Freelance Blog + Tips & Tricks

Open Thread: Where Do You Find Freelance Work?

This week, I started tallying up my final 2010 income so I can pass along the info to my accountant for tax purposes. And in playing with spreadsheets and percentages, I decided to see where last year's freelance writing income came from. The result is this pie chart:

pie chart showing sources of 2010 freelance income

20% - Applied via an online ad (,, etc.) 4% - Sent a letter of introduction (LOI) to an editor 18% - Networked my way in (met the client/editor at a conference, via social media, or similar means that I initiated) 12% - Sent an editor a pitch for a specific article idea 43% - Connected via a referral (friend, relative, current client, fellow freelancer, etc.) 2% - Client came to me through my website or social media profiles I spend a lot of time querying, so I was surprised that those queries represent a relatively small portion of my income. However, some of my queries went to editors who are also represented in the referral section (for instance, if a fellow freelancer connected me to an editor who asked me to send some ideas), so that may explain it. On the topic of LOIs, when they work, they really work, typically bringing in steady assignments, so I wouldn't discount those despite the low percentage. I also spend quite a bit of time on social media (updating my LinkedIn profile, tweeting about freelance issues), which also didn't generate much revenue. My end goal with that isn't necessarily to find new clients, though that certainly doesn't hurt. It's more to engage with the freelance community and stay connected since I don't have officemates, so while I may get more strategic with social media, I wouldn't give it up just because it's not bringing in much money. I'm curious if you've noticed similar patterns in your own income or if you've had a completely different experience. Do you get more projects via social media or good ol' fashioned networking? Do tell! If you found this post useful, then check out my newly updated ebook, The Urban Muse Guide to Online Writing Markets. It includes 40 50+ paid writing markets, samples of successful query emails, and tons of tips on breaking in. Plus, next week I'll post another pie chart showing the types of publications and clients I worked with last year. Stay tuned.

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Open Thread: Where Do You Find Freelance Work? + Tips & Tricks