'Start a freelance career with no experience' they said. 'Do it in less than 30 days' they said. Surely starting a freelance business takes months to get off the ground? Make no mistake running a freelance business is not easy nor is it an overnight success that a few gimmicks can solve but when you know the key areas to focus on, you can start a freelance career with no business experience whatsoever. Here's how to do it.


The first two areas to focus on before taking the plunge are your mindset and your business plan. Many will scoff at the idea of getting your mindset ready but if you're not mentally prepared for the freelance life, it can come as a major shock to the system and effect every aspect of your business but how does one prepare for such a cerebral journey? Most importantly, knowing what to expect and how to combat the challenges will put you in a position of strength. 

Here's a few examples of what you can expect to face in the first 12 months. 

  • Fluctuating monthly income
    There's no set wage anymore so you must trust that a bad month will be followed by a good month. Panic will not solve this problem. 

  • Client challenges
    Customer service may be something you have to deal with when returning a purchase or fixing your wifi but now the shoe is on the other foot. Your clients are your livelihood and knowing how to please them through clear communication will be vital to your growth. You'll also have to chase clients for payment, manage your diary to suit theirs and dedicate a chunk of time for 'new business' every week. 

  • The freelance fear
    There will be times when you don't want to go out with your friends, spend time with your family or take a break (ever!) incase you miss a client. This is the freelance fear and it can take a few months before you can feel that you're in a place to do so. It's not always financial in fact it's often a mental hurdle to overcome. 

  • Constant rejection
    Freelancers hear the word 'no' a lot more than 'yes'. You will be seeking out new clients all the time, applying for jobs and trying to grow your business. This means that you're going to be rejected a lot. It's not personal, it's business but do look at why it's happening and try to adjust to rebalance the yes/no ratio. 


Creative freelancers generally focus on the service that they provide. Perhaps you're a wedding photographer or fashion makeup artist, a graphic designer or hair stylist. Whatever your skill, you most likely got into freelancing because you love doing it, you're good at it and you believe people are willing to pay for it. However, running a freelance business is much more than being good at what you do. You are a business owner and if you're not taking care of your business, then you're not going to be doing what you love very often. 

To run a successful freelance business you have to take care of all the administrative work including registering the business and organising your diary. You also have to do your accounts, file your tax return, set up and manage your website, market your business via social media, newsletters, blog articles, collect leads, make sales, keep clients happy, chase invoices and the 101 other tasks in-between. How can anyone be good at all of these things? 

First of let's breath. It can be overwhelming when you see everything listed out like that but you don't have to do them all and you don't have to be an out and out expert in each field. We also suggest getting your hands dirty in all aspects of your business as it's important to understand how each area works.

However, as you grow, it makes sense to outsource some of the work to those who are more specialised. Diary management and customer service is something that a Virtual Assistant can handle without too much management and at a low monthly cost to you. This appointment will free up your time so that you can focus on the other parts of your freelance business.

In regards to the rest, you only need to know enough for your freelance business. A 4 year degree in marketing wi;l go over every aspect of the genre but for freelancers this is often unnecessary. Learn what you need to learn and grow. We also recommend setting aside a few hours per week to develop your business skills as you're continuing learning new things to help grow your business. 

To help with the business side of your freelance career, we've created short courses designed specifically for creative freelancers to learn the key skills required in each area. Check out our course list and get learning.