Secret Weapons to Finding More Paying Freelance Gigs

PhotoFunia-3d80f2dby Joe Wallace

If you’re wondering what a doctored photo of a moon walk has to do with getting a freelance job, keep reading. You won’t find freelance jobs on the moon, but if you’re fed up enough with a fruitless hunt for more paying gigs to consider looking there anyway, you’re well on your way to getting a new freelance opportunity.

I just started a high-paying freelance editor gig for a major national corporation. I found this gig in a place I least expected to–and that was probably the reason why I landed it. There was no horde of eager applicants to compete with–just a reasonable amount of competition. My source for this job isn’t as important as the idea that I landed the work because I opened myself up to new opportunities by looking in places I wouldn’t have explored a year or two ago.

So how can you create your own secret weapon to finding new freelance work?

There are two basic ways to start. The first is to use your tried-and-true job finder sources, especially those that allow you to do a job search using keywords. is one, let’s try a little experiment.

Go to and do a job search on “freelance writer”. Whatever comes up, take note of the results, and try a different search, but this time using a slight variation on the phrase. Try “freelance-jobs”. Now try some strange variations on the phrase. “Telecommute Editor Freelance.” I just searched on the phrase “child editor freelance” and came up with three jobs. Any unusual search terms can unearth gigs that might go unnoticed by other more traditional searchers. “Clean writer” turned up plenty of results.

Next, try looking for a freelance job in places that aren’t even advertising for writers, editors, coders, whatever. What can you find by going to and searching in the Careers section? What happens when you send your resume and a cover letter to’s New York Bureau Chief, asking for a lead on a contributor gig? Contact the human resources department at the local paper and find out who’s hiring the stringers.

You get the idea–the list is endless. You should aim as high as you can–NPR is a good source of job posts, and so is Where do you want to work today? Send out feelers everywhere you can think to send ’em.

I’ve already covered creative temp agencies–if you have the chops and they like your work, there’s a good chance freelance work will come looking for YOU. You can also send out letters of introduction to your local news weekly, regional magazines, and other print pubs letting people know about your work and that you’re available for assignments.

Lots of people use Craigslist to find freelance work…ever considered apply TO Craigslist? These ideas are a dime a dozen, all you need sometimes is a nudge in the right direction to get the creative juices flowing in ways that can earn you cash.

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