For aspiring writers… is Craigslist always a bad idea?

writing jobs on craigslist

If you’re working on becoming a freelance writer, you’ve likely read about, or at least thought about advertising on Craigslist. Opinions vary widely on the topic, with writers on one side screaming about the poor quality of the jobs you’ll find via your advertising there, and writers on the other side graciously crediting CL with a steady stream of jobs.  I’m in the middle on this one.  While the inevitable scum of online advertising lurks just below the surface, I’m willing to say that Craigslist has, at times, been a benefit for me, especially when I was first starting out and developing a portfolio. Here’s why:

Making Contacts

Truly a global platform, Craigslist works for me simply based on the number of contacts I make… even contacts that may not offer jobs the first time around.  Through CL, I’ve met decision makers and owners of all types of businesses.  In short, anytime a freelance writer can make it onto a business owner’s contact list, it’s a good thing. I’ve been contacted for work up to a couple of years after I first made contact with clients on CL.

You Can’t Beat the Price

It’s free to advertise on CL.  Do I really need to elaborate here?  If you don’t have a budget for advertising or social networking–Craig’s your guy.  Really, there’s nothing to lose here.

What’s Out There?

Advertising will give you an idea of the type of writing jobs you can get on Craigslist.  You’ll receive emails from people wanting many different types of writing ranging from eBook editing to websites and press releases.  As a result, you’ll quickly gain an understanding  of how much AND how little some businesses looking for writers on CL are willing to pay.

Should You Accept Any Job?

Absolutely not.   In reality, there are more pathetically paying jobs on CL than good ones.  Far more.  But, If you hold your moral ground and understand that some of the jobs and rates offered by people who contact you are just plain ridiculous, you’ll be ok. To avoid spending a lot of time working up quotes, create a price list that you can attach to emails as a PDF. Then, send the people who expect you to write an article for a few bucks to the curb–every time, and never work for free.   But, understand that there are some good writing jobs on Craigslist.  I found a few of my first regular clients there, and because they pay well, they like my work, and I’m treated with professionalism and respect, I’m still working with their companies today.

Last Word

If you’re starting a writing business, it’s important to realize that Craigslist isn’t the only or best answer for launching a lucrative writing career, but rather, one of many tools for helping you take those first few steps of the journey to developing a portfolio.   Don’t work for peanuts, use its good points to your advantage, and always, let common sense prevail.

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