Do You Need a Degree to Be a Freelance Writer?
A common question many aspiring writers ask themselves is “do you need a degree to be a freelance writer?” The short answer is no, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things you can do, and skills you can hone, to improve your chances of success in this exciting freelance career.
This post will:
- Explain what freelance writing is
- Show how much you could earn as a freelance writer
- Illustrate how a degree can be helpful, but not at all necessary
- Describe some skills and methods for starting out
- Provide you with an exciting way to get started
What is Freelance Writing?
You may wonder what a freelance writer does. Fortunately, the task of a freelance writer is quite self-explanatory. In short, you write content on a freelance (self-employed) basis.
That means that instead of working for one employer or company, you have various clients. Common examples of things you might write include:
- Blog posts and articles
- Marketing material (e.g., social media content and website copy)
- Product descriptions
- Business reports
- White papers
Because you are a freelancer, you can write anywhere that suits you: at home, in a coworking space, at a cafe, while traveling, etc.
How Much Do Freelance Writers Earn?
As a freelancer, the amount of money you earn can vary significantly. It will depend on what type of work you are doing, how many clients you have, and how much you charge.
Freelance writers can charge per word, per project, or per hour, and how you decide to charge may be based on your experience or the type of clients you have.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, writers can earn around $73,000 USD per year or $35 USD per hour on average.
Can You Be a Freelance Writer without a Degree?
The good news is that you don’t need a degree to be a freelance writer. But that doesn’t mean a degree can’t be helpful.
Studying English, journalism, communications, or creative writing can all be helpful when starting a career as a freelance writer. In fact, almost any humanities studies can help your writing skills because they will help with your mastery of language in general.
However, what is more important than a degree is gaining experience and having the right skills. To be successful, you will need:
- A passion for writing
- A desire to learn about different topics
- Knowledge of relevant writing tools and software (e.g., Google Docs and Microsoft Word
- Strong communication skills
- Good time management and organizational skills
- Resilience and courage (finding your own clients and running a business is no mean feat!)
And if you plan to write in a specific niche, you’ll need to make sure you have the necessary knowledge about your chosen subject and are familiar with the expectations in that field.
How to Become a Freelance Writer with No Experience
Earning a living wage as a freelance writer can be difficult if you don’t have experience. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be difficult to get the experience you need. There are a few things you can do to help you get started.
Write for Friends, Family, and Other Associates
Start by writing for people you know – that way it won’t be so intimidating! Choose people who can provide you with good feedback so you can improve the quality of your writing while also gaining experience.
If you are currently employed, you could start by asking your boss or coworkers if they have any writing you can help them with.
You can also reach out to friends and family to see if they need some writing done. If you don’t find opportunities there, you could try contacting charities or other local organizations and see if they need any work done.
Create Samples to Show Prospective Clients
When getting started, it is extremely important to put together a portfolio of your written work. This can include any and all types of writing you have done, but it is wise to include some samples that are of a similar format to the type of writing job you want.
Start a Blog
A great way to show off your writing is to start a blog. Starting a blog isn’t difficult, and it doesn’t have to be expensive.
People create blogs on a variety of topics. You could write about your family life, personal interests, travel, skill training, or anything else you are passionate about. When finished, you can link your blog to your social media accounts or LinkedIn, which will help you get more exposure.
If you don’t feel like starting your own, you can try guest writing on someone else’s blog.
Work with a Writing Agency
If you find you’re having real difficulty getting started as a freelancer, you can use a writing agency. In doing so, you will have help getting your first assignments and be able to build your portfolio without the initial stress of finding your own clients.
Network with Other Writers
If you can build a network of like-minded writers, you can help each other find clients. Perhaps someone you know has been offered a job they don’t have the time to do; they could pass that client on to you.
Another great opportunity if you are just starting out is to find a freelance mentor. A mentor can give you advice on how to overcome any obstacles you are facing. They could also help you connect to other writers or prospective clients.
The wider you cast your net, the more likely you are to catch a great writing opportunity.
Once you have some experience, you can prove to potential clients you have what it takes to complete their assignments. Then, you can work on improving your speed and attracting even more clients.
Becoming A Freelance Writer
Are you interested in a freelance writing career? Remember, you don’t need a degree to get started.
Consider signing up for our Becoming A Freelance Writer course. It’ll teach you everything you need to know about getting started.
As explained above, having a portfolio is an important way to get started, and with our work guarantee, you could gain three professionally edited pieces of work after completion of the course.
Start your free trial today and see for yourself!