How to Start a Freelance Business in 2023

Jul 21, 2023
77 People Read
how to start a freelance business
Table of Contents
  1. Why freelancing?
  2. Choosing your niche
    1. Freelance writing
    2. Video editing
    3. Graphic design
    4. SEO
    5. Social media
  3. Why I chose freelance writing
  4. Start with what you’re good at
  5. Getting your first few clients
  6. Cold email outreach
  7. Freelancing websites
    1. Fiverr
    2. Upwork
  8. Getting clients outside of Fiverr and Upwork
  9. Final thoughts

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Freelancing is one of the best ways to start a business and make good money doing what you love. 

Plenty of people are quitting their regular jobs to start a profitable freelancing business that can replace their current income and help launch a new career. In fact, many freelancers go on to make six-figure salaries in their chosen profession. 

However, success in freelancing doesn’t happen overnight. It may take years to get your freelancing business started–especially if you aren’t working on it full-time. 

Freelancing may seem attractive, but those who don’t have prior experience may find that it’s difficult to get your first initial clients.

So this begs the question, is it worth it to start freelancing in 2023?

This article dives into how to start a freelance business, how to get your first few clients, and other tips on starting and growing your freelancing business.

Why freelancing?

how to start a freelancing business

If you’re reading this article, you probably already have an idea that freelancing is a great option for people who want to make some extra income or quit their current jobs to work full-time as a freelancer. 

And there are certainly plenty of benefits that come with freelancing. You can work from anywhere, become a digital nomad, travel the world, and often make enough money to support yourself while doing it. 

Freelancers get to choose what they work on and who they work with each day. They can also make their own schedules and do things that most people working normal jobs can’t do. 

Freelancers can go to the gym at 2 pm while everyone else is working, and we can go golfing on a Monday afternoon since we’re not tied down to an office.

You can also meet an amazing community of other freelancers and digital nomads who embrace the remote work lifestyle. 

Choosing your niche

If you want to start freelancing, you need to decide what skills you’ll offer your potential clients. Some of the most common freelance services you can offer include:

  • Freelance writing

  • Video editing

  • Graphic design

  • Search engine optimization (SEO)

  • Social media marketing

  • Software engineering

  • Coaching

Each freelance niche has varying levels of competition. For example, freelance writing is notorious for being extremely competitive amongst beginner freelancers since the barriers to entry are so low.

Freelance writing

how to start a freelancing business

Freelance writing is becoming more popular in part from Alex Fasulo, who was featured on CNBC as one of the top freelance writers in the world. She showed millions of people how she makes over $300k per year writing for clients on freelancing websites. 

Alex has a large social media following of other freelancers who were inspired by her initiative to take freelance writing full-time. 

Freelance writing can be one of the easiest niches to start with. As long as you can write half-decent sentences, you can market yourself as a freelance writer. However, the low barriers to entry mean the competition can be fierce.

If you’re thinking of getting into freelance writing, you should have a long-term plan–since success as a freelance writer rarely happens overnight. It may take years before you make enough to support yourself as a full-time freelance writer.

Video editing

More and more people are creating content on YouTube and TikTok in hopes to get discovered by a new audience and grow their business. Because of this, video editing is extremely in-demand, and skilled editors can make a substantial amount of money editing videos for a living.

To break into video editing, you should have advanced skills in Adobe Premiere Pro and other standard video editing tools. You’ll need to know the basics of audio production and how to get proper lighting for videos.

One of the best parts about video editing is that you can often do it totally remote without the need to be in-person with your clients. Most video editors charge a flat fee for each edit or an hourly rate to work as an editor for their clients.

Graphic design

Let’s face it–not everyone has an eye for graphic design. Professional graphic designers can charge hundreds or even thousands of dollars for a simple logo. 

But what makes these people deserving of this extremely high pay for a few hours of work? 

Most graphic designers have experience working with graphic design tools and can prove their experience in the field. Without any prior graphic design skills, it may be very hard to break into this niche. Some graphic designers use Canva, which is one of the best graphic design tools on the market today.

But if you really want to go for it, graphic design can be a lucrative field assuming you can make a name for yourself.


how to start a freelancing business

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of ranking your website at the top of Google search results to get more organic website traffic. With more traffic, you can sell more of your products or services and have the ability to make passive income from your website. 

Things like selling other people's products as an affiliate and running ads on your website are proven ways you can monetize the traffic to your website from SEO.

Due to the benefits of getting on the first page of Google, people who are good at SEO can charge a lot of money for their services. 

Most SEO professionals also work as freelance writers since many of the skills tend to overlap. Being good at SEO often means you have advanced skills in writing sales copy and engaging content.

To be an SEO professional, you should be familiar with keyword research and how to write articles that are optimized for search engines. You should also use professional SEO tools when working for your clients. 

Here are some of the top tools for SEO professionals:

Some of the above software tools can be $200 per month or more. While free SEO tools may be helpful for beginners, making money as an SEO professional means you need to use the same tools the pros use. 

You should budget at least $300 per month for your SEO tools if you plan to do SEO for clients.

Social media

how to start a freelancing business

The top brands in the world spend millions of dollars producing high-quality social media content for their brand. In fact, some corporations have entire departments for the social media team for the entire company. 

That means every ad you see on social media has a team (or individual) behind the scenes creating content to sell more of their products or services.

Since every reputable brand needs a social media presence, the demand for skilled social media managers is increasing every day. Social media management is a great freelancing niche because you can work on your own schedule and produce creative content for the brands that you work with. 

Social media managers should be familiar with scheduling tools like HootSuite and Buffer as well as graphic design programs like Photoshop or Canva

Most social media professionals create content calendars that make it easy to manage the posting schedule for the company and how to effectively plan out marketing campaigns. 

Social media is another niche that has lots of competition since nearly anyone with a phone or computer can effectively be a social media freelancer. 

You’ll need to prove your skills in social media to prospective customers or get clients through your own personal network and word-of-mouth.

Why I chose freelance writing

I admit, I’m one of the many people that were inspired by Alex Fasulo and her story about quitting her 9 to 5 job to pursue a career in freelance writing. I saw the light at the end of the tunnel and how I could be the next freelance writer to make a six-figure salary and quit my corporate job.

The cold hard truth is that freelance writing can take a long time to start generating a significant amount of income. I started out only making about $400 in my first three months as a freelancer. 

Luckily, I was still working my 9 to 5 job making a solid $72,000 per year while building my freelancing portfolio on Fiverr. 

By the time I was about 6 months into my freelance writing journey, I started to take it seriously and made it a goal to quit my job by June 2022–which I accomplished.

Now I’m a full-time freelance writer and digital marketing consultant working with real estate agents and financial professionals around the world. I’ve also been able to acquire clients on my own and retain them as loyal customers off of freelancing platforms. 

Start with what you’re good at

If you want to start a freelance business but don’t know what skills you should use, take a look at yourself and determine what you’re already good at. 

Do you tend to have an eye for design and photo layouts? Maybe graphic design would be good for you. Are you a decent writer? Then freelance writing could be a viable path.

If you’re still at a loss for what skills you should use as a freelancer, maybe you’re not cut out to be a freelancer right now. However, you can acquire new skills over time and start your freelancing journey in the future when you’re ready.

Getting your first few clients

New freelancers often find it difficult to acquire their first few clients when they’re just starting. How can you market yourself as a professional without any proven experience in your field?

This is a legitimate problem for many new freelancers, but how did I overcome it?

Some people call it “fake it until you make it,” but I think that has a negative connotation to it. I prefer to call it being confident in your skills and showing how you can get results and meet the expectations of your clients.

Every successful freelancer started their journey from nothing and had to prove themselves to new clients. This may mean working for free or for very low pay in the beginning. 

While your time is certainly worth more than $5 an hour, you may have to swallow your pride and work for cheap in order to get some testimonials and some experience under your belt. 

Plenty of successful freelancers offered their services for free to gain hands-on experience with new clients before going out and charging for their services at market rates.

The following are the most popular ways you can acquire your first clients as a freelancer.

Cold email outreach

Cold email is one of the most powerful ways you can acquire your first several clients as a freelancer to build your portfolio. You can send an unlimited amount of emails to warm prospects in hopes they return your email with a response to set up a meeting to talk about paying you for your services. Be sure to check out my review of Email10k, which is a popular course teaching students the basics of how to use cold email to acquire freelancing clients.

Freelancing websites

Freelancing websites can be a great way for new freelancers to get their feet wet and hone their new freelancing skills. It can also be an easy way to build credibility that you can use to attract new clients who pay at higher rates.

The top two freelancing platforms for beginners are Fiverr and Upwork. There are many other freelancing platforms but I believe Fiverr and Upwork are the best freelancing sites for people who are learning how to start a freelance business as a beginner.



Fiverr is a great way to get started as a freelancer–and for many reasons. Fiverr is free to join and is perfect for beginners since there isn’t much outbound marketing or additional energy needed to promote your services.

Once you sign up for Fiverr, you’ll need to make a few “Gigs” which are tasks that you’ll complete for your clients (also known as buyers). Some niches have thousands of listings of competitors which can make Fiverr difficult to get started with as a beginner. 

But if you can be in the good graces of the Fiverr algorithm, you may see your sales start to skyrocket. From personal experience, I’ve gone through months with over $2,000 in sales to months with $26 in sales. Fiverr’s algorithm doesn’t make sense and can be frustrating for sellers. 

The company is also notorious for being incredibly biased in favor of buyers. This means Fiverr tends to side with the buyer in any type of dispute between buyers and sellers. 

I’ve been able to acquire about 150 reviews in almost a year on Fiverr. However, if I was full-time as a freelance writer I think I could have racked up much more. This means that starting as a new freelancer is possible in 2023.

Fiverr also requires customer service skills. You’ll need to communicate with potential buyers to see if their project is a good fit. Buyers will inevitably want revisions and it’s your job to make them satisfied with your work in hopes that they leave a positive review.



Upwork is my choice for the second best freelancing website for people learning how to start a freelance business. Upwork is much different than Fiverr in the way you acquire customers. It can be very hard for beginners with no reviews or work history to make good money on Upwork.

In my experience, it seems like the top sellers on Upwork continue to get the bulk of new jobs posted by buyers. Why should someone go with new sellers over someone who you can see has earned over $100k on the Upwork platform with thousands of five-star reviews?

In competitive niches, Upwork may be a waste of time for new freelancers. You need to formally apply to jobs and submit a cover letter trying to persuade the buyer that they should hire you over dozens of other freelancers. 

Upwork uses “connects” as a form of currency that sellers use to apply to jobs–which can be confusing in itself.

Getting clients outside of Fiverr and Upwork

Those who don’t find success on Fiverr or Upwork may want to explore other options for starting their freelance business.

Below are some of the most common ways you can get high-paying freelance clients as a beginner:

  • Social media

  • Cold email

  • Word-of-mouth

  • In-person networking

Final thoughts

Learning how to start a freelance business can be overwhelming as a beginner. Whether you’re looking for some extra income or want to make freelancing your career, using the strategies we went over will put you on the right path to making money as a freelancer in 2023 and beyond.

Interested in learning more about partnering with us to grow your business? Contact us today to find out how to advertise with us and grow your business organically with the power of SEO.

Table of Contents
  1. Why freelancing?
  2. Choosing your niche
    1. Freelance writing
    2. Video editing
    3. Graphic design
    4. SEO
    5. Social media
  3. Why I chose freelance writing
  4. Start with what you’re good at
  5. Getting your first few clients
  6. Cold email outreach
  7. Freelancing websites
    1. Fiverr
    2. Upwork
  8. Getting clients outside of Fiverr and Upwork
  9. Final thoughts