How can I get a freelance job with no experience
When I started as a copywriter, I started as a freelance writer.
Back in the day, nobody told me how to do it.
I was stuck in my situation where nobody seems to care whether I succeed or not.
Just because no one is telling me how to do it, I gathered some intensive research.
I collect all the books that I know about writing.
Watched every videos on Youtube.
Research every aspect of what it takes to be a freelance writer.
Then one day, I met a lady friend (Heidi) over the internet who loves to write.
She somehow mentored me on the ins and out of writing.
She also mentioned that she is a freelancer on Upwork.
A company where you can start your freelancing journey.
And so my journey began,
At first, I was really nervous and didn’t know what to do or expect.
My first client was a complete disaster.
Leaving a negative feedback.
I was really in a muddled state after this.
Because the first positive feedback that I was expecting is nowhere in sight.
I consulted Heidi, the writing friend I told you earlier.
She mentioned some pointers that I need to do.
The next day, I was back in the drawing board.
Or shall I say writing board, and make some writing projects.
Goody goody gumdrops – my work is improving a bit.
As I write more and more projects.
My writing seems to improve quite a bit.
Ok, so I nearly sorted out my writing.
But here are some pointers that you need to understand.
Tips that will make your freelance career an utterly smashing …
Starting a freelancing business is hard.
That’s what you’ve been telling yourself for a month, maybe even years.
In the wise words of Professor Farnsworth from Futurama, “ Good news, everyone!
You’re wrong! “.
Becoming a freelancer (even when you have ZERO experience) is much easier than you […]
Starting a freelancing business is hard.
That’s what you’ve been telling yourself for a month, maybe even years.
In the wise words of Professor Farnsworth from Futurama, “Good news, everyone! You’re wrong!“.
Becoming a freelancer (even when you have ZERO experience) is much easier than you think.
Sure, it’s going to require determination, time and resilience – but it’s not IMPOSSIBLE.
By the time you’re done with this post, you’re going to know the exact steps you need to take to get out of your head and do the damn thing!
Here’s how to start freelancing with no experience!
Psst…Want to know more about going remote and achieving that location independent lifestyle?
Check out these posts:
How to Start Freelancing With No Experience
Step 1: The Mindset of a Boss
In my course, Road to Remote, I have an entire module devoted to mastering your mindset.
Because having the RIGHT mindset will dictate your success as a freelancer.
If you don’t believe in yourself and you don’t back yourself 1000%, you’re going to manifest failure.
Think about it this way.
We all have these stories that we tell ourselves.
Maybe yours are:
- “I’m not successful”
- “Making money is hard”
- “I don’t deserve money or success”
- “No one will buy from me”
These stories end up becoming beliefs that influence your actions.
And if you believe that your business is doomed or that it’s hard to become a freelancer – you’re going to self-sabotage yourself and call that into your reality.
So before you create your portfolio site or start pitching to clients, you need to get your mindset right and embody your success before you achieve it.
Think about how you would act if you had already achieved your goal.
Like you have that thriving full-time freelancing business that lets you travel the world whenever you felt like it.
- You’re not going to worry about money because your business is profitable and sustainable.
- You’re going to be organised and have processes in place.
- You would be saving money for your next trip.
- You would believe in your business and that what you’re selling can help people.
That is the mindset of a boss.
Action Step: Identify the limiting beliefs that are holding you back, call bullshit and start acting like that successful freelancer.
Step 2: Choose a Niche
“What the heck is a niche?!”
You yell at your computer screen.
A niche is a PROBLEM you solve or a segment of a market you want to help.
The reason you need to niche the f*ck down is that you can’t be anything to everyone.
Trust me. I’ve tried it.
It didn’t go well.
When you aren’t SUPER clear on who you are trying to help as a freelancer, it’s going to make it hard to:
- Position yourself as an expert.
- Find potential clients and land freelance jobs.
- Figure out how you can best serve your clients.
Think of it like this:
The whole world is the market.
You can’t sell to the whole world because not everyone needs your service.
So you need to funnel that down until you have that one group of people you serve.
You want one group that you can master.
Action Step: To figure out your niche, ask yourself: Who do I want to help and why?
Step 3: Identify Your Skillset
Out of all the DMs I get on a weekly basis, the number one question I’m asked is:
“What can I do as a freelancer? How do I become a freelancer?”
To be honest, that’s something only you can answer.
Things would be a bit too easy if we just had to message a stranger on the Internet and ask them what to build a business around.
The good news is that it’s “figureoutable” – and you have the answer even if you’re aren’t aware of it right now.
So what can you do to get clear on what you want to do?
- List all your current skills and interests.
- List what you want to know more about.
- Identify which skills you can translate into a remote role.
- Identify gaps in your knowledge and what you need to learn.
For example, maybe you freaking love Instagram.
You have a passion for the platform, you’ve managed to grow your account to 10K followers, and you want to help other people reach this platform.
You can use your knowledge to become a freelance social media manager and specialise in Instagram.
Maybe the gaps in your knowledge are the nitty-gritty business details like client onboarding and sales pages, or you want to take an Instagram course to solidify your skills.
Step 4: Create a Website
If there is ONE INVESTMENT you need to make at the start of your freelancing career, it’s getting a website with a custom domain and a professional email address.
Some people say this step isn’t necessary, but I disagree.
We live in a digital age, I don’t know about you, but I automatically expect any business to have a website.
So why should you be any different if you want to get paid for freelance work?
A professional website will:
- Help you look professional
- Reinforce that you’re an expert
- Capture the attention of potential customers
- Give you an easy way to display your portfolio and services
The easiest way to get your freelancing website up and running within a week or less is with Squarespace.
It’s an all-in-one solution which means it will save you time and money.
For $16 (R300.00) per month, you’re going to get:
- Professionally designed templates
- Free custom domain (if you buy the annual plan)
- Professional email from Google (free for the first year)
- Website analytics
- Email marketing integration
- SEO features for boosting site visibility
- Mobile-optimised websites
- Free stock photos that are integrated into the platform
- Features like Memberspace and so much more
Step 5: Set Your Rates
Another thing that holds a lot of freelancers back from starting their business or going full-time has to do with rates.
I get it. It’s scary.
I struggled with it A LOT when I started my freelance writing business in 2016.
It’s the reason why I took $20 gigs for 1,000-word articles.
I thought it was the industry benchmark when in reality it’s daylight robbery.
There are three techniques that have helped me figure out my rates and feel good about what I charge my clients:
Method #1: How much does your dream life cost?
Have you sat down and calculated exactly how much everything in your life costs?
It’s a super simple exercise that will give you a hard number to work with.
- What is the total for your business costs?
- Do you want to get massages every week?
- Want to save up for that trip to Bali or a house?
Once you know the total of your dream life, you can work backwards and figure out how much you need to make yearly, quarterly, monthly and weekly.
When you have those numbers, you can look at your prices and see how much you would need to sell to make that a reality.
Method #2: What are the industry benchmarks?.
If you’re South African, you can get benchmark rate from the South African Freelancers Association.
It will give you a good idea of what everyone else is charging and make it easier to figure out a fair rate for your services.
Method #3: Do your rates challenge you?
When I created by course, Road to Remote, I had to come up with a price.
A simple exercise that sent me into a tailspin.
Why? Because online business courses range from $99 to $20,000.
That benchmarking technique?
It goes out of the window.
What my business coach, Erin May Henry, recommend was choosing a price that scares me, but is achievable.
So if you’re comfortable selling your service at $50, why not push yourself out of your comfort zone and try to sell it for $80?
Pick a number that challenges you, but isn’t completely unrealistic for you to achieve.
Step 6: Learn How to Pitch
Hands down, the most important skill for you to master as a beginner freelancer is learning how to pitch.
You’re going to need it for:
- Replying to job board ads
- Writing cold emails
- Your LinkedIn profile
- Podcast interviews
- Guest posts
- LinkedIn introductions
And whenever else you need to communicate what you do and how you can help people.
If you can write a pitch that does all that, it’s going to make it much easier for you to land that dream client, and start seeing sales in your freelancing business.
An easy formula to include in all your pitches is the following:
- Identify a problem
- Solve it with your solution
- Position yourself as the expert
- Back yourself up with testimonials, case studies, results or samples
If you have NO work experience, create niche-specific samples and host them on your site.
You can also work for free for a short period to get testimonials and then transition those clients onto a paid module.
There was this saying that enable for you to get good at anything, you need at least 10,000 hours practice.
Same is true with writing.
You should write at least everyday.
Even 100 to 200 words a day will make a difference.
Write when you feel like writing.
Write when you are inspired.
Write when you don’t feel like writing.
Write when you are bored.
But at least write.
One of the best writers of our times, Stephen King wrote a memoire few years ago.
He talks about writing, tips on writing and a bit of his life as a writer.
Let’s be honest: Stephen King is not one of the greatest writers of all time.
He will never win a Pulitzer or a Nobel (he might win a Newberry though.
If he ever decides to tap into the Kids/Young Adult market), and on the few times his books are featured in the New York Times Book Review
The reviewer will treat the book with a sort of haughty disdain, knowing their time could be better spent trashing Joyce Carol Oates.
None of this should suggest, however, that King is not qualified to write a book about how to write.
Sure, he churns out pulpy horror stories that are proudly displayed in airport bookstores.
But the man knows how to write a good story, and he’s probably one of the most well-known, non-dead American authors in the world.
So he must be doing something right.
I’m not the biggest fan of King’s books, but I really enjoyed On Writing.
He talks about writing frankly and practically, mixing tried-and-true pieces of advice (fear the adverb, never write “replied/remarked/muttered/yelled etc” when you can write “said”.
And don’t be afraid to kill off your favorite character) with anecdotes about how some of his books came about.
I especially liked the story behind Carrie: King was working as a janitor at a high school, and one night he was cleaning the girls’ locker room.
He asked the other janitor what that little metal dispenser box on the wall was, and the other man replied that it was for “pussy pluggers.”
At the same time, King had been reading about how psychic abilities often manifest in girls just beginning to go through puberty.
He combined the two ideas and wrote out a couple pages that would turn into the opening of Carrie. (if you haven’t read it you should.)
Many thanks to King’s wife, who rescued the pages from the wastebasket after King first decided that the idea was stupid and threw them away.
So, in conclusion: even if you aren’t a fan of Stephen King’s work, he has some very good advice about writing and storytelling, plus some good stories of his own.
Sure, you can call him a sellout.
But I like him.
So, what are you doing.
Write, write write !!!