How to Start Freelance Writing Online
Are you looking for a decent way to make a side-income working from home? Or even better a way that can eventually make you a full-time income? Here you’ll learn how to start freelance writing online, even you have no experience at all!
Then this post has the potential to change your life!
Nowadays, many freelance writers make a living writing from the comfort of their homes. You can learn as well how to start freelance writing online in a matter of days!
According to a study conducted by freelancewriting.com, writers that work full-time make more than $40,000/year. Also, they mention that those who work on average 2hours/day (side hustle) they make about $10,000/year.
First of all, What’s Exactly “Freelance Writing”?
For those not familiar with the term, a freelancer is someone who is self-employed, so he/she is considered a business owner.
As a freelance writer, you offer your writing services to other business, agencies, sites or solopreneurs. There are many different kinds of writing services you can offer to your clients. The most popular are:
- Article writing
- Writing for magazines
- Any type of online Content Writing
- Blog post writing
- Social Media writing
- SEO writing
- EBooks’ writing (either for clients or for your own sales)
- Ghostwriting. It means that you write under another person’s name, so you’re getting paid higher. Although it’s not ideal for beginners as you don’t build an online presence this way, this type of writing has proven very lucrative for me.
- White papers (not recommended for beginners as it’s more technical and needs experience)
Moreover, you can provide additional services like:
- Editing content
- Sourcing Images and graphics
- Social Media Marketing
- Managing/editing blogs or sites
So, is Freelance Writing a Legit Job? Is it on Demand?
Well yes, of course it is. The reason why is that nowadays, almost every kind of business you can think of needs an online presence. They need their customers to find them on search engines and on Social Media.
Having a blog is a “must” for every business owner, as it has proven to dramatically increase the sales and the success of any business.
However, the grand majority of the business owners don’t have the time to write content for themselves neither do they know how to write an efficient piece of online content or who is the best person for this job.
This is where professional writers enter the play!
But why freelance writing instead of designing, coding or any other freelance job?
Because writing is a skill you can learn much easier and faster than any other skill online. Also, it’s easy to find freelance gigs even if you’re a total beginner.
Of course, I’m not talking about writing many articles in exchange for pennies at content mills. Quite the opposite actually!
I’m talking about the kind of freelance writing that you can earn $20, $50, $100 or even more for just one article.
To back up my claims, here’s the proof (senter’s addresses are blurry since I’m ghostwriting for the majority of them, so I have to keep their privacy) of my received payments as a beginner freelance writer, working part-time (2-4hours/day):
As you can see, 10 days after I enrolled in the course (11th of November), I had already covered its cost! However, the payments didn’t stop there:
And some examples of the sites I am or I was writing for:
Cryptona.co (Cryptocurrency related site). Unfortunately, the site is currently shut down. I’ve submitted over 250 articles in it:
A Gaming Website which I was ghostwriting, so I’m not allowed to post many details about it (since the owner of the site has all the rights of my articles in exchange for a higher fee). I’ve written almost the entire site (more than 50 articles):
How did I become a freelance writer (and how can you become one too)?
Before revealing to you my “secret weapon”, let me say a few words about my personal story.
In the case you didn’t know, I was a Merchant Navy Officer (2nd rank) before I decided to ditch this position for a job I really liked to do.
I’ve heard that it’s possible to follow a career online, but I wasn’t sure before I tried it myself.
I tried many similar things, but nothing compares to working from the comfort of my own home. Since I started, I fell in love with this job and I decided to follow it in order to make a living.
So, I literally started my way searching and digging Google and online resources. I tried different methods, platforms and places to find online gigs.
My progress was really slow at first until I decided to invest more in myself. Now, I’m more than happy to make a living entirely from freelance writing (while exploring ways to generate more money, working fewer hours!)
Keep it as a valuable piece of advice:
“When it comes to freelancing, the more you invest on yourself, the easier and higher-paying jobs you’re going to find.”
It makes total sense right? The employers want to give their money to a person that is trustworthy & reliable.
If you invest in yourself, it means that you’re taking it more seriously. As a result, an employer will take you more seriously too, choosing you over other competitors.
Let’s take a moment to look at this example: You’re a blog owner and you want to hire a writer to create some posts for your site. Two different writers contact you to get hired.
“Writer A” has a free wordpress.com site, a not-so-exciting portfolio, has worked only for content mills.
“Writer B” has a cool self-hosted site, a portfolio with sites you recognized, some relevant certifications (free or paid, it doesn’t matter), has invested in a good (or more) courses.
Assuming there’s not a huge difference in cost, which one would you choose? The “Writer B” I suppose. Even if their skills are near the same level, the second writer seems much more confident and more trustworthy. This way, he/she eventually land more gigs (with a much higher price), and progress his/her career much faster.
I hope you get how powerful investing in yourself is when it comes to freelancing.
Taking this advice (“invest in yourself”) into account, here’s how I managed to find frequent, recurring, easy-to-write freelance writing jobs from home while charging way much more compared to content mills:
How Did I Start Freelance Writing (How to Start Freelance Writing Online with no Experience)
1) I Received Online (Completely Free) Certifications from Popular Authority Sites such as:
- Google’s Online Marketing Fundamentals certification (Digital Garage)
Although these certifications are not 100% relevant to freelance writing, they’ll give you a more complete picture of how the online industry is working.
Also, you can show them to your prospective clients in order to boost your authority.
2) I Created My “Writer’s Website”
This may be common knowledge, but I have to mention it as I’ve seen many online beginner writers without a website.
Why is a “writer’s website” so important?
- It’s the best place to showcase your samples or portfolio (all sites you’ve written for).
- It’s a powerful way to introduce yourself, show what you have to offer and convince your clients to hire you.
- You can create blog posts relevant to your niches in order to impress prospective clients. Further, you can treat it as a normal blog and even monetize it later.
- It boosts your credibility and authority, placing you above many online writers without a website.
However, I strongly recommend you to invest in a self-hosted website. How can you convince your clients that you’re a successful writer if you can’t even pay for a self-hosted website?
You don’t need Siteground or Bluehost for a simple writer’s site as they are too expensive for this purpose. Instead, you can use this guide (I personally use iPage, which is more than enough for a single blog) to create a full-functioning, fast website within minutes with only $2-$3/month!
The cost is very low for the benefits it provides. If you still can’t afford it, you can use free hosting such as wordpress.com or Blogger. They’re limited to the designing part, so you won’t be able to create a very attractive site like this one for example.
Then, as soon as you make your first dollars writing online, make sure to invest in a self-hosted site (or transfer your free one into a self-hosted one).
3) I Chose and Focused Only on a few Niches.
The most common thing I have noticed while pitching for writing jobs is that almost all clients ask if you’re expert on a particular topic.
For this reason, it’s important to pick 2-3 niches that you’re interested in and stick to them. Then you can learn and research more about them (if you’re not already an expert) and follow relevant sites/forums/channels.
If you’re not sure how to decide on your niche, check out this guide (80+ hot niches to choose from). It’s for blog niches, but it’s almost the exact same process for your writing niches. After you read it, you’ll have chosen at least a few topics to start with!
Personally, I’m writing in Gaming, Cryptocurrencies, and Digital Marketing niches.
4) I Invested in a Good Course
(Disclaimer: I was ready to talk about this course anyway, when I discovered that Elna has an affiliate program for it! This way, I signed up for her program in order to receive a commission in the case you purchase the product at no extra cost at all for you).
Actually, I invested in the best course on the web for freelance writers: Elna Cain’s “Write your way to your first $1k”.
I had no idea how to write for the web when I bought it. Also, my English was on average (maybe even below) level.
However, after my first month of purchasing it (not after I finish it), I’ve made more than $1000 writing online! The course fulfilled its promise!
I was so excited I couldn’t believe it! Actually, I’d be happy even if I had made $500 in my first month!
To be honest, this course made me what I am today. It taught me a skill that I can use to make a living for the rest of my life!
The most exciting part of taking this course is that I learned how to craft high-quality posts. This way, the clients that hired me just for an article at first, they wanted to write for them again and again!
They were so satisfied with my work that offered me recurring work. They even immediately agreed to raise my income when I asked them (after a few weeks)!
I have tried some other courses too, but nothing compares to Elna’s course!
This course was made by Elna Cain who is one of the most successful professional writers online. Just a quick Google search about her name will provide you with tons of testimonials!
Personally, I admire her work very much as I’ve learned so much from her. Actually, she has taught me (and many others as well) how I can make a living online as a writer. This drastically improved my lifestyle, so I’m so grateful to her!
The “Write your way to your first $1k” is a 30-day course with over 80 sections (that are frequently updated). It will teach you how to be a successful part-time or full-time (that’s your choice) online writer, starting from zero.
This way the course is suitable for total beginners and intermediate writers as well. With a few words, the course includes:
- What to expect as a freelance writer
- Find your writing niche
- Establish your accounting system
- Setting up a writer website the right way
- How to pitch like a pro and place yourself ahead of the competition
- How to build and showcase your portfolio
- Boost your online presence and get accepted to guest post at popular sites
- Sites that you can get published immediately
- All the methods and strategies (95+) to find clients (plus cheatsheets and templates)
- How to set your rates
- Step-by-step instructions to write high-quality blog posts. This section actually helped me so much that my clients gave me recurring work and raised my fees!
- How to edit and format an article for WordPress (separate sections for Microsoft Word and Google Docs)
- Sourcing and optimizing images for your posts
- How to have a great interview
- Drafting your service agreement
- Using properly your Social Media accounts to boost your authority and find freelance writing jobs
- How to secure recurring work
- Access to private Facebook Group exclusively for the members of this course. An entire community is there to help each other and help you overcome any obstacles
- Elna is here for you anytime for every question you may have
As you can see the course is huge and these are only some of the content included. Check it out more analytically in the course’s official page (check contents at the bottom of the page).
For anyone looking to establish a career online as a freelance writer or how to start freelance writing online , this course is like a dream!
When I discovered her course, I was thinking there’s no way I can make $1000 on my first months, but there’s a no-questions-asked, full 30-day money back guarantee (so there’s no excuse not to try it if you’re interested), so I decided to enroll.
The results were way too higher than my expectations!
I paid for it $165 (there’s a $65/month x3 months option as well) only to make more than $3000 in my first (less than three) months. I’m still making money as a writer, but I’m talking about the money I made as a total beginner.
The most exciting part is that I was working 2-4 hours a day, so it’s even less than working part-time!
Honestly, that’s the definition of a good investment! How can I not to promote it? The course would worth it even if it cost 3 times its price!
A few Words about Content Mills (Sites like Upwork, Textbroker PeoplePerHour): Do They Worth it if You’re a Writer?
Despite the fact that this kind of sites can provide you with writing jobs, you’ll face too much competition. The clients are searching to pay as low as it can get, while freelancers bid their lowest price they’re willing to get.
This situation is dramatically against you (the freelancer) and in favor of clients and the platforms. With a few words, you’ll work more to get paid less. That’s actually the opposite of my slogan: “Work Less, Earn More”.
The average payment for a 500-words article is $5 or below, so it definitely doesn’t worth your time. Following the courses’ instructions, I’ve managed to get paid $20-$30 per 500-word post as a beginner!
A reason why I love this course so much is that it teaches you how to break free from content mills and find freelance writing jobs that are less demanding and more rewarding.
However, you can use it as a last choice if you just starting out. They can help you to build your portfolio but never stuck on them. Your work worth much more than a few pennies per word!
My Favorite “Secret” Method to Find Freelance Writing Jobs
The topic “How to find freelance writing jobs” can be too long on its own, so I wouldn’t overextend here and write all the possible ways. It’s a quick method I used to let you know how to start freelance writing online as well!
Further, you can find all these methods on the “Write your way to your first $1k” course, so I would describe only my favorite one here!
This strategy has helped me to land many jobs, so I’m more than happy to share it with you! It works no matter your niches are but remember that pitching is a game of numbers!
Don’t get discouraged if you’re rejected in some of your pitches. It’s 100% normal, especially if you’re a beginner. You just need to improve your pitch and to pitch more of course.
Step #1: Search for author bios on blogs/sites you read frequently and are relevant to your niche
Let’s take for example this post from funneloverload.com:
You can see its author (Sola Kehinde) under the title or at the “author bio” at the end of the post:
There’s even a clickable link that leads us to her writer website.
Step #2: Search for the author’s website or portfolio
Almost all writers have a website or a place to keep a record of all the sites they’ve written for.
This way, our next step is to click her link in the author’s bio or search Google for her portfolio (if there’s no link for a writer’s website).
I entered Google the following term: “Sola Kehinde portfolio”:
As we can see, she keeps her portfolio on Contently.
Now, we have a list full of sites relevant to our alleged niche that accept freelancers and guest authors!
If a site hired a freelance once, it’s highly possible that can hire you as well!
Step #3: Pitch (send an email) to the site saying you’re interested to write for them
Make sure that you have read some posts of the site, so you’ll be familiar with their writing style, post length, and relevant topics.
Make sure your pitch includes:
- Who you are
- How you learned about them
- How can you benefit and help them
Ready to Kickstart Your Freelance Writing Career!
Above I mentioned exactly all the steps I took to become a professional writer online and make a full-time living out of it!
If you’re interested in an online career and a way to make money online, following my steps and enrolling to “Write your way to your first $1k” course is a no-brainer.
Of course, this will not happen overnight, but it can happen much faster compared to similar common offline careers.
Last but not least, I find this kind of work much easier than any other regular job. I can work from the comfort of my home, wherever I want and whenever I want.
I love the flexibility it provides and also I love the fact that I can make more money while working fewer hours compared to any other regular job I have tried.
Feel free to ask any question about how to start freelance writing online in the comments below! Also, I’d very grateful if you share this post on Social Media (Sharing buttons are at the start of the post) or with people that are interested in starting a new online career!
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