can talk privately, trade files, see time sheets, invoices, terms, and milestones.

After you finish the job you can use the workroom to:

  • Request Feedback
  • Leave Feedback For Client
  • Change to Hourly Job
  • Submit Repeat Project
  • Mark Job as Complete
  • Refund, Cancel or Dispute

What Happens If They Don't Hire Me?

There is no sadder feeling than getting the news that a client has turned down your bid for a job. They might do this for one of any reasons, including that the bid is too high or that they prefer another writing style. For every client that turns you down, there are hundreds more waiting for someone like you to bid on their job - so do not give up!

It took me 2 months to get hired on Elance, and despite the discouraging start it turned out to be the most lucrative work-at-home job I have ever tried. The trick is to stick with it. Do not give up! The first two people I introduced to Elance each got picked up for the first job on which they bid, so it can happen. Sometimes you just have to wait -- but the wait is completely worth it.

Good luck!

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