Last Updated on October 12, 2019
I get asked quite often how to be a freelance writer – mostly by the people who are looking for a part-time job, students graduating from universities, employees trying to shift their careers or individuals who love writing in their spare time.
People have a lot of doubts and queries regarding the freelance writing career. They are reluctant to put themselves out there on a professional platform because of the lack of a writing degree.
I never claim myself an expert in the freelance writing industry but I can share some insights based on my experience in this career.
Let’s start with the most popular question: Do you need a degree to be a freelance writer?
In short, no. Having a degree is NOT necessary for becoming a successful freelance writer. Yes, holding a bachelor’s degree in the respective field can help in providing you extra exposure about sentence structure, grammar, and vocabulary but just like many other fields, it is your experience and expertise that make you stand out among the crowd.
So, if you are wondering how to become a freelance writer without a degree, look at me! I am living proof that it can be done. Let me show you how:
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Things You Do Not Need to Be a Freelance Writer
1. A Writing Degree
I launched my freelance writing career after I’d finished my bachelor’s degree in Computer Sciences. I do not hold any degree in English, Journalism, Writing, or Communication. Today, I am a Level 2 Seller on Fiverr having many regular clients who appreciate my work and trust my services.
Mostly, clients do not bother about your degree or qualification. In my 4 years of freelance career, no client has ever asked me about my degree or the institute I studied in. They pay attention to my skills, portfolio, and reviews on my profile.
Thus, more than having a writing degree to dive into freelance writing, you need to be good enough to be competitive. There’s always room for growth. Everyone can become a better writer by practicing writing frequently. Focus on polishing your skills and building a good freelance profile to get clients.
For more details, read Step-by-Step Guide to Be a Freelance Writer in 2019.
2. An Office Space
As the definition says, freelancing is about being able to do you work anywhere.
When I started freelancing, I used to complete projects sitting on my bed. There was no proper office setup and to be honest, I never felt the need till last year. Yes, I started this blog last year and decided to have a little space of my own where I can work on my ideas peacefully and let my thoughts wander. So, I ended up putting a chair and desk in a corner of my room with some accessories (pens, papers, calendar, etc.) on it.
What I am trying to explain here is, it is not essential to rent some office space to work as a freelance writer. Your clients are not going to ask you if you are sitting in a well-furnished office while doing your work. It’s all your choice. So, don’t stress yourself with the extras. Start with the basics and upgrade your needs with time.
3. Your Own Blog
What? How can I say that you do not need a blog when I’ve stated in one of my articles (4 Ways to Build Your Freelance Writing Portfolio) how having your own blog helps you to get clients.
Well, technically, you do not really need a blog to start freelance writing.
Back to when I started freelancing, I had no blog but still got clients. This blog of mine took birth last year when I made my mind to step into the world of blogging.
Honestly, having a blog and then regularly managing it demands time. For me, it becomes challenging to run this blog parallel to my freelance career. I work on my freelance projects almost every day and then also have to write blog posts here to stay consistent. If you are reading my posts for quite some time, you may know that I take a break from this blog most often just to finish my Fiverr deliveries on time.
However, starting your own blog is a good way to build your portfolio and showcase your skills to prospective clients. If they ask you to show your previous writing samples, you may send them your blog’s link. I have also got some clients through my blog who hired me for managing their blogs/websites.
If you are new to freelance writing, work on building your portfolio. Just note that blog is not the only way to do so. Having your own blog is not a requirement for becoming a freelance writer.
Things You Need to Be a Freelance Writer
Here are some important things that you need for becoming a successful freelance writer. Have a look at them:
1. Passion to Succeed
Working as a freelancer, you are your own boss. No one is there to hold you accountable for wasting your time and not completing projects. If you are not passionate about your job, you will soon lose interest thus making excuses that things did not work out for you.
Freelancing requires hustle. In order to be a top-notch freelance writer, you have to love the work you do. I read somewhere that you will only be a successful freelancer if you do not have any other way to feed your family. If you have Plan B, you’ll take it because freelancing for a living is tough. You have to want it badly to get at the top.
Developing a passion to succeed as a writer will raise up your game. It will keep you motivated and allow you to find new opportunities that trigger your interest. Do whatever you need to remain focused. Shut down any unnecessary apps that are shifting your focus away from your work and hindering your productivity.
2. Excellent Communication Skills
I guess the most important skill that you need as a freelance writer is the ability to interact professionally with clients. See, every freelance project starts with communication. Before making a deal with you, clients observe your writing style and communication to know about your expertise. So, effective communication with clients is as necessary as writing itself.
If you face difficulty in communication, work on it. Learn to deliver your message in the simplest and finest words possible. Don’t worry. It all comes with time and experience. When you start working, you begin to learn and pick things of your own only if you are interested enough to do so.
3. Good Internet Connection & Laptop
To thrive in a freelancing industry, your technology choice matters. As a freelance writer, you have to stay connected to your clients. You also need to research content before writing or take help from online dictionary to make a better choice of words.
Slow internet or faulty computer can make you really frustrated and lead you to lose clients. Every second that goes in loading a webpage is time wasted. That is why you should invest in a high-speed internet connection and a good quality computer.
4. Wise Time Management
One of the biggest challenges that you will face as a freelancer is to manage your time efficiently. When you are working of your own, the chances of becoming lazy and procrastinating your work increase. So, time management is vital for becoming a successful freelance writer. Learn to make the most of the 24 hours you get every day to maximize productivity and achieve your daily goals.
I believe in working smarter, not harder. Time management is not about squeezing as many tasks as possible in your day but to be thoughtful in how you are managing the daily tasks. Instead of being robotic in everything you do, ask yourself if there’s anything in your to-do list that can be done smartly. Simplify how you work, do things faster, avoid distractions, and increase productivity. Welcome every new day with a stress-free approach.
5. Continuous Learning
Even if you become a top-rated freelance writer, learning should never stop. The drive to learn and understand more and more is essential for any writer. Stay committed to your growth. Learn to explore. Ask questions. Get the answers and share them with the world using the power of the right words.
Keep in touch with all the latest advancements in your field. Set some personal goals to learn something new and refine your skills. Challenge your limits. Try different types of writing niches to get exposure. Work with diverse clients for knowing more about different cultures and their values. In short, broaden your horizon and never say no to learning new stuff. This natural curiosity will surely take you far.
6. Consistency & Honesty
Remember guys, consistency matters a lot. It takes time to build your reputation as a freelance writer. Do not quit if there are no immediate results. Work with serious determination and things will eventually start rolling out for you. There’s no magic and no shortcut to success. You have to put in the effort.
People message me saying that they are trying to become a freelance writer for the last many years but have not earned even a single dollar. I ask them if they were consistent in all those years, if they honestly tried everything that they could and the answer I get is “no”. So, you see. This is not a success mindset. Excuses will never take you anywhere but consistency will. Be consistent and see the results.
Another point is, stay utmost honest with your profession. Never cheat the clients. Do not deliver plagiarized work. You will not end up long-term with such practices. Try to deliver above and beyond the client’s expectations. It will help you to earn really good reviews on your profile as well as build long term work relationships with your clients.
Summing up the whole post, it is not essential to have a degree to become a freelance writer. You only need skills and expertise to make your mark as a freelance writer.
If you have any queries or doubts in mind, do let me know in the comments. I love reading your feedback. 🙂