How I Landed My First Paying Job Using a Facebook Group

By Shannon Whyte

Are you new to freelance writing and struggling to land that first paying job?

You’re not alone.

Despite the numerous articles touting how to quickly go from newbie to in demand freelance writer, this isn’t everyone’s experience.

When I first started freelance writing, I was a complete novice.

I had no experience, no samples, no connections, and no website.

But with a willingness to learn, grit, and patience, you can succeed even if success doesn’t come as quickly as you like.

Initial Steps That Set Me Up For Later Success

I wasn’t sure how to get started as a freelance writer and didn’t have anyone to ask. After spending too long scouring the internet for tips and advice, which often contradicted itself, I realized I needed a better, more efficient way.

1. I found a quality freelance writing course.

As a newcomer, I knew I needed to build my knowledge and skills as well as build a support network that I could turn to when questions arose. So I researched freelance writing courses that could help me with both of these areas.

One of the courses that worked for me was Writing Launch co-run by Ian Chandler and Jacob Jans. This program helps new freelance writers build a successful career from scratch. This course particularly helped me hone my pitch writing, researching skills, and confidence. It also has a private Facebook group where members can ask questions, share information, and help each other.

2. I made a specific plan to create three published work samples.

With at least three published work samples, you have a better chance of landing writing jobs from job boards and pitches. I was feeling the ticking of time and needed to start making money.

I planned to first pitch to websites that paid for guest posts and then pitch to sites that didn’t pay. Since I was early in my career, I wanted websites with editors who would review my articles so I could get feedback on my writing skills. To build a portfolio faster, you can submit articles to sites like Medium where you don’t have to pitch an article or have it reviewed by an editor.

3. I made a spreadsheet of websites accepting guest posts for easy reference.

To find potential websites that were a good fit for me, I did the following:

  • Searched Google by putting in my niche plus variations on the phrase “write for us.” For example, I might type in: parenting + “write for us.” (Editor’s note: We do this type of research for hours on end, every week, as part of the Freedom With Writing newsletter.)
  • Read ebooks such as The Paid Publishing Guidebook edited by Jacob Jans of Freedom with Writing, which I highly recommend and refer to frequently. This resource is chock full of a variety of websites, magazines, and blogs that pay writers.
  • Made a spreadsheet of guest post sites I was interested in to make it easier to find opportunities in the future.

The Extra Step That Landed Me My First Paying Job: Private Facebook Group for Freelance Writers

Because I was pursuing opportunities that involved an editing process, getting published samples was taking longer than I had hoped.

I was starting to lose confidence and decided to pop on a private Facebook group for freelance writers for inspiration.

What I ended up finding was my first paid guest post.

A fellow member posted an article they’d just published on a website that paid contributors. Despite the website being related to terms I’d searched on in Google, it had never shown up in my searches!

After congratulating the person on their success and thanking them for sharing the website’s information, I quickly set about developing a plan to submit an article to the site myself.

1. I thoroughly reviewed the submission guidelines of the website.

This step is critical. Websites (and job board listings) receive a massive number of pitches. Tossing out applications that don’t follow their rules is an easy way for a site to pare down the number of submissions to a more manageable number.

2. I read several articles on the website to understand the topics that their readers liked.

To get published, you need an original idea that addresses a problem or topic of interest to the website’s readers. While some websites will give examples of topics they’re seeking, not all do. Familiarizing yourself with the website and what information has already been covered is key to getting your article accepted.

3. I brainstormed several ideas.

As I was brainstorming, I hit on a topic that I knew was the one. It also turned out it didn’t quite fit the audience. However, my research revealed that this site also had another successful website that paid for guest posts. Since my topic fit that site better, I focused on that website.

4. After writing and editing my article, it was time to pitch.

Using the advice learned through the Writing Launch program, I kept my pitch brief and focused on how my article would help their readers. Here is how I structured the second paragraph of my pitch to highlight how my article fit their website:

“This article explores strategies to help people …(summarize your article in a few words here). I think this article could be helpful to your readers since…(briefly explain here).”

I double checked that my article met all submission guidelines. Then, I included an editable Google Doc link in the body of my email as requested and submitted the article. Now, I had to wait.

The Results

This time, I was lucky. I heard back from the editor the next day!

My article was conditionally accepted as long as I agreed to a few edits. The editor was friendly and easy to work with. Having the opportunity to work with an editor gave me better insight into how to tweak my writing for future clients (especially taking my headlines to the next level!). It also increased my confidence that I was on the right track.

After working with the editor, my article was posted quickly, and I was paid the same day via PayPal.

Then, I did something essential.

I shared the information about the website and my positive experience in the private Facebook group. Hopefully, this information helped a fellow writer land a paying guest post.

What I Learned From the Process

Getting those first samples as a new freelance writer can take time.

However, you can succeed if you are willing to develop your skills, find a supportive network such as a private Facebook group, and make a specific plan to obtain portfolio samples.

But you need to be patient with yourself and the process. For some people, success comes swiftly. For others, like me, it takes some time.

Most importantly, don’t overlook the power of networking. Private Facebook groups for freelance writers can be a wonderful source of support, information, guidance, and job leads. For these groups to work, everyone in the group needs to give back by sharing information, leads, answering questions, and providing support.

Shannon Whyte is a freelance writer. You can learn more on her website.


We send you writing jobs.

Sign up and we'll send you 3 companies hiring writers now. Plus, we'll send more companies as we find and review them. All in our free email magazine.

We're the magazine for freelance writers.

We send you companies hiring writers.

Subscribe and we'll send you 3 companies hiring right now.

We'll also send you a guide that gets you started.

We're completely free.

Subscribe now. (It's free.)


About Us

We're dedicated to helping freelance writers succeed. We send you reviews of freelance writing companies, assignments, and articles to help build your writing career. You can view our privacy policy here, and our disclaimer. To get started, simply enter your email address in the form on this page.