6 Things You Absolutely Don’t Need to Be a Freelance Writer

Do you want to be a freelance writer, but something’s holding you back?

You’re probably thinking there’s something you really need before you actually start freelance writing, right?

I mean this is a business and a new career path so thinking there are certain requirements is just a given.

6 Things You Absolutely Don’t Need to Be a Freelance Writer

I mean if you don’t have a computer or basic writing skills, then freelance writing isn’t for you!

But, more importantly, there are many things you DON’T need to be a freelance writer and I have a feeling when you read my list, you might be shocked.

So, let’s get to it. You don’t need:

1. A Writing Degree

There are many freelance writers that are highly successful and don’t have a creative writing degree, journalism degree or any other type of writing degree.

Take a look at me: work-at-home mom with a degree in Psychology. I have a full client list and am making a living writing. It is possible, and might even be better without a degree.

Having a writing degree may hold you back since online writing is different than writing a college term paper.

And you know what? I only had two clients that used my background in Psychology. The rest of my clients? They are in the digital marketing or WordPress niche and I learned about those niches all online – from scratch.

So, it goes to say, you don’t need a writing degree. What you do need, though, is a passion to write, curiosity to learn, and the courage to just go out there and start freelance writing!

2. The Support From Family and Friends

Believe it or not, you don’t need the extra support from your loved ones to be a freelance writer. While it’s probably a good idea that your partner at least knows what you are planning to do, it isn’t essential to getting started.

And don’t think you’re not going to get people questioning your choice to give up the safe 9-5 job for the inconsistent freelancing life. There’s also going to be perceptions that you’re always available and it’s okay to ring you up at 2pm for a favor because your at home.

For me, no one really besides my husband and a few friends know that I’m a freelance writer. I’m sure many don’t even know its a real thing.

If you thiLorraine and Elnank your family won’t support you because they don’t understand, don’t let it stop you from doing what you want to do. You can find support in other places. I’m lucky to know Lorraine Reguly, a freelance writer and blogger who actually lives in my hometown!

I also belong to a private Facebook group of other freelancers and I network with many other freelance writers, asking them questions and developing a great relationship with them.

So even if your family thinks freelance writing is a joke, don’t let them discourage you!

What’s great about freelance writing online is the huge communities you will find and how great established freelance writers are willing to help!

3. An Office

Okay, maybe this is a given, I mean the definition of freelancing is being able to do it anywhere!

When I first started freelance writing, I had twin toddlers to take care of (I still do!). I couldn’t just pack them up and take them to the park and bring my laptop to work. They are far too little to play by themselves and I want to give them my attention throughout the day.

So, when I first started, I felt I needed an office, but had no room in my home. I just ended up putting a desk and chair in the master room.

It’s my home base and I keep my notebooks and my laptop there during the day. When the twins take their nap, I can slip in and get some work done.

So, you really don’t need a designated area to freelance write. But, at the same time, I wouldn’t suggest you run your entire business on your living room couch! It’s a good idea to have a space carved out in your house – you just don’t need an entire room.

4. Blog

What? How can I say you don’t need a blog when I’ve stated how having a blog can help you land clients (and I am advising my students that’s it’s a good idea to start a blog)?

Well, technically to be a freelance writer you really don’t need a blog.

In truth, having a blog is hard work. For me, it’s challenging. I have to write for my clients and then every week I need to write a blog post.

And if I decide to give my blog a break, how will that look to prospective clients? If I can’t keep up with my blog, what makes them think I can do that for them?

But, can a blog really help you land clients? Well it’s an easy way to build your portfolio and it quickly shows prospective clients that:

  • You produce quality content
  • You know how to write for an online audience
  • Your posts do well on  social media

I have landed clients with my blog/website (actually my most recent client hired me to do their featured images on their blog), but I’ve also landed clients through referrals, social media and pitching.

So, if you’re new, focus on landing guest posts and building your portfolio. Then, when you’re ready you can start a website for your freelance writing business.

5. Lots of Free Time

Are you thinking that you just don’t have the time to start freelance writing? Maybe when the kids start school you’ll have the time, right?

If only you had more time you could definitely start freelance writing. Well, let me know tell you something: you’re never going to have enough time!

I’m a WAHM and when I started freelance writing my twins weren’t even three. I worked part time on my client work and I was able to make an income online. So, it is possible.

If you still have a 9-5 job, starting a freelance writing business might mean waking up earlier to write, using your lunch break to pitch and using the evening to market your business.

If you really want this, you’ll make time.

6. To Be Perfect

Are you reluctant to send off your pitch because it’s not absolutely perfect? Are you waiting on making a freelance writer website because you haven’t found the perfect theme?

That was me in the beginning. It took me forever to find a theme I liked. I spent hours and hours trying to write the perfect pitch (only to make mistakes along the way).

But, I had to stop thinking there was a better pitch or a better theme, and just use any theme and send my pitch. A “good enough” pitch is better than sending no pitch, right?

There’s really no such thing as perfection, so give yourself a break and just do it already!

Start Freelance Writing Today

Don’t let any one of these things stop you from being a professional writer. No matter where you’re from and what you do, you can be a freelance writer.

If your background is in home decor, you can be a freelance writer.

If you’re a stay-at-home mom and you don’t want to go back to the 9-5 grind, you can be a freelance writer.

My story shows that absolutely anyone can make it as a freelance writer. So, what are you waiting for? Get off your butt, get on your laptop and start writing.

Now it’s your turn – what other things do you NOT need to be a freelance writer?

Hi I'm Elna and I'm a freelance writer and mom blogger. I help people just like you become a profitable freelance writer. Within 6 months of starting my freelance writing business from scratch I was able to earn a full-time living as a part-time freelance writer while taking care of my twin toddlers. Check out my free email course Get Paid to Write Online and learn the steps you need to take to be a freelance writer.

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Thank you Elna, for this post; I’m relieved. A bit. I have one question; I’m just out of high school, but I want to be a medical writer in the dental/oral health niche. Should I wait until I get a medical degree, or should I go ahead or just pick another niche altogether? I really appreciate any help you can provide.Reply to Benjamin
Hi Benjamin, You don’t need a medical degree to be a medical writer but having some form of certification in the medical field helpful. Each business is different on what they want for a writer so when you pitch you will see what most want! Good luck!Reply to Elna
Thank you Elna for this blog post and your words inspire me since I kinda had a feeling some things have hold me back and I have confidence issue I think I have to work on. Getting out there and starting a freelance writing is hard work but a courage is what makes someone like me to get on with it and do it.Reply to Anum
Thanks Elna, your words have really inspired me. I started freelance writing 12 year ago when my kids where young also, then got offered a “great full time” job in sales. I realise my mistake and should have carried on with my writing career, but now, I have set a goal to replace my “full time sales” within the next 12 months and do what I am passionate about. I worried if my writing was still good enough but reading your words has actually made me think…Hell yes!! I can do this!!! and the fact that I have so many years sales experience can only add to my successfulness….maybe it was meant to be this way after all…. Thanks once again!!! I will check out the “get paid to write online”… enjoy your day πŸ™‚Reply to Carole
Hi Carole, Oh Yea! Thanks for coming over! Glad you enjoyed this post and good luck being a freelance writer and enrolling in my free course!Reply to Elna
I’m really hoping to take up this career. Writing is my passion. I’m looking for a job at the moment, but going back to the 9-5 grind really pains me. I’ve thought of starting down this path before, I’m just not sure of how to take the first step. Is there a community of freelance writers I could join to get some one on one advice?Reply to Abby
Hi Abby, That’s great you want to start down this freelance writing path! If you need help figuring out that first step, I do have a post for you: https://elnacain.com/blog/first-step-freelance-writer/ As for a community, there are Facebook groups for writers but my course, Write Your Way to Your First $1k has a private FB group that is highly resourceful. There are trainings, challenges and job postings.Reply to Elna
This actually gave me some much needed motivation! Thank you for taking the time to type this for everyone. I am actually a twin myself, working on a novel series and almost done with my first book! Hope to have it in publishing phase in the next couple months, but found a love for writing I didn’t know I had. Not really sure where to start, but this gives me faith it may still be possible! Hopefully an opportunity will arise, but in the mean time I shall keep focusing on my writing. Thanks again! James PankoskiReply to James
Elna I am a middle aged man and I have an entire life of the widest and at times the wildest experiences that have taught me not to expect any outcome to be the one that at times I’m almost certain of. You have given me the idea that there are some out there that might benefit from the whole spectrum of my thoughts, words and deeds that have brought me to a stage in life that will be of benefit to a wide range of people, thank you, DerekReply to Derek
And one more thing Elna, To answer your question, I realize I do NOT need to be jealous of anyone else’s success. There’s enough for all of us if we apply ourselves. You’re an excellent example of that. Thanks again for offering us your giftedness.Reply to Marsha
Hi Marsha, True dat! πŸ˜‰Reply to Elna
Hi Elna. You always (not trying to flatter you here) have such engaging, practical content. The best part is your transparency about your process. Powerful. Thanks for sharing.Reply to Marsha
Hi Marsha, Thank you soo much! <3 So happy you found some actionable advice!Reply to Elna
Hello , I’m a beginner and would like to see if you can give me some information on freelance writing ? I like to make a living doing this . I like to it from home .Thank You for your timeReply to Laura
Hi Laura! That’s awesome you want to start freelancing writing. Have you taken a look at my free course? This would be the first step: https://elnacain.com/course/getpaid/Reply to Elna
Hi elna, thanks so much for this write up. It gave a newbie like me all the encouragement needed to become a freelance writer. This will rather spur me to action rather than procrastinating.Reply to Kate
Hi Kate! So happy to hear that! Yes, you don’t need a lot to be a freelance writer! Stop procrastinating and start taking action!!!Reply to Elna
Wow! Thank you so much for your article..this really gives me the confidence to get started. I do have a communications degree but l don’t do anything l went to school for. I interned at tv stations and wrote copy for 30 and 60 second spots. Any tips on how to pitch for media work? Thank you for sharing..you are such an inspiration!Reply to Alisa
Hey Alicia! That’s awesome and thanks! I’m not knowledgeable about media clients. You may have to branch out a bit on entertainment blogs first?Reply to Elna
The idea of not really needing a blog kind of blew me away. I’ll be honest about that one, Elna. (Not that I’m not honest about 98% of the time! lol) We’re a lot alike in that I don’t have time for a blog on top of pitching and family time. I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it but I suppose I can put the blog on a back burner for now since I’m using guest posts in my portfolio only. Those posts show my expertise enough on their own. I like the thought of not having a writing degree since my Associate’s Degree is in Criminal Justice and I’m not using it AT ALL. My clients don’t care about some fancy degree in journalism or the like. All they care about is that I can deliver a post that will resonate with their readers. If I can convince them of that with a few guest posts I’ve had posted, then so be it. I’m happy with that. Thank you for giving me that sense of relief, Elna!Reply to Lizzie
Hi, Elna! I’m just starting my freelance writing business/adventure. I’m talking total ground level. I’ve been researching and studying everything useful I can find for months. I’ve reached the point where I have to tell myself, “Just do it!” I’m so happy I found your blog a few days ago. It has been so helpful and motivational for me. Every time I start thinking things like “Who do I think I am?” and “Can I really do this?” I just look you up and read your words. You’re awesome! Thank you!Reply to Dixie
Dixie! Your comment touched my heart <3 Thank you so much for your compliment. I love freelance writing and the opportunity it brings me. I get to stay home with my twins and have control over what I do. You are making the right decision and yes, you just have to "do it!" πŸ™‚ Email me if you have any questions!Reply to Elna
Hi Elna, I could hug you right now! I tend to fixate on the reasons I shouldn’t try something new instead of just going for it. Your post was just the boost I needed to feel empowered and excited to chase this dream and leave doubt in the dust. Thank you!Reply to Melissa
Hi Melissa! You’re welcome! So happy you have the confidence to get out there and take action!Reply to Elna
Hey Elna, Great article! I totally aggree that you don’t need to have a writing degree to become a freelance writer. One question though: what are some good freelance writing communities to connect with? Thanks and keep up the good work!Reply to Patrik
Hey Patrik, Check on Facebook for writing communities. I don’t know off the top of my head.Reply to Elna
Now is the very inspiring. Most fields like writing and graphic design are very touchy about newbies entering the field without “proper” training.Reply to Shantel
Thanks Shantal! Yeah, the online world is different. If you can prove yourself first, you will find work and build up your credibility. Experience counts more than proper training.Reply to Elna
Way to shatter the myth already Elna! And I’m quite sure at some point, you’ll get your fair share of, “but Elna you don’t under my unique situation” type of emails!” Your list of six proven myth busters, is more than proof enough, that anyone that is sincerely interested in moving off center in a major way, can definitely do so! Thanks for helping remove the mental crutches!Reply to Mark
Hi Elna: Thanks so much for your valuable insight. It’s so refreshing hearing a perspective on freelance writing that’s neither cynical, negative, or assumes that you need a ton of schooling before you get started on it (something I hear way too often.) This article reminds me of the great parts of freelancing, that make the not so great parts worth it. I think that anyone that’s a great writer, and is extremely resilient can do it, as long as it’s a subject you can easily speak from experience about. Next time I have one of my “not so great” days or weeks I might even re-read your post.Reply to Rosemary
Rosemary! So glad you stopped by! I totally hear ya about the cynical and negative posts out there that make us feel inferior. I’d rather read uplifting posts for the average Joe! Ha. I feel anyone with a good sense of writing can be a successful freelance writer. No degree or experience required. I hope you have less of those “not so great days” and more of the “this totally rocks” days instead!Reply to Elna
Great post, Elna. Simple and so true! Thanks for mentioning me, too. I love it when we get together and chat! I’m sure you enjoy getting away from your home for a bit, too. πŸ˜‰ Honestly, I don’t know how you handle all you do. You must be related to Wonder Woman!Reply to Lorraine
Hey Girl! Thanks for stopping by! I totally enjoy spending time with you and chatting. Being a stay-at-home mom is monotonous at the best of times and exhausting at the worst of times. Getting out of the house to talk about blogging or our personal life is a breath of fresh air! Looking forward to our coffee date!Reply to Elna
Really helpful post. It’s true β€” your family and friends may not completely support you..they just think you dawdle around all day on the Internet (okay, maybe that too :-P) When they ask what I’m doing, I’m proud to say when I at least have ONE writing assignment because it makes me feel REAL as a newbie writer. I’m lucky with my F&F though! P.S. I had your 6-day course in my inbox (which was fantastic!) but they got deleted somehow. I’m gonna have to sign up with a different email now!Reply to Justine
Hi Justine, I know what you mean on the support front! I think that’s why I haven’t told much of my family about what I do. They assume I’m a stay at home mom and I’m perfectly happy with that. I’ll probably change that when my business really takes off (not that it is already!). And I hear ya on the productivity front! We are home all day on our laptops and it’s hard not to go online and socialize! I’m fairly good to set up times in my day to mainly focus on my client work (because I have twins and don’t have much time in my day otherwise). Thanks for stopping by and too bad about the deleted emails πŸ™ Feel free to sign up again and don’t miss all the freebies I give my crew members.Reply to Elna
This is so very true, Elna. Thank you for inspiring us! BReply to Brenda
Hi Brenda! Thanks for stopping by. Glad you enjoyed my post and yes it IS very true, right? People get hung up on what they think they NEED and don’t ever pursue freelance writing. Well, you know what? You can be a freelance writer even if you don’t have the perfect pitch or you don’t have the best writer website. And you’ll never find the right time to start, so just go do it!Reply to Elna
There are some great points, thank you for writing this post! The freelance writing world is scary to enter, so I’m definitely bookmarking this for future reference.Reply to Lexi
Hi Lexi! Thanks so much! Glad you liked my post. You’re right, freelance writing can be a scary place if you don’t know what to expect or if you perceive it to be a certain way. The fact that there are many freelance writers out there without an English degree or creative writing degree killing it, is great encouragement for me and probably for others out there. I always feel like I’m not good enough because I don’t have those credentials, but then I remember that no one writes like me. That’s why I get hired!Reply to Elna
Great post! I actually just became a freelance writer this past week πŸ™‚ I was offered a job with Military.com. I do have a blog that I work on full time, but I don’t have a degree in it and I currently work from my bed until my husband and I purchase our next home. I admit, I was kind of shocked when I got offered the position haha but I’m so excited for this opportunity!Reply to Keating
That’s great! So happy you started freelance writing and was offered a job. Way to go! See, and you don’t even have an office either! Ha! I’m sure you’ll do fantastic as a freelance writer. Thanks for stopping by!Reply to Elna
Elna, It’s different and that’s good! article about the problems of the newbie freelance writers. Absolutely loved it…!. I was so there from beginning to the end and feels like the whole words was exclusively written for me. Thank’sReply to Laddi
Hi Laddi, Thanks for your kind words. For people interested in freelance writing, it can seem daunting because you are not sure if you can really do it (if you don’t have a degree or support or the time). But, I’m here to tell you, that yes you can!Reply to Elna
Great article. I loved your point about not needing family support. It does help. But, if you can’t get that support at home, find it in a friend. Freelance writing can be challenging- so at least build a support network. BTW, I have twins too!Reply to Erica
Hey Erica! Yay! another twin mom! Love it. Going through potty training right now and it’s ruling my world right now! Yeah, I haven’t let everyone in my family know that I’m a freelance writer. It’s just easier that way. But, I do agree, you need some support to be successful. Just not to get started. My husband has been by my side since the beginning (he actually suggested I do “something” online) and I’m eternally grateful. But, yes, having some support network (offline or online) really does help!Reply to Elna
Thank you so much for sharing this. Just the words I needed to read.Reply to Shantel
Hey Shantel, So glad I could help! We all just need a little bit of encouragement right? We are network of freelance writers and we shouldn’t compete with each other. We should root each other on! Good luck!Reply to Elna
I agree completely! I have the website/blog and support (thankfully) but no degree (it’s in psychology), no office and I still haven’t perfected my pitch, but they get sent off anyway. πŸ™‚Reply to Michaela
Hey Michaela! Ha I’m with ya! It’s hard putting yourself out there when there are writers and journalists doing the same thing. I may never write for Purina or Walgreens for example, but I’m perfectly happy writing for online companies and bloggers! There is opportunity everywhere for any level of freelance writer. So, yeah, if you don’t have an office and your pitch isn’t perfect, this shouldn’t stop you from going for it!Reply to Elna
This article could have been written about me and everything you said is so true..just get out there and do it!! I really enjoyed it,as always! Great advice,Elna. Thank you!Reply to Karen
Thanks Karen, Glad you liked my post! Many freelance writers feel like an impostor especially if they don’t have a journalism degree. Well, that’s how I sometimes feel! But it’s true, just go out and do it already, right?Reply to Elna
These tips are useful and encouraging; thanks!Reply to Keisha
So inspiring!!! Thanks for this!Reply to Zara
Thanks Keisha! Glad you liked. Some people think you need a journalism degree or lots of free time to pursue freelance writing. But, you don’t!Reply to Elna