Working for others in a corporate situation, where a boss dictates what you’ll be doing, at what hours, and at what pay level is something many men and women are looking to escape.
Even those who seek “work at home” positions don’t realize it’s the same crippling situation, only from a remote workspace. There is a better option if you are willing to embark on a career as an online entrepreneur.
You can set up a business as a freelance service provider who meets the needs of clients they select, at a pay grade they set, working any hours they deem fit for their own personal lifestyle.
This is a much better solution than simply looking for another job with a boss who may seem nice during the interview, but eventually make demands of you that cause you to sacrifice your happiness and personal satisfaction.
Using the 20-day business plan below, you’ll be able to launch a career as a freelancer quickly, easily and on a minimal budget and before you know it, you’ll be able to walk away from the corporate life once and for all.
Day 1: Decide Whether Freelance Work Is Right for You
Freelancing isn’t the right career for everyone. You have to understand that you’ll have burdens to shoulder without a team of coworkers, like doing the marketing for your business, dealing with clients, creating deliverables and so on.
But if you enjoy the idea of being your own boss, and don’t mind putting in the effort to build a reputation as a go-to provider, you’ll thrive with this kind of work. You get to say no when a client isn’t the right fit.
You get to determine your income, although eventually you may hit a ceiling of earnings when you max out your price sheet against what customers are willing to pay. After all, there are only so many hours in a day for you to earn (but we will discuss a workaround for this, too).
You can work a typical 8-5 day or work from 10PM -3 AM if you prefer. There are no rules on hours. You can even work from the park as your kids play, if you want to. You’ll have more time to visit friends and family – which can help, since you won’t have coworkers to bond with.
Day 2: Evaluate the Profit Potential of This Line of Work
Profits as a service provider can easily be in the six figure arena. You don’t have to worry that you’ll be stuck in poverty income brackets working for yourself. But you have to secure clients – there’s no consistent paycheck being deposited into your bank account every other Friday.
Certain freelance jobs pay more than others. You can also earn more on some platforms than others. For example, you might earn more writing someone’s sales letter than you would being a virtual assistant and queuing up blog posts for them.
But you also might be able to find more ghostwriting clients for things like blog posts than you would those who need to hire a copywriter for sales letters. So you have to consider volume of jobs available, too.
Day 3: Find Out What You’re Good At That People Need
So if you’re considering freelancing, what skills do you have that you could charge for? Can you write well? Online marketers usually need conversational content, like what you’re reading here.
They also need graphics like eCovers, banners and advertisements. You might love to do the tedious work marketers don’t have time for, like responding to customer service emails, updating blog plugins, and so on.
Take a look at sites where freelancers work, such as Fiverr and Upwork and see if you have what it takes to fulfill the job requests you see being posted by other online entrepreneurs who need help.
Day 4: Learn Ways to Improve Your Skills and Offers
You might have an affinity for something, like writing or graphics, but feel like your skills aren’t up to par. You can easily work on perfecting your talents with these. You can use tools and watch video courses to help you improve
You can even look at the work others are doing and learn to emulate them in terms of their talents. If you want to be a niche expert for something like ghostwriting for online marketers, you can study the niche topics to showcase a higher level of knowledge than your competitors.
Day 5: Set Up Your Business Legally
Don’t start earning without getting your business set up legally first. It’s not expensive to do, but you need to set up as an LLC or S Corporation to help you with taxes. If you can’t do that just yet, make sure you set aside enough money to pay self-employment taxes as a freelancer at the end of the year.
Day 6: Figure Out How What You Want to Be Known For
As a freelancer, it’s your job to create a brand for yourself. You want to be known as the go-to person for a certain skill or deliverable. That may mean you’re known for sales page graphics, fiction eCovers, health info products, and more.
Maybe you become the best virtual assistant to handle all of the monotonous workload for Internet Marketers when it comes to recruiting affiliates for their launch and handling their launch tasks for them.
Think about how you want to be known and then brand yourself that way. It doesn’t mean you can’t accept other jobs, but you want to stake claim to something in particular.
Day 7: Have a Package Your Customers Can Order
A single service order is great. It’s income, right? But what if, instead of someone ordering one sales letter graphics bundle, they could order a set of five? Instead of ordering just an eBook from you, allow customers to order an entire set of content – the eBook, lead magnet, articles, emails, product reviews and sales copy.
You’re instantly upping your order amount and the customer is happy because your service is a one-stop-shop. You can have these priced slightly lower than if they ordered them individually.
Day 8: Sign Up for Social Networking Sites
A freelancer needs an online presence, so there are a few ways you’re going to do that. First, stake claim to your social media accounts. These might be your personal profiles under your name or you might come up with a business brand, such as Niche Ghostwriting or Niche Graphics.
Grab your account profiles on various places such as Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and even Pinterest, Instagram and TikTok. You never know where your clients will be found, so own all of the profiles for your brand.
Day 9: Find Your Customers and Clients on Social Media
Once your profiles are set up, and make sure you have a professional look and text filled out on them, you want to begin the networking process. Start by sharing good tips with people who might be your clients, such as, “10 things to look for when hiring a virtual assistant.”
Online marketers are going to be the bulk of your client roster, not big corporations or offline businesses. So start getting to know niche entrepreneurs on Facebook and elsewhere.
Befriend them and start interacting in a non-business manner, such as engaging on their posts. When the time comes, you’ll be able to make a post about a special for a service you provide and they’ll be more open to seeing and sharing it.
Or, you will be secure enough in your new networking relationships to simply private message them and ask them if they know of anyone needing ghostwriting services because you have an opening in your schedule.
Day 10: Set Up a URL of Your Own
The second place you want to create a business buzz is on a site of your own. A simple blog that you install on a domain that you register, hosted by a cheap hosting account is all you need – and the cost for that is $12 a year for a domain and $10 or less per month for hosting.
Make sure you register a domain for your brand or for a good keyword phrase. You might have NicheGhostwriting.com or MarysEcoverGraphics.com – whatever type of domain you prefer.
Having a site of your own gives you the opportunity to create keyword-based content that helps you rise in the search engine results pages whenever a prospective client is looking for a service.
For example, you could write a blog post titled, “Hire a Health Ghostwriter” and someone who is searching for that exact phrase could find your site, see your service page and hand you a job to do!
Day 11: Order Hosting Before Installing Your Blog
After you choose your domain, pick a hosting plan through a host like Hostgator. You’ll be given a simple cPanel to log into, where you can click on QuickInstall to set up a blog installation on your site.
Get a cheap and basic host for this – you don’t need any bells and whistles initially. When the blog is installed, go through the sidebar of settings and make your choices for things like theme layout, etc.
Day 12: Create a Competitive Price Sheet
Pricing should be done so that you are earning enough for what your skill level is, but also be competitive enough to ensure clients give you ample consideration during the selection process.
You don’t want to undercut everyone else to the point your services look cheap and subpar. You also don’t want to price yourself out of any jobs. Aim for the middle of the road with pricing, as long as you’re earning enough for whatever it is you’re doing for the client.
Day 13: Publish a Page That Showcases Your Services
You should always have a page where prospective clients can look to see exactly what you offer (such as 400+ word blog posts or specific banner ad sizes). You can title the page Services, and have the prices on the page, or leave them off so that you can first have a discussion with the client.
Some things may be harder and require a higher price. For example, you might write health content for $10 per page, but if you have to write about stock trading, requiring much more research, you’ll want to charge more.
Day 14: Tell Prospective Clients a Little About Yourself
An About page is a good place to let clients get to know you. Have a picture of yourself or you with your family, along with a short bio that helps them get to know you. This isn’t anything where you have to provide personal details.
You can keep it business-related, such as, “I have extensive experience researching new topic, and a degree in English.” Or you can tell them what tools you’ve mastered, like Photoshop, etc.
Day 15: Have a Way for Clients to Contact You
A contact form installed on a page titled, “Contact,” is all you need to provide to get started. You don’t need to allow anyone to go ahead and order anything from you before you have a discussion, if you don’t want to.
With a contact form, you’ll simply install the Contact plugin, and paste the code on your Contact page before publishing it. Make sure you go to the page on your site and test it to make sure it works.
Whenever anyone contacts you for a job, start out small to see if the two of you work well together before moving on to larger projects. If you get a vibe that the person will be difficult to work with, don’t hesitate to say it’s not a good fit and keep your schedule open for someone who would be.
Day 16: Use a Tool to Find Buyer-Relevant Keywords and Blog with Them
Some of your blog posts can be based off of keyword phrases you find using keyword tools that indicate a person is looking to hire someone. Start with a phrase like hire a ghostwriter and look to see what other extended or long-tail phrases you can use as blog posts.
For example, you might find: hire a ghostwriter for a blog, or hire a ghostwriter for an eBook. Create posts about those that talk to the marketer about their search for a good ghostwriter, what to look for, and a call to action that has them contact you for a quote on their project.
Day 17: Start Blogging as a Helpful Freelancer
In order to get found in the search engines, you want to create valuable content that your prospective clients would be searching for online. Use a free or paid keyword tool to determine phrases they might use, such as ghostwriter contract.
This might be a phrase where marketers looking to hire a ghostwriter need to know what kind of agreement, or contract, to present to the person they hire. Your blog post can use the phrase and also let them know what kind of ghostwriter contract you present to your clients when working with them.
Day 18: Get Set Up on Busy Freelance Sites
The third place you’ll be found by clients is on websites specifically created to connect freelance service providers with potential clients. There are many of these, and usually, they have a free option to begin with, with upgrade profiles and bidding available for a nominal fee.
There are some better-known freelance sites like Upwork and Fiverr. Go ahead and register for those in the beginning and branch out elsewhere later if you find it necessary.
Day 19: Put Up a Profile That Garners Attention
Take time today in fleshing out your profile on each freelance site so that it’s not only complete, but robust enough to help you compete against others. You want to do more than just list experience.
Your goal with your profile is to let the client know what you’re skilled at, and how you want to use your talents to help them further their goals with their business. Make them a priority in your profile listing.
Day 20: Put Your Portfolio to Work for You
When your profile is complete, move on to the portfolio. You don’t have to have one in existence yet. If you want to ghostwrite, create a portfolio that showcases your skills with product reviews, blog posts, email autoresponders and more.
If you’re a graphics person, show a few niche examples and styles for eCovers, social media header and other visual representations they may need. It’s good to show off a mix of styles and niches so they’ll know you have the ability to help them.
Day 21: Bid Strategically to Make Clients Happy
Bidding is often done in a cookie-cutter fashion by many freelance service providers. So you have the ability to win over many clients just by writing a unique bid to their project request.
Instead of copying and pasting a bid that you use for everyone, carefully read their listing and give a thoughtful response that shows you truly care about meeting their needs.
Day 22: Find Something That Sets You Apart
One smart thing to do is look at top performers you’ll be competing against on freelance sites and see what it is they have to offer. Once you know that, you’ll be able to find a way to set yourself apart as a wiser option.
Sometimes, it’ll be your asking bid and nothing more. But other times, it’ll be the fact that you know how to conduct scientific research or that you like to spend a day brainstorming something unique for the client that no one else has.
Day 23: Get Your Feedback Going with a Few Freebies
Sometimes, it’s hard to get traction on a freelance site because it’s based on a rating and feedback system. If you’re new, you may struggle to get awarded any bids. You might want to consider offering some services for free in exchange for feedback and ratings.
Make sure you request honest feedback and ratings because it’s unethical to demand five stars just because you gave something for free. Another way to achieve this is to take a client that you get from social media apps or your own site and ask them to put the project through the freelance site so that they can rate and review you there.
Day 24: Learn How to Impress Your Clients with Deliverables
When a client first works with a freelancer, they never know if what they get will be a relief or a disaster. They’re looking for help with tasks they either can’t do or don’t want to, so they take a risk hiring someone else.
Make sure you present the best deliverables possible. Under-budget and on time is a great start. You don’t want to have to charge them extra or deliver late, because that puts a sour taste in their mouth for working with you.
Day 25: Get Your Clients to Upgrade Their Order
Getting the initial sale is fantastic. But see if you can get the client to agree to an upsell or upgrade order, too. They may not do this the first time working with you (until you’ve proven yourself), but once they’re satisfied, offer something additional.
This is a great way to increase your earnings and solidify your spot as the client’s go-to freelance provider. With each order, think of what could go with it. If they ordered a YouTube channel header, ask about making graphics for their blog, and other social media, too.
Day 26: Get Repeat Orders By Doing This One Thing
Every time you deliver a project, ask what’s next that you could help them with. If they know you’re keeping a spot open for them on your schedule, they will often try to fill it quickly so that you don’t end up booked.
Day 27: See If Your Clients Will Allow You to Do a Case Study
Case studies are great proof of a job well done. If your client had you create his eBook and it has been a solid bestseller, earning well over $10,000, see if you can conduct a case study for the product’s success.
Not all clients will appreciate having a case study done because they like to keep outsourcing a secret. But if they’re open to it, it’s a great thing to put on your blog and in your portfolio as proof of your skills and talents.
Day 28: Sign Up for Online and In-Person Marketing Events
Events (either online or in person) are a great way to secure ongoing work with established marketers as well as up-and-coming entrepreneurs. People attend events to network with others and find good resources, so you can join in and hand out your contact information on a business card with your URL.
Day 29: Outsource to Others But with Caution
It’s eventually going to come to a place where you’re booked, and another project comes your way. You don’t want to lose the business, so you outsource it to someone who charges a bit less than you, so that you retain the client and still earn a bit from it.
Be careful when doing this that you don’t outsource to someone whose ethics suffer when compared to your own. They should understand plagiarism and content theft and before passing along the deliverables, you should carefully inspect everything.
Day 30: Use Your Freelance Skills to Compete in the Marketplace
Freelance service work can only get you so far, even that means a nice, six figure salary. If you decide to grow your business earnings, you might consider taking your skills and becoming a competitor in the marketplace.
Whether you sell content and graphics as private label rights packages to multiple buyers, or you write your own info products and launch them – you can start earning more and eventually get to a place where you don’t even need clients at all.