How to Make Money Freelancing

Freelancing and independent contracting is growing more and more prevalent in the United States and worldwide. Gone are many of the traditional 9 to 5 jobs and onsite work hours. Freelancing is an attractive option for individuals looking for flexibility and a constant change of scene. But how can individuals make money freelancing?

Good question.

What follows are 4 ways to help you create a revenue out of freelancing/independent contracting, no matter your professional field.

Refine and define your skill set.

When you decide to be a freelancer, you have formed your own business consisting of you. You are the product/services, the CEO and the sales team. This means that you need to brand yourself according to your skill set, and that means you have to know what you can do for people.

Are you a graphic designer? What kind of graphic design is your specialty? Maybe you are an animal lover. There are individuals and whole businesses flourishing as pet walkers, sitters, and groomers.

Refine your skills into a definable list so that you can brand yourself and find clients.

Build a portfolio.

Building a portfolio usually involves committing to some free work. Offer to help a friend or friend of a friend complete a project with two conditions: you receive a letter of proof that you completed work for them, and you have the freedom to use that work as an example of what you can accomplish.

If you work within the creative market, building a portfolio may not be that difficult. You can produce tangible examples of your work that can be read, admired and watched. These examples can easily be converted digitally for potential clients.

If you are an animal specialist/whisperer/groomer or a landscaper or an interior designer you have several options for building a portfolio. Firstly, consider asking for reviews and recommendations from any previous or current clients. Secondly, document your work through videos and pictures. A picture of you inside one of your carefully designed interiors says a lot about you, even if the design is in your own abode. Lastly, you might compile a short list or paragraph of insights into your particular field. This insight shows potential clients that you know what you are talking about.

Register online on freelancing websites.

There are a slew of freelancing websites that are legitimate, safe and extremely helpful to freelancers. Different sites have various payment options, and some may take a cut of your pay. Keep that in mind when you bid for jobs.

  • Upwork
  • Toptal
  • Elance
  • Freelancer
  • Guru
  • College Recruiter
  • SimplyHired

There are even more sites that only offer creative or media-related work, such as:

  • 99designs
  • Peopleperhour
  • Freelance Writing Gigs
  • Demand Media
  • GetACoder
  • iFreelance
  • Project4hire

Outside of these sites, there is always Craigslist, which offers freelance job postings in your local area. Craigslist can be sketchy though, so use it with caution.


Whether you work for a pittance at first or even free, building a history of work is the best way to find new work. You will learn and grow in your skills, build a portfolio, and receive recommendations and reviews that help legitimize you. Every client is connected to their own network. When you work your best for every client, that attitude and level of service shines through.

Making money freelancing is not always easy. Work is not always constant or reliable. But when you have a defined brand, continue to build your portfolio, utilize online platforms and commit to work hard on every project, you have set yourself up for success.

Are you a freelancer or do you want to try it out? Leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts.

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