How to start a freelance business: your step-by-step guide

You know you want to start a freelance business… but where do you even BEGIN? Today, I’m going to break down for you exactly how to start a freelance business.

Click here to join the FREE 7-day e-course for new freelancers >>

Consider this your step-by-step guide to starting a freelance business:

Step #1 for how to start a freelance business: Decide what kind of business you want to haveLearn how to start a freelance business with this step-by-step guide! In just 7 steps, you'll get exactly what you need to get starting with building you awesome freelance business. Click on over to get the goods now!

You need to know what kind of freelance business you want to have before you get started with it. Choose something that you have some experience and education in, and also something that you LOVE to do.

If you don’t enjoy your business, then no matter how good of an idea it is, you won’t be putting your all into it… and you won’t have nearly as much success as you COULD have. Choose a profitable small business idea that lights a spark.

Want some freelance business ideas? I’ve got you covered! Check out my article featuring 29 different types of freelance jobs.

Discover your PERFECT biz idea: grab your free workbook now >>

Step #2 for how to start a freelance business: Identify your ideal client

If you don’t know who your ideal client is, then you won’t know how to market your business to them effectively, how to price your services the right way, or even what services you should provide.

It all begins with who you are serving. Building a successful freelance business is based on people and relationships, so it’s important that you are very clear on who your ideal client is. Who your ideal client is will factor into all other areas of your business, so if you want to build a successful business—and save yourself a ton of time and energy by streamlining your marketing—then identifying your ideal client will enable you to do just that.

By the way, in the Set Yourself Up For Freelancing Success e-course, we have lessons on how to identify your ideal client (and you get a handy Ideal Client Profile worksheet!). CLICK HERE to get on the waiting list to be the first to know when doors open—and to get access to the course at VIP pricing.

Step #3 for how to start a freelance business: Choose what services you will offer with your business Get the freelancer's roadmap for how to start a freelance business (your step-by-step guide!) in this freelance tips blog post!

Again, as with choosing what type of business to have, I strongly recommend that you choose services which feel right for YOU.

If you don’t enjoy the services you provide to clients, you aren’t going to be nearly as good at your job as you would if you were passionate about the services.

Keep in mind that just because every other virtual assistant out there offers Facebook group management, for example, doesn’t mean that YOU need to offer that as a service if you don’t enjoy doing that kind of thing. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box! Put together services and packages that fill you with excitement.

In addition to figuring out what services *speak* to you, it’s also important to consider what kinds of services your ideal clients most want and need. There should be a lot of overlap in there (and if there’s not any overlap, then that’s a sign you should probably return to the drawing board).

Wondering how to go about choosing just how “niche” your services need to be? The Do I Need a Niche? article will help you out.

Step #4 for how to start a freelance business: Create your business plan, marketing strategy, and pricing strategy

How much will you charge for your services? What kind of pricing method should you use? How will you set rates as a freelancer? Get a pricing strategy in place before you even begin marketing! It’s okay if your rates change with time (and in fact, they should), but starting out with an idea in mind for what your rates look like, how much you’re willing to negotiate, and factoring in things like rush jobs will help you to speak with clients confidently about pricing.

Grab your pricing strategies worksheet now >>

…Then, once you’re ready to begin marketing, you need to have some kind of actionable plan for how to do it. Will you market online or in-person? What social media platforms will you use? Think about where your ideal client hangs out and which platforms you prefer when you’re choosing the best ways to market your business.

At this stage, you’ll also want to set business goals and put together a business plan.

Grab your business goal planning workbook now >>

Your business plan “steers the ship” of your business, so it’s not something you’ll want to forget about. Refer to your business plan regularly—it will help you to stay on track.

We have modules in Set Yourself Up For Freelancing Success that go over in detail how to do each one of these. Click here to get on the VIP waiting list!

Step #5 for how to start a freelance business: Put together your freelance services webpage

Having your own website to direct potential clients to will lend more legitimacy to your business, and it will give potential clients a chance to learn more about you and the services you offer.

On your freelance services webpage, be clear about the services you offer and why your potential client should hire YOU. Don’t forget to include your contact information! I also recommend that you list your prices on your website.

Wondering what else you should have on your freelance services webpage? Find out 10 things to include on your freelance services webpage.

Grab your worksheet to create your freelance services webpage >>

Step #6 for how to start a freelance business: Set up your home office and create a structured daily schedule and plan of action

Once you start working from home full-time… where will you work? Do you have all the necessary office supplies? You need to have an office to do client work and behind-the-scenes tasks for your business! Use the ultimate home office checklist to set up your home office. Something else you may want to look into at this stage of the game is to figure out an accounting system that makes for a good fit for your business—one that I’m looking into at the moment (and which I’ve heard great things about!) as my business is growing is Quickbooks

Then, create a structured daily schedule and a plan of action so you know exactly what to work on at which times of day, as well. Having a strategic plan of action is one of my favorite tools for setting yourself up for a successful freelance business.

Step #7 for how to start a freelance business: IMPLEMENT everything 

Remember what I said in last week’s article about working full-time and running a small business on the side: planning without taking action is just as detrimental as taking action without planning!

What’s the point in having a business plan and a marketing strategy if you aren’t going to ACT on it?Want to get your freelance business started? I've got you covered! In this blog post, you'll learn the step-by-step guide for how to start a freelance business... WITHOUT the overwhelm. Interested? Click on over to get the scoop!

Once you have all of your strategies and plans in place, now you need to implement them into your daily and weekly schedule.

Psst… this is why we also A) make a point of creating practical plans that are action-oriented, and B) spend some time putting together schedules for ourselves so we know exactly what to work on, when.

Take the leap. Start taking action on your business, every single day—even if you only spend 15 minutes/day working away on it! Every little step makes a big difference over time.

Do you have more questions for how to start a freelance business? What freelance tips have you found to be most helpful? Share in the comments section below!

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  1. Thank you so much for sharing this! I’ve been looking to get into freelancing and starting out is daunting. Its always so useful to have a plan before you jump right in. Thanks!

    – Diana Ratana

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