How to Make a Career Out of Freelancing

posted by Chris Valentine

Like so many others before you, you might have finally made the decision to work on your own as a freelancer.  Freelancing is attractive because it affords many freedoms that nine-to-five jobs don’t.  Whether you plan to become a graphic designer, writer, website developer, animator, tutor, or any other type of freelancer, all professionals must follow similar steps to become successful.  Here are the ways you can make a career out of freelancing.

Do Your Research

One of the best ways to begin and maintain a career as a freelancer is to not quit your day job—yet.  Be open to learning new things from seasoned professionals that you will find online and in person in the meantime.  Perhaps your search will include something as simple and conversational as a topic on  Use all avenues, online and otherwise, to keep absorbing information, such as social media.  If it helps, write down the information or bookmark the sites that help you.  Ingrain the information in your mind, whether it be memorizing important terms, understanding key concepts, or trying new things that can keep you competitive with your colleagues.  Search for online and remote jobs from as a resource to get you started.

Write a Business Plan

As with any small business, you are your own boss.  Bosses create business plans before they open for business in order to envision their goal and stay on course to achieve that goal.  Therefore, you must ask yourself what you want out of a job as a freelancer. Besides ideals like freedom and independence and working in your pajamas, you will have to realistically outline topics such as the amount of money you need to make every month in order to sustain yourself, how much you should charge, how many clients you want to find a month, and other necessities.  As you write your business plan, try to envision where you see yourself in a year and create goals that will help you get there.  Once you create a solid plan, you can create smaller month-to-month or week-by-week plans to keep you organized.

Create Your Brand

Whether you like it or not, as a freelancer, you are your own brand.  It is simply the price you must pay for working by yourself.  If you wish to be seen in a market flooded with freelancers, you will have to make your brand stand out.  The best way to do this is to create a detailed profile on every social media site available.  Create an intricate LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ account, and join Meetup.  In our modern digital age, most clients just will not know you exist without one.  Do not hesitate to contribute all of the minutia you have that is relevant to your profession.  Join online communities that are dedicated to the topic of your profession, such as online forums concerning graphic design or website design.  You will be surprised at how many connections you can make simply by being present in online communication.  Be sure that once you create these media accounts that you follow up with anyone who contacts you—you never know who will become a client or a connection, and you likely can’t afford to miss any if you are just starting out.

Network Constantly

You will need business cards, for now and for always.  Business cards do not need to be fancy, but through the act of simply having a pleasant discussion and ending it with handing him or her a business card with a smile on your face can make a huge impact.  That being said, you want to make sure you are creating an impression on everyone you know and meet.  If you want to be a freelancer, you need to want it bad enough to put yourself out there for everyone to see.  Fortunately, this is a perfect time to get over your fear of rejection.  Not everyone will answer your Facebook messages, and not everyone will want to talk to you at networking events, but that does not mean you throw in the towel.  Once you build a foundation with contacts, make sure you always follow up with them.  Take note to turn on your phone notifications and set dates in your calendar for important follow-ups and discussions.  If you fail to do this, you may unintentionally burn bridges you didn’t intend to burn, and that is bad for your reputation and for your business.

Finding online freelance jobs doesn’t need to be difficult. Put in your due diligence before applying and give yourself the best opportunity for success in this new stage of your career.

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