How to choose an online freelance writing employer gig

how to choose an online freelance writing employer gig

You may think every posted online job is fair game, but I’m here to tell you otherwise. I’m not here to say that they are not legitimate, only that you need to read details and evaluate before going through the effort of applying.

The reason. There are millions of freelancer writers scouring the Internet every single day for work. This has created an ideal situation for companies who now place a whole lot of restrictions on anyone wishing to apply.

Companies now request applicants have a set amount of credentials, an online portfolio, that they are able to be paid in a specific way and that they reside in a certain area or country. This has had a significant impact on the amount of applicants and the types of people applying.

When I first began freelance writing online, very (very) few companies placed such restrictions on applicants, but as the years passed, I saw more and more companies becoming extremely picky by requesting certain elements in their ads. I get why they do this, but it had a huge impact on me.

I was a Canadian living in Mexico suddenly unable to “qualify” for a U.S. or Canadian writing gig because of where I lived, which for the record, is on the same continent. I had every other prerequisite, but my location was the stick in the spokes.

From those years, I learned to surf a lot more wisely and read a lot more carefully before applying. It saved me a heap of time, not to mention rejection emails.

Here are a few things to look for when applying for online freelance writing jobs:

Country: Read what country they are hiring from. If you’re surfing North American online job opportunities, you will no doubt be required to either be from the U.S. or Canada, or be able to legally work there. There are two main reasons for this. One, to ensure U.S.-Canada English is your first language and two, for tax purposes.

Payment: If you find a great job that is not country-specific, look for their preferred form of payment. Some companies only pay by cheque (very old fashioned, yes), while others are more flexible with electronic payment options such as direct bank transfers, email payments and other modern forms such as PayPal.

With me for example, I came across many great writing jobs that only paid by cheque, which didn’t work for me since I live in Mexico and banks here, even when they are U.S. or Canada associated, do not take out-of-country cheques. I was forced to pass on those jobs.

Company Information: For me, I won’t bother with a job opp if the company information is not listed. At the very least, I want the name of the hiring company so I can do a background check of my own before I add them to my consideration list.

I cannot tell you how often a quick Internet search has led me to find certain companies being notorious for not paying their writers. Don’t be afraid to look them up and pass if they have a bad reputation.

Sending Samples: This is a bit touch-and-go for me, but back when I searched for work online, I used to send in that “free writing sample” of their subject choice, always cringing that I was being taken advantage of.

The truth, I don’t recall ever being hired by one of those, the companies that required the free writing sample, but instead, was hired by companies who enjoyed my already published portfolio articles. Just sayin’…

Rate of Pay: A serious company will list the rate of pay albeit by the word, project, salary, etc. If they don’t, guess how many people are going to send them emails asking that very question. For me, if a company (accidentally) failed to provide a rate of pay, I passed on their ad. At the very least, they should list a starting rate for beginner writers with a “higher rate” option for those with established portfolios.

When you’re browsing through online freelance writing job ads, keep in mind that it’s also about you too. Working for a company that you will like, being paid a fair rate and on time are important, so do yourself a favor by carefully reading the details so you can better choose an online freelance writing employer gig.