How To Start Freelance Writing With No Experience

Freelance writing is arguably the most widely discussed work-for-yourself profession. Whether you're on the hustle bro side of TikTok or Googling "best ways to make money online," it's impossible to miss.

There's a reason it's at the top of everyone's list: It's a great gig.

A lot of freelance writers really do earn $10,000+ per month writing anytime, from anywhere.

You can't think of $10k/month at square one. In this article, I'll show you exactly how to land freelance writing jobs with no experience (and start building momentum).

8 Steps To Start Freelance Writing With No Experience

Trust me — as soon as you hop on Upwork and see clients offering $20 per 1,000-word article, you'll realize you're fighting an uphill battle.

Spoiler alert: Freelance writing is difficult in the beginning. And you won't make a whole lot right away.

But anyone can do it. And that six-figure income you want is a lot more attainable than you think.

If you're a new freelance writer with no experience, these eight steps will take you to your first dollar.

1. Study Copywriting

Even if you think you have writing skills, you probably don't. Copywriting is a lot different from writing an essay for your English class.

The goal of copywriting is to get people to act. It's the art of talking to thousands of people, but making each one feel as though you're talking to just them.

Depending on the exact type of writing you do, here are a few concepts you'll have to understand as a freelance writer:

  • Psychology and fundamentals of selling — People love to buy things they want or need, but they don't want to feel like they're being sold. They buy for emotional reasons (fear, happiness, wanting to fit in). Then, they satisfy their emotional decisions with logic. This is the basis of everything you write.
  • Brevity and clarity — The fewer words you use, the more impact they have (sometimes).
  • Simple, powerful language — Build an arsenal of ~150 "power" words you can plug into any phrase to make it more engaging. Segment them based on the emotion you want to elicit.
  • Search engine optimization (SEO) basics — Keyword research, content optimization, and Google intricacies like featured snippets are part of Copywriting 101.
  • Content structure — Content structure builds off SEO. H1, H2, and H3 tags, paragraph and sentence length, and spacing, affect how readable your copy is to Google and your audience.
  • Social media — If you can write for Twitter or LinkedIn, you’re a walking six-figure business. But you have to understand formatting and post types.
  • Research and audience targeting — There's no one-size-fits-all approach. You'll need to tweak your understanding of the above to each client's business.
  • Creative storytelling — Use analogies, pop culture references, or anything else that adds subjective context to your audience.

Over time, you'll learn the nuances. As a novice, start by watching YouTube videos, reading blogs, following copywriters on LinkedIn/Twitter, and investing in a freelance writing course.

2. Practice It

If your goal is to become a freelance writer as quickly as possible, don't study without practicing.

Most successful freelancers combine steps one and two. It's better to learn on the fly.

A few ideas:

  • Write Medium articles in a niche you like
  • Create LinkedIn and Twitter posts and track their engagement
  • Write guest posts for small blogs and websites
  • Create your own website and post content
  • Design hypothetical social media ads and email campaigns and test them

As you practice, collect feedback from friends in marketing, social media, forums, and copywriting groups.

If you can afford to, subscribe to software you'll end up using (e.g., an AI writing tool, A/B testing, marketing automation). Learn the basic features and spend a few dollars to test your copy.

3. Pick A Niche

In the context of freelance writing, niche means two things: the type of freelance writing business you start and the type of companies you serve.

You'll want to pick a niche where there are tons of freelance writing jobs and some freelance writers are already finding success.

Here are 15 of the most profitable niches:

  • Twitter ghostwriting
  • LinkedIn ghostwriting
  • Ecommerce (product descriptions and website content for DTC brands)
  • Landing pages and sales pages
  • Email marketing
  • Direct response (e.g., paid social)
  • Long-form guides and blog posts
  • Public relations and press releases
  • Digital marketing
  • B2B SaaS
  • Technical writing (engineering, software development)
  • Healthcare and medical writing
  • Legal writing
  • Cryptocurrency and Web3
  • Travel and hospitality

Truth is, content niches develop semi-organically. Start with an open mind. Eventually, you'll hit a point where you either double down or keep things open.

Suppose you have four clients. Two of them are FinTech companies, and you're absolutely crushing it for them. All of a sudden, they refer you to two more FinTech companies.

Next thing you know, two-thirds of your clients are in FinTech. You're writing a FinTech blog post every day.

At that point, the universe could be telling you to accelerate the already-spinning wheel.

The only exception to this rule is if you're coming from a highly specialized field like medical, legal, or engineering. In that case, your clients are paying top dollar for a subject matter expert, not someone who also writes about travel and home decor.

4. Find A Mentor

The right mentor will 10x your growth in half the time. Ideally, it should be someone who's done what you want to do and made the mistakes you want to avoid.

If you don't have a successful freelance writer in your immediate network, use the following steps:

  • Scout semi-popular freelance writers on LinkedIn and Twitter.
  • Find someone who's killing it in the niche you plan to get into (bonus points if they run a successful agency that has freelance writing gigs).
  • Follow their content. Engage for a few weeks. Learn everything you possibly can about their business.
  • Reach out personally. In your message, make it very obvious you pay attention to them. Ask them for more context based on a social media post or article they wrote.
  • After keeping this up for a few weeks, ask for mentorship. Be upfront about your ambitions to pursue freelance writing. And have something to show for it.
  • Send them a few writing samples. Ask if they can help you find freelance writing jobs. Offer to do whatever they need for free. And be a sponge — learn everything you can.

Keep in mind having a mentor only helps if you're actively trying to improve. If you haven't been taking active steps toward your freelance writing career, you're wasting your time and theirs.

5. Start A Project Or Work For Free

With the right mentor, finding freelance writing jobs is a lot easier. If they run an agency, chances are they'll eventually send you work left and right.

Regardless, building your writing experience is important.

There are a few ways you can find your first project:

  • Your network — If you have friends who own businesses, start with them. Offer to write blog articles or ad copy for free.
  • Freelance writing job boards — Upwork and Fiverr are free to set up, you just have to buy credits to apply for each writing job.
  • Cold outreach — Find small companies in your chosen niche and reach out with a simple intro. Offer to work for free or say your rate is contingent on success.

Getting your first clients as a freelance writer is a numbers game. Keep your outreach simple, refine it over time, and don't be discouraged when nobody bites for the first couple of days.

6. Get Results

For a freelance writer, the meaning of "results" is twofold:

  • Get results for your client. Help them make more money and you’ll make more. Write killer copy they don't have to go back and forth to edit. Create a frictionless process.
  • Get better at running your freelance writing business. Standardize sales calls and client onboarding. Simplify your rates and billing. Write better content faster.

In both senses if the word, results equal momentum.

You can easily turn successful freelance writing clients into case studies. They might even send you video testimonials. Best case scenario, they refer you to their friends who need freelance writers.

Running your business efficiently also pays off. Efficiency is what makes you more money — a $1,000 blog is worth more when you can write it in five hours instead of 10. And after you've repeatedly achieved measurable results, you can put together an offer.

All of a sudden, you're selling freelance writing services on a per-project basis. You're putting clients on monthly retainers.

You’re creating real value.

7. Cold DMs Or Cold Emails

With results, a tangible offer, and real freelance writing experience behind you, you can find more clients. It goes down in the DMs.

As a freelance writer, the good news is cold outreach is fairly easy. Your first step is finding the right target (usually a content marketing manager, agency owner, or business owner).

Then, grab their email using Hunter or Apollo.

When it's time to craft your message, less is more. The key is not to overcomplicate things.

Here's a look at a few examples of solid cold outreach for freelance writing work:

In this example, Ryan showed clear interest and engagement. They didn't pitch the recipient or make the message about themselves.

Instead, they briefly highlighted their experience and ended with an open-ended question.

how to start freelance writing with no experience

For the same reason, Annie also has success finding potential clients.

Through her cold outreach, she underscores her bubbly personality and establishes common ground outside of their professional lives (cavalier ownership).

Clearly, cold outreach varies wildly (and it should, you need to have some personality). But the common thread is it's not about you.

Every cold DM/email should contain the following elements:

  • A short, specific subject line (3-5 words max)
  • A clear agenda that shows you've done some research
  • An open-ended question to get the conversation going

If you have writing samples or a personal blog, it sometimes helps to link to it. Others, it's advantageous to get the response first. That way, they can ask for it.

8. Inbound Leads

When you're just getting started freelance writing, you can't expect too many inbound leads. But once you've achieved some momentum, they're your greatest ally.

As a freelance writer, inbound leads come from a few places:

  • Referrals
  • Your personal blog or portfolio website
  • Social media pages
  • Your personal brand

Referrals are the most common. You'll almost certainly get a few after doing a stellar job for a few clients. After working with someone for a few months, don't be afraid to ask.

But referrals equate, at best, to haphazard growth. The real money is in your personal brand.

To join the ranks of the established freelance writers, post on LinkedIn, repurpose it for Twitter threads, and engage with others.

Make your content insanely useful. And design it well.

Gradually build an audience, take a few simple branding steps, and watch your social media profiles convert like they're landing pages.

How much can freelance writers make?

The earnings potential of a freelance writer is shrouded in ambiguity. On Upwork, there's no shortage of clients offering $0.01 per word. TikTok microinfluencers publicly share $50k+ monthly earnings.

In reality, how much you can make depends on a few essential factors:

  • The value you provide
  • The business impact of that value
  • Your industry
  • The amount of research involved
  • The scope of the project

Suppose you're running a Twitter account for the CEO of a scaling B2B SaaS brand. Between thought leadership, the occasional 6-figure deal, and future fundraising opportunities, a rock-solid Twitter presence pays handsomely. But they're a busy CEO, not a Twitter nerd.

$4,000 to retain you for the month?

Duh. No-brainer. Even if you can bust that month’s content out in a few short hours.

If you're writing ChatGPT garbage for a content mill? Not so much.

With that in mind, you’re only 3-4 clients away from $10,000+ in monthly income. It's not easy, but it's perfectly reachable in 6 months.


One of the beauties of running a freelance writing business is there are a million ways to make it work.

But we all know the Paradox of Choice. For someone with no previous professional writing experience, deciding where to start is borderline paralyzing.

For me, Twitter ticked all the boxes — high-ticket potential, straightforward enough to standardize, and shockingly undersaturated.

I built a Twitter ghostwriting agency and helped countless founders and CEOs grow on the platform. My peak month netted me $50,000.

Now, I've helped 117+ others do the same (several of whom are earning more than me).

For the aspiring freelancer who's ready to make something of their writing skills, now's your chance.

Click here to apply.

Who is Dakota?

I show you how to build a high-paying creative business without doing work you hate.

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