Are there too many freelance writers?

Maybe we’re asking the wrong question

According to surveys by Zippia, 70.4 million people in the US did freelance work in 2022, and 82% of freelancers are writers. With these two numbers in mind, it is safe to say there are millions of freelance writers in the US, sitting in their home offices or the local Starbucks and drumming away at their keyboards. This isn’t accounting for freelance writers worldwide.

With so many freelance writers on the loose, it is tempting to think the market is oversaturated.

However, if we twist the question on its head, we ask not whether there are too many freelance writers but how, out of the many, you can find the right fit for your specific projects and workplace culture.

On lattes and niches

Freelance writers have much in common with coffee shops (our natural habitat). Even though the thousands of coffee shops dotting US cities serve similar drinks, they stay in business because each shop appeals to a specific crowd.

The Starbucks, with the line of cars snaking through the drive-thru, appeals to people who want a consistent taste and quick turnaround time on their preferred drink. In contrast, the neighborhood “mom and pop” shop attracts customers who want to socialize with friends, test a hyper-local seasonal drink, and eye community artwork.

Like coffee shops, freelance writers stay in business because each has a unique offering for their clients. Not only do we all have different backgrounds and target different niches, but we also offer a variety of experiences, knowledge, expertise, and personalities.

An abundance of writers benefits clients

Here are several reasons why having millions of freelance writers is good for people looking to hire one.

#1: Different paths bring unique perspectives

Freelance writers come from different backgrounds. Maybe they’re a career writer making a break for it on their own. Or they spent enough hours at another job to realize that writing is their passion.

Whatever it is, a freelancer’s path gives them unique offerings for clients. If they have experience working in a specific field, they may already know key publications and new sources and use the right lingo. Or if they don’t have experience but come prepared with marketing expertise, they may offer a fresh and strategic perspective when building content.

A writer from a parallel field may bring a complementary perspective that deepens a client’s pull in that community. The list goes on.    

#2: Different experiences develop special skills

Freelance writers’ varied writing project experiences also come into play. A freelancer with experience in exactly the projects you have in mind may be able to do them more quickly. However, freelancers with different experiences may bring skills that enhance a project. For example, putting a creative writer on a more technical project may give it the flavor and storytelling it needs to stand out from competitors.  

#3: Different personalities provide the right fit for your team

Personalities and work styles differ widely between freelancers. Where one client may want a collaborator, another may want a contributor. Where you might want someone who rocks the boat to get new ideas moving, another team may want a peacemaker who can keep everyone on the same page.   

Finding your freelance writer

Clients have said it is hard to find “good” writers, and writers often say it is hard to find “good” clients. I know good writers and am fortunate enough to know good clients. It’s the bridge between writers and clients that the business world is missing. The freelancer who perfectly matches your company’s culture and needs is out there; you just need to find each other.

Here are a few places to start your search:

  • Ask around. People in your industry will likely know someone.
  • LinkedIn. Freelancers are often active on LinkedIn, and their profiles and posts will give you an idea of their path, previous projects, and personality.
  • Online freelance forums. Organizations like the American Medical Writer’s Association host freelancer profiles, and companies like Creative Circle can match you with freelancers to interview for your projects.
  • Freelance platforms. You can post specific project requests on platforms like Fiverr and Upwork. Note that these platforms do take a significant portion of the freelance writer’s wages and often encourage freelancers to either pay to bid for jobs or take work for little pay.   

Somebody to lean on 

Although freelancers often work alone, the freelance writing community is welcoming and supportive. This seems ironic, given we are each other’s competition, but it makes sense in context. Freelancing can be a tough line of work, with lots of rejection and quiet times. We need each member to make it work.

So, are there too many freelance writers? The answer is a resounding no. There are just enough freelance writers to find the perfect fit for your projects.

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