As long as you’re willing to do the work, it’s definitely possibly to earn good money as a writer, even if you’re starting out with no experience and no credentials. So, if you dream of working from home as a freelance writer, please ignore the naysayers because there are plenty of websites that will pay you to write for them. The absence of a string of fancy letters after your name (you know, a degree) and your lack of experience doesn’t matter one bit if you can show the right kind of client that you can write!
ATTENTION: Before I go any further…This article is intended for beginners – people who are starting out like I did, with no experience, no credentials, and no contacts. If you’re already an experienced freelance writer who’s making decent money, then this is NOT the article for you, okay? Alright. Moving on.
How much can you make on these websites?
I’m not going to lie – if you’re brand new to this, odds are your writing could use some major improvement – for this reason, I recommend you start out by applying for some lower-paid gigs in the hopes of getting paid something while you practice, even if it’s not much.
Look at it as getting paid to learn, kind of like a low-wage internship.
Also, start a personal blog and write regularly on there to improve your skills further – practice makes perfect, after all.
On the other hand, if you’re already a decent writer, you’ll have an easier time landing intermediate-wage gigs.
And if your writing rocks, then the sky’s the limit!
Whatever you do, don’t go into this believing the “gurus” who claim everyone can start out making big bucks right from the very beginning. The fact of the matter is that clients aren’t stupid and they won’t pay good money for writing that’s not up to their standards. This is why brand new freelance writers who have no experience typically have to start at the bottom, honing their skills on low-paying gigs until their writing improves enough to command higher pay.
In summary, start low, improve your skills, then gradually work your way up to the higher paying jobs you’ve been wanting all along.
Okay, now that THAT’s out of the way, here’s the mother of all lists of websites that will pay you to write for them:
1. UpWork is a freelancing platform that grew out of the merger of oDesk and Elance- it’s now one of the most popular freelancing sites out there. You’ll see jobs suitable for a wide range of skill levels, from beginner to expert.
This is my top pick for brand new freelance writers trying to build a career from scratch because there are tons of jobs to choose from, and you’re able to create an extremely detailed profile that helps you shine to the max. But don’t be lazy when creating your profile – if you don’t take the time to fill it out completely, UpWork will reject your application to join their site. Done right, your UpWork profile should take at least a full day to complete properly, and potentially even longer.
There’s no cost to set up, but once you start working, UpWork will take a percentage of your earnings as compensation for allowing you to use their platform. You’re given a limited number of “credits” each month, which you can use to apply for jobs. Once your credits are used up, you can either buy more to continue applying for jobs now, or wait until the next month rolls around and you get more free credits.
While UpWork has been very good to me, helping me to get my own freelance SEO writing biz off the ground back when I was first starting out, I get asked a lot about what other options are out there. To this day, I always tell people to try UpWork first. But if you have time to manage a profile on multiple freelancing sites, then by all means cast a wider net for jobs and try some of these too.
Types of websites where you can get freelance writing jobs
I’ve divided the websites that follow into four main categories: freelancing platforms, article writing services, job boards, and websites that will hire writers directly. Read the summaries below to figure out which types of sites are best suited for you.
i) Freelancing platforms are a more controlled environment that tend to have more clients willing to give writing newbies a chance. For these reasons, this category is my first choice for brand new freelancers starting out with no experience and no credentials. Their rules typically require you to get paid through their site and asking a client to pay you offsite via something such as PayPal will be against their terms of service and could get you banned. The nice thing about these is that prior to applying for a job – unlike job listing search engines – you can snoop a bit on the client’s profile and see what other freelancers have said about them. You can cherry pick only those clients who have a track record of being fair to other freelancers, not to mention paying them on time. Additionally, if you do good work, the client can leave you a glowing review. You can then leverage these reviews to help you land even more jobs with new clients in future.
ii) Article writing services act as a middle man between you and the client and for most people, I don’t recommend them because I find it easier (and more profitable) to deal directly with my clients. These websites will farm out article orders they get from clients to their stable of writers. Wages usually start out low, and writers have to work their way up to higher pay by proving they can produce the kind of articles clients are happy with. After you submit an article that’s accepted by their client, they can usually rate your work – your cumulative ratings help determine what type of pay you’re offered for future articles.
iii) Job boards are comparable to the classified ads in your local newspaper. You apply for the jobs you’re interested in, and it’s up to you and the client to figure out payment details – PayPal is the easiest way to invoice and get paid for these types of gigs. Generally speaking, you don’t get to review the client on these platforms after the job is done, and they don’t get to review you either.
iv) Finally, there are independent websites that will hire writers to create content for their site directly. These range from really established sites that want only the most experienced writers to those who pay less but are willing to give newbie writers a chance provided they can produce content that’s top notch. If your writing is rusty, wait until you improve before pitching these types of websites.
At the very end of this post, you’ll find a bonus list of sites you can check out once you have some experience as a freelance writer.
Before you sign up, you can browse the jobs listed on their site to help determine if it’s worth your time to set up a profile. Listings can be filtered by things such as rate of pay, skills required, and even language.
You can start out with a free basic membership to test the waters. These free accounts come with a limited number of allowed job applications per year, and high fees compared to their higher tier paid memberships. Similarly to UpWork, they provide optional skills tests you can use to prove your abilities to potential clients. However, depending on your membership level, you may have to pay to take these tests.
They don’t charge any fees, which is really nice. As with UpWork, you can either apply for jobs you see listed, or simply leave your profile up for potential clients to find whenever they’re looking for a writer.
This site charges a monthly fee to freelancers who wish to be listed on their site. There is no limit on the number of jobs you can apply for per month though, so if you hustle enough to get lots of jobs through them, the monthly fee could be worth it.
At first glance it may appear like this site has an advantage over others since they don’t take a cut of your earnings directly. However, they do take a percentage of the client’s deposits for payment – so either way, PeoplePerHour’s cut is factored in and realistically, clients will account for that expense into the amount they’re willing to pay for a job. This is a very high traffic site, so it usually has lots of gigs listed for you to browse.
This site doesn’t accept new writers 100% of the time – for example, at the time of this writing, you can’t apply to join their site. However, that could change at any moment, so by all means check them out. After you land work through them, iWriter handles the collection and distribution of payments so you don’t have to concern yourself with manually invoicing your clients.
Because this is an article writing service, you won’t have direct access to your clients. Before you start working here, you need to submit a sample article for their editors to review and rate. Once this process is complete, they’ll provide you with access to gigs based on that rating. Lower ratings equate with lower pay until you improve your ratings.
At the time of this writing they are only accepting US-based writers. During the application process, you’ll be required to write some skills tests – your results (along with your writing samples and any references you have) will help determine the initial rating on your profile. The higher your rating, the more money per word you can earn.
At the time of this writing, they accept both native and non-native English speakers, but require all writers to have a bachelor’s degree and to pass a test. Wages are rather low with little room for upward movement, but you might find this site useful to get your feet wet in the freelance writing world and build confidence.
Although many of the jobs here call for experience or credentials, there are some gigs that pop up for writers who have neither of those things. Keep an eye on their board and who knows – you might just find the perfect client to work for!
They say they hand-screen all jobs listed on their website, to help avoid scams and provide higher-quality listings. You’ll find a wide variety of gigs on their site – not just writing – but what they all have in common is that they are flexible and involve either part-time work, telecommuting, or remote work.
This site doesn’t have as much traffic as some of the others on this list, but since they specialize only in freelance writing jobs, your profile can be exposed to highly targeted traffic. They include both jobs listed exclusively on their platform, and also listings from job boards all over the internet. Using their site might be more efficient than checking a whole bunch of job boards manually.
This is a cool site that posts job listings from a variety of sources in their weekday blog posts, Monday through Friday. They also have a job board that has new listings added regularly.
Indeed collects job listings from a wide variety of websites. Their search engine is intelligent enough to know where you’re located, and can list jobs near you. This could be particularly helpful if you’re an aspiring freelance writer, but not a native English speaker, and are looking to find writing clients in your home country.
16. LinkedIn Jobs
Although this site is best suited for those who can leverage their past experience to land writing jobs, there are exceptions. To begin with, the majority of writing positions I saw there were looking for someone with experience or credentials (for example, either a degree in English, or a degree in a field related to the topics you’d be writing about for them).
However, I also saw a job posting where the client was looking to train from scratch a full-time intern at 11.50/hour (which, at the time of this writing is significantly more than the U.S. federal minimum wage). If you’re willing to sift through a bunch of listings that are a no-go to find the hidden gems, this could be a good site to check out. You’ll need a LinkedIn account to use this job board.
This is a well known job-board for writers so if you see a gig on this board that interests you, expect to have lots of competition. The good news is you can find all sorts of freelance writing jobs here, ranging from entry-level to more advanced. You can counteract the effects of high competition a bit by checking the board frequently in the hopes that you’ll be one of the first to notice and apply for any jobs that fit your skills and interests.
18. Writers Weekly
About once a week they put up a new post full of recent job opportunities for writers. If you’re brand new to this and don’t have any experience or credentials, expect to sift through quite a few listings before you find something suitable. But remember, if you’re persistent you’re bound to come across some gems eventually.
When looking for job postings on sites that are outsourcing their content, you almost always have to scroll to the very bottom of their home page and look at their footer menu for a link that says “Careers”, “Jobs”, or “Write for us”. Most of these are individual websites, but when I’ve found a parent company site that lists jobs for a whole bunch of websites they own, I’ve linked to that since you’ll get more bang for your buck (err time) by searching there for opportunities. Keep in mind that these websites aren’t always hiring writers – so if all you see are jobs for programmers, social media managers and that kind of thing, don’t give up – bookmark the page and check back regularly to see what’s new.
They pay industry experts and alumni for top notch blog posts about aromatherapy, holistic nutrition, herbal medicine, natural products, homeopathy, and other health and wellness topics. If your background makes you an expert in any of these areas, their website is worth a look.
They’re looking for freelance writers who can produce kick-butt, in-depth tutorials and round-up style pieces about apps for Macs (they also publish content for iOS). If they like your article, they’ll pay about $60 for it.
This site is looking for writers who can share info geared towards older students who are going back to college to pursue advanced training or professional development. They pay 55 bucks for accepted articles.
They pay decent money for guest blog posts on a variety of pet-related topics. Their mission is to help pet lovers learn about responsible social media usage, and also to help pets in need of help. I like the fact that you won’t have to guess at what kind of content they want because they provide detailed submission guidelines.
This is a travel website that focuses on complicated itineraries, long-term travel, and around-the-world trips – it’s best-suited to writers who have done some of that and are interested in helping others do the same. BootsnAll doesn’t always have openings for writers, but if you’re well-suited to their niche, it’s worth keeping an eye on their website.
They’re looking for adult learners who are interested in writing about social justice issues. The pay is $50 per article, so not half bad at all considering the fact that their minimum word count is only 200 words.
I wouldn’t put this site in the long-term work category, but if you need some practice honing your skills, and want to get paid while doing it as a ghostwriter, this might be worth a shot.
This comedy website pays its writers and doesn’t require them to have any prior experience. If you’ve always had a great sense of humor and can transmit it via the written word, give Cracked a look.
27. CrazyLeaf Design
Content on this site is focused on – you guessed it – design. Specifically, they feature informative articles on graphic design, web design, photography, programming, and so on. If you have experience in these areas, send in your pitch for a potential article and see what they think. They specifically say that they don’t care about your level of writing experience – as long as your content is good, you have a shot!
This is the perfect site to apply to if you have a background in personal finance (and if you don’t, they ask that you find an expert or two to quote in your article). One of the things I like about them is they provide very detailed instructions on what they’re looking for in article submissions, which should make it easier to get your article accepted if you’re good at following directions. 🙂
Skydiving aficionados can apply to write for DropZone. They’re looking for content on buying guides, safety tips, advice, interviews, reviews, events and other topics of interest to their readers. Contact their editor to discuss compensation, as they don’t share specific figures on their site.
These guys aren’t accepting new submissions right now, but are worth keeping an eye on because when they do, they pay very well. They’re looking for writers who have personal experience with e-commerce, specifically, any topics listed in their website menu and subcategories.
If you know a thing or two about personal finance, you may be interested in writing for EPF. Topics of interest to their readership include credit cards, business, identity theft, loans, credit reports, and saving money – they pay $100 per article.
IAC is the parent company to numerous online brands that also happen to blog since they know content marketing can help spread their message. Here are some of the websites they operate:
…and many more. For a quick and easy way to check which websites are hiring writers, the IAC job postings page is your one-stop shop.
If they accept your pitch, you can get paid over $200 for an article. They’re mainly looking for content in the human resources niche.
They pay 50 bucks an article and are looking for content geared towards women on a wide range of topics, including marriage and dating, shopping, fashion, personal finance, social media, and more.
This site specializes in – you guessed it – lists! And they pay 100 bucks for every “listicle” they accept. Getting an article on here could be a great way to build your portfolio and make some cash while you’re at it.
Photography buffs who can write can pitch an article to this site in exchange for $20-$150 per accepted piece. They’re looking for tips and techniques articles for nature and travel photography, how-to articles about image processing, and other related topics. If they like your work, this could turn into a long-term gig.
43. Matador Network
This is a travel site that seems to be always on the look-out for freelancers to produce content on specific locations. It’s best suited to writers who are well-travelled.
44. Metro Parent
Their content revolves around the parenting scene in SE Michigan. They share lots of great ideas for the types of articles they’re looking for, so if you’re a parent who’s a decent writer, it shouldn’t be too hard to come up with something they’ll like.
A TripAdvisor company, they periodically have openings for freelance writers who can blog about specific regions of the world. For the right person, this could be a cool site to write for.
This site publishes content primarily geared towards web designers and developers. If you have knowledge in these areas, it could be a good fit, particularly since they claim to pay “above industry rates”.
This site is looking for people to write top notch tutorials, opinion pieces, or case studies on topics relating to web design and development. They pay an honorarium for any articles they accept, plus, they’ll give you full credit for your work, making this a nice option if you want to expand your freelance writing portfolio.
Writers in the personal finance niche who are located in St. Petersburg, Florida should keep an eye on the Penny Hoarder careers page. They don’t always have jobs available, but are worth watching if this niche is of interest to you.
49. UX Booth
Another website geared towards web designers and developers, this is a great place to share your knowledge if you have a background in that area.
TutsPlus is a website that features written tutorials (and video, in case you’re interested in making one) on a wide range of topics:
- web design
- photography and video
- music and audio
- 3D motion and graphics
- game development
- computer skills
If your submission is accepted, they’ll pay you.
Category: Article writing service
If your writing is really rusty, skip this site for now and start on a site that’s much better suited for beginners, such as UpWork. Compose.ly requires that anyone wanting to work for them passes their assessment. At the time of this writing, they say they only accept 1% of writers who apply.
Category: Job board
They only accept freelancers in the U.S., so there will be less competition for jobs compared to sites that are open to anyone in the world. However, they claim to only allow top freelancers to join, so not everyone who applies will be accepted. Wait until you have some experience to give this site a try. And if you do try it, be aware you’ll have to fully fill out your LinkedIn profile since potential clients will be checking it out.
Category: Job board
This site wouldn’t be my first choice for new writers with no experience and no credentials because it mostly lists jobs suited for applicants with lots of experience and/or degrees. But once in a while something pops up that even a newbie could try for. Use their filter to dig up entry-level jobs – if you’re lucky, you’ll find one that’s a good fit. Don’t spend too much time on this site if you’re brand new to writing though because odds are you’ll have better luck on sites truly intended for beginners such as UpWork.
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This is the best-selling book that describes how I started from scratch and built a lucrative freelance writing biz in an often overlooked niche, despite having no experience, no contacts, and no credentials. Check it out if you haven’t already done so:
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