How to Get Your First Freelance Job

As freelancing becomes more popular, many working professionals are beginning to look at branching out on their own and giving it a try. However, if you don’t have any freelancing experience it might seem a little daunting. The most common question people ask is “How do you get your first freelance job?”

Luckily, getting started as a freelancer is easier than you think. Assuming you have skills that are in demand there are a number of strategies you can use to land your first client. And once you get your first job it usually leads to another, and another after that.

Here are five tips to help you get your first freelance job.

Identify Your Skills

Before you begin your freelance journey you need to figure out what skills you have to offer potential clients. 

For some, this will be fairly easy. If you work in web development, graphic design, or any other field that’s in demand then you likely already know how you can help organizations with their projects.

Others might have to think a little harder about what they have to offer. But if you’ve been working in a professional capacity for any number of years you’ve likely picked up a few skills that would be useful to a wide variety of organizations.

For example, if you work in marketing you probably know a thing or two about social media. If you work in an administration role you’d likely make a great virtual assistant. And if you do a lot of writing as part of your job then you’d probably excel as a blog writer.

get your first freelance job
Make a list of all the skills you have that might be valuable to organizations. Photo by Startup Stock Photos from Pexels.

Freelance jobs are currently being offered in thousands of different categories and specializations. So, think long and hard about your strengths and write down all the skills you have that would be useful to potential clients.

Join a Freelance Platform

Cold calling and sending out emails can take a lot of time, and you have no way of knowing if the people you’re contacting are even looking for freelancers. While it’s possible to get freelance jobs this way it’s not very efficient.

If you want to get your first freelance job your best bet is to go where the jobs are. Freelance platforms, like Work for Impact, give you access to a wide range of freelance job postings. You can quickly and easily find jobs that you’re qualified for and submit proposals to potential clients. With this strategy, you know that every proposal you’re sending out is being received by individuals and organizations that are looking for freelancers with your skills.

Plus, these platforms often provide freelancers with a number of additional benefits. For example, Work for Impact offers a custom workspace to help freelancers collaborate with clients, payment protection services, and an online community where freelancers can ask questions and make valuable connections.

Because of these advantages, joining a freelance platform is an excellent way to build your freelance business.

Optimize Your Freelance Profile, Website, and Social Media

When someone receives a proposal from you they’re probably going to look you up online. This means they’re going to be looking at your website and social media accounts, or checking out your freelancer profile if you applied through a freelance platform. 

Work for Impact offers freelancers the opportunity to customize their profiles with photos, background info, portfolio items, and more, so you’ll want to make sure your profile is optimized before sending out any proposals.

Here are some tips to follow when updating your online profiles to help you make a good impression on potential clients:

  • Use Professional Photos: Use high-quality photos for your profiles. Depending on your industry or specialization you may want to dress in professional attire. Make sure the lighting is good, you have a clean background, and the photo focuses on your face.
  • Give an Overview of Your Skills and Experience: When talking about yourself, sum up your work history, the various skills you’ve acquired, and any projects you’re particularly proud of. Make sure to explain how your expertise can help organizations achieve their goals and mention anything that sets you apart from similar freelancers.
  • Include a Portfolio: Your online profiles are a great place to show off your past work, so make sure to always include a portfolio. This is especially important for new freelancers, as it gives you a chance to show potential clients that you have the skills and experience they’re looking for. Choose examples that highlight your unique skills and include some background information about each project.
  • List Your Certifications: Make sure to include any certifications you’ve received from schools and accredited organizations. This is another important point for new freelancers as it helps show clients that you’re highly qualified even if you don’t have any freelancing experience.
get your first freelance job
A professional photo can help you make a good first impression with potential clients. Photo by Maureen E from Pexels.

Search for Jobs and Send Proposals

Once you’re happy with your online profiles you’re ready to start applying for freelance jobs. As we mentioned earlier, freelance platforms offer the easiest way to find and apply for jobs that are related to your skills.

Work for Impact offers a sophisticated job search tool that provides you with a number of search filters to help you find the perfect job. You can search for jobs that match your skills, location, experience level, and more. These types of features make finding jobs that meet your criteria quick and easy.

For new freelancers, it’s usually a good strategy to target smaller jobs to start. Organizations that have a small budget are usually more willing to work with new freelancers that don’t have a large track record. These smaller jobs will allow you to gain experience and garner some positive reviews. After doing a few of these you should be able to move on to larger projects.

Once you’ve found a job that interests you, submit a proposal. If you’d like to learn how to write a strong proposal, check out our article “How to Write a Winning Proposal.”

Offer to Do a Small Test Project

After you send out some proposals you’ll likely start hearing back from clients. If you’re lucky, some may just hire you based on your proposal alone. However, most will want to learn more about you and your experience. In these cases, it can be a good strategy to offer to do a test project.

Test projects are usually smaller tasks that are designed to showcase your skills and prove that you can do the job. This can be a great way for new freelancers to win over potential clients. In many cases, clients will be willing to pay freelancers a small fee to complete these tasks.

Offering to do a test project not only gives you an opportunity to show your expertise, but it also helps build trust with the client which can go a long way to helping you win the job.

Find Meaningful Freelance Jobs with Work for Impact

Work for Impact is a new freelance platform that offers jobs solely from socially and environmentally responsible organizations, and nonprofits. We give freelancers access to a wide range of impactful clients from around the world, making it the perfect place to build your freelance business.

Click here to sign up for Work for Impact and start discovering meaningful freelance opportunities.