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These days, everyone is looking for a way to be their own boss and work from home. There are many legitimate strategies, and one of the easiest ways to begin is with freelance work.
This might include things like ghostwriting, creating graphics, being a virtual assistant, and more. There are so many successful online entrepreneurs who need help without hiring full-time staff, and many corporations are choosing to work with this business model, too.
If you’re someone who wants to run your own freelance business, you need to make sure you know the correct way to get started. There are several things that you should learn up front.
For example, you need to know the best way to set up the business online, like which platforms to choose. You need to know how to bring in clients so you earn money and build the business as quickly as possible.
Are You a Freelancer or a Consultant?
Whether you’re just starting out in the freelance world or you’ve been at it for quite a long time, there’s one question to ask yourself that many people neglect to think about. Are you a freelancer or a consultant?
What’s the Difference?
A freelancer is a person who works on a project-by-project basis. They’re assigned a task to complete, they complete it and they get paid. They may have one or two primary clients or they may have dozens. A freelancer can also work for an individual or a business.
A consultant on the other hand is a person that a business or individual turns to for advice, expertise and help. They also are assigned a task and paid to complete it.
However, they’re given wiggle room within the project to use their skills and experience to help the client achieve their objectives.
For example, a freelance copywriter may write the copy exactly as a client has dictated. This includes the exact format, benefits, and even a call to action.
A consultant, on the other hand, will be asked what approach they recommend to sell a product or service. The client will trust them to make the best decisions for their sales copy.
Why Does It Matter?
There are benefits to being a freelancer only. For one, there are no heightened expectations. You’re not expected to be an expert in your industry. You’re just expected to complete a task. Freelancers don’t have the added stress of helping a client thrive and grow.
However, consultants benefit for a number of other reasons. They’re able to charge a lot more because of their expertise.
Their clients are also often loyal and come back for their expert help time and time again. This means consultants may spend less of their time actually seeking clients and more time making money.
Which Is the Right Approach for You?
There’s no right or wrong answer here. Each and every freelancer has their own reasons for being a freelance professional. They have their own goals and agenda. If you want to simply work part-time and make some extra money, then maybe the idea of positioning yourself as a consultant just doesn’t make sense.
However, for those freelancers who are looking to build a solid full-time business, it makes sense to position yourself as a consultant.
How Do You Position Yourself as a Consultant?
One fantastic way is simply to publish, a lot. Become a guest blogger. Publish articles on your website and other websites. Write reports and ebooks and give them away. Publication helps establish authority and credibility. Also, participate in social networking sites and offer advice to those who need your help.
Finally, you can position yourself as an expert by simply offering advice and experience to your current clients when it’s appropriate. If you’re looking to grow your business and make more money, consider adding “consultant” to your list of services and watch your business boom.
Below, you’ll find a series of steps you can implement over the course of 30 days to launch a freelance business of your own. No more boss or coworkers. No commute. No ceiling on your earnings.
Day 1: Understand the Pros and Cons of Freelance Work
On the first day, just like with any business endeavor, you need to make a list of pros and cons for choosing this business model. Some of the pros of being a freelancer include that you get to choose the kind of work or projects that you do.
You also get to choose the clients you’ll work with. You have a lot of freedom as a freelancer. You can set your own hours, take time off when you need to and there’s no one breathing down your neck.
You’re the boss. You can create varying streams of income. You can work from home or from anywhere if you want a nomadic lifestyle. One major drawback of freelance work can be loneliness.
There are no coworkers to bounce ideas off of or to have lunch with. You have to hustle to find new clients to keep up the income. The amount that you earn can greatly vary.
There’s a lack of provided benefits, such as health insurance.
You have to take care of that. Your taxes may be higher unless you set things up correctly. You shoulder all of the burdens and have to handle all the problems. Clients can be demanding. You can only do so much with the time you have, which can result in an earnings ceiling unless you take other actions.
Day 2: Get Ready for Taxes Before You Even Begin
Taxes can really eat into your income as a freelancer. Before you even begin, take steps to reduce your tax liability. You can do that by setting up your business as an LLC or as an S-Corp.
You’ll need to file either one with your state and pay the fees. So on day 2, you need to make a choice. You can look at the amount of taxes either one will cost you. For example, with an LLC, the amount of taxes you’ll pay may be 15.3%.
This includes Social Security and Medicare. The tax rate is the same as the self-employment rate. With an S-Corp, the taxes can be less. This is because an S-Corp is not subjected to self-employment taxes, which amounts to a big savings.
But there is often more paperwork required by the IRS. It may help to get a complimentary or paid visit with a CPA to go over your options. You can always incorporate later, but it’s usually good to do it initially.
Day 3: Assess Your Service Providing Skills
On the third day, before you start your business, you need to know what you’re good at. By assessing your skills, you’ll know exactly what services you can provide. When you do this type of work, there’s no struggle to understand it or get it done because it comes easy to you.
If you do encounter something that makes you struggle, that can be a sign you may need some improvement. Some of your options will be working as a ghostwriter behind the scenes for bloggers and businesses, creating site graphics or info product graphics for people, handling tasks for marketers by being a virtual assistant, and more.
Day 4: Connect Your Financial Goals with Your Freelance Earning Ability
Like most people, you likely have financial goals. Because freelance earnings are never a guarantee, you need to make sure your goals line up with your ability to earn. There are certain kinds of freelance work that may pay more than other types.
For example, you might be able to charge more for copywriting projects than for ghostwriting ones. On day 4, create a list of the various freelance jobs that line up with your skills.
You might have the skills to do graphic design, but also know how to make videos. You would need to compare the earnings of the two to see which one fits your income goals. Keep in mind, also, that some types of work will be more prevalent than others.
Day 5: Research Prices and Set Your Own
Know what you’re worth, but know what the market will substantiate. By the time day 5 rolls around, you should be looking into the prices for the freelance services that you want to provide.
You’ll find low-end, high end and then average earnings for your competitors. The high end is usually for someone who has a lot of experience and can prove that. However, just because you have the skills doesn’t mean that you want to set your prices so high that clients won’t hire you.
Look at what others in the same niche or field are charging set your prices close to those. If you undercut everyone too much, it will look like you’re not a solid freelancer, and that could scare potential clients away.
Day 6: Think of Ways to Beat the Competition
Whatever niche you choose as a freelancer, there’s always going to be competition. You just have to consider how you can beat them. This is what you need to concentrate on when day 6 rolls around.
You want to set your prices so that you earn what you need, but you don’t want to set them so high that you don’t get any work. Lowering prices to be competitive isn’t the only way to secure work.
You might have to give a little more in your bid. You can also highlight your skills over that of the competition. People will pay more if they feel like they get more – whether that’s through your service or experience.
Maybe, if you’re a ghostwriter, you can also provide keywords to use with the blog posts you write, or a blog image you create on Canva. Or, if you’re hired for graphics, maybe you can give them additional formats, such as an animated version of a banner ad.
Day 7: Sign Up with Freelance Sites That Have Customers
Obviously, you want to find some customers so that you can begin earning money. The best and quickest way to do that is to sign up to various freelance sites. On day 7, look up all the sites that you can join.
These are mostly free and all you have to do is set up your account. You’ll want to look at Upwork and Fiverr. These sites are both known to have a lot of connections between those who want to work and the people looking to hire them.
If you decide that you want to write fiction, then you would look on sites such as Radish. If you want to find clients as an editor, as a marketer, as a web or graphic designer, then you can look on the site Reedsy.
It’s okay to look for work on multiple sites if you’d like to do that. Most platforms will have a free use level and then options to pay a fee to get more exposure or be able to place additional bids for work.
Day 8: Create a Competitive Freelance Profile
On day 8, it’s time to set up your profiles on all the sites that you’ve chosen. Make sure that you answer all the questions or meet all of the requirements. You’ll need a nice picture that looks good.
Make your profile professional. You’ll want the focus to be on all the kinds of work that you’re capable of handling. But you’ll also want to make sure that your profile target customer’s needs.
For example, you’ll want to put in your profile how you can accomplish the work on time, according to whatever schedule is worked out. You’ll also want to make sure that you understand marketing lingo (such as lead magnet) and use it in your profile.
Day 9: Upload a Portfolio of Your Work
When it comes to getting hired, people want to know that you’re capable of doing the work you claim you can do. Day 9 is the time to create pieces for your portfolio. You may not have anything you can point clients to because you may not have had any work.
You can still show what you’re able to do, which is what clients are looking for. If you’ve signed up to be a freelance writer, in your portfolio, have a selection of articles related to various topics.
You could write an article on health, one for wealth and another on survival. You want to be sure your articles focus on topics that are evergreen because those are ones in demand and are what clients are looking for.
If you’re doing graphics, create a portfolio with various examples and styles. Even if you want to work as a virtual assistant you can show templates of work schedules and processes you use to get tasks done.
Day 10: What to Know When Bidding on Projects
No one likes a generic pitch that could be used for any project. So on day 10 when you’re creating your bids, make sure that they’re not canned ones or written in kind of a one-size-fits-all approach.
Customers can see right through that. You want to personalize the bid so that the other person knows you read their project listing and know what they want. Pick out specifics and mention those whenever you post your bid for the project.
Day 11: Meeting Milestones and Overdelivering
When you land a client, you need to make sure that you meet any scheduled milestones for whatever project you’re working on. For example, a project can be divided into weeks or months.
The instructions might have you deliver a third of the project within a week, then another portion the following week, etc. You always want to hit those milestones. Never leave a client wondering where you’ve disappeared to and when they’re going to get their order completed.
Make sure that you always deliver more than expected. By doing this, you elevate yourself above the competition. Whether that means delivering early or adding more than expected to the order, it will set you up for repeat business and bonuses.
Day 12: Don’t Leave Repeat Business to Chance
Once the work is finished and you’ve turned over the project to the client, you don’t want that to be the end. If you don’t ask for the next project, then you could be leaving money on the table.
Sometimes, clients do have other work immediately, but it could also be that they forget to ask or they’re not thinking about the tasks that they have coming up. By you asking, it shows that you’re available for work and can help land a project you hadn’t even counted on.
They also might know of a friend or business partner who needs work if they don’t have anything available for you right at that moment, so put the request in and show that you’re eager to work.
Day 13: Brand Yourself as a Targeted Expert
There’s a saying that goes, “Jack of all trades, master of none.” It means someone who has done a lot of different things but isn’t as skilled as he could be if he instead concentrated on just doing one well.
Specialize in one type of freelance area. If you enjoy writing sales copy, then become an expert at that. If infographics is your thing, concentrate your skills on that. Maybe you’re someone who creates great eCovers.
You can build your entire clientele around that service alone. Or, you could be great at intro/outro video clips. Whatever it is, if you make sure you’re the best you can be, you can label yourself as an expert and you’re more likely to not only land the gigs, but get higher paying clients as well.
Day 14: Buy a Domain for Your Freelance Business
While using third-party platforms is one way to generate business, having a site of your own exudes professionalism and helps you keep more of the earnings rather than having to pay a fee or percentage to the platform.
One thing that you don’t want to do is to have a domain that doesn’t relate to your business. You want even your domain to market for you. So pick one that’s easy to find and clearly states what it is that you do.
If you want to heavily make a name for yourself, you could buy a domain that’s your name. Or, you could brand it such as MarketingGhostwriter.com, or your name plus the word eCovers.
Day 15: Get Hosting and Install WordPress
By day 15, you want to make sure that you get hosting for the domain that you’ve chosen and then install WordPress. When you get your hosting account, you don’t need a big plan.
Some of them charge more because they offer the purchaser the ability to have multiple sites on one plan. For example, you can get a plan that allows you to host 25 different (or unlimited) sites, but you pay more for that.
If you don’t need it, don’t buy it. After you get your hosting plan, then install WordPress. You can pick a free theme and begin building content that showcases your abilities as a freelance service provider.
Day 16: Create an About Page That Explains Your Freelance Business
After you get WordPress set up, it’s time to create your About page. This is the page that explains your freelance business. On this page, you would tell something about what you do and why you do it.
Here, you might also include a picture of yourself and any other people that are involved in your business if you have a team. You might also share some things that your business has accomplished and if you’re a new entrepreneur, then you might instead talk about what your business vision is.
Day 17: Create a Page of Services Offered
When people visit your website, they’re not only curious about you, but they also want to know what it is that you can do for them. You want to make it super easy for them to be able to get the information they’re seeking.
For that reason, you need to create a page that details what your services are. This can be listed simply as “services” or “what we do.” Make sure you are detailed so they don’t purchase something expecting more than what you’ll deliver.
You can also include prices, or leave those off if you want them to be negotiable. For example, not all ghostwriting is the same. Some projects require more in-depth research and time than others.
Day 18: Develop a Series of Helpful Blog Posts for Your Prospective Clients
Once you have your website setup ready, you’ll want to create some blog posts for potential clients. These posts need to be helpful to customers in a way that shows your business has something they need.
A way to do that is to talk about how they can use your service or product. You can also write a blog series on tips or advice that teaches them the best way to do make progress with their deliverables.
Day 19: Set Up a Contact Page for Potential Orders
While most customers are great and you can find good projects, not all of them are going to be something that you want to do. As a freelancer, you’re the boss. You don’t want to get stuck working on a project that you dislike or with a client who is a headache to deal with.
What you need to do to screen the potential projects is to set up a contact page, not an order form, on your website. It doesn’t have to be complicated. You just want the person’s name, email address and a space where they can leave a small description of what it is that they’re seeking.
That way, you can initiate a conversation and see where it goes, what their expectations are, and whether or not you want to work with them. Sometimes, it’s wise to start off with a small project to see how things go and then expand it.
Day 20: Create Blog Posts Using Keyword Phrases That Get You Hired
Another thing that you want to do with blog posts is to be sure that you’re using keyword phrases. These are phrases that help the search engines bring the right traffic (potential clients) to your site.
These are the words that clients are typing into a search engine to try to find your services. For example, they might be typing in “hire a ghostwriter” or “hire a video creator.”
You’ll write a blog post about something that includes that phrase, such as, “5 Tips on How to Hire a Ghostwriter.” When you show them that you know how to help them, they’ll appreciate your expertise even more.
Day 21: Start Networking with People Who Need Your Services
Now it’s time for you to start networking. You want to create ripples online that help to connect you with those who need your services. It’s hard to get traction to a business if people don’t know that you exist and are available to handle their needs.
Network with other marketers and small business owners. Your services might be in the area of graphic design and a marketer might want to hire you to design images for their projects.
It’s not hard to find these people. You can friend them online. Have conversations with them on social media by commenting on their posts, or by asking questions. Engagement is key because it lets people know what you have to offer.
Another smart networking move to make is to befriend fellow freelancers. If someone can’t take on projects because their schedule is full, they can send their overflow to you. Or, if someone provides graphics and their client asks them if they know a good ghostwriter, they can recommend you and vice versa.
Day 22: Consider Gifting a Few People Services in Exchange for Feedback
You know that you’re good at what you do. But no one else does if you don’t have any testimonials or proof that you can show. In order to prove that you are capable, you might want to gift some services.
Just select a few people who can benefit from your help and arrange to do some free, small projects for them. This action allows you to get your foot in the door and to build up a good reputation.
Day 23: Launch Social Media Accounts that Showcase Your Services
There are many ways that you can freely market your business. You want to take advantage of that. On Facebook, you can create a business page that has your info including a link to your website.
So you can use Facebook to drive more traffic. You can use it for customer interaction and for things like showing your newest product or explaining how your services can help them.
TikTok is hugely popular and a great way to showcase your services. You can use content that boosts your business using trends that are readily accepted – for example, interacting with your pet while you’re working on or creating a project.
It could be something as simple as petting your cat after a hard day at work. Look up what’s popular and what’s trending and figure out how to use it to showcase your services.
You can use LinkedIn, too. Create a profile on the site. Under your picture, you can list what you specialize in. You can also have a link to your website. LinkedIn is also a good place to make business connections.
Day 24: Attend Industry Events to Meet New Customers
Finding customers isn’t just something that you want to do online. You want to make use of face-to-face opportunities as well. When there’s a meet up in your area, make sure that you attend.
Scour your information sources to look for marketing events. For example, you can do a search using your state plus marketing events and just put a specific event such as “Indiana + fitness marketing events.”
Have a card or QR code ready that they can use to find your site and contact you later if they or someone they know needs help with content, graphics, or whatever service you provide.
Day 25: Put Together Package Deals for Interested Clients
Everyone looks for a good deal. Adding something a little bit extra pleases interested clients, but also helps your business to develop a reputation as one that goes the extra mile.
For example, you might set up full marketing packages that come with an eBook as well as a lead magnet report. You can also include everything associated with that project such as the product reviews, the email autoresponders and the social media posts all for one slightly lower price than if they were to by each piece separately.
Or, you can have bulk buy deals, such as if they buy 2 projects, they get the third one at half off. People will spend a bit more upfront to save, and you’ll have a booked schedule, which makes you an in-demand freelancer.
Day 26: Have an Upsell Strategy for Clients
Never miss the opportunity to make more money. To do that, practice the art of upselling. This is when a client comes to you for one thing, but ends up buying more.
For example, if you have a client who orders a lead magnet report, offer to develop a full eBook that they can then sell as an info product.
If your client is looking for just articles, offer to add the social media posts. This is also a great way to utilize your additional skillset, if you aren’t making that your #1 priority service – such as offering blog images to go with a set of blog posts.
Day 27: Create a Case Study of Your Results with a Customer’s Permission
When clients use your services, they’re going to see results. Some of them are going to see great results that go above and beyond what they’d hoped for. For example, if you’re writing sales copy and that copy ended up making the client a lot more money or brought in twice as much traffic as was expected, then create a case study of those results.
This can be used to help future clients make the decision to choose you over the competition. But you always want to get permission from the client before you create the case study and showcase it.
You might offer a free service in exchange for the case study details, but don’t be mad if the client would prefer to not participate or allow it to be used by you. Many people hire freelancers but want to keep the outsourcing a secret.
Day 28: Consider Carefully Subcontracting to Earn More
You can earn a lot as a freelancer, but you’re also only one person. In order to earn more, you can take on work and then subcontract it for less than what you’ll get paid to do it.
You want to be careful, though. This can backfire. The client hired you because they trusted you. It’s okay if you have a team of people that you trust who know what they’re doing and will deliver excellent quality.
But you have to be ready to take responsibility in case anything goes wrong, such as someone plagiarizing something in the work that’s delivered to the client. This will land on you and you won’t be able to place blame elsewhere.
Day 29: Increase Your Knowledge to Begin Leveling Up as a Freelancer
You earn more when you know more. As a freelancer, you want to level up your knowledge in order to boost your income. For example, if you can write, think about also learning video skills so that you can not only offer clients written content but video content as well.
Know the industries you can write about. For example, if you write about health topics, then educate yourself in the niche that you write in. If you want to write fiction, study the process so that you can do your best for the client.
Day 30: Showcase Your Skills By Becoming a Competitor
It won’t be long before you improve in every area of your business. Your skills will grow and you’ll want to showcase them. One way is to become a competitor. You can do this by becoming a blogger or niche marketer.
This helps to establish your reputation as an expert. You’ll be creating posts that will have clients coming to you to ask who you recommend for content. You can recommend yourself, gain clients and earn money as a competitor, too!
Build Your Freelance Blog
Having an online presence is imperative for anyone with a freelance career. It’s an opportunity to showcase your skills and knowledge. Therefore, if you can find a way to dedicate a few hours each day to your freelance business while you’re still working full-time, you’ll have no trouble running your own business and keeping up with deadlines in the future.
Blogging is one of the best ways to build your freelance business. It helps drive traffic to your site and increase awareness. It also helps establish your credibility. Blogging makes it easy for prospects to find you and connect with you. However, not all websites are created equal and a blog may be a much more effective and efficient means of connecting with prospects.
If you’re not blogging yet, consider adding one to your current website or changing your website to a blog.
Whether you get up at 4:00am or stay up late to work on your projects, you’re training yourself for how disciplined you’ll need to be once you’re freelancing full-time.