How to Become a Successful Freelancer: The 101

It’s estimated that 40% of business will be done by freelancers by 2020. That’s a staggering statistic, and it’s encouraging for anyone looking to make a career out of freelancing.

If you’re interested in working at home in your slippers, trekking to your favorite coffee shop to earn your living at any hour of the day, or never having to deal with crabby bosses or snotty coworkers again, a career in freelancing might be for you.

Busy freelancer working on a project

The Internet changes everything

The internet has been the great connecting force for business for the last few decades. Now, an office in Indiana can hire an IT professional from New York.

Companies are no longer limited to the nearby talent pool. That means you can get hired anywhere, and your chances of finding work are even better. On the other hand, it also means the competition is fierce, and making sure you stand out from the crowd is a necessary part of success.

What do freelancers do?

Freelancing careers come in all shapes and sizes. Proofreaders, editors, writers, software engineers, marketing directors, graphic designers, managers, financiers, and architects are just a few of the freelancing career options. Some of these jobs can be learned at home. Some require a college degree. If you’re already trained in one of these categories, you’ll find it easier to start getting work on your own.

lucrative skills for freelancers
source: Money / Time

How to rock your freelancing career

For an example of how to make a great career out of freelancing, let’s look at graphic designers.

Anyone with Photoshop can apply for graphic design jobs, but only people with experience and skill will be hired.

Graphic design is a great example of a field that’s filled with both self-trained artists and artists with degrees. Both get work, both do well, but both kinds of graphic designers have to be better than their competition.

Often, a degree in something extra will help distinguish you from the crowd, so a graphic designer could consider taking a degree, such as the online marketing degree from Linfield College to help bolster his or her resume. Online classes mean these professionals can continue working and gain degrees in their own time, but since businesses would rather hire marketers with graphic design skills, that degree could help put these designers ahead.

If they’d rather strike out on their own, they can gain inspiration and skills through practicing, browsing best print designs, graphic design inspiration, etc. – online, and building a wow-portfolio.


Since freelancing appears to be the future, those of us who can work a freelance career should consider getting ahead now. As more and more people try, the more experience you have freelancing in your field, the better off you’ll be.

A successful freelancer is someone who constantly practices and learns, since it only works if you’re at the top of your game.