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How to Start Freelancing with No Experience

August 4, 2021 No Comments
How to Start Freelancing with No Experience

This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you click through to a website from a link found here on my blog and register or purchase something, I may get a commission at no extra cost to you. 

This post breaks down everything you need to know about how to start freelancing (with no experience!) and live the location-independent life of your dreams.

What is freelancing?

Let’s get right into it shall we: what even is freelancing?

Freelancing is where an individual uses their skills and experience on a self-employed basis, typically for a number of businesses across a number of industries.

This appeals to all parties involved because:

  1. The freelancer can work wherever they want, whenever they want, for whoever they want, and
  2. The client saves money on having to hire a permanent member of staff, can hire for specific one-off projects or on a more long-term basis, and can allow them increased flexibility.

Individuals can make a full-time living as a freelancer, or they can look to subsidise their 9-5 income with freelance ‘gigs’ on the side. Some choose to specialise within a very particular niche, whilst others look to work across a whole variety of industries to enhance their experience.  

Typically freelancers are not tied in to a set schedule of hours or an office where they have to show up everyday – making it the perfect lifestyle for anybody looking for a flexible schedule.

Can anybody be a freelancer?

Yes!

Regardless of where your skills lie – from data entry, to photography, to graphic design, to being a virtual assistant and beyond – there will be a company out there that needs your help!

Sure, experience helps – but building a portfolio doesn’t have to take long, and in fact, a lot of being a freelancer comes down to how you market yourself, and the levels of customer service you deliver. Start by charging a little less than you aspire to eventually make, deliver exceptional results, take testimonials and encourage word of mouth referrals, and before you know it, you’ll be making a living from wherever in the world you want to be.

What if you don’t have experience within the industry you want to work?

In an ideal world, you’ll have a little experience within the industry you want to create a freelance business around.

But if you don’t?

Take to the internet and learn!

With so many different educational platforms out there, teaching newbies about a particular industry, there has never been a better time to become a freelancer.

Even better? A lot of these educational platforms are low-cost – or even, free!

Interested in digital marketing? Start by taking a look at Facebook/Hubspot Academies.

Maybe you’re interested in photography, or something creative?

Skillshare would be the perfect place to start. With courses ranging from animation, to creative writing, to photography, illustration, web design and everything in between, it’s an affordable way to invest in yourself and your knowledge, before embarking on your new business.

Even better, Skillshare are offering all Funding Her Freedom readers one month free on Skillshare Premium – making it more affordable still!

The take home message here is educating yourself doesn’t have to be expensive. You just need to commit, you need to absorb as much information as you can, and you then need to put it into practice.

Your portfolio is going to be incredibly important when trying to land clients, and building one doesn’t have to take too long. Once you’ve studied and researched your new area of expertise enough, offer local charities or businesses some assistance for free – or at heavily reduced rates – in return for testimonials and the rights to add their project to your portfolio.

How to find freelance opportunities online

With freelancing becoming an increasingly popular way to make money, it’s both easier and more competitive to find job opportunities online.

Use your personal network

Start by reaching out to your own personal network. Use Twitter and Linkedin to advertise your new business, and encourage DMs to discuss your contacts’ projects in more detail – and explain how you could help them meet their goals.

Put yourself out there

Don’t be afraid to reach out to industry leaders and businesses/individuals that you admire too!

Study their business, and identify ways in which you personally can help them. Create a short pitch, and send it to them to show how you can help alleviate their pain points.

Yes, it will involve a little effort, but think of it as your interview.

Not all of them will get back to you, but you better believe if you can show you’ve done your research, and that you care nearly as much as they do about their business to go to all this effort, you’ll secure at least a couple of calls.

And once you’ve got them on a call, the deal is nearly as good as done!

Another outcome of this method includes the industry leader sharing your work to their connections – I’ve seen it happen plenty of times on Linkedin. Put in the effort, and you never know what might come out of it.

Join specialist freelancer platforms

There are also a number of online platforms dedicated to helping match freelancers with prospects. Some of the most popular websites that advertise freelance jobs are:

  • Upwork
  • Freelancer
  • Fiverr
  • Guru
  • Bark

It can be challenging to land a gig on these dedicated sites when you’re first starting out and have no reviews due to the saturation of other freelancers – but there’s no reason why, with an optimised profile, an ready-to-go portfolio, and great customer service that you can’t grow.

Key tip: Encourage all clients to leave you a review (perhaps even incentivise it, with a small discount in exchange for a review if they want to work with you on another project in the future).

Reviews mean everything in this line of work, so make sure you do all you can to:

  1. Get reviews
  2. Make sure they’re glowing!
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Six Secrets to Successful Freelancing

1. The first step in freelancing is to make sure you have the right skills for a particular job. Where do your strengths lie – and would people pay you to have you do the same for them? Think virtual assistant, video editor, copywriter – just about anything you can do from a laptop, you could create a freelance business around. Not quite there yet? Learn. If this way of life is important to you, commit to making the time to learn.

2. Networking is important, so join local networking events or online communities where you can make connections with potential clients. Facebook groups and Linkedin are great places to start – as well as building an Instagram account to promote your personal brand where appropriate. And don’t forget TikTok and Twitter – it’s all about increasing your reach to a target audience, so go where your target audience are.

And don’t forget – it doesn’t have to all be online networking. Attend local networking events and meet people. Be consistent, show up regularly, and always try to help other people at the networking events. Networking isn’t all about what you can get out of it – it’s how you can help other people (which in turn, will have them wanting to help you!)

Always remember, you aren’t only networking with the people in the room at networking events – you’re networking with the people they know, too.

3. Take time to find the perfect match for your skillset. Don’t rush into any particular assignments that you might not feel comfortable with. Sure, at first you’ll want to say yes to anything that comes your way – but also remember you want that 5* review at the end of it!

4. Once you’ve found yourself a good client, keep them happy by delivering high-quality work on time – and ensure you communicate with them regularly where required. Word of mouth referrals are a powerful thing!

5. Keep track of your income. It’s important you know how much money you make on a monthly basis so that you can take on more gigs if required to make ends meet, but also to allow you to set aside money for taxes and to cover you during quieter periods. Freelancers don’t have the same guarantee of a steady income as a 9-5 worker, so you need to keep an eye out for new opportunities, know your value and squirrel away spare cash just incase!

On that note, the more experience you gain as a freelancer, and the more businesses you help, the more you can start to look at increasing your fees – so keep this in mind once you’re ready to move to the next level.

6. Discipline. You need to be disciplined when you’re responsible for your own time. You need to rely on self-motivation to show up when you might not feel like it, and avoid any pressure by ensuring all tasks are done in good time, rather than leaving them until the last minute.

Conclusion – How to Start Freelancing with No Experience

If you’re looking for a new lifestyle – one with more freedom and flexibility – freelancing could be just what you’re looking for.

In this internet-age, there’s absolutely no reason why you can’t learn the skills you’re hoping to turn into a freelance business from various free and paid-for services, before going on to build a portfolio, secure regular clients, and live the life you dream of.

But don’t be fooled – it’s not as carefree as the digital nomads on Instagram would have you believe. It’s a lot of work, and requires discipline, commitment and organisation – not to mention a great deal of patience.

So put in the work, focus on the end-game (more freedom and flexibility) and commit to delivering the best customer service you can for your clients – because if you do, you can guarantee they’ll be coming back (hopefully, with a few referrals too!)

THAT is how you start freelancing with no experience.

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Steph at Funding Her Freedom

Steph

Funding Her Freedom focuses on all the ways you can make a little more money outside of your 9-5. From selling on Amazon, to mystery shopping, to freelancing, to creating and selling digital printables, we cover it all. If you'd like to get in touch, shoot me an email on steph@fundingherfreedom.com. Here's to funding our freedom! Read More

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