Is it your dream to become a freelance writer with no experience? Content is king and is needed by many businesses large and small, meaning there is work out there for the taking. But, how do you get started as a writer with zero knowledge of the industry?
It takes a little time, persistence and patience.
When I started as a freelance writer, it took me a while to get my first paying clients. I began by emailing 50-100 businesses a day with very little response. But persistence paid off, because after three months I got my first client and it felt like I’d won the lottery!
I’m not saying it will take this long for everybody. In hindsight, there’s a lot more I could have done to increase my chances of getting work.
And I’m going to share all this with you today.
Remember, you have to walk before you can run. Take time to build up your portfolio and social media presence. Talk to businesses and show them how you’d be a great asset to what they do. Write guest posts for popular online publications.
This builds your credibility, helps you discover your areas of expertise and builds the framework for a successful freelance writing empire.
Let’s dive into how to become a freelance writer with no experience.
How to Become a Freelance Writer with No Experience
- Take a Writing Course
- Build a Writing Portfolio
- Create a Simple Writers Website
- Have a Presence on LinkedIn
- Clean Up Your Social Media
- Offer to Write Guest Posts
- Cold Email Potential Clients
- Apply for Writing Jobs on Job Sites
- Publish Free Content on Medium
- Network with Other Freelance Writers
- Challenge Yourself to Write Daily
- Improve Your Writing With the Right Tools
What is Freelance Writing?
Freelance writing is the job of a professional writer who works on their own schedule, instead of in a traditional office environment. Freelance writing work can include article writing, social media content, website copy, white papers, blogging, ghostwriting, technical writing, product descriptions and newspaper or magazine writing.
Freelance writers do not get paid a salary, but get paid on a per-project basis. Companies hire freelance writers to write content for their websites and social media platforms. Content platforms and digital marketing agencies also hire writers to produce content for their clients.
Some freelance writers become an expert in a certain niche such as business, travel or marketing for example. As a subject expert, you can demand higher rates. However, many successful freelance writers are generalists and write content according to what each client needs.
What Skills Do You Need to Be a Freelance Writer?
Freelance writing is not for everyone. To succeed in this world, you need the right skills to get ahead and stay ahead. Having quality writing skills is a start. You also need these top skills:
- Be a self-starter
- Ability to hit deadlines
- Can handle rejection
- Able to accept criticism
- Excellent writing and grammar skills
- Able to adapt writing voice
- Great research skills
- Organised and disciplined
- Ability to write clearly
- Basic editing and proofreading skills
- Persistent in finding and keeping clients
How to Become a Freelance Writer with No Experience – 10 Steps to Success
1. Take a Writing Course
It may be tempting to just go it alone, but the knowledge you’ll get from taking a freelance writing course is invaluable.
‘’Investing in yourself, is the best investment you’ll make.’’ Warren Buffet.
While you can discover a lot of things on the internet, figuring it out alone can be a time consuming, frustrating process. I know, because I’ve tried it multiple times myself!
Learning from a freelance writer who has the success you want, is a surefire way to build a similar writing career.
Before I became a writer, I met two girls that had taken a writing course and said I should do it as well. I was very sceptical and thought I’d just be wasting my money.
My brave side wanted to go for it, but my risk-averse side wanted to stop me. Weeks passed and I went round in circles in my mind. But then I decided to go for it and buy the course.
One thing I did know was that I didn’t want to live with regrets. And, I knew if I didn’t take this course and give it a try, I would wonder ‘what if’ years down the line.
I paid a few hundred pounds for that course which was worth every penny. I made that back in the first four months.
Now I recommend the classes on Skillshare for new writers. I understand you might not want to spend money at this point. You can sign up and take writing classes for FREE for 30 days from many successful writers in the industry:
- 5 Best Courses in Udemy for Aspiring Writers
- Is Freelance Writing a Good Career for You?
- 10 Best Free Online Writing Courses for New Writers
2. Build a Writing Portfolio
When learning how to become a freelance writer with no experience, it can be tough in the beginning. Building a writing portfolio is essential for success and should be one of the first things you do. You have little chance of securing any paid writing gigs if you don’t have example work to show off.
The Greek philosopher Epictetus said; ‘’If you wish to be a writer, write.’’ Simple words, but so true.
Do a little research into different types of writing to see what suits you best. There’s copywriting, technical writing, creative writing, product description writing and social media writing to name a few.
Start by writing a few samples of each. If you discover an area of writing you love, write more sample articles in that area. If not, keep writing a variety of samples that can be shown off n your portfolio.
Further Reading: How To Build A Writing Portfolio With No Experience
3. Create a Simple Writers Website
Once you’ve crafted a good amount of sample articles, you need somewhere to show them off.
It’s extremely cheap to set up a blog these days which you can use as your writing CV. You just need to pay a few dollars for the domain and monthly hosting.
My first writing website was and still is extremely basic. I have a page talking about why you should choose me as a writer, a page with links to my samples, a rates page and a contact page.
If you don’t want to pay for a website yet, use one of the free website building platforms like:
4. Have a Presence on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is the most important social media site for professionals in any field, including writing.
Pretty much every business and anyone wanting to find work will have a presence on LinkedIn. Making your LinkedIn bio look professional should be high on your agenda as a new writer.
Make Your LinkedIn profile stand out by adding a headshot, creating an eye-catching headline, summarising what you can do for people and highlighting the training and experience you have.
Once you have your LinkedIn profile set up, work at making connections with businesses and professionals you may want to work with in the future.
Like their posts, follow and support what they do. Get yourself noticed to keep top of mind when they need writers in the future.
5. Clean Up Your Social Media
Alongside connecting with potential leads on LinkedIn, a strong presence on other social media sites is important.
Social media platforms originally started off as places to be social. Now they’ve evolved into places to get clients, make money online and show off your business.
Your Facebook and Twitter accounts may be where you have many pictures out partying with your friends. While a small amount of this is ok, think about having a more professional approach to your social media, if you want to be seen as a serious freelance writer.
While you probably won’t want to delete friends and family, think about setting up new accounts that can be used to show off your work and gain freelance writing connections.
Potential clients will look you up on social media. Make sure you’re giving off a friendly, experienced and professional vibe.
6. Offer to Write Guest Posts
Guest posting is where you write content for another website, usually for free. You might be thinking ”why should I write for free?” But, getting your content published as a new writer is a huge vote of confidence and shows off your skills.
Plus, you can link to these published guest posts when applying for writing work.
And, the guest post publication, may give you a backlink back to your website or social media. This is hugely helpful in getting yourself seen and will send organic traffic your way.
To find guest post opportunities, type into Google:
Your niche + guest post
Your niche + write for us
Some examples are:
Travel + guest post
Marketing + write for us
Nutrition + contributors
Check out these sites accepting guest posts:
Birds on the Blog – Blogging niche
Global Grasshopper – Travel niche
Money Mini Blog – Finance niche
Life Hack – Self-improvement niche
Moms Voice Pro – Family niche
7. Cold Email Potential Clients
Finding out how to become a writer with no experience takes time. Usually, only the persistent survive. I’d like to tell you it’s easy, but you have to go through a process. My best advice is to take daily action in the form of actually reaching out to potential clients.
‘’Overnight success is almost always a myth. Half of this industry is luck and half is the refusal to quit.’’ Victoria Schwab
You don’t have to wait till a job is advertised to apply. Email businesses, digital marketing agencies, bloggers, professionals and anyone who may need a writer.
Set yourself a goal to send out X amount of emails a day.
You may get ignored by some, but many will acknowledge you. Even if they don’t need a writer at the present time, they might keep you on the books for when they do.
I’ve had this many times. A few of my past clients reached out to me, six months after I cold emailed them to ask if I was currently taking on work and could I help them out.
8. Apply for Writing Work on Job Sites
I found most of my writing clients by cold emailing. However, online job sites do have a wealth of opportunities, if you are good at selling yourself.
The problem with these sites is that there is a huge amount of competition. Every job posted will have hundreds of applicants and as a new writer, it’s hard to get taken seriously.
But, it’s still worth making freelance writing job sites part of your strategy. The more experience you get applying for writing jobs, the more opportunities you open yourself up to and you get practice selling yourself.
Try applying for writing jobs on these sites:
Further Reading: 15 Best Freelance Writing Websites to Find Paid Work 2022
9. Publish Free Content on Medium
Medium is a top free platform that allows anyone to write and upload their content for free. It has a massive monthly readership, meaning its a great place to get exposure for your writing. When learning how to become a freelance writer with no experience, Medium should not be ignored.
In fact, Medium has around 85 – 100 million monthly readers!
If you start gaining a following, you can even join the Partner Program which gives you the chance to earn from your popular articles.
And, your content on Medium can become another part of your CV, you can direct interested clients to when applying for work.
10. Network with Other Freelance Writers
And as the saying goes; your network is your net worth. According to expert research, 70 – 80% of jobs are never even posted, but are filled through a professional network connection.
As a new freelance writer, getting the right people around you can catapult your career forward. Writing communities will be filled with new and experienced writers who can give you tips.
If you don’t know any writers yet, don’t panic. There are many free communities you can join to connect with those on similar journeys. Try out:
- Freelance Writers Den
- No-Fluff Writing Group (Facebook)
- Copywriting Hacks (Facebook)
- Freelance Writing Cafe
- Twitter Writing Communities
11. Challenge Yourself to Write Daily
The best way to get better at writing is to start a daily writing habit. As a new writer, you may feel like you have thousands of things to do, but to get your career started, writing should be at the top of that to-do list.
Put aside some time each day to write and set a daily word count goal. If you have a niche, start producing content in that niche or if not, write in topics you enjoy learning about.
Remember, the content you produce can go into your portfolio, on your website and onto Medium to show potential clients in the future.
When I started my first blog, I did a 30-day blog post challenge where I uploaded one 1,000+ word article a day over the month. It was challenging, but I learned a lot along the way!
12. Improve Your Writing With the Right Tools
Writing in a way that is clear and engaging is hard. Plus, you may pick up a few bad habits along the way.
The good news is that there are many free online writing tools that will improve your writing 100%. As a new writer, you have to make sure your content is good, otherwise, you won’t get work or you’ll find it hard to keep clients.
Check out these 24 Tools to Improve Writing Skills for many more quality recommendations.
FAQS – How to Become a Freelance Writer with No Experience
Here are the frequently asked questions about how to become a freelance writer with no experience.
How Much Do Freelance Writers Make?
The average hourly pay for freelance writers in the US is $24.74 according to Payscale. This can vary greatly depending on experience and who you are writing for. As a freelance writer, you can set your own rates. Start out writing for a little less as a beginner, to gain experience and then put your rates up as your testimonials grow.
Can I Make a Living as a Freelance Writer?
Yes, you can make a living as a writer. It’s recommended to start writing part-time, while you still have a 9-5, until you have enough clients to sustain you. Work on building your client base and especially the ones who give you regular, recurring content orders. Once you earn enough from writing to pay the bills, you can ditch your 9-5 and write full-time.
How Much Should I Charge for a 500 Word Article?
$25 for a 500-word article is a good place to start for a beginner writer. However, you can take on lower-paid work to build up your portfolio and to gain experience in a niche you love.
How Much Should I Charge for a 1000 Word Article?
$50 for a 1000 word article is a good rate for a beginner freelance writer. As your experience grows, you can increase your rates and take on higher-paid work.
What Type of Writing Pays the Most?
Book ghostwriting is one of the highest-paid writing niches. This is because the project is generally long-form, taking a long time to finish and needing in-depth research. Plus, the writer does not get credit – they are writing for the book owner who puts their name to it.
Other types of writing that pay well are sales writing, tech writing and business writing because the content can only be written by professionals with insider knowledge.
Further Reading: 22 Insanely Profitable Writing Niches (+How to Get Started)
How Can I Improve My Writing Skills for Free?
You can improve your writing skills by taking a free writing course online. I recommend taking one of the many great courses on Skillshare you can sign up and take for 30-days free. These include:
- Kickstart Your Freelance Writing Career by Jillian Richardson
- Freelance Writing 101: Build a Successful Freelance Writing Career
- Writing for Brands: Freelancing in the Age of Content Writing
How to Get Clients as a Freelance Writer?
There are many ways to find freelance writing clients as a new writer. Start by building up your writing samples in a portfolio, on a writer’s website and by writing for free on platforms like Medium. Next, send out emails daily to prospects and apply for writing jobs online. If you stay persistent, you will get your first client and many more in the future.
Is It Hard to Be a Freelance Writer?
Making a living from writing, especially at the beginning of your career can be difficult. It can take a while to get regular, recurring clients that pay you enough to live on. But, with a little persistence, you can become a full-time freelance writer. Focus on building a portfolio and make time each day to send out cold emails and apply for writing jobs online.
Is Freelance Writing a Good Career?
Freelance writing is a fantastic way to make money from home and enjoy a flexible work schedule. You can set your own hours, work from anywhere and work on writing projects you enjoy. Start with entry-level typing jobs and as you build testimonials, apply for writing gigs that pay a better rate.
Further Reading: Is Freelance Writing a Good Career for You?
Final Thoughts on How to Become a Freelance Writer with No Experience
Learning how to become a freelance writer with no experience isn’t difficult. However, it is a process that you have to go through. Regular, high paying clients will not fall into your lap.
Spend time each day networking, outreaching to prospective clients and applying for writing jobs online. Work on improving your writing skills and adding to your writing profile so you have quality samples to share with prospects.
With persistence, you will have a thriving freelance writing career in no time at all.
Did I miss any tips off the list? Are you a new writer building your career? Let me know in the comments below.
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- How to Get Freelance Writing Experience as a New Writer: 5 Ways to Build Your Skills
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