Oh boy, this is going to be a hard pill to swallow.
Hey, everyone! Welcome back to my blog – where I talk about all things freelance (and occasionally about my ~feelings~ because you know how it is when those hormones go a-ragin’!)
Today we’re going to tackle something really BIG in the freelance world: previous job experience.
Everyone wants an independent contractor who has worked x amount of hours for x amount of years, has intermediate-to-expert knowledge on SEO, digital marketing, Adwords, and aerospace engineering. jk
But what do you do when you’re just starting out?
Sucks, right? You need to have experience in order for you to get a job, BUT you need to actually get a job so that you can gain experience.
Seriously. WHAT. IS. UP. WITH. THAT.
I guess I was lucky enough to have joined a group of managed virtual assistants five years back. BUT I’ve always been the type to do a side hustle – because I get bored easily and because I always needed to make money (nope, no rich dad to buy me stuff).
The actual workaround to this dilemma is something you and I – and the rest of the world – could get accustomed to. It isn’t a pretty idea, but it is one that works.
YOU HAVE GOT TO WORK FOR FREE.
Yep. FREE. Get paid zilch.
Why? Because you need it. You need the experience that will eventually land you a job that pays.
So what should you do?
1) Reach out to people, friends who are starting businesses or doing something in their careers and pitch. Offer your services. It’s good for them because they get your services for FREE; it’s beneficial to you because you get to hone your skills and get the experience you need.
2) Think of a hobby that you truly enjoy (and are doing all the time anyway) and create revenue off it. Do this same hobby for other people. I was 10 when I discovered I had a knack for writing (nonsense, yes). I wrote about pre-teen love and Sweet Valley-ish themes. My classmates seemed to enjoy it, so I charged for my next “book” to be released. It cost them a big spring notebook and 2 ballpoint pens. I’m not saying you should also write tween love stories. I’m saying that you should take a hobby, see if people respond to it, and offer your services.
Like taking photos? Volunteer to be a junior photographer at a friend’s event.
Like painting/drawing? Offer to draw a portrait of a friend.
Like social media? Manage someone’s business page for free!
Think of everything you have to offer and create a strategy on how you can help others and get the experience you need.
3) Look for internships in your area. It’s a great way to learn – plus you get to have that feel of doing and being there at the actual job. This still helps you become a better independent contractor because you get to acquire new skills through internships!
3) Be nice to people you work with. Even when you’re offering your services for free, remember that you are the one who’s working for them. You will need their feedback, their recommendation, their endorsement. Good relationships with people you work with is your high card.
Once you’ve established your relationship and you’ve proven yourself to be an asset to someone’s business, you can then slowly transition into getting more paid work. Scout the interwebs because there so many people waiting and out there, looking for your special skill set. You’ll be amazed at how valuable you actually are.
So the next time you tell yourself you’re stuck and can’t go anywhere because the “system is rigged,” please think again. Nobody likes a whiny little brat. Think, get off your butt, and get stuff done.
If you have any ideas or any topics/questions that you want to have answered, please feel free to shoot me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org or add me up on socials!