You realize you have a passion for writing and want to learn how to make money doing it. You spend hours writing stories and articles you hope to someday publish, but you don’t know where to start. You pray your big break will come but know it ultimately starts with you. You Google “how to start freelance writing with no experience” in hopes to break into this coveted world called freelance writing.
Before we dive in, I want to give you a little background on me. I started freelance writing only 7 months ago. In those 7 months, I have learned what helped me start freelance writing and be successful for months to come. I want to help you break into this industry too and ultimately be successful. If you win, we all win.
Things You’ll Need Before You Get Started
You’re getting excited about starting your dream job as a writer, but don’t get ahead of yourself because you need to have the right tools first. The things I’m about to name are essential to not only the start of your career but in the long-term as well.
This is the most critical item to have when you’re freelancing. One of the perks of being a freelance writer is that you can do your job anywhere at any time and a laptop makes that doable. You don’t have to have anything fancy, but you do need something that is reliable and has tons of storage space. I picked the MacBook Pro for my trusty laptop to take along on my freelance writing journey.
When you start getting jobs, you need somewhere to receive money without giving your account information like a regular 9 – 5. Paypal is a safe place to send and receive payment for businesses. Whether you’re a client or the freelancer, Paypal will make life easier with its ability to create invoices and take money or deposit money directly into your account. I like it because it’s easy to access for anyone. All you need is the email they used on Paypal to request or send money. I never have to wait for more than a day to get my money into my bank accounts. That’s not the case with most content mill sites. For instance, some make you wait 5 days until you can get the funds and then it takes an extra two business days until it is in your bank to spend.
You should already have one, but if you don’t, then you need to get an email address. Use something professional. No one will take email@example.com seriously. The safest route is to use your first and last name for your email address to give to potential clients. Your email address will allow you to speak to clients in other parts of the world and sign up for a variety of freelance websites to help you make money.
A lot of clients prefer to video chat with you before they allow you to do any work. The reason for this is many bots have come out and are scamming trustworthy clients. Skype is excellent for having interviews and going over work more efficiently than emailing back and forth. Again, just like the email address keep it professional.
Find out what you can say about you when selling yourself to clients. A good elevator pitch is going to state your name. You will want to tell them what you do and a little bit about your background. Next, tell them what you’re bringing to the table that makes you a good fit for the job. Finally, end with a call to action. That could be showing interest in the position or asking for an interview. Keep in mind your elevator pitch should be a 20 to 30 seconds long.
“Hi, I’m Paige. Over the last two years, I have grown as a marketing professional in my various roles as a marketing intern. In those roles, I developed my blogging and social media skills that have helped me stay organized and connect with a wide audience. Some of my proudest achievements are writing for clients like Kona Body and Tailgate Rivals that allowed me versatility. I’m interested in getting into freelance writing and love the niche your company is in. Can you please give me more information on what you’re looking for and the next steps?”
This is what my elevator pitch would be if this were when I started out 7 months ago with no experience.
Editing apps are a lifesaver! I like to use Hemingway and Grammarly to edit my work before sending it out to clients or posting content to my blog. Now you don’t have to use it every time, but when you’re just starting out, it is great to double check work. Hemingway is a one time fee while Grammarly has a monthly subscription. Both are well worth using. Till this day I still use these editing apps. You may also want to look into photo editing software like PicMonkey, Canva, and Adobe Suites. These photo editing tools will help you create your featured image. It’ll be the first thing people see that will make them click on your post.
Social Media Accounts
Although social media can be a nuisance, it is necessary to share your content. Your social media accounts can give you statics of how your posts are doing or reach an audience that is on the other side of the world. It’s also a great way to network with other writers and potential clients.
Research Niches and Freelance Writing
How will you know what you want to write about? Do I really want to be a freelance writer? You can get answers to these questions by doing your own in-depth research on Google. I looked at a variety of blogs from businesses to writers to see their style and what I liked about the niche. Looking up articles about writing engaging content for your freelance writing business on lifestyle or blogs geared toward marketing and writing are super helpful. Marketing companies and entrepreneurs often post tips and tricks that can keep you informed and your content successful. Sometimes researching doesn’t always work. What I mean by this is that sometimes you just have to do it and pray for the best. My first client’s niche was garage doors. Yes, my first freelance job was writing about garage door companies and fixing garage doors. I don’t regret it one bit because it helped me become the writer I am today. I did that up until recently. Although it wasn’t glamorous, it got me on my feet and gave me money that I would eventually expand on.
Start A WordPress Blog
I may be a little biased, but WordPress has been a godsend to me. It is easy to use and the yearly subscription to keep your domain name or see more detailed stats is worth it. Although it doesn’t cost anything to sign up. WordPress is a great way to find a variety of niches from other writer’s blogs and become a part of an open community. Reading other work is just as important as writing your own. So go ahead and set your WordPress blog and write your first post to get your content out there. Don’t get hung up on what it looks like or if anyone is going to read it. You have to crawl before you walk. These things come over time through trial and error.
Your samples can be several things such as:
- Past school projects (if you were an English major or Journalist)
- Topics you write about on a Microsoft Word document
- Your personal blog
It’s good to have these on hand if a client wants to see your work. As you gain more clientele, you can ask if you can use the work you did for them to show other potential clients. More and more clients are giving specific topics for writers to write about for their samples instead of using the writer’s past work. Still, you may still have a client that wants to see what you did previously to judge if you’re the right person for the job.
Freelance Websites and Job Boards
I quickly googled freelance writer websites and freelance writing jobs to find prospective clients. I currently use Upwork as my primary source of income and in the making of using Copify as another revenue. Check out my blog post ‘The top 3 freelance websites I use as a freelance writer‘ to find out why I use and like Upwork. I haven’t been able to use Copify yet, but I’ll be sure to do a blog post about it once I get the hang of it. Job boards like Indeed also helped me. In fact, that is where I found my first two clients while I tried to build my Upwork profile.
You have all the information, now it’s time to put everything into action. Don’t wait until tomorrow to start your freelance writing business. Having no experience doesn’t have to be a setback. You can use what you know in other fields to make yourself stand out and the tips above to get your feet on the ground. Let me know what steps you’re taking to become a freelance writer. If you’re already a freelancer, share tips for newcomers.