I want to travel the world. I want to have more time with my family. I want to do the things that I love whenever I want.
But this job is holding me back. What should I do?
Then start freelancing.
But wait a minute, I don’t have any experience.
Count yourself lucky for stumbling on this article because, in a few minutes, I’ll reveal the simple steps you can take to start a career or as a side hustle in freelancing without any prior experience.
But let’s get something clear, there is no thing as no experience if you are an adult or almost becoming one. Because unless you’ve been in a coma for years, you must have gained some experience on the way in at least one of the things you can do as a Freelancer.
A freelancer is merely someone who dedicates time to master a particular skill and offer their services at a price.
And most importantly, do it freely from wherever without anybody watching their backs.
People are loving this new gig thing, and there is a massive shift of the workforce from traditional office systems to freelancing.
The number of full-time freelancers grew by 17% from 2014 to 2019. Also, 48% of the US workforce was expected to be freelancing by the end of 2020.
For many people working the 9 to 5 job has become unbearable. They have realized surviving sucks and are ready to sacrifice anything to live and have a piece of their dreams while they have the energy to.
This is why freelancing and building online businesses have become attractive ventures.
Luckily enough, freelancing’s entry requirements are not very demanding, and I believe anybody can join this industry with great ease, but it will require working smart and hard, at least for the first few months.
Ultimately with great focus and determination, you can achieve freelance success beyond your wild imaginations and earn more than your full-time job could ever make you.
- You will get time to spend with your family as much as you want.
- You will travel the world whenever you want.
- You will do the things that you love and be happy while enjoying financial stability.
But first, let’s agree. You will read this article to the very end because every piece of advice in it is essential to your freelancing journey’s structural and progressive success.
Trust me, it’s not hard, but the journey can be daunting, which’s the best part. It’s the one thing you’ll be proud of once you reach your Canaan.
Reminiscing your journey from an absolute beginner to an expert in your field will be more fulfilling than posting pictures on social media of the great experiences you’re having as a digital nomad.
Anyway, let’s dive in.
How to start freelancing with no experience
1. Change your thoughts and attitude.
Before we get into the actual process of kick-starting your freelancing career, you need to restructure your mindset.
I’m almost certain as a beginner, you’ve asked yourself whether you are good enough to freelance and earn millions doing it.
You’ve wondered whether you can master the skills to become an expert in something and have clients all over the world paying you for your services.
Yes, you can, pal.
And it all begins with your mindset. Your mindset is the biggest impediment to your success. And the fact that you might think the lack of capital is the most significant reason why most entrepreneurs fail tells a lot about your attitude.
You’re merely looking for excuses to blame lack of success.
There is so much negative energy going around the world. Since humans have a negative bias, we are more likely to pick up negative experiences and ideas that impact our brains more than positive ones.
The good money established freelancers are making and the freedom they are enjoying might be the reason why you wanted to start freelancing.
However, while seeking information about this industry, people have told you how hard it is to get jobs, especially as a beginner, let alone earning good income consistently.
If this got into your head, it is high time you drop it.
Because being successful requires more than hard work. It requires creativity, consistency, and smart work. You can only uphold these three characters if your attitude is positive and your mindset is designed to accept success as a normal thing.
From now on, think like this
- Yes, I am successful
- I believe my services can offer value to people who will pay me well
- I deserve success and financial stability, and no one can you give me that apart from myself
- I have the mental ability to learn and develop skills that will put me on top of the world
These statements, if reiterated as often as possible, influence your actions and eventually become a reality.
If you think it’s hard to become a freelancer, you’re doomed for failure. On the other hand, knowing and believing you can become an expert at anything and earn a reliable source of income if you put in the work, you’ll be successful.
So before you begin this journey, revamp your thoughts and attitude to assimilate success in your system.
I could talk for hours about this because it is the most critical aspect of not only becoming a freelancer but also succeeding in any career.
I don’t think it’s worth your time to move forward without the right mindset because you’ll be wasting your time, and you won’t withstand the challenges that come with freelancing with a beat-up mind.
And if you have some serious issues with self-doubt, then dance therapy, which has been proven to boost self-esteem, might give you a second chance in life.
2. Identify your Skill-sets and Passions
So the easiest way to get started is first to identify what you are good at and determine whether you can offer services in that field as a freelancer.
This goes back to the fact that you cannot be an adult without any experience in at least one area.
For instance, if you managed to enter college or university, you have basic English writing and speaking skills. This already gives you access to at least four areas where you can offer services
- Article writing
- Academic Writing
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg because you can also be a copywriter and proofreader if you’re proficient.
If nothing else rings the bell when thinking about your skill sets, at least these few skills can already set you on a path to freelancing.
But only thinking about your skill sets might not lead you to the best freelancing career where you can thrive.
These areas can be highly saturated and might not be fulfilling to you.
That’s where passions come in, and things that interest you even though you have little prior experience.
If you’ve used the computer before and know how to navigate, most freelancing tasks are within scope.
So the only issue for you will be finding an area that ignites the mind and that you’re willing to dedicate some time to learn, master, and differentiate yourself from the rest of the crew and be known as an expert dictate your income.
3. Choose a Niche
A niche is simply a specific segment of the market or a unique topic of discussion.
It is mostly used by bloggers when identifying the area one wants to blog about when setting up a blog.
As a freelancer, your niche is the specific field you will master and provide services. For instance, as an academic writer, your niche will be providing academic writing services.
If there is one thing that I have learned over the past four years as a blogger above everything else is the importance of focusing on one thing.
Most of the time, I thought writing about everything will drive the most traffic to my website.
I was wrong.
Instead, writing high-quality content on specific topics is exactly what will get you the most traffic.
Because Google is working hard to identify the best quality content and ensure it’s the first content surfers find to have their questions answered correctly while enjoying the learning process.
That’s why it favors experts over Jack-of-all-trades.
So if you want to be successful in the freelance industry, identify one area and put all your effort into it because that’s the only way you can stand out in this overcrowded world of internet users looking for opportunities to escape the rat race.
Now, sit down and do the following.
- List all your current skills
- List your passions and things that interest you
- Identify the areas from your skills and passions that can translate to a job you can do anywhere.
- Narrow down to at least 5 areas where the skills, passions, and interests intersect
- Identify role models in each of the fields you’ve selected.
- Identify the knowledge gap that you must cover to achieve the success that your role model has achieved.
- Now zero into one field that you can fully dedicate your time and energy to master.
You want to make sure that you can work on, tirelessly for 6 to 12 months, and not even zero income can discourage you.
The good thing about freelancing is that you won’t go for long without making money as long as you use the right platforms and put in the work.
But first, I want you to achieve the most integral factor of business success; offering value.
Let me ask;
If you had a persistent stomach ache troubling you for weeks, would you go to the next-door clinic, or would you instead visit a gastroenterologist?
If you know what’s best for you, you’ll choose the latter because that’s the only way to know exactly what’s affecting your stomach and have the most qualified doctor taking care of you.
In fact, going to that simple clinic when dealing with severe and persistent health complications is gambling with your life.
Similarly, when a client is looking for a freelancer to do some work, they want the best person working on it. You can only be this person if you choose one field and become an expert in it.
And don’t worry; you can always venture into new areas once your focus area is doing great.
Some popular niches apart from Writing include;
- Mobile Apps Development
- Graphic Design
- Sales and Marketing
- Site Engine Optimization
- PR: Public Relations and Branding
- 3D Modelling and CAD
- Game Development
- Web Research
- Legal Services
- Virtual Assistance
4. Join Freelancing Platforms.
Once you have your mindset set, skills and passions considered, and your niche identified, it is now time to join the freelancing websites and seek jobs.
There are numerous online job platforms out there that cover every freelancing skill you can think of. Some are big (international), while others are niche-specific. Others are tough to join due to the high qualifications required to create accounts.
For instance, the best academic writing accounts mostly require writers to have degree qualifications and high-quality English writing skills, some typically requiring you to be English as a Native Language writer.
This, therefore, limits the group of people who can apply for accounts, which is why in some countries, people have perfected the art of opening accounts, and account selling is a significant business.
This applies to academic writing accounts and any accounts that can be used to generate income.
However, it’s quite risky because when a freelancer sells an account, the buyer is least likely to produce work similar in quality to the seller, and this is a signal for companies to close the account.
As a beginner, open an account and grow with it as you establish yourself as an expert. This is more fulfilling and eventually more lucrative than investing in accounts.
Furthermore, freelancers who have valuable accounts generating consistent income would never sell these accounts.
Now that your niche is ready, first, identify two general freelancing platforms and create accounts.
The best thing about these international and general freelancing platforms is that they are free and easy to join.
They consider anybody without necessarily requiring academic documents as proof of their qualifications.
These accounts will expose you to numerous job opportunities at the beginning of your journey, where you can learn to pitch and attract clients.
Once you begin to get clients, you can try creating an account in a niche-specific freelancing platform. Such websites usually have a high number of quality clients that are willing to pay more for services.
However, not that focusing on one platform is ultimately the easiest way to achieve success fast enough.
Getting caught up in the idea of using multiple platforms to increase your chances of getting gigs is like an aspiring influencer using all social media platforms to publish his or her content simultaneously.
You cannot establish authority or gain a good fan base in any of them because you can’t master all the marketing skills required to succeed in all those platforms at once.
Remember also that these platforms have a progress bar and success rating, which is tagged to your profile, and whenever you bid for a job, clients can check the number of jobs you have done and the success rates of your jobs.
If you create many accounts on many different platforms, your time and energy will be split among them, and none of your accounts will make progress to get you to the high paying experts zone.
Some of the top freelancing platforms you should try include
- People per hour
Flex jobs and Fiverr are perfect for the armatures due to the vast number of posted jobs every day.
If you find it hard to select a platform to start with, check out reviews of the sites to see which account you can work with.
5. Build a Portfolio Website
Are you serious?
Yes, I am very serious.
At this time of the century, having a professional online presence is extremely important in building a business that wholly depends on the internet.
Most people expect businesses to have a website where they can access all the required information about the services and products they offer. 47% only purchase a service or product after visiting a business’s website.
As a freelancer, you must adopt their mentality that you’re running a business, not a hobby and therefore take necessary action to make your business profitable.
A website provides you a fully customizable platform to showcase your skills and market your services and opens opportunities for you to acquire clients within and without the freelancing media.
In any case, if your account is closed for whatever reason and you’ve acquired a good clientele, you’ll continue earning a reliable income.
A professional website will reinforce that you’re an expert, make you look professional, and capture potential customers’ attention.
And it doesn’t cost you so much. With as little as $2.75 a month, you can get started with a free domain, Free SSL, One-click WordPress installation, and 24/7 support.
If you want to go leaner, you can still get quality hosting at less than $30 per year.
I recommend these hosting packages because they offer the best value, especially for beginners without breaking the bank. They also use WordPress, the best and powerful content management system globally, which powers more than 30% of all websites.
I have an entire guide on setting up your website, from domain selection to write your first blog post. You can read and follow through to launch your site.
Once you’ve launched the website, you can use portfolio themes and plugins to customize your website, well present your skills, and encourage visitors to reach you.
6. Create Samples of Your Work
Can you send me a sample?
This is a question you’ll get very often as a beginner in freelancing, and you must be prepared if you are serious about getting clients.
As a part-time web designer, potential clients always ask me to showcase several websites that I have created in the past for them to know whether my work is good enough for me to earn an assignment.
Whatever field you choose, create sample works based on tasks that can be accessed on the internet.
For instance, if you’re a graphic designer, visit freelancing platforms such as Upwork or Flexjobs, navigate to the graphic design section, select Logo Design Job, read the instruction, and do it as if you were getting paid for it.
Then keep the finished product as a sample for clients seeking proof of your work.
As an academic writer, you can pick up a job from any academic writing site and do it to your very best ability, then keep it as a simple job for the future.
This is what I call working smart, thinking ahead of time, and preparing for situations you might encounter.
They say ‘Fake it till you make it,’ which I think is the best representation of this tip.
While cultivating positive thoughts in your mind, taking action such as sample preparation reinforces your journey to become an expert Freelancer.
Meanwhile, sample jobs can gauge the quality of your work through the reviews you get from potential clients on whether your work matches their expectations.
If a client criticizes your sample job pointing out some issues, take it positively and improve the samples to ensure the next client will be impressed and want to work with you.
These simple jobs can be published on your website and professional social media platforms such as LinkedIn, which by the way, is my next point.
So let’s jump in
7. Market yourself on social media platforms
Social media is used by 3.5 billion people representing 45% of the world’s population, who spend, on average, three hours daily.
If these statistics do not make you smile, then I don’t know what will?
This is the best time to advertise yourself as an expert in a specific field through your social media platforms to attract potential clients.
Fellow millennials, I feel that it’s high time we use social media to build our professional and financial lives rather than using it to showcase and brag about our lifestyles. Let the babies enjoy themselves.
Most people use social media to announce every detail of their lives at the eventual detriment of their peace of mind.
They later regret when things don’t turn out well and try to erase the identity they created.
So if you’re serious about your life, it’s high time you transform your social media accounts from journals to online resumes.
Announce to the world the abilities you have, the subjects you’ve mastered, and the value you can offer people.
That way, you not only attract high-value people but also avoid the drama that comes with social media.
Here is what you need to do for each of your profiles
- Add your niche statement in your bio
- Use related keywords to describe yourself
- Add skills and work experience
- Visit niche-specific groups and pages to answer questions related to your topic
- Create connections with professionals in your field
- Occasionally and consistently post content related to your niche
LinkedIn is the best place to do this and meet with potential clients because it is built around career professionalism.
One effective way to display your expertise is by writing high quality and well-researched articles on particular topics.
This draws in people who share a common interest in your niche.
In a world where everybody is connected by the internet and terabytes of content are produced every second, it is quite easy to get lost in the noise.
The only way to stay afloat is by producing high-quality content, establishing yourself as an expert, and grabbing opportunities without shame.
8. Don’t Shy from Pro-bono Work
Pro bono work is any service that is rendered by a professional at a low-cost or for free.
For beginners, high paying jobs are at your disposition because high-value clients only allow experts to work for them.
And since you’re at the start of your journey to mastery, you can only deal with low-paying clients who want something done quickly and not necessarily perfectly.
Jobs that pay less than $10 will flood your feed. You have to pick some of these jobs in your early freelancing stages to build up your progress and success rating.
We talked about this before.
For every job done, the site will record and rate it depending on how your client reviews your work.
That’s why the highest paid freelancers are advertised on the homepage with their remarkable accomplishments of hundreds or thousands of jobs they have done with an almost 100% approval rate.
These guys don’t even have to bid for jobs. Their exceptional profiles attract clients who offer to pay for their well-reviewed services.
No wonder 91% of young consumers trust online reviews before making any purchases of products or services.
In freelancing reviews are the most factors of client acquisition. Most people usually wish to see reviews and testimonials from other people before they invest in your service.
So this is not the time to shy off from low paying or free jobs.
If you wow your clients with high-quality work, they will most likely come back. Nowadays, it’s tough to get and keep an employee or worker who produces high-value work.
Also, sometimes you might be required by freelancing platforms to do pro bono work for you to be upgraded to a level where you can bid for jobs. These free tasks are used to gauge the quality of your work before trusting you with their clients.
Fortunately, you won’t have to do free jobs for long because once you’ve established yourself and earned an upgrade, you can secure jobs that pay.
Meanwhile, as you go through the transition from pro-bono jobs to high-paying jobs, you learn to correctly set the rates for your services to attract clients and earn well for your time and work without extorting your clients or exploiting yourself.
Wow, you just made it to the end.
I’m so proud of you.
Please tell me your Santa wish in the comments, and I will give you advice on how you can save and buy it.
Well, I guess now you understand what it takes to start freelancing with no experience.
If you think it’s hard, you need to scroll back up to the first point on mindset and revamp your attitude.
If it looks achievable, then get to work because faith without action is simply a waste of your time and my time.
Lastly, if you need help in setting up your portfolio website, reach me through the comments section, and I will come to your rescue. I’ll also optimize it for the search engines.
Now, get to work.