The Ultimate Freelancer's Guidebook: Learn How to Land the Best Jobs, Build Your Brand, and Be Your Own Boss is “The bible” for freelance writers and future freelance writers alike. Yuwanda is a Genius! When I started reading this book several days ago, I immediately left a review not worthy of the finished product. Oct 17, 2021 The ultimate freelancer. A couple of days before the IPL final I made contact with Faf du Plessis in Dubai where the Chennai Super Kings were awaiting news of their opponents in the final. He was in good spirits, understandably, not primarily because he’d enjoyed an outstanding campaign but because he was sharing his hotel room with his wife. First major deals, this guide is complete with examples, action steps, and exclusive CreativeLive content. For the next 4 weeks, you’ll also be getting twice weekly emails with behind-the-scenes videos, check-in updates, and resources we built for our freelance community. We also created a Facebook Group for our community of freelancers. The imaginary freelancer that we wrote this position experience for, for instance, is a person that prides themselves on their innovative skills. You might be different. You might be the kind of freelancer who is creative and thinks of visual ideas. Maybe you’re the kind of person who values teamwork above all else.
There are many benefits to working as a freelancer. You can set your own hours, determine your rates, and be selective about the clients you serve. Freelancing can boost your income with many freelancers reporting that their earnings increased with this career move.
Companies are hiring freelancers to get work done quickly and efficiently as they can hire the perfect talent for their project.
It can be easy to get started as a freelancer because you can simply take your own skills and experience and sell your services at your preferred rate.
In this post, you'll find the ultimate step-by-step guide on how to start your freelance business quickly and easily.
But, first, let me walk you through how to get started as a freelancer in just a few hours so you can get started right away.
Note: Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means I may get a small commission if you try them and purchase. However, none of the fees have been increased to compensate me.
How to Get Started as a Freelancer in Just a Few Hours
It’s simple to market yourself as a freelancer and you can get started in half a work day. Here’s your quick start guide to get up and running as a freelancer quickly.
Freelance Services Offered
Most freelancers start offering services based on the type of work they were already paid to do in previous roles. But you don’t have to limit yourself to these skills. If you’re a fast learner and have picked up similar skills along the way, like computer software you used at a previous job, you can add these skills to your services offered.
Popular freelance jobs include marketing, graphic design, website designer, social media services, virtual assistant, data entry, tutor, curriculum developer, copywriting, content writer, and recruiting, to name a few.
Once you’ve decided on the services you will offer, you’ll need to determine your niche.
Select Your Niche
Create a niche for yourself that is highly specialized. That way you can charge more for your work. Clients will pay more for work done by a specialist than that of a generalist.
For example, let’s assume that you plan to offer website design services. You’ve already set up a few websites for friends who have started small boutiques and loved working with that niche.
By specializing in helping business owners who want a small boutique website, this allows you to focus on their specific needs and streamline your services.
Determine Your Pricing Structure
This pricing structure should consider the value of your education, skills, and time while still being a fair price for your clients.
If you are just beginning to make the transition from your current job to freelance work, you may have to take a cut in pay. So, make sure you have enough savings to cover the deficit or an alternative way to make money during these early days.
FREELANCE PRICING OPTIONS
There are several ways you can price your freelance services.
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Hourly: With this option, you charge by the hour and will be required to keep track of your hours for each client.
Retainer: This is a flat, monthly fee such as $2,000 per month for an estimated number of hours per month. A con to this option is that you may be required to go over your estimated number of hours.
You can outline an extra cost for the overtime hours in your contract, but this will require you to keep a close eye on the number of hours worked on a project for your client. Most freelancers use the retainer pricing model for ongoing projects.
Fixed Project Fee: This is a fixed fee for a completed project. For example, let’s assume that you were updating a website for your client. You will outline in the contract exactly what you will do and the amount you will charge, e.g. $2,000.
The con to this pricing option is that you may not correctly estimate the number of hours needed for a project, or your client may ask for additional edits that were not considered during the pricing proposal. You should use the fixed project fee for projects that have a set start and end date.
Next, figure out how much money you will need to cover all your basic expenses. What is the absolute minimum amount of income you will need to live? Consider what kind of lifestyle you need? Can you cut out little luxuries for a while? Are there expenses that you cannot cut? Find the spot where these two expenses meet and let that be the basis for your pricing.
In the beginning, you might need to charge less to build your client base and get experience. But don't worry because you will be able to raise your prices later as you become better known and gain experience.
Another way to determine your pricing is to check what your competition charges. Then either compete against it or match it. Watching your competition is a good way to determine if your prices are fair, especially if your competitors have less experience than you do.
Also, consider when you can expect your clients to pay you. Make sure your clients know if they will need to pay you at the end of the project or at specified periods throughout the life of the project. Always set your payment expectations upfront before you start work.
Never reduce your price because a client says they cannot afford your rates. If they can't afford you, don't make up the difference yourself, because that will diminish the value of your work.
If you are unsure of how to price your freelance services, start with an initial amount and adjust as you pitch clients and start your freelance business.
It can be difficult to come up with a fair price for your work. There are so many factors that must be considered including your living expenses, the niche that you’re serving, and the experience you bring to the table.
Always remember that your early prices are just a starting point. They can always be raised later when you are better established and more experienced.
Let’s move onto setting up your social media accounts.
Set Up Your Social Media Accounts
One of the first things a potential client will do before hiring you as a freelancer is to look at your social media presence. It’s important to note that you don’t need to sign up for every social platform right away.
Start With LinkedIn
If you're a freelancer, LinkedIn is your best friend. Some experts believe having a compelling LinkedIn profile is the most important aspect of getting a client.
Your LinkedIn profile is your professional calling card, and it has to capture your reader's attention and leave a lasting impression. Your profile picture should be professional, and always use one of your business headshots to convey professionalism.
Along with your profile photo, the first thing people see is your LinkedIn headline. Make sure it shows your expertise and includes keywords that the search engines will pick up and direct traffic to you.
When people look for a freelance health writer, for example, you want them to arrive at your profile, so include keywords that convey what you do. The same is true of your bio, include those keywords!
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On LinkedIn, include information about your past work experience, but make sure it's relevant to what you do as a freelancer. For example, people don't want to hear about your past job as a waitress unless it's relevant to the type of freelance work you do.
You can also link to samples of work you've done in the past that's relevant. For example, you might include writing samples if you're a writer.
When writing your profile, keep your sentences short and compelling without added 'fluff.' Afterward, edit with a fine-tooth comb, removing extra words that weigh down your writing. People have limited time to read, and you have to pack as much punch into a few words as possible.
To help you promote your services on LinkedIn or other social media platforms, I have a Social Media Pack for Freelancers that has 8 Canva templates and 5 captions so you can promote your freelance services in a non-salesy way. Grab it below!
Network With Previous Employers and Co-Workers
Your next step is to contact previous employers and co-workers to let them know what you're doing and pitch your services.
Freelance Pitch Template
Here’s a template to help you pitch your new freelance services to a former employer:
Hi [former employer’s name],
I hope you’re doing well! I just wanted to send you a quick note to let you know that I’ve started a business offering freelance [type of service you offer e.g. copywriting] services.
You can check out some of my work on my portfolio at [link to your website portfolio].
If you need any [type of service you offer e.g. copywriting] help, I’d love to discuss more details.
[Your email signature]
Another way to pitch your services is to respond to job ads with your freelance pitch. Let’s assume you see an ad where a business is searching for a social media representative. You can apply for the job and in your cover letter clearly state that you’re interested in the role as a freelancer.
Set Up a Profile on Freelance Websites
You can also set up a profile on freelance sites such as Freelancer, Upwork, or Fiverr to get started with freelancing if you’re concerned about finding clients quickly. Here are some resources to help you get started on these sites:
After the initial steps to get started as a freelancer in just a few hours, here are the five steps you need to do to set up your freelance business as a 'serious' business.
It is recommended that you get started on these steps within 1-2 months of starting your freelance business.
Step-by-Step Guide to Set Up Your Freelance Business
Step 1: Determine Your Business Name
It’s important to have a formal name for your business. This can be a brand name, or you could even use your personal name as your business name. If you need help coming up with a brand name for your business, consider using an artificial intelligence business name generator like Namelix.
Once you have decided on a name for your business, check to see if it is legally available before registering it with your state. You would not want to go through the trouble of getting everything set up to learn that the name you decided on is already in use. You can Google the name to see if it's being used by someone else or conduct a search on the United States Patent & Trademark database.
As always, check with your lawyer before proceeding with your business name selection.
Step 2: Set Up Your Website
Once you have your business brand name, the next step is to set up your website. First, you’ll need to purchase your domain name from a site like GoDaddy.com.
Next, you’ll need to select the platform for your website. Several options exist like Squarespace, Wix, or WordPress. Many of the website builders have templates you can use if you lack design or technical skills. This website, https://destinicopp.com/, was built using a Squarespace template.
The benefit of having a website is that you can build out your online presence to increase your authority in the marketplace and drive organic traffic to your website. A professional website presence will attract higher-quality clients and set up your business for future success.
Step 3: Set Up your Legal Structure
Several options are available for your business legal structure, such as sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), S corporation, and C corporation. Each legal structure will determine how you pay taxes and how you are protected from liability as a business owner. If you are not sure which legal structure is best for your business, please visit the Small Business Administration for more help or consult with your accountant.
If you need contracts or website policies for your freelance business, Artful Contracts is a great resource.
Step 4: Create a Lead Magnet and Start an Email List
In this step, you will create a lead magnet, which is essentially a free gift like an ebook, cheatsheet, or some type of pdf giveaway, so that you can start an email list. Lead magnets are created for visitors to your site to opt-in and provide their information, such as their name and email address, as a way for you to connect with them and build an ongoing relationship.
Starting an email list allows you to build a list of potential clients so you can market to them in the future. ConvertKit is our recommended tool for email marketing and you can sign up for your free account here.
Step 5: Start a Blog
Next, you’ll want to start blogging in your area of expertise to showcase your knowledge and give visitors insight into your business. As a business owner, that will allow you to engage with your audience in a non-pushy way. Plus, it can help you learn what interests your visitors to create more content related to their needs.
A blog can help you sell more products and services because it makes your business appear more approachable and relatable. To get started on your blog, research relevant keywords and determine how often you will post. Consider using Pinterest to help distribute your blog content to your ideal customer.
Step 6: Set Up Client Processes and Procedures
To ensure an outstanding client experience, you need to establish a seamless onboarding process for new clients and procedures to communicate with them as their project progresses. Now that you have a few clients under your belt, you can put some solid processes and procedures in place to ensure a smooth client experience. You can use several tools for this, including Asana, which is a project management tool, and, Calendly, which you can use for scheduling client appointments.
Another tool is Fiverr Workspace which allows you to streamline all of your Invoices, proposals, contracts, time tracking, task management, and invoicing all in one place. Set up your free account here.
Here’s How You Can Take Action
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There you go! If you need help with setting up your freelance business and would like templates, swipe files, and additional training to fast track your results, we’ve created FreelanceTrack which is our step-by-step system to go from your freelance idea to paying clients within a week.
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