A Comparison of Freelance Writing Job Boards – Paid and Free

This post may contain affiliate links.

If you want to start earning as a freelance writer, you have to know where to look for jobs to pitch.

The amount (and strength) of the pitches you send is probably one of the strongest indicators of your success in this business as you get started.

Why? The content of your pitch and the number that you send is in YOUR control. The rest, not so much.

I cover both free and paid job boards in my course. But, I’ve recently tried a few new paid options, and I thought you’d benefit from knowing what I like and don’t about each. Let’s jump in, shall we?

Free Job Boards

I’m a fan of job boards.

I know not everyone is, but it’s how I got a successful start and how you can too. Honestly, I only spent the first couple of weeks looking around the interwebs at different free freelance writing job boards. Then I moved onto the paid options.

The downside to searching for work via free job boards is that it can be very time intensive. The upside is that it’s FREE!

Once you have a list of free job boards, you can easily bookmark them for reference. Then make either a mental or physical list and visit each one every day to see what’s new. Here are my three favorite free job boards:

If you’re brand spanking new or strapped for cash, free job boards are a great place to start. They might be labor intensive, but if you’re cash poor and time rich, they can work for you!

Paid Job Boards

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Contena Pro

As I mentioned, it only took me a couple of weeks to convert to a paid job board.

Because I only had so much time to work on my freelance biz while working full-time and still playing mama to two kiddos two and under. Time was and is my most precious commodity.

I would rather login to one place, see what’s new and apply for anything that fit my criteria. And in the beginning, that was anything that I was remotely qualified for or interested in. (I’m a fan of casting a wide net and staying open to unknown opportunities.)

Contena Pro is a great paid job board option. Kevin and his team round up the best of the best freelance writing jobs from around the web and post them in one place for you to sift through. No more logging in to multiple sites on the daily – you only need this one.

The best part? They actually have a free version too. So you can take it for a spin before you commit your hard earned cash. You can snag a membership for as low as $22/month (with a 6-month membership and by using horkey10, Kevin’s special code for Horkey HandBook readers).

The Pro version allows you to sort by company, category, quality and rate. Also included is Contena Alerts, which will automatically send you an email when a new job is found meeting your criteria.

And Kevin has plans for much more to come. Check out my recent interview with him to learn what’s coming up and get a peek behind-the-scenes of Contena.

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The Client Connection

In 2015 I had a lot of luck with Carrie Smith’s, Client Connection. Carrie gets a lot of inbound requests for writing work. Since she has enough in the way of paid work, she makes introductions between these clients and the members of the Client Connection program.

The cost is $120 per quarter (or $40 per month) and is going up in 2016. It’s slightly higher than Contena Pro, but it’s a much more personal introduction. Plus, the pool of applicants is much less than the traditional job boards too. Instead of competing against 100+ other applicants, it’s maybe you and a half dozen others at most.

Nearly everyone that I’ve contacted has responded back. I’ve brought on at least three really great clients (think multiple hundreds of dollars per post) and have really enjoyed the experience.

The best part? I get a weekly email with 3-5 jobs listed. I don’t have to remember to login somewhere to look at jobs – it just shows up in my inbox. Highly recommended!

The only downside that I can think of, is that there usually aren’t more than a few jobs listed per week. But since she keeps the pool of candidates low, if one is a good fit for you, odds are good that you’ll at least get an interview!

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The Freelance Writer’s Den

The last paid job board that I’ve tried is a part of The Freelance Writer’s Den. Since Carol Tice isn’t a fan of most job boards, she created a “junk free job board” as a part of the den.

The cost of the den is $25 per month, but she only opens enrollment a couple of times per year. You can cancel at any time after enrollment.

Beyond the job board, there’s also a private forum, courses and much, much more. I joined primarily for the job board. I didn’t have a ton of success, but I also didn’t check it as religiously as the other options.

I think for the price, it’s well worth giving it a shot. The caliber of the jobs listed is usually pretty high. That can be good and bad. Bad, because if you’re brand spanking new, you might not be qualified for a lot of what’s listed. Good, in that they should be vouched for.

The Freelance Writer’s Den is a great option if you’re a fan of Carol (I am) and want to continue learning. Her forum is helpful and a lot of members find community in it. Potential mastermind, maybe?

Also, the training looks excellent. I haven’t gone through any personally, but I have read a few of her books. It’s apparent that Carol and her team know their stuff!

In Conclusion

There are many different writing job boards out there. I’ve just listed the ones that I’ve had personal experience with.

If you’re cash strapped, but rich in time, then the free job boards might work well for you. My suggestion would be to check them daily and do so earlier in the day.

If you’re looking to invest a little money to save you time, there are many different paid job boards that are worth it. I’d recommend getting started with the free version of Contena and then upgrading to Contena Pro if you like what you see. It’s going to have the widest variety of gigs, has incredible search functionality and adds numerous new listings on the daily.

As I said above, consider pitching for anything you’re remotely interested in or qualified for in the beginning. Cast a wide net and see what you can catch.

And pitch early, pitch often and pitch like it’s your job! Because it is, until you have enough clients that is.

Have you tried finding writing work via job boards before? Where have you found your best client? 

Photo Credit: Robert S. Photography via Compfight cc

This post contains affiliate links. If you have a problem with that, we might not be friends. Kidding of course, but this is my due diligence disclosure notice.

7 thoughts on “A Comparison of Freelance Writing Job Boards – Paid and Free”

  1. I found this post intriguing, despite not being a freelance writer as such! Reminds me that I need to cast a wider net than just trying Elance.

    Quick question: do you see much content relevant to editors in The Freelance Writer’s Den? Either forum posts, articles, or even job postings requesting editors?

    • Good question Becca. I believe the site is geared specifically to writers, but I got to bet there’s overlap from time to time:-). Could make sense from a networking standpoint for you?

  2. I find quite a lot of my freelance clients on Freelance Writing Gigs, which takes from a range of sources, but mainly Craigslist. One or two on Problogger. I have seen a number of editing jobs on The Freelance Writers Den, as well as other freelance gig job boards, so they’re definitely out there.

    Ironically, my best clients have been from bid sites like Odesk and Elance (gasp) or came directly to me.

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