How to get your first freelance job

Freelance outsourcing

How to get your first freelance job can be a catch 22; meaning, if someone is considering hiring you, they will most likely ask to see proof of your work, i.e. a portfolio piece. But how can you show a portfolio piece when you are yet to land a gig?

One option, and how I got my first freelance gig and portfolio piece, was to offer to do a free job. Luckily, I had a mate who owned and ran an online eCommerce business. I reached out to him and told him about my new career path and asked if I could write something for his company for free. He was too happy to help and put me in touch with his head of marketing who got me to write a content marketing article around women’s health.

I wrote the article and received constructive feedback and secured my first portfolio piece that I could now display on my website. The article was used to book my second gig, and so the process continued. The following gigs came from using your gig economy hustle to promote yourself and book jobs which I cover in another blog post.

Book your first freelance gigs on outsourcing sites (and practice your craft)

Another option, and one which I also used to build my portfolio, was utilising some outsourcing websites. However, what I found equally as valuable as gaining portfolio pieces was the experience and practice to hone my craft.

Using outsourcing websites such as Fiverr is a great way to practice and hone your craft, dealing with clients and working to deadlines.

Freelance outsourcing

Treat the outsourcing sites like paid education.

There are several freelancer outsourcing websites out there, including:

  • Fiverr
  • Freelancer
  • Upwork
  • Elance
  • 99 Designs

I’ve used a few, and prefer Fiverr above all else. In fact, Fiverr is the only one I still use today. I like Fiverr’s model of how you can create various price points and packages. For example, a basic, standard and premium. 

How to get your first freelance writing job

But, for the purposes of this article, I am going to talk about another platform I used early on in my freelance career – Copify. Now, Copify pays peanuts, but that was okay because I used the platform to cut my teeth. In other words, Copify was my real-world training ground. And because I still worked the gig economy driving Rideshare on the side, I could afford them paying so little. The fact I got paid at all was like a bonus as I viewed it as paid education.

Furthermore, Copify provided me with several portfolio pieces that I could now use to book better-paying jobs outside of the platform.

Now, back to Fiverr and the other outsourcing websites. You can apply my Copify as education perspective to any of the platforms. All you need to do is just set your rates low to edge out the more established competition, and you will most likely book some gigs. Because your rates are such a bargain, it doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner gaining experience because people get what they pay for.

Then, as you learn, grow and improve your freelancer craft, you can then gradually raise your rates with your worth. You can even stay on the platforms if they are working for you and you’re getting paid well. 

That’s all folks, thanks for reading and keep believing!

Published by Tim Roberts

Tim is a freelance writer, blogger, digital marketer, creator and author.

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