10 Best (and Worst) Freelance Copywriting Jobs

The truth is, copywriting is a pretty easy business to get into, as long as you know what you’re doing and you have some self-esteem. From writing to making invoices, it can be an easy job but a demanding one too, especially if you don’t have the tools that will make your life a lot easier.

People are DYING to hire good writers so it’s a great time to think about getting into freelance work. Since Google pays close attention to who is putting out good writing on their website and giving them premium rankings, everyone needs a full-time writer to get that good content out. Whether you start with a content mill or in a freelance market like Odesk, you can jump right into money-making today, as long as you understand the benefits and drawbacks to each platform.

NOTE: Never, NEVER pay anyone to get a copywriting job. That is what we call a scam.

10 Best (and Worst) Places to Get Freelance Copywriting Jobs

1. Demand Media Studios

Demand Studios

Overview: This organization owns a number of online magazines like LiveStrong.org and eHow.org. These guys don’t take just anyone. In order to be hired, you must complete a pretty detailed bio and also submit a writing sample based on a randomized test question. Once you’re in the system, the pay is pretty good: between $30 and $50 per 300-word article. Still, they have pretty stringent writing requirements and you will be assigned an editor to make sure that your writing is up to snuff. You are also required to incorporate images, researched links while maintaining the standards of whatever online magazine you’re writing for.

Pros: A very professional organization with an extensive training process and personalized editors. Also, the pay is competitive.

Cons: You have to be a pretty good writer and pass through their application hurdles. Also, if your article isn’t good enough, they will reject it and won’t pay you for your time.

2. Odesk


Overview: This is an online network that connects workers and employers. It is really easy to set up and has a great review system. On the other hand, you must complete your profile and a couple of quizzes to have access to applying for more than 5 jobs at a time. Also, they take 10% of your total wages to cover their expenses.

Pros: Easy to set up, free, you set your own hours and wages. They also have an easy way to get your taxes done, and your W-9 form and bank account information is not accessible by anyone else.

Cons: If you get a fixed-price job, you aren’t guaranteed payment unless you ask for it up front. You are competing with people who charge $1 per article.

3. Elance


Overview: Elance has an interesting system. You sign up and are awarded “cents” on their website. After you get your profile up and running (yes, do the whole thing!), then you can bid on jobs. Every bid takes money from your virtual stash and you can pay to be pushed to the top of the list. As with Odesk, you can withdraw your earnings from your account directly into your bank account.

Pros: Relatively easy to set up and free. You can pay extra to be at the top of the list. The reviewing system is good and lots of new jobs are posted there regularly.

Cons: Watch out for low rates. Since this is another freelance site, you are competing with writers from all over the world. Although there is a benefit being an English-speaking American, you’ll have to filter out all the jobs that pay $1 per 100 words.

4. Zerys


Overview: I have worked with these guys too. They always are changing things up, probably because they have so much turnover. The problem with Zerys is that they pay terribly. When you set up your account, you choose specialty areas that you can write about. HINT: Technical specialties make the most money and get the best return clients. Then, you do a writing sample and they give you a rating to start out with. This rating can change depending on how your clients review your work. It is also affected by whether or not you’ve missed deadlines or had bad customer feedback. Almost anyone can write for Zerys, so there is a lot of competition, especially for the rare jobs that pay more than 3 cents per word. Doesn’t sound like a lot, does it. That’s cuz it’s not.

Pros: Anyone can work here. You can have an unending stream of work, as long as you pick the right specialties and have enough time and patience to deal with the pay.

Cons: Pay is awful, usually below 2 cents per word. That’s only about 800 words for $16. Also, it is very competitive for higher-paying articles and you can only take one job at a time, unless it is in the editing stage with the article initiator.

5. ArticleDocument

Article Document

Overview: I have worked with these guys before, and I don’t really like them very much. You start out schlepping articles for free. After you have had enough jobs, your reviews improve your rating score. The types of jobs you get are directly affected by this score. So, if you are brand new, a “blogger,” none of what you write is paid for. As soon as you become a “journalist” (rating above 6), you will be writing around 800 words for $20. Depending on how long that article takes you (and whether or not you have to do a bunch of research on the subject) you can be making between $5 and $20 per hour.

Pros: Anyone can get in and start writing. Right now, even! You actually DO get paid once you have passed all their little benchmarks. It is relatively easy to move up to a better rating once you’ve done a couple jobs.

Cons: Never write anything for free unless you KNOW it’s going to pay off. This is only a good platform if you are a very fast, thorough writer who doesn’t mind doing it for free the first couple weeks.

6. Freelancer.com


Overview: This is a cool site that is really easy to navigate. It is easy to set up and you can login from Facebook so that is good for making contacting new business even easier. It has a lot of great ways to find jobs, like by dollar amount or hourly wage, and it is also easy to find work that needs to be done today. On the other hand, it’s one of the spammiest freelance sites online.

Pros: Very easy to navigate and understand. Perfect for finding the jobs that pay what you need them to pay.

Cons: Incredibly spammy.

7. iFreelance


Overview: Although I haven’t worked for this site before, I think it is intriguing. Unlike Odesk and Elance, the website does not take a commission off of your jobs. Instead, they charge an up-front fee of between $50 and $100 dollars. That being said, the site generally gets good reviews on its communication between employers and employees, and bids on jobs are kept secret, so no one can undercut you by a buck.

Pros: Silent bids on projects, good communication and no commission on jobs.

Cons: Upfront fee can be hard for a freelancer just starting out.

8. People Per Hour

People Per Hour

Overview: Relatively easy to maneuver, this is another site that doesn’t cost up front. The great thing about this is that it will upload info from your LinkedIn profile, so it cuts down on the startup time. There are two types of jobs: Ones that have specified dollar amounts, and ones that don’t.

Pros: No cost up front, easy to complete the profile.

Cons: Pays to a credit card account only, portfolio section is only images (but can be linked to audio and visual storage on places like SoundCloud), I have no idea how many employers actually use it.

9. Donanza


Overview: From what I can tell, Donanza is a freelancing site like Michael Jackson was a Jehovah’s Witness: people tell you it’s true, but there’s so much other weird stuff going on that it doesn’t even matter. You can either sign up for the free or the paid version of this site. The free version is total crap. Basically, it is a bunch of links from individual jobs on Craigslist and Indeed.com. If you pay, you might get better jobs, but seriously. Who is even using this?

Pros: It exists.

Cons: It basically has no real businesses on the other line, it supports content-mill writing for almost no pay and it costs you money up front for any real chance at a job.

10. Workaholics4Hire


Overview: This is another site that requires an application before they’ll let you work for them. They have a number of writing positions that are always open, and they consistently need writers to complete them. Once you’ve been hired, you are basically “on-call” to complete assignments as needed. Some reviewers say that they are very demanding with your time, although you have a regular and steady job.

Pros: Regular job where you can determine your rate of pay.

Cons: Can be very time-consuming.

You Have Time for Just One More:

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9 responses to “10 Best (and Worst) Freelance Copywriting Jobs”

  1. Thanks for all of your tips. I just joined Zerys and have been able to write a small handful of articles but need more to make a living. Do you have any tips for getting added to client’s favorites lists or getting more work? I have read their advice but it wasn’t that helpful. I appreciate any advice you can offer.

    • Well, the good thing about sites like Odesk and Elance is that you can set your own wage. That being said, you do need to have a valuable skill set and a decent portfolio. I still think that places like Zerys can be an okay place to start. You get a chance to learn the ropes and get a little pay. It’s also a good way to build your portfolio.

      • I have been freelancing for about 5 months and I have done really well with Zerys. It might help that I am rated 4.75 stars (5 stars from all clients I have written for, plus my initial 4 star rating) and am on the favorite writers list of many. You have to be diligent about watching the boards. I started out writing 2 pieces for less than a penny a word, but then I was able to access pieces that paid 1.4 to 3.9 cents a word. I try to only write pieces that will pay me over $10, but if it is slow, I might take one that pays peanuts just to keep my profile active. I have tried Guru, and I don’t like the fact that they have a bidding and pay for better services system. I haven’t taken the time to bid on more than a few jobs with them, but when you have 19 people bidding for the same job who will work for next to nothing, its hard to compete.
        I have also tried elance and textbroker. Elance works on a bid system, and there are plenty of non-native English speaking writers who are willing to undercut you. Textbroker makes you write for nothing at first, then you slowly move up the ranks. Demand studios is great to work for, and I like how they understand that talent isn’t cheap. They respect writers and give us a fair shot. The application process is a bit tedious, but it is worth it. iWriter is great too and they only work with writers from the USA, Canada and the UK I believe, which cuts down on low ball offers beating out quality writers.

        This is really scattered and off the top of my head, so sorry. 🙂 I am looking for a few new clients on the job boards to today, but they have been hit and miss. Wish me luck!

        • Best of luck to you, Mellissa. I encourage you to increase your rate. Zerys might be giving you volume, but the pay is not nearly what you’re worth. Assuming that it takes you two hours to research and write a good 1000-word article, you are only making $40. And, I know Zerys. Those 3.9 cent jobs don’t come along all the time. You can be making 2X to 3X more than you are currently making, you just have to recognize the value of your own time. Thanks for the suggestion of iWriter. I’ll have to check them out!

  2. These were pretty interesting. I read them even though I’m not in the market for a freelance job. I wonder if doing writing of this sort helps move you up the list of writers? What I’ve always told my own kids, and friends and now that I’m a boss, the people I hire, is that oftentimes your first job is just there to get you in the door. That’s certainly true for lawyers (my job) and others; I don’t know if it works that way for writers, but I expect it does, to a degree: if you are a writer for a decent organization, then that probably helps open up doors for other quality organizations — either to do more freelance work for more prestigious places, if that’s your thing, or to get people to take a look at your fiction/screenplay, etc.

    But you’d know more than me. Is that how it works?

    I’m always interested to see what people make as writers, whether it be freelance articles like this or new writers in traditional publishing, so this was fun to read.

    • Thanks for reading, Briane. Seriously, though. If you can write AT ALL, you can make money doing this job. If I had known 5 years ago that I could be doing it, I would’ve quit teaching so that I could stay home with my daughter a lot earlier.

    • As far as getting good jobs from theses, it’s really hit and miss. I have had some real success with Odesk, especially finding really reliable employers who want long-term relationships.

      Where you can make good connections is working as a paid blogger where your employer will link out to your personal blog or portfolio. Then, you can get more people to your blog and show readers how versatile you can be.

      Great questions! Thanks again for reading!

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