how to find freelance work

How to Find Freelance Work: Newsletters, Groups and Apps to Subscribe to

Finding work as a freelancer can feel like going to a new city for the first time. Everything is new and different and you may not know where to start or who to ask for help. But learning how to find freelance work doesn’t have to be difficult. 

There are many apps, websites and email newsletters that make finding work easier. But what do you do when you have a niche? Or maybe you’re still narrowing down the type of freelance work you want to do? 

As a relatively new, full-time freelance journalist, I’ve made the most connections via Twitter. I started my account in June 2020 as a student journalist. I wasn’t sure how close to AP style I should be tweeting and I didn’t even know who to follow. For me, Twitter took time, but the reward was often worth it.

How to find freelance work navigating Twitter

  • Be authentic. I spent way too much time retweeting national news stories. I thought this would connect me with other journalists. In reality, it just made for a boring feed. Instead, be yourself! Show off your unique voice or personal interests in your field. Don’t be afraid to tweet your opinions or comment about a trending topic.
  • Network. I’m not saying spend all your time on the app, but spend enough time to learn how to join Twitter lists, spaces and communities. Don’t just be a follower, either. Take time to connect with people in your field and message them. It never hurts to ask if they have advice or know of opportunities. 
  • Act. I can’t tell you how many opportunities I’ve seen people tweet about and I waited too long to act. If you see someone post a job application you’re interested in, apply that day! If you see a graphic design, marketing or writing opportunity, reach out immediately. There was a part-time staff writer position I was really interested in, but by the time I got to reaching out for the role, it was already filled. Take it from me, never waste a beat. 

Twitter is a great space for freelancers. But you don’t have to take my word as gospel. For the social media hesitant, here’s what I learned from other freelancers about where they find work. 

Old-school networking

Claire Beveridge is a full-time freelance marketing consultant with more than a decade of experience. When she first started out she did some “old school networking” — meeting up with professionals she already knew.

“I looked to my professional network first and went for a lot of coffees — mainly chatting with old coworkers, managers […] and letting them know I’d started my own business,” she said. “I was super lucky to land work within the first week.”

If you finished school or are still attending, connect with your favorite professor. Likely they’ll know someone who is looking for freelance work, has their own company or can point you in the right direction. 

Newsletters and groups to subscribe to 

  • Peakfreelance is a membership based site that posts jobs and can connect you with clients and freelance writing work.  
  • Superpath is a community you can join to find content marketing work and the site offers a free slack channel. 
  • [email protected] is a free weekly newsletter by Mandy Hofmockel including a list of journalism jobs throughout the country and different workshops. 
  • Freelancing with Tim is a newsletter run by former New York Times editor Tim Herrera. His aim is to “demystify the world of freelance journalism” and provides webinars, and pitch guides, too. 
  • Opportunities of the Week is a newsletter that catalogs calls for pitches on Twitter twice a week and is run by freelance writer Sonia Weiser. 
  • Study Hall is a media newsletter and online support network for media workers. It sends out opportunities for freelance work and offers subscribers lists of commissioning editors, a Slack channel, and other resources.

How to find freelance work during rough patches

Vera Agiang is a freelance B2B content writer and has experienced bouts of rough patches. However, there are a few tricks she uses to keep her going. 

“It happens to everyone. Year-in-year out consistent income is difficult as a freelancer so don’t beat yourself up,” Agiang said. “What you can do is optimize your craft and share your growth on social media, subcontract for big freelancers (this could help with referrals), and build relationships with other freelancers.”

Freelancing requires perseverance, as well as the ability to learn from mistakes and adapt quickly. But learn to value yourself as a freelancer. It takes time, patience and networking to get to a place where you have a steady stream of income and reliable work. I should know because sometimes it feels like I’m ages away from that. But as I’ve followed my networking via Twitter advice, I’ve secured projects with two clients for the next couple months. 

Beveridge said she experienced a rough patch when she moved to another country. But through a referral she met a top marketing executive who she still works with today. 

“Freelancing is the ultimate feast or famine situation. Some days, you’re a piglet snuffling at the trough of work, and other times you’re a starving hog sniffing out crumbs,” Beveridge said. “It’s all about ebbs and flows, but new work will always come along — as long as you’re reliable, honest, and good at what you do.”

At the end of the day, don’t give up. As cheesy as it sounds, working as a freelancer can offer you the greatest flexibility, opportunities and creative projects you may not have been able to do with a regular 9-to-5 job.