Where To Find Writing Clients (The Best and Worst) Pt. 2

Interviews with the pros.

This is our second article dedicated to interviewing location independent writers on the best and worst places to look for jobs and clients. For more, please see part 1.

At Nomad Playground we collect reviews of  job marketplaces, content mills, and more, but we wanted to go deeper. To help sort through the noise, we sat down with content writers, journalists, entrepreneurs, and bloggers to ask them about where they find remote work. These are their answers.


Profession: Freelance Journalist
Originally from: Brisbane, Australia
Currently in: Medellín, Colombia
Obsessed with: Meeting cool people and telling their stories.

Tell us about yourself. How did you get involved in online work?

I had a job in Australia that came to an end. I decided that instead of buying a house I would travel, and when you travel, you don’t have an office, so I had to go online. The technology was just coming along to facilitate it. I could pitch editors from my smartphone.

I have a degree in journalism and molecular bioscience, so I always had a focus on science journalism, and when I left for overseas I already had a lot of experience. The challenge was gaining a presence in a new region and acquiring a second language. I found conferences really helpful for finding people to to collaborate with.

What valid options are out there in your field?

The landscape has been changing for a long time. More and more journalists need side hustles. There are many online platforms, but most of them seem like a race to the bottom. I might write a free piece for the Atlantic for my portfolio, sure, but for Upwork? No.

Cold pitching is my go to, and I use a couple of tools to help with that. If you subscribe as a journalist to Muckrack, you get access to their database of other journalists and editors.. From there, find the right editor for you and pitch the editor.

After Muckrack, I go on Whopayswriters, a database of rates at different publications. They have information on over 1000 publications. I’ll see who pays a decent rate (for example, $1 a word), find an editor that’s right for me, and pitch them. Muckrack and Whopayswriters in combination works really well. I can find the right editor for me, and the right pay rate.

One of the hardest things for new writers is finding the email of the person who would be the best one to take the story. There are lots of tools out there that will help you find work that aren’t necessarily marketplaces. Sites that help you find editors, for instance. This is where I go to look for work.

What is a 5 star job portal – if there is one – and why?

Whopayswriters is super useful. Finding out what different publications charge is incredibly valuable, and arms you with the knowledge to navigate.

I don’t use Contently or any of those other marketplaces, but that doesn’t mean that someone hasn’t created a marketplace that isn’t a race to the bottom.

What is a 1 star job portal, and why?

Anything that is just a content farm. When you are competing with outsourced writers and quality isn’t a differentiator, then that’s not the place I want to be.

What professional tool(s) could you not live without?

Journo Portfolio – they don’t pay me any money but I’m always raving about them. If WordPress was optimized just for journalists, it would look like this. You can post your first 10 articles for free. It’s a great way to showcase your work.

If you could say one thing to newbies, or to your younger self, what would it be?

Don’t be afraid to pitch big publications if you have a really good story.

Your reputation is the only thing that sets you apart. If you are known for good work and delivering on what you say then you will get more work. I’ve seen people over-promise, it doesn’t work out. Be consistent.

Anything else to add? How’s the remote lifestyle working for you, overall?

I think that remote is the future of foreign correspondence work. Networks need people on the ground who live there. If you can find an interesting place that you like to live and speak the language, you can be of immense value to publications outside the region.

The role of conferences is really important. That’s how I first got involved in this business. I went to the world conference of science journalists, met an editor, and was later published in my first real magazine.

How do we reach you?
You can find me on Twitter as @ligaze, and of course you can always visit my Journo Portfolio.



Profession: Writer. I co-own a content and digital marketing  agency called Hubbub Labs with my co-founder Dan Shepherd. We do content marketing for startups – blog posts, E-books, newsletter campaigns and content strategies.  

I’m the creative director and my partner, Dan Shepherd, is the director of operations. He takes care of the tea-making, writing, organization, client communication, and outreach. But really we both do a little of everything.
Originally from: Woking, UK
Currently in: Barcelona, Spain. I’ve also lived in South Korea and Colombia.
Obsessed with: I was obsessed with the series Suits. I love Louis Litt, I think he’s hilarious.

Tell us about yourself. How did you get involved in online work?

I first started working online around 2006 while I was at uni.  A friend and I started a copywriting partnership – mostly working on Elance (now Upwork), and it was horrible. Even then it was almost impossible to get well-paid work.

Eventually, thanks to a lack of funds, we decided to stop and I went to South Korea to become an English teacher.

Later, when I arrived in Spain in 2008, I began writing a lot more. I started a TEFL blog, which led me to working for a major publisher and I also co-founded a linguistic services cooperative (www.slb.coop) in Barcelona with some colleagues.

Then, in 2015, I went to Colombia and worked for a PR firm based in Medellín. Essentially I was location independent, working with companies from all over the world.

What valid options are out there in your field for finding remote work?

The biggest thing in my corner right now is having a business partner. We are able to combine our powers and complement each other’s skill sets.

We have a three pronged approach to finding clients:

  1. Social media groups
  2. Networking and conferences
  3. Our own inbound content – interviews, and reaching out across our own social media.
On social media
We spend a lot of time working in active Facebook groups without spam. Specifically, Millennial Entrepreneur Community, Digital Nomad Accelerator, and The New (Screw The 9 to 5 Community).

The trick is not to spam and just post your services – that gets you banned and helps no one. But, if you’re active and add value in these groups, other people will come to know your services and even recommend you. And then, if do a good job for a client in one of these groups, you will absolutely get recommendations and testimonials.

While social is a good starting point, we’ve found that you should take leads off the platforms as soon as possible and create real connections – be it in a video call or a cafe. If you can physically meet the people you connect with online – which of course isn’t always possible as a nomad – it’s a lot more powerful.

On networking

When it comes to networking, Dan and I go to events and meet potential clients. We do a lot of pitches and talks to build our brand, and sometimes we sponsor events. Ultimately, we find connections and clients in person, who we later work for remotely.

On inbound marketing

We also reach out to local entrepreneurs and conduct interviews with them for our blog. It’s a nice way to connect, find common interests, get content shared, etc. It’s not really a way of trying to get them as clients, it’s more about boosting our presence in the local entrepreneurial community.

The key for us is this: Give back to your community and provide value to other professionals in your industry. It’s not about being cynical, if you freely give, and things come back in unexpected ways. It’s also a good way to generate awareness about who you are and what you’re doing.

What is a 5 star job portal – if there is one – and why?

To be honest, I don’t have an answer at the moment. We don’t use these kinds of sites. The closest thing in my experience is LinkedIn, and I wouldn’t say it’s 5 star.

What is a 1 star job portal, and why?

Upwork. You’re competing on an uneven playing field with people with lower overheads and costs of living. It’s not their fault of course – where they’re from it might be a fair price, but as someone living where I am it’s very difficult. You end up wasting a lot of time and a lot of energy for very little pay.

Upwork basically  scared me off from using any other online platform. Now when people suggest sites to me I say “no thanks.” It killed my first business.

What professional tool(s) could you not live without?

Trello (for project management). This is the most useful thing for me. We create different boards for clients, and can invite the clients in to see the progress. We can send things to them for review.

I was using Asana before, but Trello had the edge for me. Easier on the eye, and seems more collaborative.

If you could say one thing to newbies, or to your younger self, what would it be?

The most important thing is to be persistent. It’s cliche, but keep believing in your abilities, keep working on them. Seek out feedback. Try your talent in as many different areas as you can, and find your niche.

If you’re a writer there are so many different areas. You shouldn’t just stick to one, you might find out that you are good at another. Don’t get downhearted when you get dejected. You just gotta keep going.

You have to be careful. Working online can be risky. If they’re in another country and decide not to pay you… Try to work with reputable companies to avoid getting burned.

Anything else to add? How’s the remote lifestyle working for you, overall?

I’m based in Barcelona, but only because I choose to be. I can go anywhere. When I want to visit family in the UK I do that and work from home just fine.

I work at OneCoWork and it’s wonderful. I highly recommend finding a good coworking space when living this lifestyle. The building is surrounding by water and yachts. It’s a great place to write. When you see a yacht drifting by sometimes I ask myself “how many blog posts do I have to write in order to by one of those…”

How do we reach you?

www.twitter.com/designerlessons and/or  www.twitter.com/hubbublabs



Profession: Freelance writer, freelance content creator, media manager
Originally from: Puerto Rico
Currently in: Miami
Obsessed with: FOOD

Tell us about yourself. How did you get involved in online work?

I studied media and communications after a couple of changes in my studies. I graduated into the economy crash so I had to be nimble. I worked in public relations for a bit, and that was around the time Twitter and Facebook were expanding into the business sector: I helped launch both those accounts for my employer, an internationally known entertainment/lifestyle venue, and help build their presence there. Then I took an entry level freelance part-time at an alternative weekly newspaper as a nightlife listings editor. Digital media  was growing, so I dove into writing for the paper’s evolving online presence. Everything I have done has grown from that experience.

I kept on getting different gigs for newspapers as they went digital. Blogs were being launched, social media was coming into prominence. I got all of that experience hands on. It’s the road I’ve been on ever since.

What valid options are out there in your field?

There’s a plethora of opportunities. Everybody needs something written at some point, and a lot of people don’t like doing it, or don’t think they’re very good at it. There are a ton of opportunities, you just have to think outside the box sometimes.

I have a Google doc with all the recent clients I’ve worked for, and include the link to it everywhere: In my signature, on my social media, etc.It’s a document that outlines what I’m currently doing and I need in order to complete those tasks. I have my portfolio website as well, but I also include this on my LinkedIn, Instagram, everything. Make sure you are ready to be presented no matter where someone finds you.

Word of mouth  and relationships are  your best friend in building your business as a freelancer or remote professional but building those checkmarks  can be difficult in a digital world, especially a remote world.

If you don’t know where to look, I would say leverage your social media options. I think social media is incredibly useful if you approach it as a business tool, especially if you do any kind of visual work. Facebook groups are huge, but they can be overwhelming to keep up with.

Job boards – if you are a freelance journalist or graphic designer and want to work in a more traditional space, these are the way to go. Job boards and marketplaces can be great tools, but everybody is looking at the same few resources. Personally I have used Media Bistro, Ed2010, LinkedIn, and Indeed. Travel Massive started listing jobs but I haven’t used that as much.

Networking is still really important. It can be tricky with digital freelancers, but having conversations with people wherever you are, opportunities will crop up. You might run into somebody who has been somewhere that needs your skills. 80% of my work, maybe more, comes directly from reference. There is no geographical sense to it – these clients are around the world – but they’ve all found a way to connect to me specifically.

What is a 5 star job portal – if there is one – and why?

I haven’t found one that really combines the worlds that I’m in just yet.  

What is a 1 star job portal, and why?

Craigslist. Don’t even bother. 

What professional tool(s) could you not live without?

Google Docs. I do everything with Docs and Drive. I really wish people would embrace it more.

If you could say one thing to newbies, or to your younger self, what would it be?

Be patient. I think that the scariest thing about freelancing is that it isn’t consistent. Try to think outside of the box as much as possible. Always remember that when you’re dealing with clients to not take things personally, they are running a business. Think of yourself as a business as well, one with a personal touch. Don’t be afraid to say no, or be afraid of personal growth.

Anything else to add? How’s the remote lifestyle working for you, overall?

I love it. I could never go back to a 9-5 office life. But it takes a tremendous amount of discipline: can I be everything I need, at any moment, on any day?

How do we reach you?

My emai is lianalozada@gmail.com, and all my social handles are my first and last name.


Want to see more reviews of online writing opportunities? Are you a writer or editor, and have a review of your own to add?  Click here, or visit Writing/ Editing under Find Work,

Was this article helpful? Tell us in the comments below!


1 comment

  1. These are great tips! Thanks for pointing out some good sites to explore, and introducing me to people doing what I do. It’s cool to see where other digital nomads are living and what they are doing to get work. It’s not as easy as it looks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *