It’s probably easier for English native-speaker-writers (such as those from Australia, Canada, UK, US) to find writing jobs as compared to those from Asia.
There are multitudes of job boards, content mills, freelancer platforms where they can apply jobs from.
I was looking at job board Problogger the other day and filtered my search for jobs located “anywhere”. To my disappointment, most of the jobs that have “anywhere” as location refer to Australia, Canada, UK, US.
I then tried filtering the location to “Asia”. Worse. No jobs!
But not all is lost. There are platforms out there which can point you to writing jobs that you are looking for.
As for me, I got into freelance writing after I created a blog on hair loss.
It got me thinking then that since I can create content, I can do this for other website owners who want to fill their websites with posts but are perhaps too busy with other commitments.
I could be that bridge between the website owners and an audience that they intend to reach.
So I trawled the Internet looking for places that I could offer my services.
Just a little note :
Trolling the internet would suggest a desultory and relatively unsystematic type of browsing and information-gathering, whereas trawling it suggests a thorough and systematic approach to locating and collecting data.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of places where you can put your writing skills to work.
But as it turned out, looking for online writing jobs is not a walk in the park for freelancers in Asia.
Most content mills, job boards are meant for writers in Australia, Canada, UK, US, or for English native-speaking writers!
But does that mean there’s no hope at all for writers from this side of the globe (Asia)?
As I said, it IS a challenge but it is NOT impossible to find.
Below are the three platforms which would be suitable for those who are just trying to get their feet wet in freelance writing.
Upwork is where anyone can start, even those with zilch experience in freelance writing or without any portfolio to speak of.
Like other freelance writing sites or content mills, you need to bid for the projects that you want to work on. All project applications require the use of “connects” (akin to tokens).
It used to be that freelancers can apply to as many projects as they want as they are given 60 connects per month to use.
Each job application or proposal submission would require between one to six connects, depending on the complexity of the projects.
Since 2019 however, Upwork has changed its policy. Now, new freelancers who just registered with Upwork must buy connects (at US$0.15 each) to apply for jobs.
Public and Private
In Upwork, your profile is set to “public” when you first register and will continue to hold this status as long as you are actively applying for gigs and getting paid for jobs you completed.
However, if you have stayed away from Upwork for a while and not clinched any paid gigs for some time, your profile would be automatically set to “private”.
Although you can still apply for projects as a freelancer with a “private” status, your profile would not appear in the search when clients look for potential freelancers to hire.
So if you want to be found in the search by clients, it’s best that you keep your profile “public”. There are two ways to do this :
- Keep on applying for projects. As long as you get paid for gigs, your profile will be public
- Go for the Freelancer Plus monthly subscription of US$14.99 to get discovered by clients, even if you have been away from Upwork for a while.
Apart from customized profile URL with the Freelancer Plus, you also get 70 connects to use in proposal submissions as well as insights on the bids sent by other freelancers for the jobs you apply. So you get a peak at what your competitors are offering for their service.
Note : No connects are needed if a client send an invitation to you for a project.
How To Stand Out In The Crowd
Depending on the projects listed, there are times when more than 30 freelancers bid for the same job.
So how do you get clients to notice you?
Firstly, submit proposals which are aligned to what you have promoted yourself in your profile.
For instance, if you have included in your profile that you are a digital marketing writer, then apply for jobs related to this niche. Don’t waste your time applying for assignment that says “content needed for health magazine”.
The second tip is to take tests relevant to your ability. As an example, you might want to take an English test that you can later add to your profile once you have passed it.
Another good practice is to set an email alert for new jobs that come up. If a job matches your ability and you act on it fast, you could be one of the first ones to apply. Chances are clients would consider your application before others arrive!
Deciding on which projects to apply for can sometimes be overwhelming. To further narrow down the search for projects which I truly want to work on, I would also consider:
- Payment type – is it fixed or not? If payment is fixed, then there’s no room for negotiation and usually assignments with such payment are short-term with low to mid level of difficulty. (Such payments are also usually low)
- Is client payment verified? Verification just provides peace of mind that you are most likely to get paid once the work is done.
This is probably repetition but I would not go for projects which already have more than 20 bids even if it matches my skills. Exception is of course when I feel I can really contribute effectively to the project or that I have worked with the client who had given me high rating before.
To shorten the time taken looking for relevant projects, you can always filter your search, say by keyword, geographical area, payment offered.
If building your portfolio is what you are after, then you can look for writing jobs that suit you in Upwork.
It allows you to hone your writing skills and provides the opportunity to get paid while doing it.
There are also other freelance jobs such as graphic designing, web research and virtual assistants. Bidding for jobs other than writing would not only allow you to build, but also expand your portfolio in other areas.
Being in Upwork essentially means that you can focus your attention on two important issues as a freelancer :
- Bidding for jobs
- Working and completing the project(s)
Other issues related to your pursuit as a freelancer such as tracking your jobs/clients and payment are taken care of by Upwork.
Having the convenience of getting a list of jobs that you can apply for, tracking your clients/work and payment comes with a price.
Upwork takes between 10 to 20 percent of what you earn. That looks like a rip off especially if the project pays low. It does get better if you hit total payment of US$500 as the Upwork fee is reduced.
Like other content mills, there will always be shoddy clients with high expectations but with low budget to offer.
I would stay away from those which offer less than US$30 for 1,000-word article. (You should be asking $40-50 per 1000-word article, if you are new. To be fair, you must also provide sensible, well-researched, grammatically-sound articles)
Freelancer works pretty much like Upwork where you need to bid for jobs matching your skills.
There are more writers from countries like India, Pakistan vying for jobs in this platform.
Typically, any job posted would get more than 30 bids. It is common to find the same writers bidding for multiple projects simultaneously. And it makes you wonder how they complete these projects on their own!
I feel that if you are a complete beginner, Freelancer is probably NOT the place you want to be looking for your first gig.
Nupathe is under the umbrella of Writers’ Academy, a “writers for hire” platform.
I tested it a few years back and it delivers on its promise of paying A$40 for an article.
Full articles are to be submitted and they must be in the health niche. The good thing is you can submit articles on any topic as long as it is in this niche.
Before you submit an article, have a look around on submissions by other writers. This is also to ensure that you don’t cover similar topics, or even if you do, you can steer clear of issues discussed in those same articles.
You get paid $40 for an article which is recommended to be at least 800 words long, certainly a better deal than some offered by Upwork/Freelancer clients at $3.00-$4.00 per 1000-word article!
What’s more, you get to pick your own topic as long as it is health-related.
Payment is made as soon as you make revisions as recommended by the editorial team (following their guidelines).
I thought a snag in writing for Nupathe is that you MUST sign up hosting with GoDaddy as you are encouraged to create your own website.
This website is to serve as your writing portfolio.
The price for a one-year GoDaddy hosting is US$13 using the discount code Nupathe provided.
But it is not the price that bothers me. Rather the hosting comes with a http and not the secure https url.
If you think Nupathe is the platform you can go to for regular health-related gigs, you are mistaken. Subsequent jobs hardly exist although Nupathe claims that writers who regularly update their individual blogs receive higher rating and are therefore “more visible” to Nupathe’s clients.
Honestly, I don’t see Nupathe as a place to generate income but more of a platform for you to start writing, get paid for it and add on to your portfolio.
How To Get Paid For Writing in Singapore
I included this bit for aspiring women freelance writers in Singapore.
The magazine, Singapore’s Women’s Weekly, has a segment called “Share a Secret”.
It section features only one article a month that covers topics ranging from strange habits, extra marital relationships to rare health issues.
Expected length of article is not long – about 800 words and for that length, you have the potential to bank in $100.
I was thinking if there are similar opportunities in local magazines (in your area), that’s great opportunity for you to hone your writing skills and expand your portfolio. With that rate, you can try come up with five articles per month and that’s $500 of extra income!
Being a freelance writer means continuously searching or pitching for jobs. As you progress, you choose whom you want to write for and what you want to write on. Till then, you got to be tireless in looking for reliable clients whom you can comfortably (and profitably) work with.