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How To Start A Freelancing Business From Scratch

Sarah Sharkey4-minute read
February 01, 2022

With the ability to gain more control over your income and time, freelancing is an attractive opportunity. Luckily, learning how to become a freelancer isn’t difficult. Although it will require hard work, anyone with skills can easily become a freelancer. 

Curious about how to make your dream of freelancing a reality? Read on to find out exactly how to start a freelance business. 

How Can I Do Freelance Work?

It might seem daunting to start freelancing, but it’s relatively easy. Though you shouldn’t expect to start making thousands of dollars overnight, you can call yourself a freelancer as soon as you land your first client. 

There are many opportunities to start freelancing in multiple fields: graphic design, writing, editing, programming and photography are just a few places to get started. Think about the skills you already have or skills you’re interested in developing. Find a way to play to your strengths. You want to be excellent at your chosen freelancing skill, but you can always hone that skill over time. 

How Much Money Can You Make As A Freelancer?

The first thing you need to do is decide what you want to get out of your freelancing career. Do you want to replace the income from your day job? Do you want to supplement your income temporarily? Do you want to build skills without worrying about the income? 

There’s no right or wrong answer, but you’ll need to decide at some point. Depending on your goals, you’ll put in different levels of time and effort. If you want to replace your day job, you need to commit to working nights and weekends for a while. If you just want a supplemental income, you might want to take it slow to avoid burnout. 

The amount of time you’re able to commit will determine how much you can make from your freelancing business. Obviously, the more time you commit, the more money you’ll earn. 

It’s possible to earn anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars each month. The best part is that you will have more control over your income. If you have a big expense, you can pick up extra clients to cover those costs. Conversely, you can dial back your workload when you have too many things to handle.

Do You Need a License To Be A Freelancer?

In many fields, you don’t need a license to be a freelancer. Clients want you to have the skills you need, but may not require a license. However, some fields do require a license to legally work with clients. 

Check out the requirements in your field before getting started. 

How Can I Become A Freelancer With No Experience?

Even if you don’t have any experience, don’t worry! You can still be a freelancer. Here’s how to get started:

Choose Your Field

The first thing you need to do is choose what type of freelancer you want to be. You have many options, so pick something that excites you. If you’ll be doing this alongside a day job, you need something that’ll motivate you to keep working. 

Although you can always switch fields, you’ll save a lot of time and energy by thinking through your options. Take the time to make a thoughtful decision about your freelancing career. 

Invest In Yourself

Investing in yourself is the most important thing you can do. Without an upfront investment of some kind, it might be hard to get your new business off the ground. 

Consider taking a course to beef up your knowledge. Or put in some extra practice time to hone your skills before you take on your first client. The time and money you put into your business can help to propel you into a profitable business. 

Find Your First Client

Don’t wait too long to start looking for your first client. Once you’re ready, you should get started immediately. Ask around your community to find out who’s hiring freelancers. You can also check out job boards like Upwork and Fivver.

As you’re getting started, you might find that it’s difficult to earn any money. That’s normal. You may need to charge lower rates in the very beginning as you build your portfolio and your client base. Build your rates to a more lucrative level over time. 

Don’t let a few low-paying gigs discourage you from continuing your freelancing journey. Although you can’t start out at the top of the pyramid, you can prove that you’re worth it and reap the rewards.

Starting A Freelance Business

If you’re thinking about starting a freelance business, don’t let your doubts hold you back. You either have the skills or you can learn them. Simply set aside time each day to work on building your business. 

Yes, some days will be hard. Freelancing is not all fun and games. In fact, sometimes it’s downright difficult. However, it can be worth the effort to build your income and transform your life for the better. When the going gets tough, think about all the ways freelancing can change your life for the better. 

As you start to build your income, don’t forget to save for taxes! Unfortunately, this is something that most freelancers overlook during their first year in business. At the end of the year, there is a surprising tax bill that is enough to make anyone jump.

The Bottom Line

Although you may know how to start a freelance business, the hard part is actually starting. You’ll need to invest time and energy into your business to get it off the ground. In some cases, you might need to invest money to fuel your growth. If money is tight, then a personal loan through Rocket Loans® can help fill in the funding gaps to take your new freelance business to the next level. 

For more information on starting a freelance business, check out our personal finances learning center.

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Sarah Sharkey

Sarah Sharkey is a personal finance writer that enjoys helping readers learn more about their finances. She has an MS in Business Management from the University of Florida. You can connect with her on LinkedIn or Instagram @adventurousadulting.