Diana Kelly Levey

How to Find High-Paying Freelance Clients That Pay Well

Two businesswomen chatting

May 1, 2024

Want to make more money freelancing this year? Of course you do!

Here are some freelance writing tips to help you achieve that goal of earning six-figure income as a freelance writer.

But if you’re looking to find freelance clients that pay well and will help you earn $100 an hour or more freelance writing, this guide  to finding high-paying freelance clients can help.

One of the most important things to learn how to do as a freelancer is to find high-paying clients and walk away from those lower-rate freelance assignments and clients that don’t serve you. (You should also try to avoid one-off assignments from freelance clients.)

You need to find clients that align with your freelance goals—especially if that goal is to become a six-figure freelancer this year. (Wait, how much do magazine writers make in the first place?)

Sometimes I’ve taken on lower-paying assignments when business was slow, but then I found that if I wasn’t passionate about the topic, or if it took me a few hours to work on the freelance assignment, I would feel annoyed about how much money I was “losing” because the rate wasn’t great and I didn’t have time to find better-paying clients.

Ideally, I try to earn at least $100 an hour freelance writing. Don’t fall into that trap of taking on assignments that don’t pay well if you don’t have to and avoid making the same money mistakes I did as a freelancer.

Here’s how to earn more money as a freelancer and get high-paying freelance clients that are willing to pay what you’re worth.

How to Find High-Paying Freelance Clients

Follow these freelance tips to find freelance writing clients that will pay you more money for freelance writing jobs.

1. Work your network.

Referrals from employees at previous full-time jobs probably account for about 70 percent of my business. But Diana, I don’t know anyone in publishing! I heard that whine.

Do you know anyone in any business? I’m willing to bet you know people whose company has a blog, newsletter, email newsletter, or website with content and editorial needs. Let those people know you’re a talented freelancer and can help with their editorial needs.

Relationships are so important in freelancing and you need to maintain them in order to be a successful freelancer. It’s one of the best tips when you’re looking to find freelance clients that pay you a lot of money for assignments. Keep up relationships! (This post ‘What Skills Do You Need to Become a Six-Figure Freelancer?’ can help.)

2. Practice your ABGs.

No, that’s not a typo. I borrowed it from podcaster Jordan Harbinger. Instead of the sales tool “Always Be Closing,” ABG represents “Always Be Giving” or “Always Be Generous.” That means you should look for opportunities to give to your network, whether that’s referrals or free content to newsletter subscribers. (Remember to sign up for my e-newsletter and get a FREE Freelance PDF resource)

If a client comes to me and I don’t have the bandwidth to take on a new project or assignment, I try to refer them to another freelancer who can help. If the assignment is lower-paying freelance work than I would like to receive and they can’t budge on the freelance rate, I’ll see if a freelance friend might be interested in taking that on for the client so they can earn money and the client is happy. (Turn to these article pitch examples to snag clients in the first place.)

When you approach freelancing with an attitude of “always be giving” and sharing you’re knowledge, I believe you’ll create good karma when you’re wondering how to find freelance clients that pay you a great rate.

3. Update your LinkedIn profile.

Make sure you’re using a high-quality photo that shows your face (I suggest avoiding selfies—especially car selfies), write a solid “summary” that includes words people will use to find you, write a strong profile headline, and look at your competition for the phrases and terms they use.

Make sure your LinkedIn profile tells potential clients what you can do for them. (Helping freelancers with their LinkedIn profile is something I do for freelance coaching clients. Check out my freelance coaching services and get in touch if you’re interested in booking a session.)

Check out the “People also viewed” section on LinkedIn and see if they are using keywords that should be on your profile.  Remember to include your email address so clients have a way of getting in touch with you.

Feel free to follow me on LinkedIn  and subscribe to my newsletter there to get more tips.  Here are 12 industry newsletters I recommend freelancers read.

4. Launch your website.

If you build it, they will come. Even better than a bunch of ghosts to your baseball field…your clients will find you. (Sorry if that ‘Field of Dreams’ reference went over your head.) Let your potential clients see what you’re offering and stop wondering why you’re an Internet ghost.

Launch a barebones freelance writer website with a freelance writer portfolio that has some of the work you’re proud of on it, your “About” page, and what freelance services you can provide for clients, as well as a way to contact you. Here’s how to start freelancing with no experience.

I also suggest your social feeds are linked from your website as well. When freelancers ask me about launching their freelance writer website, I suggest they look at Wordpress, Wix, and SquareSpace when they’re starting out. (Learn how to build a freelance writer’s website in my Freelance writing weekend e-course.)

5. Write an interesting “About Me” page.

You want to come across as professional and brag a bit about your accomplishments but also show your voice and style as well. In my “About” page, I take you on a journey of my first published writing—on the walls of my childhood home.

Convince someone that they want to hire you and work with you. You’re fun! You’re talented! You do things besides typing on your laptop! (Check out these 5 tips to make more money freelance writing this year.)

6. Look for clients on social media.

Scan the brands and people you’re following and already reading. Dig around to determine who might run the content on their website or blog. Pitch that person and mention a great post you saw them share on social media. Full circle action here! (Here’s how freelancers should use social media to make money.)

Once you find clients you want to reach out to on social media, make sure you’re sending them great article pitches. Here are examples of freelance pitches that worked.

7. Get semi-professional or professional photos taken.

You need a clear, high-res, well-lit photo that you can share on LinkedIn, your website, and any other profile you create online. Many websites now want each contributor to have their page on the site with a photo, a description about you, and your social feeds. It’s a great opportunity to use their audience and grow your network. This is also important to do when creating a freelance brand.

Ask a friend with a nice digital camera, or, use a high-quality smartphone camera, and make sure you have good lighting. I recommend getting a couple of shots with different looks if you have time. If you’re a fitness writer or yoga pro, you might want your photo to reflect that. If you’re a fashion blogger, get some photos that reflect that.

Do I think you should get freelance writing jobs based on your looks? No. But when an editor asks for a photo and bio to include, it’s helpful to have some recent photos at your fingertips that you’re happy with. (Here’s an example of a bio page on my Health magazine client.)

If you like these tips, I take a deeper dive into how to execute each of these and more to grow your business as a freelance writer in my e-course “How to Earn $100 an Hour Freelance Writing” on Teachable.

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Work With Me

Diana can help with:

  • Writing content
  • Content marketing writing
  • Content strategy
  • Editing
  • Reporting
  • Magazine writing and editing
  • Website writing
  • e-Course copy and online learning writing
  • SEO writing and strategy
  • Branded content writing and editing
  • Thought leadership content
  • Copywriting
  • Whitepapers
  • SEO writing
  • Launching editorial websites
  • Audience development
  • Blogging
  • Ghostwriting
  • Social media strategy
  • Development of voice and tone
  • Book projects

Email Diana about opportunities: Diana(at)DianaKelly.com.