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September 26, 2022
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How To Make Your First Thousand Dollars As a Freelancer

What would you do with an extra thousand dollars? If you’re here, you’re probably wondering how you can earn $1,000 dollars per month online.

It's easy to daydream about what you could do with that extra money, but I want to help you make those dreams a reality. 

So we’re going to talk about three action steps that you can take immediately to make your first (or your next) thousand dollars as a freelance web designer. 

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And to make sure I give you tangible, real-life examples, I talked to five other freelance web designers about how they made their first thousand dollars. 

So let’s check those out first because once you read their stories, the three action steps will make so much more sense.

How Shannon Wynn Got Her First Client Through Family

I told all of my family and friends that I was going to be making websites and to keep an ear out. My dad is part of an Air Force veterans group and they had a very old website. The website had a lot of pages, a lot of broken links, no images, it was in very bad shape. 

So my dad, being one of my biggest supporters, said - ‘hey, my daughter makes websites. Why don't you hire her?’

So they contacted me. I talked it over with them and we laid out a plan for a five page website. 

And the rest is history. 

I created the website, charged $1,200, so that was my $1k for my very first client website.

How Shannon Payne’s First Client Found Her On Social Media

“So my first $1k was actually two projects by the same client. This client actually reached out to me on Instagram, and at the time I had maybe ten posts and less than 200 followers.

She reached out and asked me if I could add a WooCommerce shop to her website.

Two things. First of all, I thought I had to have thousands of followers to actually get a client on Instagram.

And secondly, I had no experience with WooCommerce. But I was honest with the client, I told her I hadn’t worked with it before, but that I was confident I would be able to do it. 

I sent her the proposal and charged her $330. It didn't go as smoothly as I would have liked.

I had almost finished it, but there was an issue on the checkout and I ended up sending a message to the client apologizing, saying that I didn't know how to resolve the problem.

At the same time, I had just joined WP Rockstar and I was like - ‘You know what? I’m gonna see if anyone here can help me.’ So I posted in the group and went to bed feeling pretty sorry for myself.

When I woke up in the morning, I had a response. I had a solution to the issue. Quickly fixed it on the website and emailed the client saying it was all good.

And despite this initial hiccup with the project, she hired me to do another one. Which was to add a booking system to the website. Which again I had no experience with. But she was very happy with how we'd work together for the first project, and I ended up charging $460 for that.

Now, that was when the floodgate started to open and I got four clients in a month.

I joined the GeekPack® team. I got a 10 hour month retainer subcontracting for a web designer. I signed my first maintenance client and I got a new client helping her do some custom code on her website. A few months later that turned into a full redesign, which I charged a couple of thousand dollars for.”

How Juliana Found Her First Client By Connecting With People While Traveling

“I made my first thousand dollars with two different projects. And both of them I got when I was traveling. I was volunteering at a hostel at the time and I was building them a QR code menu. I also ended up doing a one page website, but that was an exchange for three weeks of accommodation. So not one of the projects.

The first project was through a referral from someone who worked at the hostel. He had a friend who was looking for someone to build a site for his client. That was a pizzeria and for this project I charged $570.

The second project was also through someone that I met at the hostel, but she was a guest. We were chatting one day and I told her that I was a web developer, that I built websites on WordPress. A few weeks after she left the hostel, she got in touch with me and she said that her boss was looking for someone to build the company’s website and asked if I would be interested.

So we got on a call the next day, I sent them the proposal and they said yes immediately. I charge $760 for this one. 

So those two projects worked out as something around $1,300 dollars plus three weeks of accommodation at the hostel in exchange for my services.”

How Jen Made Her First $1k Building a Website for Her Brothers

“This goes back 14 years. My two brothers decided that they were ready to open a restaurant and they knew they needed a website for it. I had been having fun using WordPress to build custom websites and using custom HTML and CSS to make them my own. I was just using it for fun projects as a hobby. 

But I was self-taught. No courses, just everything that I could learn online. Even then, there were good resources. 

They asked me to build their website. They did NOT ask me to build it for free. They offered to pay me a fair rate. They paid me about $1,000 to build that first website and then update it over the first few months as their business opened and they figured out what needed to change.

They were happy to be giving their money to family instead of a stranger. And I gave the project my all because I was building something for family instead of a stranger. So it was a win-win.”

How Beth Found Her First Client On Her Local Pub

“I registered my web design business in January and then it was about March time that a new bar in town had just opened up. So me and some friends decided we'd go out and see what this was all about. Before going to the bar I was checking them out online, and other than a Google my business profile, they didn't have a website.

They had an Under-Construction Coming Soon web page. So we went out and because the bar was still quite new, the owner was there and he was walking around, chatting to the tables. When he came round to our table, he was making small talk and asked everyone what they did. And when he asked me, I told him that I built websites for a living, which was kind of true because that's what I wanted to be doing.

But I was still working my 9 to 5 at the time and hadn't had a client yet. So I told him that and mentioned I'd seen that they had a Coming Soon web page. And he said - ‘Oh yeah, we've got someone building that website, but I have another business that I need a website for’

He handed me his card and said to email him and set up a time to talk about the business.

So after that night out, I emailed him. We set up a time to meet and go over what he needed for his website and what his other business was. It was an antiques collecting and selling business, which was pretty cool. It was right next to the bar. I signed that contract for just over $1,000.

I registered my business just three months earlier and once that website was built, it all kind of snowballed from there. I went on to do subcontracting work for other developers while I was also finding my own clients and getting referrals.”

3 Action Steps You Can Take To Get Clients As a Freelancer

Now that you have checked out those real stories, let's dive into the three action steps that you can take immediately to get your first thousand bucks.

Tell Your Friends and Family

Now, I know this is not going to feel good. However, they're your friends and family and they are probably going to support you and want you to be successful. So let them know. 

Remember Shannon’s story with her dad and Jen's story with her brothers. And even myself, my very first website that I built was for my mother-in-law. And the second website that I ever built was for a friend.

Bring It Up in Casual Conversation

Remember Beth's story? She made her first thousand dollars as a freelance web designer when she was at a pub. And then Juliana did the same when she was at a hostel. 

And myself again, I got clients like this as well. Here’s another quick story!

I went to two local woodworking businesses because I wanted to have some wood shelves for my home office. The minute I told them that (mentioning that I worked from home), the first thing both of them asked was: What do you do that means you can work from home? 

And I told them what I do and they both said that they needed a website.

Talk About It on Social Media

And the third action step is to simply talk about what you're doing on social media.

Remember Shannon Payne’s story? She just talked about what she was doing, learning to code, building websites, and it made her one thousand dollars.

That's something you could very easily do and you will see a big return. 

The Secret to Stand Out As a Freelancer

People want to do business with people. And it really is that simple. People want to do business with good people, with honest people, with people who know how to communicate and are willing to help. 

That's the type of person that people want to do business with. So be yourself and you will stand out from the crowd. 

All right, now it's over to you. You have three super easy action steps. Tell your friends and family, bring it up in casual conversation and talk about it on social media.

It can be a little bit overwhelming to do all three of those things. So I challenge you to do one! Pick one of those three and do one this week. And then the second one, do that next week, and then the third the following week.

I guarantee you, clients are out there. Go and find them!

Turn your daydreams into reality and make your first or next thousand dollars!

FREE DOWNLOAD - 148 Questions Guaranteed to Help You Gain Clarity, Confidence, & Courage on Your Next Discovery Call

You might be asking yourself “Great. But what if I find a potential client? Then what?” Awesome. I'm so glad you asked. Check out this FREE PDF with 148 Discovery Calls Questions to help you land your first (or next) client!

About the Author:
Some people look at the sky and see stars; others see constellations. Some people look at lines of code and see a website; Julia saw a path to empower women in building their dreams. As a (former) military wife, self-taught web developer, and lover of location independence, Julia has taught over 3,600 women to say “YES” to any WordPress request, but not only that, “YES” to themselves, and “YES” to creating life on their own terms. Empowering women and seeing others succeed is the biggest motivator for Julia. And so, she created a program to teach others the skills that allowed her to take back control of her life and start living on her own terms.
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