Many professionals today are embracing their own freelance business ideas and are becoming part of the gig economy.

Freelancing is quickly becoming a popular business for more individuals. Among the perks include having a flexible work schedule and the freedom to earn more–things that a regular desk job can’t give. And the best part is you can start your business with minimal to zero capital.

If you have the proper mindset, skills, and a stable internet connection, you can build a successful freelance business.

freelance business ideas for free

But like other businesses, you need to consider a few things before taking the leap. What are the in-demand services today? What do you need to get started?

To help, we listed down the top freelance businesses you can start immediately. We also gathered the individuals and websites that can help you get started. In addition, we included the Facebook groups that are dedicated to freelancers, so you can check them out and be part of their community.

Here are the ideal freelance businesses you can jump into.

1. Writing

Companies of all shapes and sizes need excellent writers to help them properly convey their ideas and concepts. There are various types of freelance writing such as copywriting, journalistic writing, creative writing, content writing, and technical writing. Ghostwriters, bloggers, and editors are also in demand.

The best way to get started is to look at your previous works and identify your niche. Since writing is a wide field, knowing what you want to write about will save you from getting the wrong gig.

Building your own online portfolio is also a great step. If you already have a blog, you can show it to your target clients.

Blogs/People You should follow

Copyblogger – Founded by Brian Clark in 2006, Copyblogger is billed by many as the ‘bible of content marketing’. This site will let you understand how content marketing works, which is essential for content writing. Copyblogger brings original, relevant content every week.

Content Marketing Institute – Another great site for content writers. The Content Marketing Institute is a global content marketing education and organization. It teaches how to attract and retain customers through compelling, multi-channel storytelling.

Make a Living Writing – Carol Tice, the creator of the blog, is a freelance writer who helps other writers earn more from their work. She gives ways on how writers can move up from content mills and other low-paying markets.

2. SEO Specialist

As an SEO specialist, your goal is to help rank your client’s websites as highly as possible on search engines. A successful SEO campaign has four essential disciplines–keyword research, competitive analysis, on-site analysis, and link building. You can choose to learn how to do an audit for any of these niches, and learn more along the way.

Still, you need to understand each of them and how they work together. For beginners, there are several free resources you can check out, such as Moz Beginners Guide to SEO and WebConfs SEO Tutorial.

Many experts suggest that it’s best to create your own website first, so you can actually practice your SEO skills on it. Once you’re confident with your skills, you can start marketing yourself.

Blogs/People You should follow

Matt Cutts – Matt is the head of the Webspam team at Google and an influential web celeb. He’s been helping business owners and webmasters work on improving their search rankings by sharing videos and SEO advice.

Rand Fishkin – Rand is the founder of the popular SEO and online marketing; Moz. He has given public speaking presentations at big companies such as Google, Facebook, and Microsoft.

Neil Patel – Neil is the author of ‘The Advanced Guide to SEO’ and regularly posts about SEO on his blog. He has helped several companies including Amazon and HP increase their revenue. Also, he’s been named a top web influencer by the Wall Street Journal.

3. Social media marketing and management

Social media is an influential strategy that everyone uses to gain traction and exposure for their brands. As a social media manager, you will be responsible for handling accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.

Social media management isn’t just about constantly posting content or engaging with the followers. First, you have to audit the current state of your client’s social media accounts. Get to know the company’s kind of audience, its approach, and if their strategies are working or not.

You also have to familiarize yourself with the latest social media trends. Not only that, you have to analyze how you can successfully use it for the company’s brand.

Before looking for gigs, make sure that you understand how social media platforms work. It’s best if you have an account on each platform. This way, you can explore their features and learn how to properly use them.

Blogs/People You should follow

Peg Fitzpatrick – Peg is a popular social media speaker, trainer, and social media author. She gives in-depth yet easy to grasp information on her blog.

Sue B. Zimmerman – Instagram is an important platform for social media marketing, and Sue knows it so well. If you want to learn the art of maximizing Instagram’s features, she’s the best person to follow.

Agorapulse – Agorapulse is another social media management tool with a great blog. They cover several categories, such as Facebook advertising, LinkedIn, Twitter analytics, etc. As long as it concerns social media, they have blog posts about it.

4. Graphics design

Graphics can effectively deliver the message that words can’t express. They can also represent a brand and add life to websites and blog posts. Because of its importance, the demand for graphic designers is increasing every day. As a graphic designer, you’ll create business logos, website banners, display ads, or templates.

A portfolio is every designer’s crucial asset. It’s the representation of your experience, your skills, and your personality.

You can create your own website where you can showcase your portfolio. Your website should speak your style, your aesthetic, and your talent.

Make sure you have the necessary tools, too. Aside from a reliable computer or laptop, you’ll also need Adobe Creative Cloud Programs like Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.

Blogs/People You should follow

Onextrapixel – Onextrapixel or OXP is a leading online magazine and resource site for designers and web developers. It’s a Singapore based portal that shares useful tips, news, tutorials, and tools for design and development.

Creative Nerds – Creative Nerds has helpful tutorials and a Youtube channel where they post step-by-step guides. They also give free vector set and Photoshop brush set.

Designrfix – Aside from tutorials, freebies and excellent resources, Designrfix features an artist of the day. They also have a running list of breaking design news.

Creative Bloq – Creative Bloq offers a daily mix of advice and inspiration for digital and traditional artists, web designers, graphic designers, and illustrators. It keeps artists updated with the latest trends and developments in global design.

5. Virtual assistant

A virtual assistant is like an office assistant who works from remote locations. As a virtual assistant, you will handle different tasks like editing, consulting, bookkeeping, programming, data entry, etc. Your rate will usually depend on the complexity of your tasks.

To start, you have to research first about the services a VA can do. This way, you’ll determine what exactly you’ll offer to your clients. Networking with other VAs will also benefit you. They can give you a clear picture of how a typical workflow is, and where is the best place to get clients.

Blogs/People You should follow

Chris Ducker – Founder of Virtual Staff Finder, Chris also runs a blog where he offers tons of practical tips on productivity. He also shares how to properly market yourself as a great virtual assistant.

Your Virtual Assistant – Michelle Mangen, a six-figure virtual assistant, runs this blog. She constantly shares her knowledge in accounting, Payroll, and Excel, which is useful for beginners. She also gives tips on how you can develop your virtual assistant business.

New VA Advice– True to its name, this blog provides newbies with resources, insights, and tips. Alicia Jay, a marketing coach for virtual assistants, created the website in 2009.

Where to find the freelance gig you want

There are lots of sites dedicated to freelance work. Here are a few of them.

BloggingPro Job Board – The BloggingPro Job Board is updated daily with fresh freelance writing jobs. Simply specify the kind of gig you want or use their keyword search bar to find the job you’re looking for.

Flexjobs – One of the top job boards for telecommuting, Every posted job here is hand-screened and legitimate. You can also create a custom job search profile to meet your needs.

Coroflot– Coroflot is designed for creative jobs. They have a separate category for freelance work, where you can easily search for gigs.

Upwork– Upwork is one of the most popular freelancing platforms. Here you can create a profile and check out several job posts.

Designhill– This site is specialized for graphic designers. You can enter contests and showcase your work. You can also simply submit your designs to their store, where clients can purchase it.

Facebook groups you can join as a freelancer

Freelancing can be lonely, and having a network of people who can understand your lifestyle is important. A community is also crucial to your growth as a freelancer.

Here are some Facebook groups you can be part of.

The Freelance to Freedom Project

The Freelance to Freedom Project is a lively group hosted by Leah Kalamakis, a freelancer. She’s also the author of Rush and Stream, where she shared every strategy she used to build her freelance web design business.

The group also offers a free download of ‘Freelance Process Cheat Sheet’, where you can learn the steps and tools you need to make your freelancing life easier.

Female Freelance Writers

Female Freelance Writers is specifically created for female writers. Shelby Deering, a freelance writer, hosts this group. Members can ask questions, promote their works, or help each other.

The group is casual and conversational. And since it’s dedicated to female freelancers, you can expect a strong and supportive community.

The Rising Tide Society

The Rising Tide Society aims to educate and empower creative entrepreneurs. There are plenty of designers and artists in this group, but most of them are photographers. If you want to enhance your photography skills and learn from other experts, this is the right group for you.

Freelancers in the Philippines

Created by Jason Dulay, the Freelancers in the Philippines group aims to help Filipinos who want to jump into freelancing. Members are free to ask questions, share their knowledge, and support each other.

Jason Dulay also offers workshops, coaching, and training that has helped many aspiring freelancers get jobs and earn up to P100K a month.

Leaving your day job to focus on your own freelance business can be uncomfortable. But with the right attitude, skills, and support, you can smash the challenges and make it to the top.

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Rose Tornandeso is a freelance writer from Manila, Philippines. She spends her time as the Editor and Content Creator for NextStep Hub. When she's not chasing deadlines, she visits art galleries, writes fictions, and plays legos with her son.