Make Money Online: 7 Steps to Get Started as a Freelancer

how to get started as a freelance writer

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If you want to make money online, you will probably end up as a freelancer. Freelance jobs are great for employers because they don’t have to hire someone full time, pay them, give them benefits, and find them an office, cubicle or other workspace. But freelancing is beneficial for freelancers as well because the rate of pay is usually higher per hour than it would be with a full-time job, you can usually set your own hours or have a great deal of flexibility, and you get to work from home.

Getting started as a freelancer can be a little scary, but if you know what to do, it’s not that difficult. I started freelancing part-time about 5 years ago, and this year I am making a full-time income and have quit my part-time teaching job to focus on freelancing alone. Here are some steps to take to get started as a freelancer that will show you how to make money online.

Read more: I Make $4,000 a Month Freelancing

1. Figure out what you can do.

There are many different kinds of freelancers, including writers, proofreaders, copyeditors, virtual assistants, bookkeepers, web designers, and programmers. Your skills will point you in the right direction and give you a starting point for your efforts.

2. Set up a website with Bluehost.

Not all freelancers will need a website, but most should have one because it will give your potential clients a way to see what you’re all about. Your site should list your qualifications and credentials, relevant work experience and samples, and other information potential companies need to know before hiring you. Bluehost offers inexpensive web hosting services and technical support to get you up and running quickly.

3. Find clients that need your expertise.

For traditional freelancing, this could mean working for companies, both locally and online to provide services to them at a mutually agreed-upon rate of pay. Some freelancers, however, will decide to start a blog (or vlog) and make money by selling ads, with affiliate links, or by creating products to sell to their audience to earn income. Blog readers still need your expertise, they just pay for it in different ways.

There are all kinds of ways to find clients. Fiverr and other sites like it can be a way to get started, and although they usually don’t pay very high rates, they can lead to other freelance opportunities. One freelance writer I know said she began taking gigs on Fiverr and generated several repeat clients through the site that paid a lot more than $5 to work for them after seeing the quality of the writer’s work.

4. Produce high-quality work.

If your work demonstrates quality, you will not have too much trouble getting all the freelance gigs you need (or making money with your blog, if it is in a popular niche). My English degree and years of studying writing and freelancing made it easy for me to show that I could be counted on to produce quality work and that I was qualified for the work I wanted to do.

Even if you don’t have years of experience, you can read up on your field to learn more about how to do it better than most of your competition, and you can make sure you meet your deadlines and surpass the requirements and guidelines set for you by the client. Any way you can stand out from the crowd as giving better quality work will help you succeed as a freelancer and help ensure that you will make money online.

Make money online
Freelancing in a cafe mixes work with leisure.

5. Make sure you get paid.

Part of every successful freelance business is understanding the procedures for getting paid and following them closely. Tracking your work and invoicing are necessary because clients will make mistakes and oversights do happen. If you want to get paid, you need to pay attention to the process for making that happen.

6. Know how to file your taxes.

Taxes for freelancers are more complicated and difficult than the normal 1040 form. There’s nothing EZ about figuring out your income and deductions, self-employment tax, 1099s, and the dreaded quarterlies that the IRS foists on those who don’t have Uncle Sam dipping into every paycheck.

Don’t let difficult taxes talk you out of freelancing, however. A good accountant will be happy to help you get the most out of a freelancing gig and keep you in compliance with the government all year long for a pretty reasonable fee.

7. Continue your education.

Because the freelancing world changes rapidly, the best freelancers are continually learning and improving their craft to maintain and improve their existing skills. Many sites provide courses you can take to learn new things. In the area of proofreading and transcription, for instance, the site proofreadanywhere.com offers free and low-cost courses freelancers can take to learn how to be a proofreader and improve their skills.

The gig economy is exploding, with many employers looking to hire freelancers and many workers seeking flexible work that can provide the work-life balance they seek. The number of full- and part-time freelancers continues to grow, and you can be a part of it too if you follow these steps and persevere in your efforts.

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