Freelancing for Beginners
Whether you’re looking for a side job to earn some extra money or start something that could lead to a new career, freelancing offers many opportunities and advantages over employment.
Being employed in a traditional job has perks, like a steady paycheck and a benefits package. However, freedom, flexibility, and independence are usually not part of the deal when you work for someone else.
Part-time and full-time freelancers enjoy the flexibility to work when they want from wherever they want. If you don’t have any experience freelancing or aren’t sure if you have freelance skills that are in demand, you might not know where to start.
- Freelancing for Beginners
- Can I Freelance Without Experience?
- Best Freelance Jobs for Beginners
- How Can I Become a Freelancer With No Experience?
- How to Start Freelancing with No Experience
- Which Freelancing Job Is Best for Beginners?
- Go Get Your First Client
Can I Freelance Without Experience?
You can freelance without experience or formal training. You do have to prove you can do the work despite a lack of professional experience. For a writer or graphic designer, that might mean setting up a website to display your skills. Refer potential clients to your site for examples of your work.
So what are the best jobs for a freelancing beginner?
Best Freelance Jobs for Beginners
The best freelance jobs for beginners don’t require formal training or years of experience. There are plenty of freelance opportunities like that. Many are in creative or technical fields.
If you can prove you can do the work and charge competitive rates, you can make money freelancing even if you lack experience. In many fields, the ability to produce quality work in a timely fashion is more important than formal training or credentials.
If you’re interested in offering freelance services in any creative field, you can set up a website to showcase your work. Your samples don’t have to be paid work.
If you want to highlight your graphic designing skills, make logos and graphics for fictitious companies. If you’re interested in a freelance writing job, craft content in the style of the company blogs or websites you want to write for. That way, people can evaluate your skill rather than your professional experience or academic history.
If you’re a complete beginner, you might have to bid low on jobs or accept lower-paying opportunities for a while to gain traction. You can also offer free or discounted work to build your freelance portfolio and earn testimonials for your website. Once you have a portfolio of client work, you can increase your rates.
If you have a way with words and a passion for writing, you can put your writing skills to profitable use as a freelance writer. It’s a side job you can do from anywhere whenever you have time. Freelance writing can also become a six-figure career.
Freelance writing is in constant demand, and a wide range of jobs are available. Potential clients might hire you for blog writing, sales copy, technical writing, email marketing, or ghostwriting.
Most copywriting jobs, blog content writing gigs, and other writing work pay per word rather than an hourly rate. The faster you can produce high-quality blog content or other written work, the more you can potentially earn.
You can find freelance writing jobs on freelance sites and writing job boards. You’ll find a wide variety of writing work on freelance job sites, but steer clear of freelance writing websites or content mills advertising “SEO content writer” jobs. They pay 1-3 cents a word, the content writing work is soul-crushing, and content mills won’t help you build your portfolio since you get no byline.
Here are a couple of freelance writing sites you can use to find legit writing jobs and copywriting assignments with decent pay:
If you love reading, getting paid to read and help writers with their projects as a proofreader might be an ideal fit. Strong attention to detail, along with a thorough knowledge of grammar, could lead to landing freelance proofreader jobs.
You’ll help writers eliminate grammatical errors, fix punctuation mistakes, and ensure no misspelled words. You might work on books, content for websites, resumes, articles, technical manuals, or academic papers.
3. Graphic Designer
Any business will need graphic design at some point. Companies hire freelance designers to create graphics for printed and electronic media such as business cards, brochures, websites, and advertising.
But most businesses can’t afford or don’t have enough work to add a full-time graphic designer to their staff. When they need design work done, they’ll post their projects on freelance job boards instead.
Logos, web graphics, and print or digital marketing materials are always in high demand. If you can take a concept, a product, or a business idea and then create a memorable representation of it, businesses and individuals might be interested in hiring you for design work.
4. Web Designer
Many business owners want more for their websites than cookie-cutter themes and limited design options DIY platforms offer. They’d rather hire someone, so their site looks unique and professional while providing a good user experience. If you can build a website, you can find someone to pay you for building their site.
I have some personal experience doing this type of freelance work. I ran a web design side hustle for a few years while I went back to school. It’s competitive, but it can also be very lucrative.
My ideal client was a small, locally-owned business where the owner was involved in the day-to-day operations. I went door to door, talking with business owners.
My first paid freelance job was a basic website for a nearby pizza place. My other early clients were a picture framing shop, a bakery, and a friend with a personal blog.
When I started making actual money, word of mouth kicked in when I had a few completed sites for reference. I didn’t need to scramble for job opportunities as much once I had a solid portfolio of work to point to. I started making enough from my freelance business to support myself while I was in school.
No client ever asked me about my credentials or training. They looked at my examples and testimonials and then made their decision. So you can compete with experienced freelancers if your skill level is comparable.
5. Video Editor
Companies, YouTubers, and social media influencers use video to connect with their audiences. Boring videos are the last thing content creators want. Good video production values can mean increasing fans and generating more revenue or being ignored.
As a freelance video editor, you’ll fix audio problems and video issues. You’ll add titles or music and craft raw video into an attention-grabbing story. You can bid on freelance video editing jobs if you’re good with video editing software like Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere and have some example clips.
6. Freelance Developer
If you have coding skills, freelance developers and software engineers are highly sought after. The competition is tough, but freelance software developers, front-end developers, back-end developers, and app developers charge top rates and can make very good money.
With more and more content consumed on mobile phones, many companies require a mobile app for their customers. If you’re an app developer or specialize in app design, there are always opportunities to design, update, and deliver mobile apps.
You need a high level of skill as a coder, but you don’t have to be an experienced freelancer. You can reach out to potential client companies with a pitch or bid on gigs even if you’ve never freelanced before.
7. English Teacher
Kids and adults worldwide need a tutor to improve their English language skills. They’re willing to pay you for your help.
Some English teaching opportunities require a college degree, a teaching certification, or both. Others won’t. Some students are just looking for conversation partners or help with a specific language area, like business English.
If you don’t have a teaching certificate or degree, Cambly will pay you $10 to $12 an hour to chat with students online in English. That’s not enough to launch a freelance career, but you can use it to gain experience while you get a certification or fill in gaps between students.
8. Virtual Assistant
Anyone running a business can always use someone who takes tasks off their plate. Many tasks can be completed online or via email. That means you can work from home as a virtual assistant to business owners.
Someone with strong organizational and administrative skills can handle things like inbox or calendar management. A VA might also perform other duties like data entry, research, blog writing, or social media content writing. The wider your skillset, the more virtual assistance you can offer a potential client.
Besides general freelance job sites, there are websites exclusively for VA jobs. Freelance VAs can find work via the following sites:
If you love taking pictures and have solid skills, you can find work as a freelance photographer. You don’t need any formal education or certifications to be a photographer. It’s one of the better beginner freelance jobs if you have the talent, as there’s no barrier to entry.
Creativity and technical knowledge are essential. You’ll also need a website to showcase your talents.
There’s a wide range of freelance gigs available for photographers from weddings and portraits to events and product photos. Letting your existing contacts know you’re looking for photography work could be a good way to get your first paid job.
10. Narrator or Voice Actor
If you can speak clearly and be engaging, there is a wide range of freelance opportunities for narrators, voice actors, and voice-over artists. Audiobooks, corporate explainer videos, video games, and ads need narration.
You don’t need vocal training or experience. It helps, but entry-level freelancers can pick up voice-over work or get paid to read books aloud. You will need high-quality sample audio files to give potential clients an idea of how you sound.
11. Social Media Manager
Most businesses need a social media presence for building their brand and expanding their reach. Customers and potential customers expect it these days.
Many business owners don’t have the time or don’t know how to build their brand on social media. It’s the type of job many small business owners would rather outsource to a freelancer than learn themselves.
Having an active presence on any social media platform requires posting content consistently and interacting with users. As a social media manager, you might set up a social media profile, then create posts across one or more channels. You’ll act as a content strategist, digital marketer, and the voice of the brand on every popular platform.
You’ll need extensive knowledge of the social platforms you want to manage. Prospects will want to see your personal profiles, so you’ll want to be active and engaging on your social media profiles.
A transcriptionist converts speech to text. As a freelance transcriptionist working from home, you’ll transcribe videos or audio recordings like phone calls, dictated notes, interviews, or presentations.
It sounds easier than it is. Things that make transcription challenging include low-quality audio files, multiple speakers, people talking at the same time, unfamiliar accents, and background noise.
Here’s a short list of sites that list freelance transcription jobs:
If you can read and write in multiple languages, you can make money as a freelance translator.
Businesses of all types are looking to expand their footprint around the world or break into new markets. That means websites, marketing collateral, agreements, and all kinds of other written materials need to be translated into new languages.
It’s not just retailers and online business owners that need translation help. If you have specialized knowledge, medical, legal, technical, and academic translators command higher pay rates.
Any type of business has money going out and (hopefully) money coming in. Most business owners prefer hiring someone else to do the books as soon as they can afford it. That way, they can focus on building their business instead of getting bogged down with tasks that don’t drive growth.
If you’re good with numbers and know your way around accounting software like QuickBooks, you can offer your services as a virtual bookkeeper. You can help manage accounts, generate and track invoices, and make sure bills get paid on time.
A college degree, previous experience, and certification are not required. That said, you should have some type of training if you want to land freelance bookkeeping clients. Here are two top-rated bookkeeping courses:
How Can I Become a Freelancer With No Experience?
If you want to become a freelancer with no experience, here are some freelancing tips for beginners.
How to Start Freelancing with No Experience
- Evaluate Your Skills – Take inventory of your work history, education, and life experiences. What skills, knowledge, and unique experiences do you have that others would be willing to pay you for?
- Research Opportunities – Once you have an idea of the freelance services you might offer, run a quick search on a freelance job platform like Upwork. Get an idea of the demand and pay rates.
- Build a Website – A potential client will want to see examples of your work. Create a website to showcase your skills. You can use a site builder like Wix for an easy solution. Your online presence is also a way for prospective clients to find you. Add your URL to your social profiles and email signature.
- Reach Out to Your Network – You might already have access to people who would be interested in your services. Someone you know could be a potential client or refer you to one. Facebook and LinkedIn are obvious places to start letting people know you’re accepting clients but don’t forget events, gatherings, and any groups or activities you participate in. Keep your eyes open and you’ll find opportunities to make new contacts that could lead to a freelance job opportunity.
- Offer Free or Discounted Work – Whether you’re interested in a freelance career or look at freelancing as a side job, when you’re first starting out you might want to accept lower-paying assignments to build your portfolio. You can also do free or discounted work in exchange for a testimonial or referral.
- Network with Other Freelancers – Meeting other freelancers whether online or in person is a great way to get freelancing tips and advice. You might even get referrals. You can connect with other freelancers via LinkedIn and Facebook, both of which have plenty of groups for freelancers.
- Build Strong Client Relationships – Once you get your first client, it’s important to maintain a good relationship. Build your reputation by meeting deadlines, following instructions, making changes as requested, and communicating effectively throughout the process. Creating an outstanding experience for clients leads to repeat business, testimonials, and referrals.
Which Freelancing Job Is Best for Beginners?
The best freelance job for you as a beginner is the job that requires skills you already have, holds your interest, and pays enough to be worth your time. There is no one freelance job that is best for beginners or anyone else, unfortunately.
We all have different interests and personalities. If you want to start freelancing without experience, do a self evaluation rather than deciding which opportunities to pursue based on a job title, description, or hourly rate.
Evaluate your skills and interests. What types of freelance jobs could you bid on? What services could you offer?
Think about your situation. Do you want to work from home? How much time do you have to dedicate to freelancing? Do you have everything you need to get started?
With a little self reflection, you can find the best opportunity for you and start freelancing with no experience.
Go Get Your First Client
You can definitely freelance as a beginner. Many businesses and individuals who hire freelancers are more interested in your ability than your experience or credentials. If you can provide samples of the kind of work you can do and offer a competitive rate, you can get freelance work as a beginner.
Whether you want to make extra money on the side or become a full-time freelancer, you should:
- Create your website to showcase your skills and freelance portfolio
- Network with potential clients and other freelancers
- Create personal profiles and your freelance profile with examples of your work on freelance websites
- Search freelance job websites daily for new opportunities
- Keep sending freelance proposals on a regular basis
Freelancing gives you access to an amazing opportunity to make a comfortable living on your own terms. The key to launching your freelancing career and becoming a successful freelancer is grit. You’ve got to put yourself out there and constantly pursue opportunities.
If you’re wondering where you can find your first freelance opportunity, there are plenty of freelancing sites for beginners to find jobs. Freelance job seekers of all levels of experience can find freelancing gigs posted on Upwork, Freelancer.com, PeoplePerHour, and others.
Featured Image Credit: Pexels
Jerry is a personal finance enthusiast, side hustler, and freelance web developer who began his career in financial services. He co-founded KindaFrugal.com, a personal finance and frugal living blog. His insights have appeared on MSN, Newsweek.com, HerCampus.com, Mashed.com, and many others.