Some people dismiss the idea of being a freelancer because they believe it requires a degree or other formal qualification. If you’re someone who has put their freelancing dreams on hold for this reason, this is the article for you. Can you be a freelance writer without a degree?
Do You Need a Degree to Be a Freelance Writer?
You don’t need a degree to be a freelance writer. There are other things more important to potential clients than your level of formal education. The best way to prove that you’re capable of something is by doing it. So, if you want people to know that you’re a great writer, just be a great writer!!
If you don’t know exactly which direction you want to take when starting out, there’s no harm in trying a few different genres. Experiment with different styles of writing like blog posts, news articles, newsletters, and ghost-writing. Once you find the style that best suits you and the niche you’re most passionate about, all that’s left to do is create a portfolio that showcases your best work.
Is a Degree Helpful as a Freelance Writer?
A degree can be helpful when it comes to freelance writing but it’s not a necessity. It can add value to your writing or help you with some aspects of working for yourself, but a degree won’t fully prepare you for freelancing.
As an example, I have a degree in Biology and a Master’s in Forensic Genetics. My background in sciences gives me an edge when I’m writing about scientific topics. It also made me a researching machine! But my degrees didn’t prepare me for all the other aspects of freelance writing. From monetisation and marketing, to creating a writing portfolio and pitching to clients. My desire to learn and succeed (along with some help from the internet) helped me to learn these things, not my degrees.
Now that we’ve established that a degree isn’t essential to starting a freelancing career, let’s take a look at some of the things that are essential.
How to Become a Freelance Writer Without a Degree
Passion for Writing
Notice that I didn’t say that you had to know how to write, nor how to write well (at least, at first). All you need is the desire to write.
Writing works just like any skill. You need to continuously work on it to get better at it. And there are many things that you can do to improve it such as reading a wide variety of books and other materials, writing journals, and working on your grammar. One of the best ways to improve your writing is to look at the work of successful people in your niche. Then you can follow the best examples! Note that you will need to improve your writing in order to become a successful freelancer. Passion is great, but you need to be willing to improve or you won’t impress any clients!
A big part of freelancing is hearing the word “no”. There’s a lot of competition out there and rejection is common. But you can’t let it stop you from taking the leap towards following your dreams.
Some clients may reject your work and even criticise it. But it helps to frame these situations as opportunities to learn and grow as a professional. You can be a brilliant writer, but no one will ever know unless you dare to put your work out there.
Learn About Writing and Marketing
As a freelance writer, you should focus your attention on learning specific skills that benefit your end goal of becoming a freelance writer. This doesn’t mean going to college or university. There are plenty of resources available online to help. You can be a freelance writer without any experience, but you still have to put the work in!
If you want to write, you need to learn how to do it. Do some research on topics that are popular, consider styles of writing you might be good at, gain an understanding of blogging and SEO, and try to find the best content creation strategy for you.
Marketing is the other side of freelancing, and you need to do all the work on this. Knowing how to write is important. But if you can’t convince your clients that you’re the best choice for them, they’ll just move on to the next freelancer.
Take Online Courses
The number of people willing to share their knowledge of freelancing and writing will surprise you! There are lots of online courses on sites like Udemy, YouTube videos, blogs, interviews, and templates available online to help you on your freelancing journey.
Some courses can be expensive, but most of them are quite affordable, fairly short, and you can take them at your own pace. The investment pays off because you’ll improve your skills. Plus, the people who create these online courses are usually successful in their niches. So, if you have any questions, you can seek answers from an experienced professional.
Study the Competition
If you want to succeed in freelancing, you should keep tabs on what the best in the business are doing. Find some writers in your niche whose work you admire and follow their content. Look at how they structure their posts, how they write captivating headlines, and pay attention to the vocabulary they use.
So, you don’t need a degree to prove that you’re a good writer! There are plenty of other ways you can learn how to write well and become a successful freelancer at the same time. All you really need is courage and a willingness to work hard.