How to become a freelancer? Do you want to know what to do? In this article, I will give you some useful tips and answer all the questions you may have asked yourself before arriving on this page.
- What does it mean to work as a freelancer?
- What are freelance jobs?
- How much does a freelancer earn?
- How do I become a freelancer?
The first step is to understand why to become a freelancer. There are various motivations that drive people to embark on such a career path. Probably, you too have thought:
- By being a freelancer, I will be able to organize the work I want autonomously, have the freedom to live where I want, and manage my time as I please;
- My current job position does not satisfy me and I want to turn my career around;
- My company closed down, how can I find work at 40?
- My ambition is unstoppable and I feel that something is pushing me to go beyond the obstacles;
- I want to be my own boss;
- I am a free spirit and, after all these years in the office, I feel the need to travel, to visit faraway places, to escape from routine;
- I have an innate flair for relationships and I want to play this card to the full, working as a freelancer to increase my current income;
- I think becoming an online freelancer is my way;
- I am a recent graduate and want to specialize in Digital Marketing;
- I want to launch myself into one of the new digital professions that are in great demand, working online remotely, or anywhere in the world. A true digital nomad, in other words;
- I am looking for an alternative idea to my office job, I want to be a digital freelancer.
Well, let’s see together the pros, cons and what are the steps to get started.
How to Become a Freelancer
Before we look at how to become one, let’s find out what “freelance” means.
Freelance: (English term) an individual who works as a freelancer for various parties without any relationship of dependence.
The first thing you will have to do if you decide to go freelance is to choose which tax regime to operate under. If you are just starting out, I suggest you give yourself a trial period by taking advantage of the withholding tax. This means, that up to €5,000, you can invoice clients without a VAT number.
So, let’s see the 4 main steps to becoming a freelancer:
- establish why you want to become a freelancer and the niche where you want to work;
- promote yourself and create a reputation;
- find new customers;
- organize your time.
If you are ready to accept these challenges, then you have what it takes to pursue a career as a freelancer.
Defining the niche
Making the decision to take the plunge may seem complex, but having a clear idea helps a lot. Analyze the pros and cons, understand how to adapt the change to your needs, and set goals.
It can certainly help you to analyze the market segment where you want to operate. Intercept your target audience, capture the segment of people interested in the service you offer, and attract their attention by offering better products or services than your competitors.
Distinguish yourself from your competitors and get work more easily. Certify your skills with Digital Freelance Certification
Taking care of personal branding
If you have decided to work independently, then you have to advertise yourself, promote yourself, and make yourself known. Especially if you start from scratch and with no corporate background. So, how to become a freelancer without experience?
To make yourself known, you need to take care of personal branding and build an online reputation. Download the free guide now to learn how!
Take care of your image on the web. Social profiles are a good business card and a blog is a valuable resource. Remember that the first impression is the one that counts. If you are a freelance graphic designer you can show potential customers a portfolio of your creations, if you are a freelance photographer your photos, and so on.
Make sure that people have a certain idea of you, possibly in line with your intentions and the image you want to show, and consider taking a course to create your personal branding.
Finding new customers
One of the greatest difficulties for a freelancer is getting new clients. If you are a former employee already known in your industry, the road is definitely downhill. Make use of connections within the environment where you used to work: surely a former colleague can be a potential client or will have someone to introduce you to.
Otherwise, you could form relationships with other self-employed workers or web agencies, the important thing is to understand how to organize the work and with whom to collaborate.
Surround yourself with good collaborators and make them appreciate you for what you do: they will entrust you with jobs they are not able to do. So always carry a business card with you: any excuse to make yourself known and expand your knowledge.
If you forgot to take it with you that day, don’t worry: Social Media exists. Using social to find new contacts is a good choice. For example, LinkedIn is perfect for this type of relationship. Expand your network of connections, share topics that interest you and that are related to your profession, and look for people who have a profile that complements yours.
In short, make it clear to your clients that you love what you do and know exactly what you are doing. When they notice that they have a professional in front of them who is interested in bringing them a benefit, they will be more inclined to give you the assignment. If you want to learn how to successfully sell your skills, learn more about how to use LinkedIn Marketing.
Attend events, seminars, conferences, and training courses, because the potential customer is just around the corner. Use these opportunities to engage him and remember that you will have to be convincing. If you have gained his trust, rest assured that he will recommend you to some of his friends or acquaintances who, like him, need your help. Using word of mouth among customers works to your advantage.
Do you have a personal blog? It is a great tool for getting found on search engines. Talk about what you do and your interests. Your skills are also evident on your website.
Organizing one’s time
Starting as a freelancer while working as an employee or being unemployed are two situations that affect the organization of your time. In the first case, you will have to sacrifice your free time and devote it to your second job. You will certainly take a little more time and effort, but your efforts will pay off.
If, on the other hand, you are in a position to commit yourself fully to your new profession, you will achieve economic independence in less time.
Working as a freelancer sometimes means never disconnecting. Many freelancers find it difficult to find the boundary between private and working life. This may sound negative, but it actually looks positive! Do you know why? Because most freelancers make their passions their business.
The sage Confucius said:
“Choose the job you love, and you will never work a day in your life”.
In hindsight, he was absolutely right. But to do this you have to commit yourself, work hard, and in total autonomy, without depending on someone else. In short, go freelance.
Why Become a Freelancer
Until a few years ago, freelancing meant more than anything else being a photographer or a journalist. All job positions did not imply subordination to a boss, which allowed one to offer one’s service to anyone who asked for it.
Surfing the net, you would find questions such as how to become:
- freelance copywriter
- freelance graphic designer
- freelance content writer
- freelance translator
Freelancing life, i.e. “living as a freelancer” is a lifestyle of the future. By now, the number of freelancers is growing rapidly.
The fixed-job is no longer a goal, but merely a transitional moment that allows one to lay the foundations for a future as an independent professional. More and more companies – I am referring in particular to SMEs – are deciding to rely on consultants and freelancers, benefiting both from the service they require and by reducing internal office costs (e.g. training of juniors, recruitment, and all the relevant bureaucracy).
Moreover, the use of coworking spaces is definitely on the rise, increasingly crowded with self-employed people who take advantage of shared offices to network and forge profitable collaborations with colleagues or desk neighbors. Being able to turn your passion into your job is what we all want.
Most people want to understand how to become a successful freelancers because they are enticed by the idea of being able to manage their free time as they see fit. Or because they want to work online, from home, or traveling, choosing with whom to collaborate and organize themselves according to their own schedule. In essence, they want to be free.
Why do you want to become freelance?
There are many freelance women. If you are a woman you might find yourself in situations like:
- you have become a mother and cannot find a job that suits your needs;
- you are in a phase of life where, after dedicating time to your family, you want to change everything and reinvent yourself.
Well, know that the world of female freelancing could be for you. Life as a female freelancer allows you to organize your time as you like, and give space to your professional career without having to give up the time you would like to devote to your family, your interests, or your educational pursuits. Further on you will find plenty of ideas to get you started.
Better to be a freelancer or an employee?
It depends on your goal. Opening a freelance business is a life choice. Not all of us are suited to be freelancers and do our work independently.
Certainly, being an employee has its security, especially from an economic point of view. Many people suffer from being employed by a principal, some professions are unsuitable for corporate work.
Many people, especially young people, feel the need to break the monotony and dream of more flexible working hours that do not force them to stay locked inside office walls for eight, ten, or twelve hours straight. The only hope is to get home before dinner and enjoy their passions for a few hours.
The life of a freelancer is definitely different. You can decide when to work, choosing the most productive days and hours. You will certainly do a little extra when you have deadlines to meet. The client must receive the service even if you have not had a single day off.
You have to know how to manage time, how to organize and plan your work activities. Give yourself some rest, that is also important because it definitely helps you to produce more.
Becoming a freelancer means having the hourly flexibility that the office employee can only dream of, but it is also true that you will be in charge of every area of the business: from administration to sales.
For example, the customer: most of the time he doesn’t come alone! You will have to be good at managing the customer base, finding new customers, and retaining them, without forgetting those already acquired who generate other commissions. You have to increase the “turnover” and always look for new sources of income.
Undoubtedly, many people are still intimidated by the prospect of leaving a salaried and secure job for a completely autonomous job. Many, moreover, are still uncomfortable with the idea of being able to work remotely, without the need to travel to the office every day.
In recent years, there have been truly significant and unprecedented changes: in this historical era, online is taking hold in every field and sector of work. By now, all companies want to be online and they want to do it quickly, which is why they are looking for competent figures who can help them make this transition.
The opportunities for work in digital are therefore countless and now is the right time to get involved and start an online career as a freelancer. But how to overcome the fear of starting out? How can you be sure that you are not taking a leap into the void?
The key is definitely gradualness: up your self-confidence by acquiring and consolidating specific skills and start getting to know the world of digital work thanks to courses, internships, and apprenticeships.
Working as an online freelancer
Knowing how to use digital tools and having the necessary skills to do this job has become of paramount importance.
I will show you some tools that may be useful.
1. To publish or sell books and e-Books you can use Mnamon.co.uk, Pubcoder.com, or Booklaunch.io, some of the best known.
2. If you are a coach, trainer, teacher, or professional, or would simply like to sell your skills online, you can offer distance learning and consultancy via the Freelancer, Youclassme, and Lifelearning portals.
3. You can create a site, or make part of your content available for a fee. Use the WordPress plugins: S2member.com andaidmembershipspro.com. Visit our WordPress Guide to learn more.
4. You decide to sell products and services online and open an E-commerce. You can exploit your site directly or on external platforms. Online services there are: Magento.com, Prestashop.com, Woocommerce, and Sellky.com. The choice is yours!
5. You can think about Affiliation Marketing and selling advertising space to companies that want to gain visibility on the Web. There are platforms for direct and indirect sales that you can integrate into your site, or into your online communication channels: Google AdSense, Zanox, and Amazon, to name a few.
6. Creating and selling Apps for tablets and smartphones, is an interesting opportunity to create a mobile and independent profession, you don’t have to be a developer or a programmer. You can create Apps quickly and easily at Apps-builder.com, Map2app.com, and Makeitapp.eu. My personal favorite? Shoutem.com.
As you can see, there are many solutions, you just have to know how to choose the one that suits you best. Working as an online freelancer is easier than you think.
We have seen the criteria for freelancing, and how to go about finding new clients. As the purpose of this article is to provide you with a comprehensive guide on how to become a freelancer, there are additional aspects I would like to go over with you that you should know about.
- Which sites are best for freelance work?
- Can you become a freelancer without a VAT number?
- What do I have to do to freelance abroad?
- Is becoming a freelancer convenient?
What are the sites to get freelance work?
Among the different platforms to search for freelance jobs are Digital Jobs, Fiverr, and Freelancer. Although these portals are true reference points for every freelancer, there are many other valid realities to consider.
These spaces are also useful for companies to find freelancers. They are suitable for all types of remote jobs, from the photographer to the freelance copywriter.
Below is a list of the best sites for freelancers:
- Digital Jobs – the portal entirely dedicated to digital marketing. To view job offers for freelancers, simply filter your search.
- Freelancer – Let’s start with one of the best known: how does the Freelancer site work? The mechanism is quite simple. The home page consists of two call-to-actions: one for companies looking for freelancers to be involved in their projects, and another aimed at those who want to put themselves forward as freelance workers. Once registered on the site, you can upload your work, which will serve as your portfolio. Building your portfolio is a very important service because it allows you both to show and demonstrate what you can do and to reach a large and interested audience.
- Fiverr – This is a real Freelance Network that connects companies with different freelancers. It offers a business service designed to facilitate the participation of freelancers in business projects that require teamwork. This a significant touch-point for both freelancers and the companies themselves, which can, in this way, strengthen their team and rely on verified professionals.
- Freelance – Although the name does not shine in originality, Freelance is a site to consider if you are looking for work in IT.
- Twago – The characteristic feature is that it is a platform full of freelancers. Twango also recently offered a service similar to Fiverr Business, called Twango Talent Pool.
- Guru – It is mainly oriented toward digital jobs. The feature that differentiates it from its competitors is the private management of the fee charged by a freelancer for doing a given job, which remains hidden from the eyes of other colleagues, preventing the emergence of competition based on price.
- Addlance – An entire project that deserves to be mentioned. Its functioning does not differ much from that of the other platforms. Here too, the company publishes the project for which it will receive offers from freelancers. Then, without any intermediary, the parties involved can get in touch to discuss the details.
- Behance – The site is mainly dedicated to creative professions. If you work in graphic design or create video and text content, remember to sign up.
- UpWork– was born from the merger of two major players already operating in this sphere: Elance and Odesk. On UpWork it is possible to find offers aimed at individuals or teams, in the latter case, collaboration with other freelancers is required.
Seize the opportunities of a booming industry. Become a digital consultant
Some freelance activities only need a laptop and an Internet connection, you can do them wherever you want. Even in another country.
The first step in becoming an online freelancer abroad is to find out what kind of documentation is required by the country you want to move to. For example, if you want to work in Germany and already have an EU passport, you will not need a freelance visa. The situation is different for non-EU citizens, who will have to apply for one.
In general, the procedures for obtaining a visa vary from country to country: the advice is to set in motion at least three or four months before departure.
Some countries require an identifier equivalent to our VAT number: Australia requires the Australian Business Number (ABN), while to work in London you will have to register with HM Revenue & Customs and obtain a NIN (National Insurance Number), the equivalent of our tax code.
On the other hand, if you want to be a freelancer in Switzerland, you will have to set up a sole proprietorship and fill in the so-called self-employed person’s affiliation form, which must be submitted to the AVS Agency of the municipality where the sole proprietorship is located. As regards the VAT registration. VAT becomes compulsory only when the turnover exceeds CHF 100,000 per year.
Does freelancing pay?
Opening a tax position is the first step in becoming a freelancer. Perhaps the simplest step, which costs nothing except going to your accountant, or to the office of the Agenzia delle Entrate (Internal Revenue Service) to get all the instructions on how to freelance, while respecting the legislation.
Nothing compared to all the issues that the self-employed person or entrepreneur will then have to deal with in order to maintain his tax position, and thus, his business activity.
As is well known, taxation in our country is very high. If you join the flat-rate scheme, you pay tax in relation to how much you actually invoice. The state does not give discounts. So if you are thinking of becoming a millionaire by adding up all those jobs that your clients have commissioned from you, you have miscalculated.
So, is it better to be a freelancer, or is it better to move to a different country? This question is best answered by an accountant who will assess your needs. You can also decide to move to one of the so-called “tax havens” where taxes are kept to a minimum.
Countries with very low (or even zero) taxation regimes are the Maldives, Bermuda, Macao, Polynesia, Singapore, and Gibraltar. Not forgetting Switzerland, Monaco, and San Marino.
The list is long, the states with a privileged tax regime are many. By deciding to become an online freelancer, you will be able to travel and choose the destination that suits you best, using online platforms and services to manage your payments. Without geographical constraints.
What are the best professions for freelancers?
Being a freelance worker is the most appropriate choice for those who wish to free themselves from the “rules” of employment. The professions that most lend themselves to freelancing are:
- Translator and interpreter
- Web Designer
- Web Editor
- Marketing Consultant
- Accounting Consultant
- Security Manager
Many other suggestions then come from the Digital Economy. The great thing is that with the evolution of technology, many professions, even the more “traditional” ones, including some of those mentioned above, can now dress up digitally. Even some people can travel and work at the same time: I am sure you have already heard of digital nomadism.
The choice of different professions for digital freelancing is truly vast. You are spoilt for choice: web content editor, web marketing specialist, digital PR, and much more. Among the most popular professions at the moment is definitely the freelance copywriter.
So, digital tickles your fancy and you have decided to make it your “life’s work”? All you have to do is evaluate one of the certifications you can obtain by following courses with Digital Coach.
You’re sure to find that they are an indispensable aid in acquiring the skills you need to pursue one of the new generations of freelance professions and to better understand how to become an online freelancer.
Download the free guide to all the new digital professions
Which courses to take to become a freelancer
What are you waiting for to seize the extraordinary in you? The digital world is waiting for you, open the door and come in and browse!
The new professional figures to turn you into a self-employed worker are there waiting for you, try wearing their clothes and choose the one closest to your personal tastes, aptitudes, skills, and competencies: those could give you the chance to realize your dream of working independently.
You will have to be credible, reliable and you will have to study all the time.
You could specialize in content creation, because you love storytelling, and embracing the world of content marketing could combine the useful and the enjoyable, turning the passion you have into a self-employed job.
Maybe you are fascinated by the world of social media and decide to become an expert social media marketer, organizing your time and ideas. Maybe you harness your writing skills and become a blogging wizard, who from the living room, between clicks and words, has figured out how to freelance.
Start your freelance career! Training, Practice, and Business in one program
Our training offers come to your aid in order to decline ideas, and aptitudes, dissolve doubts, face difficulties, and become a freelancer right away. These are new paths to develop the necessary skills and be in line with the job offers of companies looking for web professionals.
Discover the best course to become a freelancer:
- Digital freelance certification
- Web content editor certification
- Web marketing specialist certification
- Social media specialist certification
- E-commerce specialist certification
- Digital marketing specialist certification
- Digital PR Specialist certification
Without going through academic training, you can get straight into the field and enter the job market. By attending our school, you have the opportunity to acquire theoretical knowledge, develop practical skills and create an interesting professional network to work in web marketing.
What are you waiting for? You could be your own successful freelance copywriter, or open a window into the world of social networking by becoming a social networking expert.
In this article, you have been able to clarify many doubts about how to become a freelancer, and with Digital Coach you will be guided in your training and the preparation of your work plan. But not only that, you will always have updates for your training.
You will be able to choose the training offer that best suits your tastes, and that respects your needs because you can follow courses in the classroom, online, or on demand.
You can start planning your professional future as a freelancer with one of our coaches, by booking a free consultation to draw up a tailor-made plan for you, completely free of charge.
To receive all the information you need and to resolve your doubts, do not hesitate to contact us
Hello there! I’m passionate about a variety of interests, including playing badminton, diving into video games, indulging in movies and series, and exploring new destinations while listening to my favorite tunes. I thrive on learning, constantly seeking out new knowledge and experiences. My professional journey started in a call center, but I’ve transitioned into freelancing, dedicating myself to continuous improvement and striving to be the best at what I do.