Step by step guide to build your freelance career

Taking your first step as a freelancer can seem a bit farfetched, especially when you are starting up. You have all the right ingredients you need to build up your freelancing career and yet you find yourself tangled up in the cobwebs of over flowing information spread across the ‘web’.

The road to freelancing can be a roughed path, it’s up to you to pave the path in your favor and find the right job as a freelancer, that defines your area of expertise. If you are thinking of taking up freelancing as a part time option or as a full time career option, planning ahead always helps in more ways than one. One of my main concerns before writing this post was to make your life easier as a freelancer by sharing the relevant information with you.

  1. Commit and create a plan


Rather than spending a year struggling and not going anywhere, have a game plan ready, map out the opportunities and resources you will utilize when you are out in the open market. Here is a list of a few questions you need to ask yourself before moving on.

Planning your freelance business 

  • Your business’s name and its location?
  • What is do you specialize in?
  • Who are your targeted clients and how are you planning on helping them?

Your marketing plan

  • How will you find clients?
  • What type of marketing will you do to get your name out there?
  • What results are you looking for with your marketing? (For example, a target number of client projects per month.)

Your financial plan

  • Your hourly rate?
  • To meet your goals, how much do you plan to earn each month?
  • What type of business expenses will you have?
  • How will you diversify your freelance income outside of client work?

Although you might not have an idea of what these things are, you can still invest some little time in doing some research and staying a step ahead.

  1. Calculating your freelance hourly rate


Although all freelancers do not work by an hourly rate, still it is smart to have a number at the back of your head when negotiating with clients.

Your hourly rate will depend on a lot of factors, which will include your skill level, experience and market demand for your services. Figuring out your hourly rate ultimately comes down to your financial goals and what you feel comfortable being paid.

  1. Recognize your clients and prepare for work

recognizeBefore you start reaching out to clients you need to create the essential documents so you can confidently reply back with the next step to take. Your clients will surely appreciate this.

Start with creating a generalized freelance contract and invoice –You will be needing these two things to begin and finish your every project. Develop your brief on a professional level and do an in-depth research of the job you are applying for before submitting a proposal to the client. Always have some questions prepared you want to ask the client to show an interest and reflect your professionalism.

Apart from telling your, friends and relatives prepare a list of at least 10 clients you would like to work with. They can be anyone, your local businesses, people in your vicinity or any one that you think will help you endeavor into building a career.

  1. Finding your first client


Now that you have all the pieces of the puzzle put in one place, it’s time to rearrange them. Your first client is as important as your first day of school was. Find out at least 15-20 clients and reach out. Make sure you write your proposal from the scratch and not just throw in a template e-mail. Do in depth study of their business and suggest ways in which you can improve their business. ‘SELL YOURSELF’ by highlighting your skills and making a portfolio of your past work (if any).

  1. What comes next?


So at this point you should have the foundation of your freelance business in place:

  • You should be able to understand your freelance business in detail
  • Goals should be set to work towards success
  • You should have a strong online presence with the best of your work displayed
  • You should be mentally and physically prepared to reach out and accept work from clients
  • And finally, you’re ready to share and get the word out about your freelance business

Climbing up the ladder from here is entirely up to you – how much time, patience, and dedication you’re ready to pour into your freelancing. It is going to take a lot of time and energy to build, but if you want to build a freelance career then you will have to start right now and follow these few steps that I provided with your own twist– using them as a trail to create your own path.

Continue to work with clients, be active on social media, build up your experience, turn your completed work into a good portfolio so it can market for you. The possibilities are endless!

Additional Questions

I have tried to cover as much information as possible in my post however I am sure that I have just touched the tip of an iceberg. If u still have any other questions or suggestions, feel free to leave a comment and I will try my best to provide you with the best solution possible.


Pankaj Goyal

I am a startup technologist with over 11 years of experience. I have been working with startups since begining of my career. We started Hirenodes in June 2014 with basic concept of building a referral based hiring platform.

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