How to freelance – steps to get started

Step 1: Pitch your talents

Now we get to the fun stuff: Pitching. You’re now going to craft an email pitch that’ll sell your services to a qualified lead.

Yes, marketing and selling your skills can be intimidating — but it’s much simpler as long as you remember to sell benefits.

Remember the old marketing saying, “Buyers don’t want a new bed. Buyers want a good night’s sleep.”

Some great examples of this:


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Here are the five things you need to sell the benefits of your services in an email:

  1. The introduction. You’re going to want to build rapport by introducing yourself and how you know about the client.
  2. The offer. Talk about them. What do you want to do for them? Why are you good for that role? You’re going to want to do some research on the organization to see what they need help with.
  3. The benefit. Walk them through how your work will benefit their company. Are you going to free up more time for them? Are you going to maximize profits by X amount?
  4. The foot-in-the-door. This is a classic technique that utilizes an old psychology trick to get the client to agree to a small agreement so you can ask for a larger agreement later.
  5. The call to action. Be clear with this and ask them if they would like to proceed. The call to action is a critical part of this script.

When it’s all put together, it’ll look something like this:


[Introduction] I read your article about X and noticed that you’ve recently started using videos on your website.

[The offer] I’ve been doing video editing for three years and I’d like to offer to help you edit your videos and get them optimized for the web.

[The benefit] That would make them look more professional and load faster, which is important for your readers. And you’d free up time that you could use to create new content.

[The foot-in-the-door] We can discuss the details, of course, but first I wanted to see if this is something you might be interested in.

[The call to action] If so, would it be okay if I sent you a few ideas on how to help?


Ramit Sethi

Step 2: Charge a good rate

There are no hard and set rules when it comes to charging a rate, which makes it a perfect breeding ground for anxiety and nervousness for freelancers.

My suggestion: Don’t worry too much about this part — at least at first. It’s more important that you get started at all than making sure your rates are perfectly tuned.

With that said, there are three methods I suggest for finding a good starting rate:

  1. Drop Three Zeros Method. Take your ideal salary, divide it by two, and then drop three zeros from it. Boom. You have an hourly rate.For example, say you’d really like to earn at least $80,000. Just take out the three zeros from the end, divide by two, and you now have your rate: $40/hour.
  2. Double your “resentment number” I love this one because it’s both really interesting and effective. Ask yourself: What’s the lowest rate you’ll work for that’ll leave you resentful of your work? Say you’ll work for $15/hour at the VERY LEAST. Just double that number so now you’ll earn $30/hour.
  3. Do what the next guy does. This method is incredibly simple: Go to Google and search for the average hourly rate for whatever service you’re providing. You’ll get a good sense of where to start when you’re charging your clients.

Once you start earning, it becomes much easier to take on more or less work to get to an earning amount you’re comfortable with.

Step 3: Invest in yourself

Remember: You’re going to make mistakes when starting out and that’s okay! I’d rather have my students screwing up pricing or pitching than never getting started at all.

That’s why I want to offer you something to help you get started even more: My FREE 15-page guide to finding your first client: Hustle Your Way to the Top.

In this guide, you’ll learn:

  • How to get inside your potential clients’ heads
  • How to overcome the automatic “no” and score big wins by deeply understanding your prospects
  • How to use psychology to identify the most likely customers and get them to say yes

I’ll also show you the one huge mistake freelancers make so you can avoid it and separate yourself from the rest.

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Written by

Host of Netflix's "How to Get Rich", NYT Bestselling Author & host of the hit I Will Teach You To Be Rich Podcast. For over 20 years, Ramit has been sharing proven strategies to help people like you take control of their money and live a Rich Life.