Starting Out

How Do Freelancers Get Jobs for Beginners?

Whether you have been trying to get your freelance career off the ground for a while or you are brand new, finding a freelance job can be tedious.

While freelancers face a lot of obstacles to getting started, knowing how to to find freelance jobs as a beginner shouldn’t have to be one of them.

How Do Freelancers Get Jobs for Beginners?

When I started freelancing in 2014 the landscape was different.

While freelancers face a lot of obstacles to getting started, knowing how to to find freelance jobs as a beginner shouldn’t have to be one of them.

For a short time, Upwork wasn’t a thing and content mills ruled. But now, more and more people know about freelance market places and tings like content mills and they want someting better.

They want to make a living as a freelancer and work from home.

So, how do you land your first freelance job that can pay the bills?

In this post I am going to outline the exact steps you will need to get a freelance job as a beginner.

Qualifications for Landing Freelance Jobs

There are two main qualifications necessary to become a freelancer: education and experience.

The great thing about freelancing is that you can continue to expand on each of these qualifications as you advance your career.

While education is important, that doesn’t mean that you need to have a Masters in English to become a writer.

Education can be as simple as taking a few online courses.

You need to have enough education to actually know what you are doing so that you can provide your clients with the best possible outcome.

You might find that more often than not that your freelance jobs are going to care more about your experience and your proven results over how much education you have.

Although, this can greatly depend on the type of freelancing you are doing. For example, a full stack developer will need more education than a writer.

But some writing jobs do require 3-5 years as a legit writer. What do  you do?

For me, I would bend the truth a bit and as long as I show that I’m a legit writer online, I can fake it until I make it.

Setting Up Your Freelance Business Online

In order to freelance and get jobs as a beginner, you need to be online. This requires having a website and at least one or two social media channels.

Your site doesn’t have to be anything special, just something where people can get to know you and see your work.

You should choose social media channels that your potential freelance jobs will be the most active on. This will allow you to make connections with potential clients easier.

Deciding On Different Freelance Jobs

When it comes to freelancing, you want to be a specialist rather than a generalist. While it might sound like a good idea to be a generalist in terms of getting a lot of clients, it doesn’t always work out that way.

When I personally outsource things to other freelancers, I look for someone to do a specific job.

For example, let’s say that I need someone to recreate a landing page using a specific software.

I am going to go to Fiverr and search for terms like “landing page,” and “[specific software].” I should then be presented with freelancers that can do exactly what I need them to do.

Now I am not going to go to Fiverr and search for things like “web design.”

While technically this is a web design type job, I am looking for something very specific and willing to pay someone more if they can show they have the ability to do exactly what I need.

Let’s take writing as another example. While you might be a freelance writer, you need to niche down.

This is going to make it easier for you to find clients and for clients to find you.

If you go to any job board and type in “writer,” you are going to be presented with A LOT of different writing opportunities. It is going to be much easier if you search for terms like, “pet writer,” or “tech writer.”

Niching down will also help you to build your freelance portfolio.

While I use niching down as an example very often for writing, it can be done with literally any type of freelance work.

Are you a voice over artists? How about a voice over artist for white board explainer videos?

Or perhaps you are a web designer. What about a web designer for authors?

Lastly, what about a graphic designer? How about a graphic designer for ebook covers?

Do you see how niching down can make a huge difference in the clients that you can reach?

Creating Your Freelance Portfolio

As a freelancer, your portfolio is incredibly important! This will help freelancers get jobs for beginners!

It is what shows clients that you are capable of doing the work. Your portfolio will be dependent on the type of freelance work that you do. It should highlight all of the best examples of your work.

Your freelance portfolio is something that you should continually add to as you get more work under your belt.

There are a few things to consider when building your freelance portfolio.

What if You Don’t Have Any Work to Show?

Well this is always the catch-22 isn’t it?

If you don’t have client work that you have already done, then create some. If you are a writer, then write some articles and publish them on Medium.

If you are a graphic or web designer, create a few designs to showcase your work and put them in your portfolio.

You don’t have to have freelance jobs in order to showcase your work and get clients.

How Do You Create a Freelance Portfolio for YOUR Niche?

Oftentimes when we think of freelance jobs, it’s all about the creative verticals.

Things like writing, design, and so on. But what about those freelancers who aren’t doing creative things?

Niches like bookkeeping, virtual assistants, and software developers?

Screenshots of your work are just as good to show clients as beautiful pins or links to articles.

If you are a bookkeeper, share a spreadsheet that you would use for a client. If you are able to provide case studies of how you have helped clients, that can be a huge selling point.

How Do I Get Freelance Jobs in the First Place?

I know the whole process of getting freelance jobs can be time consuming and overwhelming. However, there are a few different ways that you can get those first handfuls of freelance jobs to help you get the ball rolling.

First of all, you can do a few projects for free.

I know, the point of becoming a freelancer is so that you can make the money you deserve. You can start out by offering your services to people you know for free or for a highly discounted rate until you have built up your portfolio to show other potential clients.

Reach out to your church, local schools, and other local organizations to see if there is any way that they could benefit from your services.

Also, look at job boards.

There are many jobs available for even the newest freelancers. Getting an internship is also a possibility.

How To Use Job Sites And Outreach

Job sites can be a lifesaver for new freelancers.

There are two ways that you can get the most out of any freelance job site.

You can post your resume/portfolio and also search for jobs. Some job sites are better than others and will be more or less beneficial depending on what type of freelancing you do.

For creative type freelancers, Krop is a great place to start.

Not only can you search for jobs on there, you can create a profile and a stunning portfolio. Easily choose from over 30 portfolio templates to start building your portfolio.

Let’s discuss for a minute how to use job boards so you get the most out of them.

You Need to Highlight Your Value When Hunting for Freelance Jobs

Your client is really only going to care about what you can do for them. You need to outline exactly how you are going to be able to help your client in your pitch.

Are you going to increase their website traffic, create ads that generate them more revenue, or write an article that is going to generate X number of social shares?

Show them how the money they spend on you is going to give them a great ROI.

Just Like in Math Class, You Have to Show Your Work

This is why I can’t stress the importance of a portfolio enough.

While traditionally, when searching for a job, you need to provide a resume and cover letter, this isn’t required so much with freelancing gigs. More than anything they are going to want samples of your work or some other type of validation that you know what you’re doing.

Which leads me to my next point…

Ask for Testimonials and Referrals

While this isn’t job board specific, testimonials can drastically improve your chances of landing future freelance gigs.

Your current clients are past clients and are a great asset. If they are happy with your work, ask them for a testimonial or referral for more business.

Don’t be afraid to name drop or include a testimonial in your pitch either.

Customize Your Approach

Let’s face it, applying for freelance gigs can be VERY time consuming.

This is especially true when you have to tailor each application to the potential client. While it is so much easier to send out a generic, run of the mill pitch to every single job listing, that isn’t going to get you very far.

Spend some time crafting your pitch and your email before you hit send.

Have a Solid Online Presence

I already mentioned that you should have an online presence when building your freelance career. This is something I heavily teach in Writeto1k.

Whether you like it or not, potential clients are going to look you up online.

You should make sure that your entire online presence is polished and there is nothing on there that will be off putting to potential clients. If you don’t want clients to see your personal profiles, make sure you set your privacy settings accordingly.

Don’t Forget to Follow Up

Follow up is key when it comes to landing any freelance gig.

You can’t just send out a wave of initial emails and expect clients to be knocking down your door.

Keep your emails organized with email add-ons like Streak. You can easily set up a backend funnel for your emails for your freelance gig pipeline.

One last thing, I want to leave you with a quote: “what you measure you move.”

Whether in your personal life or your business life, you need to set your goals and measure in order to see your progress.

Don’t just go into this freelance job search with the goal of getting clients.

Set forth how many pitches you will send out per day, projects to add to your portfolio, ect.

There You Go!

Being a freelancer is a great way to get paid for your passion in your life! I hope this helped you get some freelance jobs for beginners!

Elna Cain is a B2B freelance writer  for SaaS businesses and digital marketing brands and the co-founder of Freelancer FAQs. She's been featured on Entrepreneur, The Ladders, The Penny Hoarder, Leadpages and more. If you want to learn how to freelance write, check out her free course, Get Paid to Write Online.

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