How To Become a Freelance Writer

By Jordan Fabel •  Updated: November 15, 2022  •  8 min read  •  Creative
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If you want to work from home and make a nice salary, you might want to learn how to become a freelance writer. There are many good reasons to become a writer, and working freelance allows you to control your hours, your work environment, and so much more.

While you might think writing skills are the most important for this career, you’d be wrong. Yes, it would be best if you were a good writer, but the most important skill is marketing. As a freelance writer, you’ll be running your own business.

There are many ways to market yourself and find clients. You will be in charge of finding your clients, instead of just finding a job. Let’s look at the steps it takes to become a freelance writer.

How To Become a Freelance Writer

How to Become a Freelance Writer in 6 Steps

Step #1 – Get an Education

You don’t need a degree or even a high school diploma to become a freelance writer. However, you still need an education. Your education will likely come in by watching YouTube videos, taking online training courses, and reading articles.

As a freelance writer, you should understand how to write the content you plan to provide. Whether you plan to provide sales pages, blog posts, books, or another form of content, you need to know it well. It’s also helpful to get an education in online marketing.

Finding clients is one of the most important tasks for a freelance writer. Learning how to use social media marketing, pay-per-click marketing, forums, and other forms of online advertising will help.

While you don’t need any formal education to become a freelance writer, you need knowledge of your craft. Most freelance writers will specialize in a specific industry. If you already know an industry well, that may be the right choice for your specialty. With a specialty, you can charge higher prices and provide better content.

Step #2 – Learn How to Write

You might know how to write from high school and college courses. However, with most freelance writers providing online content, you need to learn to write for the online world.

Writing for blogs, websites, and marketing agencies is quite different from providing a college paper. You will need to learn how to write conversationally.

Online writing requires different formatting, a different style, and knowledge of search engine optimization. There are several good courses and articles you can use to learn how to write for the online world.

Step #3 – Build Your Portfolio

The most important marketing tool for any successful freelance writer is their portfolio. You need to show off your work when finding new clients. Therefore, samples of your writing are very important. It’s best if you can show content you’ve had published, whether online or in print.

Every freelance writer has to start somewhere. Getting writing samples to add to your portfolio is a great place to start. You can provide guest blog posts, write your own samples, or even start a blog of your own. Anything you can do to provide writing samples to potential clients will help to show off your expertise.

Step #4 – Create a Website

Freelance writers need their own website. It’s a good idea to create this website yourself. If you hire someone, you won’t gain any skills from the process. Since many freelance writers will post their content for clients, it’s helpful to learn how to create a website.

When you create a website, you can use a platform, such as WordPress. Gaining experience with this platform can go a long way to helping your clients in the future. You’ll learn how to do some of the basics, and you’ll be creating a place to post your portfolio, achievements, work experience, rates, and more.

Step #5 – Start Finding Clients

Once you have a portfolio and a website, it’s time to start finding clients. There are many ways to market yourself. Freelance writers often start with professional content sites or by contacting marketing agencies.

Many websites will pay you to write content for their clients. You can join these websites as a writer and pick up content projects as they become available. It’s also possible to reach out to marketing agencies looking for writers.

Your client search isn’t like a typical job search. You will need to market yourself properly to find work. Social media is one of the best ways to find clients as a freelance writer. Of course, you can also use pay-per-click advertising, search engine optimization, forums, and many other forms of online marketing.

Step #6 – Choose a Niche or Two

After you’ve found a few clients and you’ve built a solid portfolio, you may want to specialize. Many freelance writers choose one or two niches to focus their writing on. For example, you might be a former real estate agent. If this is the case, you might want to specialize in writing for the real estate industry.

You can also become a specific type of writer. For example, instead of choosing a niche, you might become a business-to-business writer or a copywriter. Specializing in copywriting will require you to know how to write a good sales page.

No matter the niche or specialty you choose, make sure you have a good grasp on it. This will help you charge higher rates and make more money as a freelance writer.

How to Get Started with Freelance Writing

While the steps above can help you become a freelance writer, many writers don’t know where to get started. The best thing you can do is seek out a training course online or some type of writing class. It’s important to develop a few specific skills to achieve success as a freelance writer. Make sure you develop the following skills:

With these skills, you can become a freelance writer much easier. Some freelance writing courses will teach you these skills. Others will only teach you how to write. Make sure you choose a good freelance writing course when you’re first getting started.

Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming a Freelance Writer

How much do freelance writers make?

The amount you can make as a freelance writer varies quite a bit. While puts the average salary at about $48K per year, this isn’t exactly accurate. Many freelance writers can make $50K per year working part-time hours, especially after a few years of experience.

Starting out, you will likely make closer to the $30 per hour range, depending on your niche and clients. However, as you gain experience, you can charge quite a bit more. Good freelance writers make $75 to $125 per hour.

As a freelance writer, you will likely set your own pay rate. Some writers base the pay on how many words they can completely type and edit in one hour. For example, if you can type and edit 1,000 words in an hour, and you want to make $50 per hour, you need to charge $0.05 per word.

How do freelance writers charge for their work?

Most freelance writers don’t charge per hour. Instead, they typically charge per word or per piece of content. The per-word rate can range anywhere from $0.01 to $1.00 per word. It’s common for good freelance writers to charge $0.10 to $0.25 per word, especially when writing for magazines or magazine websites.

What type of hours do freelance writers work?

While most freelance writers work full-time, the hours they keep are up to them. You don’t have to keep the typical 9-to-5 hours, but it will be helpful to keep some type of normal hours. You can set your own schedule, to an extent, as a freelance writer.

Your hours will likely depend on deadlines, client meetings, and other scheduled tasks. Some freelance writers work at night, while others work normal daytime hours.

Do I need a degree to become a freelance writer?

No. You do not need any formal education to become a freelance writer. While a college degree in English, journalism, or communications can be helpful, it’s not necessary. Many successful freelance writers don’t have a college degree.

Instead of getting a degree, freelance writers need specific skills. For example, you will need good writing skills, excellent research skills, and a strong grasp of grammar. It’s also helpful to have good computer skills and marketing skills.

Can I become a freelance writer with no writing experience?

Yes. Anybody can become a freelance writer. If you’re willing to learn how to write for the online world, you can become a freelance writer.

Who hires freelance writers?

Just about every company in the world hires freelance writers. Most business websites use freelance writers to create new blog posts, social media content, website landing pages, white papers, and many other forms of content. Some companies even use freelance writers to create training manuals.

If a company has a website, it will likely hire freelance writers.

Jordan Fabel

Jordan Fabel

Covering different 'paths' that people's lives can take. Creative, foster parent, ticket dismissal, you get the idea. Exploring the requirements, certifications, exams, and obviously, approved courses along each path.