Getting started as a freelance writer can seem daunting. After all, how do you land your first job when you have no relevant education or experience? Are there freelance writing jobs that are ideal for beginners? Is there even room left in the marketplace for new freelance writers?
These are common doubts that would-be freelancers have in the beginning. But rest assured, the freelance writing industry is booming, and there is lots of work to go around for those who are serious about becoming a paid writer – regardless of your experience level.
Before you start finding and pitching freelance writing jobs, you need to lay a foundation for success. As a beginner, there are a couple of things you need to do before you start looking.
Decide On A Niche
We’re about to look at a few niches that are ideal for beginners, but keep in mind these are broader niches, and each has its own “sub-niches” in which you can choose to specialize.
For example, if you decide to become a copywriter, you could choose to specialize in email marketing specifically. If you can specialize in a particular sub-niche of your niche, you’ll become the “go-to” writer for that type of work and be able to charge higher rates.
It’s okay to start with a broader niche and refine your services as you gain experience and figure out what you are best at and enjoy doing. But choosing a writing niche to start with is key for getting established.
Create an Online Presence
If you can manage it, creating a professional-looking website will go a long way toward helping you land clients as a beginner. It shows prospects you are a serious business owner and serves as a place to showcase your writing samples. Aim to create at least three writing samples to host on your website.
If a personal website isn’t feasible for you, you can also submit your work as guest posts to sites within your niche.
Ideal Freelance Writing Jobs for Beginners
If you’re wondering what kind of writing jobs to shoot for, there are a few niches in particular that can help you get your feet wet as a newbie freelancer.
Ghostwriting is one of the most common ways freelancers get their start. The jobs are plentiful as there are millions of content creators out there, but not all of them have time to write their content.
The advantage of ghostwriting is that you get to learn more about the topics you want to write about and hone your craft. Even better, you often get to charge more for ghostwritten content.
The downside is you don’t get a byline, and you usually can’t use the completed projects in your portfolio.
Not to be confused with “copyright,” copywriting is anything that’s designed to get the reader to take a specific action, like buying a product or service.
It can be anything, including sales pages, website pages, email marketing, or social media ads.
Copywriting is not always about using a lot of words; some projects might even be less than a few hundred words. It’s more about crafting the right words that drive readers to take the desired action.
Although it can take a little bit of training and practice, there is definitely room for beginners if it’s something you enjoy doing!
3. Blog Writing
With more than 600 million blogs on the internet today, many beginner writers will get their start in blog writing. Blogs are a major part of most businesses’ content marketing strategy, with 55% of companies declaring that blogging is one of their top marketing priorities.
Each blog has it’s own style guide that you will need to abide by, but most blogs these days are written in a casual, conversational tone. Find a client who blogs about topics you love, and it will make writing those first few articles even easier.
4. Podcast Show Notes
Podcasting is a booming business that’s been continuing to grow for the past year. A lot of podcasters also have blogs where they send their listeners for the “show notes” of each episode.
This is a great gig for beginners because everything you need to write the post is in one source, it’s just a matter of writing out and summarizing the episode as per your client’s needs.
These are just a small sample of the many freelance writing jobs that are suitable for beginners.
But if you see something else that looks interesting to you, go ahead and pitch it! You have nothing to lose, and every pitch you send is building experience.
Where to Look
First things first: Steer clear of content mills.
A content mill is any company or organization that produces cheap content by paying its writers extremely low rates. Yet, many new freelancers fall prey to content mills because they are among the easiest writing jobs to land.
No matter how you look at it, $10 for a 2,000+ word article that takes you hours to research and write is just not worth your time.
With that out of the way, here are some places to look for legitimate freelance writing jobs.
Job boards are great because you can easily find prospects who are actively looking to hire writers. My favorite place to look for freelance writing jobs is ProBlogger, but there are many others, including BloggingPro, MediaBistro, and nDash.
I’ve even been able to find decent writing jobs on Craigslist before, but just be wary. Any site with free job postings is likely home to a few scams too. Use discretion and common sense when applying.
Pro tip: If the job description requires that you make any kind of purchase before receiving work, that is a red flag that something is amiss!
The downside is that job boards can be highly competitive, with hundreds of writers sometimes applying for the same jobs. That’s why it’s essential to get your pitch sent as soon as you can after the ad is posted; the faster you respond, the more likely you’ll get a response.
If you have a LinkedIn profile, you can hop over to the Jobs section to search for writing jobs. Often, it will try to match you up with local companies.
Make sure you read the description thoroughly, as not all of them are 100% remote.
“Write for us” + niche
Your old pal Google can help you find freelance writing jobs for beginners simply by Googling for them! For example, if you want to write about homesteading, you could Google:
- “write for us” homesteading
- “Submissions” homesteading
You’ll find tons of guest posting opportunities this way, but be aware that perhaps not all of them will pay for posts.
If you’re serious, it’s entirely achievable to find and land freelance writing jobs as a beginner. It boils down to three steps: Figuring out what kind of writing you want to do, establishing an online presence, and then pitching your buns off!
Keep in mind that you may need to exercise some patience and persistence. It’s not unusual for new freelancers to go through a number of rejected pitches before landing their first gig.
That said, success can also happen a lot sooner than you think. The real key to becoming a successful freelance writer is just to get started, and you’ll learn as you go.
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Corrie Alexander is a content creator and logistics nerd from Toronto, Ontario. Her climb up the corporate ladder cultivated her interest in the topic of career development, a passion rivaled only by her love of exercise and strong coffee. As an alumna of both Horkey Handbook's Freelance Writing and Virtual Assistant courses, Corrie loves helping other bloggers and small business owners grow! Visit her website, thefitcareerist.com.