How To Be A Successful Freelancer: A Beginner’s Guide

The freelance market is growing and evolving, but the industry still has a ways to go. The good news is that there are plenty of opportunities for those who want to take full advantage of the new economy, even if you’re just getting started.

As someone who has worked in the field for years now — both as a freelancer and as an agency owner — I’ve picked up some valuable tips along the way. So if you’re looking to start your own career as a freelancer or improve on what you already have, read on!

What is freelancing?

Freelance is not a job, but a lifestyle. There are many different types of freelancers, including full-time and part-time, as well as those who work on their own terms. Freelancing is a great way to earn extra income or supplement your current income.

What do you need to be a freelancer?

Freelancing can be a great way to make money. However, before deciding to become a freelancer, you need to consider the following things:

  • Are you self-motivated and disciplined? Freelancers are independent workers who have no boss or manager to report to. You’ll have to be able to motivate yourself in order to work out of the house with no supervision or time restrictions.
  • Are you able to work from home? Freelance jobs are available all over the world but they’re often remote jobs. This means that as a freelance worker, you will usually need access to high-speed internet in order for your employer – who may not even be where you live – could expect results from your efforts at any time of day or night when needed.
  • Do you have good communication skills? Communication is key for any business relationship so being able to communicate effectively with clients and colleagues is essential for success in this industry!

Beginner’s Guide for Freelancing

1. Find Your Niche

As a freelancer, you will be able to work remotely on your own terms. This means that you are free to choose the projects and clients who best suit your skills and interests. However, if you want a successful freelance career, it’s important to find a niche where you can excel.

The first step in finding your niche is finding something that interests you and aligns with what makes up your unique skill set. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from my experience as a writer over the past few years, it’s this: It doesn’t matter how amazing or talented someone is—if they don’t like what they do or aren’t passionate about their work, then no one will want to hire them (or read their articles).

For example…one day I had an idea for an article about how dogs are better than cats—but before writing it I decided instead just because of my personal preference for dogs over cats didn’t mean other people would agree! So instead I wrote about why everyone should adopt pets from shelters instead of buying from breeders because doing so helps save animals’ lives while also lowering our carbon footprint by reducing demand for factory farms; better yet adopting fosters both animal welfare and human welfare by providing homes for abandoned animals while simultaneously reducing euthanasia rates at shelters (since adopted pets usually stay longer than ones purchased).

Not only did this topic appeal more strongly but also aligned perfectly with my values – meaning both me and readers could benefit equally.”

2. Define Your Needs

Before you start, it’s important to define what needs you’ll have as an independent contractor. Some of the most common things include:

  • A computer and software (if you don’t already have these)
  • A printer (for printing invoices and other documents)
  • Business cards
  • A phone (to take calls and make customer service-related calls)
  • A website or blog (for promoting your business)

3. Make Sure You Have the Skills

Once you’ve figured out what kind of work you want to do, the next step is making sure that you have the skills to be able to do it. Here are some questions you should ask yourself:

  • Are you better at this than anyone else? As in, do other people come up to you and tell you how great your work is? And if so, why aren’t they hiring you instead of paying someone else? If not, then maybe it’s time for a little self-improvement…
  • Can you do this faster than anyone else? Think about how long it would take your competitors or peers in similar industries (if there are any) from start to finish on projects similar in scope and size with no outside help required—then figure out how long it would take you based on your experience level. If there’s a significant difference between those two times, then look into ways that could improve upon them!
  • Can I get this done cheaper than anyone else? Again…compare yourself against others who have done similar things before (or those who are currently doing them). Determine if their rates are fair given the workload involved—and don’t forget about overhead costs like equipment rental fees either!

4. Build Your Portfolio

Once you have a portfolio, you’ll need to start building it. The best way to do this is by starting small and working your way up.

First, check out the websites and social media platforms of companies that pay for freelance work (like Upwork). If you’re lucky enough to find jobs on these sites, take them! While they may not pay much at first, they are still opportunities and can help build your portfolio with an array of different experiences.

After completing these smaller projects, look for larger ones through sources like Craigslist or LinkedIn groups dedicated to freelancers looking for work in their field. Once you land a job through one of these sources, see if there are any additional ways in which you can add value by contacting other clients who could benefit from what you offer as well as telling them about how happy another client has been with your services (and detailing how).

This will give potential future employers something positive about which they can speak when asked about why they want someone else’s business instead of yours!

5. Set Your Rates and Terms

Once you’ve got your rates and terms set, it’s time to start marketing yourself as a freelancer. Be sure to present yourself in the best light possible.

A website with your portfolio or blog can be helpful here, but don’t go overboard with expensive design work—you want potential clients to focus on what you have done rather than just the bells and whistles of your site.

Set aside some time every day (or at least once a week) for marketing activities like updating social media accounts or sending out proposals. This is a great way to make sure you don’t lose momentum and also helps you stay connected with the community.

Dont forget to read our artical on How Much Should you Charge as a Graphic Designer?

6. Polish Up Your Online Presence

Now that you’ve got your freelance business off the ground, let’s talk about how to build an online presence. Social media is a must-do for freelancers so let’s get started!

The first thing you should do is set up social media accounts for yourself and your business. Choose the platforms that are best suited to your niche or industry, like LinkedIn if you’re a designer or developer or Twitter if you’re an SEO expert.

You can also use these accounts as a way to build relationships with potential clients—for example, by posting helpful articles on Facebook in your area of expertise and tagging them with the relevant keywords so that they show up in search results.

7. Find Clients

You will need to find clients in order to make money as a freelancer. There are many ways of doing this but I would suggest that you start with the following:

  • Social Media – Social media is a great way of promoting yourself and getting your name out there, so use Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to tell people what services you offer or post examples of the work that you have done previously (e.g. on Behance). You could also create an Instagram account, which is more visual than other social medias and can show off some of your creative skills!
  • Freelance Website – Create your own website where potential clients can go for more information about who you are/what services you offer etc., this should be easy enough if you know how to code websites as it provides extra credibility when working with others because they’ll see that someone took the time out of their day just for them specifically!
  • Job Boards – There are many websites dedicated towards finding jobs such as Upwork (formerly oDesk), Fiverr etc…but these sites often require payment upfront before they allow access which isn’t ideal if looking for freelance opportunities straight away without having any previous experience in those industries yet still wanting something more than just regular employment which might restrict creativity too much.”

8. Create a Website of Your Own

When you’re done with your portfolio, it’s time to create a website of your own. It should be easy for people to find your work and contact you.

Here are some things that are also important:

  • Make sure it looks professional. You don’t want people thinking that you’re just a kid or amateur web designer who doesn’t know how to build websites. You want them to think of you as an experienced professional who knows what he or she is doing!
  • Have a portfolio section where clients can see the quality of your work before hiring you (make sure all images are high-resolution). It should include information about yourself like name, location, email address(es), phone number(s), social media links; this is so they can reach out if they have any questions about their project before hiring someone else because “you” weren’t available when needed most.”

9. Start Touting for Work

Once you’ve done the legwork and research to find which types of freelance gigs are available in your area, it’s time to start sending out your resume and cover letter.

You can do this by reaching out to people you already know, or by posting on social media sites such as LinkedIn or Facebook groups related to freelance work. If no one is hiring at a given time, consider checking back every few weeks—you never know when a job will appear!


Freelancing is a great way to earn money, but it can also be very rewarding. You can work from home, at your own pace and on your own schedule. You can choose who you work with and the type of projects you take on.

With all this freedom comes a lot of responsibility though! You need to make sure that your clients are happy with their final product, otherwise they may not hire you again.

This guide will help prepare you for all aspects of freelancing so that no matter what happens in your career path (or if it ends up being short-lived), there won’t be any regrets!

So, If you’re looking to start a freelance career but don’t know where to begin, this guide is for you. We hope it has given you some insight into what being a freelancer means and how to get started on your journey.

Recommended reading: 8 Best Ways to Monetize your Graphic Design Skills Online (Tried and Tested)


What does it take to be a freelancer?

To be a freelancer, you need to be able to work on your own. You also need to be able to communicate well with clients, and you need to have an area of expertise that people want to pay for.

What’s the best platform for freelancing?

Upwork is the best platform for freelancing. It provides you with a space to find work and manage projects, and it has a ton of other features that make it easy to get the job done and make money.

What is freelancing?

Freelancing is a way of working that allows you to be self-employed. You can work wherever you want, whenever you want, and on whatever projects you want.

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