How to gain relevant experience before going freelance

There are a number of reasons you might want to begin a freelance career. However, there are also several factors to consider before taking the leap. You may already have a strong skill set from your current role that you can utilise. Alternatively, you might be choosing to change industries altogether to follow your passion.

Before you say goodbye to the 9-5 for good, you need to make sure you have some experience behind you, to help you get your freelance career off the ground. But how can you achieve this, especially when you’re just starting out? Below CV Library describe four simple ways that you can gain experience and move forward on your freelance journey. 

Work for free

You might be thinking, I’m not becoming a freelancer so I can work for free! And that’s true. But working for free can be a great way to get some relevant work experience behind you.

What’s more, there are a number of different ways to do this. It all depends on the industry you work in. For example, if you work in marketing or copywriting, you could write some guest posts for other bloggers/websites.

Alternatively, you could take on an internship or work experience placement to help you get some real-world experience. You can then cite any projects you worked on during this time as previous experience. This is also a great way to network and gets to know others in your chosen sector.

Create a portfolio

Again, your portfolio will differ depending on your job role. Let’s take web design for example. You could create an online portfolio (or even a physical one) that includes examples of your work, whether you’ve done these in a previous role, or in your free time.

Another great tool that can act as a portfolio is a blog. This is especially true for the more creative industries, as it will give you a place to showcase your ideas and/or past work.

Speak to other freelancers in your sector

Networking is a great way to gain insights not only into the industry but also into what life is like as a freelancer.

They might also be able to point you in the direction of any exciting job opportunities or help you to secure some work experience before you take the leap! After all, you know what they say – it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

Training and courses

No matter what industry you choose to work in, it’s always helpful to broaden your skill set. This also means that when the time comes to apply to freelance jobs, you have a strong set of qualifications or certificates behind you.

These achievements can help to show the employer why you’d be great for the job and demonstrate that you’ve got experience and skills in this area. 

Final thoughts

Overall, it’s important to get some experience in the bag before you embark on your freelance journey. Whether you choose a training course or an internship, there are a number of ways you can get yourself feeling more prepared to become a full-time freelancer! 

More on getting started as a freelancer