Guide for how to become a freelancer to starting freelancing for earning money from home. Instruct them to behave well and to avoid showing rude behavior. You can reap the benefits through our guide to starting freelance work to make money. Do you want the freedom to start an independent farm business, you’ve come to the right place. Take the time to follow each of the steps outlined in this article. However, ask if you thought about our advice on being independent? We’re happy to share more ideas to help you become a freelance translator.
Freelancers offer incredible jobs opportunities to control the way you work. As a freelance translator, you have the freedom to work from anywhere. Such lucrative benefits are driving the growth of the freelance industry. Working in some areas according to a recent freelance research study.
But how do you get started as a freelancer from home? So, you want to take your first step into freelancing but aren’t sure where to start? Show that you have come to the right place. This article will go over the many steps of being a freelancer today.
Popular occupations for freelancing
Clients also looking for successful freelancers to solve their problems. Regardless of your profession, a freelancer like you is looking to solve their problem. Below are some of the most popular freelancing jobs.
- Affiliate marketer
- Copywriter, translator, or proofreader
- Customer support representative
- Web developer
- Software developer
- Content Writer
- Graphic designer
- Digital marketer
- Online tutor
- Social media manager
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Expert
- Website tester
- Web / Mobile Developer
- Virtual Assistant.
Millions of businesses use Freelancer’s work marketplace to find talented freelancers based on unique skills categories of work. Over 10,000 freelance opportunities are coming on the Freelancer platform each day.
Guide for how to become a freelance to starting freelancing
Why do you want to be a freelancer? Therefore, Freelancing is an additional source of income today. An Opportunity to enhance your work experience or it an alternative to your regular earning job with skills. Freelancers give you the freedom to choose work. There’re many paths to success for freelancers. Therefore, you can start your journey in your spare time or look at it as a full-time career. Regardless of your perspective, the steps outlined below will help you overcome many of the common obstacles new freelancers face. To become a freelancer, must go through each step of the freelance guide to getting started as a freelancer. In Conclusion, freelancing is one of the best ways to make money online from home.
Describe your services and offers
Turning your best skills into a proper service is the first step towards becoming a freelancer. In doing this, you need to understand how your skills can help potential customers. Try to fit in with your ideal customer. What problems do they face? And how will your skills be used to solve problems?
It is important to know that customers are looking for solutions. To be a successful freelancer, you need to understand your customer’s situation and use your services to resolve their issues. The answers to these questions form the basis of how to package your expertise as a service. Therefore, it is a good time to leave her and move on. try to explain briefly what you can do, how to do it, and what kind of business/client? Don’t worry about the price. We’ll talk about it later.
Find your target audience
Now that you have a freelance service to offer, you’ll need to find a target audience. Start by identifying the type of clients that will be most suitable for your service. Do these clients have common problems and common features? Are they in a specific industry?
As a new freelancer, just being good at what you do is not enough for clients to find you automatically. It is very important to put yourself in front of your potential customers so that they know about your services. You will need to play an active role in finding potential customers. For most freelancers, there are three ways to get customers:
- Freelance job posting platform
- Take advantage of existing connections and networking.
- Marketing, advertising, and outreach.
Understanding which of these options works best for you is the key to finding relevant customers for your services.
I started my freelance business on the Freelancer platform. I found my first freelance client through the Freelancer platform. In the last two years, I have expanded my business through the freelance platform. Also, referrals without paying for ads or taking part in networking events.
Freelancer is a job market that helps freelancers and clients integrate and engage in meaningful work projects. On Freelancer, clients are actively posting available projects in multiple projects and paying for standard work. Here you can find projects that match your skills.
Develop a pricing structure
Once you have clearly defined your services and target market. It’s time to dump her and move on. The goal is to maximize the amount you earn without losing potential jobs. So let’s start by looking at our competitors in the market. What do they charge for similar freelance services?
In fact, there is no better formula for pricing your freelance services. Many variables can affect how much a customer will pay:
- Project duration
- Ready to send
- The complexity of the project
- Customer geographical location
- Instant Reply to your clients
Fortunately, Upwork has some useful resources to help you figure out how to value your freelance service. For more information, please see the two main pricing models that freelancers use: hourly pricing and project-based (fixed) pricing.
Don’t let uncertainty about your pricing structure get in the way. Your rate is not constant. You can change this in the future. Start with a price that makes you feel comfortable and try not to think too much about it.
Build your portfolio with past jobs
Creating a successful portfolio is an important step towards becoming a successful freelancer. As a freelance translator, your portfolio will determine the quality of your work by showing you past accomplishments and projects. This is an opportunity to show your customers – not just tell – what you can do and value your skills.
Your portfolio should highlight the best results related to your service offering. Each piece in your portfolio should paint a clear picture of your involvement and how the project benefits your customers. Some things that can include in a strong portfolio include case studies, testimonials, data results, photos, charts, work samples, and mock-ups. It is important to get permission from your existing clients before merging your project documents into the portfolio.
Write good feedback Profile
This ensures a successful start as a freelancer. Your first project must closely match your work experience and skills. When you find a project that you believe can provide the best service. It’s time to introduce that project.
The right suggestion can mean the difference between getting the job or not. So it’s important that the advice works for you.
Upwork project proposals are simple. By using a site or platform other than optimization, you can still use this recommendation framework to show your value to potential customers. For the best practices, check out freelance copywriter Javed Hayat’s article on how to offer a winning offer. In summary, reasonable advice should be a powerful selling point for your abilities. It is necessary to prepare for the needs of the company. How you can help Your Identity and qualifications last, professionalism and friendliness are important, so try to use professional language to make you stand out.
Creating a template can help you organize your offers. But most successful freelancers adapt to specific clients and projects. This extra time and effort show sincerity. Enthusiasm and your professionalism.
Build a relationship with your customers
As a freelance translator, your customers are your business. Although this may sound obvious But it’s important to build a positive working relationship with your customers. Successful freelancers build relationships with customers instead of thinking about work. Building long-term partnerships can lead to new business starts and new customer referrals. Here are some key points to keep in mind when building relationships with your customers:
- Do your best: High-quality work is essential for customer satisfaction. to have a long-term relationship with customers, value and solve customer problems.
- Communicate with customers: Effective communication with customers builds strong business relationships. And encourage customers to continue working with you on their plans.
- Build Trust with Consistency: Getting your work done on time consistently and delivering the right job. You can build trust and show that your customers can rely on you in the future ۔
- Finding Opportunities to Deliver More Value: By Initiating Identify a new solution and take additional responsibility Show that you show potential value to your customers and open up new ways to collaborate.
Keep improving your skills.
I hired freelancers for the services and skills they offer their clients. Adapt to change and continually increase knowledge Keeping up with current trends is essential to providing the highest level of service to your customers. Online learning resources like Udemy, LinkedIn Learning, Coursera, and even YouTube are good starting points to ensure your skills are up to date.
Start your freelance career
Are you ready to freelance in 2021? It’s up to you. As a freelance translator, you are in control and you have to make your own business decisions. Customers are seriously looking for new ways to solve problems. And your freelance service might be the solution.
Follow the mentioned all steps of this guide. You’ll be on the path to successful freelancing today. Therefore, you no need to get bogged down in the planning process. You must take action to make your freelance career a reality. Sign up for a freelance account on Upwork and access millions of freelancing opportunities.
How to start your Freelancing Business Earn Money
As remote work progresses, More and more people want to become freelancers or start freelance jobs. Which raises further obvious questions. How do I start a freelance job?
Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to be a freelancer. Over 80 million Americans became freelancers last year. The trend is increasing, with over 50% of General Z choosing to start a freelancing business.
- It’s not just being a freelancer that’s more popular than ever. But companies It’s more and more comfortable to hire freelancers. Instead of a regular employee.
- Someone can do remotely many jobs. And it does not require companies to provide the same financial or healthcare facilities as full-time employees.
- So maybe now is the time to be self-employed and start a freelance business.
- Let’s talk about how to start a freelance business fast with little money.
1. Describe your goals for freelance work.
2. Choose the skill you want to start as a freelancer.
3. Describe your target customers.
4. Contain your expertise in service offerings.
5. Legalize Your Business Before Starting Freelance
6. Build a portfolio to showcase your talent.
7. Develop a customer search strategy
8. Tap on your existing network.
9. Start creating a new lawyer.
Follow the next steps
Explain your goals for freelancing
- It all starts with knowing your goals for starting your own business.
- If you don’t have a destination, you won’t get in your car and start driving, and you shouldn’t start an independent business without a destination.
- Without a destination, it’s hard to know which way to go. Goals provide a destination for you to start your own independent business.
Get started with why you want to freelance
Every day, you’ll need to find your customers and do extraordinary things for them. The first step is to understand your own “why”.
Why do you want to be a freelancer in the first place?
To generate some revenue on the side?
To convert your full-time income?
How Much Money Do You Want To White Freelancing?
The reason you want to be a freelancer is that you are the northern star, whether you are successful.
Start as a freelancing part-time or side hustle
Freelancing is a great place to start as a part-time or side hustle. When there is less pressure to generate instant revenue, you can work with a greater understanding of your work and for your clients.
Therefore, it is a good idea for new freelancers to start a freelancing business before you think you need to. Freelancing often builds trust and client relationships, and it takes time to build those relationships.
So if you freelance part time or side-by-side, you give yourself time to build the important relationships that you need freelancing to live full time.
Jump to start full-time freelancing
This is great if you are ready to take the plunge and become a freelancer! This has never been a better time to be your own boss.
If that’s your goal, you’ll want to calculate how much you’ll need to earn to cover your expenses. And I mean all your expenses, including taxes, health insurance, and even retirement.
This is your free income destination!
If you have immediate bills to pay or even debt, you need to handle this income target so that you do not dig into a deep hole.
You may not hit this number in the first month, but knowing what your income target is will help you get there as soon as possible.
Choose the skill that will get you started freelancing
Whether you’re ready to become a full-time freelancer or on the edge, I will build your business around the unique skills you offer. Those skills are your greatest asset.
So the first step is to identify the unique skills you’ve developed over the years that other people don’t have and want to pay you to use.
Start with a simple spreadsheet. In the first column, start listing each individual skill that you can think to provide.
Start freelancing with skills from previous jobs
It will be easy to get started with all the skills that I have already paid you to take advantage of. It doesn’t matter if the job was full time or part-time, as long as I paid you.
- If an employer will pay you for this job, chances are you are very good at it! This is a skill that you can take advantage of to start an independent business.
- Think about your last several jobs: What were you being paid for these companies?
- Don’t back down – this could be customer service, graphic design, photography, or financial modeling.
- If these characters require creativity or the use of special software, they are more likely to pay you instead of taking the time to learn a skill.
Examples of some common software would be Adobe Photoshop, Sketch, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Excel, etc.
Start also freelancing with the skills outside of your jobs description
When you are thinking about your previous jobs, don’t limit yourself to job descriptions or important responsibilities.
- In most full-time jobs, employees do things that weren’t actually in their job description.
- For example, if you ran a company’s social media accounts, you would have mastered the art of writing something.
- So instead of thinking about your social media skills, look at copywriting or marketing.
- Add each specific skill to the list – the more skills you can name, the better.
- Start freelancing using also your hobbies and self-taught skills.
- I do not limit your expertise to what I have paid you for. Go beyond what you have already paid for, or even with your hobbies.
- What do you do just because you like to do it? Think about everything.
For example, if you collect stamps, you are probably a strong researcher, organized, and you can be good at communication too!
- If you’ve taught yourself how to design graphics in Canova, this counts.
- Again, the more skills you can enter, the better.
Narrow down your skills list
Once you have a list of all the skills that are given to you to use, teach yourself and use it as a hobby, now we can start reducing that list.
- First, prioritize the list you want to cross.
- You can create a new column in your spreadsheet and categorize them, starting with the first number.
- It’s nice to be here. If it’s up to you (and it is), what do you want to pay each day?
- Next, you want to do some research.
- It’s a good idea to compete for freelancing. If you are not already paying other freelancers for what you have done, chances are there is not much money.
- Look at sites like Upwork or Fiverr and find freelancers using five skills.
- In the 2nd column, note the fluctuations in what other freelancers are being paid good money per project or per hour.
If someone is not earning a standard income using your preferred skill, check the second or third, and so on until you find a skill for which people are being paid real money and you are enthusiastic about starting a freelance business here.
Describe your target customers
Once you’ve identified the skills that will be the most profitable and fun for you. Now is the time to figure out who will pay you to use these skills.
- Many freelancers cannot think and wish here.
- They started out as freelancers and were so afraid of selling that they offered their customers’ money to do everything.
- Don’t be like these freelancers!
- Think of your ideal customer.
- Think about the skills you choose to start a freelance business. Who needs help like this? And do you want to work with someone who needs that kind of help?
Examples include small businesses. Non-profit organization restaurant
- Do not overdo it.
- Let’s start with awareness – who would you like to work with? Open a blank document or notebook and start writing.
- Dive into the customer’s avatar.
- It’s time to leave her and move on.
- “Small business owners” might be a starting point. But let’s go deeper.
- A “small business owner” can be an author or a dentist, and a “restaurant” can be a vegetarian or family restaurant.
- These explanations are still very clear. Now we want to go to their heads.
- What problems do they face? What is their story?
- It can be difficult for a family-owned restaurant to tell a story in a way that speaks to family history.
- Maybe it’s an eCommerce business that needs a more beautiful website.
- Or maybe writers are too busy using their own social media.
You want to be specific enough to see this person in your mind. It can help you think of people or companies you know. And create details that you already know about them.
I called this the customer avatar.
A business executive who describes his ideal client as “An unemployed college professor who drives a very active Volvo.”
It’s clear, right?
You just have to be more discriminatory with the help you show to others.
And if you think your target customer partner is a different avatar? Let’s describe each item separately.
I have named my clients Avatar Jenny, and Matt, based on two of my actual clients. Which I believe are representatives of other freelance translators. Similar to them.
Does this client avatar make sense?
When you compliment your prospects and think, you understand them. It’s time to check your gut to serve this nation There have to be one or two things right. Ask yourself:
- Is this customer aware of their problem and needs help?
- Can this customer help you?
- if not, then you may need to go back to the drawing board.
Sometimes the people we want to help can’t afford or don’t even know they need it. Most people know they want to work with nonprofits or startups. But these customers rarely have the budget to work.
- You can convince someone that they need your help. But it can be difficult to start a freelance business by working with people who already know they need help.
- and frankly, there are already many people who need help who can’t take the time and effort to convince those who don’t.
If you believe your prospects know they need help and can afford it, then go for it!
Identify actual people and proper companies
- Once you have a theoretical description of your customer’s avatar, let’s make reality
- Who would you choose if you could work with the person or company in the world that matches the avatar you described?
Create a new spreadsheet for your dream clients
- You’d think it would be foolish to include the names of famous companies like Disney or celebrities like LeBron James, but write them down.
- Anything is possible – but only if you believe in yourself and work towards it.
- Don’t stop writing your list until you kill at least 50 Dream Clients, and if you’re really serious, write 100.
- The first step in working with your dream clients is to accept that you want to work with them. Then over time, you can build a reputation and relationships that help you get there.
Package your skills into a service offering
Selecting your skills was just step one of starting a freelance business–next, you’ll need to sell them.
How would you use those skills for someone else?
What is the service you provide with those skills?
It’s a fine line, but it’s an important distinction.
Writing is a skill and email copywriting is a service.
Coding is a skill and creating custom mobile apps is a service.
To sell your skills, you need to think of them as a service.
Here is a list of the most common services people used to start a freelance business
Turn your service into a solution
Let’s take this a step further. Even better than selling a service is selling a solution.
Telling a small business owner that they can hire you for copywriting isn’t very compelling.
I may leave the business owner thinking, “What does that mean? Why do I want to Copywrite?”
When you just share the service you perform, it leaves it up to the client to imagine how that can apply to them.
Now let’s frame it as a solution:
“I can help you write better sales emails.”
And if we take it a step even further:
“I can help you write better sales emails that convert to more customers.”
Now that is something I’d be willing to pay for. I know exactly what you’re promising, and it’s solving a problem I have: I want more customers!
People pay for solutions. They pay for outcomes.
The more clear you make the outcome of working with you, the more successful you’ll be in selling your services.
Positioning your solution to your target client
Think about the service you want to offer and the client persona you’re offering it to.
What problems do they want to be solved? What outcomes are they looking for?
There are a ton of articles, podcasts, and interviews about sales or negotiation tactics.
But people only hire because they want one of three things:
- More customers, clients, subscribers, or followers
- To increase their profit (increase revenue or decrease cost)
- To feel better about themselves (vanity)
And arguably, getting more customers is also towards the goal of increasing profits.
So when you’re having a discussion with a potential client, you just need to:
- Explain how working with you will make them more money long term than the cost to hire you, OR
- Explain how working with you will help them look better, feel better, or have a higher status in the eyes of people they care about
If a potential client trusts you can do that for them, they will hire you. It’s basic business sense.
If you’re not showing how working with you can increase their profits or status, you’re leaving it up to them to connect the dots.
Sometimes they will, but they won’t.
So connect the dots for them.
Show the client how paying you for this work will lead to more money in their pockets.
It may not pay off immediately, and if it doesn’t then you should help them understand how long it will take for them to see that return on their investment — either by increasing revenue or decreasing costs.
If you can show how $1 today becomes $2 tomorrow, you’ll never run out of paid work.
For our example, our freelancer has decided they want to start a freelance business using their skills in marketing, copywriting, and social media.
They’ve identified their ideal clients are creators like me: people who are great at making podcasts, courses, articles, etc.
It centered on the biggest problems for those creators around time. Creators don’t have enough time to do all the things that I know I should do–including being active on social media.
And because I’m not very active on social media, I’m not growing my presence as quickly as I could.
So a solution our freelancer could provide is social media management. If they offered to grow my social media presence by posting content for me each month, that’s a compelling solution leveraging their skills.
Social media management is a service, but we can position it as a solution for someone too busy to manage their social channels.
How will you price your services when you freelance?
Now that you’ve defined the service you provide and the client you provide it for, you’ll need to decide how you’ll charge for your services.
There are a lot of pricing strategies for your freelance business and a lot of nuances in which strategy you choose.
But at a basic level, there are four common methods of pricing for a freelance business:
Hourly: A standard rate for each hour worked for the client. I used hourly pricing for both ongoing and short-term projects and requires the freelancer to track their hours.
Retainer: A flat, monthly fee. Usually, this’s based on an hourly rate and a prediction of hours spent every month. I use primarily retainers for ongoing projects.
Fixed project fee: A onetime fee based upon the agreed-upon scope of work and project deliverables. I use primarily fixed project fees for short-term projects.
Value-based pricing fee: Similar to a fixed project fee, but based on the value of the work to the client, not the amount of work by the service provider. This has the highest potential upside, but is the hardest to sell to the client.
Let’s return to our previous example of a marketer providing social media management for content creators. That service is probably an ongoing project and so either hourly or a monthly retainer is appropriate.
Freelancers like retainer clients for their freelance business because they provide some level of predictability and income stability.
Ultimately, regardless of the pricing strategy you choose, the numbers are totally up to you.
I recommend choosing a number that:
- Makes you excited to get up and do the work
- Isn’t trying to compete on being the cheapest price
- Competes with market rates
Competing on price is a race to the bottom and will burn you out if you make a name as being the “cheapest” option. Instead, find a number on the middle or top end of market rates for similar services that makes you excited to do the project.
Pricing Pro Tips
You can compare market rates for services by looking at other freelance businesses on Upwork and the rates they charge.
One of the best pieces of pricing advice I’ve ever received is to “think of the number that makes you a little uncomfortable to ask for, and then raise that by 40%.”
Pull it all together with your client formula
To put a bow on your service package, wrap all your decisions on what I call your client formula.
Your client formula is the core of your freelance business, and it looks like this:
I help [person x] solve [problem y] for [price z]
In this formula:
- Your target client is [person x]
- Your service solves [problem y] for that person
- And you’re selling it for [price z]
- I know it’s weird to mix math and creativity, but hear me out.
- Let’s take our marketer example. Their formula may look like this:
- I help content creators grow their social presence for $2,000 per month.
- In the past, I built WordPress websites for entrepreneurs. My client formula was:
- I help entrepreneurs bring their business online for $5,000
There’s a bonus to this: by creating this formula, you also create the perfect Elevator Speech for your freelance business with the phrase “I help [person x] solve [problem y].”
Your Elevator Speech is a short, memorable way for you to answer the question, “What do you do?”
“I help content creators grow their social media presence”
“I help entrepreneurs bring their business online”
And when you add the price, you have a full set of assumptions to go out and test for your freelance business.
It’s just like testing a hypothesis in science class.
You need to:
- Talk to people who fit the client avatar of [person x]
- Try to sell them your service as [solution y]
- Price the package at or above [price z]
Assume you’re a videographer and you believe that [independent Realtors] would pay [$500] for [a video about themselves].
Your client formula sounds like this:
I help independent realtors showcase their personalities to clients for $500
But what happens if you can’t seem to sell any independent realtors on a video for $500?
When you’re not getting playing gigs or purchases, it’s easy to think that your experiment is a failure.
But you need to remember that there are THREE variables here.
So if you aren’t getting independent realtors to pay $500 for a video about themselves, all we know is that one part of the experiment is off.
Maybe a team of realtors would pay that price for that service.
Or maybe independent realtors would love to invest in a video, but they wouldn’t pay more than $400.
And maybe you shouldn’t be targeting realtors at all–many account firms would pay $800!
You can experiment with all of those variables. But the first step is defining your formula.
Legally incorporate your business before your start freelancing
Now, let’s talk about how to legally start your freelance business.
You could delay this step, but I recommend doing it sooner rather than later to make tax planning easy from the start.
“Start a freelance business” sounds intense–but it’s not. Technically, starting a freelance business is as easy as incorporating a legal entity.
**This is a good time to mention that I’m not a lawyer, and this isn’t legal advice!**
Choose a name for your business
The first step to filing your business is choosing a name. It can be anything you want–it can include your name, or it could not. It could be a made-up word, or it could not.
It’s totally up to you. Ultimately, I chose “Freelancing School” because they relate all the content to freelancing, and I wanted to show that learning was part of the business.
I could have just as easily used my name, like “Jay Clouse Creative” or a hybrid like “Jay Teaches Freelancing.”
Nothing you choose is permanent, but changing it is a bit of a pain. So while you shouldn’t let this step be a roadblock when you start your freelance business, it’s something to take seriously.
It’s also used for legal much more than for marketing.
If you file an LLC called “John Doe Creative,” and later decide you want to call the company “Doe Designs,” you can operate under the brand name “Doe Designs” but still have your company incorporated as “John Doe Creative.” You will just see the former name on things like your bank account, invoices, and so on.
And if you want to change the legal name, you can either file a new entity or open what we call a Trade Name or DBA (Doing Business As).
Perform a basic name search
Before you officially start your freelance business with the name you’ve chosen, you need to perform a basic name search to ensure it’s not already in use.
Just as you wouldn’t want other businesses using your name, you can’t use someone else’s. If you have a name that is so similar to another business that it causes consumer confusion, you may infringe on a trademark.
You can avoid all that risk and headache from the beginning by performing a name search through your Secretary of State website. If your name is taken, or there are similar names already in use, you’ll want to choose something else to start your freelance business.
File an LLC,
There are different ways to incorporate when you start a freelance business, and you may have heard the abbreviations “LLC, C-Corp, S-Corp,” and so on.
Most independent freelancers are best suited for an LLC (Limited Liability Corporation) when they start a freelance business. But if you’re an independent freelancer earning more than $175,000, it may be worth exploring an S-Corp.
An LLC operates much the same way as being a sole proprietor (which has no legal business entity) but the major benefit is legal protection for your assets.
How to file an LLC
You file an LLC directly with your secretary of state. It’s a straightforward process that may even force the name search we were just talking about, ensuring that the name you’ve chosen for your LLC is not already being used.
Most states allow you to file an LLC online in just a few minutes. To check if you can file your LLC online, and for links of where to do so for each US State, check out the spreadsheet here.
If you can’t file an LLC online, you will need to file them with your local government directly. In either case, the entire process will cost you under $200 to start a freelance business in most states.
Get an EIN
Once you’ve filed your LLC, you can apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS (Internal Revenue Service).
Think of an EIN as a Social Security Number for your business. I will use your EIN on a lot of legal forms and documentation, such as a W9.
Getting an EIN is free, immediate, and you can register it online here.
Open a Business Bank Account
With an LLC and EIN in hand, you now have the tools you need for most banks to allow you to open a business account. This isn’t necessary, but it’s useful for a few reasons.
First, a business bank account makes it easy for you to accept payments on behalf of your business. Whether you’re sending invoices or charging through a processor like Stripe, most processors will want you to connect a bank account for your business.
Not to mention, it makes your business look legitimate to clients when you are using a business banking account.
Second, a business bank account will give you a dedicated debit card and check for your business. You’re going to have expenses for your business. Being able to pay for them directly from your business account will make things simple when you start your freelance business.
When tax season rolls around, it’ll be really easy to determine whether an expense was a business expense when you can see I paid it for using your business debit card!
Finally, a business bank account allows you to apply for a business credit card.
You should only open a credit card if you are comfortable managing your finances. Credit cards are debt, and they take advantage of you if you don’t understand how to pay them off and avoid over-drafting.
But business credit cards often come with great perks on points or cashback. And if you’re good at managing your finances, you may as well take advantage of those perks if you’re going to be spending money on things like website hosting, software, or meals with clients anyway.
With an LLC, EIN, and Bank account, you have a legally legit business!
Create a portfolio to showcase your skills
Every client, whether they realize it, hires you because they trust you.
They trust you to do what you say you’re going to do, and deliver on the quality of work you say you’re going to provide.
Why do you need a portfolio to freelance?
Sometimes a client project comes easily–they may be family or a friend. But most of the time, that client will need a reason to trust you.
So you need to BUILD that trust.
- The best way to build trust with a new client when you start a freelance business is by showing examples of past work that are like the work they are considering hiring you for.
- Who would YOU rather hire: a graphic designer who can show you 10 logos she’s made for clients or a graphic designer who can’t show you a single one?
- The answer is obvious–we want evidence to show us why we can trust this person.
- Plan to have work samples available to share with new clients from the beginning so they believe you can do the work.
What to include in your portfolio when you freelance
- Your portfolio work samples should align with the services you’re offering.
- If you want to create Shopify websites, don’t fill your portfolio with WordPress websites.
- Narrow your work to samples that you are truly proud of. In this situation, less is more–only include your most impressive work.
Building a portfolio that will help you freelance
When you just start a freelance business, you may run into a chicken-and-the-egg situation: if you’ve never worked with clients before, it’s hard to show client work samples.
- So if you don’t already have examples of work you’ve done for clients in the past, think about any free work you’ve done for yourself or someone else.
- Is there anything that you’ve made that you can show as an example of your skills, even if I did not pay you for it?
- If you still don’t have any relevant examples, then your best option is to build some.
- Create something for yourself, do pro work for someone you know, or even do work for a company that didn’t hire you.
- Look at your list of dream clients: if they hired you, what would your work look like?
- Check out this UX designer who took it upon herself to redesign Instagram–just to show how she would do it.
- We did not hire her to do this work–but she can use this as a case study for how she approaches her work, her style, and her process.
- My friend Val Geisler, one of the most sought-after copywriters I know, built a name for herself by doing public teardowns of real company emails.
- (PS: I interviewed Val on my podcast, Creative Elements. Take a listen!)
- As long as you don’t claim that someone paid you when they didn’t, doing imaginative work for proper companies can be incredibly powerful.
- Whether it’s work you’ve already completed or work you do to show examples, this is the beginning of your portfolio.
And your portfolio is arguably your most important tool for creating new clients.
How to display your portfolio when you freelance
Some people share their portfolio on a third-party website like Instagram, Dribble, or Bedane. Others may build their website to showcase their portfolio.
If you need to start with a third-party platform, that’s OK. As long as clients have a way to find and see your work, without needing to ask for it, you’ll be in good shape.
Having a website and your platform, not depending on a third party like social media, will be a tremendous benefit in the long run.
We expect people to have a website. And we expect them to have an email address specific to their website.
Plus, learning the ins and outs of those website tools can be a valuable skill on its own.
Develop a strategy for finding clients
Congratulations, your ducks are officially in a row!
You’ve set a firm foundation to freelance. Now, we need to talk about getting your first clients.
There are three major strategies to consider for finding new clients when you freelance:
- Working with clients directly
- Working as a subcontractor
- Leveraging freelance jobs websites
Let’s talk about each of them.
Working with clients directly
Working directly with clients is the purest form of freelancing–someone has a problem, they pay you to solve it, and there are no other people or platforms involved besides the two of you.
There are two major benefits to working directly with clients.
The first benefit is keeping every penny of the transaction. You and the client agree on the price, the client pays you, and all of it goes into your pocket.
There are no fees to a platform for matching you, and there are no fees to someone for referring the work to you.
The second benefit owns the relationship. When you work with clients directly, they know exactly who is doing the work; you learn a lot about them and their needs through communication, and ultimately you create a strong relationship with them.
A lot of freelancers have clients they work with several times or continuously over a long period. These relationships are really valuable because the client already knows, likes, and trusts you–so it’s easy to go from conversation to pay project.
And these relationships are most easily formed by working with clients directly.
Subcontracting is when a business agrees with a client and creates a second contract with someone else to fulfill that first contract.
- It usually looks like an agency selling a large project and then contracting one or more freelancers to help fulfill the actual work of that project.
- Agencies that subcontract may refer to this as “subbing out” the work.
- An example of this would be a large creative agency selling a new brand package for a client, and subcontracting website development or website copywriting to a freelancer.
- For a lot of creatives trying to freelance, this is a great deal! Instead of creating a lot of individual relationships with clients, you can form a few strategic relationships with larger creative agencies and let them worry about finding clients.
- While that may seem like an efficient way to create a stream of paid work, there are a few major trade-offs.
- The biggest trade-off is that you depend on someone else to supply you with paying work. So what happens when they can’t, or if they won’t?
- Subcontracting takes a lot of the control out of your hands.
- Another tradeoff is that you are leaving money on the table. The agency won’t just pass through the whole client fee to you for doing the work–they keep a cut off the fee for signing the contract.
- And last, you don’t own that client relationship. Some agencies even require you to sign a contract with them, agreeing that you will not work directly with the clients they subcontract to you.
- So even if you communicate directly with the client, in their eyes, you work for the agency. And you may not work with them on future projects without working through that agency.
Freelance jobs websites
Freelance jobs websites make finding new clients very easy when you freelance. I built them to connect as many freelancers to paying projects as possible–and fast.
These freelance jobs websites are two-sided marketplaces. On one side, they build a supply of freelance talent (that’s you!), and on the other side; they build jobs that demand that talent.
So, they are working to actively add new freelance jobs or projects to their website. And then they try to connect those jobs to a freelancer as quickly as possible.
For a long time, the most popular freelance jobs website has been Upwork. They formed it as a merger between two former freelance jobs websites: Elance and oDesk.
It used to be free for freelancers to apply for freelance jobs on Upwork. But recently, they’ve created a pricing structure that works out to about $0.15-$0.90 per job you bid on.
It’s not much, but if you’re getting started and bidding on a lot of projects, it can add up quickly.
There are some new alternatives that I highly recommend.
The first is flexible jobs and curates high-quality, flexible jobs for freelancers. It’s low cost and has a generous trial period.
The next alternative is Solid Gigs. Freelancers built solid Gigs and also take a lot of care in curating high-quality jobs that they send via email daily. With that added curation comes a higher cost at $19 PM, but you can try it for just $2.
Finally, for freelance writers specifically, I recommend Content. They have a ton of high-quality writing jobs available for you to apply to. These jobs pay well and meant for high-quality freelancers too.
These platforms often protect you by verifying that we compensate you for the work you do for clients found through the platform.
But of course, there are some trade-offs to any freelance jobs websites, especially Upwork.
They all cost something–whether it’s bidding on projects or have access to the jobs they curate. And sometimes, as in the case with Upwork, the platform will keep a transaction fee as well.
It is possible to take the client relationships you build on these platforms outside of the platform if you trust the client to pay you through their systems.
Contact here to see the best freelancer to discuss.
Start freelancing by utilizing multiple strategies
Perhaps the best strategy for finding clients is not focusing on one strategy. Instead, you can be open to all strategies and dedicate time to each.
You can work to find clients yourself, create profiles on freelance jobs websites, apply to jobs on those websites, and build relationships with other agencies and freelancers all at the same time.
And in the beginning, I think it’s wise to do all of them until you build more demand for your services.
Eventually, you’ll find a strategy that works best for you and you can focus on one. In the meantime, it’s smart to explore them all.
And while you’re at it, add yourself to the Freelancing School Talent Directory (it’s free) so that I can help connect you to jobs and projects (also free).
Click here to add yourself to the Talent Directory
Tap into your existing network
Let’s explore finding clients to work with directly and subcontracting.
Remember how I said people hire who they trust? Well, they’re even more likely to hire someone they like, too.
So the most likely person to hire you, especially when you’re getting your start freelancing, is someone who already knows you, likes you, and trusts you.
I call these people your advocates.
You already have advocates. They’re your friends, family, coworkers, colleagues, and so on.
Your advocates are always the most likely people to hire you or refer others to you.
Most service-based businesses grow from word-of-mouth… and those words come from the mouths of your advocates!
But, chances are, those advocates are not as good at referring people to you as you’d like.
You can change that.
Reconnect with your advocates
Since your advocates are the most likely people to hire you and refer you anyway, let’s start with them.
The goal here is to make your relationship even stronger.
Start by spending some time meeting and catching up with everyone in your network with whom you’re already close. It may have been a while since you spoke with them, and so they may not understand that you’re freelancing.
You’ll make a great impression right off the bat by being thoughtful and reaching out. It won’t be difficult to convince people to spend 30-60 minutes catching up.
Be helpful to and interested in your advocates
In these conversations, you need to be genuinely interested in your advocates. Talk about their work, what they’re excited about, and how you can help THEM.
They will probably bring up a problem they’re facing right now. You might help them! Even if it’s not your typical service offering, this is a really quick way to find some paying work.
And if you can’t or don’t want to help with a specific problem, you may refer them to someone else who can.
Right away, you’re building a relationship with this person by caring about THEIR problems.
Tell them you’re going to freelance
At some point, they will ask you what you’re up to, or how they can help you.
This is your opportunity to share your new Elevator Speech and make it clear you’ve started freelancing.
“Thanks for asking! I’ve been spending a lot of time lately helping [person x] solve [problem y]. Does anyone come to mind that I should chat with?”
“Thanks for asking! I’ve been spending a lot of time lately helping small businesses launch eCommerce websites. Does anyone come to mind that I should chat with?”
They are going to go into their memory and try to tie those two variables, your ideal client and the solution you offer, to someone they know.
And if someone comes to mind, they may offer to introduce you!
Or, they may say, “You know what, I could use your help” and hire you themselves.
Of course, they may also say, “I’m not sure,” and that’s OK too.
Be patient with your advocates
The goal for these conversations isn’t actually to create a client on the spot.
The goal is to train your advocates on how to think about you when they are out in the world going about their daily lives.
Now that they’ve heard your short, specific Elevator Speech, they know who to refer to you. When they go out into the world and meet someone like your target client or someone mentions the problem you help solve, you’ll come to mind.
That’s how referrals are born
But I cannot stress enough how important it is to be genuine in these conversations and try to help that other person, too.
It’s not about “I’ll help you if you help me.” It’s about being a good friend and building a proper relationship with someone.
If you try to shortcut this step, people will sense that. And they may not be an advocate for you anymore.
No one likes to feel used–so don’t use anyone.
The only way to avoid being transactional or using people is to build actual relationships with them.
Start creating new advocates
When you make the rounds and reconnect with your advocates, ideally, one of them hires you or makes a direct introduction to someone else who hires you.
That first project will be your start–do a great job for them and you can build out from there.
If that doesn’t happen right away, you may panic and think about meeting new people to pitch your services.
So let’s talk about how to do that.
But I cannot stress enough how much better off you are reaching out to EVERY existing advocate you can first.
It is so much easier to find clients amongst people who already know, like, and trust you. So be sure you’ve talked to everyone you can before doing any direct outreach to strangers.
Cold outreach vs. warm introductions
Have you heard the phrases “cold outreach” or “warm introduction?” When someone says “cold” outreach, it means there is no previous conversation or connection to the person you’re reaching out to.
It’s “cold” because there was nothing to warm them up and make them expect a hearing from you.
Warm introductions are great because the person is already expecting your message and has already “warmed” at the idea of hearing from you. It’s an easier starting point.
Things are harder to do when you go in cold because it’s up to YOU to warm that person up to you.
Cold outreach is tough, but it’s possible.
The goal of direct outreach
The goal of outreach is simple but often misunderstood. Your primary goal in outreach when you freelance is to create more advocates.
Advocate is an important distinction from the client.
Yes, of course, we want clients.
But even clients are advocates first. If they weren’t advocates, they wouldn’t become a client–they had to convince themselves that they should hire you!
Remember, it was your ABCs: Advocate Before Client.
So the goal of outreach foremost is to create new advocates.
A tiny number of people in your life will hire you. But ANYONE can be an advocate for you.
Now, remember what I was saying about cold outreach vs. warm introductions? You need to warm people up.
And the worst way to warm someone up is by being sales off the bat.
Outreach isn’t about selling a project. Outreach is about selling a conversation.
If you can convince someone to take a 20-30 minute conversation with you, then you create a new advocate.
This is your best long-term strategy. It’s not necessarily quick, but it’s about creating strong relationships.
Choose your outreach targets
Too many freelancers are reactive: they sit back and wait for clients (or advocates) to come to them.
But it’s so much better to be proactive: reach out directly to the clients you want to work with, and sell them on the opportunity to work with you!
This is a fundamental shift in the mindset of finding clients to create clients.
So start reaching out to people you truly want to work with. Reach out to well-connected people in your community. If you can create an advocate out of someone well-connected, that’s a powerful advocate to have.
Here’s the secret truth: every client you work with will probably lead to other clients a lot like them.
This can be a grand thing! But it can also be a bad thing.
If you do the photography work, you swore you wouldn’t offer, you’re going to keep getting people asking for more photography work.
Why? Because people assume you do the work that they see you doing.
And clients who refer other people to you are going to talk about the work you did for them.
You want to find the right clients off the bat.
So if you can’t get the dream clients you want, at least start by doing the right work for your first clients.
You want your portfolio to be laser-focused on the type of work and the type of client you’re looking to work with.
How to perform effective outreach
Once you’ve identified your outreach targets, you need to convince them to talk with you for 20-30 minutes.
Start by letting them know you respect their business, their work, or something else they’ve done.
And then tell them you’re looking for their insight. People love to share their knowledge or their opinions–so ask if you can learn from them!
If you think you can help realtors by building personal websites for them, DO NOT reach out to a realtor and ask, “Will you pay me to build a personal website for you?”
Start with a relationship. Start with a conversation. Maybe even start with a little flattery before asking for a few minutes of their time to get their perspective.
I’ve been following your Instagram for a while now, and it looks like you do an incredible job finding dream homes for your clients! They all have such great things to say about you.
I’m a little new to the real estate space, and I’m trying to talk with some realtors to learn a little more about it. I’d love to ask you a few questions to get your perspective. Do you have 20 minutes in the next few weeks to get on the phone?
Lower the bar. Start by simply asking for their time and insight.
But this isn’t a bait and switch. If they get on the phone, you still shouldn’t start pitching them.
Instead, ask them what they are struggling with or what is holding their business back. Try to understand what would make them more successful.
When you get the other person to talk about their problems, you see opportunities to help solve problems for them.
And this is where the magic happens. If you can help someone identify a problem they have, and you offer a solution, you have a very good chance at landing that project.
We hate having problems, and we love finding solutions. If you’re offering a solution right in front of them, they just may take you upon it.
And even better: if you help them identify a problem, then you are probably the only option they’re considering solving it.
This is how you create new clients instead of finding new clients. When you create clients, they are less likely to shop around to your competitors.
But foremost, these conversations are about making a great first impression. You need to be interested in that person (just like any of your advocates) and ask them questions about their work.
Outreach requires patience
Outreach is a long-term strategy. It’s about forming strong relationships and creating new advocates for your business.
Sometimes, you hit it off and things move quickly.
And as you’ve probably seen from your existing advocates, those relationships don’t always bear fruit quickly.
But if you have enough advocates for your business walking around the world talking to people in their own lives, chances are that one of them will refer someone to you. The more advocates you have, the higher your odds.
The numbers are in your favor.
Congratulations my friend, you are ready to freelance!
We just covered a lot of ground, but it was all about creating a firm foundation for your freelance business.
To recap the steps we covered:
- Define your goals for freelancing
- Choose which skills you freelance with
- Define your target clients
- Package your skills into a service offering
- Legally incorporate your business
- Create a portfolio to showcase your skills
- Choose a strategy for finding clients
- Reconnect with your existing network
- Start creating new advocates
You should have some clarity about the skills you’re going to leverage as a freelancer. You should know how you’re going to package them as a service and sell them as a solution to your target clients.
If you haven’t already, choose a name for your freelance business and file for your LLC.
Start building your portfolio to show your potential clients. Whether you plan to work with clients directly, subcontract, or work through freelance jobs websites, you will need to show off your skills.
You’ll need to spend a lot of time building and rebuilding relationships with your advocates. Reach out to them–line up some conversations to find out what they’re up to and let them know that you’re freelancing. Use that Elevator Speech whenever anyone asks what you’re up to.
And once you’ve reconnected with your advocates, it’s time to create new advocates. Outreach can feel scary and difficult, but remember it’s not about selling a project–it’s about selling a conversation.
Have fun, make some friends, and you’ll be creating new clients in no time.
Take the next step
We are here to help! Join our free community to support you on your journey. I also recommend this article on how to become a freelance writer.
If you want to take this a step further, our course bundle will walk you through everything you need to know to build a truly profitable freelance business.
And if you haven’t already, add yourself to the Freelancing School Talent Directory.
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