Want to make money online by freelancing your skills, such as photography or writing or voice overs? There’s a lot more skills than this, but you catch the idea. Have you ever thought about having a job that doesn’t involve the typical 8 hours in an office and having to deal with all your bosses and co-workers?
But more than having to talk to others or the usual working together, working from home would be the cherry on top of your cake if you could just find an option that allows this, right?
Well, this is pretty much the reason why 91% of people decide to skip the traditional method and bet on other opportunities that usually involve the Internet to stay home or work from any place they are staying in.
The most common option is to just freelance skills, as we briefly mentioned before, and this is because people are not only offered the freedom of working from anywhere but also charging what they consider their jobs are worth and being able to say “no” or “yes” whenever they want and can afford it.
In other words, you get almost everything you wouldn’t access when having to walk behind an employer and deal with everything for the sake of your pay and career.
This doesn’t mean freelancing doesn’t come with considerations, but it is true it does provide more freedom in your decisions and actions.
Take us as an example; we went for that tattoo we wanted after quitting a very grey company.
Simple things that make you happy are key, so we want to help you achieve this by providing tips on how you can make money online by freelancing your skills.
What Is Freelancing & How Does It Work?
First, we want to make sure you have the concepts and definitions right, although they look simple. In this way, we will be able to go over the simple but also complex aspects of this article later.
Freelancing is when you work for yourself and not for someone else. Freelancers, also known as independent contractors, are self-employed.
Other companies can hire part-time or short-term freelancers, but they don’t receive the same pay or show the same commitment to a company.
People are now talking about freelancing with the rise of gig-economy
When it comes to freelance work, not everyone uses the term “freelance” and “freelancer” either, so you might be a bit lost in all this.
Now, why is this even called freelancing?
It is called this way because it allows you to work from anywhere.
The 1800s saw the first use of the term “freelance,” which was a reference to a medieval mercenary who would serve the nation or person they were paid the most. “Lance” was a long weapon knight riding on horseback used for knocking their opponents off their horses (think jousting).
The term “independent” continued to be used over time but was no longer relevant to politics or work.
Finally, how does this work?
In return for providing a service, freelancers will accept payment. This agreement is usually short-term or part-time.
If you wanted to hire a photographer to take your new headshots, you could hire a freelancer and pay him.
Freelancers can be hired to work for a fixed number of hours per week or even per month. This arrangement is commonly referred to by the term “retainer.”
Retainers are when you pay for the services or timeliness of someone else. Many legal professionals work with a retainer. They bill the client a fixed amount of time each month, regardless of how much time they use.
This is one of the most basic and pure forms of entrepreneurship. The freelancer offers a service or result, and the buyer pays them directly.
How to Start Freelancing Your Skills: 10 Steps to Success
If you want to start in this working option, you will need to focus on the right steps and warning: Don’t hurry the process.
Many people who want to start freelancing believe this is a matter of quitting everything and starting to offer services, but this actually works a bit more complicated than it seems.
Thus, we recommend you pay a bit more attention here and take the time to follow the steps we have to share:
- Choose your niche.
Freelancing is your ultimate goal, so you may feel comfortable accepting any paid work in any of the platforms or jobs people offer you online.
We know this quite well because we have been there, but with time, you will notice that just accepting everything blindly isn’t the best option, and as you progress in your freelancing career, you will need to be more strategic about what type of work you do and who you work with.
We know you are wondering how you can be picky about freelance work when you are trying to make more money and build your reputation. Well, everything depends on how well you specialize over the years.
You become an expert in one skill set, which can lead to higher fees for expert services. Experts are also more expensive, and you can charge based on rates you always set.
We know some people want to be general instead of specializing, and this will work in the short run, but you will eventually fall behind with the rest.
If you don’t believe us, just think about this example: You are a potential client and need someone to fix your email marketing, so people sign up, create ads that convince people to buy or update your website. In this case, would it be better to hire someone who is a master at one thing and does it well? Or would you rather go for someone who is general and can lack in many aspects?
Experience has shown that focusing on specialists is a better option because you are guaranteed better results one way or another, while generalists are only there to cover some missing parts in an area.
This example can be extended to other areas. For instance, if you’re just starting out in web development, you might find a niche such as migrating blogs from WordPress.
This means that anyone searching for help with migrating blogs to WordPress can find you. This is also true for graphic artists: You can create a graphic design for WordPress or work in different companies for other types of logos or images.
The best thing you can do is to choose a niche and then a sub-niche based on how much you grow and the specialty that suits you the most.
- Always be clear in your services and what you offer.
You must make a major decision early in your freelance career: What you truly do and what you don’t.
What does this mean? Simple. Many employers will want you to handle specific tasks in their companies or help them in more than what you are being paid for.
This is the common “I’m paying you; you should be able to do this.” However, when you freelance your skills and specialize in a niche, you are in all your right to say, “I won’t do it because it isn’t my function. I can do this.”
This is why you can and must be more specific about the services you offer. It will help you build a brand and allow you to influence how potential clients see you.
You should not consider accepting contract offers that are constantly changing or involve more than what you actually do since people will have a different perspective unless you are willing to handle this.
Although steady work thanks to being an “I do everything” person can be a good option for the short-term, it is not the right choice.
Taking on projects that don’t help you get closer to your ultimate goal of being the best in your field will only make you more distracted and slow down your progress.
- Define what your ideal client looks like.
Before you go looking for clients, it’s important to have a clear idea of who you want to work with.
You need to determine whether you want commercial clients or any individual interested in your services and what does that person is looking for.
Effectively pitching your services will require you to clearly distinguish between the types of businesses you are targeting.
These questions will help you to identify your ideal freelance client and how to find them:
- Which type of business is most likely to have the same problems that you are solving using your services?
- Can you afford to be hired by the company you want to work for?
- What demographic trends are there about decision-makers in the type of business you are targeting? Consider their age, gender, geographical location, website visits, and personal interests.
Try to build a persona with the information you collect as well. You want this profile to be as specific and detailed as possible to know how your freelancing services will help the targeted audience.
- Make a high-quality portfolio site.
It is obvious that a portfolio website of your technical or any other skills is one of the best ways you can demonstrate them.
Although there are freelancing platforms where you can include your portfolio and work, it is ten times better and more professionals to have your own website dedicated for this, which you will use as your curriculum and even can add some job postings so people can know you are part of the job seekers in a specific niche as well.
Don’t know what to include, consider this:
- Showcase your expertise and freelance talent.
- Highlight relevant past experiences.
- Introduce yourself as a person and professional.
- Include your contact information to make it easy for potential clients to find you.
A great portfolio can really help you if you don’t have many jobs or testimonials to show that you are a skilled professional.
Your portfolio aims to inform, inspire, and convince potential clients to choose you as their technology provider. It’s important to spend time deciding what you want on your portfolio and how it will be displayed before you begin looking for new projects.
After your portfolio site has been up, you can start to include a link in your email signature as well as on your social media profiles.
- Start freelancing before quitting.
We know you must be considering the freelancing option just to pursue the independence many people want, and we mentioned earlier. However, there’s a mistake most people make: They quit their jobs.
You see, freelancing is very volatile in the beginning, and unless you have a steady stream of clients, it is impossible to have a steady profit as a result. Therefore, do you think it is a good idea to quit your current job?
Of course, there aren’t issues if you don’t have one, but let’s focus on the fact you might have it.
In that case, we recommend you increase your side income to between 50-75% of your total income before you quit your full-time job.
You will quickly learn the realities of running your own business by managing a tight schedule and a heavy workload, including demanding freelance projects.
- Get better at what you do.
How do you justify higher hourly rates or projects’ budgets? Easy: You should have high-demand skills.
You can practice your new skills by creating the projects you would like to be paid to work on. You can distinguish yourself from the rest of the competition by creating cool side projects or examples that will attract potential customers.
Remember that freelancers with higher levels of experience can earn more.
- Work on your credibility and build trust.
There are many methods to build trust and make sure people are willing to hire you for the services you offer.
The first one is usually writing high-quality blog content and working with influential people in your industry. You could also create an ebook or an online course and schedule speaking engagements to increase your visibility within your niche.
These credibility boosters will help you increase your accomplishments and demonstrate your knowledge to more potential clients. Your message will be more widely spread if you are able to do so.
- Set your price.
Although determining the price of your freelance services is an important step towards determining your perceived worth, it’s also important to ensure that you are charging enough to provide a comfortable, sustainable lifestyle that isn’t affected by the volatility of the option in the short run.
Clients will pay more for freelancers who make a great first impression and are able to sell them on their ability to deliver top-quality results.
If you guarantee value and quality, your prices can be higher than you think. It is as simple as considering the value that you are creating for your clients before setting prices.
While you can always raise your rates and hope that your client will stay on board, if you start at a price you are excited about, you’ll be much more likely to over-deliver and keep increasing your value going forward.
If you want a hand with this, you can always research about your competitors and see how much they are charging and compare their skills with yours.
- Pitching needs improvement.
Pitching your freelance services to potential clients is both an art and a science.
It’s not enough to create a great freelance proposal to land new clients. Your success will determine how you select new jobs, what you value, and how you research before you apply.
You will usually need to invest time in searching about your potential clients, prospects, or the target client you want for your services to work in understanding their needs and offering valuable up-front value in the form of insightful recommendations.
We assure you that doing this will win you many new gigs.
Your success in freelancing will be largely determined by the quality of your client relationships and your ability to form meaningful partnerships.
- A blog for your services.
Your website should showcase your talents and help you attract new clients, but how can you increase the number of potential clients who come to your website?
By creating quality blog content that makes you a recognized expert in your field, you will achieve the desired result.
In the beginning, you should aim to create one to two blog posts per month that are valuable and related to your niche and topics.
These posts should be focused on providing useful solutions for your clients. This means that you will be writing for your clients and not others in your field.
If they find your content and receive some value from you, they will naturally keep you in mind if they are looking to hire you for more in-depth assistance.
The majority of freelance contracts people land are thanks to how freelancers work on marketing their services or ranking their websites and themselves. Thus don’t underestimate this step.
Top 3 Freelancing Sites to Start Your Journey
Don’t worry; we won’t let you die in the process of choosing the perfect site to get starting with freelancing.
We know it can be hard to decide which ones are the best, especially considering that there were only two or three freelancing websites a few years ago. Right now, there are dozens and are available for most people regardless of the niche they’ve chosen.
Thus, we decided to include the top 3 where you can get started and consider before others.
Upwork: The Freelancing King
We still remember when in 2015, we decided to give Upwork a try, and we are very happy we did because being part of the first users was key to our later success.
Today, Upwork is pretty much the epitome of freelancing and platforms, so you can definitely find your space in it.
It was founded by Beerud Sheth, an MIT graduate and Srini Anumolu, and a wall street veteran.
After being launched in 2015 in the US, it is now one of the top ten freelancing websites where people can connect to start businesses.
It boasts 3 million job opportunities, almost $1 million in value, and includes web, mobile, software development, data science, analytics, engineering, writing, legal, and many more categories you can’t even imagine. This makes it the largest global freelancer marketplace.
This website is great for beginners because it has work in many basic categories such as writing, programming, designing, and others.
The website has over 20 million registered freelancers and more than 5 million clients. Remote work can be completed and tracked via mobile.
Payments are secure and always safe. The website also has its own “time tracking software,” which allows clients to see how hard you’ve worked for them and the time spent.
People per Hour: Hourly Rate Option
In 2007, the company was founded with the vision of connecting businesses and freelancers to help people live their dreams.
It is the UK’s longest-running freelancing service, and just like the name suggests, it is mostly based on hourly rates.
This online platform gives businesses access to freelance workers and allows them to connect with other users.
Freelancers can be given projects and receive their payments according to the hours worked. Thanks to the clean system, this website is trusted worldwide by thousands of businesses with 1 million businesses and 3+ million freelancers; it has helped businesses solve over 1.5 million problems.
This website has many popular jobs, including 3D printing, business setups, infographic designing, and mobile app designing. Ghostwriters, jewelry photography, CAD designing, label designing, story writing, and more are included.
Chegg: Easy for Students
This company is the most popular student-first connected learning platform. It makes education more affordable and easier, with an eye to improving all student outcomes.
With over 3 million subscribers, it is based on American education technology. It offers digital and physical textbook rentals, tutoring online, content creation, scholarship, homework help, and many other services.
It allows every student to reach their full potential.
The company also employs subject matter experts to answer students’ questions on its “Question and Answers” board. The experts can be hired in a variety of subjects, including engineering, science, mathematics, and health care.
This means the platform is mainly focused on those who want to become teachers or experts and share their knowledge. However, what is the eligibility criteria?
- In order to be eligible, you must be enrolled in a student Diploma, Bachelors, or Master’s degree program in your chosen field of study.
- This opportunity isn’t just for final-year students.
This is a great opportunity to join because it’s easy and flexible. You can also work when you want, like most freelancing sites, and get the profit you need.
Experts can earn up to $50k per month, and your subject knowledge will increase while you are exposed to international academics.
Finally, remember that freelancing is a matter of patience and time and that this option can be difficult to handle from the very beginning.
If you have your doubts about where or how to start, just follow the previous steps to get your freelance jobs and earn money online.
As for freelance work you can do or more like what skills and services you should offer, some of the high demand jobs involve teaching a foreign language, writing jobs, creative jobs or skills like designing someone’s website, and probably a random business owner that needs someone to do its finances.
There is a lot you can do, and regarding how much money you can earn, everything depends on the niche and freelance work you choose and take, respectively.
The Local Lead Generation Process for Your Business
All right! So, everything is about building properties and generating leads. But how does the process actually take place? Are there other steps I need to know?
The steps I mention below are what students from our local lead generation program follow to generate leads for businesses like yourself. So I’ll help you see what we do. And how if you join our program, you can simply generate leads for your own business (unless you want to start a side hustle and build a laptop lifestyle business).
Essentially, our lead generation can be divided into four steps:
The first is prospecting. You need to take the time to do market research on a niche (industry) and determine how many phone-driven businesses are there.
Keep in mind that this is local research as you need to know how many companies need leads. For example, you may search for “plumbing services Youngstown OH.”
You will find dozens or even hundreds of businesses trying to get themselves in front of the customers by ranking on Map Listings, organic results, and even Ad.
The second step, building. When you find a niche (plumbing, tree services, a software company, real estate…), you will need to start building your digital properties. You don’t need to be an expert in HTML or coding. It can be easy with the right tools.
The third step is now taking time to rank your lead gen website. With the site done, you need to work on SEO strategies and start dominating those Google search results. If you’re new to SEO, it stands for Search Engine Optimization.
To keep it simple, it consists of the entire process of growing a company’s visibility on search engines like Google and generating organic traffic. And remember this, local lead generation is part of the strategies.
Moving on to step four, once you rank the site, you will start getting your ROI and profits. You only need to rent it out to a local business interested in the leads the site generates. You can offer a couple of free leads to their move on with the actual pay per lead.
To review steps 1-4 above, I described it to a normal student who is building a lead gen business to help local service providers generate more calls. But replace the student with you as the business owner. And replace sending the leads to a business to simply siphoning the leads to your personal business.
By the way, fun fact, about 20% of our students in our local lead gen program are actually business owners who went through the program. And they use the skillsets we teach to generate leads for their own business.
An Example of Lead Generation: Home Advisor
You must be thinking, “if lead generation sounds so good so far, how come I haven’t seen any company?” That’s the thing; there are many out there. You just don’t know they are dedicated to it.
HomeAdvisor is one of the best examples you can find on the Internet as it is a top lead generation company that has spent millions building its brand but also earned even more zeros for this same reason.
They started small as everyone else but invested in building their brand awareness to make people who are looking for home services go to their website and find what they need. They are over 75% of people’s first choice when they need those services.
If you don’t get HomeAdvisor that much or need a refresh, users need to submit their information to request a service and get a professional or expert who can provide it.
HomeAdvisor’s job is to share your information, which makes you a lead, with local companies so they can contact you and offer the service you’re requesting. For sharing this lead information, HomeAdvisor gets paid by the companies. This happens for every single lead they send to multiple businesses.
Business owners who don’t have marketing skills or don’t even know how to have any online presence will always rely on those pages to list their services. They will save time and effort, but companies like HomeAdvisor can make them spend lots of money as leads aren’t exclusive (one lead is sent to multiple companies after all).
Using Facebook Ads aka Paid Ad Platforms: Do They Generate Leads?
They DO generate leads. If not, no one would use them.
However, you need to remember two facts:
- Paid ads or platforms can be expensive.
- They don’t generate “natural” leads.
Whenever someone sees or clicks in one of those ads, over 80% of them did it by accident or are trying to close/report it.
Why? Because they aren’t looking for those services. At least not at the moment.
What those ads do instead is interrupt their time on the platforms. Users aren’t there to find companies or businesses unless they are searching for a specific company’s user, and for that, there’s a search bar. This is why it is hard to convert them to actual customers who will show interest in the companies’ services. Also, you’re limited by a budget.
When using lead generation, everything is organic. You aren’t forcing others to pay attention to your business but rather being there when they need you. This is why Google’s organic traffic will always beat paid ads, and the reason companies continue investing in it, which is a lot cheaper as well.
What Is Local SEO?
Don’t worry… I didn’t get it at first either. Following the short explanation, local SEO focuses on scaling businesses’ visibility on search engines. However, this is only for those who serve their communities face-to-face.
What does this mean?
Experts and professionals like painters, plumbers, and dentists (but not only them) offer their services to their local customers. Why? Because they can’t deliver them unless they are located in the same area of their customers.
To make sure those businesses get more leads, you need to rank them locally by claiming the business listing on Google to place them on Map Listings. Local SEO also involves online reviews, citation management, and how you manage your entire online presence in the local area.
If you are going to bet on lead gen, you need to adapt yourself to today’s world: The Internet.
Keep in mind that although traditional channels and methods like billboards, warm calls, and pamphlets still work, they aren’t part of your tools. Whenever someone needs a service, they go to Google and search for it.
“Dentist in Miami” or “plumbing services in Orlando,” etc. And you can keep coming up with services or professionals people need and look for. Thus, you need to make sure you’re using Google to get the companies in front of their clients.
Users will always click on the first search results (those near the top), and many of them will be either Ad links (people paid to place their websites there), Map Listing, and then you get websites. Almost all of them are your goal and where you should always aim to place yourself.
Can My Business Utilize a Local Lead Generation Strategy?
If you want customers, you better know you need it. Following the previous explanation, lead gen is all about placing businesses in front of their customers, choosing them over their competitors.
Put it simply – it’s all about closing deals and having clients for those companies to make money. The main difference with the usual methods companies use for this is how lead generation approaches different channels to get them in the right place of the market to get customers.
Those channels are all focused on the Internet as most people are searching for products but also services across the net. The issue is that the Internet is way too broad, and businesses don’t know how to place themselves. They usually try, but they get one common result: losing money and time.
How Powerful Are Organic Leads from Google?
For companies looking for customers, it’s everything. For you? Pretty much the same. When you build a business with digital properties, you get to make thousands of dollars a month.
This isn’t a “get started today and get rich tomorrow” thing, but it is HIGHLY scalable, and ROI + positive results are guaranteed. Learning a fairly decent and very needed set of skills to create your digital properties and start ranking them on Google is required.
I have invested in several online businesses over the years, and if there’s something uncertain, whether you will get your ROI or not, even more than the actual profit.
However, this business moved my earnings from five figures a year to a month in ONLY passive income while sitting comfortably at home.
On my laptop. Anywhere. Anytime.
You can look at one of the first sites I built back in 2016, and it continues making me over $1.000+ every month. The best part is that I don’t need to touch it or the rest I’ve built over the years, just like this digital property.
What Makes Lead Generation SO Alluring?
Here it goes: you can work from home.
The main issue with regular business opportunities is how much you need to invest in staff, equipment, or rent to have a place to sell your products or offer your services.
We all know the hassles of traditional businesses that involve regular expenses, which are extremely high. Can you afford it? I don’t think so, and even if you can, is it worth it? Now, it isn’t only about the money. You also need to put in a lot of work, and it isn’t only during the first couple of months or years. Usually, it is as long as you continue running it.
You can save yourself those headaches and bone-breaking tasks and expenses with lead gen since it is more about generating leads with digital channels—mainly websites.
Websites can be VERY cheap to build, and with many tools online, you get to do it in a couple of hours instead of days. Any virtual or digital business is scalable and won’t need constant maintenance.
So, let’s summarize this:
- You save money in regular expenses with traditional and most online businesses as what you need is yourself and digital properties (websites).
- You can bet on passive income.
- There’s no need to hire more people to get started.
- You can generate leads in multiple industries, which allows you to work on any niche you want.
How Can I Get Started in the Local Lead Generation Program?
Anyone can start and learn. That’s the beauty of this business model. I knew nothing about SEO, Map Listing, and everything I’ve mentioned so far. It is all about learning the skills, gaining experience, and deciding to take the step.
Remember that this business model will never get old as business owners are always looking for leads. They need to do business and scale their companies. Why not do the same while helping others and still making money?
You can start with this local lead generation course highly recommended for anyone wanting to grow in the business. It is a close training that will take you through each step and make sure you are able to get your ROI, profits and take control of your life.
You will be added to an incredible lead generation family ready to help you 24/7 when asking questions on the group. Anyone is welcome who’s willing to put in the work. Click here to watch the lead gen webinar.