So you want to go out on your own? Looking for paid work right out of college? Planning to supplement your income with a few side gigs?

But I’ll give it to you straight: freelancing isn’t easy. If you love writing, or photography, or design or software development it is fun. But it isn’t easy. You’ll also need to deal with client relationships, invoices, organization, accounting and more.

There are plenty of reasons to start freelancing, whether as a photographer, writer, developer or designer. But no matter what you do or why you do it, you’ll need the right tools to succeed.

After seven years of freelancing, I’ve realized there are a handful of ways to make sure you start out on the right foot. These are my tips.

Find work faster with the right platform

First things first, you’ll have to find the platform that works for you. You have a few options on this front — be sure to do your homework to figure out which will work best for your particular niche.

First, freelance platforms. UpWork,, 99Designs — all of these can be great options if you’re willing to put the work in. They take fees, but give you access to plenty of work in exchange.

Second, you could launch and market your own portfolio website (or use existing sites like LinkedIn). This is by far the most difficult option, but it could pay off in the long term as well.

Check out this guide from Skillcrush for more on building an impressive portfolio site.