As a freelancer, I can work from anywhere, and I can, to a large extent, choose my own hours – and the clients I have. Making money as a freelancer takes a certain degree of work, though, whether you are writing or offering graphic design services.

What Skills Do You Have?

The first step is to figure out what skills you have. What are you good at? Do you have an ability that others are willing to pay you for? It’s possible to become a freelancer in a variety of fields, including software development, graphic design, writing, and coding.

Practice this skill, improving your abilities and building a portfolio that you can point to later. You don’t have to be particularly good to get started, although you will hopefully improve over time. Take a class or two to help hone your skill and receive valuable tips and instruction. But, the best results will come from practice and just going out and doing it. This basic formula is what makes freelancing one of the ideal home businesses.

Create a Home on the Web

As a freelancer, you need a home on the web. This means a web site where you can showcase your work. Graphic designers can create a site that shows the work they’ve done, usually in some sort of gallery. It’s also possible to showcase your work by linking out to clients. For writers, one of the best things that can be done is to start a blog. It’s one of the easiest ways to show potential clients what you can do.

Your home on the web needs to share information about what you do, and how well you do it. You should also have some sort of contact information that makes it easy for potential clients to find you. Whether it’s your email address or a web form, you need to be easy to reach.

This step can also include getting involved with social media. Create consistent profiles on the social media where potential clients can find you. LinkedIn is a great place to start. However, I’ve also received work thanks to my Twitter and Facebook accounts, as well as some of the social bookmarking sites I’m involved with.

Go Where the Work Is

If you want to make money as a freelancer, you need to go where the work is. There are a number of marketplaces for freelancers springing up around the web. Technology makes it possible to visit these sites and get work. Some sites, like eLance and oDesk offer a variety of jobs to freelancers. Others are niche freelance marketplaces, where you can focus on selling your skill.

Even though I know that many people have success with these marketplaces, I’m not especially fond of them. I don’t like the bidding aspect, where you lower rates and undercut others in the hopes of landing a job. However, I know that these can be good places to start if you want to begin making money as a freelancer.

Job boards are great places to look for work. More and more of the “main” career sites offer access to jobs for remote workers and freelancers. You can also visit jobs boards that specialize in your area of expertise. There are a number of job boards that offer freelance writing jobs. And, if you are looking specifically for blogging jobs, it’s hard to beat the Problogger job board.

Do a search to find job boards in your freelance area. There are boards that feature graphic designers and web developers, as well as those that put the call out for coders. You can also try more general Classified sites, like Craig’s List, to find freelance work.

Consider Raising Your Rates

At some point, you can start raising your rates as a freelancer. However, you have to realize that you might not get the high pay that you want initially. Most freelancers, especially those without an established portfolio and without experience, can’t expect to earn a lot at first.

However, as you gain experience, and as practice helps you improve your skill, you will be in a position where you can charge more, making more money over time.



Miranda is freelance journalist. She specializes in topics related to money, especially personal finance, small business, and investing. You can read more of my writing at Planting Money Seeds.