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5 Steps to Find Freelance Work in Your Free Time

Since I’m trying to make Micah’s old laptop usable by installing Ubuntu Linux (and running into some roadblocks), here’s a rewrite of a post from last November.

For those who aren’t full-time freelancers but are trying to supplement another job or work at home while caring for children, finding freelance work can feel daunting. But if you prepare yourself, you can use a few minutes here and there to find jobs/gigs, then use the larger blocks to respond.

Here are the five steps to set yourself up for getting more freelance work in your free time. The first two are preparation and the next three can be done during any free time.

Step 1. Figure out where you’ve been going to find jobs or gigs.

If you’ve already been working, you probably have some idea of where the best job postings are and where you’ve had the most success. Craigslist? eLance? Guru? Forum?

If you’re still getting a feel for things, this step could take a bit longer. Explore the possibilities for your field.

Step 2. Bookmark them all.

Use something to bookmark all these sites. If you switch computers a lot, you might want to use Otherwise, I suggest creating a Freelance bookmark folder in your browser. This way you can open any site you want or open them all in tabs (at least if your browser is cool enough to do that).

Now you’re set up, but these two steps are also a continual process. As you discover new sites, add them to your folder. As you realize some sites really aren’t that useful, remove them.

Step 3. Hunt.

Got a few free minutes? Open all your bookmarked sites (or your few favorites). Browse.

Step 4. Collect.

There are a million ways to collect and store information. For quick access, use Google Notebook, e-mail them to yourself, use notepad or Wordpad (which open much faster than Word/Open Office Writer). Include a direct link. Consider including an estimate of how much time it would take you to write a proposal for each project. Save it!

I recommend against bookmarking potential jobs unless you’re very good at purging them. I tried it and it was just too much of a headache to keep track of them.

Step 5. Apply!

Now you’ve got a little more free time and you’ve already got a list. You may even have time estimates so you can select which posting(s) you can do right now.

Happy hunting!

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Connie Brooks September 16, 2008 at 12:51 pm

The best place to find freelance writing jobs is via

Den and Jodee check the job listings thoroughly, and at least 95% of them end up being legitimate.

If it hadn’t been for this site, I would not be working form home right now.

Hope you don’t mind the link Mrs. Micah, it really is the best place for people looking to write from home to go.

mrsmicah September 16, 2008 at 12:53 pm

I’ve used that site as well. I found it quite helpful.

Christine September 16, 2008 at 1:28 pm

As an addendum to your point #2, if you use multiple computers and firefox, the Foxmarks Bookmark Synchronizer is an invaluable help:

Squawkfox September 16, 2008 at 3:03 pm

I attend local networking events like the local chamber of commerce meet ups. I also joined Toastmasters, which is an awesome way to both work on public speaking skills and to find work. I once wrote a 3 minute speech on why a small business should hire me. 🙂

Fellow toastmasters passed on my contact and I’m still working from those leads. Awesome.

Rick Vaughn September 16, 2008 at 9:55 pm

I will try some off these other sites that you have offered. Honestly, though craigslist has been a joke in terms of finding gigs. There is my 2 cents.

Thursday Bram September 19, 2008 at 9:27 am

Rather than just setting up bookmarks for sites where I get gigs, I’ve added all of their RSS feeds to a folder of Google Reader. Whenever I have a spare moment, I read through the jobs that are in that folder and respond to likely opportunities.

InvestmentPlayground September 22, 2008 at 11:24 pm

I’ve had a lot of luck with eLance.

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