how to start freelance writing with no experience (2024)

how to start a freelance writing career with no experience sun soaked kitchen

I’ll be honest— as a singer-songwriter, I never dreamed of starting my path as a freelance writer. But after I realized the immense power that being able to write had in any industry, I pursued it during the depths of 2020. Now, years later, I’ve been so lucky to have a full-time income from my […]

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April 2, 2024

Kira

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I’ll be honest— as a singer-songwriter, I never dreamed of starting my path as a freelance writer.

But after I realized the immense power that being able to write had in any industry, I pursued it during the depths of 2020. Now, years later, I’ve been so lucky to have a full-time income from my freelance writer, having worked with amazing people and organizations. And probably the best part— I’ve applied what I’ve learned to deliver my clients to my own blog, YouTube, and social media!

Want to learn how to start freelance writing with no experience? Dreaming of getting paid to write for a living? Let’s dive right in.

image of a woman with her hair half up half down on her laptop working from home


What is Freelance Writing in 2024?

Freelance writing looks a lot differently in 2024 than it might have, well, even 20 years ago!

When I told people I was a writer, the first thing they thought was that I was Carrie Bradshaw-ing my way around NYC. Or, hoping to be the next JK Rowling.

But in 2024, freelance writing is about crafting engaging, click-worthy content for brands across many digital platforms and mediums. It can include social media copy, SEO blog articles, YouTube scripts, product descriptions, website copy, podcast show notes, and more!

Plus, it’s easy to graduate and shift your focus on something more content-driven if you want— think content manager, SEO specialist, or even marketing specialist, either at an organization or as a full-time freelancer like I was.

But as an artist, one of my favorite parts of being a freelance writer is it’s 100% remote! That way, I can focus on writing my music, writing blog posts for you (like I am right now), recording YouTube videos, and building my brand without commuting to an office and dealing with the draining energy of in-person work that’s not your pure passion!

Who Can & Should Do Freelance Writing?

If you’re looking to learn how to start freelance writing with no experience, you might want to know if you’re the right fit before diving headfirst. Freelance writing is great for folks who are:

🧠 Formula-minded folks: Creativity was NOT the first thing on this list, because when it comes to freelance writing, and specifically social media and blog copy, there are very specific formulas that you need to understand and follow that doesn’t require creativity at the forefront. Being formula-minded will help you a lot when you want to scale your work and find a true system to help your process, whether you’re writing SEO blog posts or social media copy— everything is a formula.

✍️ Conversational and friendly communicators: With so much AI content around, I’ve made it a point to market myself and my writing tone of voice at the forefront of all of my profiles as things like “friendly, empathetic, and friendly.” People want to know that you’re going to have personality and character when you write, so it’s good to have these qualities naturally so you can let your inner casual Cathy show. 💃

🙏 Humble collaborators: As a freelance writer, I’ve worked with a ton of different people and departments, like marketing, social media, design, devs, and CEOs and founders. With this, there have been moments where it could easily sound like I was stepping on someone’s toes, or vice-versa, which is why it’s essential to be humble collaborators and open communicators. Leading with kindness can be your best friend, especially when you’re starting and your soft skills are kinda all you have. 😉

image of a woman on her computer in a cozy and earthy kitchen


How to Start Freelance Writing With No Experience

1. Get on a Job Platform (Upwork, Fiverr and Contra) & DON’T Focus on Money.

As a new freelancer learning how to start a freelance writing career with no experience, you don’t need to focus on money (yet). Because right now, you only have one competitive edge: you will be more affordable than most others. Use this to your advantage and prioritize building a good reputation on your job platform so it gets prioritized when you’re showing up in a list of submissions.

Eventually, your testimonials will be your new “leverage,” and will be the reason why you can raise your rates!

On all of these job platforms, make sure you spend a day being really intentional about your bio, profile pictures, and your job title. Think about what you’d be looking for if you were hiring someone, and tailor it to that. Focus on your first line— how can you speak directly to a potential client’s pain point? How can you make them feel heard and understood?

Let’s also get something straight— I recommend starting on marketplaces like Upwork, Fiverr and Contra because it’s a great way to get a “middle-man” to help you get hired— that’s what the fee is paying for, essentially. Just know that in order to reap the benefits of these platforms, you have to play by their rules, like keeping conversations inside the platform and having to accept the platform fees, if there are any.

2. Make Pretty Systems & Mini-Goals Through Your Manifestation Lock Screen.

When you’re learning how to start freelancing with no experience, I find it’s so important to focus on building effective systems rather than setting goals.

Goals are something you can’t control— like being able to make $4,000 by May. But systems are something you can always control— like making sure you’re submitting 20 job proposals per day.

Focusing on smaller, more actionable tasks can help ensure you’re not making yourself crazy and track your progress more easily. Plus, you get to check off things every day— and what’s more satisfying than that?! ☑️

I also fully believe that these systems should look and feel cute, which is why along with systems, I also manifest through things like a cute, aesthetic manifestation lock screen. 👇


3. Track Your Application Progress Through Notion.

In fact, while we talk about organizational systems, let’s just say that I have no idea where I’d be without Notion. It’s where I tracked applications, and created custom dashboards, and checklists, and now, it’s how I track every invoice to track my finances and prep for tax season.

Especially when figuring out how to start freelance writing with no experience, the organization of tracking all my applications, following up with people, using metrics to rework my cover letters— it all came through creating my own custom Notion dashboards. And it wasn’t even difficult!

I love the little parts of Notion that make things so much prettier— cover images, add custom GIFs and emojis— and having even more fun with the Notion Enhancer Chrome extension for extra fun.


4. Learn from YouTube (University).

It’s not a secret that YouTube is a treasure trove of free content— but it’s how you’re digesting the content that really matters. An insider’s tip (ironically, from a course creator) that I was taught when leveraging YouTube for specific types of education (like freelance writing) is this:

Find courses that you want to take but can’t afford. Find the course outlines, write down each module, and then search for that module on YouTube. This can help you create your own little, free mini-course, all through YouTube.

And of course, binge content from amazing creators who offer truly valuable information. But you probably already know that. 😉

If you do have some money on the side that you’re able to put towards a course, go for it! Courses were a huge way to push me to take my businesses seriously. Just make sure you get a course that also has a community in it— i.e. a Facebook Group, Circle Community, or a space where you can meet with other freelancers. I cannot stress how important it is to get with people who are doing what you’re doing so you feel inspired and motivated to keep going. Plus, accountability buddies for life!

how to start freelance writing with no experience woman in her cozy white bedroom on her laptop



5. Boost Your Rates When You Get More Experience & Spend More Money.

When you’re first starting out as a freelance writer, be a little competitive with your rates— knowing fully well you’re not going to stay there forever.

But with every new client, with every new course you take, every new skill you learn, raise those rates. Reassess what you’re worth constantly, and remember that at the beginning of your journey, your leverage will be your affordability, but as you go on, your leverage will be your skills and experience. Both are competitive.

As you go from learning how to start freelance writing with no experience to learning how to raise your rates, you’ll realize that your skills and thus your target audience will change.

You’ll first attract people looking for the cheapest— so you’ll do the best job at the cheapest rate and get great 5-star reviews. Then, once you’ve gotten over that hump, you’ll want to start working with clients you truly love working with, on an ongoing, month-to-month basis.

And don’t worry— the more time you have freelancing, the more comfortable you will be stating your rates without apologizing or trying to downplay your worth.


6. Notice Your Niche (Don’t Pick It).

Unpopular opinion alert: I can’t stand when people say “pick your niche” like it’s picking your favorite ice cream at the shop. 🍦🙅‍♀️

Your niche is more of a discovery process than a deliberate choice, so instead of forcing yourself into a niche (specifically at the beginning), focus on trying a lot of different freelance writing opportunities, keeping an open mind to what you like and don’t like.

Try everything— writing and planning social media content, exploring the science behind SEO blog articles, and getting creative with web copy. After this experimentation phase, your niche will naturally reveal itself. And it usually won’t be as clear as “I’m a social media writer for holistic wellness brands” as it will be something like “I write short-form content for intentional brands who care about health.”

how to start freelance writing with no experience graphic of a brunette woman with glasses sipping tea at her computer


What Do Freelance Writers Get Paid?

It’s so hard to say one specific number for how much freelance writers get paid— although this article has some great things to say about how to price your freelance writing to your goals.

I can tell you what I did—

I started at $25 per hour on Upwork for the first few months. With every new project, I slightly changed that to $28, $30, $32, etc. as I gained more and more experience and high-rated testimonials. Eventually, I had a goal of getting all my clients on monthly retainers, which I did.

Then, I had a goal of getting all my clients on 4-figure monthly retainers of at least $1,000 each which I did. Then, I got more involved with each client, said I was interested in taking on more work, and now get to focus on 3 main-player clients to make up my sole income rather than 6-7 lower-paying ones. Now, I make double what I made in my entry-level full-time job, all while working from my cozy home.

The Best Platforms to Start On

I highly recommend starting on Upwork, Fiverr, and Contra when you’re first starting out, as they don’t have a high barrier to entry and there are tons of clients on there already fishing through proposals.

Upwork and Fiverr take a percentage of your earnings, while Contra can be free but requires payment if you want to use their advanced features.

how to start a freelance writing career with no experience sun soaked kitchen


How to Price Your Services As a New Freelance Writer

There are two main ways to price your services, both of which have their own place and time.

💸 Hourly rate: This is a great option when you’re just starting out and are unsure how long a project will take. You can set an hourly rate based on your skills and experience and track your time using time-tracking tools to ensure your clients are compensating you fairly.

💸 Monthly retainer: This is best for when you’ve settled down into your own rhythm and want to work on an ongoing basis with a client. From there, you can offer different content packages like full social media content + 5 blog posts per month, 10 blog posts per month with keyword research, etc.

Starting Your Creative Career With an Artistic Friend

As a singer-songwriter, I’ve found that learning how to start a freelance writing business with no experience was not only a fantastic way to hone my writing skills but also taught me how to launch and grow my own creative business as I pursue my creative dreams as a singer/songwriter and performer. I could not be more grateful to the people, the resources, the courses, the clients, and the journey that’s brought me there.

Subscribe to my YouTube channel for weekly videos for artists like you (and me!) who love being intentional, conscious, and artistic in the way we live our lives. 🌸

Creative Career

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