As the internet is booming like crazy, people are now starting to see freelancing as a career. How to start freelancing work is now the most searched question among amateur freelancers. This guide will cover all the things you should know about freelancing and we will the exact step by step guide on how to start freelancing from scratch.
Before getting to know more about freelancing, let’s first see what is freelancing?
What is Freelancing?
Freelancing is where you make money online by working for different companies or individuals on particular projects. It is the place where you provide your skill, time, and hard work to someone in exchange for money.
You will either get paid per project or you will get paid per hour. It depends on the skill you are selling and the clients you are working with.
In simpler words, you can work from home and make money online without having to go anywhere.
When it comes to skills, there are literally thousands of skills through which you can start freelancing career.
Some of the most famous skills for freelancing are as follows:-
- Graphics design and logo designing
- Content writing, creation, and marketing
- Proofreading and Copy writing
- Video editing
- 2D, 3D Animation and VFX
- Digital Marketing
- UI design and UX design
- Social Media management
- Game development
- Programming (you can choose any programming language here C/C++, PHP, Java, Python, etc)
- Framework development and MVC (Laravel, Cake PHP, Codeigniter, Flask, Django, Spring)
- Web development and web designing
- WordPress, Shopify, Magento, and other CMS development
- You can teach skills such as Makeup, programming, web development, etc
- Voice over and voice assistant
- Virtual assistant
- Data entry and other office freelancing such as excel
- Accounting such as tally
- Translation services
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
- Campaign optimization
In the same way, you can find any skills that you love and which you are good at.
Say what? You don’t have experience? Don’t worry, we will see how to start freelancing with no experience 😉
Why start freelancing? is it a great source of Passive income?
Before we get more into why start freelancing and stuff like that, first know this.
Freelancing is NOT a passive income. You can’t just generate millions of dollars without doing anything. Even if you outsource your work, it is not passive income. It is an active income and you will have to work for it in order to make money.
So, if you are thinking it has a passive income than that was a little bad news for you.
Reasons to Start Freelancing
There are thousands of the reason why you should start freelancing. Here are a couple of reasons why you should work from home and make money online.
- You will be able to generate money online
- It is not necessary that you need to do full time freelancing, you can continue your job, studies, and do freelancing in your free time.
- You can make money with freelancing on almost any skill
- You don’t need the experience to make money. We will also see how to start freelancing with no experience.
- Freelancing is scalable. If you are planning to make a company, freelancing can be very much useful.
These are just a couple of reasons why start freelancing and the reasons why freelancing is awesome.
From where to Start freelancing Business?
Now, that you know you what is freelancing, let’s jump right into where to start freelancing business. You see amateur freelancers or newbie freelancers have this question in mind. They want to make freelancing as a career but they don’t know how to begin freelancing.
Find your skills
The first thing that you need to do is find the skills that you want to sell. You can easily take the reference from the above list and choose one.
Once you have the skill, you need to learn some of the basic additional skills.
Confusing? Let’s break it out.
If you want to start freelancing in content writing, you can learn some basics of SEO. You can easily make some extra money by just writing the same content in a bit different way.
In the same way, if you want to start freelancing programming or as a software developer, make sure you are following all the coding standards.
So, the first thing that you need to do in order to start freelancing business is to choose the skills you want to sell.
Select a Niche to work with
Okay, this doesn’t apply to all of the skills but if you have chosen the skills or the industry which has really huge demand, you should select a niche.
For the people who want to start freelancing graphic designing must choose a niche. The same goes for web development or software development.
So, the next step is to choose a niche. Here, niche means the type of work you will fetch. If you are in graphic designing, you can only look for clients who want an abstract logo. Alternatively, you can select a specific industry.
Umm, let’s say you choose restaurants and cafes. Now, you should only try to look for the people who own a restaurant. However, don’t choose restaurants as most of them will have their logo. You can look for the people who have just started their business or they don’t have a very appealing logo.
We will soon see how to get your first project as a freelancer.
Choose potential clients
Potential clients or customers are someone who is willing to purchase your service. You need to choose your potential customers. You will never get a client if you have no idea who is going to purchase from you.
Ask yourself the following questions:-
- For whom my service is useful?
- Is it for the individual creators or for the companies?
- Where can I find such companies?
- Where my clients hang out? (in Linkedin, Instagram, Stack Overflow, or Devianart)
Once you ask yourself the following questions, you will pretty much get a complete idea of whom to target and who are your potential customers who are more likely to buy from you.
Also, you need to which type of work you will be doing. Whether you will do projects of 1 month-long or you are going to do short term projects. Whether you will work in a team or you will work on small projects which only require one person. You need to note it all down.
Make a portfolio
So, you want to know how to start freelancing with no experience? Make a portfolio. Most of the amateur freelancers are worried that they won’t get a project because they don’t have previous work to show. It is correct because most of the companies won’t give you a project unless they see your work or testimonial.
The best solution here is to create some sample work. You don’t need to have a client in order to create a portfolio. Understand this, the company just wants to see what you are capable of. If you want to start freelancing programming, you can simply create a fully functional website or software.
In the same way, if you are into graphic design or logo making, you can create a couple of logos for yourself and display it.
Alternatively, the best way to create a live portfolio as a freelancer is to “Work for free”. This is the thing I learned from Gary Vaynerchuk.
If you design WordPress websites as a freelancer, you can offer someone to design their website for free. You can just ask them either to purchase a particular theme/plugin for you. The Elegant themes lifetime package will cost you $250 only in which you will get Divi and Extra theme, Bloom plugin, and a couple of extra things. You can use any of these in an unlimited number of websites.
Ask your client to purchase that for you and design their website for free. You can then charge other clients and use the Divi theme on their websites. Ask them to refer and you will even get more sales.
Set your price
Ahh, now comes the best part – Money. So, you need to set the basic price that you will charge. As we mentioned, in your freelancing career, you will have two options. You can either charge your client on an hourly basis or you can charge a lump sum amount.
Analyze the market rate. Do some research work in order to find out how much to charge as a freelancer. It depends on your niche on how much you should set.
If you want to start freelancing as a software developer, you should charge hourly. Alternatively, if you want to start freelancing programming, you can even charge for a complete website or the project.
Make sure your rates are lower than the market rate. As an entry-level freelancer or amateur freelancer, you need to make sure that the rates are low and the delivery time is also less. In this way, you will be able to stand out as a freelancer.
The country you are targeting also plays an important role here. So, make sure you say the rate accordingly. If you are targeting worldwide, you should take either the United Nations’ freelancing rates or the United Kingdom’s freelancing rates into consideration.
Most of the smart freelancers are from India. So, if you are only targeting Indian clients, make sure the pricing is as per freelancing rates in India. However, if you have no specific target, you can go with the pricing in the US.
The last thing that you should consider is the Niche you are working on. So, do your research for freelancing rates accordingly.
Choose how you will find clients
Now, the next thing you need to do is choose the way you will get the clients. There are two most popular ways you can find your clients.
- Get clients Freelancing websites
- Get clients by your own
You can either choose any one of them or you can go with both of them simultaneously. There are certain things that you will need to keep in mind if you are doing so. We will see more about it later on.
So, the first thing that you need to do is to select a freelancing platform to work with. We will see some of the websites you can work with and also we will see how you can get the job here.
#1 How to get clients from Freelancing websites
There are many freelancing websites that you can utilize. Each of them has a different procedure and a different way of dealing.
Let me explain to you the concept of any freelancing website.
Here, a company will post their requirements along with their budget. You as a seller will bid on the post. A bid is a proposal where you tell the client why you are perfect for the job.
If the clients accept your proposal, you are awarded the project.
Now, the buyer has to complete the payment and the payment will be on hold by the freelancingt website.
Once you complete your project and the client approves it, the payment is transferred to your account. It takes a couple of days to get the money in your bank account or Paypal account. However, the number of days depends on the freelancing website you are working with.
Advantages of working with freelancing websites
There are many advantages of working with freelancing websites such as it is easier to get projects and many more. Here are a couple of advantages that you will get.
- You will get the clients automatically. The requirements are right there, you just need to bid on the proposal.
- It is easier to get the freelancing projects
- Half of the things are managed by the freelancing website such as payment gateway, a platform for communication, etc
- You can create either your personal freelancing account or if you want to start freelancing business, you can also create a brand account.
Disadvantages of working with freelancing website
Just like the advantages, there are a couple of disadvantages that you will face. Here are some of them.
- They own your account. In simpler words, they can delete/suspend your account anytime if you don’t follow their terms of service.
- The support is very less.
- They cut 10/20% of your payment as commission and transaction fees.
- You can’t say that the client is 100% yours because you are just hired to complete a single work. They might choose another freelancer next time.
- You can’t contact the client directly or outside the website as per the terms and conditions.
Freelancing websites to Get your first project
There are hundreds of freelancing websites that you can work with. Here, we are just going to see a couple of them and know more about it. We will see how you can get your first project using these websites.
There are a couple of things that you need to check if you want to start freelancing with these or any other platform.
- Minimum payment: Some websites will have a minimum payment threshold
- Payment frequency: Not all websites pay you anytime
- Payment method: See how you will get paid.
- Commissions: See what they charge a commission. Usually, it is 10 to 20%
- Authority: See some reviews before you start investing your time in the websites
- Number of bids/gig: See if there are any limits
- Working process: See how they work. What happens when someone buys your service and things like that.
- Support: You will need it at some point
Upwork is the most professional website you will come across. It is a professional freelancing website where you need to bid on projects in order to get them. For amateur freelancers, it is a bit hard to get the profile approved. You need good skills to get your account up and running. Once you get your account set up, you can start bidding on projects. You can make a huge amount of money using Upwork. In order to get Upwork clients, you need to bid properly. Make sure your bid has a proper intro and has a proper pitch on why they should award you the project.
In simpler words, you can really get some high paying clients or projects using Upwork. However, it is hard to get approved. If you are working as a team, this will be the best place for you. People who got the best skills can make huge money from it.
You can register for Upwork
Fiverr is the next biggest marketplace for freelancers. Unlike other freelancing websites, on Fiverr, you need to specify which services you will provide. The clients/buyer will buy from you if they want your service. You can easily start freelancing on Fiverr by just creating an account and then creating a gig. Make sure your gig has high-quality images and also the pricing is affordable. The two main things that are important when you start freelancing on Fiverr are the featured image and the gig title. If you get it both right, you will easily start getting projects.
There are certain levels of sellers. As you make more sales and get good reviews, your level will increase and you will start getting more and more benefits. I personally love Fiverr because you don’t need to bid anywhere. You just need to put out a gig and people will find you.
You can register on Fiverr
In the same way, you can head over to other freelancing websites to know more about them.
You can check the complete list of Best freelancing websites
#2 How to get freelancing clients directly
The technique is a little bit hard. However, if you want to start a brand and scale your freelancing business, it is the best way to start freelancing. Here, you need to find to pitch yourself in front of a client directly.
It requires more effort in finding the client as well as you need to work hard in convincing then.
Why it is hard, you ask? Well, first of all, know this. When you start freelancing on Fiverr or Upwork, the client wants to buy something. That is the reason why they are on the platform.
Whereas, here you have no idea whether they are interested in buying your service or not. Even if they are, you have no clue whether they want a freelancer or they want to give the project to a company.
So, it takes a lot of hard+smart work to find a client in this way. It is extremely easier to start freelancing on Fiverr and get the first project instead.
But hey, don’t worry. This freelancing 101 guide is just for you. Let’s jump into the step by step guide on how to get freelancing projects.
Make a Portfolio website
If you are finding projects directly, you will need a high-quality portfolio website. This is the place where you will display all your work.
The people who are doing freelancing in web development or software development don’t need to purchase a sperate domain name. You can simply create a subdomain and add your scripts over there.
Creating a Portfolio website is extremely easy. You just need a hosting service and a premium WordPress theme. You can go with Divi theme or WpAstra theme. Both of them have a readymade freelancing template that you can use on your website. For portfolio websites, WordPress will be the best choice as it is easy to customize and it looks amazing.
Make sure you include all your projects and a little bit of information about yourself in the theme.
Don’t work completely for free. Either you should get valuable software or resource. Alternatively, you can offer your work for free. So, don’t work absolutely for free unless you are getting a huge (Really huge) exposure.
Create the Roadmap to get freelancing projects
As we mentioned earlier, you will need the industry to work with. In simpler words, you need to decide the target audience. Be specific over here, it could be home decor, restaurants, and cafes, doctors, or anything else.
Once you choose them, you need to select how you will contact them. They are several ways you can contact them such as
- Cold emailing
- Cold calling
- Face to face meeting
You also need to choose how you will convince them. Whether you are going to give them free service, or you are going to simply point out their problems and offer to solve it.
If you are wondering how to find the clients after choosing the industry, here is a quick tip. Open the local directories such as Yellow Pages or Yelp. Search for the relevant business, see if they need your service.
Secondly, you can use Linkedin to find the clients. Join the groups where your potential customers might hang out. Connect with them, offer them your services.
Alternatively, if you have the budget, you can always run paid ads. Facebook and LinkedIn ads really do well when it comes to getting clients. Just make sure you are targeting the right people.
If you want to start freelancing in web development and web designing, here is a quick tip. Find some famous websites who don’t have a mobile-friendly website. Offer them to make the current website mobile friendly. Show them some stats or case studies saying why mobile friendly websites are the future. Boom! You just got your first client.
In the same way, if you are in graphic designing freelancer, you can find some blogs who are posting infographic content more often. Ask them to design the next infographic content. They are more likely to say yes as they are already posting.
Keep the documentation ready
If the client agrees, you will have to create an invoice and accept the payment. Also, the client might ask you for more details about your service. Make sure you have the PDF brochure ready where extra details are given about your service.
Alternatively, you can also add all of them to your portfolio website. The next thing is to make sure that payment is working correctly.
Confused? Let me tell you in brief. A friend of mine was doing freelancing in digital marketing, he took the payment from the client via Paypal and told the client he will deliver the service within 2 days.
He had to pay for Google ads from that money. Google only accepts card payment.
Now, the thing is that it takes some time to transfer the Paypal amount to your bank account. So, in such cases, you need to make sure that you are ready to pay some money upfront.
You can either tell your client to take more days or you should be ready to pay some money upfront. This only applies to the people who are either outsourcing or offering the services in which they need to pay.
Pitch Yourself to the client
The next thing you need to do is pitch yourself to the client. The sales pitch plays an important role when it comes to getting the client. The pitch should gain enough amount of interest that the client asks you for more details about your service.
The pitch depends on how you are contacting the client. If you are meeting in-person, do according to the body language. In the same way, if you are just sending them an email, make sure you cover your service. Also, don’t give away all your golden eggs. Let them wonder and get back to you.
A sales pitch should be short and attractive.
Introduce yourself first
Share about the problem the company is facing
Tell a bit about how your service is useful
(if response is positive) Share your bullet proof plan on how to solve the problem
Don’t directly tell the pricing to the client. First, lure them and intrigue them in your service. Later on, you can share the pricing.
Build a brand
Before you start to imagine any creative company name, you can also create a personal brand. A personal brand is something that goes by your own name. The best and most famous examples here are Gary Vaynerchuk and Neil Patel.
In this way, you can create your own brand. Branding is the most important thing if you are taking freelancing as a career. For the people who want to legally start a freelancing business, you will first require to build a brand.
There are many advantages and the reasons why you need to create a brand, here are some of them
- It will be easier for you to hire people, charge more from clients.
- If you are looking freelancing as long term career, this is something most important
- The people who came here looking for “How to legally start freelancing business” will need a brand name at one point.
- You will attract more customers. Also, it will be easier for existing customers to find you.
- You can scale it up in no time
- Moreover, you will be able to offer more services. It is hard to believe if a single person offers many services.
So, make sure you are building a brand and not just getting the projects.
The most important tip: START
Alright now, this may sound stupid but you actually need to do this. Everyone starts from the bottom, we all have the same 24 hours.
When you are watching a Netflix series, do you think how long will it take to reach the 7th season or 8th season? You still start watching it, don’t you? Now, do the same with your freelancing career.
The guide has almost covered all the things you will need to start your journey. So, what are you waiting for? Just start freelancing, you will automatically “Figure it out” later on. Learn from your experience.
Do let us know in the comment section on how you are starting freelancing career or how you started, it will bring value to other users.
The other thing that I keep saying is don’t analyze too much. It is alright to research in-depth but give yourself a deadline. Many of you might disagree here but the thing is that there is a ton of information on the internet. Also, there are millions of people with different opinions. The more you research, the difficult it will be for you to choose the platform.
So, instead, you should just start freelancing and figure out the rest of the things on your way. As you start contacting your potential client, you will start to get an idea about every single thing.
Scale-up freelancing business
The next thing you need to do is scale up freelancing business. Once you start freelancing business, you will not start getting many projects at first. However, as you keep continuing the work, you will start getting more and more clients and more and more orders.
How to get more clients
Not getting many orders? Here are some quick tips.
- Sell more services to the existing customers. This doesn’t mean you will try to sell the same service to the customers. Instead, what you need to do is offer them services that they are more likely to buy. Let’s say, you are selling graphic designing freelance service, ask your client if they need any icons, slides, or infographic content. If you have developed a website for them, ask them if they want to create their Android application.
- Ask your customers for referrals. Seriously, just ask, you will start getting more.
- Ask your customers to write a review on Google, Facebook, Linkedin, etc. Showcase all these reviews in the testimonial section on your website.
- Go for paid advertising to get more clients. So, you are doing Facebook ads or PPC ads freelancing and wondering how you can get your clients? Use Facebook ads and PPC ads. As simple as that.
So, this is how you get more freelancing clients.
Increase price and number of services
Now, coming to the scaling of your freelancing business, there are two most important things that you should do to make money from Freelancing.
- Increase your pricing
- Outsource your work
Even if you are an expert in each and everything, you will need to outsource your work. Even if you work for 24 hours straight, you can only do the work of 24 hours. Instead, if you outsource it, you can make more money with ease. Also, more freelancing clients will help you build a reputation for your brand.
There are two options that you can do when you are outsourcing the work. The first thing is you can offer multiple services and outsource them. The alternative way is you can focus on your single service and try to get more orders. Both of them works perfectly. If you are planning to create your own company and came here looking for how to legally start freelancing business, you should go with the multiple services.
The last thing is increasing your price. As time pass, you will have to increase your price if you want to make more money. So, be ready for it.
Freelancing mistakes to avoid as an amateur freelancer
We all are humans, we all do some mistakes. So, here are a couple of mistakes that most of the amateur freelancer makes and you should avoid these freelancing mistakes at any cost.
These are the things that you should do to avoid freelancing mistakes.
- The biggest mistake that amateur freelancers make is thinking they are not enough and they can’t do the job. Lack of confidence has killed many talents in the world. Don’t be one of them. Just try it out once, you will automatically see the results (assuming you are putting hard work).
- Not following up is the second mistake that most of the freelancers make. You can get the job but hey, freelancing is a business, you need to follow them up. Ask them about their experience and also provide full support. This will help you get new orders from them.
- If you are working with clients directly (not through any platform), make sure you work in some sort of contract. You can use escrow services if you want.
- Not asking for referrals. Just try this once. If you have 10 customers, ask them if their friends or anyone else in a similar field wants this service.
- Ask your clients for reviews if you are not already asking them.
- Learn new skills even if you are doing good. It will help you to grow as a person as well as increase freelancing business
- Buy the necessary tools that you will need. In this online world, no matter which service you are providing there are some tools available that will make your work better. Take out some money and purchase them. This will upgrade your work and you will be able to charge more.
Wrapping up: Conclusion
To conclude, this was the long answer to your question on How to start freelancing business with no experience and get your first client.
It is easier to start freelancing on Fiverr and all the other platforms. As you don’t need to look for clients. They do charge a commission and for some people, it is big. However, it also removes half of your work. So, it is pretty good.
On the other hand, if you plan to go with the second method, that is finding the clients on your own. You will need to do a little home work. Make sure you pitch yourself right and find the right potential customers. The other thing that you need to know is the conversion ratio. Yes, the conversion ratio is very low when it comes to finding clients directly. Therefore, you need to be ready for it.
Just make sure you follow all the steps and start working on finding clients. If you need any help, feel free to comment below. Also, tell us how you started your freelancing journey.
FAQ on Freelancing
How can I start freelancing with No experience?
Freelancing is no rocket science or a high paying job that you need experience for. All you need to do is create some great sample of your work and bid on the right projects.
How to start freelancing?
If you want to start freelancing, don't think much. Pick one of the freelancing websites and start bidding on projects. You can follow our guide to know exactly how to start
How do I get my first freelancing job?
It is very easy to get your first freelancing job or freelancing project. All you need is some sample of your work and you need to find the right clients. You should start small and later on, you can scale your freelancing buisness.
How do freelancers get paid?
Freelancers get their payment usually via PayPal or Payoneer. However, depending on the freelancing website you are using, the payout method might differ.
Can I work as freelancer from any country or anyplace?
Yes, you can start and work from anyplace and anywhere you want.