What If I Don't Have Experience Yet?
We see this question A LOT in our Facebook Group. Companies want to hire people with experience, but how can you get that experience if nobody will hire you because you have no experience?!? 😩
Here are some answers from veteran freelancers. 👇
Use freelance platforms, there are over 40 of them. It isn't easy at first. I remember a friend of mine told me: "You need to gain feedback first and be ready to work almost for free." It was disappointing to hear, but that’s what I did.
To be frank, becoming a freelancer means you need to change not only your schedule, but your mindset and communication style too, and build your skills to the point where people are coming to you. If you have a marketing budget you can run online advertising campaigns. Get advice from other freelancers when you get stuck.
Lucy, Business Strategist
It’s not always about the experience. It’s more about organization and work ethic. I think if you want something enough, you can get it despite the experience. I love the quote by Richard Branson, “If you don't know how to do something, say yes and learn how to do it later.” It’s gotten me in some tricky situations but it’s taught me so much and opened up doors I would have never imagined possible.
Morgan, Freelance Accountant
Find where your clients are. Put yourself in that space. Whether it is a Facebook group, a physical group, or a place where those clients hire freelancers, join the club! Then contribute. Make your presence known. Whatever work you want to do, make sure it fits you. Build up a portfolio. Above all, make relationships. And learn... keep learning about the field. Be bold when you describe what you do. Do what you can to banish impostor syndrome.
Liz, Virtual Assistant
You just need to start!
I had no experience as a social media manager when I first started, but working hard, asking questions and listening to what your clients want is key. Start small, and eventually you will build a portfolio.
Harmony, Social Media Manager
Get experience. This is why I have my VA Internship program. We wanted to give everyone skills AND experience AND referrals.
Offer to do a small set of work for free for your ideal clients and watch what happens! Referrals upon referrals!
Esther, Virtual Agency Owner
I had zero experience when I started; it was totally different to anything I’d done before. I had no idea where to start, I just knew I wanted to be successful at something I’d built myself. Research is so, so important. Find out the techniques and tools you’ll need to get started and then much of it is learning as you go; what works and what doesn’t. You’ll also learn what NOT to do.
Scott, Self-Employed TV Personality
Keep learning! Always look at what others are doing so that you can keep up and really get ahead of the curve. Always improve your craft even if you have to create mock clients to get the practice and portfolio going.
Nicole, Designer and Copywriter
There are freelance jobs where you don't need specific skills or experience. For example: data entry, transcription, translating, etc...
You could start there while doing other free or low-paid freelance projects in your interests until you build a nice portfolio.
Actually, I'm against working for free, but I have done a bunch of videos for free for my friends and I've enjoyed doing them. I took it as a hobby but now when applying for new projects, I show those videos as examples of my work and they've opened many doors for me.
Alexandra, Creative Director
Speak to people. You're guaranteed to know someone who is in the same industry you're seeking work in. Pass them your portfolio and ask them to pass it on to someone. Just say you're starting out and looking for experience. What have you got to lose?
Josh, Brand Designer
Start slowly, deliver small things until you can move on to the next stage. Never compromise on quality. Always try to get advice from people who are more experienced than you. Find people who do the same so you can collaborate. Be willing to learn. Try networking.
Meltem, Turkish Translator
Brainstorm Time! 🧠💥
Here are three ways you can turn this "no experience" bus around:
💡 Just because you don't have the necessary experience doesn't mean you can't still send in your application. Who knows? You may be the most qualified person they've seen so far.
💡 Work experience isn't the only type that counts. Do you have any hobbies, personal projects, or unpaid work that you've done for yourself or a friend?
💡 There's always SOMETHING you're qualified for. It might not be the job you want to end up in, but you could start with something and work your way up, you know, like a regular job.
That's it for this FAQ!
We hope you've found the answer to your question. Or close enough...
Have a new question for us? Leave it in the comments (no email required).
Have a beautiful day! 👋
P.S. Have you joined the Freelancer Group yet? It’s the place to be.
Wondering if you have what it takes to be a freelancer?