How To Start Freelancing With No Experience
If you’re trying to break into a career as a freelancer, on Legiit or anywhere, it can be really intimidating to pit yourself against the seasoned veterans.
They’ve got hundreds of reviews, a long list of repeat customers, and years worth of work to show off.
In this post, we’ll overcome these obstacles and more with several actionable strategies for how to start freelancing with no experience.
Can I Really Find Freelance Work With No Experience?
This is sort of a trick question. All you need to become a freelancer is the ability to provide a client with a solution to a problem they are experiencing.
They can’t write, so you write for them. They can’t build a website, so you build one for them. And so on.
You don’t need years of experience working a full-time job in the industry before you start freelancing. In fact, there are plenty of freelancing college students who find success while they are still pursuing their degree.
So formal experience? No, you don’t need that.
But you do need marketable skills that someone is willing to pay for. The good news is that almost everyone already has those or can learn them if they put in the effort.
5 Strategies for How To Start Freelancing With No Experience
#1 Hone Your Skills
So you’ve got to be able to do something that people are willing to hire you for. That’s the way it goes with pretty much any career.
With freelancing, though, your clients aren’t generally going to provide you with any sort of on-the-job training. They are turning to you to save time, not to create more work for themselves.
So whatever service you plan on offering, make sure that you are good at it. You should be able to deliver exceptional work, independently and on time. If you feel like your skills need a brush up, don’t hesitate to find a mentor or online course that can help bring you up to speed.
#2 Create Your Own Experience
Experience helps. There’s no denying that.
But if you’re trying to figure out how to start freelancing with no experience, you can get a leg up on the other newbies by manufacturing it for yourself.
One way to do this is to create a portfolio. If your service can be easily displayed, a well put together collection of sample work can go a long way towards making you stand out from the competition.
Of course, nothing beats real life experience. If you are struggling to land your first clients, consider doing some work pro bono for a non-profit or community organization with a mission that you are passionate about. Alternatively, maybe a friend or family member is in need of your services.
A few jobs done free here and there can earn you some genuine reviews and real experience to show off that will make it so much easier to land paying clients.
#3 Know Your Place in the Pecking Order (and Grow With It)
In any landscape of competition, there are going to be people at different levels. We can’t all win the gold medal, after all. While your final goal is to be the best of the best, you also want to be honest with yourself about where you are at this point in your freelancing journey.
Being honest with yourself will help you understand the root cause of both your successes and your failures. That way, you can keep doing what works and tweak the stuff that will help you climb a little bit higher on the totem pole.
And as you do outpace your competition little by little, never stop adapting to the new demands that come with your new position.
#4 Price Yourself Competitively
One of the biggest challenges you’ll face as a freelancer with no experience is convincing clients to hire you over the other guys.
Imagine a competitor with dozens or even hundreds of more reviews than you. A potential customer is going to have a hard time justifying paying you the same price they would pay the more established freelancer—even if you know that your skill level is the same.
People really do pay more for peace of mind.
So it may be helpful to price yourself at a rate that will help clients overcome those trust issues. It’s got to be a big enough discount to encourage some of them to take a little extra risk to give you a shot.
You might feel like you are underselling yourself. But it’s better to think of it as a long term investment. If you do good work, you’ll earn repeat customers. Then, a few months down the line when you’ve proven yourself in the field, you’ll be able to raise your prices to match the competition.
#5 Get To Know Your Industry and Audience
One of the problems with having less experience is that you might not have a full grasp of the very specific challenges faced by your audience.
You may be a phenomenal writer, for example. But if you’ve never built your own Amazon affiliate blog, you might not understand the struggle that comes with getting a review post to rank high in Google and convert well.
Likewise, even if you are a wizard at search engine optimization, you might not be able to relate to the small local business owner who is trying to justify investing in SEO when his pay-per-click campaigns are running so well already.
So, devote some time every day to learning more about the everyday struggles your customer base is facing. Then, design your services around those. If you can find ways to make your existing skills solve an immediate problem, you’ll stand out from all the other writers, SEOs, graphic designers, virtual assistants, and so on.
Don’t Let a Lack of Freelancing Experience Hold You Back
Just because you are new to freelancing, there’s no reason you can’t experience phenomenal success.
Everyone has to start somewhere.
But if you employ the strategies outlined in this post, and take action on your goals every day, you can overcome your lack of experience and carve out a space for yourself in your industry.