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How to Build a Career as a Successful Freelancer

Becoming a freelancer can be a rewarding, but nevertheless challenging experience. You have to be willing to make a lot of sacrifices in order to obtain professional and financial success. With all of the changes that are going on in the economy today, there are more opportunities than ever before to succeed in this area. Not only can you work from anywhere, but you can freelance in virtually any field.

Many industry experts expect that the ranks of freelance workers will grow dramatically in the years ahead. In fact, it’s been predicted that by 2020, 50% of the U.S. workforce will be freelancers (although this does not mean full-time freelancing).

Here we’ve put together some steps on how you can become a successful freelancer and take advantage of this growing opportunity.

Starting out

One of the hardest things to do as a freelancer is to get started. You need to identify the skill that you want to sell to others. Always make sure that there is demand for what you are selling. The higher the demand, the easier it is to get started working on your own business. There are a lot of people today who struggle to figure out a business plan that makes the most sense for their situation. If you have another career right now, it is always best to work on your freelance efforts on the side at first. If you can build a solid side income, the jump from your current career is much easier.


When you work for yourself, you always have to market the products and services that you have to offer. This is true even when you feel like you have way too much to do in a day. Many times, the marketing efforts that you make today will not pay off for several weeks or months. Even if business is slow, you need to continue to market your services to bring in new clients. Developing an effective marketing strategy is one of the most important things that a freelancer can do. Without new clients, your sales coming into the business are going to slow down considerably.


Branding yourself as a freelancer is tough. With all of the changes in the economy that are constantly going on, few people feel like they have enough time to work on a branding strategy that makes the most sense for them. However, this is something that you can accomplish in a relatively short period of time. You just need to figure out the way that you want to market yourself. Researching your industry is the best way to gauge what customers want in a freelancer. Follow competitors and influencers in the space to see what others are doing and start brainstorming ideas for how you can get an edge. The more you know about your business, the easier it is to develop a brand with customers.

Take chances

There are going to be times in business where you will have the opportunity to take on a big job or client. Although there is a lot of risk in this decision, it is always a good idea to take chances when an opportunity presents itself. What’s more, when you first start out, there is a lot less risk in the decision overall. With some of the changes that are starting to take place in the economy, it is a great time to get started in business for yourself. Of course, you don’t want to just jump into every opportunity blindly – do your homework, calculate the risks and take a chance when it feels right!

Financial planning

There are some people who struggle with going from a steady income to one based on the amount of work that is performed. The best way to mitigate your stress in this area is to work on building up your personal finances before you make the leap. A lot of people today are excited about all of the opportunities in business for them today. However, you need to have solid personal finances before you depend solely on the income that is coming in from freelancing.

Final thoughts

Overall, being a freelancer offers a lot of opportunities to people who have the skills and the work ethic to do so. Over the years, a lot of people have worked hard to develop a plan that makes the most sense in this area. Always make sure you have a branding strategy for your business. Marketing to new clients is essential to keeping your sales going in your new business over the next few months.

Thinking of hiring a career or business coach to help you get your freelance career started? Browse our directory of career coaches and get a FREE consultation or request a personalized coach recommendation!

About the Author Marc Mendelman

Marc Mendelman is a HR Process Consultant and a passionate of Business Development, Branding and Customer Relationship Management. His main responsibility is to raise the creativity for companies that hire him so that they decide themselves what measures need to be taken. Marc is, amongst other things, a Content Editor for Today Assistant, which is your personal guide through the internet and provides information about logging in into diverse types of accounts. He was born, raised and now lives in Seattle, Washington.