Freelance Writing for Beginners: 8 Jump-Start Tips to Get Clients

Jump-Start: Freelance Writing for Beginners. Makealivingwriting.comIf you’ve just stepped into the “freelance writing for beginners” adventure, you’re probably wondering where to find all the action.

You know…clients in your niche ready and willing to pay you money for writing articles, blog posts, case studies, white papers…anything really. Right?

Here’s the thing when you’re new at this…Freelance writing for beginners can feel kind of like stepping into total darkness without a flashlight, flaming torch, or even a tiny wooden match to light the way.

Where do you go and what should you do to find freelance writing clients?

It’s kind of like Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride uttering the words: “I need you to guide my sword, please.”

You need a little help. You’re willing to do the work, even chase down the Six-Fingered Man if you have to. But you need to know where to look.

Wondering how to jump-start your freelance writing career and get clients? Check out these tips to shine some light on how it’s done:

1. Leverage your work experience

Freelance Writing for Beginners: Emily Omier

Emily Omier

If you don’t have a portfolio of work to show a potential client, leverage your work experience.

Maybe you’ve worked in retail, the insurance industry, healthcare, education, the restaurant business, or construction. Pitch a prospect in your niche by letting them know you already understand their industry.

“Find something that allows you to leverage pre-existing experience,” says freelance writer and Den 2X member Emily Omier.

“Like my first real client was an immigration tech company that was impressed by the fact that I had worked as a paralegal for an immigration firm…10 years prior.”

2. Pitch local magazines and businesses

Freelance Writing for Beginners: Alexander.Carol

Carol J. Alexander

Is there a regional or community magazine in your area? That’s a great place to start.

Ever wonder what businesses are in that industrial park you always drive by? Those are local places that rarely every get pitched, but probably need a writer for a project.

“I tell newbies to start with what they already read,” says freelance writer Carol J. Alexander.

“If I had no experience, I’d start with local, small business, family, or friends. Just get some clips, build your portfolio, and work up from there.”

3. Connect with marketing pros in your niche

Freelance Writing for Beginners: Ledbetter.Shari

Sherri Ledbetter

Maybe you’re new to freelance writing, but you’re no stranger to marketing, advertising, sales and public relations from your day-job experience.

That’s another great network of people you can reach out to and ask a simple question: Know anyone who needs a freelance writer?

“If I was just starting out, I’d approach marketing folks at companies in the industry that I previously worked with,” says freelance writer Sherri Ledbetter.


4. Introduce yourself to marketing agencies

Freelance Writing for Beginners: Amy Hardison White

Amy Hardison White

Do a Google search like this: “[your niche] marketing agencies.”

That single search will produce a list of agencies that work with clients in your niche. Chances are pretty good some of them need to hire a writer…pronto.

“I would recommend pitching marketing agencies,” says freelance writer Amy Hardison White.

“My first freelance client was a marketing agency. The work was not as high-paying as it could have been, but it gave me the opportunity to get used to a high volume of work and different types of work.”

5. Turn your former employer into a client

Freelance Writing for Beginners: Evan Jensen

Evan Jensen

Does your former employer have a blog, a website, marketing materials, or a presence on social media?

You may be the perfect person to handle those content market projects.

Why? You already know the business. Give it a shot and ask the marketing director or CEO at your old job if you can do some freelance work.

“When my day job announced plans to move, making my daily commute about 90 minutes each way, I knew I had to do something,” says freelance writer Evan Jensen. “So I pitched the idea of contract work to the CEO, and voilà, it worked. If your former employer has a need for content, hiring you is a no-brainer because you already know the business, as long as you left on good terms.”

6. Customize your LinkedIn profile + make connections

Jump-start your freelance writing career

If you’re part of the “freelance writing for beginners” club, you might wonder how long it’s going to take to ramp up, land your first client, and get paid to write. It’s different for everybody. But the sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll be on your way. Put these tips to the test, and go find your first assignment. You can do this.

Need help getting freelance writing clients? Let’s discuss in the comments below.

Evan Jensen is the blog editor for Make a Living Writing. When he’s not on a writing deadline or catching up on emails, he’s training to run another 100-mile ultra-marathon.

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7 comments on “Freelance Writing for Beginners: 8 Jump-Start Tips to Get Clients
  1. Rahul Yadav says:

    Thank you for sharing your tips and strategies. We can all use this when initially starting out.

  2. Alice Genes says:

    Making connections on LinkedIn is such an obvious tip, but somehow I waited for years before actually doing something about it. Once I did, I found some great clients there.

  3. Urvashi says:

    Wonderful bunch of ideas. I had no clue I could do few of them to atleast start getting noticed and sharing my work. Will give it a try. Any more tips I can follow. Please share

  4. Alex Dixon says:

    Just went through the article, and I felt that this offers some ideas to writers to showcase their write-ups. Today, it is very important to have the creativity to a certain extent. We have to move along with the latest trends as well. People love up to date data, and a writer should find out a better way to present his ideas complying the technical aspects of this era. Let me raise this article for a discussion on various platforms. People may have different opinions on this.

  5. Pamela Behrens Larimer says:

    I have broached the subject of ghost writing a book regarding Speech Pathological issues with local grad students and professors at ASU. I got a wall of “we just ask grad students to do the writing”. Any suggestions? I am considering moving onto my insurance work experience. Also, how do I approach speciality niches with a pitch idea?

    • Carol Tice says:

      Lot of complex questions there, Pamela, where we’d need to know a lot more about your situation — which is why I created the Freelance Writers Den and its 24/7 help forums! Feel free to check out the community — especially our upcoming Pitch Clinic, which would DEFINITELY answer that last question!