Experience is a tricky word. What actually is experience? Working a job for 20 years, but being terrible at what you do… is technically experience, but is it valuable? Maybe I haven’t got my first client, yet… but I’ve built hundreds of websites on my own.
Is that experience?
I’d say so.
So, it’s tricky… but, bottom line, how can you get a freelance job with no experience? You create experience. Don’t wait around for it to be handed to you. Create it.
How Do You Create Experience?
Let’s say you want to freelance as a developer. There are tons of open-source projects desperate for developers to contribute. My favorite example is Shopify. Shopify has an open-source theme framework that all their themes are built on.
And, there are 3,822 “shopify” jobs on Upwork right now:
So, contribute to their theme framework and put that in your bio. Do you think a potential Shopify client would consider that experience? Hell yeah. And, it’s not random either. It’s direct experience in the thing they want done.
Or, if you’re a graphic designer.
Take a look at the website for Nissan:
It’s okay. But, my guess is you could probably come up with something better. So, do. Build out your “re-interpretation” of Nissan’s site and put that in your portfolio. A portfolio is to show potential clients what you’re capable of.
Nothing says it has to be client projects.
Final example… let’s say your writer.
Search for blogs in the industry you want to write in (tech, fashion, business, etc). Find ones with multiple authors. Read through the articles on the site and get a feel for what kind of articles they publish.
Write one of your own.
Then, send it to the publication and tell them they can have it for free, but that you’re interested in writing for them. If your article is good and they need more writers, there’s a good change you’ll, at least, get an interview or trial-run.
And even if not, put the article in your portfolio.
Point is, you don’t have to wait around on someone else to “give” you experience. You can go out and get it starting right now. You just need a little creativity and a little persistence. And remember, experience is really just a shortcut for performance.
Clients ultimately don’t care how long you’ve been doing something.
They care if you can deliver for them.
Find ways to demonstrate that… and you’ll be just fine.
By the way, this is one of the many things I cover in my Beginner’s Guide to Freelance course on Skillshare. If you’re new to freelancing and want to learn all the little tricks and techniques I’ve picked up in my 15 years, give it a look.