How Much Time Do You Need to Put into Freelancing for it to be a Successful Career?

With tons of videos and courses surrounding how to make a lot of money freelancing, one topic seems always left out –

How much time do you need to put into freelancing to make it a successful career?

How Much Time Do You Need to Put into Freelancing for it to be a Successful Career?

Most get into freelancing because they like to write or want to work from home but what many fail to take into consideration is that it is a business.

You must have a business mindset with the ability to market yourself well.

Let’s explore the important items to consider, how you’ll be spending most of your time and how many get to the next level.

What’s In It For You?

Knowing why you want to be a freelancer will help drive you.

If you’re not sure, take the time to figure it out. You will not have the drive needed to push through the hard work and hurdles if it isn’t clear to you.

Freelancing isn’t easy, especially in the beginning when you’re building your portfolio and trying to gain clients.

Once you start gaining some traction, maintaining and growing is competitive and tedious.

So, it’s important to have a clear, meaningful reason.

Most likely you fit into one of the following categories, maybe even a couple but there needs to be a dominant reason for you wanting to freelance as your career.

  1. You want to work for yourself
  2. You like to write
  3. You’re content creation is amazing
  4. You can create copy that converts
  5. You want a flexible schedule
  6. You lost your job and need work
  7. You have experience in a sought after niche
  8. You’re tired of the financial caps of your 9-5 job

If You’re Sold on Your “Why,” Continue

Don’t fool yourself into thinking you’re going to gain overnight success.

You need to be committed to the long-haul or not at all.

It’s just important that you start somewhere.

It’s helpful if you begin with  R&D, scheduling and projections, marketing/sales and support/accountability as laid out in turning your passion into your side hustle to start with.

Making Freelance Your Career

If you’re serious about freelancing as a career, there’s a couple of items you need to know to give you the best chance towards success.

The truth is, you don’t need to be a great writer to be successful.

What you do need is to be an expert at something or a great researcher and be able to market yourself well enough that businesses see your ability to  increase conversions or provide value add to current customers.


  • Find your niche – this needs to be something you’re an expert in or at least can seem to be
  • Before you decided to freelance, what did you do? Use it.
  • What did you go to school for
  • Do you have a rare or common condition
  • Do you cook really good meals
  • Are you an exercise guru
  • Do you live a holistic lifestyle


The #1 question from new freelancers is, “do I need a website?”

The answer is no but you do need a live portfolio and an easy way to produce this is by having your own website.

The reason I find value in having a website is it makes it easier if you want to try a new type of writing or change your niche altogether.

Websites can sell more than just your writing services.

My site shows my content writing capability via my blog, copywriting via my call to actions, my coaching and eventually my book sales.

The alternative to a website is sharing content on Medium, Contently, Journo or similar content platforms.

I believe you display a well rounded freelancer through your own website.

Before having your first client and whether you have a site or not, guest posting is another way to display your writing.

Social media marketing is a simple way to get your services out there.

This does not mean just sharing your blog post to all your outlets.

You need to be able to know  who your audience is and what they’re looking for.

Hook them in through enticing captions that often ask a question, creating engaging content your audience will want to share and then engaging more with your audience.

Email marketing is a way to be directly in front of your audience on a consistent basis.

Once you have someone’s email, you can passively pursue them.

Subscriptions and drip campaigns are just a couple of suggestions on how to utilize email marketing.

LinkedIn is a great place to share content, engage with the right audience and apply for freelance jobs.

If your niche is in the B2B, SaaS, Tech industries, LinkedIn is a must!

Job boards are still relevant but use them only as a beginner to gain the experience and to add to your portfolio so you can gain higher paying companies.

Cold Pitches & Networking

Competition is steep in the freelance world.

Cold pitching is one of the quickest ways to gain clients.

If you know your niche, surf the web and your city for companies who can clearly gain from your work.

Be specific about what you will do and the kpi’s to be expected in a certain time frame.

Networking acts similar in the fact that you’re taking initiative and you’re adding value to others around you.

Make it about them not you. Most of all, build relationships and don’t burn bridges.

So, how much time does it take to be a successful FT Freelance Writer?

When you’re first getting started, you’ll have to spend over 40 hours a week.

I would say about 60 hours a week, especially if you’re doing everything yourself with no help. The beginning steps will look something like this:

  • Determine your niche
  • R&D
  • Scheduling & Projects
  • Setup business accounts
    • Bank
    • Social media
    • Website
    • Email
  • Marketing/Sales
    • Website or other portfolio placement
    • Blogs
    • Guest posting
    • Social Media Marketing

Success takes time, money and persistence.

Once you have everything setup, you will need to maintain everything and write and create marketing material daily.

You have to be willing to set aside lots of focused intentional time in the beginning. Along the way ensure you’re learning how to be more efficient.

No one wants to spend money before they’re making any money but know, to set up a proper business, you may need to spend a little money.

Try to keep costs down with free trials and by doing things yourself at first. As you gain some traction, you may want to prioritize what you’ll spend company money on and what you won’t.

You will come across setbacks.

You have to be determined not to give up and always push through. Ensure you look at your schedule monthly and continue to make improvements to your time management and efficiency.

There’s not a one size fits all in time and efficiency.

You will just need to keep adjusting and/or get some coaching when it comes to your unique business.

Freelancing is an amazing career and can be very profitable.

What I’ve learned over the years about efficiency and freelancing is that there is a way for you to make a lot more money in a lot less time on your own clock instead of someone else’s.

Once you start your business, checkout my course launching in April on how to get to the next level in your freelancing career through building your own courses.

Don’t give up!

Rachel E. Smith is embarking on a new journey of Writing, Coaching and Speaking with Her first book, a Teachable Memoir "Love Me Now" is set to release in December 2024. She is passionate about helping others find the true journey meant for them by shedding the weight of who we were told to be and gaining freedom, happiness and success by becoming who we truly are. She loves connecting with others on to hear others stories and journeys.

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