How to become self-employed in 10 steps and get your first clients


How to become self-employed is one of the most common searches or goals we hear today. This is because there are many people who want to take ownership of their income, manage their own time and have the freedom to do what they like best.

“Do you work from home? no boss? What a delight!”… I often hear answers like these when people ask me what I do for a living and my answer is simple: I’m a freelancer.


Yes, yes, I do work and earn money from home, I don’t have a boss, I manage my time as I see fit, I travel when I want, I don’t get up early to catch a bus, and if I feel like taking a nap after lunch I just do it…

Anyway… learning how to become self-employed has many points in its favour.

But not everything is rosy in this. Why? Basically -and this happens especially at the beginning- because you find it difficult to adapt to the idea of ​​not having a salary and you wonder how you are going to assume your responsibilities, or because sometimes you do not know where to start or how to “sell yourself”.

How to become self-employed successfully

Learning how to become self-employed is not an easy job; On the contrary, it is a path of great work and personal effort that, today, I am grateful to be doing.


Not only because I am fortunate to choose the job that I really want to do and not the one that is imposed on me, but because it has helped me reinvent myself and discover passions that I didn’t even know I had.

But how have I managed to survive without dying trying to freelance? Based on my experience, I wanted to share these 10 tips that will be useful for you to not give up in the search for how to become self-employed.

1. Save what you can

If you currently have a job and are thinking of taking the step towards job independence as a freelancer, this is a great recommendation:

Learn how to save money, at least 30% of your salary (if you can more, much better) and put it in a savings account that you never touch.

This will be a capital that will help you pay your expenses during the first months while you discover how to become autonomous.

Once you start getting jobs, make a resolution to continue with this savings. It may be difficult at first and you may not have how to do it, but once the wheel starts to spin, do it!

2. Determine how much you want to earn and price your work

I’m not an expert in finance, much less an accountant, but to put a price on my work, the following plan worked for me.

Research the market:

Find out how much professionals in your career field charge, as well as how much companies pay for the work you do.

You do not pay the same for programming a web page, than for writing an article of 500 words or another of 3000 words, or for designing a logo.

In the search for how to become self-employed, a lot of research must be done to get an idea of ​​how the market is doing.

Define an income goal

Establish what your income goal will be and determine how much work you need to do to reach that aspiration. Having an objective of this type is essential to define how to generate new income.

The process of how to become self-employed requires that you take into account, within your salary aspiration, what you must pay within your social contributions, such as health, pension and, hopefully, severance pay.

Define how much your hour of work is worth

In case you are going to charge by the hour, calculate how much your hour/man is worth. This mathematical exercise is very basic (again, I am not an accountant or a financier), but it gives you an idea: take as reference the gross amount of your last salary and divide it by 30 days.

Knowing how much your working day is worth, divide it into 8 hours and voilà… you will have an estimate of how much your working hour is worth.

When you decide to work as a freelancer, virtual assistant, or independent worker, you are given the opportunity to make yourself known throughout the world.

If you want to offer your services in another country, keep in mind that each market is different. Do not expect to be paid the same.

3. Do not give away your work, nor do it at an “egg price”

It’s amazing how many freelancers do jobs for ridiculously low prices or even for free.

Should you do the same when you are looking to become self-employed? The answer is no. Don’t think, even if you’re just starting out, that you have to give away your work to get a client or that you have to charge much less than what you set.


Of course, everything is subject to negotiation and in this there is always a constant tug-of-war, but this does not mean that you should give everything without receiving anything in return.

It is better that you dedicate efforts to satisfy a good client who pays you what is fair and not wear yourself out with those who claim that you do everything at “egg prices”.

Being independent does not mean that others can think that you do not have financial aspirations. Your work and time are worth it, so get paid and without penalty!

4. Use your contacts and do an intense marketing work

Much of the success when becoming self-employed is in how contacts are used. Have you thought that perhaps many people with whom you have worked may be in need of your services, or may recommend you to someone?

Take advantage of all those acquaintances and tell them what you do; In other words, market yourself, position your personal brand, “sell yourself” and remind them that you are there.

I assure you that more than one will say: “look what a friend is looking for…” or “let me talk to my company because we need someone like you”.

You will be surprised at the power that word of mouth has, especially if your acquaintances know how professional you are.

5. Take advantage of social networks

How to become self-employed requires that the person makes themselves known to the target audience, and for this, social networks are a perfect ally. 

Here are some points for you to keep in mind

• Make the most of your LinkedIn profile:

Remember that being the social network of professionals par excellence, it is practically an obligation to be present in it.

Write the profile well, check that you do not make spelling mistakes, ask your acquaintances to recommend you or certify your skills, publish your work portfolio, etc.

In the same way, join groups related to your field of work, make your contributions and take the opportunity to promote yourself.

• Online course: LinkedIn 2019, create your personal brand of success

• Audit what you post on Facebook and Twitter:

Be careful what you post on Facebook or Twitter, as the personal image you project there will speak to who you are. Make sure that if they look for you out there, they get the best first impression.

If you prefer, create your own FanPage as a professional and dedicate that space only to work issues and to make yourself known.

Similarly, join groups of freelance work professionals because a lot of content, news of interest and, best of all, business opportunities are shared there.

6. Sign up for online platforms

Without a doubt, working from home completely took over the Internet and revolutionized the way of working.

When you are looking for how to become self-employed, a large number of virtual platforms can be found online: Fiverr, Nubelo, Workana, Upwork, or Freelancer to mention just a few that you can join to offer your services as an independent.

Investigate several of them and find out how they work and the work dynamics they offer you. I’m not telling you that you have to be in all of them (you wouldn’t have enough time), but I do recommend that you be part of at least two.

7. Be constant and persistent

If you are looking for how to become self-employed in a virtual platform, the key to success, and to succeed at work, is perseverance and persistence.

It is normal that it takes a long time until someone trusts you and assigns you your first project. This, believe me, can be really frustrating. So you must be patient.

How to avoid losing patience in the beginning looking for clients

– Do not give up when you see that your proposal was rejected. Cheer up! Review how you are presenting and selling your service offering.

– Every day (yes, every day) check what new projects are available and submit proposals. If you want to see results, you have to insist to the maximum and persist in the search. Rest assured that at some point, something happens.

– Be aware that achieving results and making money online takes time. You might get lucky and land your first project quickly, but from experience and from other freelancers, I know this takes time.

– The positive side is that once you achieve it, it is easier for other potential clients to believe in your professionalism and hire you, thanks to the rating and comment that that first client left about your work.

8. Don’t stop learning

The market for independent workers is so large that, yes or no, we are forced to stand out from the competition and catch up with what the market is requiring.

Take advantage of the possibility of managing and administering time as you please and take the opportunity to take that programming, photography, or design course that you have wanted to do for a long time.

I, for example, signed up to do a series of 10 courses on digital marketing and social networks, with which I am happy.

Look for short online or face-to-face courses that certify your skills. Update yourself, renew your knowledge and learn new things that will help you complement your work and broaden your job perspective. Remember that companies request increasingly comprehensive and versatile profiles.

9. Find out what you’re good at

One thinks that knowing this is simple and even obvious, but the truth is that it is not. For this it is essential that you find your life purpose.

As if it were a business analysis, do a professional SWOT of yourself and discover those things that you are really good at in order to get the most out of them.

Do you know how to write very well? Do you translate into other languages? Are you an amazing strategist? Do you design with great creativity? Do you handle a computer program that only few know?

Find your pros and get stronger on that and figure out how to start dealing with your cons. Take advantage of these weaknesses to learn and diversify your service offering.

10. Set a schedule and be disciplined

Although you don’t have a boss, nor should you arrive at an office at 8 in the morning, get it into your head that your work is serious and that you also need to be strict with yourself.

Learn how to get up early and start work, keep your word with the deadlines you commit to and set yourself a work schedule.

If you are not organized in this, you will end up working extra hours (it has happened to me) or, sacrificing the weekend that you want to use so much to rest (it has also happened to me).

One final tip

Do not listen to those who think that because you work from home, you do not work or do nothing.

I always say that freelance life is a daily struggle. For me, it has been a pleasant struggle thanks to which I have grown personally and professionally and have learned a lot.

How to become self-employed is a job that requires perseverance, persistence, a lot of strength, patience and discipline.

So if you’re one of those people who can’t get out of bed, or you’re a couch potato, or you think work will fall from the sky like manna without much effort, this is definitely not the job for you.

Are you part of the group of people who are like me, making a living as a freelancer? Do you have any other advice to not die trying that you can share with us? I’m sure I don’t know all of them.

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