5 Tips for Finding Work Between Freelance Writing Gigs

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When it comes to making money, we’re only as good as our paying clients. Whether we’re providing content for websites or copy for a brochure, we rely on these projects to keep us from going into debt. What happens when the projects dry up or we’re between clients?

How do we work when there is no work? By finding more work, of course!

  1. Troll the job boards: If your existing clients don’t have work for you, it’s time to find some new clients. Go back to your favorite job boards to find new people to work for, or one off gigs to keep busy. Some job boards such as Craigslist get a bum rap, the truth is, all job boards have their share of scammers and Craigslist has more legitimate, high paying opportunities than it does scammy people.
  2. Find some online writing work to supplement your income: Demand Studios, WiseGeek and LoveToKnow are just a few content sites with good reputations. Use these to keep the money flowing between clients.
  3. Do some cold calling: Clients don’t always come to us, we also have to find clients. Cold calling is not a freelance writer’s favorite thing to do, but it can yield some very lucrative results.
  4. Touch base with former clients: Just because your clients aren’t calling, doesn’t mean they don’t have projects. They might have several jobs piling up but haven’t had a chance to reach out. Call or email clients just to “touch base.” Even if they don’t have work, it will keep you fresh in their minds for future projects.
  5. Network: Meeting people at conferences, professional organizations and via online social networks can lead to opportunities. Don’t rule out the face to face just because it’s so much easier to network online.

What are some of the ways you find work when you’re between gigs?






11 responses
  1. Rachel Avatar

    Fantastic list. I’d say that you should never wait until you’re between projects to work on this stuff, though–by then it’ll be too late! I’m at the point where it’s really tough to find the time to do extra marketing after my full workday, but a client could drop off the face of the planet at any time! So I’d recommend always keeping a couple extra irons in the fire..

  2. Sara Avatar

    Deb, you have mentioned in the past contacting websites that you come across that you feel could use a copywriter/copyeditor. What do you include in an email to this type of potential client?

  3. Phil Avatar

    Cold (actually slightly warm) calling works better than one may think. I’ve gotten a ton of work that way, even though most sales books advise this is an ineffective way to market oneself.

    Another suggestion: Go to trade shows and conferences. Went to one seven years ago just to look for clients. Found one that has produced well over six figures in revenues since then.

  4. Julie Avatar

    Phil.. love the idea of going to conferences, but what did you do to secure the work? Did you just introduce yourself and give them a business card, or do you have other promotional-type material that you pass out to people?


  5. Christi Avatar

    Great tips, as always. Thank you!

  6. Ann Olson Avatar

    Excellent tips, Deb. Networking has helped me out the most when finding fill in gigs between clients.

  7. Adrie Avatar

    I have incorporated trolling for listings into my daily routine. Every morning I check my emails and then check several sites and job boards and reply to those that interest me. The work is always steady this way 🙂

  8. Phoenix Avatar

    Deb, you are the only person to praise CL. I am sorry, it gets a bum rap for a reason. I have applied for over 70 writing jobs in the past month on CL and I have gotten no responses. More people I talk to are not getting responses either. You are the only one to promote CL. No one else talks about it. I am very sketchy about this whole thing. CL has more scammers than you think.

  9. Deb Avatar

    @Phoenix –

    Have you encountered a Craigslit scammer or is the problem that you haven’t received responses to your query?

    If you applied to 70 jobs last month with no response, the problem might not necessarily be a Craigslist problem. You might not have been the right fit with the job or there might be another issue with qualifications or delivery.

    I know CL has scammers, and I can probably spot one 100 miles away. I do try and weed them out of the daily job lists. However, there are plenty of good opportunities as well. I know this for a fact because I and many other members of the FWJ community were hired by people who placed ads via Craigslist.

    I wish you lots of good luck. Let’s see if we can figure out the reason no one is responding to your applications.

  10. Wendy Altschuer Avatar

    Great tips as always, thanks!

  11. Rouillie Wilkerson Avatar

    Thank you, I enjoyed the tips. But I would highly advise people to read the small print before signing up with some of these content sites. Perhaps the sites have good reputations, but there is no guarantee that the clients do!

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