A lot of people have sometimes played with the idea of being a freelancer at one point in their lives.

Admittedly, the idea of “becoming and being your own boss” sounds mouthwatering and interesting.

However, it sounds uncertain and scary at the same time. What’s worse, freelancing can get very exhausting and unpredictable.

For context: you have to find a client, convince them to pay for your service, then work really hard to deliver a “perfect” job.

You’d have to deliver perfectly, so as to impress the client and retain him. In all, freelancing offers more flexibility than working for someone, but that goes hand-in-hand with a specific mindset, a risk appetite, and the awareness that you will have to work more than normal – at least at the beginning.

Today, working as a freelancer gets easier, with more and more people choosing this path for the benefits it brings in terms of financial freedom and personal fulfillment.

Over 57 million Americans do freelance work today on Upwork. Based on Small Business Trends stats, 43% of the working US population will become freelancers over the next five years.

That’s not all: According to Forbes, then, 61% of freelancers have declared to have chosen to go independent by choice.

Despite the risks, 51% of respondents in a survey promoted by Upwork said they would not go back to a traditional job.

As you can see, there’s no doubt that choosing to become a freelancer comes with great responsibility and challenges along the way.

So, if you’re looking for a side hustle or you really want to quit your job outrightly and become a freelancer, this article is for you.

Eight Steps to Consider on the Freelance Journey

If you’re looking to start a career in freelancing, you should know that you can’t build it in a day.

You’ll need a lot of patience and consistency.

The first few months can get rough, and you might not have clients for weeks on end.

So if you are looking for fast cash, then freelancing isn’t for you. Below are the steps to help you start your career as a freelancer.

  1. Set And Define Your Goals

Before you start freelancing, you need to know what you want to achieve, what goals you’ve in mind for yourself and your career, and what it will take to reach those goals.

Take some time to know why you want to start freelancing and define your goals based on this.

Ask the tough questions: are you becoming a freelancer because you want to earn an extra income? Or do you want a side hustle to your regular job with the view to pivot into full-time freelancing later on?

Your goals have to be as specific. However, you’re allowed to change your mind about them after some time.

It could be an entire career change or minor objective tweaks. While you have that freedom, we’d still recommend that you set short and medium-term goals to keep things nice and tidy.

  • Know Your Skills and Competences:

Skill is the core component of freelancing. Are you a good writer? Go for content writing. Are you good at drawing? Freelance designing might be good for you.

Are you into Search Engine Organization (SEO)? Then be an SEO consultant. Going for what you know how to do will make freelancing very easy for you.

And make sure you have those skills before putting yourself out there.

  • Identify Your Client

We’ll admit, it can get challenging to find your own client at the beginning of your freelancing career. You might find yourself approaching every client even when their needs is different from what you offer. However, it’s that you set some rule beforehand:

  1. Know – and be sure of – the type of business you want to target in a certain period
    1. Know the business that attracts the kind of services you can offer
    1. Determine the level of involvement you want.
  2. Set your Rates

Setting your rates gives your prospective clients an idea of the value you’re offering.

Here’s a secret: high rates don’t always equate to good work, but it will help put numbers to your skills.

  • Create Your Freelance Website

Creating a portfolio for your work is very important. You get to create a platform to showcase your works.

Show your prospective clients what kinds of jobs they should expect by viewing your portfolio.  

If you are a content writer, you can create a blog, if you’re a designer, you can make your website appealing.

Your website should be a reflection of you and your work. It must be something you’re proud to share.

  • Carefully Choose Your First Clients

After creating your portfolio, you need to start showing people how you do things. Your first clients should be businesses you are confident about. Get your name in front of as many people as possible.

  • Learn How To Sell Your Expertise

You should be able to know who you are, what you do, and what you want.

Another important thing is to build your brand, use your skill to create something, and show the final piece to as many people as you can. This serves as an elevator pitch.

  • Set Your Boundaries

Do not mix your personal life with your business – we really can’t stress that enough. Treat your business as you treat your daily 9-5 job.

Know when it’s time to be available for customers and when you switch on your personal mode.

That way, you’d balance your work life and personal life without letting one interfere with the other.

In the beginning, you may need some time to set your business on the right path but learn how to know when to rest and focus on other aspects of your life.

Bottom Line

Now that you’ve read eight of some of the most effective steps to start a Freelance career, it’s time to implement them. Freelancing might not be so easy and it can be quite overwhelming, but you might find out it’s just what you need to earn an extra income.


Rufus S. is an author and blogger who writes about freelancing and career development for the Busy Earner blog. He is an expert on platforms like Upwork, LinkedIn, and Fiverr and shares practical tips for building a successful freelance career. Rufus is also passionate about helping busy earners manage their time and avoid burnout.


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