7 Essential Steps To Start Your Freelancing Career

Freelancing is a way to shape your own destiny. It offers you the freedom to work on your terms – when, how, and with whom you like. However, embarking on a freelancing journey isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, especially in the beginning.

There are obstacles I wish I knew how to solve when I started my career. I’m Luis, I learned freelancing the hard way and I will share insights to help you launch a successful freelancing career.

I started back in 2007 before it was even a thing. I began working remotely as a programmer. This unexpected journey allowed me to create the life I wanted and control my own destiny, and I haven’t looked back since.

Let’s explore these actionable steps to get you on the right track.

#1 Identify Your Skills

Begin your journey by taking a deep look at your skills and abilities. This will save you time from choices on the types of gigs you want to have. It’s like washing your hands before eating, a germ-free experience.

Key Questions to Ask Yourself:

  • What am I truly good at?
  • What have I been paid for doing in the recent past?
  • Where do I see myself in the following year?

#2 Groom Your Online Presence

In today’s digital age, your online presence is your virtual business card. It’s where clients and potential collaborators will find you, evaluate your skills, and decide whether they want to work with you.

It is vital to have a strong online presence. Bees crave for honey. Become honey, don’t be just another bee playing the game of endless rejected applications.

  • Create a professional website or online portfolio. 
  • Optimize your LinkedIn profile (or a relevant social network) and actively network within your chosen field.
  • Creaet a stellar “About me” page that tells your story, highlights your skills, and makes a personal connection with potential customers.

#3 Attract Clients

Building a client base is fundamental for any freelancer.

  • Productify yourself. Master the art of selling your skills.
  • Learn to write appealing and clear proposals as response to clients inquiries.
  • Consider earning certifications or qualifications that validate your expertise. This can increase your credibility and attract more clients.
  • Rely on your network to find your first customers. Let your friends know you’re offering services.
  • Join relevant networking events, conferences, or meetups in your field. These events provide excellent opportunities to meet potential clients and other professionals who may refer work to you.
  • Tap into online platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer to find clients from multiple industries.

#4 Manage Your Time

One of my top perks of freelancing is the flexibility of schedule. Be mindful about which times you’re more productive and block those spaces for work. This works like a charm for many freelancers:

  • Build a distraction-free environment for work.
  • Prioritize your tasks. Start your day by listing your tasks in order of importance. Focus on high-priority items first to ensure you’re tackling what matters most.
  • Avoid multitasking. Contrary to popular belief, multitasking can reduce productivity. Concentrate on one task at a time to complete it efficiently.
  • Take advantage of productivity tools such as project management software (e.g., Trello), time tracking apps (e.g., Toggl), and note-taking apps (e.g., Evernote) to streamline your work. Those are my top favorite.
  • Add hobbies, workouts, fun time every day if possible.

#5 Separate Your Workspace

Whether your workspace is a coworking space, a Starbucks, or a spare room in your house, it’s important to keep things separate.

Home is for resting and your brain knows it. The moment you try to sit down to work in an environment that feels like home, your brain will hardly focus. 

  • Set clear work hours and stick to them as closely as possible. This helps create a routine and ensures that you have time for your personal life.
  • Create rituals to mark the start and end of your workday. For instance, a morning routine can signal the beginning of the workday, while shutting down your computer and tidying your workspace can signal the end.
  • Invest in a comfortable chair, a proper desk, and good lighting. Ergonomic furniture can significantly improve your work environment.
  • Minimize distractions. Keep your workspace tidy and free from personal distractions. Remove unnecessary clutter and personal items that might tempt you away from work.

#6 Maintain Your Pride Wall

You will increase your chances of closing deals as you grow and showcase what you’ve done in the past.

It’s fundamental to show your experience. Your portfolio is your showcase to the world. You don’t have to put everything there, just the projects you’re most proud of.

  • Create a portfolio (your “Pride Wall”) highlighting your most impressive projects.
  • Regularly update it to reflect your latest accomplishments.
  • You don’t need a fancy website. I’ve seen people using Notion and that’s just fine.

#7 Handle Legal Matters

Address legal aspects early on for a smooth freelancing career. Avoid one the most common mistakes, neglecting the legal basis of your business can be costly.

  • Register your freelance business.
  • Obtain necessary licenses, and set clear legal terms.
  • Keep track of your finances, including bookkeeping and taxes.

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned freelancer, these simple steps provide the foundation for a successful freelancing career.

Embrace the challenges, celebrate your successes, and remember that freelancing is your path to shaping your own destiny.

Enjoy the journey!