Finding freelance jobs and becoming a full-time freelancer is more appealing to young graduates than ever. Be it as a way of reaching financial independence, to gain professional experience or earning a living, the realities of freelancing are not that clear in most West-African countries. This series of articles is aimed at anyone who wishes to start freelancing under our skies. You will find useful advice ranging from freelancing platforms to payment methods, from ways to find freelance clients to ways to get freelance jobs with no experience.
The first article in this series will focus on “how to get freelance jobs with no experience“. A question that you may have already asked yourself, the answers to which change from one person to another.
Let’s bring something into focus: “finding freelance jobs with no experience” doesn’t mean that one can become a freelancer with no skills. Most freelance jobs listed below require a minimum of know-how and skills. It would serve no purpose to envision a freelance career without having those minimum requirements.
If you lack skills to leverage, start by educating and training yourself. If you’re not confident in your know-how, start by assessing your freelance skills. Only after you’ve met the criteria can you start a viable freelance career.
Customer Service Representative
The role of a customer service representative is to provide customers with answers. This type of freelance job doesn’t typically require advanced skills. And for good reason: most clients will take the time to train you on the tools and procedures for your work.
If finding freelance jobs as a customer service representative may seem easy, it’s not always the case. After all, you still need to be tactful and use a diplomatic approach during communications with (angry) customers. Being able to communicate efficiently can be a requirement.
If you’re expected to handle calls, your accent and clear speech will come into play. On the other hand, if you’re tasked with handling written communication (chat or email), your profile as a freelancer will only be appealing to clients if you can write without mistakes of any kind.
Aside from customer service representatives, there are other freelance jobs you can get with no experience that have a similar skill set. Specifically, content moderation jobs and cold-calling freelance positions.
Freelance Virtual Assistant
As a freelance virtual assistant, your job is to make your client’s life easier. Or better organized. There is no standard job description for this kind of freelance job. In some cases, you will be asked to organize calendars with meetings and tasks. In other cases, you will have to handle communications and summarize them.
You may be required to accompany the development of an online shop and to deal with administrative tasks. In short, it’s the proverbial Russian roulette of freelance jobs. And your missions may change over time.
Even though you can start freelancing with no experience with such jobs, you should note that some virtual assistant positions are only suitable for high-qualified individuals. And, contrary to Customer Service Representatives, your clients may not have the time and resources to train you for the position.
Data Entry Operator
To be honest, this is a bit more complex than what most people think data entry to be. If you decide to work as a freelance data entry specialist, you will need to have complete mastery of most common office software. In particular Microsoft Word and PDF editing tools.
Beyond being able to type fast, follow specific layouts and editing various document types, your observations skills are the real crux of data entry jobs. After all, some data entry missions will require you to enter unending series of numerical data in huge databases. Or you may have to type a handwritten document in a foreign language. Without forgetting source documents of mediocre quality that you still need to type perfectly.
Freelance Transcriptionist (Audio & Video)
This is one of “default” freelance jobs that hopeful freelancers migrate to in West-Africa. As a transcriptionist, your job is to write down the conversations from audio or video content. Like any other freelance job, transcription can seem simple, but there are a standards and criteria that need to be met to satisfy your client’s needs.
Be it basic transcriptions or verbatim transcriptions, or maybe even if you’re required to follow a specific format, you will need to adapt accordingly. It’s obvious that having a great ear is needed to find freelance transcription jobs. However, nothing can prepare you for unintelligible audio or video tracks. That said, some transcription tools may help you out.
Let’s be reminded that having skills related to audio processing can be an asset for transcriptionists (sometimes mandatory). Also, most transcriptionists already have the skill set to find freelance subtitling jobs.
Freelance Graphic Designer
Now we’re getting to the creative minds. Starting a freelance career in a creative job is not that easy. People tend to confuse creative work and artistic inspiration. In fact, the graphic designer may not be valued for his artistic inspiration. At the very least, it may not be the main focus of the recruiter.
Mainly, the graphic designers are expected to know their way around image processing tools. They are expected to follow guidelines and deliver their work while following a very specific format. The perfect example would be a designer hired to provide templates and mock-ups for a web developer.
Prior experience may not be needed, but the freelance graphic designers still need to train themselves to meet their future client’s needs. This is also the case for freelancers who search jobs with no experience as sound and video editors…
Freelance Content Writer
In West-Africa (and I’m assuming in most places), people assume that to find freelance jobs with no experience, one has to search for writing jobs. People tend to think that becoming a content writer is the easiest step to start a freelance career. After all, the job only requires you to write well and not make spelling mistakes, right?
In reality, being a freelance content writer also has its set required skills. Sure, you can absolutely start freelancing with no experience. However, you will need a minimum of general knowledge, advanced internet research skills, great adaptation capacities and you have to be willing to learn.
As a freelance content writer, you will need to deliver content in various formats. You will need to learn the various differences in tones and have a basic understanding of SEO optimization rules. All of the above can be learned on the job (that was also my case), but general knowledge can’t be improvised.
If you don’t know anything about the audiences for which you’re writing, you will not be able to hook your readers or convince them. For anyone looking to start a career as a writer, “copywriter” is a more advanced job.
Freelance Web Developer
The web developer is another popular type of full-time freelancer. However, when it comes to web development, the lack of experience is a lot more of an obstacle than for other freelance careers. In fact, developers won’t be able to convince if they can’t showcase the websites they built for clients. In other words, experience in a professional setting may not be mandatory, but experience relating to previous projects must be provided.
To put it simply, if you are planning on starting a freelance career as a web developer, you must build a portfolio. Whether it’s websites built for an association, whether it’s a personal blog or a portfolio website, you need to show the work.
It’s the same for all other freelance developer jobs : apps, software, platforms, CMS, etc. You can find freelance jobs with no experience, but you still need to showcase your skills.
In conclusion, finding freelance jobs with no experience is possible. The jobs listed here are not the complete roster. But we still need to highlight that lack of experience is not a lack of skills or professionalism. You should consider building up your portfolio with personal projects or previous work to have a better chance at being hired for freelance work. This holds true, even for the jobs that don’t absolutely require prior experience.
Do you know other freelance jobs you can start with no experience? Contribute to our list by leaving a comment and sharing your own experience.
The illustrations on this page were provided by blush.