Freelance Writing For Beginners: 8 Steps To Land Your First Job In 2022

Freelance writing for beginners is tough. You don’t know where to start, what to charge and how to find clients. 

I was in the same boat!

But, I finally figured it out and want to show you an 8-step process I followed that helped me go from clueless, to a healthy pipeline of paid writing clients.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t have experience or a degree.

In this guide, you will know how to get paid for articles, how to start freelance writing and the best freelance writing jobs for beginners’ websites today to get paid!

FREELANCE WRITING FOR BEGINNERS: 8 STEPS TO LAND YOUR FIRST JOB

freelance writing jobs for beginners

Freelance Writing for Beginners: 8 Steps

  1. Decide on the TYPE of writing you want to write about
  2. Choose a niche
  3. Create 3-4 Samples
  4. Create a writers website
  5. How to find paid clients
  6. Decide what to charge
  7. Get paid
  8. Get recurring work

Note-When I was a freelance writing beginner, I felt super overwhelmed and also had SERIOUS imposter syndrome.

I took this freelance writing course which taught me everything I know, trained me up from writing noob with no experience to securing paying clients.

The course leader Elna, is so patient and helpful and I am so very grateful I took this course as it changed my life (an income). Thanks Elna!

She teaches you article writing for beginners, the best freelance writing niches, and where all the best freelance writing websites are.

If you want to know how to start writing for beginners, this is perfect course for you.

freelance-writing-courses-Elna-write-to-1k

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    1. Decide On The Type Of Writing  You Want To Write About

    Surely when you decided to search for freelance writing for beginners, a lot of questions came to your mind, including the type of writing you could do.

    There are many types of content you can write about. Think about all the things you read online, e-books, blogs, websites, magazines.. someone was paid to write this stuff!

    Here are some examples of writing you can do :

    1. Blog Freelance Writing 

    These are typically 800-1200 words long, although I’ve noticed that companies are now favoring ‘long-form’ content. This is content that exceeds 2000 words.

    Why?

    Because it makes them rank higher and easier to find on Google.

    The style of the content is normally conversational and written for a specific blog audience.

    Blogs consistently need to be updated, so it’s a great opportunity to get recurring work.

    Examples :

    freelance writing for beginners
    • Online Magazines

    Magazines require more in-depth articles with more research, but they pay better. So if you like to investigate, this is an ideal job for you.

    But keep in mind that some magazines publish monthly or quarterly, rather than weekly, some work won’t be as consistent and recurring like blog posts.

    2. E-books Freelance Writing

    It seems everyone and their dog has an autobiography, and often, they will hire someone to write it for them as they are busy.

    Ghost-writing e-books is a popular writing career, because you can charge more.

    Example:

    The Art of the Deal- Donald Trump– written by Tony Schwartz

    3. Websites Freelance Writing

    Every company should have a website so they can advertise their products and services to their existing and potential customers.

    Someone needs to write product descriptions, update the website content and the company home page.

    With this type of writing, the company’s website attracts leads and expands their brand awareness. This is an incredibly valuable service to offer as a writer!

    Making this one of the most profitable types of writing, so if you love sales, this is definitely a type of freelance writing you should look into.

    Examples:

    A healthy drinks company

    A stationary company

    2. Choose A Niche

    It is possible that when deciding to start in this freelance writing online world, you jumped between different topics of interest to write about.

    But, you need to decide on a specific area you are going to write about.

    Why?

    Because it allows you to build authority and become an expert. This will increase your chances of getting hired and help you increase your rate.

    For example:

    If you have a chronic back issue, do you go to a general doctor or a back specialist to fix it? Who would you pay more?

    You go to the back specialist because they have the skills and expertise to fix your specific problem.

    Same with writing, if a client needs someone to write about a finance topic.

    They will hire a finance writer, who has the skills and expertise to write about finance topics properly.

    So how do you decide your niche?

    • Education

    You could write about topics related to your educational background. 

    For example, I know a girl who writes for agriculture magazines because she has a degree in agriculture.

    • Work Experience

    You could also write on topics related to your work experience.

    For example, I worked in banking for over 8 years, so I am a personal finance writer 🙂

    • Passion and Personal Experience

    You could also write about things that interest you. Your hobbies or your passion.

    I have a friend who writes about health and wellness and another who writes specifically about sport.

    3- Create 3-4 Samples

    When you apply for writing jobs, they will want to see examples of your writing.

    But how can you show examples if no one has hired you yet? It’s like the chicken and egg argument.

    There are a few solutions :

    • Guestposting

    Several websites are open to receiving guest posts. These are normally unpaid but it’s a great way to start freelance writing for beginners and get your writing on a platform.

    A really easy way to find guest posts is to google your niche + guest posts.

    So for me :

    Personal finance + guest posts

    Write for us + personal finance

    Here are some sites that accept guest posts :

    Buzzfeed-Entertainment and Viral content

    TODAY– Parenting and Food niche

    Red Tricycle– Parenting niche

    GoMadNomad– Travel niche (Paid!)

    guest post on gomadnomad
    • Google Docs

    You can just fire up google and start to write samples!

    Create 3-4 well researched, easy to read writing samples and you can send the Google Docs link on as your portfolio when you apply for a job.

    This is a simple way to share your freelance content writer portfolio and at the same time keep all your articles organized, even by categories.

    • Linkedin

    Linkedin allows you to write an article and display a portfolio on it.

    The added benefit of this is, your potential clients can have a look at your writing and hire you.

    It’s a great platform for getting freelance writing jobs for beginners.

    • Medium

    Medium is also a platform that allows you to submit and display your writing. If your post is popular, you can get paid for your writing!

    Click here for more platforms linked to Medium you can write for

    • Contently

    You can upload your portfolio of writing on Contently. You can add images and it looks professional. Here is an example of mine here:

    how to start freelance writing
    • Own blog

    You could set up your own blog and display some of your writing here. Just like OutandBeyond is doing!

    Now I have my own writers website, but when I began, I just had this blog and used the writing here as my portfolio 🙂

    4-Create A Writers Website

    Like any business, once you invest time, money and effort into it…. it is more likely to succeed.

    You can read my Step-by- step Guide on How To Create A Writer’s Website and then set one up yourself if you follow the 8 steps!

    It is important to make your life as simple as possible when you are a beginner freelance writer, so reading a guide or doing a course will be immensely helpful.

    These are the pages you should have on your writer’s website:

    • Homepage
    • Services/Hire Me Page
    • Portfolio
    • Blog
    • Contact Page
    freelance writing for beginners

    5-How To Find Paid Clients

    Freelance writing for beginners

    Now let’s get to the real question. HOW to get your first freelance writing job?

    That was the biggest question I had when I started because let’s be honest, we all have bills to pay and things to save for!

    (I am saving for a hike up Mount Kilimanjaro… any sponsors?!)

    Also, I am all for chasing your passions but there is nothing glamorous about sleeping at a bus stop!

    You can find freelance writing jobs for beginners on Job Boards, FB groups, Content Marketing Agencies or by cold pitching.

    Job Boards

    FB Groups

    Content Marketing Agencies

    If you want to know more about sites that hire freelance writers online check my article about the best freelance writing websites today to get paid today. 

    There you will find job sites that look for different types of writers like freelance email writers or freelance e-book writers!

    What is cold pitching?

    Cold pitching involves finding potential writing clients and pitching a writing opportunity to them. It is a great way to find freelance writing jobs online for beginners free

    But if they haven’t advertised it, they don’t need you right?

    WRONG.

    Sometimes they may need you, but they have had the time or budget to advertise a writing opportunity.

    OR

    They may not need you now, but they will contact you in the future when an opportunity arises

    This has happened to me many times.

    The best part is, you aren’t competing with hundreds of other writers applying to the job boards.

    How do I pitch? 

    Quite simply, you find the company you want to write for (like I did with this company ) and send them a prospect email!

    Here is an example :

    freelance writing guide

    To be quite honest, the only way I managed to create my own writer’s website, learn how to pitch and build a pipeline of clients was because I took that amazing freelance writing course I mentioned at the beginning.

    She also teaches you how to get your $1,000 writing by sharing her pitches and tips.

    Within one month of taking her course, I had three new clients. I am only suggesting this as I took the course myself.

    That is somehow you would spend on a nice meal! Spend it instead, on building a platform for your future savings 🙂

    She shows you step by step using videos on how you can differentiate yourself from your competitors and land high paying clients.

    I think it is essential for anyone looking to start a freelance writing career, secure writing jobs from home and get paid well for it.

    • Content Mills

    Content mills advertise online article writing jobs for beginners.

    But, I would like to add a word of caution, these don’t pay well and I have never written for any of them.

    Your best bet is to try the alternatives above HOWEVER, I also understand the fear of having no money.

    If you are writing for free to get experience, then you may as well get paid.

    So your last option is content mills.

     

    6-What Do I Charge?

    You don’t want to undervalue yourself but you also don’t want to scare the client away

    I get it. I was the same

    My advice is to start on the lower end when you are beginning to build value and reputation.

    You can quickly increase your rate once you have written for a few clients,

    I started by charging less but now my rate is no less than $0.10 per word, for new clients.

    I try to stick with this minimum rate, UNLESS there is a potential for a lot of future work, it’s an area that is easy for me to write on and I genuinely enjoy writing about it.

    7-How Do I Get Paid?

    freelance writing for beginners

    Generally, most of my clients pay me via Paypal. Although, some prefer bank account details.

    So, I set up a TransferWise account, which provides me with bank details for different parts of the world.

    Should I expect an upfront payment?

    This is a hard one. Generally, I get paid at the end of each month once I submit an invoice.

    You need to clarify the terms of payment i.e. payment upon invoice submitted? Payment upon publication? Ask the questions before you start writing.

    8-How To Get Recurring Work

    Ideally, you want to try and get as much recurring work as possible so you don’t spend all your time pitching for work.

    The best way to get recurring freelance writing jobs online is to do this:

    Here is what I do :

    • Deliver a well-researched article ahead of schedule, with images, grammar checked and sources quoted. Go above and beyond and spend extra time trying to wow the new client.
    • Once they receive it, ask them for feedback
    • If they give good feedback, ask them:

     ‘Would you like me to send a list of other potential headlines for you to review?’

    or

     ‘What areas is your content thin? Would you like me to fill those gaps by sending a list of potential headlines?’

    • Have a dance-off with your laptop when you discover you have a robust pipeline of freelance work!

    #thatshow

     

    Freelance Writing for Beginners Business Tips:

    1.Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile And Twitter

    Once you approach a company, 9/10 times they will check your LinkedIn to see what you are about.

    I know this because I have seen editors check my LinkedIn profile after I send them a new pitch.

    Make your profile look legitimate and professional

    You can copy mine here and while you are at it, ADD ME on LinkedIn!

    freelance writing guide

    2.Email Signature

    I only realized how professional this looked until I received an email from a reputable well-known freelance writer and noticed she had a sleek email signature.

    You have an email signature for an office job, this is no different.

    Once you start treating your freelance writing like a business, you will start earning money like a business.

    You can copy mine here :

    freelance writing guide

     

    3.Have A Pitch Spreadsheet And Follow Up

    It’s always good to keep track of your pitches, email addresses, titles and most importantly, ALWAYS follow up.

    I have received numerous writing opportunities after following up. However, leave a week before you follow up.

    Example follow up email :

    freelance writing guide

     

    4. Scams

    Unfortunately, there are scammers out there looking to take advantage of writers.

    Some companies will ask you to write a free sample of 1,200 words and then you never hear from them again.

    When I was starting out, I was naive and wrote a 1,200 ‘Test sample’. I saw my article on their website but I never received any recognition or payment from them. Grrrr!

    A rule of thumb is, don’t write anything more than 300-500 words as an unpaid test sample.

    5. Learn About SEO

    For freelance content writers, learning about SEO is essential. 

    To make it easier for you to understand, you must learn about SEO so that your articles are the first ones that appear when someone types “freelance writing for beginners”.

    The reason you clicked on my article is because this freelance writing for beginners post is SEO optimized, making it easier for it to appear on Dr. Google’s first results page!

    This helps me receive more traffic which in return helps me get more passive income or attract potential content writing clients, isn’t that amazing?! 

    That is the power of SEO and the importance of why you should learn it as a freelance content writer. 

    Plus, SEO traffic is one of the best traffics to get as it is free to get, contrary to paid traffic, like Facebook Ads.

    If you are curious about Mastering SEO, whether it is to offer this service to your content clients OR for your own blog, I invite you to check my SEO Masterclass

    SEO SUCCESS FOR BEGINNERS
    SEO SUCCESS FOR BEGINNERS

    There you will learn the exact strategy I did to get nearly 100,000 pageviews a month from Google, in 7 months.

    Learning SEO will not only help you raise your rates but also help you drive traffic, and in the long run help you monetize your own blog to have passive income, #financialfreedom!

    6. You Don’t Have To Quit Your Full-Time Job

    One of the top freelance writing tips for beginners is that you don’t have to quit your full-time job. 

    This is because when you start as a freelance writer you must have a backup savings account to support yourself.

    In the beginning, you may not have many clients, or don’t earn enough to pay your debts and bills.

    If you still having your full-time job you can focus on what really matters:

    • Upskilling;
    • Learning how to have a freelance business

    This may seem difficult at first, you may think you don’t have even a minute to spare. 

    But the reality is, you probably can invest at least 1 hour in your freelance writing side hustle each week or day. 

    For example, if you are one of those who love to watch Netflix daily, substitute one of those hours and start writing instead, remember that only then will your career as a freelance writer start. 

    You will see that as time passes your efforts will be worth it and you could have a greater monthly income than you had with your full-time job!

    Note: I am not saying it will be easy to have a full-time job and build a freelance business,  I speak from experience, and know it is not. BUT, it is a process that requires sacrifices and patience, it is not a sprint but a marathon 😉

    7. Let Go Of Perfectionism

    Have you ever heard of the saying: write drunk, edit sober?

    This means that when you start writing as a beginner, it is fine that your writing is kind of crappy, but the good news? 

    The only way you can improve is by writing again! 

    Keep making mistakes and, after writing your drafts, take time and use tools like Grammarly to help you edit your content. 

    Let go of perfectionism, this will only make your success process slower.

    Instead, if you want to have success as a freelance content writer focus on:

    8. Have A Lot Of Patience And Perseverance

    Yes, for you to be successful as a freelance writer or freelance in general, you have to be very patient and dedicated on a daily basis.

    To be able to stick to your freelance writing journey, you should:

    1. Choose a niche not only for the money but also because you have some interest in it, this will make the writing process easier.  
    1. Don’t compare your journey to others. Instead, get inspired, learn from them, and focus on building your writing and freelance empire.
    1. Get a writing buddy or freelance buddy, someone to talk to to get inspired and motivated. It is always nice to have a friend that is on the same or similar journey to mutually cheer for each other.

    Best Freelance Writing Tips For Beginners 

    Freelance writing for beginners

    1. Write A Good Headline

    A headline that hooks a reader and draws them in to read an article is almost as important as the article itself.

    Here are some tools to help you came up with a good headline:

    headline helper to help you with your writing career

    2. Grammarly

    ALWAYS use Grammarly to check the grammar, it’s free and easy to use.

    3. Bullets Or Numbered Lists

    Bullets or numbered lists make an article easy to read.

    Make sure you break your text up into easy to read points and numbers (like I did for you in  this article !)

    4. Keep Your Paragraphs Short

    Keep your paragraphs short and sweet. I know I violate this rule sometimes, but try and keep it no more than 3-4 sentences per paragraph.

    5. Use Sources And Statistics

    Always try and use external sources to back up any statements, it makes your writing more credible and professional.

    Example, in this article,I quote The Huffington Post to back up my statement

    6. Use Images

    Have you ever read an article and its block of text after text?

    I don’t know about you , but I have a short attention span and I like to be entertained when I read.

    So, bullet points and images are great to keep readers interested.

    You can source FREE images from these websites:

    how to start freelance writing

    7. Plan Your Outline And Collect Content Ideas

    If you are a blog freelance content writer, it is best you first build an article outline and dedicate some hours to research BEFORE writing.

    Afterward, start writing! This process will help you avoid writer’s block as you already have a  structure and information to work on.

    Also, if you work as a freelance fiction writer or blogger, it is possible that many ideas for your content arise, or the opposite happens, you don’t come up with anything new!

    But don’t worry, this can be solved by always writing down your ideas. 

    To do this, have a writer’s notebook or a Note App like Evernote where you can write down what comes to mind at any time. 

    Other apps you can consider to keep your annotations organized are:

    Note: this tip also works for other types of writers, always take notes if a new content idea arises, and then check it later with more time.

    8. Write Consistently

    As you get started in freelance writing, you need to build your own habit of writing daily. 

    Each person has their own adaptation and learning process, you just have to find yours.

    Set your writing schedule and start writing articles that you are comfortable with. You can start with very short articles until you can write more words without compromising quality.

    Also, remember you can also take  writing for beginners courses, as well as lookup  examples of freelance writing  and freelance writing tips articles such as my blog post: 

    25 Content Writing Tips For Beginners ( Earn More From Your Writing!)

    Where you will learn tons of free writing tips to create and how to format content your readers and clients will LOVE!

    Freelance Writing For Beginners FAQS

    freelance writing jobs for beginners

    What Is Freelance Writing For Beginners?

    Freelance writing for beginners is freelance work that involves some type of writing. 

    There are different types of examples of freelance writing jobs such as:

    • Freelance email writer
    • Freelance blog writer
    • Freelance copywriter
    • Freelance ads writer.

    And many more! Curious to know which ones are the most profitable types of writing? Check my article: 21 Most Profitable Freelance Writing Niches (In 2021).

    How To Start Freelance Writing For Beginners (No Experience)?

    There are many ways to start writing on your own if you do not have writing experience, some of them are:

    • Read articles related to the topic or niche of your interest.
    • Write daily, even for an hour.
    • Have your own blog and start publishing articles, use them as samples to attract new clients.
    • Write for your family or friends and use those articles as writing samples.
    • Pitch for guest post opportunities, where you can use the post as a proof of your writing abilities.
    • Take a writing course, upskill and learn the best ways of cold pitching for writers and freelancers.

    Do I Need A Degree To Do Freelance Writing?

    No. You don’t need a degree to get into freelance writing as a beginner. 

    But it is essential that you train yourself, and upskill constantly to raise your rates and deliver high-quality work.

    Also, it is very important to be consistent and disciplined with your work in order to be trusted by clients but also to be able to develop your freelance writing career.

    What Skills Do I Need For Freelance Writing?

    The essential skills freelance writers need to have to be successful are: 

    • Time management, to deliver work on time
    • Good communication to have good relationships with your clients, and have the expectations and deliveries clear.
    • Know how to structure an article for good readability.
    • Be good at research 
    • Be disciplined, instead of excuses bring solutions to your clients, this will always set you apart.
    • Be good at grammar and punctuation, if you need help you can also use free grammar apps or even pay a proofreader

    What Is The Average Pay For Freelance Writers?

    According to ziprecruiter the average monthly pay of a freelance writer in the United States is $5,268 a month.

    BUT, this pay varies depending on the country you are in, the type of writing you do, your skill writing level, number of words, and many more things.

    If you want to learn how to thrive as a freelance writing beginner, check out:

    how to become a freelance writer

    There you will learn the exact strategy to: 

    1. Create a writing portfolio as a beginner
    2. Write a good article that clients like
    3. What to charge for your writing?
    4. Where are all the best-paid writing jobs?
    5. How to increase your rate?

    And many more tips, plus pitching templates and SEO training to thrive as a freelance writer!!

    Conclusion 

    Freelance writing for beginners is entirely possible.

    You don’t need a fancy journalism degree or contacts (although that helps!). But I had neither and I still earn a full-time income that helps me pay my bills and save.

    Do you have any other tips, please share them with us!

    Related Posts on Getting Paid For Writing:

    Freelance Writing For Beginners: 8 Steps To Land Your First Job In 2021

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