How to earn your first $1000 as a freelancer

How to Earn Your First $1000 as a Freelancer

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In the digital age, freelancing has become an increasingly popular avenue way to make extra money, all while enjoying the flexibility of remote work. If you’re eager to embark on your freelance journey to earn your first $1000, this guide will provide you with practical steps to research, set up, and succeed in the freelance world.  I’ve been a freelancer for over ten years and I’m easily able to make a consistent living doing what I love. 

How to earn your first $1000 as a freelancer

Understanding Your Skills and Niche

Before diving into the freelancing realm, take the time to assess your skills and identify your niche. What are you exceptionally good at, and what services can you offer?

Whether it’s writing, graphic design, programming, marketing, or even making handmade items for Etsy, understanding your niche is crucial. Research popular freelancing platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, or Freelancer to explore the demand for your skills.

Here’s the important tip – remember the 80/20 rule.  In every endeavor, there are 20% of the people who are making the money while 80% are just taking up space.  Take the time to identify some of the 20% contingent and really research what they’re doing right that everyone else isn’t bothering with. 

If you are looking into an MLM situation, your choice of an upline is critical.  You may be tempted to sign up under a friend, but if you’re serious about making money in your new business, take the time to find someone who is extremely successful for your upline.  They’ll have a large downline and probably plenty of training available for newbies. 

Building a Strong Online Presence

Establishing a robust online presence is essential for attracting clients. Some people say a website isn’t critical, but I disagree completely.  I would never work with someone who didn’t have a website.  Having a significant presence on social media is helpful, but it needs to be backed up by a website.  And it gives you a place to post your products, services, and marketing materials. 

As a web designer, I’m understandably fussy about websites.  In my book it’s 100% WordPress, even if it’s just a very simple one pager.  I know everyone talks about Wix, Squarespace and those other off-branded websites, but I just don’t think Google likes them as much as WordPress. 

If you choose to go with a platform like Etsy, Upwork, or Fiverr, you’ll want to create a captivating bio, portfolio showcasing your best work, and client testimonials if available. A strong online presence instills confidence in potential clients.

Setting Realistic Goals and Pricing to Earn Your First $1000

When starting as a freelancer, it’s crucial to set realistic goals and pricing. Begin by offering competitive rates based on your skills and experience level. As you accumulate positive reviews and build a portfolio, gradually increase your rates.

Here’s a helpful tip:  I like to keep track of my competitor’s pricing.  I keep a special list of pricing screenshots on my Trello board.  Each person’s skills and experience is different, so you may be talking apples and oranges, but if you see several other people offering the same service for a much lower or higher price, you might want to pay attention to that. 

Using a thousand dollars as your yardstick is a good measure.  Just think about it – if you’re selling a $3 or $5 product, it’s going to take selling a metric ton of them to get you to a thousand dollars.  And it’s not much more work to sell a $50-$100 product than it is to sell a $5 product.  Setting achievable goals will help you stay motivated and focused on reaching that first thousand dollars milestone.

You don’t need to earn your first $1000 a month right off the bat, but I would consider a $1000/month goal to be a sensible target to be within a few months. I think setting up a side hustle is too much work if you aren’t going to at least make a thousand per month. And I think most freelancers make a lot more than that.

Networking and Building Relationships with your Ideal Client

Finding your ideal client profile is critically important.  Are you working with men or women, what age, what industry, what platforms are they hanging out on?  For instance, I work primarily with women coaches over 40 and I spend time mostly on LinkedIn or Facebook and I belong to lots of groups with these ladies.

Networking is a powerful tool in the freelancing world. Join relevant online communities, forums, and social media groups to connect with potential clients and fellow freelancers. Your peers will be a great resource if you have questions or problems.

Pushy marketing is not helpful at all.  Actively participate in discussions in Facebook groups, share your expertise, and build relationships. People will start to recognize you and check out your social media and website. 

Leave comments, keep conversations going. People will rarely purchase from a complete stranger, especially if it’s a high ticket item.  Sending DM’s is OK, but keep a conversational tone without pushing your products too much.  Word of mouth and referrals can be invaluable for securing new projects and expanding your freelance business.

Set up your Systems

Before you take your first client, you’ve got to have your infrastructure set up.  Doesn’t have to be elaborate, but you need a basic system for gathering and organizing client info (I use Trello myself – a free tool), taking payments, and good communication. 

Contracts are also extremely important – I didn’t learn that until after I got burned a few times in my early years.  Check out my post on how freelancers get paid on time. 

How to earn your first $1000 as a freelancer

Consistent Marketing Efforts

Consistent marketing is key to attracting clients and sustaining a steady stream of freelance projects. I post near daily with a steady stream of informational posts, information about my services and business as well as client testimonials.  I also repurpose my posts across multiple platforms – Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.  I also repeat them every month or two.  It’s just a smart use of my time. 

Consider running targeted ads to reach a broader audience. Regularly update your profiles and portfolio to reflect your latest accomplishments and skills.

Diversifying Your Income Streams

To accelerate your earnings, consider diversifying your income streams. Offer additional services related to your primary skills, explore different freelancing platforms, or consider creating and selling digital products. Diversification not only increases your revenue but also safeguards against fluctuations in demand for specific services.

If you’re looking for help getting your side hustle or your VA business off the ground, I offer coaching to help you set up a profitable business. Visit my VA Coaching Page or my Side Hustle Coaching Page.

Providing Exceptional Customer Service

Building a successful freelance career hinges on delivering exceptional customer service. Respond promptly to client inquiries, communicate clearly, and meet deadlines consistently. Happy clients are more likely to provide positive reviews and refer you to others, creating a snowball effect to grow your freelance business.

Tracking Finances and Setting Aside Savings

As a freelancer, managing your finances is crucial. Keep meticulous records of your income and expenses, and set aside a portion of your earnings for taxes. Consider creating an emergency fund to cover any unforeseen expenses or periods of low income. This financial discipline ensures the sustainability of your freelance career.

How to earn your first $1000 as a freelancer


Embarking on a freelance journey requires dedication, strategic planning, and continuous learning. By understanding your niche, conducting thorough market research, building a strong online presence, and providing exceptional service, you can pave the way for a successful freelancing career.

Remember, the journey to your first $1000 dollars is a step-by-step process, and with persistence and adaptability, you’ll soon find yourself achieving and exceeding your freelancing goals.

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