How to start freelancing: step-by-step guide to online career

How to start freelancing

So you have an idea… and even more important, you have a DREAM to be location independent and work on your own rules. BUT… How to do that? Freelancing is one of the best ways to get into online income. Here’s more on how to start freelancing with a step-by-step guide to building your empire!


What should you know before you start freelancing…

There are tons of resources out there that will tell you all about the right ways how to start freelancing.

But actually starting and doing is the only way to go!

The vision of “why”… 

Before getting into freelancing, it’s important to understand your vision and your own reasons for doing this. It will keep you motivated and sane in moments of crisis.

  • Why do you want to become a freelancer?
  • HOW do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?
  • Is freelancing really HOW you can reach your vision? Or is it just a skill that can help you?

Freelancing is a great way to choose for those who are dreamers and doers. Typical freelancer has TONS of ideas, but even more – passion. Passion for making them happen!

At the same time, a typical freelancer has an easy-going personality and a wise mind. This person knows what he or she wants and how to get there!

Do you have your vision set? Do you want to be free from your 9-to-5 office job? Or spend more time with your family and friends? Maybe you want your word to be well known? Whatever that is – it is YOUR VISION. And you have to cherish it because we’re taking it to the next step…


The idea of “how”

For your vision to happen, you actually have to have an action plan.

An idea about HOW are you going to make that vision to happen! Have you already created your roadmap? Do you know each next step you’re going to take?

The idea is important. It gives you a plan on how to get things done.

You can do whatever you set your mind on. Even if at first seems like something huge and impossible. Everything IS possible!

Therefore, consider how you’re going to get started:

  • You can do more personal projects and promote through social media, therefore, gaining exposure and learning how you could help people.
  • If your current job is similar to your chosen freelance path, you can use it as a leverage to get some new clients and spread the work about yourself and your newfound career.
  • You can also just take the leap and dive head-first into headhunting your clients online.


How to start freelancing


A step by step strategy to start freelancing

You might not know what’s waiting for you around the next corner, where will your passion take you, what options will find you and what will be your response to life challenges. But you have to be sure about how you want your business to happen.

Here are some steps that’ll help you to start freelancing – or start any other business online.

STEP #1: Outline your ideas

So you have some ideas, right?

For example, you are willing to become a freelance web developer. Therefore you should learn to code if you haven’t yet, or most likely – polish up your knowledge if you already have one.

Then you will want to code. For your private clients, startups, big corporations? For huge projects or small? Start out slow or fast? And what’s next in your vision? Will it be your own company? One-man show?

Outline your ideas whatever they are! And it doesn’t matter how far are they going. Each idea matters! Later on, you will have something to hold on to.


STEP #2: Create a plan 

Once again – things CAN change and you can change your plan along the way, but it is super important to know the exact direction you’re going and a path you’re taking RIGHT NOW. Otherway, you’ll get easily overwhelmed.

Create YOUR plan. Keep in mind what you already know and what you still need to learn. Layout a realistic path to your first online income. However, give yourself some space for flexibility.

Here are just some of the things you might include in your plan:

  • Create your website/build a brand. You can use my free Blog Creation Simplified guide to get started!
  • Decide how you’re going to promote your services. Which social media do you want to be on? Do you want to do e-mail marketing? Cold e-mailing?
  • Grow your exposure. How can you really get out there? Are there events you could participate in? Can you do guest blogging? Be a guest on podcasts? Reach out to people, talk about what you have to offer!!
  • Get your first clients. Those can be beta testers for a lower price or your friends/family. Be careful with offering free work! But do what you have to to build a portfolio and get some client feedback.
  • Create your plan B. If freelancing doesn’t work as fast or easy as you hoped, what could be your plan B? Can you create online courses? Sell eBooks? Do consulting?

It doesn’t matter how long is your plan and how far in the future you see yourself. You have to get clear about these things before starting.


STEP #3: Start, step by step

You have it all, your vision, your idea, your outline AND your actual plan and schedule. Are you ready to start? You should be! And start just one step at a time.

Many new freelancers are rushing it. And rushing it way too fast. You CAN hope that you will make $2000 your first freelancing month, but you have to be honest with yourself – most likely it won’t happen.

Stay positive, but keep a realistic view, so you don’t feel drained before the real deal starts.

Follow your plan, re-read it each morning to set your goals straight, remind yourself WHY you started it and see that vision in front of your eyes, because that’s you, right there! It takes just one step at a time…

The more time you spend on one task that’s on your list, more confident you will feel when moving forward. If you’re willing to take on client job, build community, create an online product and be present in Facebook groups all at once, you will crash harder than you can imagine. One person can take on A LOT, but there’s downslide in each ride and you have to have some energy reserves when that time comes!

Here are some ideas on how to get started as a freelancer:

  • Work on your own project or two, as a side hustle of your 9-to-5 business. This way, you can build your portfolio without wasting much of your own time and without the feeling of rushing into things. If you don’t have a full-time job or have other responsibilities, combine your path to freelancing with them.
  • When you have a portfolio, search for your first clients online. Offer them a discount but don’t sell yourself cheap. Read more about finding freelance clients on social media. You can also use websites like Upwork to get the ball rolling.
  • Then, eventually, grow your portfolio, maybe start a website and expand your business. Grow your rates, work more, maybe leave your 9-to-5 or take another kind of leap. This is where you have to follow your own chosen vision & written path.


Start small, stay consistent

Previously mentioned step-by-step approach is great not only because it will keep you sane, but also because it will let you be consistent! And consistency is what brings the best results to literally ANY freelancing business there is.

Creating content regularly is a great way to build a reputation and drive traffic to your site. You should think about consistency instead of thinking about numbers and fast results!

The best thing you can do to start freelancing is simply establishing a goal. Whether it’s writing two blog posts a week, sending out the stated number of pitch emails, or maybe it’s to post design for your portfolio. Whatever is your choice – set it straight and stick with it!


Grow + improve your skillset

After consistency comes growth, future plans and business improvements.

Whenever you have done something for a while already, it asks to be polished up at least a bit. Whether we’re talking about your knowledge, your tools, inspiration or anything other related to your business.

Don’t forget to learn new things once in a while. Read some books and get to know your field better, maybe even offer new services or products.

And there’s no shame in admitting that you’re growing, learning something new and aiming for more. Only those who grow will succeed.

Like Salvador Dali once said, “Have no fear of perfection, you will never reach it!“. The same goes for learning. Don’t be afraid to learn too much, you will never know enough.

Also, growth is a great way to establish new goals. That’s one of the freelancer perks: you can create your own goals, reach out to them and they will never be too big or too far, because, hey, everything IS possible.


Do you want to start freelancing? What’s holding you back? 


  • Alexis
    December 19, 2016 at 8:23 pm

    Great post! Once you start freelancing, you need to stay successful. Here are 7 tips for success:

  • Lisa
    April 1, 2017 at 2:36 am

    Thank you so much for this blog post! It helps to know I’m going in the correct direction, y’know?

    • ievalaicane
      April 1, 2017 at 11:16 am

      Thank you for your kind words, Lisa! I’m happy you found this useful. I wish you the best luck in your new journey! 🙂



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