For the most part, I’d say no.
Most clients don’t care how old you are; all they care about is that you can do quality work and turn it in on time. That’s why you shouldn’t be scared to pitch your services to potential clients if you are young and new to the freelance world. After all, you have to start somewhere.
Experience Is More Important than Age
That being said, experience does help you get more work and at higher pay rates because you can show potential clients examples of your work and previous success. However, experience does not equal age and most clients understand this. Some people don’t become freelancers until much later in life. At age 25, you could have more experience in the writing field than someone who is 50+.
When you’re young, you should concentration on getting experience so that you can quickly earn more money and find better clients. Building an online portfolio of work is one of the best ways to show your experience to potential clients. Once you have some experience, being young won’t even be on your mind anymore.
When Age Does Matter
The only time age matters in the freelance world is when you meet a client face to face. People automatically get nervous when they see someone who looks too young to be a professional. It’s against the law to discriminate against people for race, religion, gender, or age, but that doesn’t stop people from doing it since there are relatively few ways to prove it actually happened. For example, I experienced some age discrimination when I was 25 and on my first business trip.
I worked for an information design firm on a project basis and was assigned to work on a business proposal that had a tight deadline. The client wanted me to fly out to Pennsylvania to work with the team face to face to make the project move quicker. I had worked for the client several times before the trip without any problems. However, when I got to Pennsylvania and met the client, I instantly lost trust and credibility because of my age. After that, the client started to get nervous about my abilities. Luckily, she turned out happy in the end when I did an awesome job and the project resulted in a three million dollar contract for her company.
This just goes to show that as long as you are confident and can deliver quality work, your age doesn’t matter in the freelance world. You just might have to prove that to your clients if you ever meet them face to face.
Clients Don’t Usually Know How Old You Are
Another thing to consider is that most of your clients will never see you face to face. This means you will be judged on your skills and abilities instead of preconceived ideas about your age. There’s really no reason to bring up your age with a potential client.
Ok, so you might be thinking, “What about online profiles?” Potential clients can see those.
Basically, you don’t want to make your age an issue. For instance, if you’re fresh out of college, I wouldn’t post a picture of yourself on your website that makes you look younger than you are. Make sure you always look professional. If you carefully choose all of your photos on social networks, you can avoid the “too young” scenario.
Have you been discriminated against because of your age in the freelance world? Share your experience in the comments below.