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Step-By-Step Guide to Becoming a Successful Freelancer

Step-By-Step Guide to Becoming a Successful Freelancer

Freelancing is growing at a rapid pace. Benefits like working from anywhere and at any time are why most people have turned to this new way of life.

But making it as a freelancer isn’t always easy. There are many things you need to consider apart from competence in what you do. Starting can be especially difficult, so here’s a step-by-step guide to turning your freelancing dream into reality.

1. Be Clear On What You Want To Do

Before you start reaching out to potential clients, determine what you want to offer them. Some questions that could be helpful in that process are:

  • What am I good at?
  • What do I enjoy doing?
  • What are my strengths and weaknesses?
  • How is what I offer different from others?

Get as specific as you can. If you’re a photographer, don’t try to do everything. It’s best to find a niche (for example, wedding photography) and become an authority in that specific niche. This may limit your client pool but will significantly increase your chances of getting hired.

2. Showcase Your Portfolio

Whether you’re a writer, photographer, or software developer, clients will want to see examples of your past work. As a beginner, you may not have an extensive portfolio, which can make it more challenging to get clients.

If you’re in this situation, don’t be afraid to showcase some personal projects you’ve worked on. You could even work on a couple of projects for free to have something to show to your prospective paying clients.

3. Find Clients

Perhaps the hardest part of being a freelancer, especially initially, is to find work consistently.

Luckily, there are many ways and places to reach clients. You can search for freelancing gigs on job posting sites. There are even websites that specialize in freelance work, like Upwork and Fiverr. Online forums are also an option. There, you can communicate with your community and offer your services when you see fit.

To attract attention from potential clients, build your online presence and personal brand. Make sure your Linkedin is up-to-date. Creating a portfolio website is also a solid option for some niches.

How to Make Money as a Freelancer

4. Be Professional

Communicating with clients can be stressful, but you should remain professional at all times and be available for any questions and updates. Do your best to meet deadlines. If you can’t meet a deadline, communicate that to your client in advance and give a proper reason.

Another important aspect is handling confidential data responsibly. Depending on your work, you may have access to sensitive data. Don’t share the contents of your work with anyone other than your clients. Consider using a VPN to ensure that all communication is encrypted and client data is secure.

5. Charge According To Your Skills And Experience

The next thing you need to figure out is pricing. As a beginner, you should generally charge less than experienced freelancers in your niche. You can do some investigative work to see how much people of various skill levels and experience in your field are charging.

As you get more clients and good references, don’t be afraid to bump your price up. Another thing you need to think about is whether to charge per hour or per project. Both of these options have their positives and negatives.

Charging per hour may be a safer option if you’re a beginner because it can be difficult to evaluate project scopes. As you get more experienced, you can assess projects easier and set your price accordingly.

6. Be Patient

Nothing in life comes easy. It may take months, even years, before your freelancing career kicks off. If you’re having difficulty finding clients, don’t get discouraged. Beginnings are always the hardest. If you continue to be persistent, you will eventually find success. Everything else will become easier once you get those first few clients in.

You also shouldn’t stress yourself out over not having clients or not being perfect. Good mental health is essential for productivity and focus. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, try meditating or going for a walk in nature to clear your mind.


Being a freelancer sounds easier than it is. The beginning can be especially tough, which is why so many people quit. Knowing some of the steps to take to make you successful can be reassuring and steer you in the right direction.

The most important thing is to stay consistent and not get discouraged when you’re struggling to find clients. A life-changing gig may be just an email away!