How to Start Freelancing In 2023:

{From beginner to entrepreneur}

If you’re tired of your day job, or just want to make more money, then it may be time for you to start freelancing your skills.

It has become quite popular these days. Every day, more and more people are starting their own freelancing businesses.

It’s a great way for people who have skills and expertise in any number of fields to make money on their own time and schedule.

The best part is, just about any skill can be freelanced!

In This Post You’ll Learn:

  • What freelancing is
  • Why people hire freelancers
  • The advantages and disadvantages of freelancing
  • How freelancing works
  • How to start Freelancing

If you’ve thought about quitting your 9-5 job or starting a side hustle in the gig economy because you want more income, or

If you’re a new entrepreneur who’s thinking about starting a freelance business then this guide is for you.

Disclosure: Some links in this guide are affiliate links and I will get a small commission if you use them and complete a purchase. This is at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support.


What Is Freelancing?

Freelancing is a way for people to work from home and make money on their own terms using the skills and expertise they have.

It is work that can be done on a contract basis for a short period of time.

With freelancing, individuals get paid for completing a job or project.

Simply put, freelancing is an exchange of skills and expertise for money.

Freelancing has been around for a while now, however, it has become more popular as people become more comfortable with the internet.

There are many different types of freelancers: some focus on writing, others on programming, designing, marketing, etc.

It all depends on what you’re good at and what you enjoy doing!

If you’re going to start your own freelancing business, there are some popular freelancing lingo that you need to know and understand.

Freelance lingo is important because it helps freelancers communicate with each other and the people who hire them.

Freelancing Terms

  • Contract Job/Work: This is when you sign a contract to fulfill short-term or part-time work.
  • Independent Contractor: If you live in the USA, this is how the IRS classifies a freelancer.
  • 1099: In the US this is also used to refer to freelancers. 1099 is a tax form.
  • Contract Consultant: Represents a consultant under a 1099 contract for a short time.
  • Contract-to-hire: This is when freelancers are tested for a period of time before being hired.

Next, let’s discuss

Who Is A Freelancer?

Freelancers are people who are self-employed.

They can work for multiple clients that pay them for completing short-term or long-term jobs or tasks.

In short, a freelancer earns money for completing a short-term job/task/project.

They are usually independent contractors who work for themselves. They often have their own company and offer their services to others.

Freelancers can accept multiple jobs from multiple people at the same time, as long as he/she can deliver the work on time.

Freelancers also offer their services to other businesses (subcontractors) and get paid a retainer.

Why Do People Hire Freelancers

There are many skills that can be applied to freelancing; not just freelance writing jobs. Freelance jobs include web design, social media management, SEO manager and so much more.

People hire freelancers to do a specific project or task; they may be hired on a short-term or long-term contract.

Since a lot of jobs can be done remotely, businesses are finding it more cost-effective to hire freelancers instead of full-time employees.

This is beneficial to companies for a number of reasons, some of which are:

1. Freelancers help their businesses grow faster, depending on the task.

2. It’s less expensive than hiring full-time workers because they don’t have to provide healthcare benefits.

3. They’ll have fewer taxes to pay.

4. The company would use up fewer resources.

5. They also wouldn’t need a big office space that would have high overhead costs.

Freelancing is a lucrative and long-term business venture.

Let’s talk about the

Top Advantages Of Being A Freelancer

Being a freelancer provides many benefits to both the person requiring the service and the freelancer.

Here are some of the pros of being a freelancer. You get

  • To be your own boss: As a freelancer, you’re in charge of yourself. You manage your own schedule, time, workload, etc.
  • To choose your own clients: Freelancers get to choose who they want to work with/for. So if someone makes a proposal and the freelancer doesn’t like the terms or even the person, they can turn it down.
  • More freedom: You’ll have more time for family, fun, traveling, hobbies, etc.
  • To control your workload: They can take on as many or as few jobs and work as much or as little as they feel. They can also choose the type of jobs they prefer to do.
  • Set your own schedule: You are not tied to a 9-5/8-4/mid-night shift job. You work whenever you’re ready, whether early morning, mid-day, or late at night.
  • Set your own price/rate: Freelancers are in control of pricing their own work. They can go up or down on their rates whenever they choose.
  • Work remotely: They are able to work from anywhere in the world or from the comfort of their own homes. They are not confined to an employer’s building/office.

To learn about more freelancing benefits read this article.

Disadvantages of Being a Freelancer

As with everything else, if there’s a yes there’s also a no on the other end. Having said that freelancing does have its cons as well.

Some of the disadvantages of being a freelancer are:

  • No employee benefit: Freelancers don’t get any benefits. Since they are self-employed, they are responsible for their own healthcare, etc.
  • Self-employment taxes: As a freelancer, you’ll have to pay self-employment taxes.
  • No guaranteed work: As a freelancer, you may not have jobs every day, and sometimes it might be a struggle to land a gig. You have no guaranteed client, work, or sure income.
  • Payment Issues: One of the biggest drawbacks to being a freelancer is not getting paid. There are many freelancers who complete jobs for clients and have difficulty getting their money.

While there are pros and cons to freelancing, the pros clearly outweigh the cons.

How Does Freelancing Work?

In the freelance labor market, freelancers work either directly with clients, through third-party platforms, or with companies as subcontractors.

They are paid for whatever services they offer.

When they work directly with clients, they keep 100% of what they charge the client.

On the other hand, when working through 3rd party platforms, the platform gets a fee for all transactions.

Freelancing platforms generally have a lot of competition.

More details on that are below.

Now let’s address the topic at hand

How To Start Freelancing

Starting a career in the freelancing industry is not hard to do, but it does take quite a bit of work to market yourself.

If you want to learn how to start freelancing as a beginner then follow the steps below.

1. Identify Your Skills

We were all born with talent/s and all of us have something that we’re good at.

Our talents were given to us, not for ourselves but to help those we come in contact with. That means, that whatever your talent is, it is beneficial to someone else.

Therefore, your first step to starting a freelancing career is to figure out your talents and skills.

Identify what it is that you’re good at/great at. Some of us are gifted with more than one talent, plus we have skills that we’ve learned over the years and we’ve added them to our library of talents.

It does not matter what skills or talents you have, remember that there is a marketplace somewhere with a great demand for it; someone, somewhere needs it.

In case you’re saying, how do I identify my skills? below are a few tips to help you.

  • Start with what you know you’re good at.
  • Ask family, friends, and co-workers what they think you’re good at.
  • Use your expertise or education. I’m certain some of you went to college/university and endured years of training and sleepless nights, use it, and don’t let it go down the drain.
  • Think of your past or previous jobs; what are you getting paid to do?
  • Think about your hobbies and what you enjoy doing; these are the things that can be marketed.

I’m guessing your next question is

What type of work can I do by freelancing?

Remember, there is someone that needs your particular talents; that means, any skill can be freelanced.

Below are some popular online freelancing skills.

  • Transcribing
  • App Development
  • Graphic Designing
  • Drawing Illustration & Animation
  • Website Creation & Design
  • Researcher
  • Social Media Management
  • SEO Management
  • Data Entry
  • Coaching & Consulting

Did you know that your skills can be freelanced offline as well? Some offline freelancing skills are

  • Construction
  • Home Decorator
  • Home & Office Organizer
  • Maintenance
  • Plumber
  • Home Remodeler

The list is never-ending, if you can think of it, there’s a market for it.

The only problem is, ‘how to find freelance work?’ We’ll discuss that a few steps down.

The second step is to

2. Identify Your Why

Once you’ve identified your skills, you want to figure out your WHY.

I know it might sound crazy, but you got to know why you want to freelance your skills.

For example, I freelance my writing skills because:

1. I want to make extra money to do some big things and help my family (that’s my first reason, I’m not gonna lie and say it’s because I want to help others first).

2. My second reason is that I want to help others who need the help that my talent/skills can provide.

3. Thirdly, I want to learn, expand, grow, and get smarter, and wiser at what I do.

Now here’s the importance of your why,

When the going gets tough and you’re struggling to find a freelance gig, or you’re hearing a lot of no’s, you’re gonna get frustrated, depressed, and want to give up.

Your ‘why’ is what will motivate you to keep pushing. The truth is if your why isn’t strong or good enough you’re gonna quit.

After you’ve found your ‘why’, it’s time to find your niche and target audience.

3. Find Your Niche & Target Audience

So, your niche is simply the area/industry or market in which you want to sell your skills.

For example, do you want to sell your writing services to the health industry or the education field?

Choosing a niche will help you relate a lot better to your audience. If you provide enough value to them, they’ll consider you to be an expert.

For a detailed guide on choosing a niche read this article.

After you’ve chosen your niche you need to identify your ideal target audience.

Figure out who you want to serve. Create some customer avatars/buyer personas and zoom in on your ideal audience.

By identifying your target audience you’ll be able to provide a more concentrated and better service for them.

For more insights on buyer persona and how to create one, check out this article by Hubspot.

Once you’ve found your target audience, engage, serve, and build a great relationship with them.

Next, get the right gear for your skills.

4. Get Your Tools & Equipment

If you’re going to sell a service, you’re definitely going to need some tools/equipment.

Make it your priority to figure out exactly what tools you’ll need to effectively and efficiently complete a job. Invest in your skill, and purchase the necessary resources or equipment.

For example, as a writer, I know I’ll need a computer because I can’t provide great writing services from my smartphone.

I know I’ll also need tools that will help me with grammar, proofreading, etc, so I make it my point of duty to get them.

Your skill may even require a team, so be prepared to invest in that.

The next step is to

5. Figure Out Your Service & Pricing

By now, you know the skill that you want to sell, and you also know your why and target audience; but do you know how you’re going to use it to help others?

It is this step that will be the make or break of your freelancing career.

How is your skill going to help your audience? and how are you going to convince them that your service is the solution to their problems?

Remember, you’re not the only one providing such a service, so you’ve got to package your offer right.

Therefore, when you’re marketing your services, start off by telling your audience what you do and then how your service can help them.

That way they’ll know right off the bat if you’re one of the possible solutions to their pain.

Now let’s talk about pricing your work.

Factors to consider when pricing

It’s now time to set your price, however, the problem is, ‘how do you know exactly how much to charge?’

The truth is there is no exact answer for this, as your pricing will depend on the following variables.

  • Experience
  • Niche
  • Length and complexity of the job
  • Turn around time

You don’t want to price too high, because then you might chase away clients; and if you price too low, you may seem like you don’t know what you’re doing and just looking to make a quick buck.

The best thing to do is to check out your competition and freelance websites to see what the pricing is like for your particular service and then find a mid-price.

There are several different ways you can charge for your work.

You can charge:

  • Per hour: You charge for each hour you spend on the task or job.
  • Per task/job/project-based: You collect a flat freelance rate for completing a project.
  • A retainer fee: You charge a flat recurring fee for continuing an ongoing project.

For more information on pricing structure check out this article by Upwork.

6. Put Yourself On The Market

Now it’s time to start marketing your skill.

The internet has made it easier to find freelance opportunities and connect with potential clients.

In case you’re wondering how to find clients or freelance jobs, I suggest you start off with the marketplace.

You’ve got everything in place so start listing your skills on freelancing marketplaces.

There are lots of freelance platforms online where you can list your skills and find job requests.

Keep in mind that freelance sites have many other freelancers with your very exact skill, so you’ll have to work hard at selling yourself.

Popular freelancing website

Some of the most popular freelancing sites are

  • Freelancer
  • Flexjobs

The most popular marketplaces are often overcrowded and have extremely high competition so you should consider the options below.

Other places to find freelance jobs are newer and less popular freelance sites and job boards. Lots of great opportunities are posted on job boards.

Forums and social media groups often have persons seeking freelancers.

You can also collaborate with other freelancers, you might have a skill that could complement theirs.

Here’s an article that has a list of newer freelance sites you can join.


7. Create A Portfolio

Once you’ve completed a few freelance jobs it’s time to start putting your portfolio together.

This will be the online home for all of your freelance work, and it’s where clients will go to learn more about you and your services.

Your portfolio should include a professional biography, a client list (if applicable), and examples of your work.

Ask your past and previous clients for testimonials or ask them to write or record a review of your service.

Another great way to build your portfolio is to offer some of your services for free in exchange for reviews or testimonials.

Having your clients vouch for you will increase your credibility and authority. It helps to build trust. That’s kinda how Google works with backlinks.

So get your portfolio together.

8. Create A Website

Your next step is to purchase a domain name/business name (you can use your name as your domain) and then create a website for yourself.

I know you’re probably thinking you don’t need a website, which is true, you don’t, but if you want to take your business to the next level then you must get a website built.

It’s inexpensive and very easy to do. You can read my guide on how to create a website if you don’t know how to create one.

The guide walks you through the entire process from choosing a domain, registering it, and setting up your website.

Once you’ve created your site, point your old and existing clients to it. You can also ask them to refer clients to you.

Now you can work harder at marketing yourself and the business.

Paid ads are also an option for getting clients as well.


9. Learn & Improve Your Skill

No matter how good we are at something we can always get better.

Practice your skills. By taking the time to practice and hone your skills, you will be able to provide better services and increase the chances of getting hired for future projects.

Don’t stop learning, improving, and developing new skills that can complement your existing ones, this can bring in extra income, as you can bundle the skills you have and charge a higher price.

Learn how to pitch and sell yourself, learn marketing, etc, these are very important skills for a freelancer.

Never stop learning.

Freelancing FAQs

When is the right time to start freelancing?

You can start a freelancing career at any point in time. A wise decision is to start it as a part-time or side job and then when you’ve acquired enough clients you can quit your regular job.

Which work is best for beginner freelancers?

The work that is best for beginners is the one that best matches your skills, talents, or experience. So if you’re good at teaching then tutoring may be your calling.

Can you freelance with no experience?

Yes, you can freelance without experience as long as you have a skill you can do well. We all start our very first job without experience.

Can a student be a freelancer?

Absolutely, just identify what you’re good at and start doing it in your free time. You can even write papers for schoolmates or tutor certain topics, be a social influencer, etc.

The Wrap On Freelancing

Freelancing is indeed a booming industry and a great opportunity for those who have identified their skills.

It is something that anyone can start as a part-time job or side hustle while still having a full-time job, as long as they can strike that work-life balance.

Remember, there are tons of freelance job websites available to list your skills as well as find job requests. Forums, groups, and social platforms have great opportunities as well.

Once you’ve built up a good client base, get a website created and take your business to the next level. Put time and effort into it and scale it by leveraging other people’s skills (get a team).

That’s it for this guide, I hope you got great value from it and take the leap and start your freelancing career.

Let me know in the comments if you got value and feel free to share any freelancing tips that you think might be of benefit to other freelancers.

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