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How to Earn More Money with Freelance Websites

by Thu Hà

Tried and true tips for earning more money freelancing.

Since I began freelancing just over a year ago, I’ve had the opportunity to work with nearly a dozen high-growth startups and world-class experts. And I’ve never had to negotiate for the premium prices I charge for my content marketing services, which is why I’d like to share some tips with you on how to start freelancing and how to make money doing so, even if you’re a complete beginner.

Because I’ve done such an effective job of defining my value propositions, branding myself as an expert within my field, and getting my freelance writing content in front of new target audiences, I now have a 3–6 month waiting list for new freelance clients and freelance jobs.

However, that certainly didn’t happen overnight. My rapid success in the world of freelancing is the result of a LOT of strategic positioning, hours of hard work, and good timing.

If you’re ready to get serious about freelancing and multiplying your self-employed income, here are my top twelve tips for earning more during your first year doing freelance jobs.

1. Choose a Niche

Choose a Specialty If you’re starting as a freelancer, you might be tempted to take any paid job you can find on platforms like Fiverr or Upwork. But as you progress, it’s important to be more selective about the work you do and the clients you work with.
You might wonder: How can being selective help me earn more?
When you focus on a specific skill, you become an expert in that area. Experts can charge more for their services. For example, there are categories for experts and professionals on Upwork and Fiverr.
In my view, there’s no need to debate whether you should be a specialist or a generalist when starting your freelance career.
If you were a potential client needing someone to improve your email marketing, write persuasive ads, or update your outdated website, would you prefer a jack-of-all-trades or a specialist? I’d choose the specialist every time.
From my experience, specializing as a content marketing consultant, rather than being a general digital marketer, has been the best decision for my freelance business.
Because I’ve established a reputation as a skilled content marketer over the years and regularly engage with content marketing on social media, I’ve quickly risen to the top of my field. Besides my blog and referrals from existing clients, most of my new clients come from business owners looking for specific expertise through Google and social media searches.
To give another example, if you’re starting as a web developer, you could specialize in migrating blogs to WordPress. That way, when someone searches for “help with migrating a blog to WordPress,” they can find you. This also applies to graphic designers who could specialize in WordPress-related design.
If you choose the right specialty and invest some effort in branding yourself as an expert in that area, it can pay off significantly in the long run.

2. Get Clear on Your Service Offerings

Early in your freelance career, you need to decide what services you will provide and what you won’t.

Being specific about your services is beneficial. It helps you create your brand, control how potential clients see you, and allows you to build your portfolio in the direction you want.

For example, if you aim to be a highly paid and sought-after Ruby on Rails developer, you shouldn’t consider contracts for customizing WordPress themes or designing user experiences for upcoming apps.

While steady work may be tempting and sometimes necessary, taking on projects that don’t align with your ultimate goal of being the best in your field can distract and delay your significant progress.

3. Define What Your Ideal Client Looks Like

Before you start looking for clients, you need to have a clear idea of who you want to work with. This could be small business owners, professional bloggers, copywriters, technology startups, or large companies. You might also want to work with brands and clients whose values align with yours.

It’s important to clearly define who you’re targeting. This will help you pitch your services effectively.

To identify your ideal freelance clients, ask yourself:

  • What type of business needs my services?
  • Can the business I want to work with afford me?
  • What demographic trends can I identify about the decision makers in the businesses I’m targeting? Consider age, gender, location, websites they visit, and personal interests.

I know I work best with smaller startup teams on projects I can relate to. So, I’ve chosen to narrow my potential client base. Working with similar startup teams allows new potential clients in my niche to relate to me and trust that I can deliver results for their business.

4. Create a High Quality Portfolio Site

To showcase your technical skills, it’s crucial to have an impressive portfolio website. If you’re a new freelancer, you need a website that:

  • Demonstrates your expertise.
  • Highlight your past experiences.
  • Presents who you are.
  • Provides your contact information for easy access by potential clients.

A great portfolio can be very beneficial, especially if you don’t have much job experience or testimonials to vouch for your skills.

The goal of your portfolio is to inform, generate interest, and persuade potential clients to choose you for their technical needs. That’s why it’s important to spend time deciding what to include in your portfolio and how to present it before you start looking for new projects.

Once your portfolio website is ready, include a link to it in your email signature and on your social media profiles.

5. Start Freelancing Before Your Quit Your Day Job

I strongly recommend starting a freelance business while still maintaining your day job or working part-time, rather than immediately becoming self-employed.

Creating a high-quality portfolio website, building your personal brand, and adding to your portfolio takes time. It’s a good idea to have a few steady freelance clients before you give up your main source of income.

I suggest increasing your side income to at least 50-75% of your total current income before leaving your full-time job, depending on how much risk you’re willing to take.

Managing a busy schedule, a heavy workload (including challenging freelance projects), and being responsible for delivering to clients with limited time will quickly teach you what running your own business is like.

Another great advantage of gaining freelance clients while still working full-time is that you can be choosy. You probably don’t absolutely need the money, which allows you to turn down work that doesn’t pay enough to justify your time or that you’re not genuinely interested in.

These are two points you’ll need to be strict about if you want to be happy when you’re freelancing full-time.

6. Level Up Your Skills

The best way to justify higher rates? Have impressive, in-demand skills.

Practice your new skills by creating the kind of projects you want to get paid for. Whether it’s WordPress websites, mobile apps, graphic design, copywriting, etc., the more you can stand out from the competition with cool side projects and examples, the better.

Remember, while highly trained freelancers can earn more, you don’t need a computer science degree to get started. Taking online courses like a Skillcrush Front End Development course can put you on the right path and give you control over your education.

📌 PS – If you’re looking to start or transition into a tech career, Skillcrush can help! Their Break Into Tech course is a comprehensive program designed to help tech beginners start a new and rewarding career.

7. Build Your Credibility

There are various ways to establish your reputation in your field.

You can create high-quality blog content, collaborate with well-known influencers in your industry, write an ebook, develop an online course, and secure speaking opportunities to enhance your visibility in your niche.

You can also grow your portfolio on freelance platforms by initially working for a slightly lower rate, and then increasing it as you gain more experience.

These strategies can boost your credibility, add to your achievements that you can showcase on your portfolio, and demonstrate your expertise to more potential clients. The broader your message reaches, the more influence you’ll gain in your niche.

8. Determine Your Pricing

While deciding your freelance rates is a key step in defining your value, it’s important to ensure you’re charging enough to earn a sustainable income.

Most clients are willing to pay higher rates for a freelancer who makes a great first impression and convinces them of their ability to deliver high-quality results.

As long as I consistently exceed my clients’ expectations, I have no problem setting and maintaining high prices for my services.

Before setting your prices at the bare minimum to meet your financial needs, consider the actual value you’re providing to your potential clients and ensure you’re not undervaluing your services.

You can always raise your rates in the future, but if you start at a price point you’re already happy with, you’re more likely to go above and beyond, and continue to increase your value over time.

9. Leverage Your Network for Introductions

One of the best ways to find high-quality and well-paying freelance work is by using your existing networks. This could involve offering your freelance services to your friends and former colleagues, or using their connections to get introduced to companies you want to work with. This method is a great alternative to reaching out to potential clients without any prior contact.

Whenever I find a freelance opportunity I’m interested in, I spend about 10-15 minutes researching the company, identifying the best person to contact, and checking if we have any mutual connections on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook before I send a cold email.

If I do have a mutual connection, I’ll reach out to my friend (assuming we’re actually friends) and ask if they’d be willing to introduce me via email.

This strategy, where my first impression is backed by a recommendation from someone the potential client already knows, has consistently resulted in higher response rates and more successful outcomes.

10. Perfect Your Pitching

There’s an art and science to pitching your freelance services to new clients.

Landing new clients isn’t just a matter of crafting an awesome freelance proposal. Your success depends on how you’re selecting new jobs, how you position your value propositions, and how much research you do ahead of time.

I’ve won new gigs simply because I clearly put in more time and effort into researching the company, determining their needs, and providing immense up front value in the form of insightful recommendations before I even discuss payment. In the world of freelancing, much of your success (and ability to make money online) will depend upon the strength of your client relationships, and how well you’re able to forge meaningful partnerships.

11. Blog Frequently

The goal of having a website showcasing your skills is to attract and convert new clients. What better way to increase the number of potential new clients coming across your website than by creating high-quality blog content that positions you as a stand out expert within your field?

At the beginning, aim for creating one or two in-depth blog posts per month, geared toward providing truly helpful solutions that your potential clients may be searching for. Note: That means you’ll be writing for an audience of your clients, not other people in your field.

Once they discover your content and get some free value from you, you’ll naturally be top-of-mind if they’re ready to hire out for more in-depth help.

I initiated the majority of the freelance contracts I’ve landed over the last year by mentioning a company in a successful blog post on my website. After publishing my in-depth post chronicling all of the best side business ideas

, I spent a lot of time reaching out to a carefully chosen person at each brand or online tool I mentioned, asking if I cited them correctly within the post.

The majority of them wrote back either confirming or offering a suggestion, which then gave me an opportunity to either pitch a guest post, ask them to share my content with their audience on social media, or open the door to a potential marketing contract.

My blog has been by far my highest return marketing channel for my freelance business.

12. Guest Post on Relevant Industry Blogs & Publications

Once you have a website that highlights your abilities and clearly communicates that you offer freelance services, one of the most effective ways to increase your online visibility is by getting content published on the blogs and publications where your potential customers spend the most time.

Marketing guru and consultant Neil Patel frequently shares about the huge contracts he lands for his business by publishing over 100 guest posts per year


While you’ll be starting on a much smaller scale, don’t underestimate the immediate benefit of getting your content featured on blogs and publications that can drive hundreds or even thousands of new visitors to your website.

In the span of less than one year, I’ve been able to get my posts published on Entrepreneur, Inc, Business Insider, HubSpot, and dozens more publications by creating extremely high quality content and leveraging my pitching abilities. This increased visibility has had a direct, positive impact on my business.

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