Are you among the millions of people looking to earn some extra money on the side? Want to start freelance writing with no experience?
If you have a way with words and are looking to earn money with your skills, then you’re at the right place.
It doesn’t matter; if it is an online job you are looking for, my suggestion would be freelance writing.
But how do you get started? Keep reading to learn how to become a freelance writer with no experience.
Working from Home Could as Well be the New Norm
According to Enterprise Research Technology, the percentage of people working from home is expected to double over the next years.
Research conducted by ETR had people who work from home report either having the same productivity rates or increased productivity.
With these statistics, it’s clear that working from home is becoming a norm, and we are here for it as freelancers.
With your online writing skills at hand, you could have a passion as well as a lucrative work-from-home hustle.
I know you have heard time and again about how lucrative online writing can be.
But the big question is, how do you get started? What do you need to get started? What skills are needed? Are there any pitfalls to watch out for?
If you are looking to build an online writing business from scratch, thank your lucky star because this article was created just for you.
Below you’ll find the A – Z of starting freelance writing from scratch. Yes, with no experience.
Is Freelance Writing a Good Career?
If you are getting into freelance writing, you probably want to know what the perks are. Here is why you should strongly consider investing your time in freelance writing.
- Flexible schedule
With freelance writing, you can work as much or as little as you want. It is up to you to decide when to start working and when to stop. Besides, you do not need a fixed schedule like it is in the corporate world.
This is why it is suitable for stay-at-home parents, people looking for side-hustles, or even students. You can efficiently juggle freelance writing with life or other businesses.
- It is a great way to start earning quickly
No, this is not a get-rich scheme that promises to earn you millions in a day. With freelance writing, you have to work yourself gradually up the ladder.
However, at the start of your freelance writing career, you can earn money with no experience at all.
Consider it a chance to learn and earn while you are already on the job. You rarely get such opportunities with other careers.
- Very little investment is required
You need to invest very little when it comes to freelance writing. Yes, you may need to invest lots of time, but less money. In fact, you can start freelance writing with no cash investment at all.
To get started, you need:
- A computer or laptop (which you probably already have)
- A stable internet connection to support your research
At the start, I would advise you to start with freebies before investing. For instance, you can use free-to-host websites, free versions of writing software, and even free freelance writing courses (there are plenty of these online).
Afterward, you can invest in paid versions from the money you earn at the start of your freelance writing career.
- There is plenty of freelance writing work available
According to statistics, there were over 600,000 million blogs as of March 2021. Besides, over 576,000 websites are created daily. All these sites need content.
And that is not just it; physical businesses and print magazines still hire freelance writers.
To put it simply, freelance writing services will always be in demand. With the right skills and determination, you will never run out of projects to work on.
The complete guide on how to become a freelance writer with no experience: Start freelance writing in 7 simple steps
The section below will help you get started with freelance writing. Yes, getting started is usually the biggest challenge for those aspiring to become freelance writers.
The steps below will help you write your first article, hone your skills, and land more and more clients.
Shall we get started?
Step 1: Research about Freelance Writing
If you are getting into freelance writing, you need to approach it like any other business. You wouldn’t get into a business without researching about it.
With freelance writing, you will learn a lot of things along the way. You will, however, need to get on the internet and do your research beforehand.
Go online, find established freelance writers, and read their blogs and other works. Read their journeys and success stories.
Take your time and read widely about freelance writing. Research beforehand will equip you with some knowledge to get started.
Step 2: Familiarize Yourself with Writing Tools
Yes, you can completely start from scratch with no tools and software.
However, if you want to boost your chances of success as a freelance writer, you need to familiarize yourself with the software used by writers.
Here are some of the most popular software used in the freelance writing industry:
- Editing software such as Hemingway and Grammarly (to help find and eliminate grammatical errors)
- Plagiarism tools; your work needs to be original. Plagiarism tools will help pick up plagiarized parts in your writing.
- Keyword research tools such as Ubersuggest
- Image editing software such as Pixlr
- Copyright-free image sourcing sites such as Pixabay and Unsplash
Knowing such software and understanding how they work may come in handy along the way.
Step 3: Select Your Niche
This is a crucial step and probably the most challenging part of your freelance writing journey. You need to select a niche that you will focus on.
Tip: Ensure you find something that you really love, and are knowledgeable about. That way you will enjoy your work, and most importantly, you will have an easier time writing.
Here are some of the most popular and marketable topics you can choose from:
- Fitness and diet
- Health and wellbeing
- Family, relationships and parenting
- Yoga and meditation
- Cooking and nutrition
- Finance and budgeting
- Leadership and careers
- Crafting, knitting or other creative hobbies
What if you cannot narrow it down too soon? No worries, you can always get started with a few topics as you try to discover what really works well for you.
Step 4: Create a Website or blog
The following step is to build a website or blog for your freelance writing business. Think of it as a way of establishing your presence online.
Take your blog as a platform to:
- Showcase your work to prospective clients
- Attract clients
- Receive feedback
To put it simply, when you are starting, you will land a prospective client. One question they will most likely ask you will be, “can I see what you have written before?” If you have a blog, it will be as simple as sending them a link to your work.
Think of your blog as a portfolio to your prospective clients and also your own space online.
No, if you are starting, you do not need to invest heavily in blogging.
You can get free blogs from the likes of WordPress or Wix. However, if you want to earn from blogging in the long run, you will need to purchase your own domain name and web hosting.
If you’d like to learn how to create a blog or website, be sure to check out my step-by-step guide on How To Start A Blog And Make Money From It.
Step 5: Have Amazing Samples
So, imagine that I am a prospective client, and I ask you for a sample of your writing. What will you show me? Yes, correct! Your finest piece of writing. The best you have ever written.
What I am trying to tell you is to sit and craft a spectacular article. Research, write and edit your work. When you have the final piece, you can:
- Have it posted on other blogs as a guest writer
- Post it on your own blog
- Have it posted in online magazines
Also, be sure to share your best samples with people around you. Ask them for feedback to help you improve. It is even better if you have friends or family who are already into freelance writing.
That great sample posted on your blog is now part of your portfolio.
Tip: Post several samples on your blog and share the links with your network. This will help build your portfolio.
Step 6: Start Hunting for Jobs
You have your portfolio ready. The next step is to now start sending it to prospective employers. In the world of freelance writing, you are now ready to start ‘pitching.’
You will come across a lot of websites and magazines offering you one-off opportunities. You need to grab those.
On the other hand, you will meet other online magazines and sites that offer guest posting opportunities but do not pay anything.
What they offer in return for your services is exposure. It is up to you to decide if you want to offer your services for free in exchange for that exposure.
My advice would be to write at least two or three guest articles for such websites or blogs. This can be great for building your skills and knowledge. But of course, you do not want to dwell too much on it when you could be earning money from other gigs.
Tip: When you get an opportunity to write a guest post, outdo yourself. Prospective clients will be probably be reading your work.
Here are some top tips for pitching:
- Start cold-pitching. To put it simply, cold pitching is when you approach a business or blog that did not advertise for your services. Create a list of companies that fall under your niche, and send them your pitch. Send as many as you can. Many of them may never get back (and this is pretty normal with even the most experienced freelance writers), but some of them will reach out and even hire you.
Pro-tip: When you pitch to magazines or blogs, you can add specific ideas of articles you are capable of writing for them.
- Become a member of networking groups. Joining networking groups will help you learn more just from hanging out with other freelance writers. Other than the skills, many freelance writing jobs are shared in such groups. Some of the best freelance writing communities can be found on Facebook and Reddit.
- Join freelancing platforms such as Freelancer.com, Guru, Upwork and Fiverr. Many freelance writers start their freelancing careers on these platforms and sometimes on content mills (we dig deeper into content mills later in the article). One thing you will love about these freelancing sites is that writing jobs are almost ever-present. The downside is that they may sometimes pay less than other avenues of landing online writing gigs.
- Find and connect with other writers in your niche. How? Read and comment on their blogs. For instance, if your niche is cooking and nutrition, read other blogs by writers in the same space. Be sure to leave thoughtful comments. They might recognize you and offer you possible collaborations.
- Let the world know what you do. Make sure your LinkedIn and all your other social media handles are updated with your writing portfolio.
Step 7: Make use of Popular Online Writing boards
Job boards are a perfect platform for writers because you can land high-profile writing clients. Also, some boards allow their community of writers to share tips and information to help others grow in freelance writing.
Check out online writing job boards such as:
- The ProBlogger Job Board
- The Blogging Pro Job Board
- Online Writing Jobs
- Freelance Writing Jobs
- Paid to Blog (paid)
- Freelance Writers Den (paid)
The above are an excellent resource for freelance writers.
Step 8: Ask Clients for Testimonials
Every time you work with a client, be sure to ask for testimonials from them.
Ask for a few words about the experience they had working with you. They can email you the testimonials or publish them on a place like LinkedIn.
You can also publish the testimonials on your website or blog. This will let your prospective client see what you can do before they engage with you.
What Do You Do after You land Your First Client?
It may take some time for you to grow, just like in any other regular career or business. However, after you land your first client, things can head up and up real quick.
It is usually at this point that most people decide to get into freelance writing full-time.
So what do you do after you land your first client?
Here are some tips that will help you grow in the business.
Tip 1: Keep Honing your Writing Skills
With freelance writing, there is something new you can always learn even after you land high-paying clients.
Some of the best ways to keep improving your writing skills include:
- Reading widely (reading lots of books improves your writing skills)
- Enroll in a freelance training course
- Interact and learn from other freelance writers
- Keep researching on the internet
- Be a member of freelance writing networking groups
Tip 2: Set Goals
First things first, when you are a freelance writer, you are in charge of your time. That is a good thing right there; nobody wants to be followed by their bosses or strict deadlines.
However, that could also be a downside if you don’t set your goals and manage your time well.
So, how do you set your goals as a freelance writer? This will largely depend on why you are writing:
- Are you writing for the love and passion of it?
- Is it your full-time job or part-time job?
- What direction are you planning to take in the future?
You can set your goals depending on:
- How much you want to earn
- How many articles you want to be published weekly or monthly
- How many words you wish to write daily
Tip 3: Look beyond Content Mills
No lies, a lot of the big names you see in the freelance writing space may have started in content mills.
But I will tell you to get off the content mills once you gain some experience. They may have lots of jobs but the downside is that they pay writers very poorly. They keep a massive share of the profits to themselves and pay the writers very little.
If you have to start on content mills, just be there to gain some experience as you look for better opportunities.
What is the option, then? As stated already, pitching directly to the business and blogs in your niche could land you very lucrative writing gigs.
Tip 4: Treat Freelance writing like any other business
In any other business, you will always be looking for new clients and marketing your services.
It is the same with freelance writing. You should set time aside to pitch for new clients. Use social media platforms to market your skills.
Here is how you can treat freelance writing as a business:
- Keep marketing your services
- Keep sending out new applications
- Keep learning from other businesses
- Keep reviewing how much you charge in comparison to the skills and services you are offering
Tip 5: Look for Honest and Real Critics
When you start writing, you may not have a vast readership, and your only audience will possibly be your friends and family. But here is the thing; these are people that want you to feel nice. They may not critic your work.
This is the reason you need to find a third party that will tell you what you need to learn and unlearn.
Use online freelance writing groups to find critics for your work. This way, you will learn skills that will help you craft high-quality and interesting work.
Tip 6: Be More Conversational
When I started writing, the best advice I received from a client was to be natural and light-hearted. He told me, “Pretend you are talking to a friend and not writing.”
Being more relaxed and natural in your writing will help make your writing more conversational and more readable.
If your writing is conversational, it becomes easier to follow through with your work and keep your readers engaged.
Being more conversational in your writing is something you practice and gain over time.
Tip 6: Prioritize Repeat Gigs
Yes, there will be one–time gigs and repeat gigs. If you want to have a good flow of work, prioritize repeat or long-term projects.
Having a good flow of well-paying gigs is the secret to making good money as a freelance writer.
Finding gigs can be challenging. If you find repeat jobs, you will save the time you would have spent looking for new jobs. And, you will spend more time doing what matters – writing.
How to Become a Freelance Writer With no Experience – Frequently Asked Questions
Freelance writing is an expansive industry, and learning the ropes of the business is not something you can do in one day. There is almost ever a new trick and skill to learn every day.
However, now that it is clear that freelance writing is lucrative and has many perks, it is evident that lots of people may want to join in.
Below we answer a few FAQs to help you familiarize yourself more with the business.
Do You Need Experience to become a Freelance Writer?
While some gigs may require you to have some experience, there are many gigs that you can perfectly ace without writing experience.
Take it this way; we all wrote creative pieces in school. We all may have written essays in college.
Well, freelance writing may differ from that. But as long as you can organize your ideas well and write coherent, error-free pieces, there are a lot of beginner jobs you can do.
How Much Do Freelance Writers Earn?
It is difficult to pin down the exact figure. This is because there are many variables that make it challenging to make an estimate.
How much a writer earns may depend on their skills, work technicality, niche, location, client, amount of work done, and experience.
However, I know you want a specific figure, so I will give that to you.
According to Glassdoor, freelancers on the high end of the scale make $94K annually. Freelance writers on the lower scale make approximately $27K annually. The average freelance writer, according to Glassdoor, makes $50,194 per year.
The figures fluctuate significantly. And it is not a secret that some niches pay better than other niches. Finance, medical, and technical writers earn close to $40 per hour on average.
And according to EFA, medical writers make $124,000-$145,000 annually.
How are Freelance Writers paid?
There are several ways a freelance writer can get paid. The most popular being via PayPal.
Other ways you can receive funds from your client include:
- Electronic Funds Transfer
- Cash App
Before you start writing or working on any project, ensure the client’s preferred means of pay aligns with yours
Final thoughts on how to become a freelance writer with no experience
If you are looking for an opportunity to start making money working from your home, I highly recommend that you try freelance writing.
You will love that you don’t need any experience or considerable investments to start making money.
My parting shot would be: Just start. Follow the steps above and start writing. Publish articles on your blog and send pitches to clients.
Freelance writing is extensive; you can never learn everything on the first day. Yes, you need to research from day one. But, you can learn most of the things when already on the job.
Follow the steps above, get started, accept critics and use your rejections to learn. Step by step, you will soon be having a lot of work and earning much more than you envisioned.
Before we call it a day, do you have any questions or thoughts on how to become a freelance writer with no experience? Let us know in the comment box below.