I’m going to provide the fast answer to this question and a much longer answer.
How do I become a Freelance Writer with No Experience?
- Treat it like a business
- Choose a niche
- Create a freelance writer website
- Write some samples
- Market yourself
- Find clients
- Get paid
- Rinse and repeat 5 through 7
Sounds simple enough, right?
Let’s look a little closer at each of these.
Treat it Like a Business
Too often, new freelance writers don’t treat their new career like a business. As a freelance writer, you’re opening a business.
Acting like a desperate employee won’t get you paying work and won’t help you keep clients.
Choose a Niche
Choosing the right niche isn’t easy and it’s not 100% necessary to become a freelance writer with no experience.
When I started, I wrote about a number of subjects since I accepted nearly every project I received. Today, I specialized in a handful of niches.
It’s best to choose one niche you enjoy writing about, but not 100% necessary. If you want to choose just one niche, make sure it’s something you love writing about.
Create a Freelance Writer Website
Creating a website may seem difficult or daunting, but it’s much easier than it used to be. Plus, going through the process of creating a freelance writer website will allow you to learn about some of the things you may be providing your clients.
You’ll want to include the following pages:
- Portfolio (about you and where your samples go)
- Hire Me or Rates
- Contact Page
It’s also a good idea to include a blog and provide some blog posts about your niche.
Write Some Samples
The samples you create will be the best marketing tool you have, at least at the beginning. About 90% of potential clients will ask for samples, even if you have them displayed on your website.
Write at least two relevant samples for every niche you want to cover.
For many new freelance writers, marketing is the hardest part. There are so many easy ways to find clients, however.
Start with social media and start following people/companies you’d like to write for.
You can even provide something of value while building up your portfolio of samples. Here’s how:
- Find 10 websites of potential clients you want to write for
- Check out their blog and see what type of topics they like to write about
- Choose a topic and write a killer blog post for them
- Reach out through email or through the contact form on their website and deliver their free blog posts
This strategy has worked to help me land dozens of high-paying clients.
As a beginner, you can use each blog you write with this strategy as a sample, as well. Just make sure you don’t actually publish it on your blog. Instead, create a downloadable PDF or link to the URL once your new client publishes it on their website.
After marketing on social media or using the strategy above (or another) you’ll probably have a few clients. Write for those clients, keep them happy, and get them to order again.
It’s way easier to get a current client to place another order compared to finding a new client. Take care of your clients and they will take care of you.
You, obviously want to get paid. As a freelance writer with no experience, you want to take a deposit for any new projects, especially anything larger than about $100.
I recommend asking for a 50% deposit upfront and the second half upon delivery. I have also asked clients to pay in full, upfront for a small discount.
Payments can easily be processed through PayPal, Payoneer, or one of many other payment processing options online. You can even have them use Zelle to pay you if you’re bank and their bank works with the Zelle App.
How much does a Beginner Freelance Writer Make?
When you first start out, figuring out how much you should charge matters. It’s also a good idea to know what a beginner freelance writer will make so that you can plan your own budget.
According to Payscale.com, the average freelance writer will make about $21.38 per hour. Top writers will make $56+ per hour with those on the lower end making around $11 to $15 per hour.
While these numbers may look good or not so good to you, they mainly represent those working for one company or with just a few clients. They don’t really provide a true look at what a freelance writer with no experience will make or what a freelance writer will make on a per word or per project basis.
If you speak and write English as your first language, you can make at least 3 cents per word, probably more.
When I started, I didn’t know any better and I charged a penny per word. I was also typing about 2,000 words per hour and $20 per hour was excellent compared to what I was making as a server/bartender at that time.
Today, after more than 10 years of freelance writing experience, you can’t get me to work for a penny per word. My rates are more than ten times what I started at and I certainly surpass all the averages above.
My advice, as a beginner freelance writer with no experience, charge enough per word or per project to make it worth your time.
Figure out how long it takes you to write, edit, and finish a 500-word or 1,000-word article. Then, figure out how much you want to make per hour.
If it takes you one hour to completely finish a 1,000-word article and you want to get paid $35 per hour, you should charge $40 per 1,000 words.
I am providing a $5 padding to cover any processing fees from the payment processing company you choose.
Even without experience, if you can write at a high school or college level, you should be able to charge at least 3 cents per word, probably more.
Can you be a writer without a degree?
Absolutely 100% YES!
Don’t listen to articles, like this one, telling you it’s better to have a writing degree. You don’t need one if you have the skills or you can build the skills.
College degrees in certain fields are nothing more than showing you made a commitment for four years. Sure, you’ll gain some useful knowledge and if you plan to become a freelance journalist, you may need a degree.
However, if you want to be a freelance blog writer, SEO writer, online writer, or any other type of freelance writer for the online world, you won’t need a degree.
Without a degree, you have the ability to make a full-time living online as a freelance writer.
Yes, you will need to learn basic skills, such as basic SEO, content structure, writing blogs vs. writing research papers, etc.
Yes, you will need to gain experience or show you can properly research topics you are not already an expert on.
Yes, you will need to work hard to build up your portfolio to show you’re worth hiring.
No, you don’t need to go back to school and get a degree to become a freelance writer.
How do I start my writing career?
I covered the steps above, but let’s add a few things you will want to do if you want to start your writing career online.
- Make a commitment and DON’T QUIT!
- Find websites that pay writers (my list of 100+ is a great resource and it’s free!)
- Hang out online with other writers and study what they write
- Write every single day (except Sundays, your hands need a break and it’s the Lord’s Day if you’re Christian)
- Seek opportunities often and everywhere
- Network as much as you possibly can
The hardest part about becoming a freelance writer with no experience is getting started. With a week, you can become a freelance writer with no experience and change your job title to freelance writer with experience!
What Qualifications do I need to be a freelance writer?
Another article telling you a Bachelor’s Degree in English, journalism, or communications is necessary is found here.
You can become a freelance writer with no experience, no degree, and no true writing skills, with the right work ethic.
You literally need just the following qualifications:
- Native English Speaker/Writer
- Ability to use Spelling and Grammar tools, such as Grammarly (takes about 15 minutes to learn)
- Ability to Follow Directions from Clients
- Willingness to put in some work building your portfolio
- Willingness to market yourself
If you’re able to do these five things, you can become a freelance writer with no experience.
Of course, tools, such as my list of 100+ websites that pay writers is a great way to find work when you’re just getting started!
What are the highest paying writing jobs?
Understanding a few of the highest paying writing jobs may help you figure out how to start as a freelance writer with no experience.
When you look for answers to this question, you’ll find all types of odd writing jobs. Freelance writers looking to make a killing online should focus on the following:
- Copywriting – Learn it, use it, and cash in!
- Long-Form Content Writing
- Case Study Writing
- White Paper Writing
- Blog Writing
I prefer a mixture of different types of writing as blog writing provides more consistent work, but copywriting has a higher level of pay.
The freelance writing niche you choose will also help determine how much you can charge and make.
When I worked for web hosting companies, if I tried to charge more than 5 cents per word, I struggled to find and keep clients. However, in a few other niches, I have charged as much as 25 cents per word without any issue finding and keeping clients.
If you want to become a freelance writer with no experience, get started today.
The sooner you begin, the sooner you can go from a freelance writer with no experience to a freelance writer!