How to Become a Freelance Writer in 2024 (Make $5k/Month!)

By Sean Ogle •  Updated: 11/01/23 •  22 min read

What does a freelance writer do? They are someone paid to write.

Here’s how it works: a person hires you to create content for them. They give you some instructions, “write a 1,000 word post with these keywords, ” you write the content, send it off to them, and get paid.

It’s that simple. Now, it doesn’t mean it’s easy, but the process of freelance writing itself is relatively straightforward.

The cool thing about freelance writing is there are so many possibilities for you to get started. That’s not only because there are so many different styles of writing, but there are so many niches to write in too.

There’s more opportunity than ever to get started with freelance writing — from copywriting to proofreading to content repurposing — there is something out there for you.

Here’s what you need to know.

Step by Step: How to Become a Freelance Writer in 2024 

All the information you need to get started as a freelance writer is right here.

Read through this post, and then reread it.

Start slow. Go through each step. And, most importantly, take action.

But first, there are a few places we think you need to start:

  1. A website (or a place to put your writing samples).
  2. 3-5 samples on that site that you can include in your job applications and the emails you send to potential clients introducing yourself.

The first thing you need to know is that any potential client will want to see a few writing samples.

If you don’t have writing samples, no one will hire you. So you need those, and then somewhere to put them. That’s what we’re going to cover first.

Depending on your available time, set aside one to two weeks to take care of this part.

Step 1: Create a Freelance Writing Portfolio Website

First, get a website up and running. Here’s how to do that.

Your freelance writing website is your home base. It’s a way for potential clients to learn a little bit more about you, check your writing samples, and hire you.

Make your site as simple as possible.

You don’t need sliders, fancy themes, and stuff with tons of customization. Instead, a one-page theme will give you exactly what you need.

Here’s what you need:

Very simple. Don’t go overboard here.

And when you’re writing for these pages, try to put yourself in your potential client’s shoes. What do they need? Someone who can help them save time, reduce headaches, and make more money.

You can deliver that by giving them great content that doesn’t need edits, and is well-researched, factual, and engaging. Even if you’re brand new to freelancing. You can help take some of this headache off someone else’s plate, saving them time to do other projects.

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Step 2: Write 3-5 Samples

Once on your site, the first thing potential clients look at is your writing samples. This is the thing that makes or breaks you at the start.

If they like the way you write, they’ll hire you.

This post (and video) will walk you through exactly what you need to create good writing samples to help you get started.

Take some time to go through some sites you read and admire. See how posts are formatted and the flow of the content. Then, use these posts as inspiration to create your posts.

Here are some tips to get started with this part:

Now, the next big question. Do freelance writers need a niche?

No. You don’t. The truth is having a niche can make things easier, but at the start, it’s fine to toss everything at the wall and see what sticks.

Here are two quick examples for you, one with a niche and one without.

Diego is a freelance writer with no experience, so he wants to take a generalist route to get his feet wet and learn about freelancing. On his site, he has 5 samples:

These cover a range of topics but highlight the most popular types of posts clients will have on their sites. So Deigo may want to target content marketing agencies as clients to show he can write well about a variety of topics.

Kara is also new to freelancing, but she’s been working for an insurance company for years. So she knows a lot about the topic and has decided to try that as her niche.

She follows the same steps for writing samples and has 3 pieces up on her site:

Kara can now use her three posts plus her experience working in insurance to start her marketing process.

If you have been working in a job for a little while, you can absolutely use that experience as a niche to help you get started.

And remember, you’re not marrying a niche for life. It’s just for getting started right now, you can always switch it up later.

Action step: Start building your freelance writing website.

If you don’t have the funds to get a website up right now or know you’re going to get lost and frustrated, a quick fix is setting up an online portfolio.

The following sites let you put up free portfolios (some of them will limit the number of pieces you can put up for free):

Each of these can show your work professionally.

If you have a bit of money, someone on Fiverr may be able to help you get a website up and running, and Carrd makes very simple drag-and-drop websites that look nice too.

Finally, sites like Medium and even LinkedIn let you write articles and post them.

Looking for a good checklist of everything to include on your portfolio website?

Here you go:

Reading more your thing? Here’s our 17 Point Freelance Portfolio Site Checklist.

Step 3: Market Your Freelance Writing Business (It’s not as Hard as it Sounds)

This is the part of freelancing that people don’t like. But without a doubt, it is the most important part.

If you do not market your business, making any money is incredibly difficult.

When you are a new freelancer, you have one priority (after your samples are written and posted online) let brands and sites know you exist.

This step should devote 95% of your time until you start landing clients consistently.

Don’t tweak your website endlessly, watch a million YouTube channels, read blog posts, or panic about a niche.

Market yourself.

Because that will solve 85% of your problems.

When you work for yourself, you are in the sales business.

You must sell yourself and your skills all the time. Then, hopefully, you’ll start getting more people who come to you through referrals and word of mouth, and you won’t have to sell quite as much.

But at the end of the day, remember this: no one, and I mean this, no one, is going to market for you.

You have to do it yourself.

So, you need to set aside time every day (at the start) to do some form of marketing. The goal here is to make marketing as natural as brushing your teeth; it’s just something you do every day.

The freelancers who work on figuring out how to best use their time to market consistently tend to get a lot more work than those who don’t.

What Goes into Your Marketing Mix

Ed Gandia has a great concept called a Marketing Mix. He lists a bunch of tasks that fall under marketing, including:

Learn to Love Cold Emails

The most important of these is sending cold emails. You must get comfortable with this because you will send hundreds of cold letters of introduction (LOIs) and cold pitches to potential clients.

Sometimes people use “pitch” and “LOI” interchangeably, but they’re different things.

A pitch asks for a specific job or assignment, like sending a proposal to a magazine to write an article or a website to do a guest post.

On the other hand, an LOI is introducing yourself and getting on someone’s radar, whether it’s a potential client, an agency, a job board listing, or even an editor.

An LOI is just letting them know you’re available and interested in potentially working together, while a pitch is asking them to hire you right now.

We recommend sending lots of LOIs and adding some pitches to the mix.

Here’s an example of an LOI to a local content marketing agency.

Hi Potential Client,

I’m a freelance content [use your niche instead of the word content if you have one] writer [copywriter, social media writer]. I’ve worked with marketing firms [companies] like [biz] and [biz] to create content that helps their clients reach their target audience [get clicks, and conversions, educate readers, create engaging content, get more email sign-ups, grow their social media profile, etc.]. [If you haven’t written for clients you can say something like: I have experience in xyz industry/I’ve been involved in xyz hobby for x years/I’m a generalist content writer with incredible reserach skills]

Do you work with freelance writers?

You can find recent samples of my writing here: [link to your website’s portfolio page, if you don’t have a site, link to 2-3 RELEVANT posts/samples you’ve written]

I’d love to chat about your content [copywriting, newsletter, social media, etc.] needs and where I can help.


This type of email is called a letter of introduction or LOI. It’s a simple 5-6 sentence that says who you are and the kind of writing you do and asks if they work with freelancers.

Read more about LOIs here.

Get used to LOIs, because you are going to send out thousands of these over your career.

After a few days, if you haven’t heard anything back, send a follow-up email. And repeat your follow-up emails on a consistent schedule.

One approach is:

When you have a list to keep track of your emails or use a tool like Streak for Gmail, it’s much easier to schedule your follow-ups to go out on a regular basis, increasing the chances of you landing the gig.

The vast majority of freelancers never send a follow-up. So even if you limit it to two, you’re still putting yourself in a better position to get paid to write.

It looks something like this:

Hi potential client,
I know you’re busy so wanted to get back to the top of your inbox about potentially working together. Here are a few recently published articles in the [niche] you may be interested in:
  • 1 <– Link to a new article
  • 2
Happy to chat more if you think I could be a good fit for the site.

Again, personalize where you can, but keep it to a sentence at the top.

If you haven’t written anything new or don’t have new links to share, say you’re following up, and you’d love to chat more.

Start sending.

Making Time for Marketing

What you need to do is block out time daily and do a combination of these marketing tactics. If you have an hour every day, then use it to send as many LOIs, cold emails, and follow-ups as possible. Use additional free time to connect with brands and freelancers on social media.

As you start, use a spreadsheet to create lists of potential clients to target or sites you want to write for. Do this at night when you’re watching tv and don’t have to think.

Spend all your free time adding to this list.

Then when it’s time to start doing your marketing tasks, and you’re squeezed for time, you can work off of that and get results vs. wasting your time searching for emails or info.

Screenshot 2019 01 21 08.51.39

Here’s an example of some target sites I might pitch.

So when I say marketing, do this:

  1. Create a spreadsheet for marketing tasks. The way you do it doesn’t matter. Airtable, Streak for Gmail, Excel, gdocs, whatever works for you.
  2. Schedule time in your calendar marketing. This is your sacred time, and you need to make it clear no one can bother you.
  3. Pick your marketing mix for the day. Then, send out whatever combo of the marketing mix you’re working on that day and note it in your spreadsheet.
  4. Send emails. Start at the top of your spreadsheet and send LOIs. Do the same if you have pitches if you want to send new story ideas to a blog you love.
  5. Send follow ups. If a few days have gone by and you haven’t heard anything, follow up to your original email by replying to it. Keep following up until you get a gig or are told to stop.

You are going to do this endlessly over the next few months. The more you do this, the closer you are to getting a job. The people who send out 50 LOIs a week tend to get work a lot faster than the people who send out 2.

Once you have a system set to track your outreach, it’s so much easier to send follow-ups and get a rhythm going.

A big part of freelancing success is figuring out repeatable systems for outreach.

Action step: Set time aside each week, put it in your calendar, and devote it to marketing yourself until it becomes second nature and just what you do.

Your marketing block is for activities that can directly result in getting clients. Reading a blog post about how you should be marketing does not count as marketing outreach. You actually have to do stuff.

One last thing to discuss on this: rejection.

Here’s the hard and fast truth. You are going to get rejected constantly. It’s part of the business. The best freelancers get rejected. It happens. So you need to let go of that fear of rejection. The sooner you do it, the better off you’ll be over the long term.

Where Do You Find Freelance Writing Jobs?

There are a couple of places to start to get freelance writing jobs. Here they are:

Content Marketing Agencies

You can work directly with content marketing agencies. In this case, they do most of the marketing and finding the client and leave you to do the writing.

You won’t get a full fee like you do if you’re out on your own. But for a lot of people, the tradeoff is worth it. Working with an agency means you can try out a bunch of different types of work and get some good clients under your belt.

A lot of successful freelancers will have a couple of agencies they work with on a regular basis. And if you’re good at content repurposing? There may be even more opportunities for you.

Hop on Google and do a search for agencies and send them LOIs.

I like to start with local agencies, which give you a bit of an automatic connection. Start an email like this with one personal sentence versus copying and pasting the same thing to everyone.

Once you have contacted the agencies in your city or town, spread out to your region and then the country.

There are tens of thousands of agencies out there that hire writers. So you have no excuse to say you can’t find places to start sending emails.

Social Media Can be a Goldmine of Freelance Work (If you know where to look)

For freelance writers, Twitter is an amazing tool for getting work, making connections, and befriending other freelancers. Check out a few examples of how Twitter works for freelancers in this post.

When you’re on Twitter, be on the lookout for posts like this:

You’ll see posts like these on social media every day.

Lots of freelancers can tap into social media and use it to connect directly with editors, so that is probably something you might want to explore too.

Tapping into LinkedIn

However, there is one social media site I really love for finding potential clients, and that’s LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is my go-to social media channel for prospecting new freelance writing clients. Here’s how to get started with LinkedIn.

Once you’ve created a LinkedIn profile, here’s how to use it:

  1. Find a company that would be a good target in your niche.
  2. Check out their blog and website.
  3. Pop over to LinkedIn and then click on ‘jobs.’ Sometimes you’ll get lucky, and they might be looking for a freelancer if not…
  4. Click ‘people.’ This gives you a list of all the people who work at that company
  5. Do a quick scan for anyone who has marketing or content in their title
  6. Click to connect, and then in the note, send an introduction

Here’s an example:

Hi X, I was reading the “Company name” blog and came across your name. Would love to connect, I’m a freelance writer and have been working with some finance and insurance brands like Client 1 [Again if you have no clients yet use personalization here instead]. I thought I’d reach out and say hello. Have a great weekend. [If you have space here add your email or website URL to make it really easy to connect]

That is it.

It’s all about building connections over time.

You do that by saying hello first, not immediately asking for a job.

Action step: Create a LinkedIn profile and get on Twitter.

Professional Content Marketing Companies

Contently, Skyword, ClearVoice, and nDash are some of the most popular sites that hire writers.

We’ve written quite a bit about Contently; you can read more about it here.

These sites are great for beginners because you don’t have to do any marketing. The clients are connected with you. And you’ll typically have an editor who is the middleman between you and the client.

The negative with these sites (besides nDash) is you have to wait to be found. There is no feature for you to go in and search for available jobs.

Create a profile and make sure you have keywords about your niche in it. Then post up your samples. Set time in your calendar every month to go in and add more samples or update the descriptions of your posts and profile.

Freelancer’s Friend Newsletter

Don’t have time to spend searching through social media or job boards? We’ve got you covered.

The Freelancer’s Friend Newsletter is just that — your best friend for finding a source of good freelance writing jobs for beginners.

Every week, you’ll get an email with between 15-20 gigs we’ve sourced online. That will give you an automatic head start, both on time and with jobs delivered right to your inbox.

We know where to look, so we’ve saved you hours trying to find this stuff.

Interested? Learn more about Freelancer’s Friend here.

Job Boards

Another place for beginner freelancers to find writing jobs are job boards.

There are a million of these places. So the quality varies.

But job boards have one big thing going for them: you know these companies are hiring.

So make sure to add these into your marketing mix.

Here’s a list of our five favorite freelance writing boards.

Remember, you can use your LOI writing skills here too. Whenever you apply for a gig from a job board, include a note just like an LOI introducing yourself and your skills.

Most people skip this part, so it can set you ahead of others.

Local Business Owners

As you’re searching for new freelance writing clients, don’t forget to look locally too. Yes, I know something not online? Crazy.

But chances are, even if you live in a small town, there are a handful of business owners who really need some content marketing help. That’s where you come in.

Offer to help them write blog posts, update the copy on their website, craft social media, and revamp their email list. There are tons of opportunities here. And, being they are local to you, there’s already a little bit of built-in trust; you’re from the area, so you know their client base.

So don’t ignore these business owners. For example, help 4 businesses send out monthly emails and charge $250 a pop. It probably won’t take you more than 10 hours a month, all in, and now you’ve got $1,000 coming in.

These businesses are sending out better emails and getting more clients, and you’re getting great experience you can take to higher-paying clients. It’s a win-win.

A Freelance Writing Business is a Business. Treat it Like One.

Getting into the right mindset about running a six-figure freelance writing business can take a long time.

This is what you need to do, too. One of the biggest keys to success in growing your business is to stop thinking of yourself as ‘just’ a blogger and instead as a small business owner.

When you think like a business, you start to run things like a business. And that means getting a focus, attracting the right clients in that area, and getting them to pay you real dollars (not $.03 a word) for the content you create.

In reality, becoming a paid freelance writer is not rocket science. It just takes focus and consistency. It is not difficult, but it takes a lot of hard work.

Once you start making money from freelance writing, it helps you shift your mindset.

The me who was making $.05 a word and the me who makes $1+ a word are in two different mental places. A big part of that hinged on building the confidence that I could be a writer and make real money.

To do that, bust out of your shell, get focused, and start marketing yourself as a serious business owner.

To make it in this business, you need to do the same.

Will AI Make Freelance Writers Obsolete?

I’ve received the same question over and over again for about two years:

“Will freelance writers become obsolete because of AI?”

Check out my thoughts here:

And the short answer is no.

Yes, AI writing tools are popping up everywhere.

Yes, they’re getting better, and they are amazing resources to help you be a better writer and get more done in less time.

But even the very best AI tool I’ve used, Content at Scale, is still not capable of coming close to a high-quality human writer.

Yes, I could see it taking some of the super low-level SEO writing jobs, but for anything super meaningful and well-paid, we still have a long ways to go.

That said, these tools are most beneficial in the hands of a competent blogger or freelance writer. If you get good at using a tool like Content at Scale or Jasper, you can use it as a base to create content that you can edit yourself. It will give you a draft, and you can then add personality and personal details to make it extremely high quality.

When using a tool like this, you can double or triple the amount of content you can create in any given session.

But will it replace you? No.

Here are more of my thoughts on the future of freelance writing.

How to Become a Freelance Writer in 2024: Final Thoughts

Alright, you made it!

Yes, that was a lot of information, but if you’ve gotten this far, you should have an excellent idea of how to become a freelance writer. And you can start right now.

Go through each of the steps and follow the tips and advice. You can get your freelance writing business up and running in no time.

Check out our 6 day FREE COURSE on starting a freelance writing business.

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This post was updated for accuracy in November 2023.

Sean Ogle

Sean Ogle is the Founder of Location Rebel where he has spent the last 12+ years teaching people how to build online businesses that give them the freedom to do more of the things they like to do in life. When he's not in the coffee shops of Portland, or the beaches of Bali, he's probably sneaking into some other high-class establishment where he most certainly doesn't belong.
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69 comments on "How to Become a Freelance Writer in 2024 (Make $5k/Month!)"

  1. Aya says:

    I’m amazed at how much valuable information you’re sharing with us on this post Liz! I learned so much from this article and I’m binge reading the rest of your blog! Thank you so much for your help ^_^

    1. Liz Froment says:

      Thanks Aya, happy to hear you got something out of it!

  2. cat says:

    Great info! I found the part about marketing very helpful and insightful. As well as how to start a blog about freelance writing.
    Thanks for the great article.

  3. Andy says:

    Thanks for a tons of information i needed to get start as a freelance copywriter.
    Ive learned a lot..keep it up.

  4. Katie Moga says:

    Holy crap, this is awesome! I’m just getting started and you gave. So. Much. Helpful. Information. I have so many tabs open from links in this post for further digging. Thank you! One question though. I don’t expect you to have tax laws memorized or anything, but how do taxes work for freelance writers? I got screwed in a 10-99 situation years ago, so I’m a little sketch on that aspect. If you don’t have posts on it, if you could point me in a good general direction, it’d be much appreciated. Thanks again for this amazing post!

  5. Cody Rodgers says:

    Looking to write my way to the life that I want and it’s been very refreshing to see the writing community create the niche content that I need. With that being said, this post stands out from the crowd! Stay funny, Liz. (Does this count as outreach?)

  6. Karl says:

    I’m heading in the direction of becoming a freelance writer and you guys are to blame! Ended up on a LR youtube video and now here I am with like a thousand tabs open doing as much research as I can before making the plunge. I just want to make sure I know exactly what I’m getting myself into so I don’t later regret making this decision. Thanks for making that a bit easier by providing all the ins and outs of what freelance writing entails.

    1. Colon A. McBride says:

      Thanks for your comment. I have a burning desire to write…I have worn out two computers and MANY reams of paper…to no avail so far.
      I am an elderly individual, struck by lightning two times while training soldiers in the swamps of North Alabama. I have a mind FULL of things I would like to write about, but just do not have the courage to send them out to a publisher…Got stung on three occasions by publishing houses and have not tried again.
      Thanks for allowing me to rant a bit…….VERY UNUSUAL and unexpected.

      colon.mcbride @

      C.A. McBride
      672 Blue Rock Rd
      Union Grove, AL 35175

  7. Jill says:

    This was an amazing read. Your flow is perfect! I have been freelancing for 8 years as a DPM (Digital Project Manager) for various companies, never in a writing position, however somehow ended up writing policies and procedures, blog content, social post, MOUs, white papers, etc. Since it’s been difficult to find work in my field, due to the pandemic , I thought it would a great time to explore a writing career. It is now 5:00 am and I have been reading your blog all night while taking notes and brainstorming. Thank you so much for the inspiration and wealth of knowledge. I will be a regular reader.

  8. It looks very interesting, I like to develop my knowledge in this area, and in general, thanks to the recommendations of books, you can quickly and effectively gain knowledge and new skills in a certain area, I also recommend that you useful resourse, find out more on Studydriver, link in my profile, in the material the advantages and disadvantages of social media about a popular topic for the 21st century, all the most relevant and important is analyzed in this way, I am sure that it will be interesting for you to read in your free time.

  9. Golu Singh says:

    Good article, I really like it.

  10. jay mehat says:

    Thank you for sharing such a nice article …

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  14. Bhawana says:

    Thanks for the great information I needed to get started as a freelance copywriter.
    I’ve learned a lot..keep it up.

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  16. siap tech says:

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  17. Robert Feld says:

    Hi. If I start a freelance writing business, does it honestly matter or not if I don’t use social media? I am useless at social media, and to be honest, I haven’t got the patience with it. Does it matter?

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