I got it into my head quite a while ago that I might like to try freelancing, but figuring out how to get started has been a challenge. Of course, there is the usual advice, “If you want to be a writer, write”, but just sitting and writing hasn’t been very financially lucrative. Apparently, having a client to pay you is important to creating an income. That’s where I struggled; figuring out a way to build a portfolio that was professional, accessible, and substantial.
Then, I got the idea to begin volunteering. Granted, the motivation for this was altruistic and career-oriented, but most organizations will allow volunteers to dictate (to some extent) their roles based on their interests. Let’s face it, they know you’re there for free and they want you to enjoy it, so why not have you doing something you enjoy.
Once I told the volunteer coordinator about my interest in writing and proofreading, I started getting more projects based on that interest. I’m still volunteering, but in the process I’m building a body of work to reference to potential clients, and building relationships with professionals who can refer me to others.
Volunteering is a great way to improve skills, learn new skills, explore career paths, and of course give back to the community. So volunteer with an organization you believe in. You never know where an opportunity can lead.