Getting Work When Starting Out as a Freelance Writer

When you are just starting out in a freelance writing career it can be difficult to find writing jobs. You probably lack a portfolio or references with which to back up your skills and qualifications. Thankfully, there are places where a freelance writer can get work without any qualifications or previous experience. All you need to get these freelance writing jobs is an Internet connection, some time, and the skills to make it happen.


Many of the sites that will hire writers just starting out are known colloquially as “content mills”. These are sites that collect clients looking for content to fill out a blog, use for article marketing purposes, or place on a product sales page. The downside of this type of writing is that you don’t get a byline nor do you build a connection with the clients directly, so it’s not helping you build a reputation or a portfolio. It does let you practice your skills and continue to earn while looking for better work.

You have to have the right kind of mindset to freelance with a content mill. Often, these sites require articles to use a specific keyword in a very specific fashion. They are also very tight on length requirements. It can be hard to fill out a 400 word article focused around a ceramic tile design, or to find ways to use awkward keywords such as “web design firm Chicago” without ruining the grammatical flow of your sentences. However, if you can do it, the pay is generally not terrible (around $0.005 – $0.02 per word) and the sites are always hiring.

Some examples of sites that are always hiring for new writers and will take you on for paid work almost immediately include:


I have personally worked for each of these sites and received at least one payout from them, so I know they’re not scams.


In addition to content mills of the type mentioned above, some sites collect articles from directly from freelance writers to fill out their sites. In return for the articles, they generally give their authors a cut of the ad revenue. This can be a very slow way to earn, but you are able to create a profile and all of your articles are published with a byline (the byline is usually your site username). So it’s not a great way to make money, but it will allow you to build up a published portfolio of a sort.

I have personally submitted articles to Triond and Associated Content. Associated Content is one of the best options out there for those just starting out in freelance writing. Your articles are reviewed and accepted (or rejected) by a real person, and they will pay a flat fee for the best ones. Triond will accept just about any article as long as it’s not directly copied from somewhere else on the Internet. Other sites that accept articles on most topics include,, and Expertscolumn but I can’t personally vouch for those sites.


If you don’t have a blog, you should start one. Blogs aren’t necessarily a great way to earn money, but they are an excellent way to build up a portfolio and practice your writing skills. Once you have built up a decent audience, you can start monetizing your blog through the use of ads or affiliate products. The steps involved in building up a successful blog are so numerous that they deserve their own post, but starting one is easy.


If you are good at writing essays and research papers, and aren’t too caught up in the ethics of the situation, you can make good money working for academic writing sites. These are sites that buy and sell papers for high school and college students. Going with the theme of this post, this is a good way to earn money from home, but it’s obviously not a great way to build up a portfolio. Also, given the nature of the work, many of the companies that hire freelance writers for these jobs are very secretive. It can be difficult to obtain the information necessary to keep you taxes legal, for example, and there’s really no one to complain to if they don’t pay up when promised.

Some sites that pay for research papers and school essays include:


There are many ways to earn money as a fledging freelance writer; you just have to keep your eyes open. Not all of the earning opportunities available to you as a writer will be obvious, and none of them will be easy. But you didn’t get into this career for easy money, you got into it to write, and if you keep writing you’ll keep earning.


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