How I turned a $5 Craigslist ad into a $40/hr freelance gig

I have been freelance writing for the past year and have loved every bit of the journey so far.

Two months ago however, I decided focus on writing healthcare and health-related content.

My educational background is in nursing and biomedical research so I thought “Why not?”

I talk in this video how I landed a client for that business in 8 hours by e-mailing a business owner in San Diego whom I had encountered at a monthly entrepreneurial meetup I attend.

Anyway, I wanted to continue growing my clientele for this particular business so more about three weeks ago, I decided to put up an ad on Craigslist advertising my business.

A week later, the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at a local health tech company got in touch with me and after writing two test articles, we had a working relationship.

Where does the $5 come in?

Well in turns out that in San Diego, in order for me to post an ad advertising my gig in the “Gigs” section, I had to pay $5.

At first I was skeptical.

This IS Craigslist after all.

But after thinking it through for all of 5 minutes, I decided $5 was worth it even if I got just one client out of the whole deal.

I was right!

Resources you should check out as you read this post:

  1. 5-Figure Freelance E-mail Swipe : In this handy guide, you can steal the EXACT e-mail scripts I have used to build a successful 5-figure freelance business. (Get it here)

A week later, I was earning $40/hr writing articles for a health tech company – the exact type of client I was looking to write for.

If you have never thought about using Craigslist to find freelance clients, I am here to tell you that it does not hurt to try it out.

In fact, I recorded a whole YouTube video on it – if you would rather watch me talk about it than read how I did it.

How to score $40/hr #freelance gigs on #Craigslist. (Yes. It is possible).Click To Tweet

How to find freelance gigs on Craigslist

There are 2 things I have done on Craigslist to land freelance clients.

  1. I have answered ads
  2. Like I mentioned above, I have created and posted my own ads on the platform

Strategy #1

When I browse Craigslist to find gigs, I typically go to the Jobs or Gigs section and hover over any section that is labelled “Writing” or “Creative”.

If I am sending a pitch, I write a simple e-mail which:

  1. Introduces who I amHello. My name is Gertrude Nonterah.
  2. Mentions why I am e-mailingI saw your ad on Craigslist looking for remote freelance writers. I would be happy to oblige.
  3. Provides proof to the person that I can do what I say I can doWhy will I become of your favorite writers ? (And then I go on to list the things that give me credibility – e.g I have been blogging for the last 4 years, I have clients across industries etc).
  4. Gives them a call-to-action to reach back out to me. I can tell you that very few people give calls-to-actions in their pitch e-mails. If you are proactive about wanting to take the conversation further, the prospect is more likely to reach back out – I would love to take this conversation further. I am available this week for a quick 10 minute call to see if this will be a fit.

This strategy took me from zero to earning $1200 per month in side income in 2015, managing social media for local business clients.

It works!


Strategy #2

With the second strategy, I created an ad and posted it to Craigslist.

The ad I posted (and paid $5 for) had the following components :

  1. I mentioned that I am a healthcare content writer
  2. I mentioned the specific types of content I write
  3. I mentioned the types of companies I want to work with
  4. I provided a link to samples of my work
  5. I then provided a call-to-action inviting them to get in touch with me to take the conversation further like I suggested above.

The key here is to get straight to the point and not try to be overly clever.

People have very short attention spans.

If you cannot grasp their attention quickly with your ad, they will click away and be gone forever.

Anyway, I posted this ad on March 28 2018.

On April 3 2018 (if you are counting with me, that is just about a week later), I got an e-mail asking if I could help write blog content for a health technology company.


Not bad at all!

I now plan to test and re-post these types of ads on Craigslist at least once a month.

Even if all it does is result in one client, it is completely worth it.

Closing Thoughts

Craigslist is not the first place that comes to mind when you are looking for freelance gigs that pay well.

I have however profited too well from the platform to declare that you cannot find gems on there.

I encourage you to make it one of your daily places for searching for freelance opportunities using one of the two methods I just listed.

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