The Right Way to Find Freelance Jobs on Craigslist By Keith Guinchard

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Craigslist, often vilified, if treated with respect, can make you money. In a double-barreled approach, a freelancer can post ads soliciting business or respond to ads seeking freelancers. The cost – only the time spent managing your account.

By knowing the site rules, and working with them, I have enjoyed steady success with Craigslist. In December, I successfully completed three jobs where either clients approached me or I replied to their job postings. The variety of work provides an additional bonus in giving you exposure to a wide range of projects. Craigslist is not my prime freelance effort, nor should it be yours, but it does provide some extra cash flow. The three jobs, right before the holidays, gave me some welcome money in time for what is the most expensive time of the year.

The first step is to establish an account. Craigslist uses your Zip or Postal Code to anchor your location. This will also allow your ads to appear in nearby areas. Example: I live on southern Vancouver Island. I see ads from my area, Vancouver and Washington State, north of Seattle. Those areas also see my ads. You cannot post out of your area. Based on the previous example, if I try to post in Seattle, Craigslist will delete my advertisement.

You need to read the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Also, review the sections on the home page titled “Avoid Scams and Fraud” and “Personal Safety Tips.” It will save you headaches and keep your money where it belongs, in your pocket. One major complaint about Craigslist concerns the large number of scams and frauds. Twice in the last month, individuals have contacted me seeking my “exceptional” services. One was for anexecutive assistant offering $700 a week for three hours of work. This is a frequent, ongoing scam. Go with your gut feeling. If it looks too good to be true, then it probably is. Google “Craigslist Scams” for some highly entertaining stories.

You can only renew an ad every 48 hours. To work around this restriction, I have three ads, each a little different. Every morning, I log in, and review the job offerings under the sections: Jobs – writing and editing and Gigs – writing. Then, I renew one of my ads. That keeps one always visible under the current day’s listings.
Craigslist is very competitive. Have a look at what others are saying in their ads. Shamelessly borrow what you need to make your ad a standout in the crowd. Your posting must be professional and well written. You will not get many responses if your ad contains spelling or grammatical errors. To cast a wide net, offer a variety of services.

Some advertisers will ask for a sample, or want you to complete a test (read sample) to qualify for a job. Bear in mind that thousands of users may see that same posting. If even a small percentage provides a sample, the advertiser will obtain enough free work to avoid paying anyone. Refer the client to your website to see what work you have completed. I use PayPal for all transactions where I cannot meet the client. For a meeting, I let prospective clients know in advance that I take cash only and, if the job is large, I may request fifty percent up front.

Craigslist is not the silver bullet to a successful freelance career but it does offer you an opportunity to make some money, gain valuable experience, and keep you focused on writing.

Have fun, be patient and stay safe.

Keith has enjoyed writing for many years, mostly within the requirements of his employment. In 2012, he decided to take the plunge and write for himself, starting out part- time and in 2013, full-time. He has travelled extensively throughout the world developing a keen eye for the oddities of people and places. He has attained some early, encouraging success in seeing his words in print as a freelance and creative writer. To contact Keith, please visit: http://www.keithguinchard.com.