You have probably seen the articles saying that remote work is the future of work, or maybe you are looking for a more flexible working condition that leaves you in charge while you earn more. We all want the best options. Being a successful freelancer can really be rewarding.
All that must have left you wondering— what is the fuss around this remote work culture, and how can I start freelancing with no experience? Well, freelancing for one, isn't a shortcut or an easy path.
However, a recent Upwork US research shows that 44% of freelancers reported increased earnings from their previous traditional jobs and a bunch of other positive stats on the side. So you are probably right to want to switch to this.
In this article, I will be exposing vital details that can help you begin freelancing even without prior experience. While the outset is always the toughest, not arming yourself with the crucial knowledge before diving into things could turn out a very costly mistake — literally.
Simply put, freelancing means offering your skills/services to clients (individuals or businesses) that need them, usually on a short-term basis. Freelancers can do this through a platform or offer their services to directly sourced clients. Freelancers are like independent contractors.
In the US alone, there are currently over 50 million freelancers. That's about 36% percent of the entire workforce.
Many freelance jobs these days take place remotely, but this must not be the case. About 47% of freelancers work entirely remotely. Talk about flexibility.
To start freelancing with no experience, it is important to understand how to strategically place your strengths before the right eyes— this takes a lot of hard work. If you have been led to believe that freelancing is the easy life, I politely ask you to throw that thought into the nearest trash can you can find.
That said, most freelancers who began with no experience have differences in how they approached the initial hurdles, but the large population agrees on certain things. We will take a look at them.
Need to know how to start freelancing as a student? Looking for part-time or full-time work? Read on.
A trader with no goods to sell is as good as useless. One with the right goods would make more cash than other traders. Newsflash: you need to be good at something before you can expect to get paid to do It.
Several people usually have a skill they are proficient in before becoming a freelancer. But it is not unusual to be clueless regarding what you want to do as a freelancer.
The common advice I could give you would be to follow your passion. But let us consider a more genuine one and not pretend there aren't certain skills that are more in demand and better paying than others.
The best freelancing skills to learn in 2022 based on my criteria are:
You can pick any of these fields and develop yourself in them. Popular learning platforms like Coursera, Udemy, SkillShare, etc, have good courses —some of them free— that can get you up and running in most of the niches listed above.
A good thing about investing time and resources to learn these skills on most platforms is that asides from the knowledge, by the time you finish a program you will have a solid portfolio of practice projects that you can use to begin your freelance journey.
While you can go about freelancing by directly sourcing your clients, as a beginner, a freelancing platform offers you more opportunities. You can reach out to many clients simply by signing up on them.
A good freelancing platform can have a very positive impact on your journey; a bad one can stop you in your tracks. Some platforms offer educational resources, management tools, and near-limitless opportunities.
Here is my list of top freelancing platforms to consider as a newbie with no experience:
Upwork is arguably the most popular freelancing platform with millions of freelancers across numerous niches, from data entry to software development to voice-over artists.
Upwork makes it notably easy to kick off your freelancing career, as you can easily create an account and start bidding for jobs in minutes.
However, due to this simple process, the amount of freelancers in the platform renders it a very competitive space, hence, there is a need for proper planning and crafting of proposals that will get you noticed. And lots of patience.
Upwork's main model involves freelancers bidding for jobs by submitting proposals to jobs posted by clients. They take 20% of the payment as service fees.
Another popular freelancing platform for beginners, Fiverr takes a different approach to its model. On the platform, the major way of getting jobs as a freelancer is by creating projects.
When the client searches for gigs and finds yours meeting their goals, they can purchase it. The platform takes 20% of your earnings as a service fee.
Fiverr also has numerous categories for a wide range of skills. An easy profile setup process, and resources such as online courses that can help you increase your skills, and ground you on how to start freelancing part-time or full-time.
This is a freelancing platform created with designers in mind. If you intend to pursue a career in graphics design, UX UI design or others, then DesignHill is a nice place to look at.
The platform provides a set of tools that can aid you in creating design materials, measuring your profits and building your freelancing career.
Unlike the previous options, this platform charges no service fees. Though it is relatively limited in terms of opportunities for the freelancer.
Similar to Upwork and Fiverr, Freelancer.com is a talent marketplace for all kinds of skills. And it is also a popular option for beginner freelancers.
In addition to its bidding model, the platform also offers contests through which freelancers can earn extra asides from their project fees.
Freelancer.com charges a service fee of 20% on services and 10% for fixed-price and hourly projects.
Though not a full-fledged freelancing platform, Dribbble is a great place for beginner freelancers in the design space to showcase their work, network with other designers and get clients.
Dribbble is popular in the freelance UX/UI design space. You can also use the platform as a portfolio to host your design projects.
It is free to use, and you can take on any type of job— freelance, remote part-time or even full-time. However, there is no platform protection or management tools.
Every freelancer needs a convincing portfolio, and if you are going to be successful, you need to take time to craft an outstanding portfolio — this is the only way to make up for having no work experience.
Finding clients in the freelance world isn't so different from submitting CVs and getting hit every time with the dreaded how many years of experience do you have? Experience is king.
Think about it this way, your portfolio— your best body of work— enables the client to get an idea of your abilities. Why would anyone hire you if there's no evidence you can get the job done?
For beginners, a portfolio can be a collection of 5 of your best practice projects. But it should showcase your unique abilities in the best way possible.
For writers, designers and artists, there are numerous ways to create a portfolio. A simple Google Docs folder containing your best-written work can serve as a writer's portfolio. As mentioned earlier, platforms like Dribbble and Behance are popular portfolio options for designers to showcase their designs.
Lastly, some freelancing platforms like Upwork let you create a portfolio right there in your profile making it easy for clients to access your work.
After you create a portfolio, the next step is to put yourself out there. You most likely aren't going to get clients offering you work on a platter.
The best way to convince anyone about something is to "show" them the benefits they stand to gain by taking an action. You cannot do this unless you are truly good at what you offer and confident in your skill.
In most freelance platforms, just like in traditional jobs with CVs, you need to submit numerous proposals to clients requesting to be considered for their jobs.
There's an entire art to crafting a proposal that gets you noticed. And numerous articles online covering the same. Unfortunately, we cannot cover all that in a single article.
But here are some notable points:
One of the most challenging aspects of freelancing is landing the first gig. You need to send numerous proposals. But with patience and the right strategy, you will achieve this even sooner than most.
A common confusion among beginners is the issue of fees. This confusion exists because most freelance platforms allow you to decide your rates.
This liberty results in situations where some freelancers charge way more than or below people at their skill and experience level.
Here's what to note, people are conscious about money. No one wants to waste any of it, at least not intentionally.
Therefore, it's vital to make your rates as competitive as possible. If your fees are way above what other similar freelancers charge you might miss some opportunities.
Likewise, putting them at a very low level has its own bad effects. Observe what is obtainable in your niche. What are other freelancers charging? Do not choose random figures. Luckily, you can see other people's rates on most platforms.
As your freelance business grows and your skill in your niche increases, you can then adjust your rates to reflect this.
The final and probably most important thing on our list is to ensure you deliver services that meet the requirements and expectations of your clients.
By doing this, you could create a long-lasting partnership with your clients resulting in more work opportunities. Also, through feedback and testimonials from these clients, you can further increase your reputation in your field resulting in…yes, more work.
There's really no bad side to this. Always deliver quality solutions that solve your client's problems. And in the expected delivery time. Your entire progress as a freelancer depends on this.
The freelance journey is one of tedious learning and continuous improvement. However, you don't need to go through futile experiences. Follow the steps we have discussed and be optimistic.
Yes, you can offer goods and services that don't require any skill e.g. food delivery, selling of goods, etc. But skilled freelancers are in higher demand than unskilled ones. In fact, according to recent surveys, the demand for more educated freelancers is on the rise, and the reverse is the case for their less educated counterparts. So while you might not necessarily need to go take more degrees, one of the recommended steps in starting a freelancing career is to learn a skill.
This depends on several factors, like the niche you are in, your negotiation abilities, and the clients you work with. However, a beginner usually earns between $20-$40 per hour as reported by several freelance sites.
Glassdoor puts the salary of a beginner at $37k per annum.
Freelancing has been popular for quite some time. But there are several confusions surrounding what it truly entails, especially for new freelancers. At the top of these problems is knowing how to start freelancing without any experience.
Additionally, freelancing on platforms like Upwork, Fiverr and Freelancer.com can be competitive. There are many freelancers in every niche bidding for the same jobs. So it takes a good strategy and a history of delivering quality work to beat the competition.