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Looking for a guide to freelancing for beginners? Or maybe you’re wondering what the heck a freelancer really is?

You’re in the right place.

There’s a lot of misconceptions and confusion around what a freelancer is and what their job really looks like. That’s why today I’m sharing everything you need to know to become a successful freelancer and build a sustainable income online!

We’ll be talking about things like:

  • What is a freelancer?
  • Pros + cons of freelancing
  • How to find clients as a freelancer
  • Is freelancing worth it?

Let’s get to it!

WHAT IS A FREELANCER?

In some ways, freelancers are similar to bloggers, but they’re not quite the same thing.

A freelancer is someone who goes out and finds their own work rather than being tied down to a single company. Some freelancers will be contracted by a company for work, but they’re still technically self-employed.

Just like with blogging, freelancing takes a lot of dedication to finding work opportunities.

Especially in the beginning, because clients aren’t going to just magically fall into your lap. You’ve got to go out there and make sh*t happen.

This is why a lot of freelancers will actually start a blog to get more potential clients interested and aware of their services (more on that later.)

PROS + CONS OF FREELANCING

Despite what you might’ve heard online, freelancing isn’t always sunshine and rainbows, folks. There’s a lot of perks, but there are also drawbacks, too.

When it comes to benefits of freelancing, here are a couple of major upsides:

  • flexibility
  • multiple streams of income
  • more overall freedom

FLEXIBILITY

I’d say one of the most desirable components to freelancing is the flexibility that you have. You’ve got the ability to work-from-home (or anywhere, really), set your own schedule and choose your own clients.

Having the freedom to set your own schedule can be pretty amazing, especially if you’ve got kids or a super busy schedule outside of your job. You can plan your work around after-school activities, birthday parties, etc.

As a self-employed individual, you also get to choose which jobs or clients you want to take on and when you want to take them on.

So, if you find a project that doesn’t interest you or you just really don’t want to work with a client- you don’t have to! In the beginning it may be a bit harder to turn down clients, but it definitely becomes much easier once you’re more established and have a lot more opportunities available.

INCREASE YOUR INCOME STREAMS

There are a lot of successful people nowadays who always say it’s a good idea to have multiple streams of income.

And it’s true! That’s one of the great things about becoming a freelancer- if you’re planning on freelancing while working full-time, you can diversify where your income is coming from and potentially make even more money.

Sounds pretty great, right? It is, but that doesn’t mean there’s not drawbacks to starting a freelancing career.

Here are some of the big negatives to freelancing:

  • No boss (trust me, this isn’t always a good thing!)
  • Unreliable paychecks
  • Taxes

NO BOSS

Okay, now I know some of you are thinking that this should really be under the ‘benefits’ category- but some people really work better when they have someone managing their day-to-day activities.

Because you’re self-employed, you’re solely responsible for all aspects of operating your business, which means you have to actively work to find clients. No clients = no money, of course.

So, if you’re not one for being self-motivated and proactive, this may not be the best career choice for you. Not that it can’t be done, it’s just something to consider if you’re thinking about freelancing full-time. It may be better to just do freelancing work as a side hustle rather than a full-time job.

UNRELIABLE PAYCHECKS

No matter what ‘type’ of freelancing work you do, there’s always going to be slower months or weeks where there may not be as much money rolling in. It happens, but I definitely think it can be a huge drawback to the freelancing life.

This can be dependent on the effort you put into looking for work. Some sites, like Fiverr, make finding client work much easier but it still requires constantly effort on your part.

Over time, you may find opportunities come more easily, but it’s still not as reliable as working for a company.

If you’re someone who like to have steady, reliable income this could be a bit of a harsh pill to swallow if you’re jumping on the freelancing bandwagon.

TAXES

Self-employment taxes are a beast – and as a freelancer, you don’t exactly get a steady weekly paycheck.

Most freelancers say to set aside 30% of your income for taxes, but this tends to be a bit more than what you’ll actually pay come tax time. It’s better to be prepared though, IMO.

HOW TO FIND CLIENTS AS A FREELANCER

Possibly the most difficult part of freelancing is finding clients. That’s where networking and marketing yourself online can be key to getting projects lined up.

NETWORKING

Networking is a great way to start finding client work, and I’d start doing it as soon as you can.

If you’re brand-new to the industry you’re entering, this can take time. But you can start building up a relationship with other freelancers or businesses by following them on social media or joining online groups such as a Facebook group specifically for your kind of work.

You can also start attending local events to meet people and exchange business cards. You can offer free advice, free samples, or demonstrations of your skills.

CREATE A PORTFOLIO OF YOUR WORK

As you start working on projects, you’ll want to start creating a portfolio to show what you can do for future clients.

If you don’t really have any work yet, you can create a mock project or offer your services for a discount in exchange for a testimonial from the client.

Working for free or cheap isn’t exactly fun, but it’s a super easy way to build up your authority in your niche.

FIND WORK ON FIVERR

One of the hardest tasks as a freelancer is finding work. Thankfully, sites like Fiverr and Upwork have made things easier in the last few years.

START A BLOG

Another trick to finding more freelancing opportunities is to start your own website or blog. Depending on your niche, you can generate a lot of traffic to your site and display your services.

For more resources on starting a blog, go here.

I hope this guide helps you get started in your freelancing career! It’s a great way to gain more independence and control over your work life and can lead to a lot more money being made!

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Freelancing for Beginners: How to Get Started as a Freelancer in 2022