become a freelance writer with no experience

How to Become a Freelance Writer With No Experience in 2023

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Are you interested in becoming a content writer but have no experience? 

Starting any career when you have zero experience is challenging. However, I want you to know that it’s entirely possible to become a freelance writer with no experience – I’ve built a solid copywriting career and it all started back in 2014 when I had no professional experience. 

Yes, getting started is tough – it’s difficult to get experience when many clients only hire freelance writers with vast experience behind them.

The good news is that there are some steps you can take to help you on the path to freelance writing success. 

In this guide, you’ll learn:

  • How to become a freelance writer with no experience
  • The process of earning your first $1000 via freelance writing
  • The next steps you can take on your freelancing journey

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What is freelance writing?

Freelance writing is when a writer produces written content on a project-by-project basis, rather than working as an employee for a company.

Freelance writers often work from home or at a co-working space, and they may work for a variety of clients, including solo entrepreneurs, small businesses, and large organizations. 

Freelance writers typically specialize in a specific area and niche, such as marketing, journalism, technical writing, or creative writing. Some professional freelance writers also offer editing or proofreading services.

The benefits of being a freelance writer

There are several benefits to freelance writing:

  • You have the freedom to choose which projects you want to work on, enabling you to pursue your interests and passions. 
  • You have the advantage of having a flexible schedule, as writers can set their own hours and work as much or as little as they want.
  • You can work from wherever you wish like a coffee shop since freelancing is a remote job
  • Freelance writing can be a lucrative career, as writers can charge higher rates for their work compared to what they might earn as an employee of a company.

The disadvantages of being a freelance writer

Naturally, there are some downsides to freelancing writing:

  • Freelancers are responsible for finding their own clients and managing their own finances, which can be difficult for those who are new to the industry. 
  • Freelance writers also don’t receive the same benefits as employees, such as health insurance and paid time off.
  • To be a successful freelance writer, you need to have strong writing skills and be able to meet deadlines, which may be difficult depending on your lifestyle commitments.

Freelance writing can be a rewarding business idea if you love writing and have the skills and determination to succeed. You just need to be proactive in finding clients and managing your finances.

The difference between freelance writers and copywriters

Freelance writers generally do content writing. This is general blog writing, writing ebooks, simple product descriptions, web pages like FAQs, and social copy. 

Copywriters perform sales writing, including sales pages, opt-in pages, emails, lead magnets, and other writing that leads to conversions. 

Sometimes, there is some overlap between the two and it’s not unusual to see freelance writers performing copywriting tasks. Certainly, I’ve done both when working freelance and in-house. 

How much money do freelance writers earn?

Freelance writers can earn a wide range of incomes, depending on various factors such as their level of experience, the demand for their writing, the types of clients they work with, and how much work they take on. 

Some freelance writers earn just a few hundred dollars per year, while others earn six-figure incomes. According to Upwork, the average hourly rate for writers is between $30 – $40, and around $42,000 annually. Keep in mind that these are just general figures. 

Freelance writers can earn more by specializing in certain areas, such as technical writing or business writing. These types of writing often command higher rates due to the specialized knowledge and skills required. Freelance writers who have strong marketing skills and are able to effectively promote their services may also be able to earn higher rates.

Freelance writers can also earn more by working with higher paying clients, such as major corporations or well-known publications. However, these types of clients may be more difficult to land, and may require a writer to have a strong portfolio and a proven track record of success.

In addition to writing fees, writers can earn additional income through book sales, speaking engagements, and other writing-related activities. Some freelance writers are also able to earn passive income by self-publishing their work on platforms, such as Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, or through creating and selling online courses.

Overall, factors like experience, specialization, and marketing skills can all play a role in a freelance writer’s earning potential.

What skills do you need to become a freelance writer?

To become a successful freelance writer, you need the following skills:

  • A strong foundation in writing and grammar. This includes the ability to write clearly and concisely, use proper punctuation, and adhere to various writing styles and formats. 
  • Good research skills, as you may need to gather information on a variety of topics.
  • Strong communication skills, both written and oral. This includes the ability to communicate effectively with clients and understand their needs and expectations.
  • You should also be able to handle criticism and feedback and make necessary revisions to your work.
  • Organizational skills are also essential as you’re responsible for managing your own time and workload. This includes the ability to prioritize tasks, meet deadlines, and keep track of multiple projects at once.
  • Be proactive in seeking out new clients and building relationships with them. This may involve networking, creating a website or online portfolio, and marketing their services to potential clients.
  • Have a specific area of expertise or niche, such as marketing, technical writing, or creative writing. This can make it easier to find clients and set yourself apart from other writers in the industry.

Do you need to take a course to become a freelance writer?

No. Trust me, you don’t need a course to become a freelance writer. If you want to expand your skills, then I recommend taking a course when you have the budget to do so. I’ve taken one or two copywriting courses but I only did so when I was earning a full-time income from freelance writing. 

If you’re on a tight budget and want to enhance your writing or copywriting skills, then instead of paying hundreds of dollars for a course, purchase a solid copywriting book from Amazon or practice your writing skills by crafting mini blog posts daily. 

Can you become a freelance writer with no experience?

Yes. In the next section below, I show you the steps to take to become a freelance writer with no experience. If you implement these actions, you can begin your content writing journey. 

How to become a freelance writer with no experience

If you’re wondering how to make money writing with no experience, then here’s the exciting part – how to get freelance writing experience so that you can apply for jobs and get clients with confidence!

Start a blog

Starting a blog is a great way to showcase your writing skills, establish your expertise in a particular area, and attract potential clients. 

By consistently publishing high-quality content on your blog, you can show potential clients that you have the ability to write engaging and informative articles. You can use the articles you publish as part of your portfolio – this is exactly what I did to find my first couple of clients. 

You can attract potential clients by including a contact or hire me page on your blog. This lets people know that you’re a writer and they can easily determine the services you offer and your fees. 

Did you know that you can also add another income stream by having a blog? If your blog becomes popular, you can earn money through advertising, sponsored posts, or affiliate marketing. This will supplement your income as a freelance writer.

Create a LinkedIn profile

I highly recommend creating a LinkedIn profile if you want to start a career as a freelance writer. You can network with other writers and potential clients, as well as find people who are hiring. 

To create a well-rounded freelance writing LinkedIn profile, follow these steps:

  1. Add a professional profile photo that represents you and your brand. 
  2. Write a compelling headline. Your LinkedIn headline should be a brief summary of your professional identity. Consider including your job title and the types of writing you specialize in.
  3. Craft a compelling summary. Use the summary section of your LinkedIn profile to tell your professional story. This is your opportunity to highlight your writing experience, skills, and accomplishments. Be sure to include any relevant keywords to make it easier for potential clients to find you.
  4. List your work experience. Include any relevant work experience you have as a freelance writer, including the types of writing you have done. If you’ve started a blog, you can add this here. 
  5. Include your education. If you have a degree in a writing-related field or have completed any relevant courses, be sure to include this information on your LinkedIn profile.
  6. Add your writing samples. Include links to your samples in the “Media” section of your profile. This gives potential clients a sense of your abilities as a writer.

Network with others

If there’s one thing I wish I did sooner as a freelance writer, it’s building a solid network. This helps you to find new opportunities, and make friends with people in the industry.  

Networking can be as simple as sending an email introducing yourself and explaining your services, attending industry events or joining online communities related to your niche.

You can also connect with others on social media – Twitter in particular has a strong writing community. 

Just remember to stay in touch with people you meet and offer value to them to build strong relationships, and increase the potential of job referrals. 

Building a network does take time and effort, but it’s a valuable asset for any freelance writer.

Guest post

Writing guest blog posts on other people’s websites builds your experience and provides extra exposure to your work. 

Not only that, but it can help you to connect with others while building your authority within your niche. 

So, how do you find websites to guest post on? 

First, you need to identify websites that accept guest contributions. One way to do this is to Google ‘your niche + guest post or guest posting. This usually brings up several websites or publications that accept guest posts from external sources. 

For example, if I search for ‘tech guest post’ I can easily find websites that accept contributions. 

Once you’ve found these types of websites, you can follow their guidelines and send them a pitch – some may require a written post up front, while others may ask you to contribute suggestions. I suggest reading their guidelines carefully and submitting what they ask for. Otherwise, it’s highly likely that you won’t receive a response. 

Learn SEO

SEO, or search engine optimization, is the practice of optimizing your website and its content to improve your visibility and ranking on search engines.

To learn SEO, it’s essential to understand how search engines work and what they look for when ranking websites. This tells you everything you need to know about how Google ranks sites. 

You should also learn about keyword research, how to perform it, and how to optimize your content for search engines (as well as your readers). This includes things like optimizing your website’s titles and descriptions, using header tags, and ensuring that your website is mobile-friendly.

Gaining knowledge in off-page optimization is also vital too. Off-page optimization refers to the optimizations you can make outside of your own website to improve its ranking. This includes building high-quality backlinks from other websites, and promoting your website on social media.

There are also many online resources and courses available that can help you learn SEO like MOZ’s SEO Learning Center.

Learn about marketing

Learning about marketing is incredibly helpful if you want to be a freelance writer. 

Understanding marketing principles help you to create more persuasive written content, whether you’re writing web copy, social posts, or blog posts. You easily understand why you’re writing your allocated piece of work, and how this fits into a larger scale business strategy. 

It’ll also help you to promote your own services as a writer. Being able to effectively market yourself can attract new clients and grow your freelance business. 

While a marketing background isn’t necessary for a freelance writer, I highly recommend adding this skill to your repertoire. 

Learn copywriting techniques

The overall goal of copywriting is to persuade readers to take a specific action, such as making a purchase or signing up for a service. There are many techniques that copywriters can use to effectively communicate with their audience and achieve their desired outcome. 

You’ll often find overlap between content writing and copywriting as a freelance writer so knowing some of the best copywriting techniques to use will help you significantly in growing your career. 

Some of the most well-known copywriting techniques include the AIDA framework which stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action, and using emotional language to connect with the reader. For instance, using language that evokes positive emotions like happiness, security, or excitement builds a desire for a product or service.

There are many other copywriting techniques that you can use, and the best approach will depend on the specific goals and audience of the client.

Join Facebook groups to find opportunities

Facebook groups can be an awesome place to find jobs when you’re first starting out. I’ve found the pay is often a little lower than average, but if you’re looking to build your portfolio, these jobs can be good experience. 

Try looking at Facebook groups like the Cult of Copy job board and Female Freelance Writers.

Send cold emails

Sending cold emails can be an effective way to find freelance writing work, particularly if you are just starting out and don’t have a lot of existing contacts or clients. 

Here are a few tips for sending cold emails:

  1. Research the company and the person you’re contacting. Do your homework – get a better understanding of what the company does and what its needs might be. This means you can tailor your email and make it more relevant to the recipient.
  2. Use a clear and compelling subject line. The subject line of your email is the first thing that the recipient will see, so it’s important to make it attention-grabbing. Keep it concise and focused on the main benefit that you can offer the recipient.
  3. Use a professional and friendly tone. In your email, introduce yourself and explain why you’re reaching out. Keep the tone professional, but also friendly and approachable. Explain what you do and what you can offer the recipient, and provide examples of your work if you have any.
  4. Make it easy for the recipient to respond. Include a clear call to action in your email, such as asking if they have any writing needs that you can help with. Make it as easy as possible for them to respond by providing your contact information and availability – this could be as simple as adding Calendly to your email to schedule a meeting with you. 
  5. Follow up. If you don’t hear back after a week or so, consider following up with another email. Be brief and respectful, and let the recipient know that you’re still interested in working with them.

Sending cold emails can be intimidating, but it’s a good way to build your freelance writing business. With a well-written and targeted email, you can introduce yourself and your services to potential clients and start building relationships that lead to new work.

Practice writing articles on Medium and LinkedIn

Practice writing articles on platforms like Medium and LinkedIn to improve your writing skills and build your portfolio as a freelance writer. These platforms allow you to share your writing with a wider audience and get feedback from readers, which can help you learn and grow as a writer.

In addition to improving your skills, publishing articles on these platforms builds your professional network and helps you to establish yourself as an expert in your field.

The good news is that you don’t need to write new content either – you can simply republish the blog posts that you’ve produced for your website. Try publishing the first half of a blog post on Medium and LinkedIn and add a ‘read more’ link that takes you to your blog – this will generate more traffic (and potential leads) to your freelance writing website. 

What are the best entry-level writing jobs?

There are many entry-level writing jobs that may be a good fit for someone just starting out in their career. Some options include being a content writer to create written content for websites, social media platforms, and other realms.

Becoming a technical writer and creating instructions and documentation for technical products or processes is also an entry-level job you can try. 

An entry-level copywriter who writes persuasive marketing materials, such as ads and sales emails may be ideal for someone who understands copywriting concepts and frameworks.

Freelance writing jobs for beginners with no experience

Here are some places where you’ll find freelance writing jobs for beginners. 

Freelance writing job boards

You could also try advertising gigs on Fiverr and similar freelance platforms.

How to make your first $1000 freelance writing

Making your first $1000 as a freelance writer may seem like a daunting task, but it’s definitely achievable. Here are some steps you can take to get started:

  1. Build your portfolio. Before you can start landing paying clients, you’ll need to have a portfolio of writing samples to showcase your skills. Start by creating a website to display your writing.
  2. Determine your niche. Specializing in a particular area of writing can make you more attractive to potential clients. Consider what topics you’re most interested in and have the most knowledge about, and try to focus on building your expertise in those areas.
  3. Set your rates. Determine how much you want to charge for your writing services. Research the going rates for freelance writers in your niche and consider factors, such as your level of experience and the complexity of the projects you’ll be working on. Be sure to set your rates at a competitive level, but also be willing to negotiate with clients if necessary. I suggest going no lower than 5 cents per word on your first project if you have no experience and minimal samples. 
  4. Find clients. Use the strategies outlined in this post like cold emailing local businesses and organizations to see if they have any writing needs. Also look for opportunities on job boards, such as ProBlogger.
  5. Market yourself. Don’t be afraid to market yourself. Consider creating a professional email signature, business cards, and social media profiles to promote your services. Network with other writers and industry professionals, and be sure to highlight your writing skills and experience whenever possible.
  6. Build your reputation. As you start to land writing assignments, it’s important to deliver high-quality work and meet deadlines to build a positive reputation. This will help you to attract more clients and command higher rates in the future.

The next steps to becoming a freelance writer

Start building your freelance website today if you haven’t already and create a blog page in your niche. 

If you’ve yet to choose a niche/topic area to specialize in, here are some tips to help you narrow down your focus:

  • Consider your interests and expertise. Writing about topics that you are passionate about can make the work more enjoyable, and your expertise can make you more attractive to potential clients.
  • Research demand for your niche. While it’s important to choose a niche that you’re interested in, it’s also important to consider whether there is a demand for your writing. Research different types of writing and consider whether your skills and experience align with those that are in demand.
  • Consider your ideal client. Think about what types of writing they would be most interested in. For example, if you want to write for small businesses, you may want to focus on topics like marketing, business strategy, and entrepreneurship.
  • Test varying niches. If you’re not sure which niche to choose, try out a few different areas and see what resonates with you. This can help you narrow down your focus and find a niche that is both rewarding and lucrative.

I hope this guide is helpful in understanding how to become a freelance writer with no experience. By implementing some of the strategies I’ve laid out in this blog post, you’ll be well on your way to freelance success!

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