How to start offering digital services online.

Want to get into freelance work but unsure how to start? Find out how much each skill pays, how to find clients, and how to build a sustainable income stream. With this step-by-step guide, we hope to equip you with all the knowledge that you need to get started.

Our world has changed. Remote jobs and online gigs have become the norm. Billions of people have gotten used to working online, using social media apps, and have learnt to use video conferencing tools such as zoom.

There are millions of businesses looking to hire online. If you are skilled at providing a service that can be offered digitally, there has never been a better time to look seriously into offering your services online.

A common misconception among many professionals is to think that the online services market is overcrowded, and the pay is not great because of a global pool. It might be hard to believe, but there is a real scarcity of freelancers who can do a professional job. Just visit online marketplaces such as Fiverr or Upwork, and see for yourself how many online freelancers offer low-quality services.

If you are able to showcase high quality work, it is in fact very easy to find projects that pay well. Many freelancers end up with repeat clients in no time. And all it takes are a few quality clients, to build sustainable income.

So are you ready to get started? Here is our step-by-step guide to offering your digital services online:

Step 1: Choose the right service 

The first step is to find the right service you want to offer. This obviously depends on your skillset more than any other factor.

We have listed the most high-demand services, the skills to focus on and the expected pay. While your first few clients might not pay you enough, once you have some experience and build some specialist expertise, you will find that finding more lucrative clients becomes easier.

Content Writing

Expected pay : $15-$75+ per hour.

Content writers, who can write engaging content with impeccable grammar are a rare species. If you are able to specialize in certain niches, the rewards are higher.

Digital Marketing

Expected pay : $25-$200+ per hour.

Digital marketing is a wide field with many areas of specialization. Social media marketing, email marketing, search engine optimization, content marketing and PR management are some of the most common fields.

Marketing is money, and if you can bring business to your clients, expect to get paid handsomely.

Website Design & Development

Expected pay : $20-$80+ per hour.

One no longer requires deep coding expertise to build websites. However, a keen eye for good design and user experience (UX) is often desired. The higher paid gigs typically tend to be for specialists who can manage complex websites.

App Development

Expected pay: $30-$100+ per hour.

An application developer is a proper software developer. Someone who can build a dynamic application, using one or more programming languages.

While not for the fainthearted – if you build deep expertise in specific aspects of development, you will be making bank. Some of these areas could be expertise in specific development stacks, being a full-stack developer or having expertise with the more niche technologies.

Graphic Design

Expected pay: $20-$50+ per hour.

Graphic designers are always in demand. From designing logos and social media banners to creating a brand identity – the range of projects are vast. There is always a constant demand for unique designs that stand out. Something that cannot really be automated.

While designers tend to get paid less than their counterparts, designers know that they possibly have the most satisfying roles of them all.

Video Creation & Editing

Expected pay:  $25-$80+ per hour.

Around 5 billion videos are watched on youtube every single day. Podcasts and youtube channels are the biggest trend of our times. Everyone wants to have a youtube channel. An often overlooked area are video ads, that are today more ubiquitous than ever.

There is a massive global demand for good video editors and creators. Experts, who can put together a quality video and tell a great story, are rare.

Expect to get paid well, if you are a pro. Luckily, it is one of those skills, where the barrier to entry isn’t too high. Modern video editors make it very easy for anyone to become reasonably good within a few weeks.

Sales & Support

Expected pay: $15-$50+ per hour + Commissions.

Every business needs a human to interact with customers. Be it sales and onboarding customers, or helping out customers via support. Email and chat support have now become the norm. This makes these roles available remotely for all.

Best part about these roles? Most sales and support roles have a commission component that can easily scale to a few thousands dollars a month on top of the hourly rates. If you are good with people and an excellent communicator, this is the gig for you.

But my skill is not mentioned above

There are a myriad of skills, ranging from data analytics, 3D modeling, game design, traditional consulting, fitness and health services, online education and many more that we couldn’t really list here.

If you have a skill with which you can serve people’s problems remotely, you are in business.

Step 2: Build an online presence

Having an online presence is critical to your success.

Even if all your clients are being sourced offline, most clients will research you online. This could be via a google search or on social media sites and various online marketplace platforms.  before hiring you. Having low or no online presence can be a red flag for potential clients.

Here are the three top ways to build your online presence :

Be present on social media:

Social media allows you to build a dedicated audience, like no time in our history. You can reach out to hundreds of millions of potential clients, and it costs you no money. The real key here is to be genuine – so you build trust. We will highly advise sticking to no more than 3 social media networks, and build a dedicated audience.

Spreading yourself thin over many social media networks can lead to not having a meaningful audience in any of the channels.

Have your own website:

Having your own website is the equivalent of having an online business card. It allows you to publish your portfolio, highlight your strengths, and post long form content such as blog posts.

Showcasing your previous work and experience helps in building authority and trust with your potential clients.

The good thing is that these days, it doesn’t take much to launch a personal website. With our step-by-step WordPress guide, even those without any technical knowledge, will be able to launch their personal portfolio website in minutes.

Build an email list:

Emails are the easiest way and most cost effective way to reach out to your potential clients. If you have valuable information to share on your social media, many of your followers will be willing to subscribe to your newsletter.

This works out well for a start, and a great way to have an initial group of audience. There are many ways to grow your email list. Some of our services at Hustly, specialize in helping new businesses, entrepreneurs and freelancers grow their email lists.

Step 3: Do some offline networking

While finding customers online is the way to go these days, do not ignore clients you have met in the real world. In fact, a lot of potential clients will only work with local freelancers. Try and attend local meetups where your potential clients or partners might be hanging out.

These could be industry symposiums, meetups, conferences or just catching up with an old friend at a cafe.

One of the most important things to consider is to be imaginative. All your projects will not come from where you expect them. For instance – if you are a web-designer, do not expect your clients to always be someone who needs a website. Your customers will often be someone who is already working on a large project, and needs specialized help from you. So in this case, it could be a web developer or an agency, who need some additional hands to help them with designs.

Step 4: Leverage Online Marketplaces

Today the online marketplaces are huge and cater to professionals, freelancers and entrepreneurs from almost all categories. Online marketplaces are great since a lot of potential clients are already there, looking for someone like you.

While these platforms might appear saturated with too many freelancers, this is a superficial evaluation.

Most freelancers on these platforms are simply not very good, or trying to find clients by sending generic scripted proposals. If you can stand out, and send specific proposals, and highlight your existing work, you will find clients.

Some of the top marketplace to promote your service are Fiverr and Upwork. However, look around for marketplaces that suit your needs – such as Behance for designers or iWriter for content writers.

So are you ready to offer your services online?

As you can see, you will not go from zero to getting paid thousands of dollars, overnight. This is a little bit of a grind, and you will need to keep your hustle on. The first things we will recommend are to (i) start engaging your audience on social media, (ii) have a personal website, and (iii) put together your portfolio.

Most freelancers have a similar story. They start with a few clients, often not well paid initially, and over the years they end up building a solid list of clientele. You have to be disciplined and communicate with your clients on a regular basis.

Having said all this, we really wish you the very best with your freelancing journey.

We hope you found this article useful. Please let us know in the comments section what you think of this article.



Digital Marketer. Digital Marketing & Online Business Expert

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