how to start freelancing

How to Start Freelancing with No Experience

Are you a stay at home mom who desperately wants a way to contribute to your family’s finances, but you aren’t sure what to do?

If going back to work is NOT an option, you’re not alone. It wasn’t for me either. I’ve been in your shoes, and I can help.

When my oldest child was born, I knew I had to stay home with him. But the economic struggle that came with my choice was very real, especially for the first couple of years.  

I searched for a way that I might supplement our income, without leaving my young children for hours every day.

All the work at home opportunities that were directed at stay at home moms seemed to involve some type of selling. I knew that wasn’t for me.

While I didn’t have a lot of formal experience as a writer, I did have a passion and a love for the written word. After a little (okay, a lot) of research, I realized I could turn that love of writing into an actual freelance business. I set up my website, got my first clients and the rest is history.

I’ve now been successfully writing for over seven years, and I did it all without any previous experience.

You can do this too. If you want to have a freelance business while caring for your children, you absolutely can. I’m here to help. Start with these guidelines to get your business off the ground. Have any questions? Please let me know in the comments!

1. Choose Your Talent

Freelance writing is a great stay at home job, but it’s far from the only choice when it comes to freelance work. If writing isn’t your strong suit, consider other things you may be good at. Perhaps photography comes naturally to you, or you have strong organizational skills and could work as a virtual assistant. Visit my post on the top freelancing jobs for moms to get other ideas.

The biggest thing when you’ll need isn’t necessarily talent, but it is self-confidence and a willingness to work hard. If you don’t know how to do something, be willing to learn it. Confidence in your abilities often makes up for any skills you may lack.

2. Choose Your Niche

Want to be a writer? Great. Excited about graphic design? Perfect. The only problem is that skills like these can serve a wide range of individuals and industries. This seems like a good thing, but it actually makes it harder when it comes to marketing your services. 

You can’t be everything for everyone. Consider focusing on a specific industry, like graphic design for digital businesses or copywriting for marketers. Doing so will help you pinpoint your marketing and target the right potential clients.

3. Create a High-Quality Website

If you want to offer your freelance services in today’s world, a quality portfolio website is a must. Your website offers clients the first impression of you and your work, so it’s important that it’s well-done. 

If you want to land high-paying jobs from big clients, you need to look like a professional.

When you’re creating your website, it’s important to include the following information:

  • The type of work you offer or your specialty
  • Examples or samples of previous work
  • Your contact information
  • Any relevant skills or education
  • Testimonials
  • A little about you (customers want to feel like they are connecting to a real person)

You can choose to purchase your own domain name and build a site from the ground up, or you can opt for an easy sitebuilder service like Weebly or Squarespace. 

However you choose to make it, I can’t stress enough the importance of putting your best foot forward with a site that’s polished and presentable.

4. Put Together a Portfolio

A portfolio is a compilation of your past work or samples to show what you can do. 

I know what you’re thinking here. How do you put together a portfolio if you have no experience? Not to worry. If you have no work to show, put together some samples to represent what you’re capable of doing.

The type of portfolio you compile will depend on the type of freelance work you’re doing. For example, if you want to be a freelance writer, put together some sample articles for clients to see your writing style.

 If you want to be a freelance photographer, put some of your best photos on your website for the world to see. Really put time and effort into building a thorough portfolio of some of your best work.

Don’t underestimate the importance of this step. Few people will be willing to hire you without some idea of the type and scope of work you can create.

5. Start with the Small Gigs

While there are plenty of high-paying freelance jobs out there, understand that you’ll probably have to build up to those jobs. In the beginning, your goal should be to get as many jobs as you can – even if those jobs are low paying. 

These jobs are crucial to helping you build experience, and if you do a fantastic job, they’ll also be a great place where you can go back and ask for a referral or recommendation which you can later place on your website.

While money is always important, working these small gigs helps you get your name out there and get experience. This is always valuable for you as a freelancer who’s just starting out.

6. Pitch Your Services

If you want to succeed in the freelance world, be prepared to offer a pitch selling what you do. Clients want to know what you can offer them. Communicate your skills and your strengths in a way that shows how you can be a benefit to their business.

As you start to build up an active online presence, look for forums or other websites that may be relevant to you as a freelancer. If you want to be a freelance marketing writer, find forums that attract internet marketers. From there, reach out to potential clients offering your services. 

Pitching your services is important no matter what type of freelance work you do. It’s not always comfortable, but it is necessary. Remember, the worst you can hear is “no.” Don’t let it get you down. 

Let people know what you can offer them and why they need to hire you, and you’ll soon find yourself with paying clients (and a healthy dose of networking experience). 

7. Network, Network, Network

Don’t let your networking end with a cold pitch. Once you’re ready to start working, it’s time to get your name out there any way that you can. 

Update your LinkedIn profile, and start searching freelance job boards for work. Make connections with those who may be doing work similar to yours – there’s always enough work to go around, so most freelancers won’t be afraid of you “stealing” their work. 

In fact, some freelance writers outsource their own work to other writers when they have too much to do.

Don’t limit your networking to the online world – I quickly found clients that I knew in real life just by mentioning my work to friends and acquaintances.

Don’t worry if you don’t have any experience – freelancing from home can be done even if you’re a total newbie. Remember that even the most successful freelancers had to start at zero, just like you. If you work hard and implement some of these tips, you’ll be well on your way to a profitable freelance business.

Read more: How to Start A Freelance Business from Home

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Hi, I’m Bridget Sielicki. 

I’m a freelance writer and a mom of four. For the past 10 years, I’ve been working from home as a freelance writer, creating content for major brands like Hertz Car Rental, Bankrate.com, and Credit Sesame.

Working from home has been a dream come true for me. Now I want to share my expertise with you, so you can make money while you’re home with your own kids. Learn more here.

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