Join the freelance revolution, be your own boss, and work wherever and whenever you want.

There has been a revolution in the freelance business, a.k.a. the "gig economy.” In the past few years, a dramatically increasing number of employers and workers are embracing the freelance model. In 2018 alone, freelancers contributed $1.28 trillion to the American economy.

This trend has touched all industries, none more so than digital marketing. Jumping into a freelance digital marketing career takes nothing more than a computer, a reliable internet connection, and some marketing experience.

But can you make a living in freelance digital marketing? Absolutely. You need to have a plan, however, and the following steps can help put you on the right track to a successful freelance career.

1. Get yourself together


Right away, you have a decision to make: Will you focus on social media? Copywriting? Search engine optimization? Building websites?

You should start with something you know and branch out as you acquire new skills (See Step 3).

Focusing your efforts will make it easier to find clients and set your rates (Steps 2 and 4). Create a website and LinkedIn profile that reflects the specialty you've chosen for your freelance digital marketing career.

2. Establish your rates

This is a tricky one. When you are just beginning work in freelance digital marketing, you don't want to set your rates so high that they turn off clients. But you also need to charge enough to make your freelance digital marketing worthwhile.

Take into account your experience, but also industry standards. The Editorial Freelancers Association has a list of suggested rates for many types of work, as does American Writers & Artists Inc.

Some "experts" suggest working for free when you are establishing yourself and your business, but that is not sound advice. Your time is valuable and you deserve to be compensated for your hard work. Even if you only charge $20 to 40 for your first few pieces of content, that’s a great place to start!

3. Educate yourself and refine your skills


As technology advances, so does the digital marketing industry. Freelancers can stay on top of the latest trends and keep their skills up to date through online marketing education courses, webinars, educational content, and more.

4. Find clients!


You've found your niche, sharpened your skills, and decided on rates. Now you need clients. This can be difficult, but there are many avenues to take.

  • First of all, rely on your existing network of professional contacts. Reach out to them on LinkedIn. Freelance marketplaces such as Upwork and Fiverr can help, but they can be time-consuming.
  • Facebook groups dedicated to digital marketing are an option, as is frequenting job boards, marketing industry forums, and websites.
  • Try cold-pitching (cold calling / cold emailing) local businesses in your hometown. It may be a grind, but it’s a tried and true marketing effort that is proven to work! There are freelance digital marketing jobs out there. You just need to find them.

5. Complete work. Follow up. And ask for referrals!


Above all else, take extraordinary care to give your clients a painless and rewarding experience.

  • Verify exactly what your client's goals and expectations are.
  • Research your digital marketing topic before writing.
  • Double-check your work.
  • Meet your deadlines.
  • Check in with your client after completing your assignment.
  • If your work is well-received, ask for referrals and testimonials.

All it takes is one well-connected client to kick your freelance digital marketing career into high gear.

Now take these tips and go out there and start building your freelance marketing career, one job at a time! Good luck!