How to start a freelancing job online: Complete guide to freelancing work15 min read

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Starting a freelancing job online for some people seems to be a mystery, while some have vague idea on how it works but still don’t fully understand how to get started. Freelancing doesn’t have to be complex, in fact it is very easy and one of the best online business ideas you can invest into,

I would be guiding you on how to get started with your freelancing work and career today.

What freelancing job online entails

Freelancing is a work that can be done as a part time job aside from our daily working hours’ jobs of 8am to 4pm.

A freelancer, or independent contractor, is a self-employed individual who doesn’t have to commit to a single, long-term employer. Instead, they work independently for several different companies or clients.

Freelancers typically charge by the hour or day and are not required to register as a business if they operate under their own name.

For example: If I work as a Microbiologist in Our Lady of St. Fatima Catholic hospital, I can also work as a freelance writer which will earn me extra income

It’s often believed the term meaning a freelancer was used first in Sir Walter Scott’s classic Ivanhoe (1820), in which Scott stated,

“I offered Richard the service of my Free Lances, and he refused them—I will lead them to Hull, seize on shipping, and embark for Flanders; thanks to the bustling times, a man of action will always find employment.”

In other words, these persons were mercenaries who offered their services to the highest bidder.

Today, the term is often associated with writers, photographers, editors, programmers, website designers, and professional consultants, as well as many other professional services.

Best Freelancing jobs online

According to Forbes, the best freelancing gigs are:

  • Marketing – Project managers, Marketing coordinators, or Marketing managers can make between $46 to $52 an hour.
  • Business Project Management – Project Manager, Process Analyst are estimated to make $34 to $46 an hour.
  • Web Development – Creating, testing, or providing support for software or apps can result in earnings of $36 to $43 an hour.
  • Writing – Bloggers, copy editors, and content managers can make $25 to $30 an hour, which makes freelance writing a lucrative option for wordsmiths
  • Accounting – It’s estimated that freelance accountants can earn between $16 to $30 an hour.
  • Insurance Inspection – Gathering information, such as photographs, and writing insurance reports can earn approximately $28 per hour.
  • Teaching/Tutoring – Teaching online classes or being a tutor can bring in $20 to $28 an hour.
  • Social Media – Being a community manager or social media coordinators can result in $20 to $25 an hour.
  • Graphics Design – Website and application designers are able to make around $21+ per hour.
  • Administrative Assistant – Professional assistants can earn between $17 to $20 an hour.

Advantages of starting a freelancing job online

The pros of starting a freelancing job online include:

You’re the Boss

This means that you can choose when and where you work. If you’re a night owl, you can work the entire night and sleep in until noon without ever having to leave the house. Additionally, you can also select what projects you want to work on. If you’re a photographer, you may dread working weddings. This means that you don’t have to accept a wedding freelance job if you don’t want to, but you’ll be able to select only the events or situations that you prefer to take pictures of.

You Can Make More Money 

If you have the drive, freelancers have the potential to make more money than the average person. Some reports have found that freelancers actually earn 45% more than the average full-time employee.

Lower Taxes

Federal and state taxes are not withheld from your pay checks and freelancers pay the IRS directly four times per year, including the self-employed tax in place of social security. They also have access to tax deductions like office, travel, meal, and internet expenses.

Work-Life Balance 

Between flexible schedules, and the fact that only 29% of freelance workers put in more than 40 hours per week, freelancers have an incredible work life balance.

Happier, Healthier

Studies have found that freelancers are happier and healthier, both mentally and physically, than traditional workers.

Disadvantages of a freelancing job online

While there are a number of incredible benefits surrounding freelance work, there are some disadvantages on starting a freelancing job online that should be considered

No Job Security

If your clients don’t have any work for you, then you can’t make any money. Even when you’re an employee, you always have work to complete unless the employer goes out of business or you’re laid off.

Inconsistent Work

There are months when there’s a ton of work to complete and the pay checks are more than you expected. However, the work may dry up and the next month you’re only making half of what you made the previous month. As an employee, at least you know how much you’re pay check is going to be each month so that you can budget accordingly.

There Are No Job Benefits

One of the perks of working for someone else is that the employer will handle all of your health or retirement benefits or bonuses like paid vacations or profit sharing. Purchasing your own health insurance is often more expensive than what is offered from an employer.

You Have to Handle Accounting

Taxes, bookkeeping, paying bills, and managing cash flow is up to you. While there is readily available software to assist you with your accounting, it’s an additional task that traditional employees do not have to be concerned with.

You Risk Not Getting Paid

It’s not uncommon for independent contractors to have difficulty getting paid for their services. Some clients either don’t pay on-time or they don’t pay at all. Unlike traditional employees where you always know that a pay check will arrive.

You must be able to motivate yourself

You have to be able to keep pushing yourself to work in spite of challenges without prodding from an outside source. This is different when you work in a company where you can have team members to rely on.

A freelancer freelancing job online

Getting started with Freelancing Job Online

As you might have seen so far, starting your freelancing job online might not be as difficult as you thought; also there are many advantages to it.

So, you have decided that freelancing is the way for you, how do you get started?

Setting up your work space

A freelancer freelancing job online

After weighing the pros and cons of freelancing, you may have decided that you’re going to go forward and become an independent contractor. Now it’s time to get your workplace figured out so that you can begin working.

If you live by myself, you’re already at an advantage. You could simply sit at the kitchen table or convert that spare room into an office and not have to be concerned with getting distracted by others. If you live with others, you’ll have to find a space where you can be left alone during “work hours.” Preferably this space, would be a room where there’s a door that closes.

If your home isn’t conducive to freelancing, then consider setting up shop in a local coffee shop or renting out a Setting Up Your Workplace commercial office space. In fact, you may be able to search for co-office spaces through sites like ShareDesk or PivotDesk if you only need something temporarily or at a decent price. Even the library is a great place to find some peace and quiet to work in.

No matter where you decide to make your office, make sure that it’s in a spot that is free of distractions and fits your needs. A writer just needs their laptop and an outlet to charge the battery. But, a photographer may need a darkroom to develop their images, on top of an area to edit the photos.

Brand yourself

Besides your name for freelancing job online, you should also have a logo that can be placed across multiple mediums. If you use your name, you logo could simply be your initials in a unique font that would be placed on your website, social media accounts and invoices.

If you are considering business cards, you can use services such as VistaPrint of get a cheaper logo with us.

You should also have a dedicated business phone number and address, even if it’s a P.O box to add to your professional freelancing brand.

Branding yourself makes it easier for you to stand out from other freelancers in your field, showcase your professionalism, and gives you the opportunity to properly promote your services and find more freelance jobs.

Build your freelance portfolio

Creating a professional portfolio is a major component of your online freelancing profile or website since it highlights your skills and experience. Remember, a portfolio is an effective way to attract clients since it puts their mind at ease when they can see for themselves that you are more than capable of handling the task at hand.

When building a portfolio, keep the following in mind:

Only show the projects that you are proudest of and believe represents your best work.

Show diversity in your work. If you are a writer, for example, provide examples of articles that discuss various topics to show your diversity.

Include your contact information again so that it makes it easier for clients to get in touch with you.

Regardless, if you have a decade worth of work, or are just starting out, a portfolio is a major assist for freelancers. And I recommend you start here so we can easily help you create and share your online portfolio.

Read more on:

Creating a business that generates leads

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Marketing yourself

Now, marketing yourself can be a little bit tricky and we have created free resources on some of the ways you can get started. However, you can try a mixture of content, your current contact, cold-emailing, prospective clients and freelance websites which we discuss that next.

A better and easier alternative is letting Fovero Digital Technologies help you out for less.

Besides marketing yourself through content, using your current contacts, and cold-emailing prospective clients, where else can freelancers land a gig?

Find Job Boards and Freelance Websites to get started

If you’re just starting out, you may not have that large of a network. That’s alright because there are plenty of job boards and websites out there designed specifically to help freelancers find a job. Some of the more well-known job boards and freelance websites are:

Put in extra efforts

Starting a freelancing job online may take a little effort on your end at first. But, there are more than enough freelancing websites and communities available that can at least get your foot in the door. Furthermore, there’s nothing wrong with tapping into your existing network of contacts and networking both online and offline to snag a client.

If you want to attract new clients, you have to do something every day that grabs their attention – whether that’s an awesome blog post, guest writing, giving something away for free, or cold-emailing businesses. Until you have a steady amount of clients, you have to go to where the work is.

Without clients your freelance business isn’t really going anywhere. And while you’ll come across great clients who you may even consider a friend, you’ll also have to deal with those clients who you wish you never met.

 Regardless, of which end of the spectrum you’re dealing with, working with clients is essential. And, here are the best ways to work with them so that your experience will be as painless as possible.

  • Be on the same page
  • Get it into writing
  • Communicate frequently
  • Be flexible but not too much

Manage your online freelance projects well

Since you’re making your own schedule, you need to be organized when planning out projects. The last thing you want is taking off to the beach for the day and realizing that you have deadline due that day! On top of keeping you motivated, managing projects can help you keep clients and subcontractors in the long run. You should also look into to-do-lists apps like Evernote, Wunderlist, Any.do, and Todoist to keep your life and work in order.

While you need to manage your projects, don’t forget to schedule time for promoting your online freelance job, touching base with clients, and handling tasks like billing.

Making sure you get paid

Now to the most important aspect which is getting paid.

Getting paid is another one of those necessary evils that freelancers must face. Without receiving a payment for your work, you’re pretty or much defeating the purpose of being in business for yourself. Thankfully, getting paid isn’t as much as a hassle as it used to be thanks to software from sites like Due.com that allow you to invoice clients in just a matter of minutes – and because you signed that contract. But, you can also guarantee getting paid by taking the following advice.

Here are some thing I would advise you to keep in mind:

  • Be a professional
  • Never work until you are paid (at least in an advance)
  • Be flexible with rate and payment option
  • Bill up front

Extra Tips to build a successful freelance career

Here are some things you can do to boost your career as you start a freelancing job online and get more freelance works. This works for experts with experience in the field as well as beginner

1. Skill Up

As a beginner, you are new at the game and obviously have a lot of people in front. So if you want to get ahead, you have to hone that skill you are advertising. Having vast and deep knowledge would be your ace and help you get ahead of even others in the game.

2. Build your Profile

Your profile matters a lot. You have to build your profile to reflect your skills. Make sure the sentences are well and deeply constructed.

3. Get Certified where and when possible

While these are not compulsory, they are what boosts your profile. Try getting certifications when you can and display it elegantly.

4. Portfolio

While as a beginner you might not have gotten many jobs. The ones you have done even before getting to the platform, display it boldly. Own it and let people know that you know your stuff.

5. Sell yourself

Believe me that sometimes, it doesn’t matter how far others have been playing the game. It depends on how well you can play. People looking for freelancers are just searching for people that are good and would be able to do their works professionally. Show them that you are.

6. Take extra efforts

I have seen where newbies beat oldies. A lot. One of the reasons we always take extra efforts here at Fovero Digital Technologies and encourage the team to do the same is because we have seen people playing the game longer and we have to play it better. And we have been seeing great results.

So, if you are especially a beginner, you have to put in extra effort than most.

7. Bid extra

Bid and bid on jobs especially on competitive platforms like Freelancer. You bid for jobs, so after building nice profiles, try sparing about 2 hours daily and bid like your life depends on it (and in a way it does because you have to be successful); try bidding for maybe 50 – 100 jobs per day for a month and measure your results afterwards

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FAQs about starting a Freelancing Job Online

One of the most frequent questions we have seen around on starting a freelancing job online is “Does personalized website for freelancer makes any difference?”

The answer to that is yes, it does.

I have seen some professional organizations who in their recruitments for recruiting freelancers asked for online portfolios and when you can actually go a step further to have a personal website that acts as your online CV, it boosts your professionalism

Some freelancers who don’t have websites strive to create online portfolios with platforms like Behance etc.

Most importantly, you can have a website where you can showcase your portfolio, share references, and promote Branding Yourself your services.

When it comes to your website, make sure that the domain is easy to remember (your name would be the easiest place to start) easy to spell, and describes what you do. For example, if your name is John Doe and you’re a social media manager, maybe you could invest in the domain “socialmediajohn.com.”

Your website should also contain the following components:

A statement that introduces yourself to prospective clients, such as education and qualifications.

Explain the services that you offer. Show examples of your work.

Contact details like address, phone number, and email address

But as a starter looking for cash, a website for you might not easily affordable and you might not be tech-savvy.

We have taken that into consideration by creating our business empowerment program where we give out a business and portfolio website for #10,000 only.

Having a website is not compulsory it is highly recommended as it boosts your freelancing profile.

So, do you have any other questions?

Put them in the comment below and we would answer you.

Olawale S. Adewale

Olawale S. Adewale

Olawale Adewale is a digital marketer with expertise in content marketing, creative writing, search marketing and copywriting. He is also the Founder of Opticad Technological Advancement, a digital marketing agency dedicated to training people in tech.

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