“OK, wow, I want that lifestyle too, can you tell me how to start freelancing so I can do the same?” From Indiana to Iceland, Austin to Austria, Miami to Medellín, it’s the same everywhere. Once people find out that I have no fixed home and travel at will, all while earning great money they want to know more!
My answer tends to surprise them when I tell them, “Starting a freelance business is pretty easy!”
Often people tend to associate starting an online business with being hard. But freelancing … that’s not an online business you might be thinking – don’t worry, lots of people think this. See, many have heard of setting up a web development business or starting an e-commerce store. Others are familiar with getting into dropshipping or becoming an Amazon FBA master. Fewer people tend to think of starting a freelance business as an online business.
But make no mistake, when you go this route you are starting a freelance business. You, Inc.
How to start freelancing right away
Unlike other businesses — dropshipping, setting up an e-commerce store, etc. — a freelance business has 4 distinct advantages. If you are trying to sift through all the information out there and figure out whether starting a freelance business will work for you, take these into consideration.
Very low startup costs
I guess I should point out here that the question I get asked all the time comes with some common variations. The most common being: “How do I start freelancing so I can live the same lifestyle? … and oh yeah I don’t have any money…”
Well, I’m here to tell you that lack of money is not a deterrent when you’re wondering if starting a freelance business is right for you. In fact, it can actually be a plus as it forces you into focusing on only the things that matter.
To start your freelancing business, you’ll need:
- A computer
- A professional email address (free)
- A way to accept payments from clients (free)
Considering that you likely already have access to a computer and wifi, there’s nothing stopping you from starting today.
High earning potential
I’m guessing if you’ve been googling around in search of “how to start freelancing,” your probably interested in ditching your 9-5 to make some serious moolah! I know freelancers that struggle to make $20K a year. I know freelancers (myself included) that make six-figures in a year and have to turn away business. The determining factor in what you make will be you.
But the potential is there. In my first full year of freelancing, without even knowing what I was doing, I made $94,858.24. Imagine how far you’ll be ahead of me just by reading this blog!
As opposed to showing up in an office, being told what to do by your boss, and working endlessly on things that never seem to matter, when you are running your own freelance business, both your time and skills matter. They are directly contributing to your clients’ goals, sales, customer acquisition, bottom line etc. This gives you the ability to charge very high prices in exchange for giving the client a lot of value.
Take SEO for example. If you are highly skilled and know how to provide tons of value for your clients, you may be able to charge $1000 for a two-hour consulting call. $500 an hour?! WTF?! Those are lawyer prices.
But remember, the client is not paying for your time. They are paying for your knowledge, your expertise in an area that you know. If that client is able to take that 2-hour call and use the actionable steps to bring more traffic to their site — gaining an additional $10K in measurable revenue from the value provided — they’re going to be happy and grateful. What’s spending $1K to get an additional $9K?
More and more businesses are choosing to hire freelancers in order to help them grow while saving money. No healthcare, no office space, and fewer taxes — these are all reasons why freelancers can be very attractive to companies, especially small to medium-sized businesses.
This translates into the ability to charge higher rates for your freelance business. While a full-time employee would get benefits like paid vacation, healthcare, and company 401K match, a freelancer doesn’t receive any of these. So instead of a company paying a salary that amounts to $35 an hour and dealing with these additional costs they have to provide to the employee, they’re more open to paying a freelancer $50 an hour and not being responsible for any of those extras.
Hiring freelancers is also popular because, many times, these companies don’t need full-time help. Hiring a freelancer for a specific length of time, or for a long term job that’s less than the usual (say 15 hours a week) allows them to solve their problem.
No experience needed
Freelancing is not as hard as many make it out to be. Some sites go on and on about building up an online presence, blogging to get your name out there, building a shiny portfolio, and on and on.
You don’t need all that. You don’t need to have a ton of experience … and whatever you need to know, you can quickly learn.
Let me put it this way, I have never once asked to see a freelancer’s resume! And I’ve hired hundreds of freelancers over the last few years of working with clients in a variety of industries. When I’m hiring, I don’t care about your years of experience, or who you worked for, or what the bullet points you’ve agonized over wording just right say.
I care if you know enough to solve my problem right now.
So if these 4 positives have you feeling like freelancing is definitely the best online business for you to start, let’s jump into the nuts and bolts of it.
How to start freelancing
Some get into freelancing in a calm, collected careful way. They’ve planned ahead and started up a side hustle, making extra income while keeping their day job. They scale up profits until one day, they’re making enough to walk away and make their side hustle a full-time focus.
Others, like me, have a wilder ride! Laid off without warning, with $30K in debt and no idea what I was doing with my life, I had to jump into freelancing with everything I had.
Your “how I started freelancing” journey will look different from everyone else’s based on your individual and unique life circumstances. But no matter where you’re at when you get started, these 9 steps will guide you along your journey.
1. Set your goals
Upon deciding that freelancing is the best online business for you to start, a goal-setting session is key. This will help keep you on track when things get tough and you feel like faltering.
This doesn’t have to be some long drawn out thing. Just set a timer for 20 mins and reflect on why you want to start freelancing, and what you want to accomplish by doing so.
- Do you feel like you could never leave the (perceived) stability of a 9-5 job but you want to make a little extra on the side to save for a vacation or pay off debt?
- Are you interested in freelancing full-time because you want the freedom of being your own boss and taking charge of how much you earn?
- Maybe you’re between jobs and just looking to take on a few projects to maintain your skills/build more skills before going back into a full-time role with a bigger and better company?
- Perhaps you’re bored and stuck in your current role, wanting to make a jump into a completely new field?
- Is freelancing just the start for you? Can you see yourself going from starting an online business of one to eventually building up your own agency and having an entire team of freelancers working for you?
None of these are right or wrong. And no one outside should be telling you which is right. It’s a decision you have to make for YOU.
Don’t worry about getting locked in. Your goals will grow and change over time, as is natural. You may get started thinking that you’ll freelance forever. Then, down the road, you get a great offer from a client to come on board full-time with them.
Or, you may start out thinking you’re just doing this to make some extra money between jobs, then realize you love the freedom and the ability to set your own rates and hours. You’ll re-evaluate later.
But right here, right now, what do you want out of your new online business?
This section would be remiss without mentioning money. We’ll get more into how to set your rates later but you have to answer this question truthfully. How much do you want to make yearly?
No bullshit, no waffling. No listening to outside sources that tell you you can’t make that much. Put a number down on paper. Once you’ve seen it written out, if you look at it and know you’re lying to yourself, tear it up and write a new number, the real number.
If you’ve been honest with yourself when setting the reason(s) “why” you want to get into freelancing, the real number should be easier to come by. A side hustle to save for a tropical vacay will be a far different amount than if you’re jumping in full-time with plans of building your own full-blown agency.
2. Get in the right mindset to start freelancing
Don’t worry, this isn’t some section where I get all fluffy on you and want you to hop on your meditation pillow, chant mantras, and post “I believe in myself” affirmations all over the room. If that floats your boat, by all means, go for it. But that stuff is easy to do and I want to talk about the hard.
When I talk about getting in the right mindset I mean I want you to know that this journey will be full of ups and downs. At times, you’ll dance around the room fist-pumping like Tiger Woods at the 2008 U.S. Open when you’ve landed a client you really wanted. Other times, this shit will plain outright suck and you’ll feel like giving up.
It’s not enough to just imagine yourself as a successful freelancer and “cut through the limiting beliefs and bullshit holding you back,” as some say. I think you should give some attention to the difficult times as well. That way, hopefully, they don’t smack you in the face when the going gets rough.
During my early freelancing journey there were nights I felt like I couldn’t breathe, like an elephant was sitting on my chest. I’d lie in bed, drowning in anxiety, only able to rasp out shallow breaths, agonizing over what a ridiculously stupid thing I was trying to do as mountains of debt we’re closing in.
There were times when I felt like the only person in the world who believed in me.
There were times I panicked and the only way to get through the night was to promise myself that I would throw away the dream the next morning and go get a real job.
There were times, in the clear light of day, when I’d renege on my promise to throw in the towel, and vow to keep fighting.
In these times it’s important to know that you’re not the only one to go through this long journey. You’re not a mess, and you’re not a screwup. Everyone who has ever done anything big has gone through the same struggle. So I think it’s important that you don’t get caught up in the flashy freelancer lifestyle played out all too often on social media. It’s not all vegan burgers and lactose-free latte’s in Bali.
Want to know what the journey will look like? This:
Source: This is a book by Dmitri Martin
3. Figure out what skills you have to offer
Anytime someone asks me how to start freelancing, this enters the conversation fast! “How do I know what to do?”
For some, freelancing is a no-brainer when it comes to the best online business to start. They often have well-defined skills and they’re looking to do more of the same type of work. They may be a graphic designer looking to do freelance work to have more freedom in when and how they work as well as work on a variety of different graphic design projects. Or maybe they’re a direct response copywriter tired of the company they’re at and looking for the freedom to take control of what they charge and what campaigns they work on. Or, they’re someone who has in-depth experience in Facebook ads and proven results to show clients.
If that sounds like you, well great! This path to freelancing is awesome, and I envy you. A specific skill means you can skip right to the nitty-gritty of starting your online business — you don’t have to worry about the winding hell of figuring out what to offer.
If you don’t have a clear skill that’s totally normal (that was me!) 🙋♀️ If you’re lost as well, congratulations, welcome to hell! *Singing* You’ve got a friend in me … 🎶
For me, this was the most brutal thing about getting started freelancing. I knew I wanted to run my own show and was convinced that freelancing was the best online business to start (and the only since I had no money). But I agonized over all the conflicting information on the internet (niche down!) and mined my entire life for skills that anyone would pay me for. Most often I concluded that I had nothing valuable to offer anyone and would die alone, at my desk, and penniless.
While I spun in this mental hell for far too long, I’d like to give you some super quick advice that I wish someone had told me. Figuring out what you’re going to do is not that serious.
Ask yourself some simple questions:
- What skills do I have (on paper and off)?
- On paper – I consider these to be skills that are documented. Think of the types of things that you put on your resume or what you studied in school.
- Off paper – These are things you’re good at but may have never done formally. For example, I got a copy editing job without any “on paper” experience in editing. I was just good at it, having always been the go-to person for friends and family when it came to editing college essays, resumes, cover letters, etc.
- What am I interested in? What do I get lost in doing so much that I don’t even notice time passing?
- If I didn’t have to work, what would I be doing?
- Which of the skills I’ve listed could transition well into working remotely?
- Where could I learn more about this type of work and/or learn/reinforce my skill in this area?
Once you’ve gone through these questions, be gentle with yourself if you’re still feeling like, “OK dude, but this is ridiculous, no one’s going to pay me to read books and sleep,” or whatever your two favorite things to do are.
The questions above should get your brain humming – it’s not a treasure map to exactly what you should be doing. There will still be some trial and error. And that’s why I’d like to take a moment to disagree here with some of the most common advice you’ll get if you ask almost anyone how to start freelancing.
Why you SHOULDN’T “niche down” when you first start freelancing
Choosing a niche is advice that’s all over the internet when it comes to starting a freelancing business. I know because I found it everywhere I looked for advice, back in those frantic days of trying to find someone, anyone who had ever written anything on the topic.
But it never felt right to me. I mean over the years I was a lifeguard, turned waitress, turned pizza delivery driver, turned rent a car office lackey, turned camp counselor, turned middle school teacher and on and on and on …
I never felt comfortable “niching down” because I mean who would ever need my weird, totally jacked up, crazy-ass skill set? Niche down to what?
So this “how to start freelancing advice” to niche down that has become gospel is something I don’t actually agree with for 90% of people when starting out. I get why people say it, I think they’re genuinely trying to help and don’t want others to have to go through the mind-fuckery spinning that they went through when they decided to start an online business. But I’d argue that you have to go through that, at least on some level, in order to truly find out what you are both good at, and enjoy doing.
Yes, if you have clearly defined skills and a target market in mind that you’ve researched and it makes sense to niche right away, go for it. If you’re kick ass at YouTube ads for travel companies, then, by all means, go target travel companies who need to up their advertising game on YouTube. The best online business for you to start is clearly mapped out.
I’ve met people like this, someone who worked as a developer, let’s say, and then decided to take it freelance. But they are a small minority of the freelancers that I’ve met all over the world over the years. The majority of us sit down over coffee or a glass of wine and when the other person asks “How did you start freelancing?” we say, “Well, where do I start … ”
Many will say (and usually we were told) to choose an area and focus on becoming the best in it. But how do you know you really want to be in that space if you haven’t worked in it?
You don’t want to be like the person that goes to medical school because their parents wanted them to, then, after realizing they really don’t like the field, they stay stuck because, after all, they’ve put so much time and money and effort into it.
This is a beginner post to help you start a freelancing business so I argue that niching is NOT right for most people at first. So the next time you hear “figure out your niche, then get really good at what you do, and once you’ve made a name for yourself, you can expand your offerings later” remember that you’ve got me on your side if that doesn’t feel right to you.
I teach the opposite based on my experience, and that of most other freelancers I’ve met who have taken quite a winding path until finding their place.
Stay broad at first, try a few things, and get to understand what you’re good at and really want to specialize in. Dabbling in a number of things (in a super professional and together way of course) will help you cultivate a strong sense of what you do and don’t want to do.
The expert niche argument
Quite often, you’ll hear many say that niching helps you position yourself as an expert. Um, big problem with that… you’re just starting an online business, you’re probably not an expert.
Even if you call yourself one on paper you won’t really believe it. Without the belief behind it, you won’t act like it, you won’t have your business set up like an expert would, you won’t deliver like one, and clients will see through you. Big problem. You fumble your way through pitches, don’t land clients, and boom! Your career as a freelancer is over before it’s really begun.
You should start out confident, but don’t claim to be an expert. Over time you’ll develop expert level confidence. 3 years ago I’d get so nervous before a client call I’d sometimes head to the nearby park so I could pace like a madwoman in the fresh air through the entire call. (Something about walking back and forth barefoot the whole time made me more confident 🤷♀️).
Today there’s no faking. I’ve built up a large set of valuable skills through my work with clients and I’m no longer nervous on calls. I know what I can do, I’m proud of it, confident in it, and can call myself an expert at what I do. I also have a clear idea of who I work with and who I don’t. What kind of projects I’ll take on and what I won’t. This looks nothing like the original list of skills I agonized over coming up with. I found out what people would pay for by doing, not niching.
OK, but you can’t be everything to everyone, right?
Right. That would be insanity. And I do often hear stories of freelancers who have no clue what they are doing or would like to be doing. They scramble to land a job, any job, and accept $20 for screwing with some WordPress plugin that takes them 4 hours to figure out. That’s not ok.
But there’s a big difference between an ocean, a lake, and a pond. You don’t want to be swimming around in the ocean with no clue of what you’re offering nor to who, accepting absolutely anything that comes your way even if you have zero knowledge of how to do it.
On the other hand, I definitely recommend paddling around the pond for a while. The pond is like the general field. Say social media. You decide you want to start an online business in this area. There are a TON of different aspects you can consider within this pond…
- Do you want to specialize in paid social, or organic?
- Are you creative and love coming up with content or are you better at execution, e.g. taking all of the posts, stories, reels, carousels etc., and scheduling them?
- Or maybe you don’t give a fig about creating the content but you love digging into the numbers, analyzing what worked and didn’t with various audiences, understanding why, and giving this valuable feedback to the creative team.
- Perhaps you don’t give a damn about any of the creation or reporting, you just love hanging out on social media all day and interacting. Maybe your dream is to get to know a client’s brand inside and out and become their online business community manager, responding to customer feedback and questions and doing so as good as the founder would be able to because you live and breathe the brand.
These are just four options… there are dozens more. Plus, add in various platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.) and there is an entire world of freelance career options just in the social media space. The best way to understand what you want to do is to paddle around for a while.
You’re only going to be able to build your perfect online business after getting your hands dirty. Many times, once you’re in the day to day of something, you’ll realize that it’s not the perfect fit you thought it was and that you’re actually better suited to something similar but not quite the same thing you thought you’d be doing when you first got into freelancing.
4. Work on understanding what your perfect client look like
For me, one of the biggest reasons why freelancing is the best online business you can possibly start is the freedom you have when it comes to choosing who you work with.
At the beginning, it can be overwhelming to narrow down who you want to work with, but again, while dabbling, your target client will become clearer and clearer.
Some questions to ask yourself:
- What do my potential clients do? What business are they in?
- From a larger perspective, what industry are they in?
- What kinds of problems do they have that I can solve?
- What will my solving the problem create for them? (more customers, sales, etc.)
- Which businesses do you think are large enough that they’ll be able to pay you?
- Who is the decision-maker and what can you find out about them that can help you create a connection when you reach out
You don’t need to go too niche. Some people get really carried away with this part creating detailed avatars of who their ideal client is, where they hang out, what they read, listen to, etc. This is not the key in the early stages (but it makes for a nice pretty template and Pinterest pin someone can give away to make it look like you’re doing something important).
Trying out clients in a number of different industries will help you develop a feel for what you like to do. If you’re in the social media space, you may find that you love creating helpful, informative content for an online business marketing their new journaling app, but you struggle to come up with creative content for fashion and beauty brands.
Once you’ve gotten a few clients under your belt, you should naturally start to see trends that point you toward what industry you should be working in and with what types of clients.
If you’re really struggling to figure out your perfect client, spend some time online researching and compiling a dream list of people/companies you’d like to work with. This could be a massive company like Apple or your favorite lifestyle influencer.
No one is too big or too small, but I find that this is really helpful to do with real people/companies because the following questions work better in reality than abstract.
After you’ve got your list, label each with the industries they’re in. Then ask yourself:
- Why do I want to work with this person/company?
- Is it something concrete like the work they do? (building X product/app/service etc.)
- Is it more abstract like the company culture or brand they’ve built?
- What size is the company? (estimate if you don’t know)
- Do they have physical or offices or are they fully remote? (do I prefer one or the other?)
Reviewing and reflecting on this list should give you some ideas of who to target. When I first started out I targeted online blogs that had grown to the level where they needed to add more products to their repertoire.
I was looking for potential clients that needed to develop online courses and I was hoping to match that with my background in education. I did some work around this with clients but soon found that in small online businesses/blogs, most entrepreneurs were drowning under “all the things that needed to get done.”
This led me to discover that what I could provide to them that they really needed (and was really valuable) was organization. Project management, day-to-day operations management, and growth-minded strategic planning and implementation. That was my big break into freelancing… and I wouldn’t have found that without dabbling.
5. Figure out how much to charge as you start freelancing
In any job, but especially true in your career as a freelancer, it’s important to realize that you’re not getting paid for your time, you’re getting paid for your value.
If you can help your client earn $10K more while doing 10 hours of work, you’re certainly justified in charging $100 or even $200 an hour. Even at your cost, your expertise is bringing them incredible value.
Once you’ve figured out what you’re going to offer, you don’t want to get hung up on the idea of something not being a “highly skilled job.” If you think there is a ceiling on how much you earn or get discouraged because others are charging less, you aren’t in the right mindset and your freelance career won’t go far.
There are many other countries where the cost of living is much lower. I’ve worked with an outstanding developer in Kenya for his rate of $25 an hour and wonderful virtual assistants on the other side of the world that only charge $7/hr.
If you go into freelancing thinking you’re going to compete on price, that’s a terrible idea. You are looking to be outstanding, not get involved in a race to the bottom, nor try to compete with countries where people make a good living at $7/hr. You must start your online business with the idea that you are going to focus on offering value. Your only competition is yourself — how can you get better and better at providing outstanding value. If you can deliver, you’ll make the connections and find the clients willing to pay top rates for it.
Questions to help you narrow down your pricing:
- How much do you want to make annually?
- Remember that you’ll be paying your own business costs, healthcare, and taxes so you need to work that into your rate accordingly.
- What are industry benchmarks for the position in the country you’re trying to get work in?
- Trying to get work in the USA allows you to charge far different rates than if you’re going after the same type of work in a developing country.
A newbie mistake I often see freelancers making is setting their rates TOO strictly. Pinterest has a ton of pricing templates on “How to set your rates as a virtual assistant” (or other fill-in-the-blank-freelancer) but this doesn’t necessarily work.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely important to have your minimum pricing worked out so that you are able to earn the goal amount you’ve affixed for yourself. Understanding this base is good, but being too rigid can be annoying for clients.
When I’m hiring, I don’t necessarily want someone to offer me a nice shiny “package,” bullet pointing out what I do and don’t get. I want someone to understand what I need and charge accordingly to get me everything I need. I don’t care if the highest package comes with 30 social posts a month, if I want 47, I want you to make it happen, not tell me your tier is maxed out.
If it’s an hourly rate, set it to ensure you’ll make your goals, but also be aware that you can change it quickly. This isn’t like a job where raising your rates is dependent upon an annual performance review. I started freelancing at $35/hr, and quickly moved up to $50/hr with the next client. The client after that, I charged $80, and the next $100. Then I graduated to no longer taking on clients at hourly rates.
Another big mistake I see new freelancers make is charging too much out of the gate. If I had started charging $100 an hour with nothing to show for it, clients would have rightfully laughed in my face. But as I raised prices after each client, adding on new skills, and honing what I was really good at, I had the results gained that I could take on to each new client and show them that I could deliver results.
(This is why I recommend NOT having a website with service packages clearly outlined at the beginning of your freelance career. It clips your wings instead of allowing you to stretch them.)
6. Craft the perfect pitch
This is something that most people view as scary but if you’ve done your client research right you won’t have to. The right person that you want to work with has a problem and you are reaching out to let them know that you can solve it.
Not scary at all.
Company/client research in advance is a huge part of getting the pitch right. You’ll want to show that you are familiar with their business, understand the issues they’re facing, and let them know how working with you can solve the issue(s). You’ll also want to avoid common mistakes like making the pitch too long.
Be sure to grab your free template of the very same pitch I’ve used to earn over $200K freelancing. 👇👇👇
If you’re targeting the right online businesses, have accurately forecasted their problems/needs, and do a good job getting the pitch right, more often than not your potential clients will be glad to hear from you and answer promptly!
7. Get the client on the phone
If you’ve done your pitch right, the client wants to get on the phone with you and discuss the ways you may be able to work together.
The phone call is scarier than sending the pitch for many people because it’s easier to sound professional and confident in a pitch email where you carefully select each word. The phone call, or Zoom call with video, is quite a different story.
But remember, your pitch intrigued the client enough to want to chat with you further and find out more about the services that your online business offers. That’s already a small win that might have seemed impossible for you to fathom just a few weeks before.
There’s a ton we could go over here but in the interest of not having this grow into the longest blog post in the world, I’ll just touch on a few things that are important in the client phone call. These are some quick mistakes I see a lot of people make when they start freelancing so if you can skip these, you’ll look and sound like you’ve been in business for far longer!
- Listen more than you talk
- The client will give you plenty of material about the issues they’re facing, which provides you with lots of ways to figure out how to help
- Always write up your notes immediately after the call.
- You will forget important things and you want to get them down while they’re fresh.
- Never agree to money, timelines, or anything really, over the phone.
- This comes later when you’ve crafted a proposal and put things in writing.
8. Creating a proposal and sending it over
Assuming you had a good call and the client is interested in knowing more, the next step is the proposal.
Here, you review the issues their company is facing, and give details on how you can help them to fix those issues. Proposals will be different depending on the industry and type of work but typically they contain some things in common.
- The length of the engagement
- Specifics about what work you’ll be doing and delivering during the engagement
- Timeline for when specific things will be delivered
- The rate charged for the work
Once the client has reviewed and agreed to the proposal, it’s time to sign off, get paid, and get started.
Some people combine the proposal and contract together, giving the client a place to sign. I, however, advocate for keeping them separate as there are different things that should go in each, and putting all of your “official contract language” in a proposal can be off-putting to someone who hasn’t even said yes.
Ideally, you send over the proposal and get them to say YES!
9. Kickoff and managing the client experience
Once you’ve got the client to say yes to the proposal it’s time to make it official and get PAID. You should be sending the contract for them to sign as well as the first invoice.
In some cases, if you’re working hourly and have agreed to bill afterward, you won’t invoice initially but I encourage everyone to get some amount of money upfront. This makes it real and creates buy-in, for you and the client.
Once you’ve got the contract signed and the dolla, dolla bills on their way to your bank account it’s time to kick off the project.
In your proposal, you should’ve outlined a timeline for the project, or some kind of 30-60-90 plan if it’s an long term role. There should be a clearly defined start date, often called the kickoff.
You’ll also want to have a clearly defined onboarding process. You might think that in the beginning, you don’t need to worry about this. But do take the time. How you start freelancing will carry through in how you do things years down the road. It’s worth taking the time to get organized. Don’t worry if your onboarding process isn’t perfect in the beginning, you’ll refine as you go. And if you’re taking on a client in a new industry for you, this won’t be perfect the first time. But making an effort will set you far ahead of other freelancers out there.
I can tell right off the bat whether someone is just beginning their freelancing career or has been around the block a few times by how they make me feel at the beginning of a project. Basically, do I feel like I’m in good hands? Or am I chasing them down for answers, and telling them how things need to be done?
Basically, keep this in mind at all times:
Your client is a business owner. They likely have an inbox full of emails, dozens of other little and big things that need their attention, other team members who need their input/approval/feedback, plus they’re desperately trying to find the time to grow their business instead of being stuck on little stuff every day.
So while your big project with them is apple pie with the cherry on top to you, to them it’s just one more thing they have to do.
The way you endear yourself to clients forever is not being one more thing they have to do. Take them by the hand, quickly lead them through what they need to do, always respecting how busy they are and they will love you forever. Here’s a quick sample of what a client onboarding might look like:
- Getting access from them to the tools you need to do your work e.g. company slack or Google Analytics
- Sharing access to any tools/documents you have that they will need
- Adding them to the project management tools like Asana or Trello that you’ll be using (if needed)
- Creating and sharing their client Google Drive folder where you’ll house all of their info during this project
- Setting expectations like what time zone you’ll communicate in and when certain milestones will be due
- and on and on…
Have I convinced you to start freelancing?
OK, so there’s a good chance that after making it through this entire post, your head is spinning! That’s totally understandable. There is a lot of information given here and don’t hate me when I say that we’re only at the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more that goes into how to start freelancing — each step has tons more to break down in order to do it successfully. The good news is you’ll find many more topics to help you along your freelance career discussed here on the blog.
And if you’re interested in skipping directly to the chase and getting all the details on how to start freelancing from A to Z, check out my freelancing course: The Escape Hatch.
In the course, I take you through everything you need to know to start freelancing, and in record time! We go in-depth about things like how and where to find your perfect clients, how to manage phone calls, and what should go in your proposal and contract. Plus things like managing the client relationship and developing your freelance network! Filled with tons of scripts, templates, and examples, it’ll be a huge help in jumpstarting your online business. Check it out!
Questions? Leave me a comment below!