If you’re wondering how to start freelancing even though you think you lack the required skills, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll focus on actionable advice on how to become a freelancer without experience in just a week.
Starting freelancing from scratch can be scary. Even if you have a solid professional background, getting started as a freelancer is a brand-new career. There might be a variety of questions popping in your head, from what services to offer as a freelancer with no experience to how to get your first order.
This article will cover burning questions regarding freelancing as well as offer a 7-day plan that will skyrocket your freelancing career. Prepare a sheet of paper and a pen.
Reasons to start freelancing
Whenever we hear ‘freelancing’, our mind takes brushes and starts painting. You are on a paradise island somewhere in Asia, probably Bali. You get up to the sound of waves along with birds chirping. Then you have a fruit breakfast with your loved one and go to the beach where you take sunbath, windsurf and drink coconut juice, enjoying life to the fullest. That’s right. That’s a kind of lifestyle associated with freelancing.
No wonder a lot of people dream about becoming a freelancer. Reasons to start a freelancing career may include:
- Freedom of choosing who to work for, when, and how to work
- Ability to double-job or make time for motherhood or private
- Not being tied to a specific location and, thus, the ability to travel
A freelance job sounds like the ultimate dream for many of us. Isn’t that why you’re here?
Without further ado, let’s answer some key questions regarding freelancing.
How much does a freelancer make?
The beauty of freelancing suggests that you as a freelancer can make as much money as you need. With that in mind, it’s very important to manage financial expectations at the beginning of your freelancing career.
Naturally, you are currently looking for people who managed to establish themselves as successful freelancers to get an idea of what’s possible for you. You come across a YouTube freelancer in your sphere who is earning over $200,000 doing what you do and you are excited. Finally, a dream job that also provides returns.
While this person may be of great inspiration to you, hope you don’t plan to earn even 25% of that in the first year. Before your inbox is flooded with orders, you’ll need to establish your online presence and build trust between you and your customers. As in every profession, practice and time bring results.
Picking one of the highest-paying freelance writing niches will naturally help you to make sure your time is generously compensated.
How many hours do freelancers work?
Again, as with income, freelancing allows you to be free so the number of hours you work or your income totally relies on how committed you are to your new freelancing career.
A lot of people choose to freelance just because they want to work fewer hours than on the ordinary 9/5 job due to parenting, the desire to combine different activities, or their health condition.
Set a realistic number of hours that you can hold on to. Take into account that our mind can only actively work between 2 and 4 hours a day.
If you strive to become a freelance writer but you have never been writing for more than 2 hours in a row, start by allocating 1 or 2 hours for work. After a few months or even weeks, you’ll become a skilled hand at knowing what you’re able to do and in which timeframes.
How often do freelancers get paid?
Basically, it just depends on the way you work the payments out with your customers. It can be anything – from every day to once a month.
Which Freelancing Skills Should I Learn?
If you have thoughts on starting freelancing with no experience, you are probably already aware of the skills you’re going to capitalize on.
Let’s discuss crucial self-qualities you need to develop to become a successful freelancer. Even if you don’t have a lot of experience as a freelancer, these qualities will enable you to smoothly switch to this profession.
When it comes to freelancing, self-discipline is the most crucial factor. You may be living in Bali but you still need to plan your day in a way that won’t interfere with orders and deadlines. You owe it to your customers.
If you promise a specific result, you must deliver. One of the things that often comes with experience (which is rarely positive) is that you also need to be crystal clear on your deliverables and what they include. Managing your customer’s expectations in the right way will result in the acceptance of your hard work. Luckily, most freelancing platforms facilitate this process so they will force you to describe your gig as accurately as possible.
Your customers trust you with the most valuable assets they have, including their businesses, applications, and blogs. If you don’t deliver, not only you let them down, you destroy the trust they have put in you and your services.
The way you communicate with customers will reflect on whether they enjoy working with you. Maya Angelou, an American poet, and civil rights activist, once said: I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. It’s hard to argue with that. Thus, not only you need to deliver, but also maintain healthy and pleasing communication with your customers.
How to Start Freelancing With no Skills
If you are a graphic designer looking to jumpstart a freelancing career, what will you be offering as your main service online?
If you don’t have any specific skills or talents you want to capitalize on, use these guidelines to get started without experience.
Even if you don’t think you possess any practical experience, you definitely can do something useful. Here are a few ideas of gigs you can do without any experience:
Proofread texts in your native language
If your first language is English, congratulations. Millions of people across the globe are struggling to get the same command of English that you already have. If your native language is not English, don’t get upset. There are plenty of people who need writing and proofreading services in your country.
Gather some information online
What you might be looking for is called a ‘virtual assistant’. It generally implies being a person ready for small tasks like composing an Excel spreadsheet or creating a PowerPoint presentation.
Tutor any subjects you were good at in school
Harnessing skills that you were good at is an easy way to start. First, you already have the self-confidence that you can deliver. Second, it’s something that has been recognized by your teachers and peers, thus, you are bringing value.
Editing videos for social media
Social media have become a huge part of our lives. However, for a plethora of businesses, social media are a pain in the neck. That’s where you can help with a creative idea on how to promote via TikTok or Instagram shorts.
Steps to Start Freelancing
Day 1. Research and select your niche
I believe most probably you have this step done because
If not, stop and think about where your hidden talent lies and what you do easily. Many people ask themselves a question regarding what their talent is or what they do best. I believe we are mostly blind to what we do best so instead just think about things that are so easy to you that you don’t even perceive them as work.
Some of the most popular freelance professions include:
- Writing & blogging
- Graphic Design
- Video editing
- Digital Marketing
If you have no experience in the above, consider any niche that does not require any specific skills except for your commitment and attention.
- Researching information online
- Tutor any subjects you were good at in school
- Editing videos for social media
Day 2. Research further and specify your occupation
Once you’ve identified the generic direction of your freelance career, narrow it down even further.
In today’s fragmented world, it’s crucial for you to focus on one or two specific deliverables at first. The more specific the deliverables are, the better the chance to find a job you’re exceptionally good at.
So what exactly are you capable of doing?
- Brochure design
- Poster design
- Website design
- UX design
- Game art
- Graphic for streamers
- NFT art
- Brand style logos
Why is it important to shrink the number of assets you are able to provide? Let’s think about it together. I am a customer in need of a logo design for my food store. If I come across a gig or a post that says that you’re just a graphic designer who can design anything, provided that no one is standing next to me with a gun demanding the logo to be developed in the next 1 hour, I won’t probably even connect my need for a logo with your skills. I’d rather just scroll down.
In contrast, when I come across a gig that says that you can design logos, I’ll be pretty interested. Finally, if I see that you specialize in food stores and have developed quite a few logos and brand books for my niche, I’ll be excited to work with you.
It’s not just me. Whenever you get specific about your niche, you become special for customers from that niche.
Day 3. Research competitors
If you’re wondering how to become a freelancer without experience and get started quickly on a freelance website like Fiverr or Upwork, you have an amazing (and free!) opportunity to check the services other people are offering in your niche.
While it might be uncomfortable and a bit discouraging to see that you’re not unique and there’s intense competition, it’s essential to see what other people are already offering before you craft your own unique gig.
There are two main freelance platforms, Fiverr and Upwork. I suggest you go there and explore what other people do in your field.
Day 4. Write your gig description with clear deliverables
You have a chance to set expectations for your work so use them wisely. Be as specific as you can regarding what your potential customer should expect from you.
In your gig, describe 3 most important points:
What will your customer get as a result? A text, a picture, or a file? In which format will you be providing the deliverable?
The problem you’re solving/value your customer will get
What’s the most typical issue for your customer and how you’ll help them solve it?
Your experience / ideal customer
What makes you unique? Do you have field-specific education? How did you excel in this industry/sphere?
While we usually focus on stating what we do, listing what you won’t do is equally important to manage your customer’s expectations.
Let your customer know how much will this exact piece of work cost.
Now let’s practice. Imagine you are a designer with a strong background in HR. That makes you pretty much the perfect person to help someone improve their CV.
Here’s a good example of a sample gig:
I will redesign your 2-page CV (deliverable) so that you get noticed and land your dream job (value).
You send out resumes but they still won’t call you back. One of the most common problems at this point might be that your gifts and talents are hidden in an unattrative cocoon
I worked as an HR manager for 10 years before I switched to graphic design (experience) so I know exactly what boost your resume needs to showcase your valuable skills. I will rearrange the information in a way so that you land your dream job in a Computer Technology / IT field (ideal customer).
$100 – I will rework the resume layout only (I won’t be changing any texts)
$200 – I will rewrite your resume and change the layout
Please note that I only work with resumes in Computer Technology / IT (restriction). This quote only includes 2 pages, which is a recommended resume length.
This gig is clear, straightforward, and simple. It provides a clear overview of the end result and describes why you are the best person to solve this task.
Many freelancers wonder if they have to be unique and creative with their first gig. The idea behind that is to distinguish yourself from the crowd of more experienced freelancers by making your offering unique. Speaking realistically, there’s nothing further from the truth. While trying to be creative, we frequently get lost in details and, as a result, lack coherency. When you’re on your way to your first order, the most important secret to success is just being clear and straightforward. Your ideal customer will then leverage your gig.
Day 5. Create an irresistible offer
The gig description might be enough, but if you want to enhance it even further, create an offer that’s very hard to resist.
I used to buy a lot of freelance services and here’s what I learned from experience. Unfortunately, people don’t always deliver what they promise. We’ve all seen these people or even been these people at some point.
A lot of people are interested in your services but they’re hesitant as they aren’t sure that you’ll deliver on what you promise.
The best way to show your potential customer you’re not like these people is to deliver a piece of work risk-free.
That would mean free of charge.
Yes, that’s right. I’m talking about delivering a piece of your work for free.
Ye, I know that’s probably something you didn’t plan. Yet your deliverable doesn’t have to be large or take most of your time.
It’s crucial to show them that you’re the person who delivers. All you need at this point is a line to approach your customer.
Here’s the line I used:
Let me do this job for you. If you love it, you’ll pay whatever you consider fair for this job.
I know that it’s probably something that won’t bring you a lot of money (you never know though).
Still, this approach gives you lots of benefits.
- It lifts the burden off your shoulders regarding whether you can handle the job (that’s especially important if you have little to no experience).
- It gives you a perfect chance to underpromise and overdeliver, which means you can make your customer very happy.
- It removes every obstacle or doubt that your potential customer might have about purchasing from you.
Day 6. Share your gig via social media
I won’t be beating around the bush.
If we’re talking steps to start freelancing with no experience, sharing your services is the key step.
As a new freelancer with no experience or feedback history, you’ll find it extremely difficult to get your first order from someone who doesn’t know you.
The easiest way to get your first order is to share your information with people who are already familiar with you and your gifts.
You can create your gig on a certain platform but still share it with your friends and colleagues. Chances are you can help someone you know and get your first review in a safe environment.
Day 7. Get your first order!
Congratulations! You nailed it!
If you didn’t nail it, don’t feel bad. Starting a new career can mean overcoming obstacles and challenges on your way. In our next articles, we’ll dig deeper into what else you can do to speed up a pile of orders coming your way.
Getting started in freelance, especially with no previous experience, requires commitment and patience. At first, it may seem difficult to start from scratch but as time grows on you’ll find yourself in the zone.
I believe your dazzling freelancing career is just around the corner. Let me know in the comments if this article was of any help!
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