10 Proven Steps to Your Freelance Success

Steady, high-paying clients who need the help of talented freelancers are out there. You can get them—if you know where they are and how to attract them. Here’s a proven 10-step process for getting the clients you deserve.

If you’re like most freelancers, you’re smart and you’re talented. But you’re not getting the steady, high-paying freelance clients you deserve. And building a stable, high-income freelance business is a struggle.

This isn’t your fault.

You probably never had a chance to learn about marketing. Chances are whatever marketing you’re doing isn’t working. And you don’t know what’s wrong.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Turn Struggle to Success Using 10 Proven Steps

You CAN turn struggle to success and build a stable, high-income freelance business.

Here’s how. Follow my proven 10-step freelance marketing process.

If you follow my process, then you won’t waste your time on things that don’t work—like most freelancers do.  Because it’s the same freelance marketing process I used myself to become a 6-figure freelancer in 18 months. And hundreds of other freelancers are using this proven process to get the clients they deserve too.

At the end of this post, I’ll tell you about 3 ways to use my 10-step process to build a stable, successful freelance business.

Step 1: Develop the Fearless Freelancer Mindset

Successful freelancers aren’t luckier or smarter than freelancers who struggle. We just understand that what we think is as important in what happens to our freelance businesses as what we do. So we develop the fearless freelancer mindset.

You can develop the fearless freelancer mindset too.

And if you do, it will be easier for you to learn what you need to learn and do what you need to do to build a stable, successful freelance business. You’ll feel less overwhelmed and more able to cope with things not going well—which happens to all of us.

Three things are part of the fearless freelancer mindset:

  • A growth mindset
  • Grit
  • Resilience

You can build a growth mindset and become a fearless freelancer. Grit and resilience will help you do this. And you can grow your grit and build your resilience.

Step 2. Stand Out in a Sea of Freelancers

What do freelancers have in common with oranges, coal, and cattle? They’re all commodities—services (freelancers) and goods (oranges, coal, and cattle) that are largely interchangeable.

To many clients, one freelance writer or editor (or another type of freelancer) seems just as good as another—unless you have a freelance brand and client-focused marketing messages. Then you’ll stand out in a sea of freelancers.

Most freelancers don’t have brands and client-focused marketing messages.

If you do, you’ll be able to attract more—and better—clients. And when clients contact you, they’ll already understand what you do and how you can help them. So you’ll be able to do less marketing.

What’s in a Freelance Brand?

Your logo and tagline are the main ways you show your brand. A logo is an image, symbol, or other design to identify your services. A logo should be easily identifiable and simple.

A tagline—one of your key client-focused marketing messages—is a memorable phrase or sentence that helps your target markets understand what you do. Target markets are groups of clients (usually part of an industry) that you work with or want to work with.

Make your tagline short enough to look good with your logo. And make sure it’s clear. Clarity always trumps creativity and cleverness in a tagline (and in all marketing).  Work with a professional designer to create a logo that represents your business.

Your freelance brand is also made up of:

  • Tone of voice: Your company’s values, personality, and way of thinking.
  • Colors
  • Business name (or your name and title)
  • Client-focused marketing messages: Clear messages about how you meet client needs.

Step 3. Build the Marketing Habit

Steady, high-paying clients aren’t using freelance jobs sites and content mills. And they’re not going to magically find you.

Instead, you have to go out and find them—and attract them with your marketing.

If you’re like most freelancers, this is hard for you. But it doesn’t have to be.

You can make marketing as easy as trying your shoes—by making marketing a habit. The more you practice a habit—in this case the marketing habit—the easier it gets.

Here are some simple ways to build the marketing habit.

Start Small and Increase Gradually

Start building the marketing habit with small actions, like inviting one person to connect with you on LinkedIn each day for the first week. The next week, invite two people to connect with you each day.

Focus on Actions, Not Outcomes

You can’t control outcomes, like whether a client hires you. But you have total control over your actions. If you aim to get 3 new clients in 30 days, for example, you’re going to be disappointed.

But you can easily develop a list of 25 prospective clients and send them direct emails over the next 30 days. And actions like this, repeated often, are very likely to result in new clients in the future.

Chunk the Marketing Habit

Break the marketing habit into manageable chunks. Instead of trying to write or revise your LinkedIn profile in one day, for example, draft About one day, review it the next, and so on until your profile is complete.

Step 4: Choose Your Money-Making Specialty(ies)

When clients hire a freelancer, they want a specialist, someone with expertise in the type of freelance work they need help with. And they’re willing to pay well for that expertise.

That’s why specializing is the fastest, easiest way to get high-paying clients.

Moneymaking specialty(ies):

  • Are growing
  • Need your freelance services
  • Have professional associations that make it easy for you to find clients.

Industry specialization is a great choice for most freelancers because it lets you choose industries where:

  • Clients can pay freelancers well
  • There are lots of opportunities now and in the future.

Freelancers can also specialize by industry(ies) and project or by project.

Picking your specialty(ies) takes time and effort. But if you do the work now, you’ll be able to get bigger, better clients—forever.

Step 5: Find the Right Prospects

When you have a clearly-defined specialty(ies), it’s much easier to find high-paying clients.

Instead of taking whatever work comes along, you choose the clients you want to work with. Start by making a list of prospective clients (prospects).

Focus on clients that:

  • Work with multiple freelancers
  • Understand the value we bring them
  • Can pay us what we’re worth.

These are usually large businesses and some other large organizations.

Ways to Find Prospects

Professional associations, through their member directories, are the easiest way to make your prospect list. Member directories usually have all of the information you need to contact the right person—or someone who knows the right person—at the company.

You can also find prospects through:

  • LinkedIn
  • Leading company lists
  • Online directories.

Step 6: Reach and Attract Clients with Direct Email 

Once you have your prospect list, use direct email to get high-paying clients.

Become irresistible by customizing each direct email to the client’s needs.  To do this, you spend a few minutes on each prospect’s website. Use what you learn about the prospect along with what you already know about the industry and/or type of client to write an irresistible email.

Here’s what to include in your direct email:

  • A compelling, client-focused subject line
  • A sentence showing that you understand the organization’s needs
  • 1 or 2 sentences about your most relevant experience and how this enables you to meet the client’s needs
  • A link to your client-focused website (or your client-focused LinkedIn profile if you don’t have a website yet) so that the prospect can easily learn more about you
  • A call to action that clearly says what will happen next (e.g., “Should we schedule a call next week to discuss this?”).

Step 7: Develop a Client-Focused LinkedIn Profile

Before clients contact you, they want to check you out. And colleagues who are thinking about referring work to you want to check you out first too.

So you need a strong online presence: Your LinkedIn profile and your website.

Along with impressing clients who already know about you and check you out on LinkedIn, you can attract more clients who are looking for freelancers on LinkedIn.

And more clients are using LinkedIn to find freelancers now.

Impress and attract clients with a complete, client-focused profile.

Your Complete LinkedIn Profile

A complete profile helps you rank higher in search results—so more clients will find you. A complete profile has:

  • Industry and location
  • Profile photo
  • Current position
  • Two past positions
  • Education
  • At least 3 skills.
  • You also need at least 50 connections.

Your Client-Focused LinkedIn Profile

A compelling, client-focused profile helps persuade clients that you’re the right freelancer for them. Focus on your:

  • Headline, especially using the right keywords
  • About section (also called the summary), especially the first 220-270 characters.

The right keywords include:

  • “freelance writer” or “freelance editor” [ or “freelance xyz”]
  • Key services
  • Industry-specific keywords
  • Client types and their audiences.

Your headline—up to 120 characters— is the most important part of your profile. Clearly say what you do and how you help your clients.

About is the second most important part of your profile. On a computer, the first 220-270 characters or so show before a person has to click “see more” (about 102-167 characters show on mobile devices). Build on your headline and offer a clear, concise, client-focused message in the first two sentences.

Step 8: Create a Client-Focused Website

Clients expect freelancers to have professional websites.

A compelling, client-focused website shows clients that you’re the right choice for them and colleagues that you’re a professional who will do a great job if they refer work to you. Done right, your website will:

  • Impress clients and colleagues by showing them you understand client needs
  • Highlight your expertise, skills, and work (usually through samples)
  • Show that you’re a professional who is running a business.

Your Awesome Freelance Website

Like your direct emails, LinkedIn profile, and all freelance marketing, your website needs to focus on how you help clients meet their needs. An awesome freelance website has:

  • Content that’s compelling, clear, and client-focused
  • Design that’s amazing (visually engaging, clear, and easy to navigate).

Your content needs to quickly convey:

  • What you do (your services)
  • Who you do it for (your target clients)
  • How what you do benefits clients.

Step 9: Meet People Who Can Help and Hire You

Who you know—a.k.a. your network—can be more important than anything else in getting high-paying clients and building a steady, high-income freelance business.

Building a trusting, strategic network will help you:

  • Get more referrals
  • Meet more clients
  • Get practical advice and support from other freelancers.

Be Strategic and Get to Know People

Be strategic about how and where you spend most of your networking time. Focus on the people and places that will be most useful to you. Other freelancers are a key part of your strategic network. And professional associations are the best places to meet the right people.

Nothing beats in-person networking for building trusting relationships and a strategic network. With the right attitude, networking can be easier and less stressful for you. Networking is about getting to know people, NOT “selling yourself.” And when you give more than you take, or help people without expecting anything in return, networking becomes much easier. And it works better!

Step 10: Be in the Right Place when Clients Need a Freelancer

Up to 90% of the time, clients aren’t ready to hire a freelancer when you first contact or meet them. But many of these clients will need a freelancer within the next 12 months or so.

Many freelancers miss out on getting high-paying clients because they rarely or never follow up with clients who’ve expressed interest in their services but haven’t hired them.

By following up, you ensure that you’ll be first in line when the client does need a freelancer. Being first in line means that the client thinks of you—and not another freelancer—at that moment.

Be Helpful, Relevant, and Persistent

Like networking, follow up isn’t about “selling yourself.” Most of the time, your follow up should focus on sharing relevant content or commenting on something about the client or your contact person.

There’s a lot of great free content online that you can share, including:

  • Reports
  • Podcasts
  • Industry updates
  • Free tools.

Once or twice a year—as part of your overall follow up—you can send interested clients a friendly reminder that you’re available for freelance work.

10 Steps to Find and Attract Steady, High-Paying Clients

Steady, high-paying clients who need your help are out there. And it’s not as easy as you might think for them to find talented freelancers they can count on.

If you follow my 10-step proven process, then you’ll know where to find steady, high-paying clients and how to attract them. And you’ll know what to do when you need to actively find new clients and make more money.

So won’t end up desperate like so many freelancers. You can turn struggle to success.

3 Ways to Build a Stable, Successful Freelance Business

If you’re ready to start your journey toward freelance success, here are 3 ways to do this.

1. The Free Way

You can learn how to unlock freelance success using The Ultimate Guide to the Freelance Success You Deserve.

My free guide gives you a good overview of the 10 steps and links to:

  • Mighty Marketer blog posts
  • Free checklists, templates, and other tools.

There’s just one problem. You’ll have to do it all on your own.

2. The Easier Way

Or you can get the fundamentals in one place: The Fearless Freelancer: How to Thrive in a Recession. While the COVID-19 recession is over, the U.S. economy  is uncertain at best. The Fearless Freelancer will help you thrive in good times and in bad. My book covers the 10 steps in more detail than my free guide and includes lots of bonus content: free checklists, templates, and other tools.

So buying the book will be easier than putting everything together on your own using free Mighty Marketer content.

Still, you’ll have to apply what you learn and develop your marketing on your own. And there won’t be anyone to remind you to do the work, or to hold you accountable for making progress.

If you’re highly motivated and can commit to following the 10-step process on your own, then my book is a good choice for you. You should also read Mighty Marketer blog posts for examples of how freelancers are implementing the 10 steps and for more info on some of the steps.

What freelancers say about The Fearless Freelancer: How to Thrive in a Recession

Personally, I like learning from books. I’ve bought (and still buy) lots of books to learn how to run my freelance business better.

If you’re thinking about buying The Fearless Freelancer: How to Thrive in a Recession., watch the video and read what freelancers say about it.

You can get my book on Amazon.

3. The Easiest Way

But the easiest way to get the high-paying clients you deserve and build a stable, successful freelance business is to take my 7-week online course, Finding the Freelance Clients You Deserve.

An online course is more engaging and more interactive than reading a book. The online courses I’ve taken have made it easier for me to learn about complex subjects. It’s also easier to build skills—like marketing—in a course.

Motivation, interactive content, and accountability

In my online course, you get:

  • Motivational content and tools to help you develop the mindset for freelance success
  • Regular reminders when it’s time to start each module
  • Video lessons to watch (along with transcripts of each module)
  • Assignments that guide you through developing your marketing
  • Handouts with templates, checklists, examples, and more.

Personal coaching based on your business

If you take the coaching version of my online course, you’ll get personal guidance and support from me, based on your business goals and challenges. I review your marketing and key course assignments.  And of course, you can ask me all of your questions about marketing.

And I’ll hold you accountable for doing the work—in a nice way.

My students tell me that coaching helps them build their confidence and succeed faster.


The course is also available as self-study. This is best if you’re an experienced freelancer who is doing okay but you know you could be doing better.

What freelancers say about Finding the Freelance Clients You Deserve

Want to know more? Here are some case studies about how Finding the Freelance Clients You Deserve is helping other freelancers get the clients they deserve and build stable, successful freelance businesses.

When you can take the course

I offer the course 3 times a year:

  • Winter: Starting in late January
  • Spring: Starting in late April
  • Fall: Starting in late September.

Ready to Become the Freelance Success You Were Meant to Be?

Get on the VIP list for early access to the course.

Email themightymarketer@comcast.net and type VIP List in subject.