How to be a freelance writer
Freelance Writing

Roadmap to Freelance Writing

(Last Updated On: November 14, 2020)

Have you ever dreamed of being your own boss? Waking up without an alarm clock? Or, traveling the world with a carry-on and laptop writing about your travels? If so, then you have come to the right place to learn how to get into freelance writing.

Whether you are looking to go full-time and ditch your 9-5 or seeking a part-time side hustle, there is enough work out there for you. It’s just knowing where to find it.

I will provide step-by-step useful guidelines on how to go from zero writing gigs to landing your first paid piece. Because I have been in your shoes. I started freelance writing part-time about a year and a half ago, and when I look back I am so happy at where I have come and what is to come in the future. I want to share with you everything I have learned so far to help you make your freelance writing dreams come true as well.

Where to Begin?

When you start to seek out freelance writing opportunities and places to pitch article ideas to you will find that most publications will ask to see writing samples. This is usually the road block that stops aspiring freelance writers in their tracks.

There are ultimately two ways in which you can start to build up a writing portfolio.

The first is to start a blog and the second is to guest post on other blogs.

Now, keep in mind that starting a blog doesn’t mean you have to spend money. In fact you can start a blog for free with WordPress. That is exactly what I did before I decided to convert my blog to a paid yearly subscription with siteground.

Now you might be wondering what the difference is between a free blog and a paid blog. Basically when you use the free version of WordPress you are limited in features such as being able to advertise on the site.

But honestly, when you are starting out, the most important thing is generating your content. There is no problem with thinking about monetization from the beginning, but just know it is harder to make money early on when you are building traffic.

But the plus side to monetizing your blog through ads in the beginning, while you may not generate thousands of dollars is that you learn how to manage ads and as your blog grows so will your revenue.

Freelance writing

Finding Blogs That Allow Guest Posts

There are a few different ways to find guest post opportunities. The first option is to start doing some of your own detective work and looking at blog niches that you have an interest in writing about. Even if a blog doesn’t state that they accept guest posts, its worth a shot to send an email inquiry.

Here is a list of over 3,000 blogs that are currently accepting guest posts:

Start guest posting on one of these 3,000 blogs!

By guest posting you will expand your reach and start to build up a writing portfolio that will give you legitimacy when start to pitch to publications for paid writing opportunities.

Here is a example of a guest posts I have done:

The Legal Side To Blogging Everyone Should Know – Guest Post on Smart Pennies

Where to Find Paid Writing Opportunities

So, you’ve successfully started your own blog or managed to get some articles published on other blogging publications. Congratulations! You have built up a writing portfolio and can start to pitch ideas to publications and apply to freelance writing opportunities.

But where in the world should you start looking for opportunities? Here are the places I have personally sought out to pitch articles and ones that I have also have had success with, as in gotten paid for!

  • – Arrivedo is an online travel publication that accepts new freelance writers. Arrivedo offers plenty of online webinars and online trainings surrounding SEO, formatting, and how to pitch your freelance writing services. I have written a total of seven articles for Arrivedo since I started working with them.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about what my experience has been like working with Arrivedo. Arrivedo is a great place to build up a travel writing portfolio, which is an area I am really passionate about.

To give you an idea of what articles look like, here are some that I have written for Arrivedo so far:

The Maven Hotel – Denver, Colorado

Hotel G – San Francisco

The Marker Hotel – San Francisco

The Standard Hotel – Los Angeles

Riverhouse on the Deschutes – Bend, Oregon

Eat Where Bravo’s Top Chef Alumni Eat in NYC

Embrace the new No/Low Trend in Copenhagen

What Does Arrivedo Pay?

Arrivedo changes its writing payments monthly as it offers its writers incentives to land articles with hotels. So how it works is that they give you the tools and platform to provide the hotel with a hand crafted, unique collection of 8-10 articles that compose a “Neighborhood Guide”.

An example of a payment with arrivedo may go something like this:

For writers that bring in (x amount) of hotels this month with get (x amount) of dollars paid directly through paypal. I have received payments of $70, $30, and even $100.

The premise behind a Neighborhood Guide is that trends show that travelers are seeking unique experiences while they travel. With the competition of Airbnb, Arrivedo is the answer for hotels to get a leg up in adding to the guest experience.

When you pitch a hotel to have a Neighborhood Guide you can offer to create the guide for a set one time fee. Most writers ask for $100 USD or $200 USD or for complimentary or discounted stays in exchange for writing.

In my personal experience, hotels are more open to offering a comped hotel stay over monetary payment.

Intrepid Travel – A travel website dedicating to group and solo travel to places all over the world. Currently accepting pitches from freelancers to write on a variety of topics related to destinations they travels to.

The Los Angeles Times – Can you imagine getting published in a newspaper with such a great reputation as the LA Times? It is possible. They are currently accepting freelance travel submissions. One of the most popular freelance writing pieces they look for is weekend getaways. They will not accept articles in which a writer has been provided free accommodations or meals. They want unbiased and raw travel pieces.

For a list of more freelance writing opportunities check out my post on the 25 Places To Find Freelance Writing Jobs.

Let the Opportunities Come to You

Subscribe to newsletters that showcase the latest freelance writing opportunities so that you don’t miss out on a possible gig.

I personally subscribe to the Morning Coffee Newsletter and every Tuesday morning my inbox is filled with a list of freelance writing opportunities to apply to.

In fact, it was with that very newsletter that I applied for a freelance piece on home decor and was paid $70 for 1000 words.

Connect on Social Media & LinkedIn

Leverage social media and LinkedIn as ways to connect with fellow writers, editors and publications that you hope to work with. One of my favorite freelance writer’s Lindy Alexander of the blog, The Freelancer’s Year provides a free three step resource via download about the power of connecting on LinkedIn.

It’s a Numbers Game

The more inquires you put out there the more possibilities lie ahead. Do not be discouraged if you send out a pitch and hear crickets. This is actually quite a common occurrence in the freelance writer’s world.

Just think, if you don’t try at all, of course nothing will happen. But if you strategically pitch various publications on a regular basis I can guarantee that you will land a paid opportunity.


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