When you’re an aspiring freelancer or new to the world of freelancing, then your lack of experience might feel overwhelming. In fact, it might put you off starting your freelance journey at all. So, is it possible to freelance without any experience? And how do you gain experience to become a successful freelancer? Let’s take an honest look…
Lack of general freelance experience
If you don’t have any freelancing experience yet, then have no fear. You’re just in the same boat as everyone else who’s new to the world of freelancing. Everyone has to start somewhere, and it’s important to remember that every freelancer had no freelance experience at one point. However, it does beg a classic “chicken and egg” question: how can you gain experience as a freelancer without having any experience of freelancing?
To gain your first bits of freelance experience, the easiest place to start is your existing network—whether it’s helping a friend, offering a freebie, or practicing on your family. These people already know you, so they’re more likely to trust your skills than strangers would. Once you’ve gained those first few testimonials or bits of feedback, the ball will be rolling. It takes time, effort, and patience to gain freelance experience, but you’ll get there.
Lack of specific skilled experience
If you’re already a freelancer but don’t have specific experience of the subject area you want to enter, then it’s less cut-and-dry. It’s difficult to succeed at any job if you don’t have any experience or skills in that particular area.
Let’s say you’re a freelance VA but you want to become a freelance writer. In the employed world, you might find an entry-level, junior, or intern role where you can develop your writing skills. But in the freelance world, you’re competing against already skilled, experienced, and established freelance writers, and this is very difficult if you have no experience of writing.
That being the case, it’s generally easier to gain the experience you need before trying to freelance in that area. For example, practice your writing skills in your spare time, such as writing a blog, answering questions on Quora, and so on.
Lack of both
If you have neither general freelance experience nor specific skilled experience, then freelancing can be very tough indeed. Ideally, you need either one or the other to succeed, because you need to be able to work with clients, and clients need to trust that you know what you’re doing.
If you have neither, then start by freelancing in an area you’re already skilled and experienced in, while also developing the specific skills you need to work in that area through a side channel. Taking our earlier example, if you’re an office-based PA, then switch to being a freelance VA and write a blog in your spare time until you have enough experience to become a freelance writer.
Becoming a successful freelancer isn’t an overnight thing, so just keep working at it.
Stay tuned for more freelance tips every week on A Freelance Life…