Newbie Freelance Writers: Here Are Some Things I Wish I'd Known


So, you’re trying to learn how to be a freelance writer. You’re maybe a bit overwhelmed with all of the possibilities out there and are wondering: what’s the best way to get started?

The first year of any freelance writing career is a time for immense growth. But, if you want to get started on the right foot, here are some things to know:

Don’t Worry So Much About Qualifications

When applying for many other types of jobs, you might be used to emphasizing your experience and qualifications. With freelance writing, it’s all about your writing and the value you can offer to the company.

In fact, your portfolio doesn’t actually have to be from “real” freelance writing experiences at all. You can build a portfolio with articles you’ve written on your own. Your writing will either catch the client’s eye or not; it doesn’t really matter how many years of experience you have.  

Some companies will ask for X years of experience from their writers, but if you think you’re a good fit and your portfolio is strong enough, it doesn’t hurt to apply. I got many writing gigs by applying even without the right number of prerequisite years of experience.

The bottom line: write the best samples you can, and don’t worry as much about experience.

Build a Niche from the Start

You may be tempted to take whatever type of freelance writing gig is offered to you. However, this can make it tough to gain leverage with the types of clients you’re actually looking to get.

The more you want to get paid, the more you will need to show high-quality writing samples in a very specific niche. It definitely helps to envision your target clients before you start writing your portfolio, and then continue to look for clients mainly in that area to build better writing samples. When you’re learning how to be a freelance writer, make sure you look at the different types of freelance writing and choose one to stick with.

Try Things to Make Your Career Grow Quickly

You have to be a little brave to advance in freelance writing. That means continually applying to jobs you’re not sure you’re ready for, or quoting higher rates than you’ve ever quoted before. You never know what will happen until you put it out there. If you get a yes, you’ll build confidence to reach higher next time. If you get a few no’s, at least you’ll know you’re at the highest place you can be right now.

Get Feedback Quickly

I started hiring freelance writers myself a few years back, and it was eye-opening to see the very obvious mistakes new freelancers make in how they communicate with potential clients, how they showcase their work, and how they conduct the entire writing contract. As soon as you can, start getting feedback from experienced writers who can point out the glaring mistakes in your own approach. You don’t want to keep making the same mistake for years and hurting the growth of your writing career!

What Other Tips Do You Have?

What has worked for you so far? What do you think other writers should know? I’d love to hear from you!

Who Wrote This?

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I’m Renee Hyde and I’ve been a digital nomad freelance writer since 2012. So far I’ve visited 60+ countries and counting! On this blog I share tips about dreamy travel destinations, travel hacks, ways to work remotely and travel, and advice for living your best nomadic life!


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