Freelance content writer

How to Become a Freelance Writer with No Experience in 8 Simple Steps

In 2018, I was working in a small business office, finishing up my last semester of my bachelor’s degree. I was making $15/hr, working 40 hours a week, commuting an hour each way in traffic.

I knew I wanted a family and kids, and I had no earthly idea how I would be able to work like this, and still be a wife and mom. I knew something had to change. So, I started Googling “how to become a freelance writer with no experience.”

Now, at the end of 2022, I just wrapped up my biggest month yet, just shy of $15k. Now, I work from home, I spend maybe 2-3 hours a day writing on my iPad, and I choose my own daily schedule.

Sounds like a dream, right? I honestly can’t believe it’s real some days.

Enough Talking! Tell Me How to Become a Freelance Writer with No Experience

When I made the decision to make writing a career back in 2018, I knew that one of the main challenges would be establishing myself and building my portfolio.

So, I threw myself into writing opportunities without much pay or recognition, but they gave me a chance to flex my writing muscles and have something to show potential employers.

Little did I know at the time all of this unpaid work was just the beginning – soon enough doors began to open and those rejected emails started becoming job offers, eventually allowing me to make writing a full-time career!

Freelance content writer
You can become a freelance writer. It just takes a willingness to learn and strong mindset.

Step 1: Create an Upwork Profile

When I set out to create a writing portfolio, the first thing I did was to create an Upwork profile. This would serve as a platform for potential employers to see my valuable writing skills and experience.

To back it up, I uploaded my college papers that gave employers a great idea of what kind of writer I currently am. It felt great seeing all my hard work compiled in one place – my very own portfolio!

This allowed me to showcase more than just the pieces that have been published and made me feel confident and like I actually knew what I was doing (spoiler alert, I had no clue what I was doing.)

Step 2: Apply, Apply, Apply

Over the rest of 2018, I went full steam ahead with my mission of freelancing on Upwork and exploring different job opportunities while still working my full-time and maintaining my side hustle.

I started to expand what types of jobs I was willing to take on in order to gather experience and build up my profile. Sometimes that meant me taking on work in fields and areas I hadn’t gone near before.

And each time it challenge me to learn something new and become comfortable with other tools or applications – something which was especially useful as times changed in freelancing.

Despite the late nights, long commutes, spending time with clients or employers after work, struggling to make a name for myself in a competitive marketplace – it was worth every second for the learning opportunities that presented themselves during this time. It was freaking hard and I consumed a lot of caffeine.

Step 3: Narrow Down Your Niche

Trying to distance myself from the masses of cliché “content creators” by actually producing something worth reading was quite the challenge!

After I went through the initial phase of writing about anything and everything, I quickly realized that my interests lie in finance and educational blog posts.

Soon after coming to this decision, I began targeting these types of jobs for clients who seek out writers with a knack for this kind of content.

You can ask anyone and they’ll tell you it’s important to select a niche first, but as someone who loves jumping right in to abstract concepts – trial and error was definitely my game plan.

After getting my feet wet in all sorts of topics, I eventually found what really inspired me and decided to niche down and become an expert. So if you’re like me who just has to try it all out before committing – I would advise you do the same! If you’re wondering how to become a freelance writer with no experience, it may be a good idea to pick your niche after you’ve had some experience writing for a bunch of different topics.

Step 4: Create Your Portfolio

So you’ve decided to specialize in a particular area of writing and now it’s time to put together your portfolio! If you’re starting out, I would suggest keeping it simple by using Google Docs. Include links to published works, research journals and whatever else you feel showcases your writing skills.

And don’t worry if it isn’t super fancy; the goal is to make sure potential clients get a good sense of who you are and what kind of work you produce.

Ultimately, that’s the key. Don’t overthink it. Having a simple portfolio that you actually send out is worth way more than a fancy portfolio that you overthink and never makes its way into the hands of potential clients.

How to Create a Portfolio

Creating a writing portfolio is one of the most important steps any freelance writer can take. It’s essential to show potential clients exactly what you are capable of and your writing portfolio is what will make you stand out in a competitive marketplace.

Start with gathering your best work from earlier projects, published or not, and focused on the specific subject area that your clientele request.

Showcase a variety of pieces such as long-form articles, blog posts, social media posts and any research publications that you’ve written that clearly demonstrate the impressive results you achieve for each project.

Step 5: Create Your Own Elevator Pitch

Crafting an intriguing elevator pitch that catches the eye of potential clients is essential to any freelance writing portfolio. When writing a pitch, think of how you can draw in your client and show them the value you can add to their projects.

As a freelancer writer, grab the opportunity to energize your audience with efficient and effective work that demonstrates your skills and expertise. By delivering exceptional results each time, your portfolio will stand out from the competition.

Communicate in a way that exudes confidence so that clients know they’re hiring a professional who takes her craft seriously and is equipped with creativity, reliability, and dedication.

Step 6: Apply to a Crap Ton of Job Postings

Now you’ve been putting in all this work to get your portfolio and elevator pitch ready, and it’s FINALLY showtime. Time to start hammering out those applications so that you can become a freelance content writer.

Applying for jobs is all a numbers hame to me. I know that if I put out 5 job applications, the chances of them reaching back out to me are slim to none.

Once I realized this, I’m not joking, I would apply to 250+ freelance job postings a week. I wanted this badly. And I put in the work! Once I put in this many applications, that’s when the interview opportunities started flowing in. I would get 5-8 interview requests a week.

Don’t be shy – start searching for bloggers, small business owners, or other writing gigs and don’t forget platforms like LinkedIn, Indeed, Facebook groups, Creative Circle, Upwork, and Fivver that can help you land the right gig.

These job boards specialize in freelance roles making them the perfect place to showcase your talent and find the opportunity that’s right for you.

Step 7: Interview as You’re Interviewed

Once you’ve got some freelance writing interviews under your belt, it’s time to get selective. Don’t jump at the first offer – check in with yourself to make sure the job aligns with your goals and is a good fit.

Clients are interviewing you – but you should be interviewing them too! If they’re offering below your set rate, move on. Your writing business depends on integrity like that – don’t sell yourself short, these jobs are worth your time.

Before you even think about scheduling interviews, do some prep work: Decide what rates you’ll be offering, which types of projects attract you, and how often you’re able to take on new assignments. That way, when review time rolls around, you can decide if this client is worth pursuing or not.

Step 8: Lay Down Your Contract

Signing a writing contract before beginning work with a client is vitally important–no matter how friendly you are and how good the fit feels.

All of your expectations, rates, payment terms and any revisions you’re willing to include should be outlined clearly in your contract, so that there is no confusion from either party later on.

A well-crafted contract will take away the worry and leave room for creativity and collaboration, making sure this project (and potentially more!) end on the best possible terms.

But I’ve Never Written in My Life, Madison…

If you’ve never written anything before but are thinking of becoming a freelance writer, you’re going to need to be willing to put in the work to make this happen. Not just anyone can pull off writing something that people will pay for.

To get started, why not start your own blog and practice? In addition, read articles and pieces that have been successful. Finally, you can take advantage of breakthrough AI writers like Jasper to really hone in on the craft of writing quality content quickly.

You can’t expect a client to pay you big bucks if you’ve never written anything other than a high school essay 10 years ago. You HAVE to practice, practice, practice. Read what other successful writers have written, hone your craft, and be realistic with how fast you’ll be able to to make a full time income off of your freelance writing gig.

How to Become a Freelance Writer with No Experience

So if you’re wondering how to become a freelance writer with no experience, where do you start? The good news is that there are plenty of avenues open to you.

You can take on small writing gigs to build up your portfolio or join a content site like Upwork, where you can get paid to write articles on a variety of topics. With a little effort and perseverance, you can soon find yourself enjoying the many benefits of being a successful freelance writer!

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