Looking to become a freelancer, although you have zero experience? The trick is to create writing samples or a portfolio, network with other freelancers, and find a steady place to work and grow your skills.
These were the very steps I took when I started out as a freelance in my early days. Although it sounds simple, it really works, and I got my first job within a year of launching my career. It’s all about following the right steps and staying diligent in your first few months of trying to break into the industry.
What are the requirements to becoming a freelance writer?
The amazing part of trying to become a freelance writer in today’s digital world is the fact that you do not need any specialized experience or training. This means as long as you have a good command of the language you intend specializing in, and you’re good at writing, you’re more than 50% good to go. The other half requires your willingness to learn new topics and persistency in reaching out to clients. Certainly, you’d need good internet connection and a responsive laptop.
Your best bet would be to start applying for entry-level positions, however, know that you’d get many rejections, so develop a thick skin ahead. Proceed to sending out applications and pitch stories or articles to clients. Do expect to get less than 10% response to the emails and applications you send out.
During this process, ensure you don’t remain stagnant, but rather keep honing your skills to ensure you stay ready.
Top 5 ways to break into freelance writing with zero experience
Follow the steps below for your best chance at breaking out as a freelance writer with zero experience:
1. Write samples for your portfolio
The first step to breaking into the industry is to create writing samples as a form of reference for your application. From essays to generic content, you can create articles on the various niches you’d be applying for. Note that it is important these articles correspond to the industry of the employer or person you intend pitching to.
2. Join a writing agency
You might not like agencies, but they actually work, especially if you’re at the beginning of your career. Joining an agency to support you would help you skip the extraneous processes that typical writers usually go through when finding jobs.
Writing agencies can help you get jobs easily, as they often have a high number of clients. Also, this allows you to selectively work on jobs in the niche you intend to specialize in. Lastly, it saves you the valuable time you’d have used in pitching to prospective clients now and then.
3. Launch your blog
Launching your blog is arguably the fastest way to get you writing online. It is also a great means to hone your skills and knowledge about several topics on the niche you’d like to specialize in. In addition, if you’re able to attract enough visitors, you can start earning by monetizing your site through ads.
4. Network with others in your field
No one is a lone ranger in the freelance world, and the quicker you understand that, the better it is for you. You can get jobs through referrals and most importantly, the more experienced individuals in your field can guide you through your journey. Sometimes, they can even permanently refer clients to you if they have much on their plates. You can reach out through social media and job networking channels.
5. Sharpen your grammar and understand SEO
The key to maximizing opportunities is to ensure you’re very ready when it comes. This involves you understanding grammar and also sharpening your SEO skills. SEO is a large part of content writing today and the more you understand it, the higher the pay you’d receive.
With due diligence in writing, networking, and applying for jobs, you can successfully break into the freelance writing industry over time.