Landing your First Freelance Job

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Freelancing isn’t nearly as cool as it sounds. Getting a freelance job is especially tough when you’re just getting started. Along the way, you’ll battle self-doubt. You’ll eat rejection like daily bread. Also, you’ll be exposed to scammers and people looking to take advantage of your desire to make money online.

Still, freelancing is a beautiful thing. With more companies embracing the gig economy, freelance jobs will continue to increase and so will your opportunity for an extra income source. Despite the rocky terrain, you can have a smooth ride if you know what to do and where to start. So let’s talk about how to land your first freelance job.

Is freelancing for you?


Only you can answer this. Freelancing provides you with an opportunity to get paid for your passion. It provides you with an alternate source of income. Also, it gives you a unique opportunity to be your boss and be responsible for your time. Or maybe it’s just that you like the idea of being able to work out of your home at all times.

If any of this sounds like what you’re looking for, then freelancing is for you.

How to Land Your First Freelance job


Landing your first job will always be the hardest step of all. Even if you’re using a platform like Upwork or Fiverr, you’ll likely sweat to get your first gig. I’ve outlined below the basic steps you must take to land your first freelance job.

  1. Think of your skill as a service
  2. Positioning
  3. Build a portfolio
  4. Learn how to sell
  5. Think long-term

1. Think of Your Skill as a Service

Writing is a skill. Helping people tell their stories is a service. Digital marketing is a skill. Helping individuals and small business owners promote their brand, products, and services online is a service. Graphics designing is a skill. Creating artistic designs and beautiful illustrations for individuals, businesses and organizations is a service.

You must reorient yourself to think of your skill as a service. Think of what your compendium of skills can do in the real world and then you’ll begin to see where your clients are. Reaching them is easier once you know where to look.

2. Positioning

Positioning is a holistic strategy about managing your image in the public space. It is about being seen for who you are and what you can do. Across social media platforms and freelance job platforms, you must present yourself as what you want to be recognized as.

It can be as simple as taking the pain to write a proper bio. You’ll find business opportunities where there are people and problems, but they’ll find you when you’re rightly positioned for them to see you.

(Check out my LinkedIn profile to see how I positioned myself to get freelance writing jobs through the platform)

3. Build a Portfolio

A portfolio is like job experience. You need a portfolio to get a freelance job yet you need a job to get a portfolio. What do you do? Build your portfolio by doing free jobs for friends and family. Not only does this help you build a portfolio, but it also helps you try out your skills in the real world under minimal pressure. Also, the feedback can help you improve your skills. Likewise, internships are a good way to build a portfolio.

4. Think like a Chess player 

In a chess game, sometimes you can sacrifice pawns to win a queen. Initially, it’ll look like a loss but it isn’t. When you’re just starting as a freelancer, you may get ridiculous offers. Think long term.

If the job gives you exposure to a wide audience, access to bigwigs, an opportunity to build a portfolio, offers on-job training and what have you, consider taking it even though the pay is small.

5. Learn how to sell

Every freelancer is a salesman. You’ll need to sell yourself, your services, and your products to friends, prospects, and clients. So learn it!

Learn how to write proper cover letters and make pitches. Learn how to make presentations and kill video interviews. Place a premium on your skill and do all you can to be able to defend it.

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19 thoughts on “Landing your First Freelance Job”

  1. A brilliant one sir.
    But i have a question. Apart from the above skills you mentioned what other skill can one sell. Or how do one sell skills like photography.

  2. Hello sir, your article was eye opening and we’ll penned

    I have a question, how do one get the audience to advertise and market his skill or rather his service

    I do poetry, I’ve been writing poems for about 5-6 years and now I feel I’m ready to market

    How can I get am audience that needs my service

    1. Opportunities flow in networks. You need to find a community of like-minded people (in this case, poets) and then begin interacting with them. You’ll find what you’re looking for there.

      Otherwise, you could market your services in freelance marketplaces like Upwork, Fiver, etc. What you’re looking for will find you in this case.

      I recommend doing both for the fastest result.

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