11 Ways to Start Freelancing With No Experience
Breaking into the freelancing world with no experience can be daunting, but our panel of experts, including CEOs, founders, and content creators, have shared their top strategies. From creating mock projects for your portfolio to targeting budget-conscious clients, explore these 11 insightful tips to kick-start your freelancing journey.
- Create Mock Projects for Your Portfolio
- Teach English Online
- Educate Yourself on Freelancing
- Find Your First Client
- Start With Upwork
- Seek Mentorship
- Offer Services to Personal Connections
- Leverage Skills and Platforms
- Focus On Networking
- Begin With Pro Bono Projects
- Target Budget-Conscious Clients
Create Mock Projects for Your Portfolio
One way to freelance with no experience is to create mock projects. If you’re a writer or content creator, you can create your own articles and social media posts. If you want to be a graphic designer, start using Canva to create templates or designs for a fictitious company. Create samples of work to build a portfolio and then use that to market yourself to land your first client.
Content Writer, Marketer, and Strategist, Lindsey Tague Self-employed Freelancer
Teach English Online
One way to freelance with no prior experience is by teaching English online. This method does not require any special educational qualifications and can be done from the comfort of one’s own home.
There are many websites offering positions for those interested in teaching conversational English, which can turn into a successful freelance venture. To get started, prospective teachers will have to go through an application process and pass language exams specific to these sites before they can begin working as a teacher.
With patience, effort, and dedication, this potential freelance opportunity provides a great way to break into freelancing without a lot of previous experience or knowledge of the industry.
Operations Manager, Virtual Holiday Party
Educate Yourself on Freelancing
Before you jump into freelancing, it’s important to take the time to educate yourself on topics related to freelancing, such as managing projects, client relations, and finances. Reading blogs, taking online courses, or attending seminars are all great ways to get up-to-date information that can help you develop the skills you need to be successful in the freelance world.
Find Your First Client
Every successful freelancer started at the bottom. All you need is one client to get started. This might swipe a client from your current employer if you’re exploring the same line of work. It might be a friend or a family member. Or you might do things the old-fashioned way and pound the pavement until you get a yes from a local business owner.
Get specific about the type of work you do and who you want to help, then start connecting with people who fit that profile and see how you can help them. Use the work you do for them to build your portfolio. Ask for referrals to grow your client list. It might be slow-going at first, but every opportunity can build on itself.
Start With Upwork
Regardless of what you are trying to do, Upwork is a great place to start. There is such a volume of postings for work. In addition, you can strategically underbid your first job offers in a push for experience. Make sure you let the hiring firms and individuals know you are doing lowball offers to build experience. They’ll appreciate the better price and the candor.
Find a trusted mentor who can offer their expertise. Everyone has to get started with freelancing somehow, so reach out to someone who was once in the same boat as you. They can share their own experiences and give you some guidance on this alternative career path. Plus, they may know of a couple of opportunities that you might be the right fit for.
Offer Services to Personal Connections
One way to freelance with no prior experience is to offer your skills and services to friends, family members, or acquaintances. You can start by creating a profile on freelancing platforms such as Upwork or Fiverr, and offer your services at a lower rate initially to build your portfolio and get some positive reviews.
Another option is to identify a need in your local community or industry and offer your services at a discounted rate to gain experience and build a network. By taking on smaller projects initially and delivering high-quality work, you can establish yourself as a reliable and skilled freelancer and attract more clients.
Leverage Skills and Platforms
As a freelancer myself, I understand how challenging it can be to freelance with no prior experience. One way that worked for me was to leverage my existing skills and passion. I began by identifying what I was good at and enjoyed doing, such as graphic design or content writing.
I then created a portfolio showcasing my work, even if it was just personal projects or work I had done for friends and family. With a solid portfolio in hand, I started reaching out to potential clients and promoting myself on various freelancing platforms. Finding your niche and showcasing your abilities is also key to getting started.
Next, join various freelancing platforms like Upwork, Freelancer, or Fiverr, and create an interesting profile. Research how successful freelancers in your field present themselves and try to learn from their strategies. Don’t be afraid to start with smaller projects or lower rates to build up your experience and credibility.
Focus On Networking
For being successful as a freelancer, I believe that networking is essential. Take part in events, become a member of online groups, and network with people working in your field.
When engaging in networking, it is critical to direct one’s attention toward developing relationships rather than solely seeking prospective customers. You will have an easier time building a solid reputation with this approach, which may in the long run result in business from referrals.
Begin With Pro Bono Projects
Getting your foot in the door is always going to be the hardest part of freelancing, so not that out of the ordinary to do a few pro bono projects to build your portfolio, gain some testimonials, and establish some word-of-mouth advertising.
As you gain more experience and positive feedback, you can gradually increase your rates and expand your client base. I’d structure your offer in such a way that clarifies that you’ll do x amount of work for free and if they like it or if you hit specific targets, you will shift to a paid contract.
Target Budget-Conscious Clients
Starting your freelancing business can be challenging. Most clients are looking for some assurance with reviews or past projects.
Once you’ve identified your ideal client and preferred industry to work with, find a few clients that may have a limited budget and would want to work with you for a lower rate.
Connecting with clients with a limited budget will give you an advantage since these clients are price-driven and, in return, will help you build your portfolio and a few reviews for higher-paying clients to see.
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