How to make money from freelance writing sites

Many writers will tell you to stay clear of freelance writing sites.

Why?

  • Low paid jobs
  • Clients who don’t value your time
  • You could earn more elsewhere

Guess what? You get that on many job boards.

I’ve seen very low paid jobs on well-known sites, so dont let that put you off.

Want to know something different about freelance sites?

  • There’s well paid jobs out there
  • Clients who value your experience and time
  • An opportunity to build your knowledge in a niche and learn new skills

I’ve managed to earn over $11,000 in a year from just one freelance site – Upwork, from part time work. Some freelancers are even earning this in one month!

This post is to show you that there are good opportunities on freelance sites for new writers and freelancers. Don’t believe me? Check out this guy! He’s killing it!

Let’s take a trip back in time!

I’ve been on Upwork for around 18 months and I’ve worked with several clients in that time. Before joining Upwork, I’d previously used People Per Hour and both sites have worked out fairly well for me. I recommend these two site over others – I’ve used Freelancer before and it was a waste a time, trust me!

Here’s why freelance sites benefit new writers;

  • A chance to gain experience in a new niche
  • Opportunity to build your portfolio
  • You’re paid for your work, rather than writing posts for free
  • You can build your contacts

I’m not saying you should stay on freelance sites forever. I’ve managed to make some good contacts with clients I now work in a direct capacity. If I’d not applied for jobs with those clients on freelance sites, I may never have found them, so its been very lucrative for my business.

These days, I still like to check out the jobs on Upwork and People Per Hour regularly;

  • Its a great place to find work when you have a gap in your schedule
  • You’re guaranteed to be paid – both sites have mediation services
  • You may have the opportunity of repeat work

How I’ve managed to earn a good income from freelance sites and how you can make money too!

Fill out your profile

The first thing you need to do when signing up to Upwork or People Per Hour is to write your profile. You don’t need extensive information in this section. What you need;

  • A profile picture – make sure you use your actual picture because, lets face it, we all know Beyonce isn’t shilling her skills on there. A friendly photo with you smiling works really well – you’ll seem approachable as well as professional.
  • Use your title – this is what is going to stand out to clients. Be specific here and use keywords. You might be a Proofreader, Editor, Facebook Ads Writer or Ebook Writer. You could also tailor this to your specific niche, such as Expert Medical Writer or Fashion Copywriter.
  • Add an overview of your skills and expertise – include your skill set and the services you offer, as well as your experience – for instance, do you have your own website, what type of clients have you previously written for?
  • What can you provide the client – this is IMPORTANT. What can you offer potential clients? Maybe its epic call to actions that will convert to sales, product descriptions that will create a connection with prospective buyers, engaging content that will drive readership numbers…
  • On Upwork, you can add your education and work experience, which I recommend doing, as well as adding at least two snippets of your work for a portfolio.

Grab my free download for examples of profiles, including one that will get you noticed by potential clients!

Search regularly and in your niche

Searching regularly is the key to finding good clients. When you search job listings, use keywords related to your niche. I generally use ‘beauty’, ‘skincare’ or ‘lifestyle’ to find job listings in my genre. Upwork has thousands of job listings, so searching through them all is far too time consuming. There are less listings on People Per Hour, so I tend to search through them all. Ensure that you search the newest jobs first! You can also search for fixed price budget within a certain range, which can help to flush out low paid jobs from your search.

Expert doesn’t always mean expert rates

On both Upwork and People Per Hour, you’ll see that every job listing has a job rate. On PPH, this is either set as a fixed fee or as a £ symbol. One £ symbol relates to a basic fee, ££ equals intermediate and £££ is expert rates. On Upwork, the symbol is shown in $, though some jobs also have a fixed budget.

Lets get real here. Some clients think $5 for an article is an expert rate, so don’t get too frustrated. It happens. Ignore these listings – you’re not going to be working for $2 or whatever per article.

So, how can you find some rockstar clients that will pay what your worth?

Don’t be afraid to bid higher and ask for more money

There’s a little secret to how I apply for jobs on Upwork. When you view a listing, you can see the average amount that the client has payed to past freelancers (obviously, this doesn’t work for new clients to the platform). If I see that a client has only paid a minimum of say $2, its a big warning sign. You can also view previous projects at the bottom of the job listing.

If a client has only paid peanuts to previous freelancers, you can bet that they sure as hell won’t be willing to pay you a good rate, even if you’re the best writer on the planet.

I don’t apply to any of these jobs!It not worth wasting your time.

Let’s take a look at the opposite end of the spectrum!

Recently, I applied for a project that had no set budget. The client messaged me to say he liked my samples and offered me a fee that was lower than my normal rates. I told him I couldn’t accept for this reason and he replied, saying that he thought it was great that I valued my work and asked what my normal rates were.

I asked for 60% more and I got it!!

The moral of the story – don’t undervalue yourself, even on a freelance site!!

You might get less work in the long run, but what’s the better deal here;

Writing 10 articles for $10 each = $100

Writing one article for $100

Makes sense, huh?

Get clients to come back

Once you’ve worked with a client, contact them to ask them if they need any further assistance.

I suggest only sending one message as you don’t want to seem spammy or desperate. You could also promote your additional services.

An example message;

Hi X,

How are you? I loved working on your project and wondered if you’d like to continue working together.

I have some great ideas that I can send over, such as X and X. Let me know if you’d be interested.

Kind regards,

That’s a simple example of a quick message. Alternatively, do you research and see what the client is currently up to – you may want to congratulate them on a recent success, see if there’s a service they could benefit from etc.

Hi X,

How are you? Congratulations on your new website, its looks fantastic! We recently worked together on X and I noticed that your blog hasn’t been updated in some time. I now offer blog writing services that will assist you in improving your websites SEO and increasing conversions. I’d love to discuss the potential of working with you further. Let me know if I can help you in any way!

Best wishes, 

There’s no guarantee that contacting previous clients will be successful, but if a client is looking for assistance, it could be your lucky day!

Factor freelance fees in your pricing

If you want to earn good money on freelance sites, dont forget to factor fees into your pricing.

Upwork recently changed their pricing structure and PPH also take fees from your earnings.

Make sure you add those fees into your rates.

Nail your proposal

If you want to get that freelance job, you need to nail your proposal! Your proposal is your job application and is what you really need to concentrate on. Ideally, you should tweak your proposal on a regular basis as you build your knowledge and experience.

What to include

  • Be personal – use the clients name if you know it!
  • Add portfolio samples – either as an attachment or links
  • Mention your experience – relate it to the job you’re applying for
  • State your background and education, if relevant to the project
  • What clients have you worked with?
  • What can you offer the client?
  • Review the job description and ensure your proposal is tailored to the project- it’s ok to use a template, but the job may ask for specific information, so make sure you’ve read it thoroughly.

The transformation of my pitch process

The first proposal is one of the first I sent and back when I thought £5 per article was amazing – Fuck no! This is one of the reasons why this website exists because you are not going to follow my lead!

“Hi, I am a UK native writer and can write 100% unique articles to a high standard. I have experience of writing product reviews in a casual style and I have experience of writing how to and tips style posts on my own blog. I can work to your budget – £5 per article and turnaround. I look forward to hearing from you.”
This proposal sucks shit for several reasons;

  • No portfolio samples
  • Doesn’t demonstrate my skills
  • No information on my background or experience

After serious tweaking, here’s an example of a more recent proposal;

‘Hi X, I’d like to be considered for your project as I’m an experienced beauty copywriter with the ability to create engaging content that adheres to brand guidelines. I believe my skills will satisfy your requests due to my strong background in copywriting for cosmetic and skincare brands. I have created copy for articles, web pages, and promotional purposes, with brands including X, X, and X among my many clients. You can view samples of my work attached for reference.
I’m extremely passionate about the beauty industry and I offer exceptional attention to detail, high professionalism, and a fast turnaround. Furthermore, I have a degree in English and knowledge of SEO. I look forward to hearing from you and appreciate your consideration.’
Why its improved;

  • Shows clients I’ve worked with
  • Links to articles I’ve written
  • Demonstrates my skill set – writing web pages, SEO etc
  • Background – degree and experience in beauty copywriting
  • How the client will benefit – fast turnaround, copy written to brand guidelines, professionalism

Just a few tweaks here and there can make a significant difference to your success via freelance sites.

How have you found working on freelance sites?

Make sure you grab my free download if you want to create an epic profile page!