How to Become a Freelancer

In this program, I’m going to teach you how to get your freelance business up and running. For good measure, I’m also going to give you the tools to turn your freelancing business into a full-fledged business just in case you want to expand further beyond freelancing in the future where you have people working for you as often can be the case.

Big Picture Step-by-Step Process To Becoming a Freelancer

In this particular document, we’re going to focus on the big picture steps you need to take in order to get your freelancing business up and running and then in the following documents, I’m going to go into more specifically things like setting up your Freelancing Upwork account and How To Get Clients. But here, let’s first focus on the big picture with a step-by-step guide so you have the right framework of what you need to do to be successful with this. In this document, I’m going to pretend that you want to specifically be a Digital Marketing Freelancer so I’m going to use that job title as my example but please note, the exact same steps apply in all my guidance as well as in this program as a whole if you want to become a different type of freelancer outside of digital marketing.

  1. Develop your digital marketing skills:
    1. Depending on where you are in your digital marketing career, you may have some work experience in this space, or you may have 0. Either way is fine as we are going to give you the exact training you need to develop these skills through our training videos. Obviously, the more experience you already have in digital marketing and the more stats and work product you can present to potential clients, the better as this will give you a huge leg up in getting your freelancing career off the ground. If you don’t have any work experience just yet, that’s okay too as I’ll be providing ways to still get your freelancing career off the ground if you’re in this boat.
    2. Either way, you need to start by building a strong foundation in digital marketing so that when you get a potential client on a call, you actually know what you’re talking about and can do a good job performing the work once hired. To be a good digital marketer, regardless of if you want to specialize in solely one area (which we’ll get into in a bit), you really need to understand all areas of digital marketing as all areas of digital marketing work off of one another. For the most part, people that hire digital marketers want someone focused on results. The main results that business owners who hire freelancers usually care about are ultimately, did this freelancer lead to more revenue for me or not. For example, you may think that if someone is hiring a social media manager for their company, that they just want someone who can create content and grow their following. Yes, the focus might be on getting someone that can help grow their social media following, but ultimately, what the company truly wants is someone that can grow their following so that they can bring in more money. Business owners, just like you, would much rather bring in $20,000 a month in revenue and have 5,000 followers than have 20,000 followers that brings in $5,000 a month. So you need to understand how marketing as a whole works in order to really make your clients happy as you always want your focus when talking with them and when helping them to be focused around not just how you’ll create content for example, but how you’ll help bring them more customers through your efforts. This is what us business owners want to hear when deciding who to hire and if you’re thinking with this lens on, you’re going to provide much better work that’s going to make business owners like you a lot more and keep you on for a lot longer period of time. This is also key in helping you make more and more per hour and per project as time goes on as you’ll soon be seen as super valuable to the people who are hiring you.
    3. In order to effectively help a business grow in terms of getting new customers, regardless of what area of digital marketing you want to become a freelancer in, you need to understand how digital marketing as a whole works (which we’ll show you through this program) as each of these areas work off of one another in moving someone through the marketing funnel from an unaware person to an eventual customer as you’ll see in the training videos. It’s not like someone just sees a social media post and then immediately decides to buy. No, instead, typically you have to do things to make them see your social media post, figure out a way to drive them to your website, try to get their email address by offering them something attractive in exchange for their email address, possibly run some retargeting ads and do some email marketing toward them to help move them down the marketing funnel in order to become a customer, and also make sure your SEO game is good so that when they are finally thinking about purchasing, when they Google that company, the company actually shows up in the Google search results.
    4. As you can see, there’s a lot at play here in ultimately getting someone to become a customer. Now, even though you won’t be responsible for all of this typically, it’s important you know how all of this works so that even though you may only be working on 1 area of their digital marketing funnel, such as social media, you’ll be able to understand overall how their process works so that you can make sure you’re creating the right type of content for their particular overall marketing funnel and driving them to the right places on the website to hopefully turn people into customers as soon as possible. So, just don’t make the mistake of thinking that you only need to know 1 area of digital marketing to be good at this as you want to have a holistic idea on how it all works to truly impress people into wanting to hire you as well as this will help you give your clients much better results. I will make sure you have all the training you need in each of these important areas of Digital Marketing so you don’t need to worry about that aspect but you just want to make sure you’re paying attention to all video trainings in this course even though you may want to specialize in just 1 area such as social media marketing. By watching all of these videos in this program, you’ll be all set on this.
  2. Identify your niche:
    1. Digital marketing encompasses a wide range of specialties. Determine which specific area(s) you want to focus on and specialize in. This could be social media marketing for small businesses, content marketing for ecommerce stores, SEO for local businesses etc. Specializing in a niche can go a long way for your success as a freelancer. When us business owners are looking for a freelancer to hire, we definitely prefer hiring someone that has done the specific work in our particular niche (such as the education industry) as opposed to a generalist who has done that specific work but in a multitude of industries. If you were a skincare company and you had to hire a social media manager to help your company grow, would you prefer to hire someone that has social media experience and might have worked with 1 client in the past in skincare and then a bunch of other industries, or would you prefer hiring a social media manager that specifically works in the skincare industry? You’d probably prefer the specialist, right? That’s how most business owners think as well and it’ll also make your outreach when trying to get clients easier because you’ll know exactly who to target with your outreach as well as your messaging to them will be more convincing since you can say you’re a specialist in their industry that they need help with. Furthermore, by specializing like this, you can really get to know that particular industry’s pain points which will help you tailor your services and marketing message even more effectively.
    2. If you aren’t sure in what area of digital marketing you want to specialize in just yet, don’t worry as we’re going to go over all of the main areas of digital marketing in our program so as you’re learning in the program, just pay attention to what areas of marketing you find most fascinating so you can figure out what area you want to specialize in. From there, then think of what industry interests you the most as you may want to specialize in a specific industry as well. Please note, you don’t have to specialize in a specific industry and can just specialize in a specific area of digital marketing. Likewise, you don’t even have to specialize in a specific area of marketing if you don’t want to. However, the more you specialize like this, the easier it will be to get clients. If you specialize in a particular industry, just make sure it’s not tooooo niche to the point where there isn’t anyone that you can offer your services to. For instance, if you want to specialize in doing social media for veterinarians, that’s fine. But if you get too niche and say you specialize in social media for veterinarians that only look after iguanas, that would be too niche and it would be hard for you to find enough clients when you get too niche like that.
  3. Build a portfolio:
    1. Even if you’re just starting out, it’s important to have a portfolio that showcases your skills and past work. In our program, we are going to give you work experience as part of the work experience part of the program once you are finished with the training videos. Feel free to use this work experience in your portfolio so that you can show potential clients the type of work product you can create for them. Additionally, if you don’t have any prior work experience in digital marketing, aside from the work experience you’ve gained in our program, you can always seek to get a full-time or part-time marketing job as you’ll be able to gain even more work experience that way and add more work product to your portfolio showing off even more of what you are capable of doing. If you don’t want to go that route but still want to add more work experience to your portfolio before trying to get clients, consider offering your services to friends, family, or local businesses at a discounted rate or even for free in exchange for testimonials and work samples just to start off so that you have something to show to the first people you’re trying to get to hire you as a freelancer.
  4. Create an online presence:
    1. Establish an online presence to showcase your skills and attract potential clients. No, this does not mean you need to have hundreds of followers on social media or anything like that. Your goal with this is to just make you look legit and so that people that are interested in your services can very quickly and easily see what you have to offer. I recommend you do a few things here and I’ll state them from the most important to the least important. If you do all of these, even better but doing all of these are not a requirement by any means.
      • Create an Upwork Account
        1. I go into exactly what this should look like in the “Using Upwork To Get Clients” Guide so I won’t talk about this too much here. You want to get this up first, because this gets you in front of people immediately that are looking to hire freelancers. Follow the instructions I provide in the “Using Upwork To Get Clients” Guide on how to do this.
      • Create a website with your portfolio
        1. This further legitimizes you and makes it very easy for the potential client to see that you are a professional in this space and they can quickly see that you aren’t just some person that decided overnight to try to get some extra freelance work but are someone that can be taken seriously as there are a lot of people on these freelance websites that are just trying to make a quick buck (it usually doesn’t work out well for them) and this helps you separate yourself from them. Furthermore, in marketing and in getting new customers/clients in general, you want to make it as easy as possible for people to see exactly what you do and how you can make their lives easier. Your website with your portfolio on it does just that. It makes it very easy for people to see the services you offer and the type of work product you can create if hired. So, I strongly recommend getting a basic website set up purely to show off in a very easy and succinct way:
          1. The services you provide,
          2. Some examples of your work product,
          3. An About Me page,
          4. And how they can contact you.
        2. If you have zero technical knowledge and want to create a website to showcase your portfolio, the easiest way is to use a website builder platform. These platforms provide intuitive drag-and-drop interfaces that require little to no coding skills.
          • Choose a website builder:
            • There are several user-friendly website builders available, such as Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, and WordPress.com. You can check any of these out to see which one you personally prefer in terms of features, templates, pricing, and customization options. Don’t get overwhelmed here. Your website as a freelancer should be very basic and mainly used to just show off your portfolio, the services you offer, and how people can contact you. So, you don’t need to get anything fancy here.
          • Sign up and select a template:
            • Create an account on your chosen website builder platform. Browse through their templates and select one that aligns with your style and portfolio needs. Ensure the template is visually appealing, responsive (mobile-friendly), and has sections suitable for:
              • The services you provide,
              • Some examples of your work product,
              • An About Me page,
              • And how they can contact you.
          • Customize your website:
            • Once you’ve chosen a template, you can start customizing it. Use the drag-and-drop editor provided by the website builder to add or rearrange elements, such as text, images, galleries, and videos. Modify fonts, colors, and layouts to match your personal branding or aesthetic preferences. You don’t need to create this from scratch. Check out what 5-10 other successful freelancers on Upwork that are providing the same kind of services you are are doing for their website. See if all of them have some key similarities on what template they used or what info they have on it. Perhaps they’ve done a decent amount of testing on their website and they’ve realized that this particular information that they are providing is what helps people convert into customers the most. So, rather than reinventing the wheel and wondering if your website is up to par with your competition, use a similar template they are using and incorporate what you like about their website onto your own. Look at 5-10 competitors’ websites to see if you’re seeing any similarities so you can incorporate these things too onto your website. Doing it this way based on market research as opposed to just coming up with something from scratch is going to give you a gigantic leg up as you already know it likely works in converting people into customers and you’ll know the language you should likely have on your website if you see similar language amongst all of your competitors that you researched.
            • Here are a few examples of how basic your portfolio can be:
            • Create your portfolio pages:
              • Create dedicated pages to showcase your portfolio. Add images or screenshots of your work and provide descriptions or captions for each item on what you were asked to do and the results you were able to provide. Organize your portfolio into relevant categories or projects, making it easy for visitors to navigate and explore.
            • Include a short About Me page:
              • Create an “About Me” page to introduce yourself and share your background, skills, and work experience. This page helps potential clients understand your expertise and build a connection with you.
            • Add contact information:
              • Make it easy for visitors to contact you by including a contact page or section. Provide your email address, phone number (if applicable), and links to your social media profiles (if applicable). Consider adding a contact form to allow visitors to send you messages directly from your website.
            • Optimize for search engines:
              • Most website builders have built-in SEO (search engine optimization) tools or settings. Optimize your website by adding relevant keywords, meta tags, and descriptions to help search engines understand your content and improve your visibility in search results. Do not spend much time on this as a freelancer. This doesn’t matter very much for you until you’re trying to make this a full-fledged business. For the time being, just use the free build-in SEO help they have for you and move on.
            • Preview and test your website:
              • Before publishing your website, preview it on different devices (desktop, tablet, mobile) to ensure it looks and functions correctly. Click through each page and test all the links and forms to make sure they are working properly.
            • Publish your website:
              • Once you’re satisfied with the design and functionality, it’s time to publish your website. Follow the instructions provided by the website builder to make your website live on the internet.
            • Regularly update and maintain your website:
              • Keep your portfolio website up to date by adding new projects, updating content, and ensuring all links and forms are working. Regular maintenance and updates will help keep your website fresh and engaging for visitors.
        3. Remember, while website builders offer a user-friendly experience, there may still be a learning curve involved. Take advantage of the platform’s support resources, tutorials, and community forums if you encounter any difficulties or have specific questions about customization or functionality. Let me repeat, as a freelancer, your website doesn’t need to be all that special. Don’t spend a ton of time on this. This is just a place for you to show off your services, portfolio, a little about you, and how to get in touch with you. Don’t worry about making this super fancy like a digital marketing agency might. Keep this simple.
      • Provide more examples of your work on your social media pages (optional)
        • Remember, the name of the game here is just making it as easy as possible for people to see the services you offer and any previous projects. I go over this in more detail in the “Reaching Out On Instagram” Guide so if you feel like you want to provide more examples of your work so people can find you on social media, please do what I state in that document.
      • Additional freelance websites you can get jobs on
        • Although I find Upwork to by far be the best, if you want even more chances of getting clients, you can also sign up for the below websites for even more exposure:
          1. Freelancer:
            • Freelancer is another well-known platform that connects freelancers with clients from various industries, including digital marketing. It allows you to create a profile, browse job postings, and submit proposals to win projects.
          2. Fiverr:
            • Fiverr is a platform where freelancers can create gigs offering specific services. As a digital marketer, you can create gigs related to your expertise, such as social media management, SEO optimization, content creation, or ad campaign setup.
          3. Guru:
            • Guru is a platform that connects freelancers with businesses seeking their services. It offers a range of categories, including digital marketing, where you can create a profile and showcase your skills. You can bid on jobs or get hired directly by clients.
          4. LinkedIn ProFinder:
            • LinkedIn ProFinder is a platform specifically designed for professionals seeking freelance work. It allows you to create a professional profile, specify your skills and expertise, and get matched with potential clients who are looking for digital marketing services.
          5. Toptal:
            • Toptal is a platform that focuses on connecting freelancers with high-quality clients. It has a rigorous screening process to ensure the top talent is represented. If you have extensive experience in digital marketing and can meet their requirements, Toptal may be a good option.
          6. PeoplePerHour:
            • PeoplePerHour is a platform where freelancers can showcase their skills and bid on projects. It offers categories including digital marketing, content creation, SEO, social media management, and more.
  5. Getting Clients
    1. Now that you have your Upwork profile set up showing off your capabilities and services (and possibly your website and a social media account), it’s now time to actually get clients. For this, please refer to the following guides in your program as I go into much further detail on several different ways and strategies you can go about getting clients:
      • “Using Upwork To Get Clients”
      • “Cold Outreach Email Campaign”
      • “Reaching Out On Instagram”
      • “Reaching Out On Linkedin”
      • “How To Scale Your Business and Hire Freelancers”
      • “Client Interview Guidance”
    2. Additionally, you should also reach out to your existing network and let them know about your services as they might know somebody that is looking for your services and business owners often feel much better going with a personal referral over an unknown hire from the internet.
    3. You can also attend industry events, conferences, and meetups to network with other professionals in the field. Building connections can lead to potential client referrals or collaboration opportunities. Consider joining relevant online communities, participating in discussions, and offering helpful insights to establish yourself as a knowledgeable professional. The guides I provided above will be a much quicker path for you to get clients but you can also do this as well on top of that to grow even more as an additional measure.
  6. Do a good job for your clients
    1. Make sure you do a good job so that people want to keep hiring you for more projects and so that you get a good review as good reviews and testimonials will only make it easier and easier for you to get future clients. While working with clients, make sure you consistently communicate with them, provide progress updates, and be responsive to their needs.
  7. Continuously learn and adapt:
    1. Digital marketing is a dynamic field that constantly evolves. Stay updated with the latest trends, tools, and strategies through industry blogs, podcasts, webinars, and courses. A lot of our students end up re-enrolling in our course each year in order for them to stay updated with all the changes in marketing or choose another one to help you do this (training courses like ours are tax write-offs by the way). The bottom line is, just make sure you are staying updated in the field to ensure you can continue to give your clients good results.

Alright, that’s the big picture on how you’re going to get your freelancing career set up. Let’s now get into the finer details of how to succeed in each of these areas before we get into our Digital Marketing training videos.

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