How to find high-paying clients from job boards

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You’ve got a great website, a clear niche, and you’re ready to start working as a full-time freelance writer.

There’s just one problem:

You can’t seem to find any clients – no matter what you do.

Does that situation sound familiar?

Sidenote: Once you finish, read how 4 freelancers built recurring revenue models that changed their business. You'll love it.

If so, know that you’re not alone. It can be tough to know where to start as a newbie freelance writer.

I mean, some marketing methods can take a while to pay off.

And let’s face it – your bills aren’t going to pay themselves in the meantime!

That’s why certain job boards can play a big role in launching your freelance career.

Of course, you shouldn’t just start throwing pitches at any job ad you find.

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Let’s talk about the best way to approach job boards as a freelance writer so you can start winning high-paying work.

Prepare to look for gigs in your niche

The main reason I’ve had so much success with job boards is because I pretty much only apply to gigs in my niche – B2B/marketing blog posts.

I establish my niche expertise in my pitch email and on my freelance writer website. By doing so, I show that I’m a great fit for the company right away – not just a generalist writer who might be able to get the job done right.

So, when you start looking at job boards, focus on looking for companies who need the exact type of writing you specialize in.

Now, you might be wondering:

Does this mean I can’t apply to gigs outside of my niche?

No, not at all.

I once landed a real estate writing gig with no real estate experience – all because the client liked my writing style.

But overall, you’ll have a much better success rate if you focus your pitching efforts on the clients who are most likely to want to hire you and pay you well for your work.

Because high-paying clients are looking to work with specialists – not generalists.

Use the right job boards

As a newbie freelance writer, I tried several different job boards.

The one I had the most success with?

The ProBlogger Job Board – by far. I landed several long-term, high-paying clients from it.

Try checking there and researching to find other quality job boards that offer the kind of work you specialize in.

Whatever you do, don’t waste your time on low-quality job boards and sites like Upwork that are full of companies who want you to write for pennies.

And always keep this in mind:

Even on the best job boards, not every client who posts an ad is going to be a good client.

No matter what, you need to learn how to look for the warning signs of a bad client, which brings me to my next point.

Look for red flags in the job ad

Even on the best job boards, you’re going to see ads from companies who aren’t going to pay you well.

Don’t waste your time applying if you see that the ad mentions:

  • The amazing “exposure” you’ll get (with no mention of pay) – This is often used by companies who want to justify low pay or no pay. But “exposure” doesn’t pay the bills!
  • How great the job is for college students – This is just another way of saying “we don’t want to pay a lot for content.”
  • That the pay is based solely on page views – You should receive some kind of guaranteed pay for your work.
  • The promise of pay when the company starts to make money – What if they never make money though? That’s not a risk you should be willing to take.
  • That pay will go up over time – Some companies say this to keep you on the hook, but a credible business will understand that they need to pay you well from the start.

When you’re thinking about applying for a job ad gig, do a little research on the company. Sometimes, all it takes is checking out their website and online presence to realize that they aren’t going to be willing to pay you well for content.

Write a killer pitch

Chances are, the client you’re pitching is going to see dozens – if not hundreds – of pitches from freelance writers.

Here are a few things you can do to make your pitch stand out and improve your chances of getting hired:

  • Mention your niche expertise – Do this early in your pitch so the client immediately recognizes you as a great fit for what they need.
  • Personalize – Use the client’s first name rather than saying something like “Dear Sir” or “To Whom It May Concern,” and talk about how you can help their business specifically.
  • Format for easy readability – No one is going to read a giant wall of text. Use short paragraphs and bullet lists to break up your text when you can.

Also, scan the job ad one last time before you send your pitch.

The poster may have asked for something specific to weed out anyone who didn’t read the ad. For example, they might put this at the bottom of the ad somewhere:

Use “B2B/Marketing Writer” as your subject line. All emails without this subject line will be deleted. 

Don’t skip this step. The last thing you want is to send of a great pitch that gets ignored just because you failed to follow simple directions!

Remember, you shouldn’t rely on job boards alone to find work

I get it – it’s easy to just sift through job boards every day. A lot easier than learning marketing and proactively seeking out new clients.

But you know what?

Freelancers who bring in the big bucks don’t rely solely on job boards to find work. They do other things to bring in clients, like:

  • Market the professional website they’ve created for their business
  • Reach out to clients via cold emailing or warm emailing
  • Use social media to make connections with with potential clients
  • Use SEO strategies so their website ranks in Google
  • Network and get referrals from existing clients

By using multiple marketing methods this way, you can improve your chances of maintaining a steady income rather than going through the typical “feast or famine” cycle.

Bottom line:

Use job boards when you need to, but never use them as your only marketing strategy.

You should diversify the way you market your freelance writing business if you want to reach long-term success.

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About Jorden Roper

Jorden Roper is the fuchsia-haired founder of Writing Revolt, where she shares no-BS advice for freelance writers and bloggers. Get her free, in-depth course on how to build a highly profitable freelance writing business (even if you’re a total newbie) here!

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Comments

  1. Great article!

    Is that a similar job board like Problogger but for graphic designers? I’ve looked at Upwork and you are right! The clients there just want work done for cheap.

  2. Hey Jorden, thanks for these great tips! Getting established as a freelance content writer is pretty tough, but I’m keeping focused and working hard at it. Things are starting to pay off. Slowly, but surely. I look forward to the time I can write from anywhere in the world.
    Keep the great content coming.

  3. Great post, Jorden! I definitely agree to stay away from those red flags and sites like Upwork to weed out the bargin-hunters. Nobody should settle for pennies if you know your work is worth a lot more.

  4. Great reminders! I’ve been a freelance graphic designer since 1989….yes, 27 years! But still going strong running an independent business. Thanks for these pointers. I recently lost a few big clients and find myself surfing the internet to find new ones. I haven’t had to do this, well, EVER! Word-of-mouth and networking have worked for me for over 27 years. I need to learn some new tricks, and you’ve provided them.

  5. You are right about social media. We can find some business from Facebook itself by joining some groups in our target niche. I have also found some relevant offers from Facebook groups.