If you’ve been wanting to start freelancing but do not know where to start, this is the perfect article for you.
Freelancing can be a lucrative source of income that can earn you 6 digits in a month, but before you get to that level of success, you have to take the right steps.
In this article, we’re going to discuss the basics of how you can start freelancing the right way.
But first, let’s talk about mindset.
In our years of teaching people how to start a freelancing business, we’ve seen many people who start and fail after a few months.
Why did they fail?
It’s not because they have no skills or resources.
It’s because they had the wrong mindset.
Many people think that:
• Freelancing is a way to earn easy money.
• It will only take them 2-3 months of hard work to reach their target income.
If this is your mindset, stop right there.
We’d like to warn you that freelancing is NOT easy.
It’s not a get-rich-quick scheme. It’s a real business that requires hard work to build and grow. It’s a long-term game.
You have to put in the work consistently for months before you see any real results.
You may have to sacrifice a lot of Friday nights and weekends, but once you get your first client and continuously build your business, it’ll all be worth it.
As a highschool drop-out with many struggles in the past, I can tell you this as fact:
Freelancing takes a lot of hard work. Not just a little, but a LOT. BUT it's all worth it.
If you are willing to put in the work, read on to find out the right steps to build your freelance business the right way.
Here's a quick video summary if you prefer watching:
Let's get started.
If you don’t know where you’re going, there’s a high chance you won’t get there.
Knowing why you want to start a freelance career is crucial because it will inform your strategy and the way you do things.
These are some questions you should consider:
• Do you want to eventually become a full-time freelancer or is this going to be a temporary part-time gig?
• Are you looking to have a freelancing business to use it as a stepping stone to achieving an entirely different goal?
Having clear, realistic goals will help you formulate an effective plan, manage your expectations, and keep you committed to your vision.
Choose a skill that you’re really interested in and specialize in it. If you love writing, offer writing services. If you love editing videos, be a video editor.
Don’t be a jack of all trades trying to be everything to everybody because they’re not as effective and well-paid as specialists.
If you have heart disease, you’re going to want to be treated by a cardiologist rather than a general practitioner. You’ll also be willing to pay more! The same thing works in freelancing.
What you can also do is think of a skill that complements your main service. For example, a web developer can also offer digital marketing or content writing services because these services go hand in hand.
You can always expand and add more to your skillset once you get the hang of freelancing.
A common pitfall of new freelancers is they try to offer their services to anyone who might need it.
This approach will:
• Limit how much you can earn as a freelancer
• Waste so much time and effort
Just like in determining your services, it’s best to target a specific market or niche because this will make it easier for you to build a reputation and start charging higher.
“I develop websites for any business” screams inexperience and vagueness.
But saying “I develop high-converting websites for law firms” screams expertise and clarity. You can even narrow this down further by targeting law firms specializing in divorce cases.
Other possible niches:
• Coffee shops
• Wedding photographers/videographers
• Events places
• Local businesses in your area
• Tech startups
• SaaS companies
• E-commerce stores
Having an idea of who your ideal clients are or what they are like will make it easier to choose which projects to accept.
Ask yourself the following questions to identify your ideal client:
• What should they already have? For example, some content marketers prefer to work with clients with an existing personal brand because it’s easier to come up with campaigns with a high chance of success. Should your ideal client already have a competitive line of products and/or services, website, huge following, good marketing strategy, etc.? You can also narrow down based on location.
• What are their pain points? What are some of their problems that your service can help solve?
• What values should you share? What are some of your non-negotiable values or advocacies? If you’re vegan, will you be willing to work with a meat supplier? Most freelancers stay away from clients in murky industries like gambling and others.
Once you’ve chosen a niche, it’s time to put together a professional website that will clearly show what you can do:
1 – Buy a domain related to your niche.
2 – Write a clear USP or unique selling proposition that will clearly state who your target clients are and how you can help them.
Example: “I create high-converting sales funnels to help business coaches get more clients.”
This website is going to be your primary marketing material, so make sure everything supports your claim in your USP.
Here are things you can do to make your website more effective in convincing potential clients:
• Create a portfolio. Ready three or more sample works so your clients can have an idea of your style and quality. There are many ways to build a portfolio even if you don’t have a client yet. For one, you can offer your services at a discount in exchange for a testimonial. But what if no one takes up your offer? Then you can just create a sample work and publish it on your portfolio. If you’re a web developer, create a website.
If you’re a graphic designer, design a poster and include it in your portfolio and do the following:
• Write blog articles consistently – Blogging is an incredible way to show off your expertiseIf you’re targeting business coaches, you can write about a topic that’s relevant to them such as marketing or time management tips for business coaches.
• Publish client testimonials – 72% of consumers say that positive reviews and testimonials boost their trust in a business, so testimonials are a must. But how will you get a testimonial if you don’t have a client yet? Offering an incentive like a discount or freebie in exchange for a quick testimonial works like a charm.
Pricing is a huge topic with lots of areas to cover, but pricing can make or break your business.
A common question of beginner freelancers is should they charge by the hour or by value. We won’t go into too much detail here because we’ve already discussed it at length in this blog post, but we strongly believe that charging according to the value you give is a wiser option both for you and your client. You can learn more about it here.
In deciding how much to charge, your niche also plays a huge role. A local arts and crafts store won’t have a budget as big as that of a law firm.
Make sure that your price is competitive for your specific niche.
Once your services, website, and pricing are ready, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and do the hard work of manually reaching out to clients.
There are lots of things you can do:
• Use paid advertisements like Facebook and Google ads.
• Create a Facebook group and invite your target clients to join. Regularly post helpful content to build trust, and eventually, you can start selling your services to them.
• Look through directories, Google, newspapers, or magazines to find the contact details of your target clients. Then send them an email or give them a call. Make sure to follow up if they don’t respond within 2-3 days. Create a spreadsheet where you can track down who you’ve contacted, who’ve replied, and who to follow up.
Do these things consistently and persistently and you’re bound to land your first paying client.
I said “persistently” because you can’t send emails to seven people and then be disappointed that it didn’t work!
Some of you may be thinking, “How am I going to find time to do all that?!”
But if you really want this, you’re going to create time. Cancel your Netflix subscription. Limit your time spent on social media. There’s always more time if you prioritize.
There is no shortcut to this process. You will be rejected. Some won’t even call you back. But you need to persevere.
Johannes (the other half of SWD) always says, “You need to have a lot of persistence. Keep trying, keep knocking. Every “no” will bring you closer to a “yes”.”
After about 3 months of applying these strategies, you need to analyze the results to figure out what works or not. How can you make improvements? What else should you try?
If you’re advertising, you need to analyze if what you’re spending is giving a decent return. Analyze what copy, landing page, keywords, budget, and others work best.
If you created a Facebook group, what can you do to maximize it?
Once you figure out the strategies that work best for you, drop the others, and start focusing on these key strategies.
Those were the 7 basic steps you can take to jumpstart your freelance career. This process worked for us, it worked for our students, but whether it will work for you depends on the amount of work you’re willing to do.
Also, don't be afraid to start "small":
Kyle PrinslooMy first client was a $5 Fiverr sale.
That turned into a $100 Wireframe.
That turned into a $1,000 Website.
That turned into 8 Websites.
That turned into a $1k Monthly Retainer.
That turned into Referral Clients.
All from this ONE client.
Start "small" 👍08:52 AM - 13 May 2020
We hope that you’ve learned something from this article.
Thanks for reading 😊