How I turn full-time job listings into perfect freelance gigs

A big part of being a freelancer is scouring job boards.

We’ve all been there, and we’ve all done it. We’ve all spent hours staring into the computer screen, reading listing after listing, just hoping to find a great freelance job to apply to.

(PS: You can save a few hours hunting each week by signing up for this service.)

Which is why it’s so frustrating when you find a good one, read through the description, and get to the bottom only to discover it’s a listing for a full-time, in-house position… in some city that’d take you an entire day to drive to.

Fortunately, not all is lost.

A lot of times, especially with the type of work traditionally done by freelancers, a freelance agreement would actually work better for the company. It’s just a matter of helping them realize it.

Want more? Have a listen.

First Things First: Stand Out From the Crowd & Impress Them With Your Work

Submitting a resume and cover letter via the job platform is the last thing you want to do.

Yes, it’s the easiest thing to do, but it’s also the easiest way to get ignored.

Do your research and find an email address of the right person to get in touch with. (Just make sure it’s not the email address listed on the job description… because everyone else will be using that one.) If you can’t swing the email, go to LinkedIn, search for employees of the company, and find the person you think is best-suited to receive your message.

Send a message to them that’s quick and to the point—and that, most importantly, impresses them with your work prowess.

Are you a copywriter who regularly doubles revenues from sales pages? A UX expert who can reduce customer support tickets by 30%? An ads manager who’s proven to reduce spend while increasing ROI?

Tell them that in a short and sweet message, and ask if there’s a good time to get in touch for a quick phone call interview.

It reduces the formality of the job application process, yes, but in doing so, it makes it really easy for them to say “yes” to your quick phone call request, where you can work your magic.

Talk About Them First, Not You

When you do get on the phone, make sure you stay in control of the conversation. This can be hard to do since they’re in interviewing mode, but do your best. (It may take some practice with a few companies before you nail it.)

Make sure you’re the one asking questions and collecting information. Even though it’s not a traditional client inquiry call, treat it like one. When you’re the one asking questions and collecting information, you’re seen as the expert.

When they’re asking you questions and all you’re doing is answering them, it’s a game of them trying to poke holes in your abilities, which is never the place you want to be in.

By directing the conversation, you have the power to collect all the information you need. You get to present your services in a way that will solve their every problem, get them the data-based results they’re looking for, and be the exact kind of team member they’re looking for.

Make a Killer Proposal & Present Your Contract as a Trial

Not gonna lie, you will come up against some resistance when they discover you’re not able to sit in their office for 40 hours per week. But that’s okay. It doesn’t mean you can’t get the gig.

Before you hang up, mention that you’ll be in touch with a proposal they’ll really like. (And send it to them ASAP.) In it, include the numbers you can make possible for them, talk about how you’ll overcome the distance barriers (like always being available for video chat, and using project management software), and calculate the cost-savings of hiring you to do the work instead of a full-time employee.

And then, most importantly, present it as a trial.

In your call with them, you’ll have learned what one of their most important goals is. Tell them a date by which they could expect you to achieve that goal, and propose a two to three month trial of working together. During this trial, they can evaluate your performance and decide whether or not to keep working together afterwards.

If you can tell they’re hell-bent on still hiring someone in house, pitch yourself as a fill-in to get important work done while they find the perfect match. (You can even offer to help them in the hiring process.) They’ll love you for this, and will be excited that they can keep moving towards their goals while they’re hiring. Plus, it’ll give you a few months of paid work, a killer testimonial, and source of referrals.


Truthfully, not all of the full-time jobs you try to convert into freelance gigs will work out.

But in my opinion, it’s always worth it to try. These gigs tend to lasts for months or years, and pay really well. They’re the kind of gigs we all wish we had more of.

Remember, if you need more leads to test out this method on, try signing up for our new service, SolidGigs.

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About Chelsea Baldwin

Chelsea Baldwin runs Copy Power, where she teaches how to reverse-engineer copywriting based on psychology to get your readers hooked on you forever. She wrote a free ebook that’ll help you keep your traffic from bouncing and get more leads and conversions on your site.


  1. I like your way of digging for the right person! Versus being in search off applicants. Some marketers will go as far creating a custom video email.

    I did think of responding with nicely designed PDF/
    presentation instead of a resume. Solution-based marketing tips and trial offer after looking at their website. For, instance maybe they don’t have Facebook pixel or low engagement on their Fan Page. For Digital marketers.????…Tell them how to fix it; this will show them your expertise. Or if you have a case study similar to their niche that would help. According to what they asked for in the job post. Many companies look they post a generic list as though they googled the job title opposed what their company needs are.

    Plus a lot of job boards you can subscribe and get notified when the jobs get posted.

  2. This has definitely worked for me. I routinely reach out on Linkedin and propose myself as a fill-in. In 2017 I got a whole year’s “temporary” work out of it as a retainer.

  3. Chelsea,

    Great strategy especially the part about a trial! Care to share some of your favorite sources re job boards?


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