How to Become a Freelance Writer With No Experience (2021 Complete Guide)

So, you’ve been scouring the internet trying to figure out how you can become a freelance writer in 2021? Let me guess… Every article says the same thing and you’re still no closer to having your dream job? Yup, I’ve been there. 

Here’s some good news… I went from having ZERO experience (lol, the caps made that so dramatic) in freelance writing, to making a living from doing what I love. So, if I can do it then so can you!

To be honest, it’s not as hard as you’d think to get started. You just have to be willing to work for it.

Oh, also, there’s some downloadable freebies included, you’re welcome 😘

Just to let you know, this post may contain affiliate links (meaning if you buy from one of my links I make a little money at no extra cost to you). Find my full disclosure here.

What We’re Gonna Cover…

  • Freelance Writing for Beginners: Your Questions Answered
  • How You Can Gain a Full-Time Income from Freelance Writing Even With no Experience 
  • The One Thing You HAVE to do to be a Successful Freelance Writer
  • Easy 3 Step Guide to Getting Your First Freelance Writing Client 
  • The Secret Most People Won’t Tell You About Pitching as a Freelance Writer
  • Freelance Writing Freebies to Get You Started

How to Become a Freelance Writer in 2021 (Updated Guide for Beginners)

Freelance Writing for Beginners: Your Questions Answered

I don’t want to make you search through this post for a tiny bit of info! So, let’s get these out of the way first. Here are some of the frequently asked questions about freelance writing…

Is being a freelance writer worth it? 

Yes! Well, I might be a bit biased but anything beats having a boss, right? Freelance writing isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme (then again, what is?). As with anything, if you work hard you’ll see results. Plus, working for yourself gives you time to work on other ventures, like your own blog. 😉

How do freelance writers make a living?

It’s simple! Freelance writers either charge an hourly rate or a rate per word for everything we write. You can choose which way you’d like to be paid and raise your prices whenever you want. You’re in charge! Of course, you have to start with lower rates and work your way up but anything’s possible, babes. 

What is the salary of a freelance writer? 

According to Indeed, the average salary for a freelance writer in the UK is £94 per day. According to PayScale, the median hourly rate for a freelance writer in the US is $24. Bear in mind that a lot of freelance writers make much more than that! We aren’t aiming to be average here!

How much should you charge for a 500-word article? 

You should charge £10 – 15 ($12-19) as a beginner. A 500-word article shouldn’t take you any longer than an hour to write (depending on how much research you have to do).

If you set your rates too low as a beginner freelance writer, your clients will get the fright of their lives when you eventually have to bump up your prices! So, start with a mid-range price and work your way up (you don’t want your clients dropping like flies the week you have to pay rent).

Does freelance writing pay well? 

The simple answer – yes! I get asked this soooo often. Yes, freelance writing pays well but only if you work hard. As with any self-employed job, you only get out what you put in.

If you’re not willing to work full-time hours you shouldn’t expect to get a full-time wage. The better you get, the less work you’ll have to do. So, the best thing you can do is get started!

How You Can Gain a Full-Time Income from Freelance Writing Even With no Experience 

Working from bed with no one to answer to but yourself sounds great, right? But how can you gain a full time income from freelance writing if you have no experience? 

1. You Don’t Have to be a “Good Writer” to be a Freelance Writer in 2021

Being an online writer is waaay different from being a journalist IRL. Blogging has become one of the biggest money-makers for e-commerce companies because, well, people buy people, not products. 

So, if you can entertain people (to keep them engaged with a website) you’re sorted! Being yourself will get you hired because conversational writing sells more than boring articles with fancy words.

As long as you can string a sentence together you can become a great freelance writer. Plus, practice makes perfect. So, even if you’re not a great writer now, in a year’s time you could be the next Fitzgerald!

2. You Can Teach Yourself to Become an Expert on Anything in 2021

Okay, you’re probably wondering what the hell you’re going to write about. Why would people want you to write their content over someone else? 

It’s easy – you just have to become an expert! 

Here’s the good news: you can learn to be an expert in absolutely anything! I mean, if there’s something you know quite a lot about (makeup, fashion, kitting, boxing, cats – literally anything) then you’ve already got a head start. 

Whatever your passion is, you can become an expert in your niche by learning through Google, YouTube, or even by asking Jeeves (if that guy’s still around). It doesn’t matter what you want to write about. 

As long as there’s a product to be sold in that niche, there’s someone selling it who needs a blogger. Cue their new freelance writer 😉

One Thing You Have to do Before You Start Freelance Writing in 2021

Write a Freelance Writing Business Plan (Don’t Worry, it’s Easy)

I know this is the last thing you want to hear. If you’re anything like me, you’d rather stick a needle in your eye than write a business plan. However, if you want to start a successful freelance writing business then you’re gonna have to write one. 

If you don’t have a plan, chances are, your business will crash and burn. Harsh – I know, but it’s true (trust me, I’ve done a lot of crashing and burning in my time). Don’t worry though, you don’t need a business degree or any fancy finance friends! 

You basically just need to know:

  1. How you’re going to make money.
  2. How much money you’ll make in your first year (predicted).
  3. How much of that money will go to you and how much will go back into the business (you know, so you can expand and become a millionaire).

I mean, there’s a little more to it than that; these are just the basic things you NEED to have planned out before you start. Having something to guide you will help you to stay on track and stick with your new venture! There will be no quitters on my watch. 😎

Here’s a nifty little freelance writing business plan template made by yours truly. All you have to do is fill in the blanks! Don’t worry, it’s free. 

You’re welcome! Plan away, babes. 

Download my free Freelance Writing Business Plan here.

3 Step Guide to Getting Your First Client 

Okay, now you’ve written your business plan, it’s time to get your first client. Don’t worry gal, you’ve got this! Here’s exactly what I did to get my first client (I still use this process now).

1. Get Your Work Published FAST. Here’s how:

The reality is, as a beginner, you won’t get a long-term client until you have published work. You may be able to talk the talk but companies won’t pay you unless they know you can walk the walk (or write the write LOL). 

Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be in any particular niche. You just need to have published proof that you are actually a freelance writer. 

The fastest way to get an article published is to use a freelance job board like Fiverr or Upwork. I used Fiverr but Upwork probably does the job too. It’s up to you which one you go with! All you have to do is make your account, post a gig, and viola! You’re good to go. 

Read this guide on how to get your first Fiverr Gig Fast if you need help getting started. 

2. Write Samples for Your Niche

FYI – YOU DON’T HAVE TO HAVE A NICHE TO GET A FREELANCE WRITING GIG AS A BEGINNER. Sorry for the caps, I just needed you to hear that 🥰

If there’s a particular niche you want to write in (like personal finance or something), you should write samples for that niche. These samples don’t need to get published, they just help you prove your “expertise” and stop people from thinking you’re a beginner. Fake it ‘til you make it babes! Giving out samples gives your future client a taste of the goods, you with me? 

Already know your niche? Read my guide on how to write samples that will get you instant clients instantly!

Why you don’t have to have a freelance writing niche. 

You can easily just apply to freelance writing job ads instead of cold-pitching! I didn’t have a niche when I first started. All I wanted was to make money as fast as possible and I figured out the rest after. I’d just quit my job, you see, so I was shi***g it. 

Should you start your own blog before finding clients?

A lot of freelance writers will recommend that you start your own blog before you try to find clients in the beginning. I’m not gonna lie, I think that’s a waste of time for beginners. Put all of your effort into finding clients, otherwise you’ll be dipping into your savings in about a week. I’m watching you! 

3. Pitch, Pitch, Pitch (All Day, Every Day)

Pitching is the one and only way to get freelance writing clients as a beginner. You’ve got to sell your services but nobody knows about you yet… 

So, how can you put yourself out there? All you have to do is write a killer email pitch to send every single website in your niche (or in response to every ad). 

How to Warm Pitch as a Beginner Freelance Writer

Warm pitching is when you send your pitch to someone who’s actually looking for a freelance writer. Maybe they’ve posted an ad on a job board like Problogger or posted about it on their Instagram page. Either way, a warm pitch is pretty easy to pull off.

Essentially, you send them an email explaining who you are, what you do, how much you charge, and why they should work with you. You should include links to your published work (thanks to Fiverr), and attach your niche samples (if you know your niche already).

You should warm pitch until there isn’t a single job advert that you haven’t responded to. I told ya, it takes hard work to get started! Once you’ve done that, you just have to cross your fingers and see what happens!

How to Cold Pitch as a Beginner Freelance Writer

Here’s the thing, cold pitching sounds SO scary but it’s not, I promise. This is where it helps to have a niche because you can use the same samples in every pitch. 

All you have to do is type [your niche] + [blog] into Google. 

The pages that come up first most likely already have a successful blog so don’t waste your time pitching those guys (unless they have a “write for us” page, of course). 

Scroll to page 2 or 3 of the search results, click on the website, find their contact info and pitch away. Rinse and repeat until someone replies to your pitch with a big Y-E-S, yes! 

The Secret to Pitching as a Beginner Freelance Writer

Pitching as a freelance writer is SO EASY – trust me. I used to walk the streets of Glasgow in the p**sing rain doing face-to-face sales for utility companies. At least us writers are just sitting inside a nice warm house, probably sipping a hot coffee and listening to some music. Anyway… Here’s the secret to pitching as a beginner freelance writer:

It’s all a law of averages! 

To be honest, 90% of the emails you send won’t even get a reply. But do not, I repeat, DO NOT focus on the ones that don’t reply (all you’ll do is stress yourself out and go back to your day job)! 

The great news is that for every 10 email pitches you send, at least 1 will respond!

If that’s not happening, there’s something wrong with your pitch, hun (don’t worry, that’s an easy fix). 

It’s easy to copy and paste an email, change a few things around to make it personal and send. If you can do that at least 100 times a day (this will probs take 4 hours, MAX 5), you’ll get at least 10 responses. 10 responses per day is 50 per week (unless you work weekends, you little gem). 

Do you think you can get at least one out of 50 responses to work with you? Abso-bloody-lutely!

Sometimes companies take a little time to reply so if they don’t get back to you within a week, don’t lose hope. 

Think of email pitches like the business form of Tinder messages. If they don’t reply straight away – no biggie. Buuuut, you should probably move on after two weeks of silence.

If you work hard, I can guarantee you’ll have your first freelance writing client within a week. 

The Only Thing Holding You Back From Becoming a Freelance Writer is YOU

Okay, we’re going to wrap up this blog with some tough love. If you’re like me when I was starting out, you’ve probably read hundreds of blogs about how to get started, yet, here you are… Reading another one.

Put some faith in yourself! I know starting your own business is pretty scary but if you don’t try then you’ll never know what would have happened, right?

Last year I was working a job that I hated and now I’m living my freelance writing dreams (as cringy as it sounds).

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that it’s 100% possible to make a living (and more) as a freelance writer. So, stop getting in your own way and get started today! 

For more freelance writing advice, click below to follow me on Pinterest!

Published by Fiona Eilidh

Hey! I’m Fiona A couple of years ago, I decided to drop out of university to become a freelance writer. In all honesty, it’s been a pretty bumpy ride but FINALLY, I feel like I’ve figured it all out. So, I’ve (re)started this blog to help people like me (basically anyone who wants to be their own boss) start making money online. My goal is to help beginner freelance writers make a living online and eventually become their own client by starting a profitable blog. So, if that sounds like something you’d be interested in, click “start here” for all my tips and tricks! Speak soon, Fi

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