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How to Start Freelancing (with or without experience)

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Freelancing presents a world of opportunity for moms who crave the time flexibility that comes when you’re not tied down to a single job, location, or time clock. Over the last year, freelancing has become the go-to for so many women struggle to balance home + kids + work + womanhood. And it IS a struggle sometimes. If you are debating whether freelancing is a good fit for you, read on. We’re going to talk about how to start freelancing, whether or not you have previous experience.

So, Is Freelancing Right for You?

The thought of being location-independent, choosing your own work hours, and not being micro-managed may sound appealing. However, it’s not always as straightforward as we’d like it to be. It takes a certain type of person to be a successful freelancer.

As a freelancer, it is true that you are in control of your income, your working hours, the overall growth of your business and direction of your career. It also means, however, that you carry the sole responsibility of finding clients, making sure you get paid, building your own benefits package (if you don’t otherwise have them), and marketing your business.

So, discipline, right? Being industrious. Being resourceful and tenacious.

Even with just the occasional deadline to meet, the temptation to procrastinate is pretty real. Freelancers have to be self-motivated, and go-getters to some degree, even if that’s not exactly the way you’d describe yourself.

Compared to freelancing, a regular job generally provides you with ready-made structure. Plus, you usually get some level of financial security (unless you’re in an at-will state like Georgia… then things can get weird). You pretty much know how much you should expect to see in your bank.

Freelancing, on the other hand, offers no such securities and absolutely no guarantees, especially when you’re first starting out. You may find yourself earning a lot one month and next to nothing in the next month. So, freelancers have to be pretty good with money.

If any of the stuff mentioned above makes you feel anxious, freelancing may end up being a source of frustration or unease for you. That’s the truth.

What Kinds of Jobs Can Freelancers Do?

I actually have a post on the top 100+ in-demand skills employers are looking for from freelancers. The Internet gives us access to a global market of firms looking to hire freelancers for all kinds of work.

A few years ago, I remember having a period where I had back-to-back ebook clients in the UK. I learned a lot of British lingo… which I used to irritate my kids. (I’m terrible at accents – I also annoyed my kids for weeks with my awful South African accent after seeing Idris Elba play Nelson Mandela).

Global access!! That’s GREAT, Sorilbran!

Yeah, well, global opportunities means global competition. So, you may need to be open to expanding your skill set. An easy way to do this is by taking the kinds of training courses that are designed to help people like freelancing moms.

Another thing successful freelancers get pretty good at is dealing with business development issues. Things like deciding if you want to increase your value or lower your rates. The average rate for the kind of work you do can be cut in half when you expand into global markets.

For instance, a typical blogger in the US, Canada, UK or Australia may charge anywhere from 10 cents to 30 cents per word. But in other markets, an average rate per word will be between 2 cents and 5 cents per word. So, do you pitch your services to clients who are willing to pay more?

Or are you going to make your service more valuable by specializing and upskilling? Or you could do the unthinkable – lower your rates.

What Kind of Experience Do You Need to Start Freelancing?

The good news for you if you’re thinking about becoming a freelancer is that there are both skilled and unskilled jobs available for freelancers. So, if you’re new to freelancing, you can find work. Work-from-home jobs that can be done without experience include things like data entry, audio transcription, and even some entry-level freelance writing. These are great for building your work history, growing your client roster, and honing your skills.

But they may not really pay the bills if you happen to be responsible for that sort of thing.

Of course…

If you have a skill or can learn a skill that’s in demand, your freelance career would grow considerably faster and you’ll make more money doing less work.

Some of the most popular types of jobs for Internet freelancers include writing, translation, proofreading, Web design, bookkeeping, search engine optimization, support services, market research and software testing just to name a few. If you have a skill in one of these areas or are prepared to learn enough to do a kick-butt job, you’re looking at consistent work and good pay.

What Do You Need to Start Freelancing?

Most people who are considering freelancing as an income stream already have a computer and an Internet connection. This is pretty much all you’re going to need to get started.

You may consider starting a website to promote your services. You can do it pretty inexpensively, too – like $10 or $20 to start and as little as $5 a month for hosting to keep your site visible online.

But equally as important as starting a website is becoming active on social media and platforms like Medium or YouTube. Now, you’re not doing this to position yourself as some guru. But more to help potential clients feel good about hiring you because you’re easily found online and have a comfortable level of transparency.

If you’re targeting clients locally and you’re not necessarily relying strictly on a gig platform like Upwork, Fiverr, or PeoplePerHour, you’ll want to have an invoicing app available that makes it easy for clients to pay you.

Oh, my goodness. It’s SO important that it’s easy for clients to pay you. You can use a tool like Quickbooks or WaveApps or Harvest. I’ve used all three of those and love them.

How Do You Find Freelance Work When You’re New to Freelancing?

There have been very few jobs I’ve bid on that I didn’t actually win. The only one that really comes to mind is when Darren Hardy’s team was looking for a writer or ghostwriter. I didn’t get that one. But man, I sure wanted it.

I said all that to say finding freelance work is competitive. But it’s very easy to create a competitive advantage for yourself.

Finding freelance work has always been a breeze for me, and I credit that to three things:

  1. God’s grace
  2. Being willing to put in the hours required to sift through tons of opportunities and submit bids only to the ones that are a good fit for my skill set.
  3. Having a great proposal that’s clear, concise, responsive, and sells the heck out of your value.

I will tell you honestly that in the beginning, just looking for work was a full-time thing for me. Like, literally 6 to 10 hours a day I would spend combing gig platforms, online job boards, and different websites for opportunities.

I know a lot of established freelancers hate the idea of working on gig platforms because freelancers often end up charging less for their services. Despite that, gig platforms are the fastest path to building up your resume, and many of the skills you need to earn the big bucks, you can learn on the job with PAYING clients.

So, how do you create a competitive advantage as a new freelancer?

Your competitive advantage will be creating a responsive proposal that’s customized to answer the needs of the job posting to which you’re applying. It seems like a small thing, but most freelancers on gig platforms buy up a bunch of credits and use them shotgunning template bids to employers. Most don’t even bother to tweak their templates at all.

This year alone, I’ve hired contractors from Fiverr, PeoplePerHour and Upwork to provide a bunch of different services. And I’ve reviewed hundreds of proposals, emails and cover letters. It’s time-consuming sifting through the 80% of applicants who hadn’t even bothered to finish reading my job posting. Most freelancers sent responses that didn’t try to help me understand how they would help me or why I would hire them.

That’s why I know that your competitive advantage is creating responsive proposals. These are emails, cover letters, and bids that introduce your skill set. But they also show employers and clients HOW your skill set can answer their specific needs.

Final Words About How to Start Freelancing

I’ve highlighted just a few things to consider when you’re getting started as a freelancer. I’ve freelanced for years, and it’s something I enjoy enough to build an entire blog around it. On top of all the other stuff I do. I hope this post helped you. If you’re still interested in learning more, I invite you to click