Diana Kelly Levey

How Can Beginner Freelancers Get Their First Writing Job?

man staring at laptop in coffee shop

March 11, 2019

If you want to become a freelance writer with no experience and are eager to start a freelance writing career, apply some of these freelance writing tips to break in as a freelance writer.

Writing Jobs for Beginners

A: This is a great time for a beginner to get started with freelance writing. (In fact, I just launched a Freelance Writing Basics course on Teachable to help anyone get started.)

Content is king right now so every person, brand, service, and product needs articles, writing services, content marketing, and copy. You can help them if you have solid writing skills and a hustle mentality.

I find that freelance writing students and freelance beginners tell me that they have a ton of ideas—some of them potentially great!—but they don’t know where to pitch them, the right editor to email an idea to, and the process of landing a paid freelance writing assignment.

(Ways to come up with new freelance article ideas if you’re struggling.)

Here are 5 freelance writing tips to help beginners find their first freelance writing job.

1. Tell everyone you’re a freelance writer!

Seriously. Email friends, family, and former colleagues letting them know that you’re freelance writing and would be happy to offer your writing services to them. Working connections and your network are one of the secrets of being a successful freelance writer and a six-figure freelancer.

2. Dedicate time to freelancing.

You’re not going to become a great piano player simply by sitting in front of a piano and banging on the keys. The same goes for freelance writing. Here’s how to find time in your schedule to start freelance writing. You might want to make up a freelance schedule this week:

  • Spend one hour one day searching for freelance writing jobs online  (I have a resource for my students with 25-plus websites with paying gigs)
  • Use another day to research an outlet you want to pitch
  • Find the editor’s name you plan to pitch another day
  • Write the pitch on the fourth day
  • On the fifth day, look over the pitch again, send it out and research more writing jobs online

3. Decide on the type of writing you want to do.

A freelance writing career is more than just writing articles for magazines. Look around you. Peek through your postal mail. There’s copy and content everywhere. (Try this exercise to find content marketing clients right under your nose!) You could be a copywriter, copyeditor, editor, content marketing writer, freelance writer for magazines, freelance writer for websites, SEO writer, ghostwriter, blogger, press release writer, a corporate writer for businesses, social media writer, travel writer, the list goes on.

Here’s what experienced freelancers wish they knew about freelancing five and 10 years ago.

4. Research the markets.

Once you’ve decided what area you want to concentrate in, research the markets. I get more in-depth in this skill in my “Get Paid to Write” comprehensive freelance writing course, but you should read a few issues of the magazine you want to pitch. Spend some time on the website (and social media accounts) of the online outlet you’re going to pitch, and familiarize yourself with the brand or organization you’re offering your services to. Skipping this step is a mistake many beginning freelancers often make and it’s what can set you apart from the rest. Do the research and you’ll be much more likely to land an assignment. You’ll also want to spend time researching the idea you want to pitch.

5. Get published clips.

This is a question you’ll often see posted in beginner freelance writing forums online: “How do I get writing assignments when I don’t have published articles or clips to show a client?” “How do I break into freelance writing?” or “How do I get started with freelance writing online?” Here are a few tips (of the many) tips I share with Freelance Writing students who enroll in my e-course on “How to Get Published When You Don’t Have Experience.”

  • Find small, local magazines that are distributed for free in grocery stores and libraries and offer your writing services, story ideas, or editing services.
  • Contact your alumni magazine. See if a local community college needs help with its newspaper, alumni correspondence, or website copy.
  • Submit an op-ed to a paper or website


Don’t forget to check out other successful freelance writer friends’ number-one tip for beginners to get started freelance writing here.

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Diana can help with:

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Email Diana about opportunities: Diana(at)DianaKelly.com.

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