Here are some steps to finding freelance jobs. Set yourself up so that you can find potential positions in the 10 minutes you have before leaving for baseball or on your lunch break. It’ll take a few minutes to set up, but once you do it really pays off. Save time and (hopefully) make money!
Step 1. Figure out where you go most often to find jobs.
For a writer, that might be http://sfbay.craigslist.org/wrg/ (wrg = “writing gig”) and other similar Craiglist postings. It might also be your account at Guru.com (which will provide you with a list of things you’re eligible and potentially qualified for) or aboutfreelancewriting.com’s job list.
Step 2. Bookmark them all.
Either put them in a Freelance bookmark folder that you can “Open in Tabs” or, if you have a “Bookmark all tabs” button (mine creates a bookmark icon that’ll open them all without actually making a folder for them) use that. You know your browser best. Here’s what you want.
Step 3. Hunt.
Now, when you have a few free minutes, make your all your bookmarked sites open into tabbed browsing. You should be able to do this in one click.
Step 4. Collect.
To collect interesting jobs, use Google Notebook, e-mail yourself, use notepad/Wordpad (both open quickly in my experience), print them on the other side of already-used paper which you will later recycle, etc. Save this! It’d be awful to go through lists and find possibilities only to realize you hadn’t saved the file and have to do it all over again.
Step 5. Apply!
When you have time, now you’ll have a nice little list to get started on. You might even be able to get one out of the way (depending on its complexity) before your spare time is up. If you have a general proposal which just needs tweaking per job (and this proposal actually works and doesn’t feel stilted) then you’re in good shape.
(If you use some sort of program which sends you eligible jobs, file them all in the same folder or use a Google label for them. Then you can just open that folder or search that label instead of Step 3. Or as well as Step 3.)
Note: Here’s a follow-up where I put together a bunch of Craiglist writing/editing job/gig feeds.