Becoming a freelancer is a great way to work for yourself and make money online. You can work for multiple employers at the same time, hone a variety of marketable skills, and work as much or as little as you want. Even if you’ve never freelanced, knowing how to market yourself and where to look may be a good chance to land a project!
Table of Contents
What is freelance?
According to Wikipedia, Freelance “is a term commonly used for a person who is self-employed and not necessarily committed to a particular employer long-term. Freelance workers are sometimes represented by a company or a temporary agency that resells freelance labor to clients; others work independently or use professional associations or websites to get work”. The internet has greatly expanded the opportunities for making money as a freelancer.
Approximately 48% of the total US workforce work from home, while freelancers make up approximately 35% of all skilled workers worldwide. Not only is it more popular than ever to become a freelancer, but companies are also becoming more and more convenient to hire freelancers instead of full-time employees.
Many jobs can be done remotely, and companies don’t have to offer freelancers the same financial or health benefits as full-time employees.
What is preventing you, as an established professional in your field, from jumping on the bandwagon and working according to your own ideas?
Can I earn money as a freelancer?
According to a 2020 survey by Upwork, the popular platform for freelancers, 75% of freelancers earn as much or more than they do full-time. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic and global recession, freelancers contributed $ 1.2 trillion to the US economy. That is 22% more than in 2019.
At the same time, more and more people are discovering the great work-life balance of a self-employed, independent contractor. 36% of Americans make a living freelancing, and that number is growing steadily. Therefore, it is more important than ever to make sure that you are doing the things that you need to do to get your fair share of all of the lucrative freelance work out there.
Whether you’ve only been freelancing for a few years or you’re one of the seasoned freelancers ready to take your small business to a more rewarding level, there are some practical steps you can take to find work and yours Make the most of work to get the most out of your time and effort. Some may require you to invest additional time and planning now, but that investment will pay off in increased future revenue for your business.
There are about 1.1 billion freelancers around the world.
How can you earn money as a freelancer?
There is a long list of benefits that you get when you freelance online. From working on the couch in a jogging suit to set your own price and working hours, freelancing is the ultimate way to let your creativity run free.
However, one critical aspect of making money freelance opportunities is that you have to run them as your own business rather than your typical day job.
As a freelancer, you’re your boss, but that also comes with a whole range of responsibilities.
When thinking about how to make money as a freelancer, here are some things you need to do in addition to your job. These include,
• Marketing yourself online
• Recruiting potential customers
In addition, getting started as a freelancer is not easy. No matter how talented you are at what you do, hundreds of people are just like you looking for work.
So if you don’t come up with the right strategy, you will likely be forgotten along with 49% of all freelancers
returning to their main job.
Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Read my guide to making money as a freelancer for all of the details you will need. In this comprehensive guide, you will find
• A step-by-step guide to becoming a freelancer
• Profitable and popular freelance disciplines to choose from
• Reliable freelance platforms that you can easily connect with prospects
Even if freelancing isn’t a walk in the park, you can make it available to yourself if you know the right way. First, let’s start with the steps on how to make money as a freelancer.
Step 1 – Decide on your niche
Decide what type of freelance job you are committed to. Freelance jobs are as diverse as the workforce, and you need to figure out what to do before you can get started. Think of your skills as a valuable resource worth billed and paid for.
• It is important to know, however, that as a freelancer you do not have to worry about a change of focus. Many freelancers start out doing something and discover on the freelance path that they are actually good and love something completely different. Know that you can always change no matter what.
• Think about what you are good at. Almost any type of skill can be turned into a freelance opportunity. Remember that your “secondary” skills, such as research and writing, can be just as useful as specific skills that are unique to a profession (e.g., graphic designer or computer programming). Knowing that you are a strong writer can help you build a freelance writing business.
• It is very easy to believe that you do not have the skills or experience required, but in fact, you need a very little experience to go freelance. Instead, believe in your abilities and focus on doing a good job.
Step 2 – Specify your services
Once you’ve figured out your specific area, you’ll also need to narrow down the services you offer. I know what you’re thinking. What if you run out of work, limit the number of job leads you will reach out to?
That’s not the case. If you continue to work consistently on a primary service, you will slowly gain popularity and credibility. Plus, you’ll get even better at it when you interact with different customers from all over the world.
For example, if you’re a graphic designer, you can’t expect to get into every design discipline that is out there. You need to choose whether you want to create UX, UI, visuals, illustrations, logos, advertisements, or full brand identity.
Instead of generalizing your approach by becoming a digital marketing expert, you can specify your services to Ads management, content marketing, or social media marketing.
The main idea is to keep your ultimate goal in mind. If you want to become the most popular UX designer on the internet, don’t entertain yourself with other projects to start with.
Yes, sometimes you may have to grab all of the job vacancies you get in order to make an income. Don’t make it a habit as it will prevent you from making real progress as a freelancer.
Step 3 – Create a Brand
In order to get your freelance work on its way and become profitable, you need to think about how you are marketing yourself and your products/work. This is known as a trademark. You need to brand what you offer and how it sets you apart from the competition – this is your identity and includes your website, logo, tagline, blog, and social media accounts, among other things.
Your brand should clearly communicate what you do, what’s special, and what you’re offering that is worth buying. Try to limit your focus to a specific industry. For example, if you choose to freelance writing, you might just choose to write for online travel sites and companies and thus be a freelance travel writer. Or, you might decide to write for business and corporate websites. Specializing in this field (in this case the very broad field of writing) makes you more attractive to potential clients as it shows that you have specific, rather than just general, skills, also known as a niche.
Step 4 – Create a portfolio that showcases your work
Many prospects are less interested in your specific qualifications than they are in a proven ability. They want to see examples of your work and decide whether you are suitable for their particular project. Building a strong portfolio of your work (examples as well as past projects) is, therefore, the key to building your business and you shouldn’t start your freelance business until you have that portfolio. Also, add testimonials from people and organizations you’ve worked with. Reading rave reviews can help build your profile with potential customers.
• Generating submissions for your portfolio takes time and resources. If you don’t have paid tasks or previous work in a portfolio, create some by offering your services pro bono or using your free time to create some.
• Remember that more is not always better. While volume can be good and help with self-promotion, it’s also important to try to incorporate some bigger, higher profile jobs rather than just building a portfolio full of the smallest and least lucrative projects. If you want to make big bucks with high-paying customers, you need to show those customers that you can produce the kind of work they’re looking for. Again, remember to offer Pro Bono when you first start out.
• Do not begin your freelance career until you have developed the products or provided the services that you want to sell. The portfolio shows your clients that you actually did what you tell them you can do it.
Step 5 – Develop business skills.
You can be a freelancer, but you also have to be a businessman or a businesswoman. In order to successfully earn money as a freelancer and turn it into a profession, you need to familiarize yourself with the basics of business management such as taxes, accounting, marketing, etc. In many cases, these business skills will take more time to complete than the actual freelance service or product that you are offering!
• Consider talking to friends (real life or online) who have made money as a freelancer about the specifics of the business. You can also consult a number of books and online sites on how to start a business from scratch.
• While it may seem premature to worry about the “business” of your freelance work, a business model with goals, performance, benchmarks, etc. can help you determine the scope and scope of your freelance work. A clear business model and transparent accounts and books also show customers that you are the real dealer – a professional freelancer, and not just someone who works at home in pajamas
Step 6 – Set up an invoicing system.
Part of freelancing as a way to make real money involves setting up a system to top up and receive payments. Before you reach out to prospects and actually start freelancing, you should be prepared for it. It’s much easier to keep up with bookkeeping and invoicing than it is to leave it later or even until the dreaded tax season. Create a financial framework that makes it easy for you to keep your financial money organized. This is also a great way to keep track of how much money you are making and if you are making a profit. Consider doing the following:
• Set prices for the services you offer. Find out whether you are charging an hourly rate or per piece/product. Be ready to explain how you will bill your listing (i.e., the breakdown).
• Create invoice templates. Use a word processing tool (such as Microsoft Excel) to create an invoice with all the important information (performance, costs, payment, addresses of the payee and payer, etc.).
• Prepare an accounting plan and consider opening a commercial bank account. Often banks have special services and fees for commercial bank accounts.
• Check how much you should charge and save for taxes.
Step 7 – Choosing your clients
Once you have a portfolio, it’s time to get out there and start promoting yourself to clients. Successfully freelancing is a numbers game – the more prospects you find and reach, the more likely you are to get work and, most importantly, get paid. You can start by tapping into your personal network of family, friends, and old colleagues. Ask them for recommendations; This can help get some startup work done that can get your freelance activity going. However, in many cases, you also need to take the first step and branch out to make good money. If you are selling your product or service to new customers, apply only to relevant customers. And hit many of them.
• Try the 10 to 10 rule; Pitch 10 prospects before 10 am during the workweek.
• If you have other jobs, take some of your free time and start building a customer network that you can fall back on in the future.
• Know who your target customers are if you’ve branded yourself properly. Remember, companies want to partner with freelancers whose services/products appear to be designed only for the needs of those companies. The concept of specifying of services mentioned above creates this sense.
• You could also try using a freelance marketplace. There are several online freelance marketplaces like Elance and oDesk where you can advertise your services and look up and suggest customers. These can be very useful for freelancers who are just starting out.
Step 8 – Get a head start on yourself before quitting your job
If you want to be self-employed full-time during your office job, this is not a good idea. Yes, sideline jobs can get you a few extra dollars every month, but that’s about it.
But if you actually decide to become the captain of your ship, there is no going back. This is why you need to try your freelance career before quitting your job.
Yes, I know that working at a start-up alongside your normal job can be exhausting. But it takes it to become an established freelancer. It will also help you determine if you are ready for the pressures that come with becoming a freelancer.
That being said, I’m not saying that once you get your first client, you should quit your job. Instead, wait for your passive income to grow before filing your resignation.
Your freelance income should be at least 50% of what you get from your day job. This way, you are taking a calculated risk by entering the freelance industry.
Most importantly, during your entry as a freelancer, you have an established day job that will help you achieve your goals.
You choose your clients and projects accordingly, rather than signing up for a job available to pay your bills. Ultimately, this promotes your professional development as a self-employed person in the long term.
Step 9 – Polish Your Skills
When you work as a freelancer, your compensation depends on the performance you do. That said, if you want to increase your tariffs, you need to work on your skills.
Even if your existing skills help you to generate a steady workflow, try to further improve your portfolio in your respective area.
To advance your skills in the freelance world, you don’t necessarily have to enroll in a university or earn a degree. Instead, you can try online courses and tutorials to improve your skills.
After that, try to devote yourself to some high-profile projects to make your portfolio more attractive. This shows your customers your diverse skills and helps you to gain more credibility in your area.
Step 10 – Address customers
The basic rule for attracting customers in the professional world is to expand your reach. Create your account on popular freelance websites like Fiverr, Upwork, and Freelancer. Also, look for prospects on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
When you get a hint, scan their friends’ list to see if they have connections in common like you. After that, use this connection as a lever to land the client.
Also, take some time to do a background check of the company. A close look at the company’s profile will help you determine its needs. With this information, you can easily come up with a quote that suits your needs and even make impressive recommendations in the first conversation.
Remember, the more time you invest in pitching a client, the higher the prices, and the longer working relationship you can secure for yourself.
Step 11 – Be consistent
The common perception is that freelancers seem like people who put their days in their blankets. The reality is just the opposite.
Most freelancers tend to be overworked when compared to people with typical 9-5 jobs. In addition, freelancers rarely take vacations and typically work even during major holidays.
However, these are some drawbacks that come with the flexibility to work on your terms. If you are really thinking about how to make money as a freelancer, the trick is to be consistent.
You must maintain the quality of your work and your impeccable work ethic at all costs if you are to stay in the game. Also, work on increasing your online visibility by creating your blog or guest posting to other blogs in your space.
In addition, you can even create tutorials and courses to increase your popularity on the internet and create a steady workflow for yourself.
Popular freelance niches
After reading my step-by-step guide, you probably know how to freelance online full-time. However, if you are a beginner you don’t need to be sure which niche to look for.
As I mentioned earlier, you can either search for in-demand jobs that pay well or go for a job that you enjoy doing. Either way, there are a few decisions you need to make first before choosing the ideal option for you.
That is why I have listed the most popular freelance jobs that are well paid so you can consider them as you diversify your skills.
If you’re wondering how to make money off of freelance coding, here I have all the details for you. Believe it or not, the US economy is facing a shortage of talented developers due to high industry demand and continued development.
If you are a trained person in web development or if you are aiming for a career in the field, being a freelancer can be an efficient way to work from home. Mainly you can choose from three basic professions in this area,
• Full-stack development
• Front-end development
• Back-end development
As a front-end developer, you need to create digital products that users can see directly. This includes the login pages, page navigation options, and contact pages.
On the other hand, a back-end developer takes care of the website’s servers and databases and fixes any issues that arise while working.
Ultimately, a full-stack provider will give their customers the entire package and charge a large sum for a single project. Depending on your expertise and work capacity, you can choose any of the three mentioned above.
If you are in the creative field, you probably think that there is money to be made as a freelance writer. Well, good news for you, freelance writers are some of the most sought-after professionals on the internet.
For those wondering how a freelance writer makes money, every business needs content to stand out and stay relevant. However, instead of hiring in-house specialists, around 62% of all companies outsource their typing services.
If you are wondering how much money you can make as a freelance writer, it depends on your skills and the genre you choose.
For example, if you are a tech buff, you can easily make six-figure amounts by monetizing an information blog. If you are thinking about how to make money as a freelance journalist, the easiest way to do it is by creating your newsletter and posting meaningful discourses on news updates.
You can earn through affiliate marketing and selling goods on blogs based on various popular niches such as:
Professional graphic designers wondering how to become a freelance graphic designer can easily do so by listing their skills and applying online.
Graphic design is a broad field so you need to create a portfolio, showcase it to clients, and set your freelance graphic design prices based on your expertise.
Whether you are good at creating infographics, Banners, logos, social media posts, or you want to go for high-end projects like UX design, you can easily build a freelance career with your skills.
Remember, your prospects judge you based on your portfolio, not your educational background. Therefore, with a degree in another subject, you can learn how to use the necessary design software and work as a freelance designer.
Plus, you can take certified courses and watch online tutorials to sharpen your saw and create design samples to post on your portfolio website.
Suppose you want to increase your income in the long term. In this case, you can learn website programming languages and take on complete website design projects, including UX, UI, and visual component design.
Digital marketing is a fast-growing industry that requires creative minds to help brands and industries stay relevant in today’s fast-paced world.
As more companies target the millions of eyeballs scrolling through social media boxes, those wondering how to make money as a freelance digital marketer can easily find work.
If you are a beginner looking for a job that won’t bore you, this is the ultimate option for you. Because in digital marketing, no two projects are the same.
With each project, you target a different audience with creative campaigns in order to increase the company’s sales.
You can take on small projects like designing social media banners and posts. Or you go for high-paying projects like developing a full brand identity or running a social media marketing campaign.
Virtual assistance is another freelance discipline that is gaining tremendous popularity these days.
That’s because hiring a VA is synonymous with hiring a customer service representative, administrator, email assistant, typist, and receptionist all rolled into one. This means by hiring a person; a company can save a huge amount of operating costs.
This prospect is of course very attractive to small businesses on a tight budget. Additionally, people wondering how to make money as a freelancer can use their respective skills and do VA work efficiently.
All you need to do is acquire the necessary expertise in business software like Microsoft Excel and acquire good communication skills.
Additionally, once you gain enough experience, you can start working for multiple companies and maximize your income as a freelancer. Virtual assistants can earn anywhere from $ 30 to $ 50 an hour, depending on their responsibilities and expertise.
In the past few years, we have seen a significant change in the advertising industry. Nowadays, companies use enticing images with minimal written material to attract viewers. This is because, compared to texts, an image stays with the audience and speaks to it longer.
So, if you’re a photographer wondering how to make money as a freelancer, you’re not limited to reporting events and weddings. You can make money by working as a freelance photographer in a variety of disciplines such as product photography and food design.
You can also make a steady freelance income by posting your work on stock websites and selling your editing presets.
Websites for freelance jobs
Freelance job websites make it very easy to find new clients when you start out as a freelancer. In fact, they’re designed to connect as many freelancers as possible to paid projects – and quickly.
These freelance job websites are two-sided marketplaces. On the one hand, they’re building a supply of freelance talent (that’s you!) And, on the other hand, they’re building jobs that require that talent.
So, you are always working to actively add new freelance jobs or projects to your website. And then they try to link those jobs to a freelancer as soon as possible.
Some freelancer websites are generic and cater to a variety of freelancers from different industries and backgrounds, such as:
- Demand Media
There are also many freelancer industry-specific job boards like
- Freelance Writing Gigs
- Demand Media/Leaf Group
- Journalism Jobs
- Freelance Writer’s Den
- FreelanceWriting Morning Coffee Newsletter
It is a good rule of thumb to take a little time to research all of the companies you can find on these freelance platforms before setting out on your search for a job. Also, check to see if you have a friend or colleague who works full time or has previously worked as a freelancer for the company. It could be as simple as browsing your LinkedIn contacts. They can provide you with valuable information about whether this is a good company to work for as a freelancer – and maybe even help you stay one step ahead by introducing the right people.
Deciding whether to start your freelance business or not is a difficult decision. Many hang on the edge for months, not satisfied with their current working life, but also not self-confident enough to quit their full-time jobs.
Others may have already made the leap, but got off to a bad start.
No matter what stage you are at, the world of freelancers is full of uncertainties. But once you’ve mastered it, freelancing can be the best way to work in the world as you have the freedom and flexibility to do what you love while enjoying life to the full.
As with all good things, however, having a stable freelance career is not easy. You need to do a lot of groundwork to acquire high-quality skills, build a portfolio, and acquire clients.
Sometimes you will even feel that the decision to be a freelancer was not the ideal choice for you. But if you work tirelessly, keep your goal in mind, and learn from any failure along the way, you will establish yourself as a successful freelancer and make money in no time.
To Your Success.