Ellen Cibula
Written by Ellen Cibula Payments, Finance, and AI Expert: Learn More

Thinking about how to become a freelancer? It might seem like an uphill battle, especially if you’re juggling other commitments.

But is it possible to find time for freelancing when you’ve got a full-time job or family responsibilities? Yes. Plenty of individuals are successfully managing their day jobs while building impressive freelance careers on the side. What’s stopping you from being one of those?

I have been working as a freelancer for a while now, and I am going to share some of the pro tips that I have learned (and some I wish I knew before I started).

The freelance landscape is continually transforming, providing numerous chances for those eager to seize them. New platforms, technologies, and markets emerge every day, revolutionizing how we work and providing more flexibility than traditional 9-to-5 roles.

So, let’s look at how you can take your side hustle idea and create a business around it.


Here are my pro tips for starting a freelancing side-hustle:

  1. Become resilient
  2. Find your niche
  3. Build your portfolio
  4. Attract clients
  5. Master marketing
  6. Learn tech and online tools
  7. Master financial management
  8. Manage your time effectively
  9. Focus on growth and scalability
  10. Balance full-time job and side hustle

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How Do I Become a Freelancer with a Side Hustle

You’ve heard about it, read about it, and now you’re ready to jump into freelancing. As a growing field offering flexibility and independence, this side hustle can be an exciting way to earn additional income.

Here are my pro tips on how you can become a freelancer by starting a side hustle.

1) Become Resilient in Your Freelance Journey

Starting a side hustle as a freelancer is not an easy task, and it isn’t for everyone. But if you want more, you think you can do it, and you are tired of giving all of your hours to someone else so they can reap the benefits, maybe it’s time for you to start your own freelance business.

The first step? Building resilience in your freelance journey.

Your approach should always include facing challenges head-on. If a client doesn’t like your work or job opportunities seem slim – remember: every hurdle is an opportunity for growth.

A resilient freelancer learns from each experience and comes back stronger. With time and perseverance, these lessons shape effective strategies to navigate difficult situations with grace.

2) Choose Your Niche

Choose your niche

So, you want to offer a professional service, but what should that be?

But where do you start? The answer lies in identifying your niche – that specific area where your unique skills and expertise shine.

Many people choose services that complement their day job, while others choose a totally different niche.

I was a programmer at a large payment processing, so I offer payment expertise, website design, content, and SEO services – a mix of stuff from my career and stuff not related at all. My advice? You do you – pick something you are skilled at and can specialize in.

Your chosen field could be graphic design or content writing; what matters is specializing. Specialization makes you more valuable – think of it like becoming a prized collector’s item rather than a dime-a-dozen commodity.

3) Build Your Portfolio

To set clear goals as a freelancer, construct an impressive portfolio around your niche. Aspiring freelance writers or graphic designers need to show off their best work. A strong portfolio serves two purposes: proving what you can offer and setting yourself apart from others, vying for attention.

You don’t just want to get hired; you want to attract clients who appreciate what you bring to the table. That way, every project becomes something more enjoyable – adding another layer of satisfaction when you complete a job.

Finding High-Demand Skills Within Your Niche

The world moves fast today, with new trends emerging at breakneck speed. Staying updated on industry developments within your chosen field is key. If high-demand skills related to content writing or graphic design interest you, a quick search online will reveal plenty of resources.

Maintaining Consistency In Deliverables

Becoming proficient at delivering consistent results is how you can retain clients long-term. This requires discipline in honing one’s craft through continuous learning and practice. Several articles online provide tips on developing abilities over time. Or, if you are really serious, you can take online courses to up your skills.

4) Attract Clients and Building Strong Relationships

You’ve sharpened your talents and constructed an impressive collection of work, so what now? Well, you’re ready to start freelancing. So, let’s get started on finding clients.

Dive Deep into Your Target Market

To effectively find potential clients, you must fully understand your target market. This means not only knowing who they are but also understanding their industry landscape and the unique challenges they face.

The key to success is aligning your services with their needs and demonstrating how you can solve their problems. That’s when the magic happens.

Build Robust Relationships With Potential Clients

Moving beyond the initial contact is all about building strong relationships to attract clients. Remember, this is not something you just do once; it requires time and endurance.

The best way to establish trust is by providing exceptional service from the beginning. This will help you form strong client relationships.

Sustain Long-Term Client Relations

To maintain these long-term relationships, you need to go beyond completing tasks efficiently. You must maintain consistent communication about project progress or possible delays, as well as offer professional advice when necessary.

5) Master Marketing Strategies

You’ve perfected your craft and are now ready to tackle the freelance world. But how do you ensure that potential customers are aware of your services? The key is to effectively leverage social media platforms and digital marketing tools.

For these things, you will need to have an internet connection. (I know it’s tempting to think you’ll work from the beach, but you really need service for most marketing activities. Just keep this in mind when you’re planning your working vacation.)

Jump into Social Media Platforms

Social media is no longer just for cat videos; it has become a vital tool for promoting yourself as a freelancer. Your social media account can be used as a dynamic portfolio to demonstrate your expertise.

Social media accounts like LinkedIn allow you to connect directly with potential clients. Instagram or Facebook provide opportunities to highlight the visual aspects of your work.

Regularly posting updates keeps you at the forefront of prospective clients’ minds, so be sure to share completed projects and industry insights frequently.

The Power of Digital Marketing Tools

In addition to consistent social media posting, you can use other marketing strategies. Consider using SEO (Search Engine Optimization) techniques and email campaigns – these are not just buzzwords but powerful tools when used correctly.

Becoming familiar with SEO basics, such as keyword research and content optimization, can significantly improve your online visibility. This can drive relevant traffic to your own website or blog posts.

On another note, maintaining regular email communication helps foster relationships with existing clients. You can also use email to reach out to new ones interested in subscribing to updates about your service offerings.

As a last resort, cold email outreach can also get your name out there and score you some clients.

6) Learn Tech & Online Spaces

As a freelancer, you are your own boss. That means you need to get smart about the tools and platforms that can help streamline your work and amplify your success.

Learn project management tools

If you have ever missed a deadline or lost track of tasks, consider trying project management software like Asana, Trello, or Jira. These digital helpers let you see what’s on deck in real time so nothing slips through the cracks.

Harness communication apps

Staying connected with clients is crucial. Communication platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, or Slack allow seamless collaboration with clients from all corners of the globe.

Take Advantage of AI-Powered Tools

Take advantage of the integration of AI into our lives and make it a part of your freelancing toolkit. These AI tools for freelancers can help you with your emails, content writing, and social media marketing.

For instance, if writing isn’t necessarily your strong suit but is essential for client communications – don’t fret. AI-powered solutions can enhance professionalism by catching grammatical errors before they reach a client’s inbox.

But always review, edit, and humanize any content that is created by AI.

With a little ingenuity, you will be able to make money with AI and help jumpstart your freelance career.

Ways to Navigate Financial Management Software

Not only do you need to learn productivity and communication tools, but you need to learn finance management. It might sound intimidating, but trust me, billing software like FreshBooks or Quickbooks simplifies invoicing processes, making them less daunting even without extensive accounting knowledge.

These tools also offer expense tracking features that help manage business expenses efficiently.

Remember, technology doesn’t just simplify life – it gives us a competitive edge over those who aren’t using these resources effectively.

7) Master Financial Management

You’ve taken the plunge and started your own freelancing venture, eager to make extra money. The next big step? Financial management. This includes determining competitive rates for your services, factoring in business expenses, and being aware of tax implications.

The Art of Setting Your Rates

Knowing how much to charge clients can be tricky as a freelancer, but it’s crucial for sustainability. Researching industry standards or consulting with peers can provide valuable insights into establishing fair prices that reflect the quality and value you bring.

Navigating Business Expenses

From software subscriptions to office supplies – running a freelance operation isn’t free. These costs eat into your profits, so keeping track helps ensure profitability.

Tax Deductions & Implications 101

Filing taxes as self-employed brings unique challenges but also opportunities like potential tax deductions. Understanding these intricacies could mean significant savings come tax season.

8) Manage Your Time Effectively

Like all small business owners, you must keep to a schedule. Successful time management is key.

Manage your priorities.

Productivity tools like calendars or project management apps can help organize your freelance life.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my own experience, it’s prioritization. I suggest handling critical tasks first, followed by less pressing ones.

Maintaining Work-Life Balance

The old saying goes, “All work and no play makes Jack (or Jill) a dull boy (or girl).” Your downtime isn’t always meant for work.

As tempting as it is, especially when just starting out, don’t spend all your free time on your side gig. Burnout is real (I’ve been there). Remember to spend time with your family or doing something that isn’t work or your side hustle.

9) Focus on Growth and Scalability

As you can see, there are a lot of moving parts to starting a freelancing side hustle business. You need to wear many hats – outreach specialist, marketer, accountant, CFO, creator, founder, CEO. The list goes on and on. This is fine as you start, but to grow, you will need to scale.

As you grow and take on more and more clients (resulting in more and more money), you may need to hire out some of the supporting duties.

In my experience, you should not outsource the customer-facing elements – the actual creative work that is your raison d’etra – your reason to be. The easiest roles to outsource are your outreach, assistants, accounting, and marketing.

10) Balance Full-Time Job and Side Hustles

Managing a full-time job alongside side hustles can be challenging, yet it is achievable with the right approach. The trick is learning how to manage your side hustle without letting your current job responsibilities slide.

Balancing the day job with side gigs and finding some spare time—it’s all part of the hustle.

Think of your freelancing business as just that – a business.

Your work day shouldn’t be all jumbled up between different roles. Draw clear lines for when you’re working on freelance projects and performing your full-time duties. Your employer will not be happy if you work on your freelance job while you are supposed to be working for them.

pro Tip

Set specific hours for your freelance work each day, separate from your regular job.

What is freelancing?

Freelancing is all about having the freedom to work independently and offer your skills to clients on a project basis without being tied down to a specific employer. It’s like starting a side hustle – a chance to explore your passions and generate extra money while keeping your regular job.

But here’s the exciting part – freelancing also gives you more control over your personal life. Traditional employment often comes with rigid schedules and limited flexibility. As a freelancer, you can set your own hours and work from wherever you want.

Need to attend a family event or take a well-deserved vacation? No problem! You have the freedom to adapt your work schedule to fit your personal commitments.

In a nutshell, freelancing is the perfect way to start a side hustle that doesn’t compromise your personal life. You get to choose projects that excite you, earn extra income, and have the flexibility to enjoy life outside of work.

Just make sure you’re up for the challenge of balancing multiple clients and projects while staying focused and organized. With the right mindset, some resilience, and a little bit of hustle, freelancing can be a rewarding and fulfilling career choice.


So there you have it. My ultimate guide on how to become a freelancer side hustle, pro tips included.

Beginning a freelance career can be intimidating, but with the correct attitude and approach, it is an excellent way to supplement one’s income with extra cash.

Remember: embrace challenges as opportunities for growth, build up resilience, and stay committed even when things get tough.


You can start freelancing as a side hustle by:

  • Determining your skillset
  • Finding your niche
  • Building a strong portfolio
  • Use online platforms to connect with potential clients
  • Set competitive rates for your services

These essential steps can kickstart your freelancing journey.

You can become a professional freelancer by treating your freelancing as a business. Here are some key ways to establish yourself as a professional freelancer:

  • Act professional
  • Become proficient in time management
  • Develop resilience against rejection
  • Nurture client relationships
  • Leverage digital marketing tools

Absolutely, side hustles are worth it. Side hustles can provide extra income streams, allowing you to explore new interests or skills. They may even evolve into full-time opportunities over time.

To become a freelancer in 30 days, follow these steps:

  1. Start by selecting an area of expertise.
  2. Build an impressive portfolio showcasing your skills
  3. Join popular freelance job sites like Upwork or Fiverr.
  4. Begin bidding on projects right from the first week to jumpstart your freelancing career.

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