When I quit my job in advertising at the age of twenty-two, I didn’t have even the slightest clue how to start freelancing with no experience.
So, I went to work for a construction company to pay the bills while I figured shit out.
At this construction company, my job was to tear out dilapidated carpet in old apartment buildings, so carpenters could then come in behind me and lay new fresh carpet or wood flooring.
Looking back, I think I could have very easily made Dirty Jobs’ honorable mention…
But, this article isn’t about my days of carpet tearing. It’s about how you can start freelancing with no experience.
(And, if I can save you an application to your local construction company in the process… well that’s just the cream that floats to the top).
Anyway, let’s dive in. Shall we?
There’s no such thing as ‘no experience’.
In my course, Freelancing your way to $100,000, I explain just how straight-forward freelancing is.
It’s literally just exchanging a specific skill for money.
Where folks get hung up is figuring out the “skill” side of things (AKA the experience).
While all of us could use more experience, none of us have ‘no experience’. Us simply being alive and breathing for a few decades on this Earth, makes it impossible to have ‘no experience’.
We just have to find the unique experience we have that others are willing to pay for…
Like, dog walking?
Ryan For Dogs is a dog-walker based somewhere in New York City that makes six-figures a year walking dogs.
(No, that wasn’t a typo).
One day, Ryan was playing with his girlfriend’s dog and was surprised at how quickly he could teach the little guy new tricks.
Realizing he had a knack for working with man’s best friend, he started asking folks around his neighborhood if they needed a dog walker.
Thus, Ryan For Dogs was born.
While walking dogs might not be your cup of tea, I can guarantee you that you have a specific skill others would be willing to pay you for.
(In college, mine was snow shoveling).
If nothing is ringing a bell, ask your friends and family if there is anything they’ve noticed you’re good at.
From there, dig deeper.
I remember when I was finishing up college, one of my best friends planted the seed of writing in my head. I was mentioning how I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life and he responded…
“You know, Cole, if all else fails… you could probably do something with writing… I really enjoy your blog posts.”
At this time, I was running a weekly blog about relationships and whatnot. It was pretty bad but my friend gave me the confidence to keep going.
I won’t kill you with examples here. But, if you’re damn good at guitar, freelance as a guitar instructor. If you were one hell of a baseball player in high school, freelance as a hitting instructor. If you have a green thumb, start a freelance landscaping business. If you’re a wizard at assembling IKEA furniture, start assembling IKEA furniture for people.
(That last one is actually a business someone runs).
But, what if you don’t have any experience you can sell?
Dust off those books.
In some rare instances, some people’s experience just isn’t something the world is willing to pay for.
If this is the case for you, you can always fall back on one of the following skills that seem to always be in high demand…
Now, the trouble with these skills is that there is a very good chance you have little to no experience in them. So, you can’t just twiddle your thumbs and hope that God or the Universe will magically thrust the gift of design or marketing or writing down upon you.
You will have to teach yourself. That might look like watching an assload of YouTube videos or reading dozens of books or enrolling in an online course or joining a boot camp.
Whatever it is, there are resources that can help you go from “I don’t know what the fuck I am doing” to “proficient” in a couple months.
Then, you need to start racking up clients.
I give you a fool-proof way to start landing clients in my course, Freelancing your way to $100,000.
But, to shed a bit of light on the topic of customer acquisition, I recommend starting local… especially if you are an amateur.
Let’s say you’ve taught yourself how to design Squarespace websites. Begin by reaching out to all the restaurants, coffee shops and bars in your town and ask them if they’d like a new website.
These small projects will help you build up your portfolio, make a little bit of moolah and hone your skills before working with the “big dogs”.
That, in my opinion, is how you start freelancing with no experience.
By Cole Schafer.
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