7 Simple Steps to Becoming a Freelancer with No Experience  

how to become a freelancer with no experience

You can become a freelancer even if you have no experience by following the seven steps listed in this article:
1. Evaluate your skills
2. Learn more about the industry
3. Create your own website
4. Build a network
Talk to another freelancer
6. Use the right places to search for clients
7. Land your first client

If you are on the fence about becoming a freelancer, keep reading to find out how you can become a freelancer with no experience, what you need to be a freelancer, if freelancing would be worth it for you, and which websites are best to get started.

How can I become a freelancer with no experience?

It is possible to become a freelancer with no experience. Striking out on your own can be daunting, but the end result can be worth taking the risk. If you find that you don’t want a traditional 9-5 job, don’t be afraid to take the plunge and start your own freelancing business.

You should start by thinking of yourself as a business. You must promote yourself so clients can find you and do the best job you can to start getting good reviews. Landing your first client is the hardest part, but following the steps below can get you started on the right path.

What do I need to be a freelancer?

becoming a freelancer

The most important thing you need to be a freelancer is a passion for your craft. You have to want to do the work. Your love for whatever industry you want to work in is what will keep you motivated through the tough times.

If you have that passion, make sure you also have everything else you need before you dive in:

  1. Savings. Becoming a freelancer and building your skills takes time, which means you won’t be able to work as many hours if you are truly motivated to become a freelancer. During the first few months of freelancing, you will likely have to work for less than you are worth. It is important to land those first few clients, and without any experience, clients will not feel comfortable paying you full price. You may even have to complete some work for free in order to start working as a freelancer.
  2. Time. It can take weeks or even months to start getting paid clients. You must have enough time to focus on building your portfolio and gaining experience.
  3. The right supplies. For a lot of freelance work, all you need is a reliable computer and internet access. For others, you may need other supplies. Again, having some money saved up can help. You will likely need to pay for computer programs, online courses, etc. to get started.

Becoming a freelancer in 7 steps

The following steps will help you become a freelancer when you are just starting out. No matter which industry or craft you want to get into, following these steps will put you on the right path towards a successful freelancing career.

1. Evaluate your skills

Just because you don’t have experience doesn’t mean you don’t have relevant skills. The first step to becoming a freelancer with no experience is to figure out which skills you have that can help you in your chosen industry or craft.

You should have unique skills that will help you stand out. You may already have skills you never thought about based on your background. Think outside the box to identify unique skills and traits that can help you land clients.

Let’s take the example of becoming a freelance editor. Skills for this would include grammar, spelling, English language, and written communication. These skills can come from college or even high school. Being an avid reader can also give you the necessary skills.

2. Learn more about the industry

freelance desk

Before you can start a new career, you want to learn as much as you can about that particular industry. You want to learn whether or not the industry is competitive, what kinds of companies will hire freelancers in your craft, how much you would make, etc.

You don’t want to jump into a freelance career unless you have done your research and ensured that you will eventually make enough money to sustain yourself.

3. Create your own website

A website just for you and your freelance business is absolutely necessary. Your website should be a place where clients can learn more about you and what kind of work you are interested in doing.

Your website is the best place to showcase projects you’ve done. It should also list how much you charge and how clients can contact you.

There are plenty of free website builders to choose from, such as WordPress. Paying for a unique domain will cost a little extra, but it may be worth it to show clients that you are invested in your business and take it seriously.

4. Build a network

After you have created a website that showcases who you are and what you’ve done, it is time to start building your network. Knowing people in your industry or other freelancers in your craft can be a huge opportunity.

If you do not have experience, word-of-mouth advertising can help you find clients. A solid recommendation from a trusted colleague or friend can encourage a potential client to hire you.

Start by reaching out to people you already know. Inform them that you want to start freelancing and that you would appreciate any recommendations they can give. Some of your acquaintances may know someone that can help you get your foot in the door.

If you do not have a network – don’t worry – you can connect with people in your industry online. There are plenty of forums, platforms and Facebook groups covering probably every niche and industry on the planet. Go there, interact with people and let them know about your freelancing services. Don’t be spammy, provide value first.

5. Talk to another freelancer

passionate freelancer

Having someone who works in your industry or craft be your mentor can be beneficial when starting your own freelancing business. They can help you learn more about the industry, give advice, and can recommend you to clients.

If you know another freelancer, you want to create an ongoing relationship. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and get advice, but try not to focus your time with them on asking for referrals.

While this step is not exactly required to become a freelancer, it can help you make connections with others and break into freelancing.

6. Use the right places to search for clients

Lots of websites offer a place for freelancers to bid for jobs. Using these job board websites can be a great way to find clients looking for your kind of work. However, you must watch out for scams.

Scam artists will post fake jobs on these websites, so you must be careful about the information you are giving out. A lot of freelancers work remotely, which puts them at risk for scams.

Before you start working for someone, research them and their company. You want to be sure the job is legitimate before giving them any information, especially bank account information.

For example, you may be able to find a lot of job listings on Craigslist, but less than half of them will be legitimate. It is better to use sites like FlexJobs to find real freelance jobs. Job service sites take more steps to verify that employers listing jobs are legit.

It is best to be cautious. Even sites like Indeed and Upwork are full of scams. Keep reading to find out which sites we recommend the most.

7. Land your first client

Now we are at the most challenging step: landing your first client. It can take weeks or even months for someone to take a chance on a freelancer with no experience. Don’t worry, following the tips below will help you find your first clients.

How to land your first client

Freelance client

Talk to people

Talk to friends, family, ex-coworkers, and anyone else you know about your freelance career. Don’t be afraid to use social media to spread your message and promote yourself. Chances are, someone you know knows someone else who may hire you.

One of your friends might even help you out and be your first client. Former employers who hear that you are starting out on your own might also be able to help you land a client.

Get on LinkedIn and create your profile. Connect with others you know and build genuine friendships. Don’t ask for recommendations outright, just let them know what you want to do for work. If they know someone, they will most likely help you out.

Build your portfolio

Without experience, it might be hard to build a portfolio, but this is a crucial step for landing that first client. While most clients look for the freelancer with the most experience, others will look at a freelancer’s previous work to decide who to hire.

Clients want to see your work before they hire you. For example, if you are a graphic designer, you can upload some of your designs to your website to let future clients see your work. This will help the client feel more confident in you and your skills.

A complete portfolio of all of the work you’ve done, even if it was just for fun, will make an impression on clients. It doesn’t have to be flashy or perfect, but it should show off what you can do. Each project in your portfolio should have a description so clients know exactly what they are looking at and what you did to complete it.

Check freelance job sites daily

how to become a freelancer

People Per Hour, Upwork, Freelancer, and FlexJobs are helpful websites to find clients looking for freelancers. You can sort job listings by experience level to see only employers willing to hire beginners.

You can bid for jobs that are related to what you want to do, but not exactly. The goal is to get a client to hire you and give you a good testimonial. Once you have worked for at least one client and completed the job successfully, it will be much easier to get hired again.

Bid for as many jobs as you can, but don’t make a template. Take your time bidding for each job and mention specific things they are asking for in the job description. You will probably find that you must start out with small projects where you get paid five or ten dollars to do something simple before you can move on to bigger and better-paid jobs.

Always remember to watch out for scams on these sites. Google Hangouts is a red flag. If someone asks to interview you through a chat site like Google Hangouts, it is most likely a scam. Employers are more likely to call you on the phone or Skype with you for an interview.

Work for cheap/free

Some clients look for freelancers with lots of experience, others look for the lowest rates.

As mentioned before, you will probably start off with small, low-paying projects and build your way up as you gain more experience. This means you will have to start working for less than you are worth. Working for cheap or free is not ideal, but it can help you make new contacts, gain experience, and build your portfolio.

Working for cheap or free is like paying your dues. Eventually it will pay off. Clients can give you five-star reviews on sites like Upwork, which shows other employers that you are reliable and do a good job.

You can offer to work for free in exchange for a testimonial. Testimonials help clients feel more confident in hiring you, so post them on your website when you get them. Make sure the testimonials you get are detailed and results-focused.

Is it worth it to be a freelancer?

Once you learn how hard it can be (but not necessarily) to get started with no experience, you may wonder if freelancing is worth it. It is a considerable risk, so you want to make sure you have what it takes before you take the plunge.

Giving up your steady paycheck to venture out into the world of freelance is risky. That’s why it’s best to have a lot of money saved up first or continue working full-time while starting your freelance business. You might also be able to drop down to part-time at your current job to focus more on freelancing.

To determine if freelancing would be worth it, start by researching the industry or craft you want to get into. How much money could you make as a freelancer after one year of experience? Two years?

Also, determine if the skills you have are relevant to this freelancing career or not and if you have a solid network. Relevant skills and knowing people in your particular industry make it easier to get started if you don’t have experience.

What is the best freelance website for beginners?

The best freelance website for beginners is Fiverr.com. Fiverr is a popular freelancing site for quick and affordable projects. With Fiverr, you create a “gig,” which starts out at five dollars.

For example, if you are looking to start freelance proofreading, you can create a gig in which you will proofread a company’s website for ten dollars. The possibilities on Fiverr are endless and this makes it a great place to start for beginners in freelance.

Which is the best marketplace for freelancers?

The best marketplace for freelancers is Freelancer.com. Freelancer is an all-purpose freelance website. A lot of small businesses will use Freelancer to hire talent because it is easy to post jobs and receive bids quickly.

This site is great for freelancers because there is a wide variety of jobs available. Also, if you get selected for a job, you will be paid securely. You can upload your portfolio to this website to show clients what you can do.

There are plenty of other similar sites that offer the same benefits as Freelancer and Fiverr. The main thing you want to make sure of is that the website you use to find clients pays you for work you’ve completed.

Upwork.com is also a good choice for beginners because they offer Upwork Payment Protection, which means an hour worked is an hour paid. If you get hired by a client and they are not satisfied with your work and refuse to pay you, Upwork will pay you for your time at the agreed upon rate.

Freelancing is a way to be your own boss. You can make your own hours and work for yourself. But it is a challenge to get started, especially if you don’t have experience. Don’t let this stop you! It is possible to work for yourself as a freelancer and make enough money to sustain yourself.

The best way to get started as a freelancer with no experience is to build your network. Don’t be afraid to use social media to promote yourself. Your friends and family can help you find clients and may even hire you for a small project.

In order to build your portfolio and gain experience, you may have to work for cheap or for free. If you do work for significantly less than you are worth, make sure you get a detailed, positive testimonial in exchange.

Freelancing is a huge change from traditional employment. It is not steady, there are no (standard) benefits, it is hard to get started, and there is no guarantee you will make money. That being said, it might still be worth it to do what you love and be your own boss. If you have a few relevant skills, a passion for the craft, and a couple of promising people in your network, you are halfway there!

Lynn Patrick

Lynn Patrick started writing in her teens and realized as an adult that she could make a living from home doing what she loves. Besides blogging, Lynn also publishes her own eBooks on Amazon Kindle.

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