How to Start a Freelance Writing Career

Freelance writer

Do you enjoy writing?

Are you good at it?

Did you ever wonder about a freelance writing career?

Freelance writer

Starting a freelance writing career with no experience may seem overwhelming. There’s so much information online that you will find it hard what to believe. From digital nomads to remote workers, freelance writers worldwide talk about all the perks of the freelance writing industry. However, only a few will tell you what it takes to become a freelance writer.

In this article, I’ll show how to start a freelance writing career. Objectively. No fluff. One thing I can guarantee you for sure: you will have to work hard to succeed!

What is a freelance writer?

Let’s start with a simple definition…

A freelance writer is a self-employed contractor who works with several clients or projects simultaneously. It means a freelance writer is a business owner, not an employee. As a result, they are paid by the hour, per project or per word and are not included in the company salary sheet.

In the freelance writing business, there are different types of freelance writers. From copywriters to technical writers, each has its own area of expertise. You can find freelance writers’ work on blog and social media posts, instruction manuals, white papers, press releases or product descriptions.

So, who are these freelance writers, and what do they do?

·         Content writer

A content writer produces high-quality writing for digital marketing purposes. The daily routine includes planning, writing and proofreading web content for blog posts, social media, press releases, newsletters or landing pages.

·         Copywriter

Sometimes, copywriting overlaps with content writing. However, they have different goals in mind. While most of the content writer’s work is informative, in this writing niche a copywriter aims to engage an audience to take a desired action. Usually is to make the audience buy a product or service. So, their job is to write persuasive phrases, sentences or taglines to market a product or service. This process is called writing copy.

·         Technical Writer

A technical writer’s job is to translate complex concepts into simpler words anyone can understand. User manuals and how-to guides are some examples of the writing services available in technical writing. Besides being an expert in a specific field, other skills, such as proofreading or knowing style guides, might be handy.

·         Ghostwriting

Ghostwriters use their writing skills to create web content, e-books and blog posts under someone else’s name. In some cases, ghostwriters also work on creative writing, like novels or autobiographies. The foundation of ghostwriting states that you provide your work and ownership rights. This means that you can never claim it as your own. If you feel comfortable with this, it might be the perfect option if you want to write and keep your identity private.

How to start a career in freelance writing with no experience

Once I realized I could make a career writing (and not necessarily writing novels!) I began to wonder: Will I pull this off?

Putting yourself out there can be scary, especially when you’re passionate about online writing, which you know very little about. If you’re going through the same existential crisis as I did, keep reading! I’ll show you the steps you need to take to fulfil your dreams.

1.    Research the freelance writing business

Since you don’t have any experience in the freelance writing industry, researching the market will be a great starting point. Go online and search for established freelance writers. Check their work and who their clients are. Read about their journey. You will get an insight into the life of a freelance writer.

Each experience is unique, and yours will be too. What I mean is that what works for one writer may not apply to you. However, their experiences will help you define your own path and discover what makes more sense to you.

Also, this research allows you to explore the writing game to its core. Check the job boards and see the clients’ demands. These are some of the best sources of information since you will learn about what experience, training or expertise is most requested.

2.    Choose a freelance writing niche

Even the best writers can’t write about everything. In fact, the best of the best focus on a specific subject where they are experts.

Consider your skills and training. What are you really good at? What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? What is your past job experience? By asking yourself these questions, you’ll be one step closer to deciding what type of professional writer you want to be.

Although you might not have any professional writing experience, your past job experience will be a good starting point. Since you’re already an expert on what you do daily, why not write about it?

But most importantly, don’t forget about what you love. Why? When you’re writing about something you’re passionate about, your readers will feel your enthusiasm and become more engaged with your work. Also, why should you waste time writing about something that doesn’t make you happy?

3.    Hone your skills

Successful freelance writers don’t need to spend years and all their savings on a college degree. Online there are plenty of courses that help freelance writers perfect their skills. If your writing is spotless, maybe you only need to perfect some skills.

Where can you find such courses? Learning platforms, such as Udemy or Gotham Writers a handful of writing programs where you can learn about the basics of freelance writing business, or go deeper into a specific subject, whether it’s regarding creating engaging copy, learning about search engine optimization or how to monetize a blog. Depending on what you want, all you have to do is to choose the writing program that best suits your goals.

4.    Build a spotless portfolio

When you’re pitching and applying to freelance writing jobs, clients will ask you for writing samples. And, if you’re starting, likely, you don’t have any. That’s why you must build a portfolio. It’s the best way to show clients your writing skills and style.

Don’t have any clients yet? Not a problem! Start a blog and write about what you know and love. With each new article, you will build a spotless portfolio. This way, it’ll be easier for your clients to see how good you are.

Besides working as a freelance blogger, you can write on a profit-sharing website, such as Medium. Through their Partner Program, you can earn money and build a portfolio, all at the same time. Each time someone reads your articles, you will be cashing in. Also, Medium presents your writing services to larger audiences thanks to its curation programs.

Bloggers that accept articles from guest writers provide a fantastic opportunity when you’re starting your freelance career. Is there a website or blog that you would like to collaborate with? Get in touch and tell them how your content ideas and skills can help them by providing guest posts!

5.    Set your rates

The dreaded moment for any freelance writer!

And searching online for what’s a fair freelance writing income isn’t helpful! You’ll find rates starting at 0.025€/per word up to 1€/per word. Why such a difference? It all depends if you’re a beginner or if you’re an experienced writer.

So, how can you decide what’s the right price?

As to setting rates, you want your work to be recognized. However, you don’t want to scare off your potential clients! So, how can you achieve the perfect balance?

I believe there isn’t a magic formula that suits all freelancers and all clients. In the freelance marketplace, the rates will depend on a variety of things. What’s the content purpose? Who’s the audience? Where will it be published? What’s the deadline?

All these factors weigh in when setting rates. Also, you must discuss with your freelance clients if your work will be paid per word or by the hour. When the project takes several months off your schedule, some clients will ask you for the total cost.

Whatever the requirements are, be sure your earnings will cover all your business and personal expenses. As such, you must know exactly how much you spend and how much to need to live comfortably.

6.    Find your first clients

This is probably the most awaited moment when starting your freelance writing career. Although you love writing (and would probably do it for free!), you must find a paying gig. So, where can you find your first clients?

Freelance platforms, such as Upwork, Fiverr or Freelancer, are a great way to get started. You will have access to hundreds of offers and contact clients worldwide.

Especially when you’re a beginner, most of these platforms offer low-paying gigs. However, don’t be discouraged! Everyone got to start somewhere! Besides, these entry-level writing jobs are the perfect opportunity to get your client’s confidence and some excellent reviews. Over time, you’ll be able to gradually increase your rates.

You can also apply to job offers posted on freelance writing job boards. Websites such as Indeed or Flexjobs publish hundreds of new offers daily. Like any other full-time job, check the job requirements, see if you’re a good fit and send your offer.

Cold pitching is another option. Since you’re unsure if you might need your services, aim for digital marketing and content marketing agencies. They are in constant need of new talents that will help them and their clients achieve their goals.

Something more you must know…

Starting a freelance writing career involves more than simply writing. When you’re a freelancer, you are also a business owner. As such, you are responsible for all aspects of running your writing business.

This means you’re more than a writer. You’re also an accountant, a customer service specialist, a web designer and a marketer. As a result, you’ll likely end up working more hours than in your daytime job. Rest assured, this is only the beginning. Once you become an established writer, you can outsource all secondary tasks to other experts and focus solely on writing.

What you should never forget…

As I mentioned, each journey is unique, and what worked for someone online, might not work for you. So, don’t get anxious if your path isn’t exactly the same as someone else’s. Do what you love and what makes the most sense to you. With hard work and your passionate writing, you will find your own way to success!

Freelance Writer: What is it exactly?

Freelance writer

Do you know what a freelance writer is? Professional writers have been around for quite some time. However, only recently, the freelance writing business happened to be more in demand. The dramatic workplace changes in the last few years led many professionals to explore other work opportunities.

One of them is freelance writing. Experienced writers have plenty of opportunities to show their skills, either as a full-time job or as a side hustle. You can see their work in newspapers, websites, or blogs. Further on, I will help you understand what a freelance writer is.

Defining Freelance Writer

Before we move on, let’s start with a simple definition. A freelance writer provides a wide range of writing services.

Simple enough, right?

Well, there is more to that!

A freelance writer is a self-employed contractor working with freelance clients, either on long-term or one-time projects. Since it is considered an independent business owner, these writers are not part of the company salary sheet. As a result, they get paid for each writing project.

Now you are probably wondering how it all works! Fear not! I’m here to clarify for you!

What is a freelance writer?

Freelance writing is a broader definition that includes several types of writing. Yet, once you start exploring the different layers of content writing, you will uncover different styles of writers. Next, I will show the most common freelance writing styles.

Content writer

A content writer focuses on writing blog articles, press releases or email newsletters. However, the skills needed to produce engaging content may vary.

Freelance content writers working on complex projects of a content marketing strategy must consider SEO. What is SEO? It is an acronym for “search engine optimization”. As a SEO writer, your goal is improve a brand’s online presence through blog articles, or any other type of content, that boosts a website’s ranking on the search engine results page. An excellent content writer will drive audiences to their content and deliver engaging article writing.

Besides creating new content, you must be an exceptional researcher, editor, and proofreader.


Copywriting is one of the most lucrative careers in the freelance writing industry. A freelance copywriter creates sales copy and uses digital marketing strategies.

As a copywriter, your goal is to convert customers. You work on engaging individual customers or a B2C audience. How? You can do so by writing email newsletters, posts for businesses, or social media platforms.

In copywriting, potential clients might ask you to create social media posts. Your writing skills allow you to create copy and content for posts and advertisements, such as Facebook or Instagram ads.

It is why you may notice an overlap between content and copywriters. Depending on the project, a copywriter creates content about a product or writes a blog post intended to engage customers. As such, writing content is often related to copywriting.

Technical writer

A technical writer creates simple and relatable texts about complex topics. Building a freelance career as a technical writer means you must have a high experience level in your field.

In technical writing, freelance gigs require you to write user manuals, procedures, press releases, or white papers about a service, a product, or a company. Depending on your expertise, your writing portfolio might include complex subjects, such as medical, pharmaceutical, or computer science.

For the message to be fully comprehensible, you must consider the audience. If you write for a customer or another expert makes all the difference. Such as happens with other writers, to become a successful technical writer, you must find the perfect words to communicate with your audience.

Due to its uniqueness, technical writing offers many freelance writing job opportunities.


A ghostwriter creates content for websites, blogs, ebooks, and other publications credited to someone else. Ghostwriting is the most common style in the freelance writing business. The type of content will depend on the targeted audience. As a result, it can be anything from an online post or an imprint publication.

As a freelance ghostwriter, you can work on a variety of projects producing almost anything, from a literary masterpiece to a product description.

Working as a ghostwriter has a few perks. If you love writing and value your privacy, then ghostwriting might be perfect. On the other hand, if you want to publish under your name, it is best to look elsewhere.

What is it like to be a freelance writer?

Many people wonder about this basic question, and I’m sure you do too. Setting up a home office, defining your schedule, and working on your life-long passion might seduce you. However, the freelance writing business is not all roses.

Freelance daily routine
As a freelance writer, you can work anywhere! – Photo credit: MacroVector | Freepik

You are your own boss!

It is exciting, isn’t it? You decide your work schedule, no questions asked! As a freelance writer, you will notice that not every day is the same. Sometimes you are hit by an inspirational lightning bolt and other times nothing pours out, no matter how much you try.

Being your own boss means you can work as many hours as you need, or whenever you feel inspired.

However, there is a downside…
A freelance writer has many names. For instance, you might find expressions such as self-employed writer, solopreneur, or independent business owner. Regardless of what you might call yourself, it means you are responsible for your taxes our business expenses.

Especially when you are just starting, sometimes freelancing means you must attend to a bunch of tasks. You will have to work as a marketeer, advertiser, computer engineer, public relations, and customer service. And, of course, finding the time to write. In the end, you likely find yourself working longer hours as a freelance writer.

Every project is a new challenge

Freelance writing is a constant search for knowledge.
Each time you take on a new project, regardless of your writing experience, you walk into the unknown.

To deliver well-written content, you must do your research. Every day there is new information that might define your work. As a freelance writer, you must be relentless.

Furthermore, each project will force you to adjust. The goals and target audiences are different from one project to the other. Besides, each client has a vision of the final content. To become a successful freelance writer, you must meet your client’s expectations. Consequently, you must adjust your writing skills to your client’s needs.

Work anywhere you want

Can you imagine working on your laptop while overlooking a golden-sand beach and having a cocktail before lunchtime? It is a vision that seduces many beginners. And, to be honest, it is not that far from reality!

Most freelance writing careers allow you to work anywhere you want! You can set up your home office, write inside a local coffee shop, or use a coworking space. It is irrelevant where you are, as long as you have a plug and internet connection.

Although this sounds tempting, you must stay focused! This newfound freedom may take you off track if you lack discipline. When setting up your own office, remember to avoid anything that might distract you.

Sometimes, working anywhere means working everywhere! A healthy work-life balance is vital to any professional and must constantly be improved. If you work from home, try to find a space only for work where you will not be interrupted and avoid it when it is a relaxing time.

Getting paid for your work

Working as a freelance writer means getting on an hourly basis or by word count.

What does this mean? It is simple!

You set your rates and get paid for what you do, no more and no less. Contrary to working as an employee, working longer hours or writing faster might help close a project earlier than expected and receive payment sooner.

Also, you can earn much more than working a 9-to-5 job. Since you receive payment directly from your clients, you will receive more money than as an employee. However, as mentioned previously, you are an independent business owner. Although you might earn higher wages, you must consider taxes, insurance, and other formalities.

Finally, a freelance writer’s career doesn’t provide a steady income or workflow. While sometimes you struggle to meet all deadlines, other times there are no new projects.

Therefore, you must consider how this pressure would affect you. Would you feel comfortable not knowing what to expect?

Final thoughts

Hopefully, now you know what a freelance writer is and how they work. If you consider becoming a freelance writer, you will find many opportunities.