It would be an understatement to say a lot of people are stuck home at the moment. During the past few weeks, I’ve had several friends ask how they can find online work now that they can’t leave their houses. It’s always fun to give advice, but the problem is, finding freelance writing work right now is trickier than usual.
That’s not to say there isn’t any work available of course. However, the freelance market right now is incredibly competitive. Understanding why that is and what you can do to stand out is key if you want to find freelance writing work until COVID-19 blows over. Let’s talk about why that is.
What’s Going On with the Freelance Writing Market?
The freelance writing market has always been saturated. There are a lot more people looking for work than there is work available. That’s usually not a problem for experienced freelance writers because a huge chunk of those people compete on the lower end of the market.
In a nutshell, if you price your freelance writing services above average and back up those rates with good work, you can make a decent living.
The ‘problem’ is, right now the freelance writing market is drowning in talent. There are a lot more people than usual looking for online work to make up for lost jobs or being unable to go to the office. That sudden influx of competitors means that every decent job posting on freelance writing websites is getting hundreds of applications.
When you combine that with the fact that a lot of businesses are cutting their marketing budgets until the pandemic blows over, you have a perfect storm for freelancers. If you already had trouble finding work, right now you may be panicking.
4 Tips to Adapt to the New Freelance Writing Market
Right now isn’t the best time to look for freelance writing work. However, most of us can’t afford the luxury of going for months without onboarding new clients. With that in mind, it’s important to adapt if you want to stay in business.
1. Increase Your Job Application Volume
Unless your work calendar is already maxed out, you should be applying for new freelance writing gigs like a madman right now. Some of my favorite freelance writing job boards, such as ProBlogger, are still getting new listings every day.
Naturally, you won’t be the only person applying to any of these jobs, but that shouldn’t stop you. The competition is fiercer right now, so it’s important that you step up your game. One easy way to do that is to spend more time job hunting and sending applications.
During lulls in my work calendar, I usually send at least two to three pitches to new clients each morning. Right now, I’d be doubling that number to increase my chances of getting hired.
2. Spend More Time Doing Cold Pitches
Since everyone else is focusing on freelancing websites and boards, it can be smart to think outside the box. By outside the box, I mean cold-pitching businesses that don’t have any job listings up at the moment, but that you think might be open to collaboration.
The first thing you need to do is identify which businesses to get in touch with. If you focus on a specific niche for your freelance writing work, make a list of the most popular websites in that field.
Once you have that list, look up contact information on those sites and get to work on a pitch. Since you’re contacting businesses out of the blue, your pitches need to be on point. Chances are most of them will go unanswered, but remember that you’re playing a numbers game. The more feelers you put out, the higher your chances are of finding work.
3. Take the Time to Update Your Portfolio
If you’ve been freelancing for a while, then you should have a distinct advantage over newcomers to the field. That advantage is in your experience and your portfolio.
Whenever you apply to a new writing gig, your portfolio should be one of the first things you share. Right now, you need any edge you can get if you want to stand out among hundreds of applicants, so your portfolio is even more important.
If you haven’t updated it in a while, take an afternoon to polish it up now. Maybe change up the design if you think it looks boring and make sure your best work is front and center. When that’s ready, get back to the front lines and start applying to new jobs again.
4. Consider Starting a Blog While Things Blow Over
Finding freelance writing work from one day to the next is almost impossible. In my experience, it usually takes a week or two of regular pitching to land new contracts. That’s why it’s essential to never put all your eggs into a single basket.
In any case, if you have a lot of downtime right now and you’re already applying to all the relevant jobs you can find, then it’s important to do something constructive with that time. Since you’re a writer, one of the best things you can do is start a blog.
With a blog, you can write about whatever you want. It can work as a complement to your portfolio, help you cultivate an audience, and if you’re entrepreneurial, there are several ways you can monetize yours.
Building a blog from the ground up takes work and it’s the kind of project a lot of people start then abandon soon after. Since you’re already stuck home, though, there’s no harm in trying blogging on for size and seeing if it’s a good fit for you.
Being a full-time freelance writer has never been the easiest job in the world. The competition has always been fierce and commanding high rates takes a lot of work. However, all those hardships pay off in spades since we get a lot of freedom.
Right now, the market isn’t the best for freelance writers (thanks COVID-19!). However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t any work out there, just that there’s more competition than usual. If you want to stay in business until things blow over, it’s important you adapt to these changes.
Has the pandemic affected your freelance writing business in any way? We want to hear about it, so share your experiences with us in the comments section below!