How do I become a freelance writer with no experience?
That’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it?
You have heard all the inspiring stories about the glamorous life of a freelance writer.
Working in pajamas and making lots of money to take you to a beach on an exotic island.
Maybe you’re just looking for extra money to pay off debt or bills from time to time.
Or, you’re excited that you have finally discovered your escape from the grueling 9-5 jobs.
Sounds amazing, right?
But there’s a problem…
You still aren’t quite sure if becoming a freelance writer with no experience is even possible.
You’ll find your answer here and how to find freelance writing jobs. By the time you finish reading, you’ll have all the information you need to become a freelance writer.
We’ll start with the most basic question…
Can anyone be a freelance writer? My personal experience
Anyone can become a freelance writer even without experience or degree. I started my freelance writing in 2016 after losing my job at a financial institution.
A myth most beginners hold (vs. reality)
Most newbie writers eagerly want to jump into freelance writing, thinking they’ll make quick cash and start living the life of their dreams.
Please understand that freelance writing is a business like any other. There is a lot more to the business than writing in your pajamas.
To become a successful freelance writer without experience, you can expect to spend most of your time doing the following
- Professional development – Working on your skills – day and night.
Abe Lincoln once said:
“If I had 6 hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first 4 sharpening my axe.”
Professional development includes improving your writing skills and content creation skills, keeping abreast of the latest industry developments, and more.
- Marketing your services and networking
Be ready to spend more time engaging on social media, writing guest posts, sending pitches to prospective clients, applying to job ads, networking, and building your online presence.
Identify what works for you and repeat.
- Writing, Proofreading, & Editing
You’ll spend considerable time either writing for clients or writing samples for your killer portfolio.
The more you write for clients, the more money you make.
You’ll also spend lots of time proofreading and editing your work — at least in the beginning.
That said, in the next section, I’ll teach you how to start freelance writing with no experience. It’s the most crucial section so pay attention…ready?
Let’s dive in.
How to become a freelance writer without experience
How do you even start freelance writing without experience? What do you need?
One of the things that make freelance writing a lucrative business option is the low barrier of entry. Maybe you have everything you need to get started (even without experience). And what you don’t have is fairly easy to obtain.
To get started, you need a laptop, computer, or any other writing device. A writing device is the most critical weapon in this business. You also need a stable internet -preferably 24/7 if you can afford it.
Assuming you have the basic tools and stable internet, where do you start?
Here is your step by step guide.
Step 1: Have a success mindset and avoid failure from the word go.
I know…It doesn’t look like a practical step, especially when you don’t have experience. But it is.
Here’s the thing.
Your mindset directly affects everything you do in life, and here’s how to master your mindset.
- Stop acting desperate. Charge what you’re comfortable with. Remember, you are a business person starting a mutually beneficial relationship with another business person.
- Allow yourself to make mistakes along the way. Most beginners take too long even to publish their first sample and end up never starting. Take months perfecting your samples, and you’ll be in the exact same spot next year. Don’t be that writer.
- Pitch like a confident business owner, and clients will respect you. And that gives you a much better shot at clients hiring you.
Step 2: Choose a niche – Identify topics you’re most comfortable with
If I were to start my freelance writing business all over again, I would choose a niche straight away. It makes learning easier and faster.
You have probably read blog posts on how people made six-figure income in their first year.
That was not my case. My success has not been a walk in the park. In my first year, I made only $50 or less. Yes, you read that right (fifty US Dollars). Are you wondering why it took me that long?
The shiny object syndrome…
I wanted to be everywhere, from writing articles to product descriptions to copywriting. I was in every industry; finance, health, digital marketing, even technology (which I barely understand anything).
Don’t get me wrong.
Some freelance writers are versatile and successful. But clearly, that strategy wasn’t working for me.
In case you are like me, struggling to take off and would like to try a different way, here is how to choose a niche.
You can specialize by either topic or content type.
- A topic is “what you write about.” Examples are digital marketing, finance, technology, health, sports, and more.
- Content-type is “the how you write or the form your writing takes.” Examples include; case studies, white papers, blog posts, product descriptions, emails, etc.
So, what should you focus on as a freelance writer with no experience?
In my opinion, the “content-type” option is the easiest. In fact, you wouldn’t want to specialize in any topic at all in the early stages of your freelance writing business. Blog posts and product descriptions can be your starting point.
Your priority should be to gain experience.
Later, you can or should consider specializing.
In my case, I took both – topic and content type. My niche is Finance + blog posts. I chose finance because I leverage my academic qualifications and over 10 years of industry experience.
A niche holds your riches.
Choosing a niche is the fuel my freelance writing business jet was waiting for. I have never looked back since then.
What’s your background? Is there a way to leverage your experience or education?
Do you still need help in figuring out your freelance writing niche?
Here’s another comprehensive resource by my mentor Elna Cain (I’ll tell you more about this amazing lady later in the article)
Why should you specialize? Because a niche holds your riches.
- You can charge more by specializing. You’ll find businesses willing to pay a higher rate to an expert who understands their industry and experience. Remember, you are your client’s content marketer, and you need to be able to speak to his audience in a language they can understand.
- Specializing also helps you write faster. You continually build knowledge in your head because of the abundant research you draw on in your writing. And the quicker you write, the higher your hourly pay.
I have a client who pays me per hour (assuming the job takes me at least 1 hour). But because working with this client over the last 2 years, I can complete the work in 20 minutes, yet my hourly rate remains the same.
- Pitching becomes easier and laser-focused, especially when you are proactively cold pitching and responding to content mills and job board ads.
Step 3: Learn Basic Online Writing from Free Resources
Online writing is a skill you have to learn.
If you have been working in a corporate, you’ll have to ditch the boring corporate-speak and learn to engage and empathetically educate your readers.
Online writing is also different from the writing we learned in high school.
When you start, you probably don’t have the budget to invest in a course (which we’ll talk about later).
So what do you do to learn?
Free resources to help you get started.
- Learn to come up with juicy ideas that’ll tantalize your readers
- Learn how to write blog posts that’ll keep clients keep knocking at your door for more.
- (Read this post). The post will teach you how to write headlines, introductions, subheadings, and conclusions. You’ll wow your clients from the word go.
- Learn pitching skills your potential client cannot resist you
Step 4: Write professional samples to showcase your writing prowess
After you gain basic online writing skills, it’s time to get some RELEVANT writing samples together. Notice I said RELEVANT.
So if your niche is health or finance or technology blog posts, you wouldn’t write samples on the best beaches in the world, right?
No, because that sample will not help you get your niche expertise across to your target clients.
What you should do in that case is to write some relevant blog posts as samples. If finance, then write about savings, investments, making money…you get the drift. Right.
After you have beautifully written, proofread, edited, and formatted your samples, don’t keep them in your drive. PUBLISH PUBLISH PUBLISH
1. Self-publish your samples on the LinkedIn publisher or Medium.
Take a look at this post I published on Medium – you can see I created it specifically to position my expertise to my target audience: It has also generated lots of engagement on Medium – which is a plus when pitching.
2. Contently is also another free alternative.
It allows you to add images and make your writing look professional. You can even save your work in different categories and segments – all for free.
3. You could also guest-post by writing on other people’s blogs. The blogs must also be relevant to your niche.
Here are some of my guest posts
1. Thrive Global: How to Embrace Your Newbie Fears and Start Earning
3. Family Growth Life: 10 Stupidly Simple Ways to Save Money on Food
Publishing your samples is a great way of coming across as competent when you want to become a freelance writer with no experience.
Step 5: Pitch fearlessly as though your life depends on it.
Master the art of pitching, improve your pitching skills, and market yourself boldly.
What do I mean?
If you identify a client you’d like to work with, don’t shy away from pitching. You could land a lucrative deal. It might be quite unnerving at first, but you get bolder with practice as you consistently and regularly pitch.
You can either pitch direct clients or by scouring freelance writing job boards.
Always send personalized pitches and ideas to help boost your possibility of being hired.
Step 6: Network with other freelance writers
Creating meaningful relationships is a plus when you want to become a freelance writer with no experience. After all. As a newbie, you land more jobs through referrals than any other method.
Use networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn groups to connect with other writers who will add value to your freelance writing career.
Here are some free Facebook Groups you should join if you haven’t already.
An excellent network offers you tips on how to go about freelance writing and points you to job opportunities.
If you have read to this point, you clearly want to become a freelance writer. But maybe you have tried all the above, but you still feel you need some help.
You need a mentor. Someone who has walked the road before you and can show you the way – skipping all the guesswork.
If that is the case…
Step 7: Take the complete freelance writing course (Write Your Way to 1K)
How long will you hold onto your fear of becoming a freelance writer without experience?
Well, the stumbling block that stands in your path is not knowing where to start. The internet is awash with information about freelancing.
Too many lucrative niches you don’t know which one to choose. The shiny objects syndrome is killing you.
Every site you get to, you read many success stories about how people are bagging well-paying clients and making six figures every month- working only part-time.
No one shares their frustrations. You feel alone.
You feel paralyzed. Unable to move forward. I know that pain. I went through it for a full year.
Just like me, you are looking for concrete resourceful material to kick-start your freelance writing career. Without mentorship, your dreams will remain just that – dreams, elusive and unachieved.
Plus, you’ll always wake up every day to go to a job you probably hate.
But before you give up, I found a jewel among the stones! – just for you.
Earlier in the blog post, I promised to tell you about my mentor, an amazing lady called Elna Cain. Elna Cain offers an amazing course for newbie freelance writers without experience just like you.
The course is: Write Your Way to 1K – Freelance Writing Course.
Write Your Way to 1K is what you need, and in a few weeks, people will get to read your success story.
I took this course towards the end of 2017 when I was frustrated – almost giving up.
Write Your Way to 1K is a jewel because of you…
- Get a step by step guideline that starts on building your presence online to finally bagging big money.
- Learn genius ways to reach out to potential clients in a way they won’t be able to resist your services.
- Get a profitable niche workbook if you want to engage in a field that promises a good reward and with the most demand.
- You also get a 30-day template you just need to follow to get to your first $1k.
- She also gives you a personalized pitch review, plus suggestions for customization.
- Join her private Facebook community where you get inspired, ask questions, and sharpen your skills. You’ll find job offers there too.
- And so much more.
If you’re ever going to invest in one writing course – please let it be this one.
When you choose to enroll in this course, you choose to eliminate the doubt that will always hang around your neck for leaving something resourceful to the core.
It’s the most useful thing you can do if you want to know how to be a freelance writer with no experience.
I am not making this up because I have taken the course myself.
Ready to start?
Make the smart choice and START TODAY.
Step 8: Scale to unlock your earning potential
The sky is the limit when you get to this point.
More clients means more work and more money. But you don’t have to worry because you can outsource.
But you never stop learning. Advance into the following areas
- Content marketing
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Email marketing
- Affiliate Marketing
The more skills you offer, the higher your earning potential.
It sounds enticing, right?
Start a blog, and sooner than later, you’re earning hundreds or even thousands of dollars every month.
You’ll finally find the freedom to quit your job, travel the world, and live like a millionaire without anything tying you down.
Freelance writing jobs for beginners with no experience
We have gone through the entire step-by-step process of becoming a freelance writer without experience.
You may be wondering, where the hell will I get entry-level freelance writing jobs? You’ll find everything you need in the complete freelance writing course.
But here are some places to find entry-level writing jobs with no experience – just to keep your fire burning.
- Upwork- Upwork is the world’s largest online workplace where savvy businesses hire freelancers & remote teams. Learn how to find Upwork jobs for beginners (and how to spot them)
- Fiverr – Fiverr is wonderful for freelancer writers without experience because of the low entry barriers. All you need is a skill that people are willing to pay for. Find some time to research and set up your Gigs. Fiverr is giving everyone a chance.
- ProBlogger – You can earn $15000 from The Problogger Job Board
- Join FB Groups – You will never see the value of Facebook until you see editors looking for writers. If you want to become a freelance writer without experience, Facebook is a useful tool to help you.
You can start with lower pay just to start and gain some experience. Then keep adjusting your rate upwards as you gain more experience.
Here is a list of some FB groups you can join to find freelance writing jobs for beginners
- The Freelance Content Marketing Writer
- The Write Life
- Writer’s Helping Writers
- What’s your Plan B
- Calls for Submissions
You cannot run away from networking.
A family member can hire you to write content for their website. A fellow freelance writer can recommend you to a former client. An editor can also refer you to another editor.
All these are examples of how you can get freelance writer jobs through networking.
Invest time in networking, and you’ll cultivate a solid network that can eventually turn into a full time and lucrative source of freelance writing jobs.
While it is still your job to convince the client to hire you, the fact that a trusted source referred you puts you in the strongest possible position.
Because someone else recommended you and put their reputation on the line in your favor.
Getting paid as a freelance writer
I can guess you still have pending questions about getting paid. How much do you charge? What’s the best way to receive payments?
How much to charge entirely depends on you. You set the rates.
You can charge per word, per article, or hour. As you network, also research the average rate in your niche and your level of expertise.
The most popular way of receiving payments globally is via PayPal. But Upwork and Fiverr have their payments structure which protects both the client and the writer.
Once the client and writer agree on a rate, the client places an order and funds the account. However, you do not access the funds until the client approves your work. But it gives you the confidence that the client will pay you.
Become a freelance writer today
How to start freelance writing with no experience shouldn’t be difficult. Work hard, look for opportunities, and follow the step by step guide above.
Soon, you’ll be on the highway to becoming a well-paid freelance writer.
Did I miss out on any step, or you still have a question I didn’t answer?
Tell us in the comments section below.