Freelancing is one of the fastest ways to start making money. Best part anyone can learn how to start freelancing with no experience necessary. All you need is a few basic skills, great time management skills and a passion to succeed. This post will walk you through the steps you have to take to become a freelancer without having previous experience.
The digital world offers a wealth of opportunities to work from home and make enough money to live well. When you are first starting out, freelancing is the most common way to start earning from home without having to invest a lot of money.
It’s important to note that freelancing is not a passive stream of income; the reality is if you don’t work you don’t get paid. You’ve got to be proactive and get your foot in the door and seek out opportunities.
Most people worry that they can never learn how to start freelancing and their lack of experience may hinder them from gaining their first client. Nothing can be further from the truth.
I agree it takes courage to pitch to a client on your skills and then go ahead and ask for money. But think about it; all you need is your first client! No seriously, this is all you’ll need to get the ball rolling to launch your freelance business.
So let’s figure out how to get you that first client.
What Is Freelancing? What Does It Take To Be a Freelancer?
As a start, it’s important we define freelancing.
Simply put, a freelancer is a self-employed individual offering their expertise to multiple businesses and clients at a time in exchange for payment.
Here a sample of the types of freelance expertise out there:
- Content writing
- Mobile app development
- Graphic design
- Virtual assistants
- Web development
- Social media marketing
- Tech support, bookkeeping
- Creative works
- Video Production
- Photo Editing
- Video Editing
- Java Developer
- Administrative Support
- WordPress Developer
- Email Tech Support
- Video Acting
- Business Analyst
- Google Adwords
Do you already possess any of these skills? These are just a few examples of the expertise you can offer up to potential clients.
Next, once you feel confident enough it’s time to pick a niche and work on being great at it. Frankly, this is the only way you’re going to stand out amongst all the other freelancers competing for the same gigs as you.
For example, if you’re a skilled writer you can choose the content marketing niche industry. Then find online writing jobs for beginners and slowly start working hard to learn everything you need to know about this industry. Master the ins and outs.
That’s not all; figure out how to you can position yourself online to be noticed. That’s right, don’t think just because you’re talented you’re gonna land multiple gigs and make money overnight.
There are about a thousand or more other freelancers who can do exactly what you’re doing. Come up with a creative strategy to be noticed online. For example, starting your own personal blog is a great way to get noticed and build authority for your personal brand.
Another question that often crops up is…
Do I Need a Business License To Be a Freelancer?
How much money you earn from freelancing is totally dependent on the amount of time and work you put into it. You definitely don’t need a business license to be a freelancer.
Now what you’ll definitely need is basic computer skills, a computer/laptop and a stable internet connection. The rest all depends on your ambition and hustle. 🙂
So now that we’ve covered the basics on what is freelancing and what it takes, let’s break down in 7 steps how to get you your first client.
7 Steps On How To Start Freelancing with No Experience (Guaranteed To Land Your First Client!)
There are no excuses for not learning how to start freelancing even if you have had no prior experience. But no one said it’s going to be easy.
To be successful you’ll need to be fiercely dedicated and put in the hours (literally!). As a freelancer, your clients’ needs come before your own, and procrastination will ruin you.
So here are 7 steps you get you started.
Step 1: Design a High-Quality Website
Branding is often the most overlooked aspect of freelancing. Yet in my opinion, it is the most important.
Now the term “personal branding” might sound complicated but what it simply means is the unique combination of skills and experiences that make you awesome. It also means establishing and promoting what you stand for.
For example, if you’re unique skill is photography, creating stories that evoke emotion in the pictures you capture are a great way to build a brand for yourself. People will relate to your photos even more.
There are many ways you can approach personal branding, the most common is obviously by creating a website. Other common ones include social media, blogs, and podcasts.
As a start, due to your lack of experience, invest in a high-quality portfolio website. This is the first impression a potential client will have of you. Personal branding starts with a website that will help you position yourself within your industry helping you edge out your competition.
Now I know what you might be thinking, not only do I have to be great at what I do but I also have to devote time and energy to build my personal brand?
It’s the only way you can get a head start in your freelancing career, and stand out from a thousand other freelancers who’ve got way more experience than you.
Freelancing aside, the most important reason you should focus on personal branding is to help yourself. It is simply an additional channel for growing your own successes online.
Step 2: Build Your Online Authority & Portfolio
Just like personal branding, there’s nothing easy about building authority let alone your portfolio.
When all is said and done your goal as a freelancer is to make money online. But in order to attract high-paying clients, you’ll need to demonstrate that you’re worth it.
Don’t get caught up by picking up the smallest and least paying gigs simply because you lack experience as a freelancer. This will be put you into a vicious cycle of endless bargaining. And trust me you don’t want that.
Best way to work around this is by building authority for yourself online which in turn will be your portfolio as well.
“Online authority” means becoming a thought leader in a specific topic and translating that knowledge in a meaningful way on the web. Put simply, establishing yourself as a credible source of information around something you specialize in for example graphic design.
To take it a step further here’s how you can go about building your online authority:
- Start a niche blog focused on your skills.
- Create lots and lots of content. There’s never enough content in the world so just do it. Remember to be specific to the topics related to your expertise.
- Optimize your content for SEO.
- Consistently churn out high-quality content, and post on social media as well.
- Curate content from other high authority sources.
All these strategies will help you establish rankings on your website, attract traffic and ultimately generate leads for you.
So, ready to be an online authority? You have some work to do.
Step 3: Master the Art Of Pitching
Your success as a freelancer depends entirely on how you find, convince and convert new clients.
If you want to learn how to start freelancing with no experience you need to master how to pitch yourself.
Here’s the thing, “if you can’t say who you are and what you do in a few sentences, you don’t know who you are and what you do and neither will anyone else”. – Roxana Hewertson.
In every pitch, you need to make your potential clients feel like you’re the change they’re after. Make it short and make sure what you’re saying provides something value. Be direct, precise and highlight your key points concisely.
Use these five simple steps to help your first pitch succeed:
1. Do Your Homework
The first step to a successful pitch is to find out about your client through online research.
The point of doing this is to sound more relatable and if you know more you’ll be able to relate with them on a more personal level.
2. Preparation Is Everything
You don’t just wake up and send out a bunch of pitches to clients, you’ve got to prepare in advance.
Preparation will not only make you feel more confident as you’re selling yourself and you’ll the answers to in-depth questions right at your fingertips.
3. Stay Focused and Be Passionate
No one can believe in you more than you. You’re your own biggest cheerleader and you have to believe in yourself before anyone else will.
Further, your lack of experience shouldn’t hinder you from being passionate about your business. Make sure you are giving yourself the best chance to succeed.
Finally, when you’re pitching remember to be very specific and don’t get lost in the details.
Step 4: It’s Not Always About the Money
I know what you’re thinking, I do all these and still, I make no money? It’s too much!
And I agree it probably might be too much for beginners.
But let’s be real, you’ve got no freelancing experience, no portfolio, and no money quite frankly you’ve got nothing to show for your work, yet.
So what do you have to lose by offering up some gigs for free?
Yes, I said free.
Don’t be afraid to do some pro bono work for the right type of clients when you are first starting out. Think of it as a gentle introduction into the world of freelancing.
Step 5: Build On Other Skills
The most successful freelancers in the world aren’t just good their own expertise. They possess a diverse set of skills that enable them to be best.
For example, seeing that you’ll spend most of your time online why not build on your online marketing skills. This will come in handy in helping you promote your personal brand but once you get great at it you could offer it up and diversify your portfolio.
As your freelance business grows it’s important to note that business owners want to work with people that aren’t just good at one thing but rather multiple things.
Step 6: Carefully Select Your First Clients & Set Strategic Prices
As mentioned earlier, freelancing is not a passive stream of income. It’s actually quite a labor and time intensive activity.
It is therefore important that you get the most of the first client that you bring on board. Recognize the impact each client you choose to work with will have on your freelance business especially in the beginning.
Take a minute to think through the potential client you are considering and if they will help you achieve the strategic goals for your freelance business.
In addition, set the ideal prices for your freelance business before you even get started.
Avoid the temptation of charging what you’re competitors are charging. This also doesn’t mean that you undervalue what you’re doing for your clients and charge less.
The key is to price your services based on the value you intend to deliver to your clients.
Step 7: Start Pitching
Assuming you’ve followed all the steps I have mentioned above, it’s time to start pitching.
But make no mistake, pitching is not easy, in fact, you can put in your efforts and time and it may never pay off.
So how do you go about it?
First, you need to find your ideal potential client. Even though they can be found everywhere, Google to social media, I recommend you start on freelance jobs websites.
The Best Websites for General Freelance Jobs
These marketplaces websites are a great place to start if you are want to know how to start freelancing with no experience. You can create a profile in seconds and hit the ground running.
It doesn’t matter what your expertise is whether you’re a writer, website developer, graphic designer, mobile app developer, virtual service provider or you offer tech support, there are freelance jobs for a variety of niche industries.
Here are my top picks to get you started.
Fiverr is a great place for beginners to start and it’s very easy to build a portfolio.
I have used this website quite a lot and I just think it’s great.
Considered to be one of the largest freelance job marketplaces in the world.
Over 3 million freelance jobs are posted here every single year with 5 million clients listing them. However, you should know that they a 20% cut of your earnings up until you develop a regular relationship with your client.
I have used freelancer on multiple occasions not a freelancer though but as a buyer. I just love the ease and convenience of this site.
The site offers a variety of projects you can choose from.
If you’re a graphic designer this is a great website to test out your freelancing skills.
The way it works is clients publish a contest, designers submit their application and then the client goes ahead and picks the best design submitted. If you don’t win, you don’t get paid.
So now that you’ve familiarized with freelance job websites, you are ready to start pitching.
So, How Do I Pitch To Clients as a Freelancer with No Experience?
Pitching is a numbers game, you send out a huge volume out in order to get a few yes”s back. You might need to set a target goal of how many pitches to send out each day.
At first, this can be scary not getting a response back, but if you keep learning and adjusting eventually you’ll get your “yes”.
A mistake I see quite often is freelancers write one generic email and send it out en masse. Learn how to tailor each pitch to clients based on the research you did on them as we mentioned above.
Demonstrate your abilities and showcase your personal brand as a sample portfolio of what they could expect if they worked with you.
Finally, only pitch what you are passionate about, this is guaranteed to give you a competitive edge.
How Do I Get Paid as a Freelancer?
You did it!
You worked really hard, followed the steps and now you’ve landed your first client. Hurray!
So you’re probably wondering, how do I get paid?
As someone who’s figuring out how to start freelancing with no experience always insist on getting paid up front. If you’re not charging upfront and a client is not paying, the best thing is to be stern.
Next, If you plan on freelancing you’ll need to figure out how to accept payments from clients.
Paypal is the most common form of payment freelancer prefer.
Keep in mind that if you decide to use freelance websites such as the ones mentioned above, you might be charged a payment processing fee by the platform.
For example, Upwork has been charging 20% off of the earnings of freelancers over the past year. So if you made $250 from a gig you’ll probably only take home $200.
Give your clients multiple options for payment so that they can use the one they feel most comfortable with. Invoice as often as you can. Don’t wait for work to be completed to invoice.
Sending invoices will not guarantee payment so you’ll need to follow up often. The key to getting paid is to ensure you’ve set up the right systems.
Freelancing is no doubt a great way to make a little cash on the side or even make it a full-time thing.
It’s totally up to you.
So, if you are planning to take this journey, you will need to commit the right amount of courage, time, information and preparation.
With these very simple guide anyone and learn how to start freelancing with no experience required.
Finally, believe in yourself.
Don’t panic over your lack of experience or let your thoughts take over you, simply focus on your end result.
Freelancing is one of the fastest ways to start making money online. Best part anyone can learn how to start freelancing with no experience necessary.
All you need is a few basic skills, great time management skills and a passion to succeed.