Freelance Networking Sites, ¬†Freelance Marketplaces, Content Mills – Whatever you choose to call these websites, there’s much dispute about their effectiveness at helping you grow a writing business.

But before we look at that – what exactly are they?

Networking sites like Upwork or People Per Hour allow you to create a profile, upload samples / a portfolio, and encourage you to bid for jobs posted by prospects. Prospects include businesses looking for content writers, publications needing articles and even individuals who simply desire to offload some writing work.

Here’s the problem. There are thousands of competitiors using these sites, which puts you at risk of getting lost in the crowd. Furthermore, there’s the potential for prospects to simply choose the lowest bidder, which means you’ll be undercut by someone who’s happy to work for $5 an hour.

But now for the good news. These sites do attract some winning clients. I know this first hand. You just need to find them and pitch effectively.

If you have zero writing experience, freelance networking sites allow you to create and fill a basic portfolio. They’ll give you your first handful of testimonials and allow you to practise writing for an extensive range of niches. There’s another massive bonus we haven’t yet covered. These sites (depending which one you use) will often pay you even if your client disappears. That’s right! If your client forgets about you or changes their mind at the last minute, you’ll receive a payment guarantee upon submission. If you’re new to the world of freelancing, and have no experience in chasing invoices, a freelance networking site is ideal.

My advice? Be smart about who you work with and never sell yourself for less than you’re worth. Also, don’t solely rely on freelance networking sites as income forever, but instead, use them strategically and to your advantage. They’re brilliant for getting you going, and ideal if you’re not yet sure what type of writer you want to be. They also help you to craft your pitching skills. Once you find a winning client, you can (subtly) steer them away from the site. Only do this if you’re happy with the client and can envision a long term relationship with them.

So, how do you spot a profitable client on these highly saturated sites? Simple. Sign up for your 2 week Learn Freelance Writing trial and get the low-down on bagging the very best clients with little-to-no effort using this method.