How To Make Money as a Freelancer: A Complete Guide

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Are you wondering how to make money as a freelancer? Working as a freelancer has many benefits such as working from home whenever possible. There are currently 57 million freelancers in the US, and 84% of them said that work lets them live the lifestyle they want. But, it is not as easy as it seems. Only 31% of freelancers earn more than $75,000 a year. The rest is earning less, which suggests that to make good amounts of money, you need to be consistent and present at what you do. 

This article is a complete guide for beginners in freelancing, including its benefits, types of freelancing, and how to become a freelancer step by step. Let’s dive in!

What is Freelancing?

how to make money as a freelancer?
A freelancer is a person who works as self-employed.
 Photo by Tranmautritam 

Freelancing is a type of job where you are working as self-employed for companies or individuals on a contract basis. You are not a full-time employee of the company you work for and you can work according to your own schedule. Instead, you can accept projects with several different companies or individuals. 

For example, you can be a graphic designer and if you decide to work as a freelancer, you find your clients to be assigned to a project. You and your clients have a discussion about what they want when it should be done, and how it should be done, then you immediately start working on this project. If you like to, you can take more than one project at a time. You are completely free to decide!

You usually work online and vary according to the project, most of the time, you don’t get to see your clients. Working as a freelancer can be beneficial for eliminating commute time, but it requires effort to find your clients.

You can also use online platforms to get freelance jobs like Upwork, Fiverr, SolidGigs, and Freelancer. These platforms will let you have an account and allow customers to find you.

Can I make good money as a freelancer?

Yes! But it takes time when it comes to how to make money as a freelancer. Also, it depends on your skillset, equipment, and experience. As you gain experience, you get better in your field and your earnings increase accordingly. It also depends on the number of projects you are working on. If you take on more projects, unsurprisingly, you earn more. 

How long does it take to make money from freelancing?

There is not a clear-cut answer to this question since there are several variables that can affect the profiting process. Just like every job, gaining experience is important for both the quality of your work and for customers to know you and your work. According to the rule of thumb, it takes three years to become profitable on average. If you are consistent and qualified in your job, success is inevitable. A friendly piece of advice would be to focus on doing what you like and the best, rather than getting rich quickly.

What freelance job makes the most money?

make money as a freelancer
It takes time to make money as a freelancer but being consistent will bring great outcomes.
Photo by Caio

The answer lies in your skills and liking! Still, some freelance jobs can bring higher salaries than others such as computer programming, graphic design, editing, social media marketing, and software development.

Why Should You Become a Freelancer? Or Should You Not?

There are so many appealing reasons to become a freelancer. Similarly, there are some downsides to it as well. Let’s see its benefits:

  • Freedom: The best part of freelancing is that you have freedom in your work in terms of where you would like to work, when to work, whom to work for, and who to work with. Moreover, you can choose how many projects you want to work on. It is really great to have this kind of freedom when you are working.
  • Broader Opportunity to Increase Your Income: Even though you don’t have a fixed salary, that does not necessarily mean a bad thing. If you are fully aware of what you are doing, you can increase your income by working with multiple clients. Moreover, freelance jobs allow you to have more time to do other things. You can generate passive income from this spare time. 
  • Flexibility: Freelancing makes you more flexible with your time, work, and clients. You work with people around the world any time, any day. You can even work while you travel the world. You reschedule, have a rest, and start working again.
You can work from anywhere, anytime as a freelancer.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio 

Possible downsides that you might experience:

  • No paid time off: Working as a freelancer, you are the boss of yourself and usually, there is no one else working but you. This means that when you do not take on any projects and decide to have a rest, there will be no payment, like a regular full-time job offers. So, you have to do your calculation and arrange your income. 
  • No insurance: Since you are not working with a company, you have to provide your own insurance. You need to find good insurance that covers all the essentials, and then you should pay for it on your own.
  • Inconsistent workload: Some months or weeks can be super busy while the next months and weeks you have nothing to do. Since you have to find your own clients, there might be challenges. Or you might be a freelance writer, your content might not bring the success you aimed for at times. 

When deciding if you want to work as a freelancer, it might be good to consider both sides. If you are fully ready to become one, let’s move to the next section to see what you can do as a freelancer, and then how to start your journey. 

Types of freelancing you can try

There are so many options that you can do as a freelancer based on your abilities, talents, and interests. Let’s take a look at 5 types of freelancing:


Copywriting is one of the most common freelancing jobs out there. 
Photo by William  Fortunato

Copywriters write texts with the aim of advertising or other forms of marketing. What they do is quite important to reach out to more customers so they find better ways of marketing, advertising, catchy slogans, and more. If you like to write stories for brands and create good advertisements, you could be very successful in this. 

Check out Copywriting 101: 6 Traits of Excellent Copy Readers Will Remember for more inspiration!

Freelance Writing

If you are creative, good at writing, and like to share your ideas with the world, you can become a freelance writer. You can start a blog, or write for companies, both can be a great source of income. There are so many fields you can write about like:

  • Technology
  • Finance
  • Parenting
  • Politics
  • Sports
  • Entertainment


If you can command two or more languages, you can work as a freelance translator. You can find clients that want their websites, documents, media files, or even books to be translated. 

The price can vary depending on the assignment, and the language you are translating. If you are confident about your language skills, you can definitely go for it!

Graphic Design

graphic designer
Graphic designers can take on many projects as a freelancer. 

This is one of the most common freelance jobs. Graphic designing is a broad field, so it is better to have a portfolio that includes your works, and your clients can decide if they would like to work with you. Even though you do not hold a degree in graphic design, clients might not even care about it if you have a strong portfolio that illustrates your creativity and capabilities. Additionally, you can take certified courses and watch tutorials online to improve yourself in the field and create design samples on your portfolio.  

Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is a growing industry that you can work in. Brands are now investing in digital marketing enormously since the usage and impact of social media are huge on consumer behavior. You can take up small projects like designing social media banners and posts. Alternatively, you can also go for high-paying projects like creating a complete brand identity or running a social media marketing campaign, according to your skills and experience. 

online marketing
Digital marketing is increasingly becoming popular for freelancers.
Photo by Dominika Roseclay

How to Make Money as a Freelancer? 

Now that you know what is a freelancer, the advantages and disadvantages, and what are the types of freelancing, it is time to learn how to make money from it in eight steps. 

Step 1. Choose your field

The first step is to decide what you want to do. There are many fields you can choose from, as we mentioned in the previous section. When deciding, don’t forget to ask yourself these questions:

  • What are my skills?
  • Do I have the equipment?
  • Is there any point in that I need to improve myself?
  • Do I have an adequate background?
  • Do I have enough time to spend working on it?

After evaluating yourself and your abilities, you can move to the next step. 

Step 2. Define your service

Once you decide on your field, it is better to specify your services to focus on. Narrowing down your services will help you to improve your skills and abilities faster so that you can provide better and more qualified services for your clients. 

For example, if you would like to become a freelance writer, it is good to specify an area to write about. Similarly, if you like to become a graphic designer, you need to decide if you like to design a logo, website, or book cover beforehand so that you can know your ideal clients better. 

Step 3. Create a strong portfolio

To find your clients and show them how talented you are, you need proof. Developing an impressive portfolio that includes great samples of your work will help your clients to understand your talent. 

What to include in your portfolio:

  • An insight into your personality and style
  • Previous work experience
  • Educational background
  • Work/design samples 
  • Testimonials from clients

You can use a portfolio website that offers templates to have a professional impression, or you can be creative and create your own. You can attach the link of your portfolio to your website, your CV, or your LinkedIn/other social media profiles. 

Step 4. Determine your clients

This is strongly related to your focus service. If you cannot reach out to the right customer, your work will not have the effect that they deserve. You also need to consider what kind of a profile your clients should have. For example, if you like to create high-end designs, make sure your clients can afford them. 

With a good strategy, you can grow your business as a freelancer. 
Photo by fauxels

Step 5. Plan your strategy

You have your field, your service, and your client profile. It is time to plan your strategy to make money as a freelancer. How are you going to find your clients? Are you going to work online? Will you post that you are open to work? 

It is also important to think about the tools you will use like desktops, laptops, tablets, online platforms, and more. Add them to the equation and plan your strategy. Create a budget for starting, tools, and platforms that you will use. 

Step 6. Find clients

As mentioned above, you can create accounts on Fiverr, Freelancer, and Upwork, and reach out to your possible clients. By using these platforms, let your clients find you. Moreover, you can look for Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn for potential clients. This will bring more and more clients. 

Finding the right clients is a significant part of a good strategy to make money as a freelancer.
Photo by Pixabay

Step 7. Learn from your mistakes

Things might not go well all the time. Mistakes can be seen as bad, but how you perceive and use them creates huge differences. If make a mistake with a client, be honest and eager to fix it. 

Don’t immediately get discouraged by your mistakes, rather try to learn from them for future reference. 

Step 8. Be consistent

Working freely can distract you from working efficiently, or in contrast, you can work too much and end up exhausted. You need to be consistent with your work, try not to be easily distracted and discouraged, and find your work-life balance. 

People tend to quit when they do not see the results or reward, which in this case is money. Patience and persistence is the key to success when you decide to work as a freelancer. 

And now you’re ready…

Now, you know everything about freelancers and are ready to become one. For more inspiration, you can check Raklet’s blog

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