How to start freelancing with no previous experience?
Since you are reading this text I guess you are already interested in working as a freelancer, am I right? Or maybe you just enjoy reading random articles on the Internet? No matter how you got here – I can guarantee you that after completing this article, you will be fully motivated and willing to start a freelance career.
1. Do you have what it takes to be a freelancer?
You, your laptop and the beach – working whenever you want, making money on what you’re passionate about…
I know, it sounds great. But the weather is not always perfect and laptops tend to dislike sand. What do I mean by that? It’s not about discouraging you from taking your electronics outside (but if you are going to take your laptop to the beach then you better be prepared). What I’m trying to say is that your idea of working as a freelancer may be incomplete. While you probably would prefer to focus on the positives, you also need to be aware of the difficulties.
Indeed, working as a freelancer is more challenging than it might seem at first glance. I regret to say it but it is not only your skills and competencies that determine your future success. Largely, it’s about whether you are able to overcome all obstacles. First of all, you need to know that you will face the huge competition in the job market, especially now that freelancing is becoming more and more popular. All of you amateur freelancers have got the technical skills. But you will also have to be self-disciplined and manage your time effectively in order to meet deadlines without compromising on the quality. Moreover, be ready that you will have to promote yourself, talk to potential clients and prepare contracts – all on your own. Being a freelancer means being your own boss and you’ll quickly find out that C-level roles are more demanding than you would ever imagine.
Having all of the above said, we can officially end the negative, demotivating part. The good news is that starting a freelancing career doesn’t require a lot of money. All you need is a computer and Internet access, two things you probably already have as you can read this. So, since it doesn’t come with any costs to get started, why not give it a try?
2. Alright, I want to try! So what do I do next?
The first thing you need to think about is your portfolio and CV. Regardless of how you decide to look for your first jobs, you must first determine what do you want to offer to your client. Let’s start with preparing a portfolio.
Gather a few representative pieces of your work that will give your potential clients an idea of what you can do for them. They need to get acquainted with your style, whatever it is. This way, you ensure that your cooperation will be successful: without misunderstandings and disappointment.
For example, if you are interested in copywriting, write a few text samples – an article, a short presell page, slogans on social media. Get familiar with terms like SEO and what it is about.
If you currently lack inspiration, look for free online courses that will help you improve your skills, bring you additional records for your CV and best of all – they will give you the opportunity to prepare some nice works.
How you tell your potential clients about yourself depends a lot on how you decide to look for a job (we’ll come back to that in a moment). If you decide to contact various businesses directly and offer them your services or apply for offers from job search websites, you need to prepare a classic CV.
• First of all – do not use CV generators! Get inspired by CV templates you can find online and create your own one.
• Remember that your CV also demonstrates your skills.
• Pay attention to your style of writing and the aesthetic side of the document.
• Include only information that is useful to the employer for assessing whether you meet his expectations. No one cares about your private life, only what you can bring to the company.
• PRECISE, CONFIDENT, OPTIMISTIC and PROFESSIONAL – this is how you always want to be perceived when it comes to business relationships. No exceptions.
If you choose to post a job on a dedicated platform or to create your freelance profile on social media (e.g. LinkedIn, Facebook), you will need to present yourself in a slightly less formal way – by writing a bio. The same rules apply as above. However, your bio usually is one continuous text. For this reason, it is even more important for you to be clear and very specific. Your description should be quick and easy to read. If possible, create paragraphs by using the enter key.
Professional photo / Profile picture
While it’s often up to you to decide whether to add or not to add a photo of yourself, when there’s a pic included, definitely your job offers become more attractive for employers. Posts and profiles with photos draw more attention and seem more credible and reliable. Remember: in the UK you must not attach a photo of yourself to your formal CV.
When you create your professional profile, e.g. on social media, make sure that the selected photo is of the best quality and it looks quite serious. But ‘serious’ does not mean boring. Do the research and check some LinkedIn profiles to find out how other people do it.
3. I think I’m finally ready. So where are all these jobs for me?
There are plenty of options. First of all, you can look locally – freelancing opportunities do not end on the Internet, after all. Ask friends, your family, the friends of your family. Spread the word that you’re taking up job offers. However, if you are not satisfied with the local job market, it’s time to move to the Internet.
Your first option is to search for job offers posted by companies on job search websites or their social media. You can also directly write to companies offering your services. The main limitation of this approach is that companies rarely look for freelancers in this way.
As already mentioned, have your official social media profiles always prepared. If you do something visual arts-related, you can set up an Instagram account and use appropriate hashtags to attract people’s attention. If you write – create your blog or Facebook page and post there regularly. Nevertheless, do not count on the client to come to you by himself.
There is one more option, probably the most effective. Put yourself in your potential employer’s shoes. Where would you look for skilled freelancers? Exactly! There are some websites (platforms) that their main purpose is to connect freelancers with businesses. Just like Revolancer! It is a convenient and reliable solution that guarantees quick results in the number of potential clients. For a small commission on the undertaken and done jobs (never for the mere use of the site!), you can easily find the first people willing to use your services and start developing your freelancing career.
Use all suggestions in this article to create the greatest profile you can. Spend more time pricing for your services and NEVER undervalue your work. You may not have any experience, but the price that is too low will negatively affect you as well as the whole freelancing market. The best solution is to review the offers of your competitors with similar profiles and to find a price that will be attractive for you and your customer.
It’s your time now!
Hopefully, this article outlined how you can start a freelance career and what aspects you should focus on. Now it’s time for your action.
One last piece of advice from us: whenever you have any doubts, stop for a moment and think about what your client would care about. Always remember to be confident. You may feel insecure due to your inexperience, but it is not a reason to show it outside.
And what a better way to start your freelancing career that signing up to Revolancer!
Freelance marketplace: Revolancer