Of course there are many problems with being a freelancer, each individual has problems under their own set of circumstances. But I’m talking about the larger picture. How freelancing is viewed as from outside of being a freelancer. A general problem that affects young freelancers and entrepreneurs looking for work in any type of field.
The problem is experience.
Are you too young to be taken seriously in your field? Experience is dictated by big businesses / studios etc. as a means of entry. It can work both with you and against you in both objective and subjective ways. When it comes to great work, there is an outside perception of old & wise vs. youthful talent.
In a day job sense, there is a stigma associated to someone who is younger compared to someone who is older when it comes to hiring for a position. This also transcends to freelancing. Someone who is younger may not have the same experience levels as someone who is older and in the same field. As its perceived that they have not been in the industry for as long and may not have been exposed to as many situations and circumstances as an older person who has spent more time in that industry.
When your younger, there can be more room to experiment, to get things wrong and pick back up without much consequence to your time and expenses etc. Your not expected to know everything.
When your older, there is less of this freedom, as there is a quality expectation that comes with age. Freedom is exchanged for responsibility.
I’s going to be difficult, and realistically, a uphill struggle. With youth, generally conceived, comes inexperience. Although someone who is young may be displaying an incredible talent for someone of that age, since they are 10 years lesser of someone with 10 extra years of experience, the work may be discredited by outside sources, as just youthful talent and with no industry knowledge of the processes and techniques of creating the work.
No matter what field it’s in, experience can be applied across many industries, and not just in a professional sense, but in life experiences as well. Realistically, if your 18, just out of school, you will not have experienced, nor had the chance to experience, certain circumstances and situations in life that build insight and wisdom in a person. This is all taken into consideration, even if subconsciously, by the person who is willing to hire you.
They want to know if you are worth investing in. You need to prove it.
Regardless of external life experiences, ultimately, they key definition to your portfolio, is your professional experience. What have you done? what haven’t you done? What circumstances have you been involved in? What problems did you face? Most importantly, what problem did you solve?
These are the questions you need to ask yourself when displaying your work. If your worried about a thin portfolio, then start now. If your worried about not having as much experience as someone 10 years older than you, start now. You need to publicly demonstrate your ability to work and solve problems. It’s essential, in order for others to fathom and understand you and your process.
Be consistent, show up. Document your work and create case studies after completing a project that will showcase your ability to identify problems and the what, why, and how you solved them.
Stick to your values. Maintain high quality. Let your work speak for itself.
Your never too young to start.