How to Become a Freelance Writer (With No Experience or Qualifications)

Do you fantasise about your future self sitting at a breakfast bar, sipping an espresso and nonchalantly tapping away on a MacBook, writing things that people will pay you for?

And is that where the fantasy ends, because you have no idea what freelance writing really entails or even how to get started? If so, I can help – especially if you want to:

  • Incorporate writing into your daily life
  • Earn a living from doing so
  • Build a business around writing things that interest you
  • Have more freedom and creativity in your life
  • Take control of how you spend your time
  • Work from wherever you want, be it your sofa, the Bahamas, or betwixt your hot new lover’s thighs (admittedly that last one makes the typing a little trickier)

And, perhaps most importantly, if you want to do work that shapes itself to your life, not the other way around – whether that means quitting your job and freelancing full-time, being able to earn from home while raising young kids, or simply making some extra cash to top up your retirement fund.

How to Get Started as a Freelance Writer

Maybe when you think of making a living writing, you imagine getting a job as a journalist for a prestigious newspaper.

Or perhaps the most obvious thing to you is starting a blog, becoming ‘internet famous’ and eventually making a passive income from the products, courses and ebooks you write.

And, of course, there’s the dream – penning a wildly successful novel, which will later be transformed into a billion-dollar box office hit. If that’s what you’d like to do, you’re in the right place. Ha! Just kidding. Obviously I can’t help you do that. If I knew how to do that I’d be like, Why the fuck am I bothering with this course? I’VE GOT A MOVIE TO WRITE. GOODBYE!

Uh, yeah. Anyway. What I can do is show you how to build a freelance writing business that caters to companies that need written content for their websites and other online communications. (And trust me, there are a lot of them – this is the internet, after all. Perhaps you’ve heard of it?)

If your initial reaction to that was Christ, that sounds dull, I HEAR YOU. It’s not sexy, is it? ‘Companies’, ‘content’, ‘websites’. Blah. This isn’t the romantic, writerly life you envisioned! But the beauty of starting your make-a-living-writing journey here is that it’s one of the quickest and easiest ways to get going. And that is pretty fucking sexy, am I right?

This Course Isn’t for Everyone – It Might Not Even Be for You

There’s just one problem: not everyone’s cut out for this. If you don’t truly have a passion for words, if you don’t know – or, more to the point, care – about how to use a comma properly, and if you don’t take pride in your work, this course probably isn’t for you.

However, if you’re horrified by the thought of a client editing your words to within an inch of their lives, massacring them, then still publishing them under your name – this course could be for you.

If you want to pour your everything into building a writing business you’re proud of – this course could be for you.

If you’re sick of yourself always saying you will do this but then never taking action – this course could be for you.

I’m here to help you become a freelance writer – to really finally actually do it, instead of just thinking about it. So that when people ask you what you do, they won’t have chance to blink before you’ve shouted ‘I’m a writer!’ and flung your business card at them.

Are You Good Enough to Be a Successful Freelance Writer?

Okay, now I know what you’re thinking. What if you are one of those talentless fuckwits who’s kidding themselves about their ability to write for money?

Am I close? Yeah. That’s because I’ve worked one-on-one with a couple of hundred aspiring freelance writers, and I know that the problem most of them have? Isn’t their writing ability.

It’s their confidence. If you’re feeling unconfident in your ability to write for pay, let me tell you this: shitty writers with a devil-may-care attitude have a better chance of success than talented writers who lack confidence. I know this is true, because I’ve seen it happen.

So if you have that romantic vision of working as a writer nestled in the back of your mind, don’t you owe it to yourself to at least try? Do you want to let this life skip over you without ever giving it a shot? Because you really do only live once, you know. Not to get all dramatic on you, but this is it.

If you’re content to live in your status quo forevermore, then go ahead and click the little X in the corner of the screen. But if this idea’s grabbed hold of you and you can’t let it go, keep reading.

What You’ll Learn (and Achieve) On This Course

By the end of this six-week course, you’ll have created your very own professional, branded website, which you can use to attract the kind of clients you actually want to work with – writing about things that interest you for people and businesses whose values align with your own.

You’ll also learn everything you need to know to start finding and working with clients. Here are some of the topics covered each week:

Week 1: Choosing Your Path

  • A pep talk walking you through the biggest problems you’ll face
  • Why and how to specialise in specific subjects
  • The types of clients you could work with
  • The importance of finding and using your voice
  • Common writing mistakes to avoid

Week 2: Planning Your Services

  • What SEO is and why it matters
  • What copywriting is and how to do it
  • What blogging is and how to do it
  • An overview of other services you could offer

Week 3: Creating Your Website

  • Why you need a professional website
  • How to create a website from scratch (technophobe-friendly)
  • What needs to go on your website and why

Week 4: Setting Your Rates

  • How to decide how much to charge
  • The different ways you can set your rates
  • Whether to list your rates on your site
  • Negotiating, providing value, and getting social proof

Week 5: Organising Your Process

  • All the steps involved in working with clients, from start to finish
  • A guide to invoicing
  • Keeping track of your money
  • Getting officially set up as a business

Week 6: Finding Your Clients

  • An overview of all the different ways to find clients
  • How to write a good pitch that wins clients

How the Course Works

There are six individual PDFs containing guidance and homework assignments, each one designed to be completed within a week.

You can either opt to download all the course materials at once and work through it on your own, at your own pace (self-study) or you can wait until the next tutored session opens for registration (this happens 2–3 times a year – get on my mailing list to make sure you don’t miss the next session).

In the tutored course, I will send you a new PDF each week, and you will work through it and send me your homework by a specified deadline. I will give you detailed, personalised feedback about the direction you want to take your business in and how viable I think that is, how you want to brand your business, and how you can improve your website’s content and design to ensure the best chance of success. I’ll also be on hand to answer any questions you have throughout the entire process.

No matter whether you opt for the self-study or tutored course, you will get access to my students’ private Facebook group, which is an active and friendly place to get help, lament your woes and celebrate your successes long after the course has finished.

Self-study:
Instant access
£59
Instant access to all 6 lessons
Private Facebook group membership
 
 
 
Tutored:
Start date TBA
£349
6 weeks of guided lessons
One-to-one email mentorship from me
Specific feedback on how to improve your business and website
Private Facebook group membership
(Registration closed? Get on my mailing list to make sure you don't miss the next session.)

Questions and Answers

Who are you to teach this course?
I’m Karen Marston (that’s me in the picture at the top) and I’ve been freelance writing online since 2012. Before that, I was working in a bar, would you believe? I got sick of working in a shitty job, so I threw myself into getting a freelance writing business up and running. Within two months I was earning enough to quit my (admittedly crap-paying) job, and these days I make my entire living online through writing content for myself and clients, and by freelance editing. I’ve now helped many others start their own freelance writing businesses and quit their jobs too. (Scroll to the bottom of the page to hear from some of them!)

Can I really do this without experience or qualifications?
Yup! My own story attests to that, as do those of the countless others I’ve helped to do this. When it comes to running a freelance writing business, there are far more important things than having a degree in Creative Writing or work experience at your local paper.

What’s the ‘Information required’ thing that pops up when I click to buy?
There’s now an EU regulation that requires me to add VAT to all self-study purchases from EU countries (except the UK). The information you enter in that little box will calculate how much VAT needs to be added. If you’re outside the EU (or are in the UK) don’t worry, no extra charges will be added. You won’t be charged VAT on the tutored course no matter where you’re from.

Can I pay in a different currency?
Yup! No matter what currency you use, PayPal will automatically convert it into GBP, so you don’t have to do a thing.

Do you offer refunds?
If you sign up for the tutored course, you can get a refund if you request it before the course commences. I don’t offer refunds on the self-study course because it is delivered instantly and automatically, so please purchase mindfully.

How much time will I need to spend on this?
This is going to be pretty intensive. It’s going to take at least several hours per week for the duration of the course, and you may even need to set aside a full day or two each week.

Will there be any additional expenses?
Yes. At the very least, you will need to buy your own website hosting and domain name, which can add up to around $100. I will also recommend a number of other resources to help you succeed, but these are optional and you can just decide to buy them (or not) whenever you’re ready.

How much money can I expect to make?
This is impossible to answer because there are so many variables. However, you can make a lot of money, and definitely a good living, if you’re talented, work hard and are persistent. Many of my students have made several hundred in their first month alone, recouping the cost of the course and then some.

Am I guaranteed to make my money back if I take this course?
Come now, you already know the answer to that, don’t you? That would be a silly promise for me to make, given I have no idea whether you’re willing to put in the work required. However, you could potentially make your money back by scoring just one client.

Do I have to take your course to be able to make this work?
Nope! I mean, that would be an awesome business model on my part… but no. You can figure all this out for yourself if you want to. But if you’re sick of yourself never taking action on this freelance writing dream, well… you know. It might be a good idea to take a course by a no-bullshit chick who’ll give it to you straight.

Can I do this work while I travel?
Yes indeed! It’s harder to do this sort of work while on the road (as is true with most things), but one of the beautiful things about being an online freelance writer is that you can do it from anywhere with an internet connection.

Can I take this course if English is not my first language?
You can, if you also happen to be able to speak and write English fluently. It will be hard to get paid a decent wage as an English-language freelance writer if your written English is poor.

Does it matter where I’m from?
Noop! You should be able to find clients in whatever country you’re from, though there’s nothing to stop you from going global if you’d prefer that.

Can I specialise in a certain niche?
Yes! In fact, I heartily recommend it. Whether that means specialising in certain subjects or in writing certain types of content, or even specialising in working with certain types of company, you can make this writing business into whatever you want.

I came here looking for a course with a different name. Where is that?
This is either the same course under a new name, or a better course, depending on what you came here looking for. I realised that having more than one freelance writing course was confusing people, so I decided to consolidate them and create my best course ever.

Self-study:
Instant access
£59
Instant access to all 6 lessons
Private Facebook group membership
 
 
 
Tutored:
Start date TBA
£349
6 weeks of guided lessons
One-to-one email mentorship from me
Specific feedback on how to improve your business and website
Private Facebook group membership
(Registration closed? Get on my mailing list to make sure you don't miss the next session.)

Love Letters from Past Students

Hi Karen,

I wanted to send my thanks to you for your course and overall existence. It’s been a few weeks since I started your course. I completed it on Tuesday last week.

Since Tuesday I have had my first client, a referral from a friend, and my first client meeting which was really positive.

Thank you for inspiring me to do something I have always felt too stupid and useless to do. I always wanted to be a writer with a ‘no bullshit’ attitude and it’s been really helpful knowing you make a living doing it.

This is the happiest I’ve been in a long time and despite the potential for failure, I’ve never been less scared of anything in my life!

Did I say thank you? Because I mean it…

Ta,
Josie Pymm


Hi Karen,

Just had an hour-long Skype chat with a potential new client and we agreed on $300 USD per 1500-2000 word article!!!

Drawing up a contract as we speak. I’m so damn excited!!! Our next meeting is Tuesday to finalize topics, etc. and go over contract details. Thanks for everything, Karen! You gave me the organization, ideas, and confidence to make this happen. I’ll keep you posted. xo

With gratitude,
Alicia


Hey Karen,

I wanted to take a moment and thank you SO much for your freelancer course! It was literally a life-changer for me.

I made $1,100 in the first month, and after picking up a couple of higher-paying gigs, I’m projecting $2,000 by the end of February!

Karen, if it weren’t for this course, I probably would have landed a corporate job by now that I wouldn’t have been truly happy in. I love freelancing so much more, as I work with people I enjoy being around and write about topics I give a damn about. I would never have realized what I was missing out on if I hadn’t taken the leap of faith.

The course has already paid for itself more than ten times over, and now I can pay the bills with extra money at the end of the month. I’ve already recommended it to other aspiring freelancers I know, and I tell them it’s worth every penny.

Take care and keep rockin’!

Sarah Blais


Hi Karen,

Just a quick note to say thanks for all your help in getting my business up and running, and that I have my first client! To be honest, I’ve been so busy with the day job that I haven’t had time to chase many jobs, but I responded to the two I drafted emails for in the final week of the course and after a follow-up email, I’ve got the sustainable homes blogger job! Six-month contract for a blog a week at rates I’m happy with, which I’m amazed about considering my lack of testimonials or portfolio.

I also got shortlisted for the other job (Upwork advert for Norwegian travel company) but I think they ended up going with a much cheaper offer, so I don’t feel too bad. Really happy – and very nervous – but looking forward to getting started.

Also, the Facebook group is ace and I’m sure I’ll be making even more use of it in the months to come.

Cheers,

Ali


Hi Karen,

Your course helped me so much. I was amongst a lot of other digital nomads all working on their businesses in the past month, but the way your course was written was a very easy, no-messing-about way to get my website up and live.

Other writers who were trying to do the same as me were caught up with trying to choose the right templates, getting caught up on jamming their content with SEO keywords, muddling their way through and guessing at what needed to be done.

I actually got the site and branding knocked out in two weeks and was then able to start getting clients and building blog content. Thank you!

Rachel


Hi Karen,

I’ve written quite a few websites since I took your writing course a year ago, and have been flat out with all sorts of projects. Currently editing a huge website about pre-schoolers for an NZ government department, which is a great job to have! I’m really glad I took the course and moved into web writing. It’s a fun format. Thanks again, so much.

All the best!

Sylvia


Hi Karen,

I hope you know how much I enjoyed taking your course. I thought you would want to know that I sent my first invoice last Friday. I created a website for a scholarship and wrote the content and created the forms. It was very exciting to complete my first project. I hope to take your editing course one of these days. Hope all is well. So glad I found you!

Diana


Hi Karen,

I hope you don’t mind but I thought I’d write and let you know how my life has changed in the last 6 months…

Firstly, thank you. Your courses, your comments, advice and posts in the Facebook group have been really helpful to me.

Shortly after finishing the course, I began working. Each month I was able to earn a little bit more. I love the fact that I can work from home doing something I enjoy. I have been very lucky in finding nice clients who are happy with my work. I am slowly starting to receive other types of writing.

Many thanks for all your advice and support. You’re a unique and really incredible person. Happy, happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year (or Hogmanay, as you’re in Edinburgh!).

Lindsay


Hi Karen

Just wanted to let you know what I thought about the course.

I was swithering between doing your course and another one which, on the face of it, seemed similar but didn’t include feedback from the person running it.

That was what tipped the balance for me. I wanted comments on what I was producing from someone who knows what they’re doing (and is making a decent living from doing it successfully).

I was grateful for the prompt, no-holds-barred feedback. It meant that random ideas were binned, and I saw it as protecting me from coming across as a total newbie and making an arse of myself in front of people I’d like to hire me.

There are loads of courses out there focusing on how to write a good article, how to pitch, etc. which can give the impression that excellent writing skills are all you need to be a writer. At every opportunity you hammered home the fact that, yes, good writing’s important, but so is running your business well and not having the wool pulled over your eyes by chancers.

The materials and structure of the course were great. They were clear and to the point, anticipated my fears, took me through everything step by step and contained lots of helpful links

Cheers,
Dawn


Hey Karen,

I’ve already found two full-time clients to write for. Your course was a game changer for me, because it pointed me in the right direction and made me focus on one thing instead of ten.

I’ve grown fond of writing, and I can say this career path is right for me.

Anyways, thank you so much for helping me out. If you want me to, I can write a testimonial for you and your course. I want to tell everyone who still has some doubts to join your course.

Ivan


Karen,

Without being overly sappy, I just want to say thank you for creating this course. I’m sure you’ve heard this a lot, but I’m very seriously grateful. I have been in an intense ‘stuck’ phase for over a decade, overthinking every possible career path that would lead me to the lifestyle I wanted (and out of the stuck-ness!). I’m even in the middle of finishing up a master’s degree, which I started simply for job-security purposes.

Just with your course, I’ve made almost $400 in the last couple of weeks, even while being insanely busy with school and my other part-time job. This has only proven to me that I really have found the thing that will get me where I want to be. I’m finally confident that I have found the way to be in charge of my life and career path.

I’m so glad that you created all of this. More than I can ever say.

Best,
Sarah


Karen!

I really learned so much from your class and have recommended it to friends many times over.

I signed up for the course because I knew it was going to make me a professional writer. Anyone who visits Untamed Writing can easily see that it’s managed by a talented writer who knows what she’s doing with her business. So who better to teach others how to do the same?

Professional writing was an industry I wanted to break into because I wanted to be able to work from home once I had children. I wanted to be able to set my own schedule and actually enjoy what I do. I’ve worked in a corporate office environment and it sucked my soul dry. Working for myself in my own home is empowering and gives me confidence I didn’t have before. I love when people ask what I do for a living. ‘I’m a freelance blogger. Right now I’m doing work for Mapquest.com.’ I feel so fancy.

Thanks so much, Karen. I really appreciate all you’ve done for me. I hope we can stay in touch because I get the feeling that you’re going places. You’ve already gone places! Imagine what the future could hold!

I wish you all the best and hope that others will benefit from your wisdom like I have!

Asia


Hi Karen,

I just wanted to thank you for all your help and your amazing advice over the last 6 weeks. After going through the course I’m sure I wouldn’t have had the nerve to just get started – and if I did, there’s no way I’d be doing it the ‘proper way’. I feel so confident about getting started and like I actually have what it takes thanks to your encouragement.

Decided I’m gonna quit my job at the new financial year, too!

Thanks again so so much, you’re the best :)

Sarah


Hi Karen,

I wanted to share some great news with you! Thanks to your course, I found an amazing position with a great marketing company. All the benefits of remote work with the bonus of a regular paycheck. Within 5 short months there I worked my way up to team leader, managing my own team of staff while also performing my normal day-to-day duties as a PR and outreach specialist. Today, just 10 months after joining the company, I’ve been made a project manager, in charge of the vast majority of clients we work with (and practically running the department!).

While this was never what I would have expected when I signed up (my initial goal was to set up my own freelance writing biz – which I did, and which has got me where I am today), I couldn’t be more happy with the direction my career is going in. So thanks Karen, you are the fucking best.

Hannah


Hi Karen!

I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciated your course. From the first PDF, I felt really humbled and grateful. You explained everything in terms I could understand in that inimitable style of yours that made me alternately nod my head thoughtfully and snort tea through my nose.

The feedback you gave was spot-on and really helpful. It gave me a direction and focus that I wasn’t getting on my own. Now I work with an eye to what you pointed out, and I think my writing’s getting better – more ‘me’ – all the time. I’ll never have your wit, but I look forward to the day when my website reflects my personality as much as your site showcases yours.

Here are some of the things I learned in the course:

  • Be honest. There are some conventions I picked up from browsing ‘How To Be a Blogger or Copywriter’-type articles, and I tried to weave them into my site’s text. You picked up on it right away and suggested I discard anything that wasn’t genuinely coming from me. Now when I go to my website, I feel comfortable and happy – it’s me, not a flashy storefront.
  • Don’t sell yourself short. The suggestions about where to find jobs have been eye-opening, as have the pricing ideas. I don’t mind working my way up, but it’s also useful to remember that I do have some unique skills and experiences that some clients will value. And I don’t have to write just anything, because there are clients out there willing to pay well for quality work in the fields that interest me.
  • How to set up a website. Very practical advice here and very much needed. I’ve referred back to your PDF about 600 times while figuring things out.
  • What I want to offer. Your comprehensive guide to writing services was instrumental in helping me decide what I wanted to do with this freelance writing thing.
  • How to write. Well, okay, you didn’t teach me everything I know about writing, but I didn’t know how to write headlines or good copy, and now I feel like I’m beginning to get it. I’m also able to read successful blogs and websites and see how their best pieces follow the formulas you outlined for us.

I wanted you to know how much you’ve helped. I’m probably about your own mother’s age, and taking on something new like this might have been really daunting, but your course is solid and empowering, not to mention really fun!

Thanks again, Karen, for your high standards and your consistent support.

Blessings,
Prudence


I worked my last bar shift the day I finished the course, so I started full-time right off the bat. I made around £250 my first month and £470 the next. This month I’m projecting approximately £1000.

For the first time ever in my adult working life, I actually look forward to Mondays. I enjoy my work and I’ve built a financially viable business from scratch whilst living in one of the most expensive cities in the world (London). I don’t use an alarm clock any more, I work from home and I don’t have to answer to anyone except myself.

Oh, and the thought that I could go and live anywhere in the world without having to worry about what I’ll do for work is extremely liberating. In short, it’s awesome. Do it. It’s some of the best money I’ve ever spent.

– André Spiteri


I wanted to be a freelance writer, but lack of confidence and the fear that it was a terrible idea held me back. Then I came across Karen’s website and loved her ballsy, take-no-prisoners attitude, so I signed up.

After what felt like ages (but was only a month) I was offered two roles in a week. So far I have made $1000! Now I have two great clients who I’ve signed annual contracts with.

If you’re thinking about signing up, but are hesitant – do it. Working with Karen for just six short weeks gave me the confidence I never thought I’d have when it came to writing. I went into the course having no idea what type of writer I was or wanted to become. I am now working as an educational writer from the comfort of my own home. If this is what you want from your life, this course will be how you get it.

– Mel Green


Signing up to Karen’s course proved to be the best decision I’ve ever made. I’m now able to support myself comfortably from writing alone, which is a situation I could previously only dream of. Whether you want to earn a little extra on the side or create the foundations for a full-blown freelance career, Karen can help.

You’re probably wondering if the course is really as good as it seems. It is! I’ve just booked a one-way flight to Australia, where I intend to spend a year or so writing/surfing/developing skin cancer. Obviously could never have done this without Karen’s course. Thank yooooou!!!!!!!!

– James Robinson


This course breaks things down to the most fundamental elements to get you started ASAP. The materials clear up any confusion around getting started (and getting paid).

If you’re struggling to understand what exactly freelance writing is or if you just need a step-by-step process to get you in business right away, this course is it.

– Darwin Ruiz


I took the course and started emailing hundreds of prospective clients. It took a while but one day it finally kicked off and I got a lot of responses. I found myself suddenly chained to my laptop writing 6 hours a day, but I didn’t mind as I was happy it was paying off.

Because of Karen’s course, I now have the freedom to go off and travel whenever I feel like it and fund myself as I go. I would recommend it to anyone.

– Katie Lamb


After 18 months of spinning my wheels and deliberating over how to become a writer, leave my job, and swan off around the world with my family, Karen’s freelance writing course caught my attention. Maybe it was the swearing, but I think it was the resolute honesty.

Joining up has been the best career decision I’ve ever made. I’ve more than made my course fees back, but what I’ve really gained is the ability to plan, get out there, and shoot for my dreams. No false promises. No bullshit.

If you really want to live your dreams, it takes work and action. If you want guidance and support during the speed wobbles, plus a step-by-step plan that generates income while you get the fuck on with it, do this course and keep active on Untamed Writing’s Facebook group.

My only regret is that I didn’t do it earlier.

– Malcolm Wilson


I’m so glad I made the investment in Karen’s course. I love to write and have been toying with the idea of freelance writing for a while but never quite found the time to figure out how to actually get it done.

So when I heard about Karen’s class I jumped at the chance to have someone walk me through the process step-by-step. And that’s exactly what she did – each week I received an easy-to-follow set of instructions and exercises that turned into a live business.

It’s only been a week since I officially launched, but in that short time I’ve already made contact with four potential clients and am in the process of finalizing a contract to write all of the copy for a website that’s launching next month. I fully expect to have covered my investment in this class four or five times over by the end of my first month in business.

– Michelle Warner


Self-study:
Instant access
£59
Instant access to all 6 lessons
Private Facebook group membership
 
 
 
Tutored:
Start date TBA
£349
6 weeks of guided lessons
One-to-one email mentorship from me
Specific feedback on how to improve your business and website
Private Facebook group membership
(Registration closed? Get on my mailing list to make sure you don't miss the next session.)