Learning how to start freelance writing with no experience may feel more intimidating than it actually is. The good news is that if you go about it in a methodical manner it’s not that difficult.
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The payoff here is that becoming a freelance writer is not only a viable career option; it also has a lot of perks such as:
- You can be your own boss.
- Working remotely means you can work anywhere at any time.
- You have time for other responsibilities.
But, these benefits are usually experienced by the ones who are professional freelance writers. When you are a beginner, you will make mistakes and face the downsides of being a freelance writer too.
These can arise because you have to do the following :
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- Meet deadlines for your projects.
- Manage your projects properly.
- Have proper payment routes.
- Make bids for writing projects on your own.
So, when you’re just starting out, you might feel a lot of pressure to learn how to start freelance writing as quickly as possible.
Now, if you’re a complete beginner and have no idea how to prepare for freelance writing, don’t worry! We’re here to help you out.
The following are some helpful ways to learn how to start freelance writing with no experience and avoid some pitfalls:
Have the Right Tools of the Trade
First things first, you need to have the tools of the trade. So what could you possibly need? Just grab a pencil and some paper, right? Not really.
You’re going to need a little more than just your stationery such as:
1. A Dedicated Laptop
Make sure that you are using a dedicated laptop for your work. It should have enough storage for your projects, the right software and more. While most people tend to use their personal laptops for freelance work, it is not always a good idea.
Doing so increases the chances of data loss, viruses and other issues. However, this is not a necessity when you’re just starting out and you don’t have a big budget available.
2. Work Area
Your work area should be either in your room, a spot in the library or your favorite café. Where you are working can make a marked difference in your productivity, so pick a specific work area. It should be a place that allows you to focus more on getting the work done.
A distracting workplace can ruin your productivity which isn’t a good thing at all.
3. PayPal Account
For any freelance work, make sure you’re offering a viable payment option to your clients. Create a PayPal account since it is internationally used, easy to access and makes you look professional. Never use Venmo or CashApp when you are working with your clients since these are platforms you would commonly use with your friends or family.
4. Work Dedicated Email Address
Make an email address dedicated to your freelance work. You will need an email address because most of the negations will happen in this area. Plus, having a separate account gives you a more professional appearance and you won’t accidentally mail your clients anything personal.
5. Skype Address
Not all projects need a Skype address but there might be some clients who prefer to use it. It is a good idea to get one just in case your clients require Skype meetings.
Once you have these things sorted out, you can then focus on other areas in your journey to start freelance writing with no experience.
Build Up Your Audience
When you look at accomplished freelance writers and beginners, what is the first difference you will find?
The beginners work in anonymity.
They’re not promoting themselves nor are they building an audience or interacting with their clients as they should. Instead, they are becoming true ghostwriters, until they feel that they have enough experience.
However, why not copy what the professionals are doing? In this case, this means that you build up your audience in a similar manner.
1. Create a Blog
So, what do all the experts have and you don’t? For starters, they have a blog. Including a blog as the first step to learning how to start freelance writing, is important because it is a multi-purpose tool.
Running your own blog allows you to do three major things:
- It lets you market yourself.
- You get to show off your work.
- You’re able to build an audience.
Blogging can allow you to get content writing jobs and network with other writers. Most clients won’t even have to bother with asking for a sample since they have already seen it. Many freelance writers also offer amazing discounts to attract their clients to their blogs.
It also reflects a certain confidence in your abilities that is very important to have. A good blog will do half the work for you.
2. Try Some Guest Posting
Running your own blog isn’t a bad idea but some clients might consider it to be a biased way to market yourself. In this case, you should consider guest posting. This is a simple and easy way through which you can establish your credibility.
Guest posting can be paid on certain platforms, such as Cracked.com which gives you $100 per piece, but usually, it is not. The good news is that you can find plenty of platforms that encourage you to write for them. In fact, once you start looking for them, you might have too many options.
All you need to do is search the term “write for us” and the subject of your niche. Google will then show the appropriate options here. Just make sure to pick something that is related to your niche and is considered a high authority site.
Remember that each site has its own set of guidelines so all submissions need to be in compliance with them to get successfully posted.
3. A Contently Portfolio is a Must
When you’re figuring out how to start freelance writing with no experience, you usually overlook other factors, such as, building a portfolio. While guest posting and blogging are great ways to do this, another must have is a Contently profile or account.
Contently is a platform that allows you to showcase all your published posts, guest posts, samples and other forms of writing. It’s an extremely nifty tool and it’s like a virtual, writing resume for you. Used properly, it lets you wow your clients with ease.
Plus, as you keep writing, your experience keeps growing and you can add it to your Contently profile. A profile here also allows you to become more visible in search results. The best part is that it is completely free to make a portfolio on Contently!
With these essentials, you will easily be able to build an audience and establish a foothold in the freelance writing community.
7 Popular Platforms for Freelance Writing Projects
Another area that you need to consider is how to find projects. You’ll be happy to know that regardless of your experience, a large number of freelance writers find their projects from online platforms.
These platforms will list down various projects and interested writers can then apply to them. While some of them can be a bit complex, the following are a few platforms that are not only popular but great places for beginners to gain some experience in:
1. People per Hour
This is one of the most popular freelance writing platforms. People per Hour focuses on all areas of freelancing, including writing. You can find a lot of different project postings based on different writing niches.
Competition might be high but you can easily create your own job posting for your services too. This gives you more freedom and flexibility without compromising the quality of your work.
Completely dedicated to freelance writing jobs, you can probably find jobs here for almost any niche of writing here. From market research to study papers and more, Upwork is a good platform.
While you can face difficulty in getting jobs in the start, Upwork also offers skill tests for writers. If you pass these tests successfully, you can post them on your profile and attract more clients.
This isn’t a free platform, unlike the others mentioned here and you will have to sign up with a subscription. However, Flexjobs promises that all listings are checked, scam-free and completely safe so you won’t lose any money when getting jobs through the site.
Plus, it’s developed to help you live your best freelance writing life. It has job listings for over 55 different categories for various skill sets.
While it doesn’t offer you the flexibility that People per Hour offers, Freelancer is a bit similar to this platform. It’s good for beginners though and it is also very easy to sign up to.
While the three-step-sign up process for Freelancer is a bit tedious, it’s good to stick with it as it matches your skill sets with the projects. Plus, Freelancer’s projects are usually bigger, which could give you a lot of work for a long time.
For beginners, this is considered to be the best site to start with. Signing up with iWriter is free and all you have to do is a small test. Once you clear it, you immediately get to pick up articles and start working.
iWriter also has a rating system that’s based on your test results and it’s a given that a better rating will get more work. As a result, Elite Plus writers can make more money than Standard writers.
Luckily, if you’re delivering consistent quality, your rating level can rise. Plus, anyone can request for you to work with them on private projects too.
Another flexible freelance writing site, Textbroker makes sure that you get consistent work from clients on a regular basis. You’ll have to submit a sample, so send them your best pieces.
Once that is done, you will get a rating and be assigned work accordingly. Textbroker also allows you to work on a first-come-first-serve basis, join a team of writers or work one-on-one with clients.
7. Demand Media Studios
There can be a lot of competition for freelance writing jobs here. Demand Media Studios produces content for renowned websites including Livestrong and eHow. All you have to do is create a writer’s account which can take some time to approve.
Once that is done, just apply for a position and depending on which category, expertise and content you create, you can earn a good amount.
With these platforms, you will easily learn how to start freelance writing with no experience in next to no time.
4 Things to Remember When Bidding or Responding to a Posting
While the tools and tips mentioned above will help you, we’re also going to cover a very important area where most beginners can face problems.
This is responding to the job postings or project postings you find on different platforms.
A key part of learning how to start freelance writing with no experience also revolves around knowing which postings are worth responding to and which ones are not.
Based on this, you should pay attention to the following factors:
1. Stay Away from Content Mills
It’s hard to identify content mills but these are usually low paying projects that require a lot of content in a short amount of time. It might look reasonable for you to pick up a job that pays $5 for 500 words until you’re busy writing it.
Content mills, however, are not interested in the work you put in. They just want the output you produce. Unfortunately, many writers don’t realize this and can end up working with them.
2. Don’t Lower Your Prices
Now, you’ll face a lot of competition in freelance writing. There are writers in different levels of expertise, niches, writing style and more. However, you shouldn’t lower your prices below the market price.
That’s just a recipe for disaster. Instead, you should try to make sure that you’re offering market competitive rates and prices that accommodate the effort, time and energy you will be putting in. Know your worth and stick with it.
3. Be Ready for Competition
As previously mentioned, you will face a lot of competition in the marketplace with other writers. So, how do you beat it? By offering value in your services and the kind of content you produce.
Offers like discounts for repeat clients, referral bonuses and packages for content will all attract attention. In service-based industries, even writing, every little detail makes a marked difference.
Just remember to deliver on your promises. Otherwise, if you’re promising fast submission but unable to deliver, you’re going to get bad reviews and disappointed clients.
4. Remember to Highlight Your Strengths
Don’t be afraid to highlight your plus points. Your writing skills and strengths are what a client will consider when deciding how suited you are to their project.
This is why you need a Contently portfolio that shows clients all your best work, in one simple platform. Plus, encourage your clients to leave reviews about your services. Most clients pay attention to reviews, word-of-mouth marketing and peer-based opinions.
So, if a lot of people are saying that your services are stellar, it’s got to be true right?
With these tips, you will easily learn how to start freelance writing no experience and get your first writing project too!
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