How to Start Freelancing to Work Online

Start by aiming to attract a few side gigs. Here’s how:

  • Tell the people you already know that you’re available for freelancing opportunities. Basically take what you just wrote, clean it up a bit, and send them an email and post your social media accounts:

“Hi guys. I’m going to jump into freelancing. I’ve always been very creative and had a passion for making things. Been playing around with Photoshop and web design since I was like 12 years old. I’ve started several blogs and done a few internet marketing projects. If you know of someone who want have a need for my skills and passion, on a contract basis, and doesn’t mind being my first client then please pass along my contact information and/or let me know! Here’s my up-to-date contact information: xxx”

  • Meet with a few folks in your network over coffee that you think that be influential in referring others to you. Don’t put them on the spot by asking outright for work, but let them know you’re available and would appreciate them passing along your contact information if they run across someone you may be right for. (Basically an in-person version of the prior item).
  • Aim simply to find your first gig, not your third, fourth, etc. You are just starting. There’s only one place to start: with your first. Then parlay that into more: use that work as an example to beef up your portfolio, see if you can get a testimonial from that client, take good care of that client so you can get referrals down the road and repeat business.


How to Set Freelance Prices

Alright so to start you need to figure out your hourly rate. This is your absolute lowest, I can’t go any lower under any circumstances rate, times 2. Do not over think this. You can always change your pricing later and you don’t need to explain yourself. If you need to increase your rates you just need to make sure you’ve given yourself an out.

The best way to get around looking like a jerk is to put together a short “exit survey” that includes a question about your pricing and whether they think it was too low, too high, or just right. If your client liked working with you they aren’t going to have a fit about a $5 price increase anyway, so over deliver.

Next, for this project, you need to guestimate how long you think it might take you. This is based on experience and how many revisions you anticipate, how good you are at getting information from your clients and what your WordPress experience is.

If you have designed things in the past you should be able to figure a rough idea how long it takes you do design an interface. Add 2 hours.

If you’ve created a theme before you should know roughly how long it takes you to convert a base theme, or start from scratch on a new theme for html/css/javascript/php. Add 5 hours.

If that looks about right, quote is a guideline, get 1/2 up front, use a timer, and go from there.

Freelance Taxes and Keeping the Books

If you’re going to hire a CPA to do your taxes, it might cost about $1000 for the business and maybe $300 for personal. It won’t really save you money to give them access to a Quickbooks file because some CPAs charge based on how many forms need to be filled out.

Do you need an LLC to Freelance?

LLC of which I’m the only member. It’s technically referred to as a pass-through entity, since the only place for money to go is to me (or whatever expenses I deem necessary). I established it to do exactly what the name says: limit liability to me. Contracts are always between client & the LLC which, while not bulletproof, offers some protection of my personal assets (many of which are unrelated to the business).

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