Learn How to Become a Freelance Digital Marketer From A Digital Marketing Expert

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How To Become Freelance Digital Marketer

You might be considering working as a freelance digital marketer to earn extra cash, and you’re wondering– Is freelance digital marketing legit? And how can you tell if becoming a freelance digital marketer is right for you? In this post, we’ll explore the details of freelance marketing and weigh its pros and cons to help you make an informed decision about how to move forward in your digital marketing career path. Additionally, I will share my personal experience as a freelance digital marketer.

I started freelancing to make extra money while working full-time at my corporate job. But now that I’ve been doing it for several years, I love working on my schedule. Keep reading my post on “how to become a freelance digital marketer” if you want to pursue a legitimate freelance digital marketing career!

What Is Freelance Digital Marketing?

Working as a freelance digital marketer means working independently–without an employer. Freelance digital marketing work is individualized to each job or task; companies outsource jobs and tasks in various fields to freelancers. Working as a digital marketing freelancer has pros and cons, which I’ll cover later in this post.

What Do Freelance Marketers Do?

A freelance digital marketer provides digital marketing services to businesses, nonprofits, and organizations as a contracted freelancer (not an employee). As digital marketing managers, they are responsible for developing and implementing marketing strategies to increase online visibility and drive traffic to websites.

Freelance digital marketers often work with paid advertising, such as Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, YouTube Ads, etc. Freelancers create videos from start to finish, including coming up with ideas, writing scripts, filming, editing, publishing, and promoting.

Freelancers might also use influencer marketing or search engine optimization. This involves researching keywords, creating optimized content for search engines, getting backlinks, and optimizing content. Freelancers are usually responsible for the entire sales and marketing process, including everything mentioned before and managing social media.

Let’s discuss my experience on how to start freelance digital marketing.

How I Got Started As A Digital Marketing Freelancer

I wanted to make extra money, so I looked into different part-time jobs. After some research, I chose to become a freelance digital marketer. It was the right choice because I control my schedule, hourly rate, and project selection. However, freelancing as a digital marketer takes hard work and challenges.

Success in freelancing requires commitment and perseverance. As someone who previously worked for a large corporation, I discovered that having business skills and being an independent freelancer is more advantageous.

As a freelancer, I enjoy the freedom to work on projects that interest me and generate profit without the stress of deadlines. I can continue collaborating with current clients or explore new opportunities.

Nevertheless, planning for the future is essential before deciding to freelance. Freelancers face unique challenges, but with proper planning, they can achieve success.

Being a freelancer in your 20s or 30s can be challenging, especially if you’re unsure about your career path. However, there are many people who work as digital marketing freelancers either out of necessity or passion while pursuing other interests. If you’re one of them, you’ll likely find it enjoyable.

But if you’re not, it’s important to research how to become a freelance digital marketer before accepting clients. This will help you understand the requirements from day one.

If you are starting at ground zero, you’ll need to learn entry-level digital marketing, and there are many freelance digital marketing courses and books for freelancers.

You’ll be glad to know that Amazon offers a wide range of eBooks on Digital Marketing that you can easily search for.

My Top Picks: Digital Marketing Books on Amazon

  1. The Essential Guide To Freelance Writing: How To Write, Work, And Thrive On Your Own Terms
    $16.99
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    02/18/2024 05:20 pm GMT
  2. Profit First: Transform Your Business From A Cash-Eating Monster To A Money-Making Machine
    $16.99
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    02/18/2024 05:30 pm GMT
  3. The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, And Join The New Rich
    $14.89
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    02/18/2024 05:15 pm GMT
  4. The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When To Quit (And When To Stick)
    $9.49
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    02/18/2024 05:50 pm GMT
  5. The Freelance Content Marketing Writer: Find Your Perfect Clients, Make Tons Of Money And Build A Business You Love
    $14.99
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    02/18/2024 05:35 pm GMT
  6. The Freelancer'S Bible: Everything You Need To Know To Have The Career Of Your Dreams―On Your Terms
    $24.89
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    02/18/2024 05:28 pm GMT
  7. The Nuclear Effect: The 6 Pillars Of Building A 7+ Figure Online Business
    $2.87
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    02/18/2024 05:45 pm GMT
  8. The Small Business Start-Up Kit: A Step-By-Step Legal Guide
    $25.40
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    02/18/2024 05:40 pm GMT
Used Digital Marketing Books at ThriftBooks

If you are on a tight budget and seeking more economical choices, consider browsing ThriftBooks for secondhand books on digital marketing.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Then, you’ll need certifications from all the major digital marketing platforms to showcase your expertise.

Why I Chose Digital Marketing As a Career Path

I became a freelance digital marketer because I enjoy helping businesses grow and expand their online presence. Digital marketing has always been a passion of mine. I have always wanted to get into marketing. I would purchase books on advertising so that I could learn how brands were able to persuade consumers to buy their products.

As a freelance marketer, I have used my skills and knowledge to help businesses achieve their marketing goals with effective branding strategies.

Even though my current role requires me to wear many hats, it’s similar to how traditional marketers used to create brand campaigns; we have new tools at our disposal, such as an AI-writing assistant for ad copy and content.

As a digital marketing specialist with years of experience, I constantly learn and adapt to new technologies and strategies to stay ahead of the game. One of the most important strategies in digital marketing is Search Engine Marketing (SEM), which involves promoting websites by increasing their visibility in search engine results pages through paid advertising and optimization techniques.

One of my favorite parts about freelancing is that every day brings something new. There are no limits or boundaries on what you can do, which means there are no limits or boundaries on your visibility and success.

If you have an idea for a campaign or an interest in learning more about certain areas of digital marketing, you can take classes and read blog posts related to those topics as much as you want!

Developing your brand is also crucial in the digital marketing industry, as it helps you stand out from the competition and showcase your unique skills and expertise in marketing efforts.

One of the challenges I face is finding clients who comprehend that I work with multiple clients and not solely for them. It is difficult to find clients who understand that even though I am their primary contact, I require time to work on other projects.

When my clients refer me to others, it helps me find new clients who appreciate my work and are interested in a mutually beneficial working relationship.

Freelance Digital Marketing From Home

Being a freelance digital marketer means you have complete control over your schedule and are your own boss. As a freelancer, I work every day of the week, including weekends and holidays. One of the benefits of this job is that you can work from home or anywhere with an internet connection.

However, it’s important to consider both the advantages and disadvantages of this career path, including the typical salary. Weighing the pros and cons of being a freelance digital marketer is essential.

The Pros of Being a Freelance Digital Marketer

Many people spend more time at work than doing things they enjoy or spending time with family. They can feel tired or unmotivated from being stuck at their desks for so long. However, alternative work methods like freelancing may be more beneficial.

You’ll enjoy the benefits of working as a digital marketing freelancer.

  • Flexibility: You don’t have to stick to any particular schedule as a freelancer. You choose when you want to work and how much you want to work.
  • Choose Your Clients: As an independent contractor, you aren’t obligated to take on every client that comes your way.
  • Make More Money: Freelancers often make more money than full-time employees because they’re in charge of their own pricing and don’t have to split their income with a company or team of co-workers.
  • Opportunity for Advancement: As you gain experience, you can increase your rates, take on more clients, and get better at what you do.
  • Have Fun: You’re doing something you love (marketing), so staying motivated is much easier.

The Cons of Being a Freelance Digital Marketer

As a freelance digital marketer, there are some downsides to consider before deciding to work independently. Unlike employees, you won’t receive employer benefits, such as paid time off or insurance. If you need time off for health reasons, you’ll have to cover any costs from your personal savings.

Additionally, your income may vary monthly depending on the number of clients you have at any given time.

So, while being a digital marketing freelancer can offer some benefits over working as an employee, there are also downsides you should be aware of before making your decision.

This is especially true if you’re considering going into business for yourself because, while having your own company means more flexibility in your work schedule and more freedom to decide how to approach projects, it can also be harder to find consistent clients with steady cash flow.

If you’re unprepared for these differences and overwhelmed by self-employment, it may affect your business adversely in some areas and may not be worth pursuing.

While some consultants work with multiple companies, others may only work with one client over an extended period and not see work again for weeks or months. It’s important to keep money coming in even when you aren’t working so you don’t get behind on bills.

Because you don’t have an employer who pays into Social Security for you, getting health insurance can be tricky unless you buy it yourself. Also, because there’s no W-2 form issued by a company paying taxes on your behalf, retirement accounts such as 401(k)s and IRAs become less beneficial than working full-time for someone else.

Before deciding to become a freelancer, it’s important to consider both the advantages and disadvantages. While freelancing allows for more flexibility in work schedules and the ability to choose project approaches, it can also be difficult to find steady clients and consistent income, especially for those starting their own businesses.

It’s crucial to be aware of these potential challenges and be prepared for the demands of self-employment to avoid negatively impacting your freelance business.

If retiring early is something you aspire to, you may want to consider saving more money from your paycheck. While there may not be health benefits or a 401(k) match currently, there are ways around these challenges, as suggested by Investopedia. Keep striving towards your goal, and know that solutions can help you reach it.

Investopedia suggests starting your agency as a potential solution to circumvent these problems. That’s precisely the approach I took.

I established an LLC to kick off my agency. While being self-employed may seem risky and daunting, it provides certain advantages typical employees may not receive, such as choosing when and where they work. However, being self-employed implies you are responsible for securing your health insurance.

Get a Self-Employed Healthcare Plan

Freelancer'S Union Healthcare Insurance Plans For FreelancersHealth Savings Account (HSA)

The best way to determine what option suits you is to look at The Health Insurance Marketplace (Healthcare.gov) or browse the Freelancers Union’s page. If you are in good health, you might be better off with a high deductible plan, which would give you a lower monthly premium and a chance to contribute to a Health Savings Account (HSA). HSAs provide a tax benefit and the ability to save for future medical expenses.

A self-employed digital marketing freelancer can deduct contributions to an HSA from their taxable income, up to $3,350 for individuals and $6,750 for families. Additionally, when money is withdrawn from an HSA, it is not taxed as income. With all of these advantages, you must understand how your plan works before you make any contributions.

As with any major financial decision, it’s always best to consult a professional who can help guide you through your options. Consider speaking with an accountant or financial advisor about the best option for your business. And remember—you don’t have to go at it alone!

The Health Insurance Marketplace has tools on its website that can help you calculate costs based on your age, location, and family size—and even provide side-by-side comparisons between plans so that you can easily compare coverage levels and prices without entering personal information more than once.

Set up Your Retirement Account

You’ll have to save and make your retirement account. You’ll want to set up an individual retirement account (IRA) since you won’t have an employer-sponsored 401(k). Your best bet is to open either a traditional IRA (funded with pre-tax dollars) or a Roth IRA (funded with taxed dollars). There’s a $5,500 yearly limit to how much can be contributed to both options or a $6,500 limit if you’re over 50.

You can also consider opening a SEP IRA designed specifically for self-employed people. With a SEP IRA, the contributions are tax-deductible, and your money grows tax-deferred. The maximum annual limit you can contribute is 25% of your yearly income, or $55,000. If you’re married, both spouses can make their own SEP IRAs; each spouse has their contribution limits.

SIMPLE IRA For Self-Employed Freelance Digital Marketers

A SIMPLE IRA (Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees) is another option if you’re self-employed, but it’s only available to small businesses with 100 employees or less. The annual contribution limit is $12,500, and no income restrictions exist.

The most important thing about setting up your retirement account is to start saving as soon as possible, even if it’s just a little bit at first. The sooner you start saving, the more time your money has to grow and compound over time—and that means more money in your pocket down the road!

How To Get Started With Freelance Digital Marketing

The first step in becoming a freelance digital marketer is looking for clients. You could use traditional methods like cold calling, but this method doesn’t always work.

It would probably be easier to find potential clients online through sites like UpWork, Bark, Fiverr, FlexJobs, MarketerHire, and Thumbtack, where you can find freelance digital marketing jobs. I first began by signing up on UpWork to get my first gig.

Eventually, I started my agency, which offers White Label PPC services, so if you have an LLC or agency, you can also sign up as an agency.

Create an Agency Profile On Upwork

To effectively manage your agency on UpWork, start by creating an agency profile and linking it to your freelance profile.

UpWork

Agency Profile On UpworkBark

Bark Agency ProfileThumbtack

Thumbtack Agency ProfileWhile it is generally discouraged to take on work outside of freelancer marketplaces, some employers may prefer to work with you directly. However, it is important to note that in such cases, you will not be covered by the marketplace’s protection plans for issues such as payment or disputes.

Other agencies hired me directly after earning their trust, and I became an extension of their marketing team. As a 1099 contractor, these agencies have kept me very busy.

Social Media Networking

There are numerous ways to find clients as a freelance digital marketer, making it a potentially ideal career choice for you. Social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter can also be utilized to connect with individuals who require assistance from an online marketing specialist.

Since I started freelancing in 2012, I’ve gained much knowledge about how to succeed in this field. I do everything myself, from design to development and SEO, so I’ve learned the best strategies.

Some freelancers delegate coding and graphic design tasks to other skilled professionals. This can help you connect with people in your industry and build a team for future projects.

One advantage of being a freelance digital marketer is the potential for high earnings. With remote work, my freelance digital marketing salary is over $100k, and I work only 20 hours per week. Although it means dedicating less time to work, increasing earnings while reducing work hours is possible.

Freelance Marketing Skills That Can Help You Be More Productive

From Teamwork, Google Docs, and Trello to Slack and Skype, freelancers have plenty of online tools that can help them streamline their workflow. If you’re thinking about becoming a freelancer, be sure to take advantage of everything these tools have to offer. A tool that works well for one freelancer might not be as useful for another!

The best way to determine which tools will be most useful for your freelance business is to take a step back and think about your goals. What are you trying to accomplish, and how do you plan on achieving them?

I like to keep my options open by trying them out, and most of these tools offer trials, so you can try them before buying them.

Below are a few of my favorite productivity tools available for free.

  • Google Drive & Docs for File Management: Google Drive comes with 15GB of free storage space (that’s more than Dropbox), but what makes it powerful is its word processor, spreadsheet editor, presentation builder, and drawing tool—all connected in one place. This saves me from bouncing between different apps to write an email or make a quick chart.
  • Trello for Project Management: I use Trello to manage my projects and update clients on deliverables. We can collaborate in real-time on different tasks, share ideas, and work through ideas together. It’s more than just project management software; I also use it for personal tasks because it helps me stay organized.
  • Slack for Communication: It is another of my favorite tools because of its versatility—it’s great for remote teams or freelancers working on various projects and those out traveling!

There are many opportunities for digital marketers to get ahead, such as content writing for search engine optimization (SEO), being a digital marketing consultant for Facebook ads, and freelancing as an affiliate marketer. Jump in there and become a freelance digital marketer!

Frequently Asked Questions

Kesar Long

About the author

Founder, Chief Strategist, and head of web development and advertising at Orbit Local–is a certified Google Ads Expert and HubSpot Solutions Partner with over a decade of digital marketing experience. He's earned a BS in Computing Information Science from the University of North Florida and an MBA at the Florida Institute of Technology.

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