Freelancing 101: What You Need To Know

Written by
Freelancer 101

What Do You Need to Freelance?

Gather around everyone because we are working through the top essentials you’ll need to get started in your career as a freelancer. Let’s go!

Skills and Experience

With 10 million more expected to freelance, you can anticipate the competition for gigs to be more intense and diverse. Your skills and experience will work to your advantage, so invest in professional growth and development. This you can do while simultaneously looking for jobs.

Although freelance gigs are a variety, they may not match your existing skills, and this could hinder you from getting projects right away. So be open to trying new jobs because they may be something you enjoy doing and build a career on.

Membership on Freelance Platforms

The likes of Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr clear many hurdles that come with joining the gig economy. Signing up with any or some of those leading freelance websites lets you tap their reach and find clients.  

Fees on freelance platforms can be steep if you are starting out. One strategy to offset the costs is to earn more by messaging prospective clients directly on LinkedIn or by email.

Profile, Proposal, Portfolio

One ingredient critical to your early success is crafting a concise, stand-out, and substantial freelance profile. This profile serves as your marketing pitch to clients.

There are two more P’s that you need to build alongside your profile:

  • Portfolio showcasing your skills from previous projects
  • Proposal accompanying your application on a freelance website.


Pricing your services can be tricky the first time, but you’ll get better at it in time. For now, factor these into your rate schedule:

  • Your experience and skills
  • Going rates of professionals doing the same work
  • Business expenses, considering the costs of living in your area or that of your client
  • Each project’s level of difficulty

The Essentials You Need To Get Started As A Freelancer

A computer, a mobile phone, and an extra monitor are the basic gadgets you need. Then, add the freelance tools listed above and a reliable internet connection, and you are ready.

Things to Consider Before Becoming a Freelancer

Taxes, contributions, and insurance. Handling money matters, from budgeting for monthly expenses to paying taxes, now rests on your shoulders. Another consideration is protecting your health and business through a variety of insurance products.

Attitude. Flexible work arrangements come with many issues that will test your discipline, time management, problem-solving, and ability to cope with rejection and freelancer loneliness. Reach out to experienced freelancers about how they dealt with such problems.

Physical workspace. Having a permanent, physical space may not matter much when you can work anywhere. But if you are in it for the long term, finding a place in your home or maybe a small rented office dedicated to working is part of the job. 

Top 10 Freelance Tools to Help You Get Started

Getting work done is your ticket to building a solid reputation as a freelancer for more gigs and hopefully more or higher earnings. Take a look at top freelance tools to help you accomplish your tasks, work with clients, and more.

  1. HubSpot:

    It offers a customer relationship management platform for growing businesses. According to its website, HubSpot’s “hubs” include marketing, customer service, and operations, which are powerful on their own but even better together. It also offers resources for freelancers, including The Ultimate Guide to Freelancing

  2. Hootsuite:

    It specializes in social media management for professionals and businesses. Hootsuite lets you schedule posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and manages and promote campaigns. Its free proposal guide with a downloadable template is a start for social media practitioners.

  3. Canva:

    It helps users create graphics like a pro. Canva has templates for designing marketing materials, social media posts, presentations, custom prints, and invitations. For freelancers, templates for resumes and business cards are also available on the platform.

  4. Adobe Creative Cloud

    It’s a line of 20+ tools for digital media, web design, and more. Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere Pro, Adobe Lightroom, After Effects, and Acrobat DC are some apps that students, professionals, and teams can use. 

  5. Google Workspace

     G Suite is lauded as one of the best freelance tools out there. The upgraded platform encompasses mail, chat, video conferencing, cloud-based storage, and solutions for creating, managing, and sharing documents for communication, collaboration, and productivity. Some features are free, with paid plans available. 

  6. Toggl Track

     It is an easy-to-use tool for tracking time, especially for hourly billing work, and managing your day essentially. Toggl Track’s free plan is popular among freelancers who can generate reports, create projects, detect idle time or inactivity, and integrate it with other tools.  

  7. Zoom

     It is undeniably the most popular video conferencing app, with the word Zoom almost synonymous with virtual meetings at the moment. Under a Zoom basic plan, a user can host one-to-one or group meetings subject to a time limit per meeting. 

  8. Trello

     This project management board is foremost among freelancers. According to its website, more than 1 million teams (or 50 million users) use Trello to plan, manage, and collaborate in projects. One can also copy Trello templates to adapt to one’s workflow.  

  9. LastPass

     This password manager makes sharing of logins convenient and secure with multi-factor authentication. LastPass helps you keep track of unlimited passwords and access them on your personal computer or mobile device (unlimited per the plan). 

  10. Xero

     It’s an accounting software designed for freelance professionals. With Xero, you can send invoices and monitor income and expenses, which is useful in computing taxes. However, filing your taxes may require another software or the help of a tax professional.

Final Thoughts

As a freelancer, you have more freedom and control over your work, but you also have to make the whole thing work to achieve the goals that compelled you to try freelancing in the first place. 

Equip yourself with freelance tools and insights to navigate your way around obstacles with ease and confidence. And as any freelancer would suggest, be flexible.



Aubrey i​s a writer and a regular contributor. She writes on topics on job searching and career development in hopes to provide better tips on job hunting and career development.

Explore More Articles

Keep reading