In a culture where multi-level marketing companies are ripping off individuals by promising a “be your own boss” mentality, it’s clear the desire for work-life balance has never been greater.
But opportunities do exist where you don’t have to purchase another “starter kit” to make additional income.
Whether you’re looking to supplement your income or develop your own business, here are some strategies to start gaining additional freelance opportunities, even with no prior experience.
Focus on what you know
Freelancing may seem overwhelming, but everyone has something to offer. Think about some of the skills you may have developed over the years. Are you good at generating attention and traffic on social media by getting people to like or comment on your content? Consider social media content development and management.
Do you enjoy blogging? Look into copywriting. Are you good at organizing projects into scaleable action steps? Try project management. Do you simply find yourself telling your friends about different products or clothing you really enjoy? You can make money with affiliate marketing.
Thanks to the internet, there are opportunities to make an income doing just about anything. Find a niche, and start considering ways you can monetize your hobbies or talents.
Start a blog
Considering that search engine ranking currently only requires blogs to be about 300 words, creating content has never been simpler. Begin building a blog based on your niche to essentially create your own portfolio. Don’t have a niche just yet?
Choose a few topics that you’d like to learn more about, and use your blog as an opportunity to explore them. Though you don’t want to stay broad forever, choosing a variety of different topics will help you rank in the short term, enable you to discover topics you’re passionate about, and allow you to continue developing a portfolio in the process.
Look into certification programs
Certification programs have exploded over the last several years as more companies take on the inbound marketing methodology. And in many ways, they provide more accurate and hands-on tactics that you’ll never find in a Bachelor’s program. Find a certification program around your area of expertise, and develop your skillset to be more desirable to your prospective clients.
Create samples even if you have no experience
Though not having experience seems to discourage many people from exploring different projects, start generating your own experience. For instance, maybe you’d like to get a marketing position that’s centered around using Salesforce Pardot, but you’ve never touched it.
Instead of being discouraged, start watching their tutorials, learning the platform, and try filming a tutorial using it. Or if you’re an aspiring graphic designer, try creating mockups for companies you’d like to work for. Even if the opportunity doesn’t work out, you’ll have a portfolio to pull from, and proven initiative.
Work for free
Though this concept may sound counterintuitive, if you’re looking to change career paths or continue freelancing long term, think of your experience of working for free almost as an internship. With many internships, you train for free as a part of a program and then can be offered a full-time salary at the end of the line.
Working for free with this mindset can give you practical experience in less time than going back to school ever would. Additionally, it will allow you to explore opportunities and learn what you do and don’t enjoy, without any obligation to continue your work.
In many ways, this is more desirable than working at a lower rate, as that rate may force you to work more for less, and continue to fulfill your obligation you may not be sure of. But if you produce results working for free, you can then either use this for referrals or renegotiate for a new rate.
Take advantage of websites like Upwork
Websites like Upwork, Freelancer, or Fiverr allow you to bid for positions and gain clients.
Once you’ve started honing your skills, look for jobs, and bid on opportunities to put them to work. Such websites will connect you to various companies and solopreneurs all looking to hire talent.
LinkedIn is the one platform where it can become socially acceptable to elegantly slip into the DM’s of business owners. Update your profile, and start connecting with your future clients. Share a bit of what you do on messenger, post content on your profile consistent with your freelancing goals, and continue to follow up with leads.
But it’s not just about the professional platforms that could get you a job. Learning how to market yourself on social media can be just as important. In fact, there are so many different Twitter marketing techniques that can very easily get you noticed based on your social media profile that you cannot underestimate what your social media profile can do for you. Your social media profile is your mouthpiece to the world and when you are freelancing, everything you do and say should be geared towards getting the next contract.
Also, consider looking for jobs in your niche and applying. You never know when your freelance work could land you a higher paying position than your current one, or if a company would consider hiring you as a 1099 employee instead of hiring for the position depending on their needs.
All in all, it can seem overwhelming to jump into any new opportunity – especially without the background behind it. But online opportunities are seemingly endless, and with unlimited resources at your disposal, take the jump to start freelancing and see where it leads.