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How To Land Freelance Gigs Without Any Prior Experience
The answer is social proof.
A common complaint from freelancers and consultants is clients don’t trust you with projects unless you have prior experience in the field.
This presents a classic chicken-and-egg problem. It’s hard to gain experience if nobody’s giving you work.
Fortunately, you can break out of this cycle using yourself, a friend, or a pro-bono client as case studies.
Here are three examples: 👇🏽
Example #1: Public Relations
You’re a PR specialist with no prior experience. You want clients to engage you to bring them publicity.
The solution: become your first case study. Get yourself into the papers, land a column in a magazine, and nab a radio interview on a decent station. Alternatively, gain publicity for one of your entertainer friends.
Then, put together a case study on how you did it, detailing:
What the goal was (objective)
How you went about it (approach)
What worked and what didn’t (execution)
What the results were (numbers)
How the client felt about it (testimonial)
Publish this case study on your website as a simple blog post. The next time a client asks for your previous experience, send them a link to the case study.
Example #2: Social media
You’re a social media manager with no prior clients. You want business owners to hire you to manage their socials.
Your friend might be starting a catering business and needs help with marketing. Work on her brand as a case study:
Set up her social media channels
Craft and schedule some content
Run a few ads to generate views, engagement, and sales
Then, put together a case study as above.
Example #3: Personal training
You’re a personal trainer with no prior experience. You want people to hire you to help them get fit.
I’ll assume you have the body for it — it’s much easier when you’re fit yourself. But how do you get others to pay you for the same results?
Look around you — there’s probably someone in your life (a friend, partner, or parent) who needs to get fit. Use them as case studies:
Work on meal plans with them
Take ‘before’ and ‘after’ pics
Work out with them at the gym
Take photos and videos of everything. They are the only proof that you’ve worked with clients before, so prioritize documentation above all else.
Finally, write or shoot a video about their progress — what they were trying to achieve, what you suggested, how long it took, and what the results were. Even better — get video testimonials from your fitness clients.
Post these case studies on your socials or website and use them to land new clients.
Rinse and repeat
You can replicate this strategy for any type of business — singing, pastries, financial planning, content marketing, photography, technical services, styling, and filmmaking.
Do a free or low-paid gig, document it extensively, and use it to land paid gigs. Case studies are your weapon against joblessness.
“But I don’t want to work for free, I know my worth!” — Cool, stay jobless.
The secret is social proof
Case studies work because of social proof — the idea that if other people are doing or buying something, it must be good.
Nobody’s hiring you right now because they don’t see other people hiring you.
By breaking that perception with your first case study, you gain more business, which feeds your social proof, which leads to more business, ad infinitum.
It’s the same reason nobody wants you when you’re single, but everybody wants you when you’re taken. Dating and business are two sides of the same coin.
If nobody is blowing up your phone, do this: dress cute, go on a date, and take a few selfies with someone else’s hands and plates in the photo.
Thank me later.