If you want to know how to start freelancing with no experience, you’ve come to the right place! I’ve built a freelance writing career, from scratch, in just a few short years via networking and cold outreach.
Even though I didn’t have experience, I was able to get clients when I began my first outreach efforts. I’m not unique in this regard but I am persistent and tactical. If you can do a few simple things in this vein, you too can start freelancing even with just a little experience.
1) Establishing authority with a blog or website
If you are a freelance anything: writer, photographer, PR representative or DJ, it’s a good idea to have a blog to showcase your expertise and bump up your content marketing efforts. If you want people to trust your experience and skill set, there’s no better way to continually demonstrate that with a blog.
For example, when I wanted to start freelance writing in the personal finance niche, I started a post and posted relavent personal finance articles. My first client was me, so I could technically say that I had experience. This can work for pretty much any type of freelancer.
Regardless of your niche (whether it is something popular like fitness or crafting OR something obscure like flipping memorabilia from the latter half of the 1990’s), a blog is a great way to show people that you know your industry inside and out. If you’re not yet sure which career path you want to pursue or you need help with the one you’ve chosen, you can get motivated and be able to make life-changing decisions by opting for tools such as career coach packages.
You want to prove to clients that you are constantly mulling over up-to-date developments in your field. You’ll look like an expert, talking about relevant news and giving your opinion on industry trends.
Once you become a trusted expert in your niche, the opportunities will increase — more clients, requests for collaboration and even media coverage. Plus, you can generate extra income from your blog or website with affiliate marketing links. Recommend products you use and enjoy to people that trust you and BAM — an additional stream of income!
Pro Tip: Brainstorm a list of at least 50 articles you can write that are relevant to your niche. Start a blog and plan to write a new blog post each week. Even if you skip a week here and there you will still be light years ahead of most of your competition.
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2) Networking as a freelancer
If you are new to freelancing, you’ll need to network. Hang out in places where your colleagues and potential clients congregate. This may mean you go to conferences, local meet-ups, Facebook groups or trade shows pertaining to your industry.
Dust off your LinkedIn profile and start to connect with people that might be a valuable addition to your network. While networking, don’t forget to add value in any way you can — referrals, giving tips and just being helpful in general can go a long way.
Pro Tip: Survey your network on ways you can provide value. If you have a community you’re plugged into, ask them what they would like to see from you or how you can help them on their professional journey. Once you get feedback, start pitching people on the things they already said they wanted from you!
3) Buyer-ready marketplaces for new freelancers
Don’t underestimate the value of buyer-ready marketplaces like UpWork, Fiverr.com or Thumbtack. These platforms are specially designed to connect clients (who are ready to buy) with freelancers who have specific sets of skills. Create profiles with links to your work and client testimonials to get more inquiries and invitations to big.
Then, set alerts so you are informed about opportunities that match your skill set. If you are new to freelancing with no experience, then starting on these platforms can help you find clients quickly. Use your experience here to get more clients that may pay better, too.
4) Cold pitching to get clients
Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone or send cold emails or both! I come from a sales and marketing background and cold-calling was the way that I learned to get clients for my employer and later on, myself.
Today, there are plenty of places, in addition to phone calls and emails where you can make “cold connections:”
- Facebook messenger (DM the company’s business page)
I find that many people are responsive on social media platforms. With the exception of LinkedIn, you will want to connect with the company or brand page and not on person’s personal profile (unless you have a really good reason to!)
I’ve gotten clients from using the Facebook DM method, so I can attest that cold outreach on social media can really work wonders for building your client list.
5) Start and maintain an email list
Assuming you’ve built up a decent web presence by starting a blog or website, tell (don’t ask) your audience to sign up for your mailing list . This way, you can update them on any opportunities or cool packages you create just for them. They may not be ready to work with you right away but if you have access to them via email, you can keep reaching out to them with valuable info until they are ready to work with you.
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