How to start a freelancing business. Being a freelancer has become a trend in recent years. If you have been searching for a way to make a living from what you love to do, then freelancing is the best alternative.
Many organizations are finding that hiring freelancers is becoming more acceptable and more attractive.
As a result, people with valuable abilities have a fantastic opportunity to start a freelancing business on the side and eventually turn it into a sustainable self-employed profession as a result.
- What is a Freelance Business?
- Why Choose Freelance?
- How to Start a Freelancing Business in 10 easy steps
- Define your Goals
- Find a Profitable Niche
- Identify Your Target Audience
- Set Strategic Service Prices
- Create a Great Portfolio Website
- Showcase Your Deliverables (on Your Portfolio Site)
- Pick Your First Clients Carefully
- Use Content to Mention Potential Clients
- Learn to Sell Yourself
- Don’t mix work and freelance priorities.
- Making More Money
- Developing Skills
- Setting Your Price Strategy
- Finding Your Passion
- Learning Discipline
What is a Freelance Business?
Freelancing is defined as working on your own terms and making decisions about your work on your own time.
Put another way, you are in charge of your own work. You have complete control over your working hours, cost, location of work, and time frame for the service you are offering.
A freelancer is someone who works on a project or contract basis. They are employed by businesses or employers for specific projects and are compensated by the agreement reached with the employers.
According to a Millo article, 59 million Americans reported being self-employed in 2020, accounting for 36 percent of the total American employment.
Why Choose Freelance?
This is a question that should be answered before you take any steps toward establishing your freelance profession.
Typically, anyone who does not enjoy working for someone else or wishes to earn additional revenue begins working as a freelance writer.
A full-time freelancer does so full-time. They take on initiatives on their own and become independent employees or self-employed.
Freelancing is becoming an increasingly popular employment option. Freelancers are paid more than full-time employees and are free to make their own judgments.
Being in command of all your projects allows for speedier growth. You can handle multiple projects at once.
A part-time freelancer works extra hours on top of full-time employment. An employee has restricted exposure, whereas a freelancer gets to apply their expertise and manage a project on their own terms.
Aside from a fixed salary, one can earn extra money and often make more than their full-time employment. If you work 9-5, you can conduct freelance work for the remainder of the day. Time.
How to Start a Freelancing Business in 10 easy steps
Before you begin your freelance business, you must first establish a clear understanding of why you want to become a freelancer in the first place.
Learn how to start a freelancing business.
Once you’ve set your long-term objectives, how you allocate your limited time will significantly impact your level of success as a freelancer.
Define Your Goals
Find a Profitable Niche
Identify Your Target Clients
Set Strategic Prices for Your Services
Build a High-Quality Portfolio Website
Create Examples of What You Can Deliver (on Your Portfolio Site)
Thoughtfully Choose Your First Clients
Mention Potential Clients in Your Content
Learn How to Pitch Yourself
Don’t Mix Your Day Job Priorities with Freelance Business
Define your Goals
In the absence of well-stated, easily measurable objectives, reaching where you want to go will be tricky.
What if freelancing is merely a way to earn a little additional money on the side while still working your regular job?
Do you wish to work as a full-time freelancer in the future because of the lifestyle perks of being your own boss? If so, read on.
Alternatively, do you want to use freelancing as a stepping stone to finally reaching a completely other goals?
Regardless of your final purpose, you must make it very obvious to everyone involved. According to Forbes, when it comes to effectively launching a firm, this is something that all of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs agree on.
It’s essential to take the time to analyze why you’re thinking about beginning a freelance business in the first place.
Before proceeding, make sure that this option is the next step in your path toward reaching your larger-picture objectives.
Only when you’ve established a clear vision for where you want your freelance career to lead can you begin to set shorter-term goals and benchmarks to help your freelance business achieve its full potential and become a success.
Over on the Millo blog, April Greer shares one of my favorite perspectives on the importance of goal-setting in your freelance business and how to set meaningful goals that will propel you forward in your career.
Consider the possibility that your long-term objective is to become a fully self-employed freelancer.
You’ll be able to establish your own hours, choose who you want to work with and make all of the decisions in your company. Now, how are you going to get there?
Knowing that you’ll need to build your freelancing income to a sustainable, healthy level that would allow you to eventually leave your day job without worrying about where your next paycheck will come from, you’ve set a goal for yourself.
You can work backward from your projected freelance income, considering your living expenditures, risk tolerance, and realistic estimates for how long your savings can last you.
One of the primary benefits of freelancing is the ability to create more time for yourself.
To enjoy one’s life. To spend more time doing things you want, such as hiking, in my leisure time.
Find a Profitable Niche
Take, for example, the assumption that you are a graphic designer by trade or that you have at the very least been practicing with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop in your spare time.
Without a doubt, other competitors in your business will be eager to offer significantly lesser prices than you, regardless of what you accomplish.
There are people from all over the world who have lower living costs than you and who will always be willing to accept lower-paying jobs than you if the opportunity presents itself.
Get rid of the notion that you should strive to compete on pricing as a freelancer right now.
For work-from-home projects on a freelance basis, it’s not worth competing with other people for the lowest possible price, especially when sites like Fiverr or Upwork, among other freelance job sites, already have a plethora of possibilities low-priced freelancers.
Aside from that, I highly urge that you avoid listing your services on any of those websites unless you really have to do so (after striking out from trying everything in this post first).
By investing the time to identify a successful niche for your freelance business (just like you would choose a good niche to blog about if you decided to start a blog), you are actively seeking out an industry and type of client with a high value on excellent work.
When you’re in a market where quality is a differentiator, you’ll have to fundamentally rethink how you sell your services to succeed.
You’ll be competing based on value rather than price.
Make the decision to focus entirely on infographic design for startup blogs or producing eBooks for enterprise technology organizations rather than accepting any graphic design project that comes your way.
Choose a topic that you are genuinely interested in, and dedicate your time and energy to being the best designer in that specific niche—this is how you will truly identify the ideal side hustle subject.
Once you’ve developed your abilities to the point where you can confidently charge a premium for your services, you’ll be ready to launch your freelance business and begin seeking out your ideal client.
Instead of focusing on how you’ll get from point 0 to point 100 in your freelance profession, focus on taking one small step at a time. With your side hustle, you’ll see that progress breeds further progress.
Identify Your Target Audience
Attracting the proper client for your freelance business is crucial to establishing a profitable niche.
As a new freelancer, it’s okay to take a chance on a few clients. After dealing with a few of them, you’ll know whether or not you want to pursue similar clients in the future.
Initially, this is a difficult decision because it means losing a lot of business. However, focusing on your ideal clients will help you accomplish better outcomes in the long term.
The momentum will increase after a few clients are willing to advocate for you.
Back to competing on value, not price: everything you do to start your freelance business – especially when you have limited time – must demonstrate your capacity to generate high-quality client solutions.
“Make your clients so pleased and successful that they become your sales force,” says one of my freelance inspirations, Paul Jarvis.
Your goal is to gain authority and become the go-to resource for a specific client category (s). Well-executed organic business growth.
Your target client will quickly decide that you are the best person to help them with their tasks if you appeal to a restricted (well-selected) niche.
Above all, this is the method to charge premium rates without anyone batting an eye.
When starting a freelance business, ask yourself these three questions:
- To which companies will I be of use?
- Which companies can afford the pricing I need to charge to reach my income goal?
- What can I learn about the decision-makers in these companies? Can I find a personal connection with them?
With all of this information, you can design a cold email that connects with the customer and provides immediate value.
As a result of my enthusiasm for startups, my target clients (smaller startup teams and founders with personal brands) will naturally catch up with my own blogging style and content marketing.
Because my portfolio work clearly relates to their work, customers are more confident that I can deliver similar results for their company.
Set Strategic Service Prices
I’ve talked a lot about pricing your freelance business before you start.
The Bonsai freelance rate explorer is the best way to determine your projected hourly rate for your industry and if your rates will match your revenue objectives and expenses.
There are loads of fantastic tools for double-checking your pricing plan, but I propose starting with a slightly different progression.
Remember to price yourself based on your worth, not what your competitors charge.
Allow no one to determine your worth for you. Starting a freelance business isn’t like that.
Many of the lessons acquired while running an SEO freelance business are chronicled on Neil Patel’s blog before he realized how to make money blogging passively.
One of the most notable lessons I learned is that charging more reduces client complaints. He knows that because he chose target consumers with large budgets, they’re more willing to spend money to recoup their investment in your services.
In contrast, smaller clients have less money to lose when initiatives don’t yield substantial returns.
Prices are never too expensive. If you complete your research before pitching your services, you’ll sell precisely what your clients need – at a price they can afford.
I write well-researched blog post ideas (just like I publish here, which was one of my original motivations for learning how to start a blog in the first place).
Most of my material is between 1500 and 2,500 words long and is optimized for organic search results, which is vital for most organizations.
Because I do more than just write headlines and articles, I give more value to my clients than any other “writer” can.
Don’t overcharge, but don’t undervalue what you do for your client.
They’ll hire someone to help with their projects, so prove to them you’re the proper person to help. If they already believe you are the best candidate for the position, price becomes irrelevant. It’s either business as usual, or it wasn’t meant to be.
Remember that you won’t be great for every client and that knowing all the business language and industry jargon isn’t a sign of authority.
Create a Great Portfolio Website
Because I strongly believe in building a solid web presence to promote a freelance career,
I asked a freelance portfolio guru, Laurence Bradford, to explain how to develop a portfolio that attracts high-paying clients.
Here is my comprehensive guide to starting a blog (and making money from it).
Let’s start by defining the goal of a portfolio website.
It’s often a potential client’s first impression of you, your work, and your previous clients (or companies).
You must clearly state what services you provide and who they are for. Beyond that, you must pitch yourself as the best person for the job – and the clients.
To effectively offer your services, your freelance portfolio must do the following:
- Showcase your expertise and work samples.
- List your contact data and personality.
- Emphasize applicable talents, education, and achievements.
- Display testimonials (even if they are from coworkers or previous bosses).
Keep track of new clients and updated work samples.
Find other freelancers in your niche and get inspired by how they position themselves, formulate value propositions, and expand their businesses
Next, show off your most outstanding work on your portfolio site!
Showcase Your Deliverables (on Your Portfolio Site)
You want your website to showcase your skills.
Keeping this in mind, one of the most acceptable ways to amaze your target client is to consistently produce new content, photographs, or videos.
Once you know what your clients want, develop examples of that content on your own website as if you were employed to make it.
Better still, show your clients that you can create what they need.
It will also make their efforts easier if you have a collection of relevant work to draw inspiration from.
My website is proof of this. I set out to write at least one extensive 4,000+ word blog post per month about how to start and grow a profitable side company, which is the foundation of my entire site and something I am very familiar with.
It’s no accident that I work with clients who share my target demographic.
My potential clients only need to look at a few of my posts to realize how engaging they are, my conversation style, and how I can work with them and their target audience.
Your portfolio site should be professionally organized if you’re a web designer because it represents what you can develop for clients.
If you’re a writer like me, your blog postings should reflect the quality of your work for all clients.
Also, for designers, make sure the photos on your site reflect the style you wish to develop for your client.
Pick Your First Clients Carefully
Because you only have so much time to find new clients (and execute their job), you need to make the most of the ones you acquire. Both financially and portfolio-building.
Your limited client list and portfolio pieces will influence how future clients perceive you.
Choosing who to collaborate with or feature on your website is critical, especially early on.
You don’t want to overthink it and wind yourself in choice paralysis, but take a moment to analyze whether each potential client will help you get there.
Bonus point, you can track your freelancing client leads using one of the top CRMs for small businesses (and freelancers).
My freelance business usually only has 2 clients at a time.
Instead, I’ve chosen to allocate my limited freelance time to these two clients who most closely correlate with the future clients I wish to work with.
Use Content to Mention Potential Clients
Finding the best remote jobs on the internet isn’t always easy. And nobody will know you exist if no one knows you.
I constantly list the brands, companies, and individuals I hope to collaborate with one day on my blog.
You can generate goodwill and get your name in front of the proper people at your target companies even if you aren’t ready to take on new clients or are qualified to pursue such significant agreements.
Keep track of the companies you wish to showcase on your website in the coming weeks.
Then, when you publish something that references them, reach out and let them know.
Also, if you’re struggling with content planning, take my free blog planner bundle and get started now.
This step was crucial in helping me start a freelance business and grow my own brand quickly.
Almost always, the person I email thanks me instantly, shares it on company social media and remembers it.
A cold email is usually the first step, but pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is good.
Below is my personal template for a meaningful cold email.
- Find the best person to contact.
- Make your subject line recipient-friendly.
- Keep it brief.
- Sell your skills.
- Always include a CTA.
Here is my own cold email template for potential clients who are already in my target audience.
We love [Company/Product] and always recommend it to others when [critical use case].
I wanted to let you know that my post about the 101 Essential Tools for Launching an Online Business is starting to get traction. I hope it brings you new traffic and users.
Should I link to [Company/Product] instead of the most excellent destination for you? I’m willing to make a few changes before syndicating the post to Inc.com.
Almost everyone I send this email to either thumb up or requests a quick adjustment.
Regardless, I’ve now formed a connection with them based on the previous value supplied.
Now that we have the relationship, we can work on your selling skills.
I MADE A NEW BUDDY whether I start freelancing with them, get a remote work offer, or if nothing happens.
Learn to Sell Yourself
If you want to start freelancing, knowing how to pitch yourself will be an invaluable skill for years to come.
How well you can explain your strengths and transform those talks into paying clients is crucial in launching a freelance business.
We also discuss how to attract traffic to your website that will likely turn into paying customers.
Here’s how to write a winning freelance proposal:
- Make a solid first impression with an elevator pitch email that shows you’ve done your study.
- Sell your skills.
- Anticipate and answer any queries.
- Use relevant work examples and past projects to show expertise.
- Make your proposal look good.
Don’t mix work and freelance priorities.
Above all, keep in mind that your day job (and only reliable source of money) comes first.
Don’t compromise your full-time job, as you need it to support you as you expand your side freelance business.
It’s worth reading my detailed piece on how to prevent getting fired (and sued) while launching a side business.
You must avoid many no-nos, such as:
- Breaching any contracts with your employer.
- Using company time for your freelance business (seriously, do NOT do this).
- Using workplace resources, computers, or premium blogging tools.
- And more.
Now that you know how to establish a freelance business, here’s why I think everyone (particularly millennials) should do it.
It’s been one of my best business decisions and my most reliable side business.
I strongly advise anyone considering launching a freelance business or transitioning into consulting part-time first.
Why You Should Start a Full-Time Freelance Business
Stress-Free Self-employment Testing
Unless you’re willing to blow through your money or take out a line of credit to support yourself while your freelance business or startup isn’t generating much cash, you need a runway of clients and income before quitting your job.
To understand how much labor it is to run your own business, spend 10-20 hours per week finding freelance clients and working on their tasks.
Save these inspirational quotes for later use.
The most essential thing is that you won’t have to worry about money because you’ll still have your day job.
When I started freelancing, I was fortunate to like my day job.
I wasn’t in a position where I needed or wanted to leave my job to start my freelance business on the side without the burden of being at an unsatisfying job.
Making More Money
One of the best things about beginning a freelance business while still working full-time is the extra cash.
Whether you make a few hundred or several thousand dollars, it’s critical to keep meticulous records of your freelancing earnings.
While you’re consistently increasing your freelance revenue and adding clients, I recommend conserving 100% of your earnings.
Before you begin, open a new checking account to receive freelance client payments.
With a separate account, you’ll be able to watch your monthly income without temptation, and you’ll be actively establishing a safety net for any downturns.
The most significant reason to start a freelance business while you’re still employed is that you’ll rapidly gain a lot of experience – you’ll uncover your strengths and develop your talents in a controlled environment.
Instead, you might concentrate on a few assignments that will help you improve your skills.
As a writer, I realize the value of keeping up with trends and honing my skills.
Every day, whether I’m writing for my personal blog or for a client, I practice the skills I want to improve.
Others pay me to build my skills by freelancing.
Plus, I learned what a blog is and how to establish a website by using one of the top website builders and publishing my writing online.
The more time you spend honing your talents and developing your own distinctive style, the better.
Regardless, honing your favorite abilities will surely help you immensely. Learn how to start a freelancing business.
Setting Your Price Strategy
Most people undervalue their services when starting a freelance business and set the bar low.
Trying to set rates that are “market value” or comparable to others in your sector typically justifies this.
This is entirely backward, as you should be charging for the value you deliver.
A freelancer’s bid should always start higher than expected.
Make sure you plan out how long your projects will take using the suitable project planning templates.
It’s easy to undervalue your skills while underestimating the expenditures of running your own freelance firm.
Not all jobs pay $35/hr, so don’t confuse it with freelancing work.
Being self-employed means, you’ll soon be responsible for all additional taxes, fees, expenses, and living costs that your employer will no longer cover.
Finding Your Passion
Follow these 8 steps to find your abilities and passions, and see if your freelance work is actually fulfilling.
As you build your freelance business, you’ll discover your preferred industries and target demographics.
It’s important to know what you enjoy working on and who you want to work with.
Examine your personal interests and see if you can link your freelance business with clientele who share your passions.
Starting a freelance business requires a tremendous determination to deliver exceptional results for your clients regardless of personal circumstances.
Procrastination can be fatal.
There are no excuses for failing to deliver on a freelance project.
If you can find a way to work on your freelance business while also working full-time, you’ll have no problem running your own firm and meeting deadlines.
Learn how to start a freelancing business this way.