How To Succeed in Freelancing in 2017

2017 is a new year for many people, especially those who are in business.  New opportunities.  More ways to make money.  As businesses expand and as new businesses arise, opportunities for freelancing become even more abundant.  How do you prepare?

There are always opportunities out there.  You just have to monitor what is trending and see what other people are doing.

(The image above probably is not accurate as of January 2017.  Would recommend checking out this post on LinkedIn for in-demand skills for 2017.  See if you might have one of these skills or the potential to learn one of these skills.)

1. Figure out your skill set

What are your skills?  What are you great at?  What do you want to get paid to do on a daily basis?  It’s not just about what you are good at.  It’s about what you are great at, and most importantly, what you love doing.  Freelancing comes with no security or benefits.  You create your own security and benefits.  With that in mind, who knows how many hours you will work each week and how great your boss (or bosses) will be.  Figure out what you like doing everyday and get paid to do it.

2. Create an online profile

Create a profile on LinkedIn and  Upwork is great as well but is saturated with more freelancers since it is a mixed market and the competition is huge.  LinkedIn lets you connect with professionals and is a marketplace for Filipino freelancers with new job postings everyday.  How do you create a profile?  What picture should you choose?  What should your “About Me” section say?  Here’s a tip: Just be yourself.  Never assume what people might think of you.  Be professional but also be yourself.  Creativity and uniqueness goes a long way and business owners love seeing (and hiring) unique people.  Dozens of freelancers are applying for jobs everyday.  How will you stand out?

3. Get Noticed

Following up on #2.  Be unique.  Be creative.  Don’t be like other people.  But see what they are doing.  Just don’t duplicate or do exactly what they are doing.  50 people can do one thing in the same way.  All it takes is one person to do that one thing differently to get noticed.  Business owners have to look at so many cover letters and resumes (and pictures).  What value and uniqueness do you provide that gets their attention?

4. Use your network and PUSH

I have this philosophy.  People never go 100%.  They go maybe 60-70%, get tired, then resort to the easy way out.  If you want to succeed, go all out.  Never give up.  Got fired by your boss unexpectedly and need cash next week (or in the coming days)?  Contact every person you know: people you have worked with in the past, facebook friends, LinkedIn, Virtual Agency recruiters, job sites.  Go everywhere and be persistent.  I’ve used this method many times and although it takes time, it works very well.

5. Work multiple jobs (or have your own business)

This one is controversial.  How does that one freelancer travel the world and earn $2000 per month (or more)?  Hustle is the word you are looking for.  Always opening yourself to opportunity.  You never know when things might not workout.  I’m not saying you should bounce from one job to the next, but don’t be afraid to do short jobs that pay good money.  Most people who earn high salary either have one job that pays a lot, they have their own business that sells products or has lots of clients, or they work multiple jobs.  Always be open to opportunity.

6. Just START!

I have no idea where to start!  As my good friend, Nino Natividad once posted: Just START.   Figure out what your skills are, make your resume (don’t worry about the length….just make one that focuses on your skills and experience), create your online profiles, then start applying for jobs.

7. Your resume and cover letter

The biggest problem with freelancers: lack of confidence and not addressing the job correctly.  If a job posting asks for a programmer with experience in C++ coding, your chances of getting hired are very slim if you only have experience in call center and want to be trained.  Figure out what your skills are and find a job that matches.  Create a resume that highlights your skills and experience.  For example, if you are applying for a Social Media Manager job, your resume should cover every skill and experience you have doing social media and community management.  Writing also helps as well as long as it relates to social media.   If the job asks for a college degree and you don’t have one, apply anyways.    If a job asks for 6 years of SEO experience and you only have 3, apply anyways.  Train yourself, get better at your skills, and always learn so you perform well.  Potential to do great, ambition, and confidence will take you a long way in freelancing.  Blow the client away with a unique cover letter and resume.

Here’s an example:

For a job that is looking for an SEO Specialist for a Pet Shop that lacks customers.


My name is [your name here].  Your job posting caught my eye because I own 2 cats and I really love animals.  It would be awesome to help you out with your pet shop!

I’ve been doing SEO for XX years, have helped many clients in the past, and I have experience with [list specific skills you have in SEO].

I use [tools you use in SEO] to help me.

I consider myself [describe your personal traits and characteristics.  this is the time where you tell the client your best values eg: you are great at English].

(Now re-iterate your interest).  I would love to have the opportunity to work for you and drive customers and revenue to your pet shop and make your pet shop the best in the area.

Hope to hear from you.  I’m ready to work anytime. (doesn’t hurt to express how excited you are)

[Your Name]

Your cover letter won’t be exactly like this but just make sure you are creative in your approach.

Bonus Tip:

Always be open to OPPORTUNITY!  Freelancing is something you only get into IF security and benefits is NOT your biggest priority.  Why do I say this?  Because it’s true.  When you work in an office, most of the them, you are offered benefits and you get to leave the office at the end of the day everyday knowing you got work tomorrow unless you’ve been doing a crappy job or the company is going down and you get fired or laid off the following day.  As a freelancer, there may or may not be written agreement or contract and benefits such as security and health are not provided.  You can not physically see your boss so your boss can choose not to pay you at anytime or terminate your work at anytime.  That’s why most people choose office work.  The risk is much lower.  So why become a freelancer?  I cover that in another post but the answer is simple: freelancing, just like being an entrepreneur, takes a specific approach and mindset.  You are always taking risks.  Not knowing where things might be headed but that feeling of not knowing is a thrill because you are always testing yourself.  TRUST is a huge thing in freelancing.  Always be prepared to FALL and be REJECTED because you will fall or be rejected (or both) at least once in your freelance career.  It will be painful but that’s part of freelancing.  Be open to new opportunities and know where the opportunities are and move fast!  Being a successful freelancer is about mastering the art and science of knowing where the opportunities are, and knowing how to get them.


Hope this help you in the New Year.  Got any tips you’d like to share?  Post them below and share them with us!

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