The No ‘Formal Experience & Education’ Route to Become a Freelance Writer
Formal Writing Experience Not Needed. Here’s What You Need…
As some of you may know from our other blog posts placed around some great marketing/tech blogs, I’m a freelance SEO and content marketer. I run a search marketing agency with my partner, Neeraj Gupta, and I’ve been doing it since March 2015. I really enjoy what I do.
Well, this is my second incarnation in the freelancing field. A few years back, I used to write press releases and newsletter content for business owners… an advertisement writing sort of job.
I had no real experience writing long-form blog posts professionally at that time. That was my first foray into the client scene and i just kind of winged my way through it.
But I will be honest here – it really doesn’t take a Rhodes scholar to put up a blog post. I’m here on a wing and a prayer and a technical graduation degree.
First, let me brief you on what this specific post is not going to educate you on (because there are already a ton of writing counsels available on this blog and elsewhere on the web) –
- It’s NOT going to instruct you on how to apply for a business license or set yourself up as a business entity.
- It’s NOT going to tell you how to get smart with corporate taxes and all that legal mumbo-jumbo.
- It will NOT show you how to write a freelancing proposal, set yourself as a leading freelance consultant, or how to optimize your website.
- It will NOT drill you on how to set up virtual client meetings, send invoices, or figure out your optimum writing schedule.
None of that stuff is directly relevant to making money fast as a freelance writer.
The story I’m going to convey is slightly more interesting than spieling randomly. I’ve already expressed this – prior to launching my search engine and content optimization service, the only experience I had was writing a handful of PR content and advertising emails for my employers.
I didn’t go through any blogging course – no training sessions, no internship at some marketing or PR firm, nothing. It was just me and my writing work on the road to success.
But I strongly think, especially for non-native speakers, getting command over English is a must. Not just English, however; some of our clients’ businesses use Spanish, Italian, and German.
An English tuition agency, Smile Tutor, wrote in a post that it’s best for students to start learning foreign languages as early as possible, preferably before turning 13.
So as I said earlier, I started my SEO and blog writing service business back in 2015. From the official hanging of the shingle, it was never slow going.
By early 2016, I had so many clients I could barely keep the pace. I was swamped with work. Overwhelmed with $150 orders.
The level of amazement I felt was like a deer caught in the headlights.
I mean, I had an inkling that I could do well writing blog content for other people. But with no significant blog writing experience, I wasn’t sure how well I’d be able to float that boat. Not only did the boat float, it happily carried a ton of cash paying customers.
My blog writing income for the month of December almost started to rival what I was making selling ebooks. This was all extra income during a time of year when most providers swear business is slowing down.
A series of well-orchestrated steps BEATS experience!
I admit, before launching that blog writing business, I mapped out a flowchart of steps I would take to get from Step A (the beginning) to Step Z (thousands of dollars a month in writing income).
I won’t bore you with the details of that entire flowchart, but I will tell you a little bit of what worked.
- The first thing that worked was selling myself cheap for the first few weeks. Dirt cheap; Scarily cheap; Not enough to go to dinner with the family. I know you hear a lot of freelance writing experts say that you should NEVER sell yourself short, but that’s not always true. There’s a way to do just that while not cornering yourself into that price range forever. And there are some very legitimate reasons why you might want to be a low baller.
- Secondly, I didn’t let my cheap rates dictate the quality of my work. I worked just as hard on those bargain basement priced press releases as I do with the $150 ones.
- Third, I didn’t try to make my bargain-seeking clients fit the $150 price mold. I didn’t have to. There was an abundance of clients at the el cheapo rates. And there was an abundance of clients at the healthier $150 price point. It’s just a matter of going to the right places at the right times. That’s where most freelance writers fall short. They try to get too much money too soon because they’ve been preened to believe “I’m worth it!!!!” Or they try to get the big bucks from the wrong client base.
One thing I’ve learned from this entire experience is that you’ve got to be calculated with your moves.
If you’ve got some writing chops to work with, you CAN make six figures as a freelance writer.
My success isn’t some wildly unusual occurrence.
As special as my wife tells me I am, I know this only applies to my friendly skills, not my writing prowess. I’m a pretty good writer, but I don’t consider myself a word-wielding prodigy.
My strength lies in figuring out how to make money with my writing and replicating those steps over and over again. That’s why I was a success in my first freelance writing life. And I’m convinced that’s why I was a much bigger success this go around.
If you’re interested in taking the shortcut route directly from “I have no experience as a freelance writer” to “I’m making a shitload of money as a freelance writer,” this was my game plan.