You don’t always need experience to get a freelance writing job, which is great news for beginners! If you have a passion for writing and the drive to start your freelance career, then you can start with entry-level jobs and build your way up from there. Below, I outline the best ways to get freelance writing jobs for beginners with no experience.
I’ll take a closer look at how to find beginner freelancing jobs (with methods I used when I was first starting out), I’ll tell you where to look for beginner freelance writing jobs, and I’ll give you tips on how to succeed as a beginner freelance writer.
How To Start Freelance Writing With No Experience
Think About What You Can Write
First, you’ll need to consider what kinds of things you can write about and what styles and tones you’re comfortable with. This will help narrow down the kinds of jobs you’ll want to apply for. However, all of this can and will evolve over time. I started out as quite a generalist writer (as many freelance writers do), but I slowly began to specialize as I found what I liked writing about most.
The best way to start getting new clients is by writing about something that you know. For example, I have a BSc in Biology and an MSc in Forensic Genetics, so I’m very comfortable writing interesting science pieces. I also work part-time in a gaming and tech store, so I also enjoy writing about gaming, new tech releases, and everything in between.
Writing about what you know boosts your confidence and saves you a lot of time researching. Plus, you’ll enjoy it far more than if you were writing about topics you find boring!
However, you might also find new passions by writing about topics you haven’t explored before. You need to keep an open mind as a freelance writer, but it’s worth considering where your current expertise lies when you’re just starting out. Remember, you do have experience in some form or another!
Create A Writing Portfolio
To start your freelance writing career, you’ll need a portfolio to show potential clients what you’re capable of. One of the best ways to build a portfolio is to start your own blog. A blog gives you the freedom to write what you’re passionate about and it gives you something to link potential clients to.
If you don’t want to start a blog, you can simply write a few pieces in the niche you’re interested in. You can then upload these to an online portfolio maker to display on your social media channels or share when pitching to clients. I use Contently for my personal portfolio, and you can find out more about the platform in our overview of Contently.
You could also start writing on Medium, and you can do it for free! You can use this platform to test the waters and see what kind of writing people enjoy, or you can just use it as a portfolio to link to clients.
Your portfolio doesn’t initially need to include published pieces or past client work (as we’re assuming in this article you don’t have experience with that). But you can add these over time as you gain experience. Just make it clear that your first pieces are for portfolio purposes only!
Work On Your Pitch
Next let’s talk pitching. As a beginner freelance writer, you’ll do a lot of pitching. There are some key things to remember when pitching clients:
- The more unique your ideas are, the better
- Let your client know what you bring to the table as a freelancer and how they would benefit from hiring you
- Sell yourself effectively by explaining how you can add value to the client’s business
Still unsure about how to pitch? For inspiration, check out The Open Notebook’s Pitch Database, which compiles successful pitches to a wide range of publications. Once you’ve managed to successfully pitch an article idea yourself, you can also share your experience on the database for other beginners to read.
Now let’s discuss writing gigs you should go for and some you should avoid (I’ll also give you more specific examples a bit later on).
Start With Entry-Level Gigs
Some clients don’t have big budgets for freelance writers. Or they might want to give a helping hand to beginner writers. In these cases, they will specifically ask for entry-level writers. These are perfect first freelance writing jobs for beginners. Places like Fiverr, Upwork and ProBlogger let you filter jobs by level of experience, so you can find the best offers for you.
Avoid Gigs That Require Previous Experience
This might sound obvious, but don’t waste your time pitching for gigs that require some specific level of experience. For example, if a client needs someone to write in the finance or legal niche, they’re probably looking for someone with experience as a financial advisor or even a lawyer – not just a generalist writer that can do lots of research.
As a beginner, initially focus on more general topics to build up your experience (or focus on niches in which you do actually have experience). If the clients ask for specific experience, it goes without saying that you shouldn’t lie about it.
However, there’s no harm in being up front and saying that, while you don’t have the experience, you’d be willing to do the research. This will only apply to some general situations where research would suffice (i.e. likely not the medical niche), but the worst that can happen is that they say no!
Constantly Improve Your Writing
Finally, be sure to keep working on your grammar and spelling and read and write a lot outside of your work. A good way to do this is by keeping a journal or writing on your blog (or on Medium like I mentioned above). There are also lots of online tools to help you turn in error-free work.
For example, Grammarly is a great free tool to run your work through before sending it to a client. But your word processor probably has a built-in grammar checker too. However, the best grammar checker is a human that understands grammar! So, brush up on your writing skills and learn to proofread your own writing. This will pay for itself many times over in the long run.
Now let’s talk about how much beginner freelance writers can make.
How Much Do Beginner Freelance Writers Charge?
Beginner freelance writers can charge anywhere from a few pennies per word to $100+ per project. Lots of entry-level freelance writing jobs pay $0.02 to $0.05 per word, but others will offer $0.10 or more. It really depends on where you find your clients, the kind of writing you do, and the niche you’re in.
First and foremost, it’s important to acknowledge that as a beginner, you may not be able to charge the same rates as more experienced writers. When you’re starting out, it’s crucial to focus on building your portfolio, gaining experience, and establishing a reputation in the industry above all else.
This means being open to opportunities that may pay less initially but offer valuable learning experiences and the potential for testimonials and referrals. But let’s now discuss how you should charge your clients as a beginner freelance writer.
Charging Per Word
The most popular option for beginner freelance writers is to charge per word. To do this, start by researching industry standards for per-word rates in your niche. This can give you a baseline to work with. As a beginner, you may want to set your rates slightly lower than the average until you have more experience to justify higher fees.
Charging An Hourly Rate
Another approach is to charge an hourly rate. Consider how much time it takes you to complete a writing project, including research, writing, and revisions. Determine an hourly rate that reflects your skill level and the value you bring to the table. Keep in mind that as you gain experience and become more efficient, your hourly rate can increase.
Charging Per Project
Finally, some freelance writers may charge a flat fee. This is common for longer assignments, such as ebooks or white papers. Determine the scope of the project, the estimated time it will take you to complete it, and the value it will provide to the client. Consider your skill level, the complexity of the topic, and any additional services you’ll provide, such as research or editing. Based on these factors, you can propose a fair and competitive flat fee for the project.
Remember, pricing your freelance writing services is a balancing act. While it’s essential to value your skills and time, you also need to be realistic and competitive in the market. Consider your level of expertise, the complexity of the project, and the client’s budget. You also may need to negotiate and find a rate that works for both parties.
As you gain experience and receive positive feedback from clients, you can gradually increase your rates. Keep track of your projects, the time you spend on each, and the value you provide. This data will help you gauge your progress and make informed decisions about adjusting your pricing.
Look At What Other Freelance Writers Are Charging
Finally, don’t be afraid to seek advice from other freelance writers. Engage with writing communities, join forums or social media groups, and participate in discussions. Learning from experienced writers can provide valuable insights into industry standards and help you navigate the pricing landscape with more confidence.
Types Of Beginner Freelance Writing Jobs That Don’t Require Experience
Some popular types of beginner freelance writing jobs that don’t require experience include:
- General website copy
- Blog posts and articles
- Sales copy (depending on the niche)
- Product descriptions
Clearly there will be jobs within these categories that do require specific experience, but many blogs just look for writers that can do good research. Website copy usually just requires you to have a reasonable knack for marketing and to learn more about the website or business in question.
Sales copy doesn’t necessarily require experience to write, but it usually just needs you to be fairly good at selling (which may or may not be the kind of content for you). The same applies to writing product descriptions. But how do you go about finding these kinds of beginner freelance writing jobs?
How To Find Beginner Freelance Writing Jobs
Online freelance marketplaces can be lifesavers when it comes to finding your first freelance writing gig. Platforms like Fiverr allow you to explain the type of work you want to do, set your prices, and let clients come to you. But keep in mind that these platforms are highly competitive.
This often means that the freelancers with the lowest prices attract the most clients. However, you shouldn’t sell yourself short by charging rock bottom prices. You need to find a balance that works for you, so be patient!
As you start getting clients, your confidence will grow. You’ll also have more experience and fresh pieces for your portfolio. Freelance marketplaces act as middlemen between you and the clients, which gives you some security while you’re still learning how to manage clients. This makes them a good place to start for beginner freelance writers with no experience.
Use Guest Posting
Guest posting involves writing an article or blog post for another website in your niche, often for free or in exchange for a link to your content. This technique allows you to reach a wider audience and hopefully attract new clients.
As a beginner, guest posting is all about building credibility and visibility in your niche. It also gives you pieces to add to your portfolio. Put time and effort into producing quality guest posts. This increases your chances of getting published and contacted for future work.
Top Tip: To find websites that accept guest posts, go to Google and type “[Your niche]” + “guest posting”, “write for us”, or contributions”
Another similar method to the previous tip is to go to twitter and search for something like “seeking freelance writers” or “hiring” plus your niche and the word “writer” or “writing.”
Many brands and individuals use Twitter to hire for their businesses, so you can use this as a tool to find jobs you won’t see on marketplaces or job boards (see below).
Job boards include the likes of ProBlogger and BloggingPro. These are websites where individuals and businesses can post job openings for writers and editors. They’re highly competitive, but they can be good ways to source higher-paying jobs than those you might find on Fiverr or other freelance marketplaces.
You may also be able to find entry-level freelance writing jobs on LinkedIn. Many businesses use the platform to advertise vacancies, and you can also receive emails of jobs similar to ones you check out. LinkedIn is also a place you can share some writing samples as well, so it can be a very useful platform for beginner freelance writers.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning cold pitching. This is the slowest and most effort-intensive method of finding beginner freelance writing jobs, but it can also be one of the most fruitful. You can either reach out to brands and businesses via social media channels or through their websites, or you can email them directly.
Pitching clients like this is a long process, and you need to really stand out to avoid simply being ignored. You’ll get ignored a lot, and you’ll face a lot of rejection. But it’s definitely a route to consider when you’re first starting out as a freelance writer (although I’d recommend looking on job boards and freelance marketplaces first).
You Can Start A Freelance Writing Career With No Experience
The path to becoming a successful freelance writer is different for everyone. It might feel impossible to land a good gig without experience, but it’s not! I started my freelance writing career with just a few samples from an old blog, the will to learn, and a lot of nerve.
Now I write more than 10 articles each week and I am constantly updating my portfolio with fresh content. By following my tips above, you can do it too! If you want more like this, check out our article full of tips for beginner freelance writers.