How to Start From 0: Is Freelancing Worth It?

April 22, 2024

Ah, as with everything…it depends 😁 Who you ask, what type of person you are and what you want. But let’s explore my framework of convincing you that it is worth it, by explaining how I started and what I have learned since starting in January 2022.

The best time to start something is now and today. - Photo by Clemens van Lay on Unsplash

About this article and the idea behind it

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Yes, this is a high-level overview of what I am preparing as notes for my first public speaking event where I will hold a 45-minute (max) presentation on the mentioned topic.

Please leave a comment with your thoughts on the topic. 😊

Also not long ago I made a video on how to get clients which also touches on some of the topics and questions I will mention here. Make sure you check it out.

Perfect for you if you do not know how to start.

I am planning to open up my presentation with a short introduction, thank the organisers for the invite and a joke. Smoothly (hopefully) transition to the topic and the steps or rather points I have noticed as important during my freelancing journey. This is how mine started. By the way, some of the steps are also managed simultaneously the numeration is just for organising purposes and is not correlated to priority.

1. Self-discovery (inner work) 🧘🏽‍♀️

As with everything freelancing is also an individual experience and anyone can approach it differently. The first thing I did was to learn about what freelancing looks like and what are some freelancer qualities.

  • Are you self-disciplined?
  • What is your negotiation style?
  • How good are your communication skills?
  • Are you independent and self-driven?

I got the idea of starting freelancing when I was tired of helping someone else build their dreams and not being appreciated as an employee. After I quit my job, I also tried to apply for another position (I will share with the audience a story about that hiring process at Infinium) and after that experience decided to give freelancing a serious go.

In this step of the journey was important for me to define my main motivation which was freedom. Freedom over my time, location, choice, routine and experiences. I also quit during the pandemic and it happened so that I was working the whole time from the office and not from home which also made my decision easier.

Other questions that came across were:

  • Can you utilize your 24 hours to work for you and your future business?
  • How are you going to take care of yourself if things get slow or hard? Financially, and emotionally.
  • Do you have a backup plan?
  • What’s the level of confidence you have going into this? Usually, I use the scale from 1 to 10.
  • Are you brave enough to try and trust the process?
  • How are you going to celebrate your achievements? — This one I learned later on, thanks to some self-help books and my podcast co-host
  • Kat Irwin
  • . She would tell me:

Wow, that’s great news, pat yourself on the back for this achievement. 🥳

And truly, this is what freelancing is about, being your best friend, picking yourself up when things do not go as planned, encouraging yourself when things get difficult, pivoting if needed and most importantly celebrating and hyping yourself as a best friend.

2. Information. The most expensive resource nowadays ℹ

Having the right information and the right time is extremely valuable nowadays. But acting intentionally with this information and acquired knowledge is a superpower. Putting information into practice quickly is probably one of the best side effects of freelancing.

So in this part of the talk, I would like to encourage the guests and you the readers to take time for a retrospective audit and list what you know and what you do not know. Being skills, tools, languages or technologies.

Some tips:

  • Doing self-assessment and even personality tests is great but an amazing tip is to ask your friends and ex-colleagues to describe you so you can gain a broader picture of who you are right now.
  • If you can ask questions that bother you, the best would be to ask someone who is doing freelancing or if you do not have acquaintances to ask, turn to

While you are on the hunt for information for freelancing or the industry you are trying to break into, I would advise you to turn off all of your social media notifications (except emails) and moderate the amount of time you spend on content consumption. I go as far as having a limit of 1:30h hours a day for Instagram and 10-minute reminders for taking breaks if I end up in a doom scroll.

Do not forget to take notes of what fits your idea of doing business and how it might benefit your idea. Also whatever you learn make sure to put it into practice and use right away. Being some communication tip or how to style web elements, try to make those small learnings part of your portfolio — digital and intellectual.

Niching down, you will hear about the word multiple times when you start researching freelancing but do not fret, you do not have to pick one immediately. What can help you define your niche can be an industry you have experience in or want to learn more about, what type of business your clients would do B2B or B2C, and you can even go as far as defining what type of client you want to work with.

3. Money 💶

Now here is the point where I had to check myself and my beliefs around money. Not only that but also calculating how much savings I have and whether can I settle my most important spending, my rent and food (Maslow pyramid). After settling those two I knew I could focus on more creative work as thinking about business plans, meetings, branding, social media presence etc.

For me this step was already second nature since I grew up living in student dorms and budgeting and living below my means was something I needed to learn young to survive. If you never have done this before I recommend you look into how much you spend and where you could potentially cut costs to increase that financial savings cushion.

Do I really need this or does it just make me happy? — this is my only question I ask myself before every purchase. When I know the answer, the decision is pretty easy to make.

But there is also a thin line you should be careful of to keep the balance if the money you will spend on something will save you time and stress, use them.

That’s great but what if you do not have enough money to go full in freelancing? Get a full-time job from which you can save a percentage of your income, or while freelancing start a side hustle that can provide you with a semi-steady income to at least increase the months for rent and food. For example, for me, this is teaching. I tutor online via and help people improve their English speaking and comprehension skills so they can advance in their school or career.

Nikoleta A., Experienced tutor with 10+ years of Interpretation & Translation background | Learn…

Hi 😊 My name is Nikoleta, and I am from Bulgaria, but I have chosen Croatia as my current home. I am curious, and I…

“Yeah, right, but this is still not enough to start my business.” If that is the case it is time to check your local EU and self-employment programs that you can apply for and receive financial support. I was fortunate enough to learn about those thanks to a local entrepreneurship centre that was holding free lectures and workshops on how to start your own business — Plavi ured. Then after a couple of lectures, I got the confidence to apply for the government grant of 10,000 euros. Requirement, writing a very detailed business plan and signing a contract with the Croatian Employment Centre. Now these were the conditions, deadlines and commitment I needed to be like: Okay, it's happening!

Now when I think about it as a foreigner in another country, writing a business plan and getting financial support for starting your own business is a big deal. Am I a grown-up person now? 😂

After thinking about how much money you have, it is time to think about how much money you should make from this adventure. Define your starting rates:

  • hourly
  • daily rate
  • per project (minimum deliverables and starting price)

Underpromise and overdeliver! — most important advice in freelancing.

4. Time ⌛️

What about your time management? How and where do you spend your 24 hours? For me, this downloadable free resource was very useful to see where and how I spend my time.

Over time you will see for yourself that having a routine and setting time for specific tasks will help you free up time for either more work, socialising or even play and rest.

With managing your time comes the very important lesson of saying no. This is the time when you will define your personal (if you haven’t established them beforehand) and business boundaries:

  • for clients
  • projects
  • friends
  • family

There are plenty of time management methods and tools, as well as for productivity.

  • For time management I use the Google Calendar
  • For task management Trello
  • To document my process Notion
  • Recently started using Toggl for time-tracking

Also how quickly can you turn around a project? Think about this commonly asked question in freelance circles. Yes, sometimes clients will have a fixed deadline, but sometimes they will not have an idea how long it will take and will ask for your estimation.

5. Experience 🤓

Do not have any? Time to watch the video I posted earlier. But to summarize, the best way to gain experience is to provide your services or products to your inner circles. Talk about what you do, spread the word and connect with people who also have some entrepreneurial spirit.

Socialising is not your thing? Well then roll up your sleeves and start creating those passion projects to create quality and strategic content that answers your clients' potential clients and also brings traffic to your portfolio thanks to good SEO practices.

Gaining experience via social media collaborations is probably one of the most fun ways to learn, grow and expand your knowledge. But remember that all that comes from previously built rapport or even friendship. 😌

Consider a volunteer project in exchange for testimonials and experience. This way you keep having a win-win collaboration and even material for a case study later on to explain your process and way of work.

Cold reach-out has never worked for me, as far as I remember. Because it is cold. But you can always establish a friendly connection with someone and later pitch yourself as a helping hand at the right moment. And if they do need you they will let you know. For this method, you might need to gather some patience and plant seeds, not expecting immediate results.

Freelance platforms are a great place to test all of your skills at once. Also, do not forget to check their requirements and algorithms. Plus the competition can help you with learning what to do and what not to do. 😉

Here is a list of some of them:

6. Visibility

This is probably the most important step for successful entrepreneurship and freelancing. Showing up and being visible. Where do your clients hang out? Online and offline. Where they can find you, hear and see you? What is your social media presence like? Do you have at least one social media where you show your expertise and passion for your work?

Here are some of the reasons to help you get more serious and intentional about your social media presence and visibility (even if you are introverted or don’t like social media):

  • To stay updated on new shifts in your industry
  • Network with peers and potential clients
  • Ask for help when you need it
  • Help someone else and gain credibility by doing so
  • Collaborate
  • Get inspired and inspire others

A couple of valuable pieces of advice I would share with anyone starting with social media would be… Consider your content strategy and forget about generating AI posts with the generic “3 tips to…” since those do not work anymore, at least for starting accounts. And especially if you do not contribute to those posts with any real value, story, examples or unique twist. Raw, authentic content is more appreciated than the flashy edits of unsustainable advice, at least in my opinion. Sharing your journey is more exciting than posting polished posts of perfect life and work situations.

Make your portfolio speak for you, answer questions instead of you and also give an idea of who you are. Do not forget about your SEO. 😉

Humans buy from humans.

7. Relationships 🫂

Clients, peers, organisations, friends and acquaintances, nurture your relationships since you never know what might blossom from each one of them. 🌸

When doing business do not exclude the human factor and check in on people just because you thought of them. It makes a difference.

Do not underestimate the power of rapport. Try to connect with people on a deeper level and find things you have in common.

It's easier to be yourself to attract the people who want to work with you exactly.

When in doubt about your relationships and their power, journal. I tried therapeutic journaling over the winter months and it ended up being extremely helpful for my understanding of my female relationships. Here is a link to a document with instructions on how to do it. It is not complicated at all.

We are the sum of three people we hangout with.


Entrepreneurship, freelancing or solopreneurship are not for everyone. It requires grit and self-discipline. But if you have thought about it for a while, do it. Start today.

Successful people don’t mind helping ambitious people to also succeed. Remember that.


You made it here?! 😮 👏🏽Thank you for reading until the end!

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