Starting Out

How Do You Start a Freelancing Business in 2024?

The perks of kicking off your own freelancing business are seriously tempting.

I mean it was for me back in 2014.

How Do You Start a Freelancing Business in 2024?

With all the researching I was doing while my twins were sleeping or napping, I kept coming back to moms who were freelancing.

And when I jumped into freelancing, I never looked back!

Freelancing means I call the shots.

I pick my projects, set my own schedule, and choose who I want to work with.

Imagine having the freedom to work on what you love, from wherever you desire, without anyone hovering over your shoulder…that’s what being a freelancer is all about.

So, if this is the year you decide you want to be a freelancer, let’s look at the steps to start this fun journey from a veteran freelancer!

What Is Freelancing?

Before we go down the rabbit hole of being a freelancer, if you don’t already know, freelancing is essentially about working independently as self-employed, rather than being an employee.

As a freelancer, you offer your skills and services to various clients without being permanently employed by any one of them.

This setup allows you to manage your own business, choose which projects to take, and decide who to work with.

This style of work is seen across numerous fields such as writing, graphic design, web development, marketing, photography, and art even, to name a few.

Benefits of Being a Freelancer

So, is freelancing really better than going to that stable 9-5 job?

Let’s look at some key benefits to this freelance life.

You are Your Own Boss

I get to be the boss as a freelancer and I love it.

I’m in control of my work life, which means I can blend my career with my personal life however it suits me best.

Whether it’s picking up my kids from school or taking midday yoga classes, my schedule is mine to manage. The last couple of years, I took the summer off and the family went on road trips and vacations to places around Canada.

My twins absolutely love this time with family and learning new places in the country….and I love how I don’t have to work if I don’t want to and still make enough income to do what I’m doing!

There’s No Income Ceiling

As with a traditional job role that may cap at certain income level, with freelancing you can smash that ceiling and create your own income per month.

Many freelancers find themselves earning more than they did in their traditional 9-to-5 jobs simply because they can take on multiple clients and projects.

The more I put myself out there and sharpen my skills, the greater my potential to boost my earnings.

You Can Scale Your Freelance Business

As you get more experienced and build a solid reputation, you can start taking on bigger and more exciting projects.

This not only steps up your game but also make your more money.

You can also expand your services into new areas that align with your skills.

This isn’t just about making more money—it’s about keeping your work fresh and engaging.

Plus, once you’re really rolling, you can bring on other freelancers to help out.

This lets you handle more projects and grow your business without being overwhelmed. Managing this growth well can seriously boost your freelance career.

Okay –

So let’s dive into the steps to freelancing.

1. Assess Your Skills and Expertise

Before you can start making money freelancing, you need to pinpoint what you are good at.

Maybe you’re a wizard with words, a guru in graphic design, or a whiz at web development.

Whatever your area of expertise, recognizing your strongest skills is the first step.

For example, if you’ve always been the go-to person for editing your friends’ essays, perhaps writing or copyediting could be your freelancing gig.

Next, you need to think about the services you can offer that are actually in demand.

It’s not just about what you can do; it’s about what people want someone to do for them.

This means doing a bit of research to see what’s hot in the market.

For instance, if there’s a surge in companies looking for social media content creators, and you have a knack for crafting catchy posts, there’s your market.

Finally, identifying your unique selling proposition (USP) is crucial.

This is what makes you stand out from the crowd.

Maybe you offer lightning-fast turnaround times, or perhaps you specialize in a niche that’s not very common—like creating engaging content for pet blogs.

Whatever it is, your USP is your secret sauce, the reason clients should pick you over someone else. It’s about finding that special something you bring to the table that others don’t.

2. Do Some Market Research

Once you figured out the skills you are great at and want to offer, next is figuring out some market research.

Understanding your target audience is important to finding the right clients.

Who are they? What do they need that you can provide?

If you’re considering content writing, are you targeting tech startups needing blog content, or small businesses looking for social media help?

Knowing who you’re aiming to serve not only clarifies your marketing efforts but also allows you to tailor your services to be more effective.

Analyzing the competition is also important when you’re researching the market.

Take a look at others who are offering similar services.

What are they doing well?

Where could they improve?

For example, if there’s a freelance graphic designer who’s really popular but has slow turnaround times, you could highlight your efficiency if quick service is one of your strengths.

This analysis helps you figure out how to position yourself to stand out and start your freelance business the right way.

Identifying potential challenges and opportunities in your niche is key to navigating this freelance business.

Every market has its hurdles and windfalls.

Perhaps the market is oversaturated with content writers, which could pose a challenge.

However, there might be a rising demand for writers specializing in a less saturated sub-niche, like cybersecurity content creation, which represents an opportunity.

By pinpointing these elements, you can strategically avoid pitfalls and capitalize on the right opportunities.

So, take the time by researching and narrowing down your niche and services to stand out.

3. Setting Up Your Freelance Business

Setting up your freelancing business involves several practical steps to ensure everything runs smoothly and legally:

  • Legal Considerations
  • Choosing a Business Name and Creating a Brand
  • Necessary Tools and Technology

Let’s take a look at each of these things.

Legal Considerations

When you’re setting up your freelance business, one of the first things you’ll need to tackle is registering your business.

Depending on where you are, you might opt to register as a sole proprietor or decide to set up an LLC.

Each choice has its pros and cons, especially when it comes to things like liability and taxes, so it’s important to choose what best fits your situation.

It’s like picking out the right tools for a job—what works best in one scenario might not be ideal in another.

Handling your taxes is another biggie.

Trust me, staying on top of your tax obligations from the get-go can save you a ton of headaches later.

You’ll want to keep detailed records of all your income and expenses.

This isn’t just about being ready for tax season; it’s about having a clear picture of your financial health throughout the year.

Think of it as keeping your business’s scorecard up-to-date. You wouldn’t want any surprises popping up down the line, right?

And doing this is also great if you don’t want to do your own taxes. I hire an accountant for my freelance business taxes and it’s one less headache for sure!

Choosing a Business Name and Creating a Brand

Now, here comes the fun part!

Your freelance business name isn’t just a label—it’s the first glimpse potential clients get of who you are and what you offer.

It needs to resonate with your target audience and reflect the unique services you provide.

Think about what makes you different and how you can convey that in just a few words. It’s like your business’s first impression, and we all know how much those count!

Once you’ve nailed down a name, it’s time to build your brand.

This goes beyond just a logo or a color scheme; it’s about crafting a consistent identity across all your marketing materials.

From your website to your business cards to your social media profiles, your brand should tell a cohesive story about your business.

It’s about creating a personality that clients can recognize and trust.

By keeping your branding clear and consistent, you help ensure that whenever clients see something from your business, they instantly connect it with the quality and service you provide.

Necessary Tools and Technology

When it comes to starting a freelance business, having the right tools and technology at your disposal is crucial.

Start with the basics: a reliable laptop and the right software are non-negotiables.

Depending on your field, you might need specialized software that caters to graphic design, video editing, or accounting.

Make sure these tools or apps are up to date and capable of handling the tasks you throw at them.

Then, there’s your internet connection.

A fast and reliable internet service isn’t a luxury—it’s a necessity. This is your lifeline to clients, not to mention it’s essential for research, communication, and file transfers.

Lastly, consider the smaller, yet essential tools that help streamline your workflow.

Project management software can be a game changer, helping you keep track of deadlines and deliverables.

Time tracking apps like Toggl are great not just for billing purposes but also for analyzing how you spend your working hours, helping you optimize your productivity.

And don’t forget about communication platforms—whether it’s emails, Slack channels, or video calls, being able to communicate effectively with your clients and any collaborators is key.

By setting up your freelancing toolkit with these essentials, you’re paving the way for a smoother, more productive freelancing journey.

4. Pricing Your Freelance Business Services

Pricing your services is a part of your freelancing business.

It’s not just about what you earn; it’s about valuing your work appropriately and setting clear expectations with your clients.

Let’s start with understanding the different pricing models.

There are primarily three ways you might charge for your services: hourly, project-based, or on a retainer.

Hourly rates are straightforward—you charge for each hour you work.

This model is great for tasks where the time commitment isn’t clear from the outset.

Project-based pricing means setting a fee for the entire project, which works well when you can clearly define the scope and deliverables.

Then there’s the retainer model, which is perfect for ongoing work.

Clients pay you a regular fee to secure a certain amount of your time or output each month.

Setting competitive but fair prices is your next step.

Research what others in your field are charging, but also consider your expertise, the complexity of the work, and the value you bring to your clients.

It’s important to find a balance where your rates are attractive to clients but also sustainable for your business. Don’t sell yourself short—ensure your pricing reflects the quality and professionalism you deliver.

Knowing when and how to raise your rates is also part of doing business and something will have to do right.

As you gain more experience, improve your skills, and build your portfolio, it’s natural to review and adjust your rates accordingly.

An effective strategy is to communicate rate increases with clear justifications, ideally tied to visible improvements in your services or changes in market rates.

Always give your existing clients plenty of notice before a rate increase, and consider their feedback. This helps maintain good relationships and keeps your business growing healthily.

5. Build an Online Presence for Your Freelance Business

It’s not enough to have a website and a service to be successful as a freelancer.

You need a brand and presence online.

This will help attract clients and establish credibility in your field.

Let’s break down how to build this presence effectively, using examples to illustrate each point.

Building a Professional Website/Portfolio

Your freelance website is often the first point of contact potential clients have with your business, so it’s crucial to make a good impression.

For instance, if you’re a freelance photographer, your website should showcase your best work in a clean, easy-to-navigate gallery.

Include a bio that shares your story and expertise, and make sure your contact information is easy to find.

For a graphic designer, a portfolio that highlights a variety of projects—from logos to full branding exercises—can demonstrate your versatility and skill.

Each project should include a brief overview of the client’s needs, your creative process, and the final outcome. This not only showcases your work but also gives insight into how you approach and solve design problems.

Using Social Media Effectively

Social media can extend your reach and connect you with clients you might not find otherwise.

For example, a freelance writer could use X/Twitter to share recent articles, comment on current trends in content marketing, and engage with both readers and potential clients.

LinkedIn is ideal for all freelancers to network professionally, join relevant groups, share accomplishments, and publish articles related to their field.

Instagram works well for visually-oriented services like interior design or illustration.

Here, you could post images of ongoing projects, share before-and-after shots, or even create story highlights of different services you offer, providing a dynamic look at your capabilities.

SEO Basics for Freelancers

Understanding the basics of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) can significantly enhance your visibility online.

For example, if you’re a freelance SEO consultant, using targeted keywords throughout your site—like “freelance SEO expert” or “SEO services”—can help you rank higher in search engine results.

Blogging about common issues and solutions in SEO can also drive traffic to your site, while demonstrating your expertise.

For all freelancers, including local SEO terms can be beneficial.

If you’re based in New York and offer photography services, keywords like “New York freelance photographer” can help you attract local clients.

Play around with SEO for your website and see what happens!

Finding and Managing Clients in Your Freelance Business

Successfully freelancing involves not just honing your craft but also mastering the art of client acquisition and project management. Let’s delve into effective strategies for finding clients and managing projects to keep your freelance business thriving.

Finding Clients

Let’s look at the popular ways to find freelance clients.

1. Networking Strategies (Online and Offline)

Building a strong network is important for a new freelance business.

Online, you can connect with potential clients and fellow freelancers through platforms like LinkedIn and X/Twitter.

Share your projects, engage in relevant conversations, and contribute to discussions to establish your expertise.

Offline, attending industry conferences, workshops, and local meetups can help you make personal connections that often lead to referrals and new business opportunities.

For instance, if you’re a freelance graphic designer, presenting at a local small business event can put you in direct contact with potential clients.

2. Using Freelance Marketplaces and Job Boards

Freelance sites like Krop, Creative Circle, and specialized job boards like Writers Work  for your niche can be invaluable for finding new clients.

To stand out, ensure your profile is complete, professional, and showcases your best work. Tailor each application to the job posting, highlighting how your skills and experience specifically address the client’s needs.

3. Proposals and Pitches: How to Stand Out

When sending proposals, personalize each one.

Start by addressing the client’s specific problem, then outline how you can solve it, and provide examples of similar work you’ve done.

A concise, compelling proposal that speaks directly to the client’s needs can make a huge difference.

Managing Projects and Clients

Once you have all the tactics to find clients, it’s time to look at how to manage projects and those clients that hire you.

1. Effective Communication with Clients

Clear, consistent communication is the backbone of a successful freelance business.

Regular updates, asking clarifying questions, and responding promptly to client inquiries build trust and prevent misunderstandings.

For example, using simple project management tools like Trello or Slack can help keep communication lines open and organized.

I used Trello when I was new to freelancer and over the years I used paper planners and then Notion and other types of productivity apps.

2. Managing Multiple Projects Efficiently

Staying organized is key when juggling multiple projects.

Use tools like Asana or Google Calendar to keep track of deadlines and deliverables.

Setting daily or weekly goals can help you maintain focus and ensure steady progress across all projects.

3. Tools and Techniques for Project Management

Leveraging the right tools can streamline project management and enhance your productivity.

For instance, project management software like allows you to track each project’s progress, collaborate with any team members, and manage deadlines effectively.

Additionally, time-tracking tools like Harvest can help you monitor how much time you spend on each project, ensuring that you’re working efficiently and billing accurately.

Growing Your Freelance Business


You kicked off your new freelance business and it’s actually thriving!

You landing your first client and now you want to keep growing and growing.

Let’s dive into how you can elevate your freelance career by investing in your skills, expanding your services, and starting to outsource your work.

First up, let’s talk about investing in your skills and education.

Freelancing is constantly changing, and keeping your skills sharp is key to staying ahead.

This might mean taking an online courses, attending workshops, or even going back to school part-time.

For instance, if you’re a web developer, learning the latest in web security could not only improve your offerings but also make you indispensable to clients worried about data breaches.

Expanding your service offerings is another great way to grow.

Say you’re a graphic designer who primarily focuses on logo creation.

Why not branch out into full branding packages?

By offering more comprehensive services, you can increase your value to existing clients and attract new ones who are looking for a one-stop shop for their branding needs.

Finally, scaling your freelance business through outsourcing can take your freelancing to the next level.

As you grow, you might find yourself in need of additional help to handle the increased workload or to provide services outside your expertise.

Collaborating with other freelancers or outsourcing certain tasks can help you manage more projects without compromising on quality. For example, if you’re a content writer, partnering with a SEO specialist can enhance your content’s reach, benefiting both your business and your client’s.

The thing to remember is to always be open to more business and know you can always outsource or pass it on to another up-and-coming freelancer.

Now is the Time to Start a Freelance Business

There ya go!

Your step-by-step process to starting a freelance business. I hope you enjoyed this and make sure to look at more FreelancerFAQ articles to help you run your business effectively.

Elna Cain is a B2B freelance writer  for SaaS businesses and digital marketing brands and the co-founder of Freelancer FAQs. She's been featured on Entrepreneur, The Ladders, The Penny Hoarder, Leadpages and more. If you want to learn how to freelance write, check out her free course, Get Paid to Write Online.

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