This definitive guide on how to start freelancing online is going to tell you what you need to know to get your freelance career up and running successfully.
From setting goals to inspirational case studies, this guide has got you covered. Each chapter contains several links to hand-picked posts to guide freelancers, even with no experience or without an idea of what they want to do, to a successful start.
Freelancing is one of the best ways to make $500 fast, and winning that first client will be a major milestone in your life. It opens up a world of possibilities for you: becoming debt free, traveling, and leaving the 9-5 world behind are just some of the goals freelancing can help you accomplish.
It’s not necessarily difficult… you just have to learn new skills.
The guide will help.
I broke the steps on how to start freelancing online in eight different chapters.
How To Start Freelancing Online | Table of Contents
Chapter # 1: How to Set Freelance Business Goals You’ll Actually Achieve
Many freelancers who end up quitting skip this step. But just like any successful business, freelancers must have goals too. What is it you’re trying to achieve? Most importantly, how are you going to achieve it? These resources will help you answer these two important questions.
- Getting it Done: A Guide to Productive Goal-Setting for Freelancers | Make A Living Writing
- My 10 freelance business goals + tips for setting yours | Milllo.com
- How to Create a Simple 2-Page Business Plan | Freelancers Union
Chapter # 2: How To Choose A Target Market You Enjoy Working With & Pays On Time
Want to actually enjoy freelancing? Then, it’s important to work with clients who are happy to work with you and you enjoy working with. They do exist! Identifying the right target market or niche eliminates the chance of being underpaid and burning out. Here are some incredible resources on why picking a niche is important and how to pick that niche.
- How to Identify Your Target Market for Your Freelance Business | Single Moms Income
- Overcoming The Fear Of “Choosing A Niche” | Double Your Freelancing
- How to pick a profitable freelance writing niche and use it to win high-paying clients | Writing Revolt
Chapter # 3: Writing A Proposal That Wins You The Job
Search online and you’ll find lists of over 100 different websites that allow freelancers to connect with potential clients. Where do you even start? Should your search even start on these sites? Here are some fantastic resources to make the often painful process of prospecting easier, enjoyable, and more effective.
- How To Get Your First 3 Paying Clients | I Will Teach You To Be Rich
- 5 Keys to Painless Prospecting | International Freelancers Academy
- How To Generate Passive Leads as a Freelancer | Treehouse
- How to Build a Lead Pipeline for your Freelance Business | Freelance Lift
- What New Freelancers Need to Know about Upwork | Six Figure Writing Secrets
- 5 Steps to Writing the Perfect Freelance Proposal (and a Free Downloadable Template) | RyRob
Chapter # 4: How to Set Freelance Business Goals You’ll Actually Achieve
If you just put in a little thought into your proposals, you’ll easily be ahead of the competition. But want to really stand out and give yourself the best chance at winning the job? Follow the advice of these successful freelancers.
- How To Win Clients: 8 Lessons Learned From Analyzing 228 Freelancer Proposals | Freelance Hacks
- How to Write a Proposal and Win More Clients | Your Freelance Career
- 7 surprising Upwork proposal mistakes I see every day | Freelance to Win
- Forms and Template from the The Million Dollar Consulting© Toolkit | Alan Weiss (This isn’t a How To. It’s a treasure trove of free forms and templates by a very respected freelance/consultant educator).
Chapter # 5: Setting & Negotiating Your Rates To Maximize Your Earnings & Sanity
It’s a lot easier to go the extra mile for a client when they’re paying you a fair wage. This chapter is a collection of freelance negotiation basics and strategies to make sure you’re being paid top dollar.
- Get Paid What You’re Worth: 37 Negotiation Tactics for Every Freelance Writer | Copyblogger
- The Great Freelance Debate: Hourly vs. Fixed Rates (Which is Better?) | Bidsketch
- 3 Systems to Find Your Freelance Hourly Rate | I Will Teach You To Be Rich
Chapter # 6: Finding, Keeping, and Growing With High-Quality Clients
A sweet spot to find yourself in is keeping and growing with a core group of high-quality clients. Your income starts to stabilize. Plus, you can go out and search for higher paying gigs, with potentially longer lead times, knowing you can pay the bills. Here are the best posts on managing your client relationships for long-term success.
- 5 Key Factors for Success of Long-Term Freelance Client Relationships | Diana Marinova
- How to build long-term client relationships as a freelancer | Ben Matthews
Chapter # 7: How To Manage Your Money & Taxes
There are certain laws to follow for freelance income. They’re not difficult, there are just certain things you’ll need to learn. So, use these resources to prevent common money management mistakes.
- 4 Finance Documents Every Freelancer Needs | InvoiceBerry
- Cashflow 101 for Freelancers | Make A Living Writing
- What You Should Know About Taxes When You’re A Freelancer | TwoCents
- 14 Things You Need to Know About Paying Taxes as a Freelancer | Skillcrush
Chapter # 8: Seven “Here’s How I Did It” Case Studies That Will Inspire You
Nothing beats a case study for inspiration. Here are seven amazing case studies from freelancers “in the trenches” making money freelancing online. From earning their first dollar to earning six figures, these freelancers share step by step how they did it.
- How These 12 Freelance Business Owners Earn Over $100,000 Per Year | Creative Live Blog
- How Ari made $10,000 on Upwork in 1 month | Freelance to Win
- Hacking Elance: How I Made Over $20,000 in 4 Weeks Doing Web Design | Lifehack.org
- How I Earned $4,000 Last Week Just Sitting Here Writing | Jacob McMillen
- My First 3 Months: How I Made $1200 Working Part-time as a Freelance Writer | Horkey Handbook