Become A Freelance Writer With No Experience: 15 Simple Steps

There are a lot of appealing things about freelancing, such as no boss, you get to set your own schedule, and you can work wherever you want. Want to know how to become a freelance writer with no experience? You’ll find all the steps you need to get started right here!

How to become a freelance writer

Of course, some people don’t want to give up the stability of a regular paycheck and health benefits. But more and more people are jumping ship to join freelance life.

According to Upwork, 38% of the U.S. workforce now does freelance work.

Do you have strong writing skills? Are you independent, organized, and motivated? Then freelance writing could be a side hustle or career for you!

I’ll discuss how to become a freelance writer in 15 simple steps. But first, let’s discuss what a freelance writer does.

What does a freelance writer do?

First of all, a freelance writer is simply a self-employed person who makes a living from writing. That can be writing content like articles, blog posts, white papers, web copy, or anything else that requires text.

Rather than working as full-time employees, freelance writers work as independent contractors. In other words, they work with clients instead of for companies.

Freelance writers often have to work at managing clients and typically work from cafes or coworking offices. It’s also a popular career among digital nomads.

It’s a job that you can do from anywhere there is an internet connection.

How to become a freelance writer with no experience: 15 Steps to take

There are a lot of different ways to create a freelance writing career.

For example, some people become writers after having worked in public relations or marketing. Meanwhile, others begin working as fashion or technical freelance writers after working in the respective industry for years.

But if you don’t have an established career (or if you want to change your career!), you can still learn how to freelance and how to become a content writer with no experience.

Undoubtedly, you need writing skills to become a freelance writer—but you can gain the experience over time. Here are the steps you should take to start freelance writing:

1. Learn what freelance writing is about

First, learn what freelance writing is really about. Look at the author websites, LinkedIn profiles, and social media pages of well-established freelance writers.

Ask yourself: What do they write about? What kind of content do they write? Review their bios and writing samples.

There are also a lot of blogs that talk about how to become a freelance writer with no experience. So be sure to leverage those resources to learn tips on looking for jobs, pitching, networking, etc.

Above all, you must read about the industry every day to fully understand the ins and outs of what it takes to be a freelance writer.

2. Pick a writing niche

Most successful freelance writers will tell you that you need to choose a niche. What’s less popularly discussed is that this niche can be a subject or a medium.

If you don’t know where to start, that’s okay. Most freelancers start out broadly, covering several niches, and then streamline and evolve their services as they continue their careers.

However, it’s essential to have some sort of plan for topics to write about before you apply for freelance writing jobs for beginners with no experience.

Promoting yourself as a specialist can be nerve-wracking. You might feel like you’re closing doors on other types of writing work.

But setting yourself up as an expert in a single area can lead to higher-paying projects when you’re the go-to person! Here are some topics worth exploring.

  • Lifestyle
  • Health and wellness
  • Fitness
  • Recipes and food
  • Medicine
  • Finance

There are quite a few others, but these are some examples, depending on your expertise and interests.

On the other hand, you may prefer a medium rather than a certain subject. Here are some ideas.

Blog and article writing

Long-form writing for blogs or website articles is incredibly profitable. They tend to focus on whatever subject the blog is about and may be several thousand words in length or more. If you are familiar with the ins and outs of SEO editing and writing, a client will make a good financial choice by hiring you.

However, some clients focus less on keywords and prefer to promote thought leadership content writing on their blogs.

If you have an engaging writing style, this could be your area! Thought leadership pieces require more research and in-depth interviews, so they take longer to write.

Landing page copy

If you prefer to write bottom-of-the-funnel content focused on conversion, you might want to explore landing page copywriting.

Your job will be to create persuasive copy that moves a reader to follow through on the desired action, perhaps filling out a form or making a purchase.

Landing page copy is about understanding what motivates readers and how to appeal to their desires.

Your job is to take a potential customer on a journey, from the moment they first see the product to the point where they need to buy it. You’ll need to be persuasive while staying true to the client’s brand voice.

Newsletters or email copy

Editing and writing newsletters is another great way to break into freelance writing. Companies send out newsletters regularly, which can give you a reliable income stream and can be an excellent way to build a relationship with your audience.

Start by asking if local businesses need a freelance writer to help with their newsletter. Or, if you have a particular interest or expertise, you could start your own newsletter and build a subscribers list. Use platforms like ConvertKit or Mailchimp to get started.

Social copy

There’s tons of noise on social media, which means businesses need to cut through the clutter and stand out from the crowd. That’s where social media copywriters come in!

Social copy is for you if you’re good at coming up with attention-grabbing headlines and writing punchy copy. You’ll need to be able to write for various platforms and understand what each social media site is best used for.

Case studies

Clients understand the value of showcasing how they’ve helped other businesses and solved their pain points. As a freelance case study writer, you’ll interview your clients’ customers to understand how they use the product or service.

You’ll then use this information to write a detailed case study that can be used on the client’s website or to pitch new business.

Case study writing generally requires a lot of research, as you’ll need to understand the details of the client’s business and industry.

3. Make sure you have the right tools

If you want to know how to become a freelance writer with no experience, you’ll first need to be sure you have the right tools for writers.

For the most part, you’ll just need a laptop, email, and internet connection. Some clients may ask you to communicate with them through apps like Trello. You’ll need to open accounts with them and know how to use them.

Different clients will have different requirements for invoicing as well. So, you may need to set up an account with their accounting software to ensure you’re paid on time.

Or you might use PayPal or direct deposit to collect money after working on a project.

4. Create a writer’s website

A website is one of the most important steps in how to become a freelance writer. Think of your writer’s website or author website as the face of your freelance writing business.

It’s where you will list your services, your writing samples, and your rates (if you so choose). It’s also where you’ll direct potential clients to review your work and contact you. So make sure it’s polished and as close to perfection as possible!

Additionally, companies may find your site in a Google search or on your social profiles if they’re looking for a writer like you! You can also link to your website in your author bio box.

Every time you publish an article online, your bio will display your name, headshot, a bit of blurb, and a link to your website so clients can learn more about you and get in touch!

You can easily create a website with sites like WordPress. If you want to use shared hosting for your site, you can do so for as little as a couple of dollars a month with sites like Bluehost.

If you’re not a tech whiz, don’t worry. Your website should be professional, attractive, and easy to read, but it doesn’t need to be anything fancy.

As a minimum, publish a home page explaining your services, your background, contact details, and a few links to your work.

5. Make a portfolio of your writing samples

Next, you need to get some writing samples up on your website! You can include relevant professional writing you’ve done in the past if you have experience as a writer.

Note, however, that you shouldn’t include academic writing on your freelance writing website. For businesses looking to work with professional writers, college essays don’t quite cut it!

If you don’t have any professional writing clips, you can start by just writing a few pieces to publish on your website.

As you learn how to become a freelance writer with no experience, you’ll want to include every clip you get in your portfolio. Then, as you gain more experience, whittle down your portfolio to only show your very best work relevant to your desired niche.

The best way to produce writing samples is with your byline attached. Some of the best places to have your work published include:

Medium

Set up a free account on Medium and publish articles on any topic that interests you. Write about your experiences as a beginner freelance writer and share your tips with other aspiring writers.

For the best exposure, submit your article to a Medium publication.

For example, The Startup has more than 760k followers and 8 million monthly readers.

The Good Men Project

The Good Men Project has a high domain authority, so your article will likely rank highly on Google if published here.

The website focuses on a range of topics, from parenting and relationships to social issues and politics. Articles range from 500 to 2,000 words, and you can submit them via this form.

Elephant Journal

If you’re a beginner freelance writer interested in yoga, sustainability, or conscious living, this site is worth checking out. Elephant Journal welcomes submissions from new writers.

LinkedIn

Where better to showcase your business writing skills than on the world’s largest professional networking site? Use LinkedIn to craft an article related to the type of content you produce, then share it with your network.

6. Consider starting a blog

If you’re trying to figure out how to become a freelance writer with no experience, starting a blog or even full-time blogging is a great way to beef up your portfolio if you’re light on clips. It also allows you to practice your skills on specific topics that you want to get paid to write. And if you grow a decent following, you can even monetize your work through ads.

Moreover, it’s a great way to hold yourself accountable to a daily writing routine to keep working on your skills!

You can start a blog about anything you want.

However, it’s best if the subject is at least slightly related to your niche.

For example, if you want to write about interior design, consider starting a blog about home decor with pieces about renovating your own house.

The great part about a blog is that you can send these clips to prospective clients as examples of your writing style.

7. Set up accounts on content writing sites

Sometimes, you can learn how to get a writing job with no experience by setting up an account on a content writing site like Fiverr or Upwork. You can also set up a portfolio on sites like Contently. These sites let you post your example content and get clients from various niches.

If you’re just starting, setting a lower rate is best. Once you move past content writing for beginners, you can increase your rates.

There are also platforms like People Per Hour and Freelancer that act as marketplaces where clients post their projects, and freelancers bid for the work.

These platforms are like Marmite. You either love them or hate them. But the truth is that most people check them out when they start freelance writing.

There are some incredible success stories, like 29-year-old Alexandra Fasulo, who made $271,000 in 2021 from her Fiverr account, where she began writing press releases and edits.

But there are also widespread tales of freelancers who burn out using these freelance marketplaces due to high competition and hefty platform fees, etc.

8. Head to the job boards

Now that your website and portfolio are prepped, it’s time to start looking for work!

Unfortunately, job boards tend to get a bad rap, but they’re actually a great source for finding work at first.

By simply typing in “freelance writer,” “copywriter,” “content writer,” and other similar keywords, you can find plenty of good-quality, reputable companies looking to collaborate with freelancers. Be sure to look up the companies before you apply, though, as there are scams on some job listings.

Good job boards that can help you find freelance writing jobs for beginners with no experience:

9. Pitch! Pitch! And pitch some more!

Besides applying for freelance gigs on job boards, another approach for how to find clients as a freelancer is to reach out to magazines and companies and pitch them directly.

Many freelancers (especially newbies) are afraid to pitch editors and content managers. But if you want to work as a freelancer, you must be willing to put yourself out there.

It’s all a numbers game. You have to get used to accepting rejection, learning from feedback, and trying again.

Particularly, you need to be prepared to pitch every day—especially at the beginning of your career.

When you’re getting ready to pitch, take the time to research both the outlet and the editor. Don’t just blindly send the same pitch to everyone! Connect with them on social media, comment on their posts, and share their content so you’re not a complete stranger when you reach out.

Then, focus on making your pitch personal, i.e., quality over quantity. Try to identify ways that you can help them by either suggesting a few blog posts or making some SEO suggestions. Then, reach out to them by email and see if they respond.

Also, it’s important to be brief with your pitches. Whether you’re pitching editors at magazines or content managers at companies, nobody wants to read through a pitch that’s three paragraphs long. Being clear and succinct is the name of the game!

10. Join Facebook groups and social media sites

Figuring out how to become a content writer with no experience can be difficult. Social media accounts are essential for gaining visibility as a beginner freelance writer.

Editors and content managers use social to send callouts for writers and pitch requests. The three best platforms for writers are Twitter (now X), Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Optimize your bio with keywords explaining your work or the caliber of companies you write for.

For example, “Freelance Personal Finance Writer” or “Forbes contributor.” This will elevate your work in the eyes of potential clients.

If you see a post for a writer role you’re interested in, don’t just reply, “Hi, I’m interested.” Stand out from the crowd by contacting the poster via DM with details of your experience, samples, and rates.

I also highly suggest looking for freelance writing Facebook groups. It’s the perfect way to network with other freelancers and get advice on things like contracts and rates.

Many of these groups often post listings for freelancers. Some freelancers will pass on clients if they are too busy or if it’s for a niche they don’t have the expertise for.

11. Write guest posts

Another way to learn how to become a freelance writer with no experience is to write guest posts on other blogs. While some might pay you to write for them, others will allow you to write for free in exchange for building up your portfolio.

Finding a high-authority site can help you build your portfolio and give you more experience to hone your craft. To find places where you can guest post, do a Google search of your niche with the phrase “write for us.” Then find out the requirements and send an inquiry!

Here is a guide from Zapier to help you learn how to guest post, including templates.

12. Market yourself

Like it or not, you have to market yourself all the time if you want to be a freelancer.

A professional website is a great place to start. Creating (and staying active on!) different social media profiles or being part of online writing groups is also important for building your reputation as a freelancer.

Also, don’t forget to update your blog or website regularly and consistently reach out to editors, bloggers, and business owners to network and find out if they have any projects you can help with.

13. Think like a business owner

Above all, you must remember that when learning how to become a freelance writer with no experience, you are not just a writer. You are also a business owner.

To be a successful solo business owner, you must be independent, organized, and resilient.

Besides your writing duties, you also need to start managing clients, keeping track of invoices, organizing your expenses, tracking your income, and paying your own taxes.

This is a whole other learning curve in and of itself. As you learn how to become a freelancer writer, remember there is much more to freelance writing than just writing!

Here are some things you should remember to do when starting your business:

Get insurance

Insurance is a must if you’re working with clients – consider public liability and professional indemnity insurance, which will protect you just in case something goes wrong with a project.

Set up an LLC and business bank account

An LLC structure limits your personal liability if something goes wrong with your freelance business. It’s not required, but it may give you peace of mind if you’re handling client finances or working with sensitive data.

Set up an LLC yourself or hire an attorney or online service to help you.

Once you’ve registered your LLC, open a business bank account and get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS.

A dedicated business bank account can also help you track expenses and income. It will make it much easier when it comes time to do your taxes at the end of the financial year!

Don’t forget to set aside a percentage of your earnings for taxes, depending on your income and self-employment tax.

14. Gain SEO knowledge

Another way to learn how to get a writing job with no experience is to learn search engine optimization or SEO editing. SEO is often the bread and butter of a good blog or website. It helps companies rank on Google and, in turn, get customers.

While companies might have an SEO manager who tackles the ins and outs of ranking on Google, understanding SEO can help you stand out from others. You can take free courses on Hubspot or with a site like Udemy.

15. Keep developing your writing skills

Everyone likes to think that they can write. (After all, we all write emails and text messages every day, right?) But regular, day-to-day writing (or even the academic writing we all did in school) is not the same as professional writing for businesses or publications.

To succeed as a freelancer and learn how to become a content writer with no experience, you must continuously work on honing your writing skills. For starters, read every day! Read books, read newspapers, read magazines. And definitely read the best books on writing.

Also practice writing about different subjects and using different tones and voice. The more you practice, the better your writing will be.

Become a freelance writer graphic

Expert tip: Leverage content marketing agencies to find work

A little-known secret about how to become a freelance writer with no experience is to turn to content marketing agencies. They are great places to find freelance writing work. Agencies typically have a lot of projects making it easy to find work that way.

As a freelance writer myself, I leverage agencies as a way to consistently find freelance work and to expand my writing portfolio. In other words, agencies can be a great source for ongoing, repeat assignments.

Other places you can find work include job boards, social media, freelance communities, freelancing platforms like Fiverr and Upwork, and cold pitching companies with content ideas. These are all places I’ve personally tried and found success with finding work.
Beginner freelance writer graphic

How to create a schedule when you start freelance writing

Trying to work out how to fit your new freelance writing business into your day? As with most things, you need a schedule that maximizes your creativity.

Write at your most productive

Some people are morning larks and can produce their best work early in the day. Others are night owls and would rather write later on. Then there are those of us who have young children and can only string a few sentences together once they’re in bed!

Identify when you’re the most productive, and schedule your writing for those times. If possible, avoid distractions during those periods, too, so you’ll hit a deep workflow.

Finding the best places to write can also help.

Set aside marketing time

When you start freelance writing, you’ll quickly realize that marketing is a huge part of the job. You’ll soon run out of work if you don’t spend time growing your client base!

Schedule some time each day or week to work on your marketing. Marketing could involve sending out pitches, connecting with clients on social media, creating a new portfolio piece, etc.

Guest posting is also enormously effective. This is when you create free articles in return for a byline and amazing exposure.

I did this recently when I wrote a guest piece for Zapier, a huge automation site receiving two million monthly page views.

Top SaaS writer Kaleigh Moore is also a fan of guest posting. She says, “I did this early in my career, and by writing a few guest posts for Copyhackers, I was contacted by a handful of new clients who’d seen my byline there and wanted to work with me.”

Keep on top of admin

Set a time each day to attend to tedious admin tasks so they don’t get in the way of your deep-focused writing work.

That might mean responding to emails or project management tasks in batches, so you’ll handle all your admin in one hit.

Or it could mean committing to meeting-free days so you can concentrate instead of getting sidetracked.

Prioritize invoicing and taxes

If you don’t get paid, you won’t be a freelance writer for very long! Set some time each week to log your hours, send out invoices, and follow up on any late payments.

In addition, be sure to set aside money for taxes and work with an accountant to be sure you handle everything correctly.

How to avoid burnout as a beginner freelance writer

Freelance writing is so flexible we can do it anytime and from anywhere. But that doesn’t mean we should, even when learning how to become a content writer with no experience!

Freelance writers burnout is surprisingly common, especially when you’re finding your feet as a beginner freelance writer. Here are some ways to prevent it.

Set client boundaries

Be choosy about who you decide to work with, and set clear boundaries from the beginning. If a client is demanding, doesn’t respect your time, or pays late, it’s not worth your stress.

Remember that you’re not receiving a full-time wage, paid time off, or other benefits from your client, as you’re not their employee.

Create a “Work with me” document or page on your site to outline your communication preferences, what you need from a client before starting work, and your rates. It will save you time in the long run by weeding out unsuitable clients before you begin a project.

Don’t get sucked into content mills

It can be tempting as a beginner freelance writer to take any work that comes your way. But resist the urge to sign up for content mill projects that pay close to minimum wage or less.

These sites will burn you out with unrealistic deadlines, low pay, and a lack of respect for your time.

Turn off email and social notifications on your phone

If your phone is constantly pinging with email and social media notifications, getting the rest you need and being creative later will be hard.

So when it’s time for work, put your phone on airplane mode or switch it off altogether. It will help you stay completely focused on your writing goals and prevent burnout.

What qualifications are needed to start freelance writing?

You don’t need specific training, education, or qualifications to win your first freelance writing project and start on the path to success.

Having said that, we see some common paths and backgrounds in the freelance writing community.

Great English language skills

If you’d like to give freelance writing a shot, English doesn’t need to be your primary language. But if you want to write for English-speaking clients, you must be fluent in English so prospective clients know you can communicate their message to a native audience.

If your English isn’t perfect, consider taking an online course or two to polish up your skills.

College degree

If you’ve been writing academically for years, it’s not too much of a leap to become a freelance writer. Don’t worry about what subject you majored in, though.

For example, even with a degree in English Literature, you’ll rarely bring Charles Dickens or Shakespeare into your writing.

But a college education means you’ll know how to conduct in-depth research, structure a piece of content, and stick to deadlines.

If you took Psychology or History, you’d bring the same skills to the table in your freelance writing career.

And if you’re not armed with college certificates? It’s not a problem. Prospective freelance clients are far more interested in your bylines, LinkedIn profile, and testimonials than your education.

The best writing courses for beginner freelance writers

As a beginner freelance writer, it can be helpful to take a course. The most valuable courses show you how to improve your writing, win work, and communicate with editors.

Here are some of the best programs in the market.

Elna Cain’s Writeto1k course

Elna Cain is a freelance writer, coach, and mother of twins. She’s written for Walmart, Zapier, and GoDaddy, to name a few. Her Writeto1k course helps beginner freelance writers land their first client projects and build a solid business foundation.

The course is beginner-friendly and demonstrates how to streamline your processes, find clients and land projects, and get paid.

Creative Class

The Creative Class has supported more than 2,400 students to become pro freelancers. The course transforms your outlook on building a freelance business.

It also teaches you to put firm processes in place because working “on” your business makes it much simpler to work “in” your business.

Kimanzi Constable’s Paid to Publish Masterclass

Have you ever dreamed of having your name up in lights in prestigious publications like Business Insider, Forbes, and CNBC?

Kimanzi Constable’s masterclass outlines how to find a relevant editor for the publication of your dreams, craft a simple but effective pitch, and see your content go live before an audience of millions.

Marketing certifications for beginner freelance writers

If you’re hoping to write for companies online, having some digital marketing skills in your toolbox can be helpful. Hubspot offers a variety of inbound marketing and sales certifications that are well-respected in the industry.

These courses are free but require a little time to complete. Head to the Hubspot Academy to learn more.

You can further work on your writing skills by signing up for professional development courses and joining different online writing groups and online communities.

How can I become a highly paid freelance writer with no experience?

When looking for freelance writing jobs for beginners with no experience, search job boards often. Remember that no matter how good of a writer you are, it takes time to build a reputation.

That’s why new freelance writers should make it a daily practice to surf the job boards for entry level writing jobs. You should also make it a regular habit to cold-pitch publications and companies.

Most importantly, you must remember to keep going and not give up when you get rejected, ghosted, or ignored—because you will be. But if you keep at it and don’t give up after a month of pitching, you’ll eventually gain some traction and start getting results.

Here is another idea for finding work:

Freelance communities

Experienced writers often overflow with work and seek a beginner freelance writer to subcontract to. You’ll be shocked at how many opportunities are posted in private groups over job boards.

Connect with the right people by joining membership communities like Superpath. You’ll also find plenty of gems in Facebook groups like The Write Life Community.

Can I make $1,000 a month freelancing?

Absolutely, you can make $1,000 a month freelancing! Remember: You won’t make $1,000 as a freelance writer overnight, but this is certainly a very attainable goal.

The best way to make $1,000 a month freelancing is to just get started and not spend too much time overthinking it.

After all, you can read about freelancing forever, but unless you start applying to jobs or pitching your services, you’ll never get a gig and start making money.

The secret is simple: Just create a portfolio and start pitching! Making $1,000 a month as a freelance writer is totally possible, but it takes consistent, daily hard work and a writing routine.

What do freelance writers get paid on average?

ZipRecruiter explains that the average hourly rate for a freelance writer is about $23.

So let’s say you work 40 hours five days a week without ever taking a vacation … that equals about $47,000 annually. Realistically, let’s say you work five days a week but also take five weeks of vacation, holiday, and sick time – that equals around $43,000 per year.

Pay depends on several factors, including what you’re writing about, how much writing experience you have, and the budget of your clients.

The other thing to note is that as you gain experience, it will take you less time to complete articles. So, while it might take you an hour to write 200 words when you first start, after a few months, you could be hitting 500 words an hour or even more.

And since many places pay per article or word, your overall hourly rate will increase over time, and you can take on more work.

How much should a beginner freelance writer charge?

Elna Cain recommends charging between .15 cents and .20 cents per word when you first start out as a writer.

As you learn how to become a freelance writer with no experience, knowing what to charge is crucial. If you charge too much, you won’t get clients.

Meanwhile, if you don’t charge enough, it could waste your time.

You can start with a lower amount, and as you gain experience, it will be easier to charge more.

When you start freelance writing, you might head to freelance platforms, where there’s plenty of work offered at low prices. You’ll pick up content projects for 1 to 3 cents per word, meaning you’ll receive $10 to $30 for a 1,000-word article.

These are desperately low rates but shouldn’t put you off freelance writing as a career. Top-tier writers can earn much more, and you will get there over time.

For example, freelance SaaS writer Ashley Cummings produces content for clients like Shopify, Salesforce, and Hashtag Paid. In her opinion, “If you have been professionally writing for at least five years, and you’re not charging $1+/word, you’re not charging enough.”

So, writing can be incredibly lucrative, and it is possible to achieve a high salary.

And remember that each writer started as a beginner freelance writer and worked their way up to the top.

How do freelance writers get paid?

Freelance writers can be paid in various ways, including PayPal, direct deposit, or check. It depends on the company you’re working with or the payment system you prefer.

You can decide in advance what system you like best for payment and let your clients know your preferred method. But you may want to be flexible with, say, receiving a check versus direct deposit, as your clients will appreciate you working with whatever system they already use.

If you enjoyed this article about becoming a freelance writer without experience, check out these other great reads!

Knowing how to become a freelance writer with no experience is a marathon, not a sprint!

A lot of stuff on the internet makes freelance writing look like a dream to get rich quickly. Or it makes it look like a scam.

The truth is that freelance writing is a completely viable career—and you can make good money doing it. But it’s also true that not everyone will make over $60,000 per year as a freelance writer—and they certainly won’t do it overnight.

When learning how to get a writing job with no experience, work slowly and steadily. If you have the writing chops, work hard, and remain persistent, you can certainly build a career as a freelance writer. For more tips on how to make writing your full-time job, learn how to achieve your writing goals.

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