The Beginner’s Guide To Creating Freelance Income

Posted by in Career Success | 2 comments

Many people dream about being able to make money as a self-employed freelancer.

However, the reality for most is you must build a bridge to self-employment while you hold a day job.


Photo Credit: Creative Commons License paul bica via Compfight

It’s not an easy bridge to build and it can sometimes seem overwhelming.

However, if you want to quit your job someday and go solo, the best way is to begin with generating income on the side while you keep your day job.

So with limited time to devote to your part-time business you must be strategic with how you go about it.

Where To Start

Before you can generate income follow these three steps to begin building your business on a solid foundation:

1. Know your passions, strengths, and skills. You must start with looking inward. Working a full day and then coming home to work on your side business can be tiring. If you’re not in touch with what you’re really passionate and energized about, you’ll find it really difficult to put the time into your side business.

What are you passionate about as it relates to your work? Which areas you naturally gifted and talented? What skills and experience do you have that can provide value for a customer? These are the questions you must answer first before you do anything else.

2. Identify Your Target Market. Who are the specific groups of people or businesses you serve? For example, you may serve home owners, or graphic designers, or insurance companies. The more specific the market the better. For example, if you serve home owners, you may want to filter that group by income, age, or specific aspect (i.e. homeowners with a pool, two story houses, etc.).

3. Offer them something of value. Determine what you can offer to your target market that does one of two things:

  • Solves a problem
  • Helps them get what they want

Let’s look at my target market as an example. Your customer’s problem might be they hate their job but they don’t know what else they want to do. Maybe they’ve thought about a few different options for other types of work but they just can’t seem to find the clarity to find work they love.

On the flip side, what they may want is to be paid to do work they enjoy that allows them the flexibility to devote more time to their family or personal interests. Or maybe they’ve always dreamed about working in a particular profession. Or maybe they have a passion for a specific area of life and they want to make money while engaging their passion.

So if these were your target market’s needs and desires you must offer them something of value that addresses one or both of these items. So you may offer them individual coaching, a book, an online course, or a membership site.

How To Begin

Take a few hours on a Saturday and go to a coffee shop to map this all out.

Don’t worry about getting it perfect because it can and will change.

However, if you don’t start with a strategic direction you’ll end up spinning your wheels, get burned out, and begin to believe you can’t make it work.

So write out your answers to the questions above and begin to visualize how you would serve other people and why they would trade their money for what you provide.

We often think there is some sort of big epiphany that occurs to jump start your business. However, the reality is it takes a little strategy, a little focus, and a lot of just doing the work.

Start with these three steps and you’ll have a solid foundation you can build on.



Question: What did I miss? What else would you suggest to start freelancing?


  • Great post Adam!! Just take small steps, but most important, take that first step.

    • Thanks Jenny, yes it can feel overwhelming when you start out. Small steps at first help break it down to feel more manageable.