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Are you a budding wordsmith who is grappling with the question of how to become a freelance writer with no experience?
It may seem like a daunting prospect at first, but there’s no need to feel stressed out. It’s completely possible to enter the market, even if you’ve never worked in it before.
Most people believe you need at least a certain level of basic experience in order to get started in any career. However, this isn’t necessarily the case for freelancers.
Plenty of freelance writers have begun their professional lives without experience. Or they’ve worked in a totally different field and have decided to make a change. This means that it is very possible to start your own freelance writing career with no true writing experience under your belt.
While you don’t need definitive experience for the job, you will need confidence, motivation and diligence. Many freelance writers work from home, so you will need to feel comfortable working remotely in the long term as well.
Freelancers don’t have any set work times and breaks. It’s crucial to keep your work schedule organized and to prepare for each day as much as you possibly can.
Freelance writing requires a high degree of self-discipline. You have to enforce strict rules and be disciplined to meet work quotas and make enough money as a freelance remote worker.
Plus, you will need a certain degree of confidence in yourself and your capabilities to market yourself as a competent writer. You can’t be afraid to put your brand out there. At the end of the day, it’s the most vocal and well-marketed writers who attract the best, highest-paying clients that the industry has to offer.
How else will prospective clients know about your talents if you aren’t forthcoming with this information?
What a Freelance Writer Does
If you want to learn how to become a freelance writer with no experience, you first need to know exactly what a freelance writer does for a living.
Essentially, a freelance writer is someone who writes non-fiction articles, blog posts, and online copy for businesses, brands, magazines and publications.
Freelance writers can work in specialized fields, and may market themselves as one or more of the following:
- Resume writers
- Blog writers
- Grant writers
- Specialized technical writers
- Press release writers
Most professional journalists are employed full-time by newspaper publishers or clients, but this is not the case for freelancers.
Freelance writers are self-employed and usually write for a range of different publications and clients at any given time.
How to Become a Freelance Writer with No Experience in 7 Steps
1. Pick Your Passion
If you want to know how to become a freelance writer with no experience and actually make money from this profession, you should know that not picking a niche is one of the biggest mistakes a new writer can make.
Settling on a niche will allow you to become knowledgeable and authoritative in that niche.
While potential clients may not necessarily know you personally, they will eventually start to approach you because of your expertise in your given niche.
Being a jack of all trades can be helpful, but unfortunately, it can lose you clients too.
You write about a wide range of technological topics, and a client approaches you for an article about video editing software.
You have never written about this specific software before, so the company won’t be sure that you can deliver, despite the fact that you’ve written dozens of articles about similar topics in the past and even have decent knowledge about video editing programs.
This client will likely go to one of your competitors who specializes in writing about video editing software to have their article professionally penned. If you specialized in the same niche, the same client would probably have chosen you for the job.
Picking a specialization will allow you to write about topics that you are truly, deeply passionate about. This can make or break the quality of your articles, as if you’re genuinely interested in a subject. This level of interest will be naturally apparent in your work.
Your writing will engage readers at a higher level, and you’ll attract more clients as a result.
It’s important to note that your specialization should be fairly narrow too. ‘Travel’ or ‘Food and Wine’ may seem like niches, but they’re actually just topics.
Niches in those industries would include budget backpackers facilities in Peru, red wines produced in the Cape region of South Africa, or a definitive guide to preparing tofu in Japanese styles.
Keep narrowing your topic of choice down until you can narrow it no more and you will have found a winner!
2. Start a Blog/Website
One of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to showcase your writing abilities to the world is to establish your own website or blog. This is easy enough to do using a user-friendly content management platform like WordPress.
Using this free CMS you can set up a functional website and blog in a matter of hours. WordPress has a wide variety of free themes and plugins that help you to create a professional-looking website without spending too much money in the process.
Your professional website and blog should showcase your unique writing style and your topics of interest. Include a bio that offers information about you, and more specifically, about your career and your professional capabilities. This is a great way to market yourself passively to potential clients and let them know exactly what you have to offer them.
You could consider creating an online portfolio website for your freelance writing business.
An online portfolio is a customized website that shows off your best work samples and skills to prospective employers. It’s intended to directly market yourself and your abilities, rather than to indirectly show off your talents through blog posts and on-site content.
The key here is to include only your best and most recent pieces of work in your portfolio to truly wow your visitors.
3. Write Guest Posts on other Blogs
Guest posting is another fantastic way to establish a background in freelance writing. This involves adding your writing work to another website in the form of a published guest post.
The approach offers you great exposure and provides a valuable opportunity for you to practice your writing skills and work within certain specifications. You can find a website looking for guest posters by searching “guest post” and any topic of your choice online.
There are plenty of reputable, high ranked sites looking for interesting new perspectives and fresh content to keep their readers engaged. Different websites will also have different ways of submitting finished work.
Some may ask you to submit a number of different content concepts, while others will ask for a complete draft. You can choose to work for the websites with the submission methods you prefer.
Either way, writing guest posts is a highly effective way to open doors in the freelancing world and get your name and talents noticed. It can help to establish you as an expert in a specific field or topic, and will help to attract readers and potential customers to your own website through backlinks and web searches.
The more people you have reading your work, the better your chances of landing additional gigs in the future.
4. Practice Practice Practice
The old adage of ‘practice makes perfect’ is particularly applicable when it comes to freelance writing as a beginner. Possibly the best way to gain experience in the world of freelance writing is simply to write as many articles as you can for as many clients and guest post sites as you can find.
If you’ve never written for money before, you may want to undergo some training and upskilling before you start.
There are plenty of free online guides and courses that you can take to get you started on the right foot. Good courses will outline the best, most profitable and in-demand writing niches and how to market yourself to clients in a way that will win you big-ticket jobs.
As your career progresses, you can build your brand using testimonials and reviews from satisfied customers. Word-of-mouth reviews can be powerful motivators for potential clients, and positive testimonials will help to validate your expertise and get your brand noticed.
It’s also important to let your prospective clients know exactly what you stand for and what you have to offer them.
- Great with tight deadlines?
- A dab-hand at working with certain technologies?
- Responsive, polite and innovative?
Highlight your strengths and qualities and spread the word to find even more opportunities to practice your writing skills.
5. Network (Learn How to Pitch)
Networking is a vital skill for any aspiring freelance writer to cultivate. It’s important that you make a habit of networking with your fellow freelancers to establish client exchange agreements.
This means that if one of your peers is too busy to accept a paid project, they may recommend you or another trusted writer to take it on.
You would do the same for them.
There’s no need to treat other freelance writers as your foes and keep your contacts hidden from them! Cultivate a respectful network of people in your field and you may actually find yourself earning more money in the process.
You can network by joining social media groups on Facebook and LinkedIn to find well-paid writing jobs and other long-term freelancing gigs.
The best groups are usually accessible by invite only, and contain knowledgeable people that will gladly point you in the direction of paid work opportunities.
Try Something Different
Alternatively, you can network by signing up with a staffing agency. Certain staffing agencies offer health and life insurance, holiday pay and benefits to freelancers, while giving their members the chance to network with other professionals and work with diverse clientele across numerous industries and sectors.
Another notable benefit of networking is that it can help you to obtain the advice you need. Especially if you’re looking for tips on how to become a freelance writer with no experience.
You are welcome to contact some renowned freelancers and ask them questions about where they find jobs, how they set their rates, and so forth.
You also need to know how to pitch to land freelance writing jobs.
Cold pitching involves sending generic emails to every business you can find, and it doesn’t usually yield positive results. Making a list of the businesses and publications you are genuinely interested in and forging personal connections with them is a better approach.
Email these organizations to introduce yourself and tell them about your skills.
It’s a good idea to learn as much as you can about each one before you make contact. This knowledge will impress most of the editors you email, and your passion for their organizations will not go unnoticed in most cases.
Remember, pitching your services to potential clients won’t guarantee that you’ll land every freelance writing job you want. However, you will experience better results in general than if you use cold pitching or hard sell tactics to coerce clients to hire you on the spot.
6. Never Stop Learning
When you dedicate yourself to constantly learning about your trade, you are automatically investing in yourself, your brand, and your skills.
You can choose to become a freelance writer overnight, but you cannot build a successful freelancing business instantly. It takes time, dedication, and effort on your part.
If you want to know the key on how to become a freelance writer with no experience, start with focusing on developing your skills. The more you patiently develop your skills and knowledge, the more you will be able to access the best freelance writing opportunities in your niche.
Up-skilling yourself can be as easy as taking free online writing courses, keeping up to date with news and developments in your industry, and challenging yourself to learn new, more complex words on a regular basis.
You can also challenge yourself by agreeing to write articles for new industries, clients and websites and expanding your expertise that way.
Even reading a few well-written books can be considered professional learning for a freelance writer, as you can learn plenty from the way that other writers form their sentences and convey meaningful ideas.
7. Look for Writing Jobs
Arguably one of the best ways to find jobs as a freelance writer is to focus on finding websites and platforms that specialize in the types of work you are looking for.
Sites like Fiverr, SolidGigs, FlexJobs, Upwork and Remote.co offer flexible freelance jobs in specific industries and sectors. This approach will also help you to steer clear of content mills, poorly written online advertisements on Facebook and Craigslist, and genuine scams that are only out to rip you off.
Social media is also a fantastic tool for finding jobs as a freelancer. Many publications and clients will post open positions and calls for pitches on their social media channels—LinkedIn and Twitter in particular. You can search keywords like ‘freelance copywriter’ or ‘freelance blogger’ on LinkedIn’s job search page to find relevant positions.
If you’re a beginner with no real experience in writing, you might want to consider starting small and working your way up.
Very few beginners land jobs with top-tier outlets and multinational corporations. You need to pay your dues and obtain experience before you can land jobs with big-ticket clients.
There’s certainly no harm in starting small, either.
There are probably dozens of freelance writing opportunities in your local area offered by small businesses, regional publications and startups with strict budgets. If you’re too focused on landing a job with a well-known company, you might be missing out on all of these prime opportunities.
A Challenge That Pays Off
Learning how to become a freelance writer with no experience isn’t easy, but it can definitely be done.
Finding freelance writing jobs can take time and perseverance. You might spend hours searching for gigs, sending pitches, marketing yourself and networking with your peers.
Ultimately, all of these efforts will prove valuable as you find yourself carving a freelance career in the niche of your choice.
If you already have a full-time job, you don’t necessarily have to quit it to try out freelancing either.
Many people have found success by moonlighting as freelancers for an income boost while still working their day jobs at the same time. You are welcome to start out this way and switch to freelancing full time if you find that it is the right career path for you.
Luckily, most freelance writing jobs can be completed remotely, which gives you the freedom and flexibility to work from home or wherever else you choose.
If you’re ready to become a freelancer and explore the world of self-employment, we have plenty of helpful guides and tutorials to get you started.
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