How To Become a Freelance Writer With No Experience
Learn How to go From Clueless to Successful in a Hurry
NDid you know that freelancing has become more popular in America over the last decade?
A study done by Upwork and the Freelancers Union illustrated that the number of freelancers in the U.S. increased from 3.7 million around 2013 to 57 million in 2018?
More people want to work from home because they desire freedom from a regular 9-5, where they spend most of their daylight hours working towards someone else’s goals.
You may be one of those people that can’t wait to ditch your day job and divorce your boss as soon as you can.
So, you can see where a gig like freelance writing offers the freedom and flexibility you need to get more time in your life.
An extra benefit is that you can start working towards achieving your own goals and not someone else’s.
I created this page as a resource to help you get back into your life so you can spend more time with family and friends.
This article is a round-up of all the information and resources you need to start your freelance writing today and begin making money quicker.
But first, I hear this question often from aspiring freelance writers.
Do You Need Qualifications to Be a Freelance Writer?
Many new writers quit before they even start because they doubt their qualifications to be a freelance writer. Aspiring writers often think they need an English degree or one in journalism, but this simply isn’t true.
None of my degrees relate to journalism or English in any way. And I can name many successful people who dropped out of college and went on to be super successful writers with NO DEGREE.
Taking classes to brush up on your writing skills is awesome, but don’t give up on a writing career just because you feel like you lack the qualifications.
Certain qualifications do matter, though:
- Blogging Skills
- Freelance Writing Skills
- Confidence (Even if it’s just a façade until you gain more with every project you write.)
- Time Management Skills
But don’t worry if you find yourself lacking in some of these areas. These are all things you can learn without taking a four-year university degree.
How Do I Start Freelance Writing with No Experience?
There are a few things you need to set up before you can start looking for jobs and pitching to clients.
I have a free 7-Day freelance writing email course that walks you through the steps to get your business up and running.
One of the first things you need to do is choose a profitable niche, but before you do that, I wanted to show you 10 popular freelance writing projects you can make money doing.
This information comes in handy when you go through the process of niching down.
One of the first things you need to do is decide what you’re going to write about. Niching down is incredibly important. It’s the primary way to establish yourself as an expert and command higher prices.
Next, you need to purchase a domain name and create a freelance writing website. While there are many platforms you can build a website on, a WordPress self-hosted site is what you need.
There is a minimal investment of hosting and the domain name, but I promise it’s worth it.
If you make your home on a platform like Wix or Blogger, if something happens, all your work is gone. I know one blogger who lost over 300 articles when her chosen service changed or ceased to exist.
WordPress.org is the free, open-source software that gives you full control of your website. It’s better for SEO, monetizing your blog, and allows you more control over your website.
There are two main hosts I advise you to try. First, there’s Bluehost. They are budget-friendly if you’re starting and you can purchase hosting for as little as $2.95 a month if you use my link.
Bluehost has excellent customer service and is great for beginners, but if you plan on monetizing your blog (more on a blog later) for SEO purposes, you want a faster host.
I recommend SiteGround, and if you use my link, you can get it as low as $6.99 a month.
I recently switched from Bluehost to SiteGround, and they have excellent customer service as well. Trust me, I’ve had to contact them a few times since tech, and I don’t get along.
As a freelance writing newbie, hearing that you need a freelance writing portfolio isn’t necessarily surprising; it’s probably frustrating.
How do you create a portfolio that wows potential clients when you haven’t landed any freelance writing jobs yet?
This article on creating a sensational freelance writing portfolio tells you exactly what to do.
Set Up Your Social Media for Success
Social media is a critical aspect of your marketing strategy. You need to let the world know that you’re a kickass freelance writer!
I suggest you at least create social media accounts under your business name on the major platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Definitely, create a Facebook page for your business IF your ideal client hangs out there.
You may not plan on using all of your social media accounts right away, but at least reserve them, so no one else takes that name. I waited too long to change my Twitter account, so I did not get Writer’s Life for You.
Make sure that there’s a link in your bio or wherever you can put one on your social media profiles like a link to an opt-in on your website.
Also, use keywords like freelance writer, content writer, and whatever your niche is. Here is my LinkedIn profile.
It’s the one that has brought clients to me without me searching for them.
If social media isn’t your strong suit, I recommend you consider taking a class on using it for your business. It will 100 percent be worth the investment.
Now that you’ve created that awesome freelance writing portfolio and set up your social media, it’s time to look for freelance writing jobs in between pitching to potential clients.
I created a list of websites and job boards to find great-paying freelance writing jobs for beginners. Upwork is on this list just because it is a platform where newbies can find writing jobs.
I’ve found many jobs on some of these sites, but my number one lead generation tool as been my LinkedIn website.
That being said, I strongly advise against it. I wrote all about the reasons why you should avoid gig sites and content mills like the plague.
But if you feel like you absolutely must work there to get some experience and writing samples, just beware of the risks to your wallet and don’t get trapped there.
Crafting the Perfect Pitch
Pitching is a critical part of the process of finding freelance writing clients.
I briefly go over some specific tips for writing pitches to potential clients in my eBook Freelance Writing for Beginners: The Basics, along with the step by step process of starting a freelance writing business quickly.
There are several elements that you need to send in your pitches to possible clients:
- Your niche and the experience you have that illustrates you are an authority in it. Don’t worry. Even as a beginner, you can present a variety of education (yes, self-education totally counts) and your freelance writing website as examples.
- A link to your website and/or portfolio
- Writing samples related to the job or niche, you are pitching
- Other publications or businesses you’ve written for if you have had at least a few clients
- How you can help them, whether that be engaging content that draws in more clients, writing catchy headlines or proof you have that you can show how you get results for your clients
Once you get that first client, it’s a fantastic feeling. It’s tempting not to want to bother them with getting them to sign a freelance writing contract.
But don’t do that! The contract protects you and your client. I can tell you horror stories about writers who didn’t get a signed contract and had a client bail on them without paying.
It’s unfortunate, but it happens. I’m embarrassed to say that I didn’t start out with signed contracts either. I was simply lucky nothing happened.
Once you choose the perfect niche, perhaps gotten a few clients, you want to really level up your knowledge on your niche. It pays to know your niche well for many reasons.
First of all, you’ll make your clients happier, and they’ll likely recommend you to other businesses in your niche. Plus, you can command higher rates the more expertise you gain.
So, check out this article on how to get insanely smart in your niche for helpful tips.
So, you want to be a successful freelance writer, right?
This article discusses 11 tips that will help you succeed as long as you apply what you learn because knowledge isn’t nearly as powerful if you don’t apply it.
I often get asked about the tools I use to make thousands of dollars freelance writing every month, so I’ve put together these recommendations for you.
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