From The Beginning: How to Start a Freelance Marketing Business

by | Dec 1, 2023 | Agency

For many former media sales people, or advertising agency executives one core fantasy tends to hover just out of reach: building something for themselves. For many it’s about having control over when they work, who they get to work with, picking the tasks that interest them most, and delivering better quality results for their clients. Of course, there’s also the element of being “in charge” and operating as their own boss. There’s something both romantic and exciting about the idea of creating something successful that is wholly yours. Imagine a life where you wake up each morning excited to craft powerful marketing strategies for diverse clients. A world where every workday brings new challenges and learning opportunities.

These tend to be the reasons marketing professionals consider how to start a freelance marketing business. The challenge for many is having a clear understanding of what it takes to get started, and how to build build something lasting that can ultimately become their primary source of revenue. With that in mind, – we’ve got you covered with this comprehensive guide to embarking on a successful freelance marketing business journey!

In this article, we’ll navigate through critical steps that are needed, like building your online presence and acquiring essential digital marketing skills. We’ll talk about how to identify potential clients and market your services effectively using social media platforms. We’ll explore how to launch, how to get your first clients and in time, how to scale.

These aren’t just theories – these are proven tactics used by successful freelancers who have already done it.

Table Of Contents:

Understanding How to Start a Freelance Marketing Business

Maybe you’ve already had a few experiences in the field. Maybe you worked at an advertising agency or hustled as a media salesperson. Perhaps, you recently graduated with a marketing degree and are eager to dip your toes into the digital marketing industry. Either way, let’s dive right in.

What is a Freelance Marketing Business?

A freelance marketing business essentially means taking on the role of being your own boss within one of many common freelance marketing domains. You get to choose who you work with and what projects excite you while offering key skills needed for a successful freelance venture such as SEO expertise, content creation abilities, social media management know-how and more.

If it sounds too good to be true though – remember this stat: Over 50% of freelance writers in content marketing earn less than $30k per year (source). So there’s certainly some grit involved.

How to Start a Freelance Marketing Business that Is Likely To Succeed

The world is increasingly digital – a phrase we’ve been saying for 20 years, now but continues to be true. As a result,  businesses clamor over each other to make their mark online and gain a competitive advantage. This has given rise to enormous opportunities for large media companies and agencies for years. Fortunately, as technology continues to advance and new systems have been established, skilled freelancers have begun stealing share, taking on increasingly important clients and fulfilling marketing strategies that were previously limited to Fortune 500 companies.

You could argue that word-of-mouth referrals might not seem very ‘digital’ but here’s something interesting: 42% of freelancers find high-paying gigs through them (PeakFreelancer Blog).

Finding Freelance Clients

This tells us two things:

  1. Your work can speak louder than any advertisement if it makes clients happy enough they rave about it,
  2. In-person networking still holds strong value alongside online platforms when finding potential clients.

While success may not come overnight, with dedication and continuous skill development, you can grow a thriving freelance marketing business. Just remember to always keep learning – the digital world is ever-evolving.



Building Your Foundation as a Freelancer

Kick-starting your journey in the freelance marketing business is like constructing a sturdy building. The foundation must be strong and reliable, just like establishing your personal brand.

Creating an Online Presence

When considering how to start a freelance marketing business, the first step is to build an impressive online portfolio. It’s similar to how architects showcase their best work; it serves as proof of your skills and experience. The easiest way to establish a portfolio as a new freelancer is to provide your services at no cost, then systematically document your results. This does a few things. First, it hones your skill and helps you develop your own unique method for executing marketing strategy. Just as critically important, you begin building a foundation for referrals, which ultimately become the most important element of your ability to scale a new practice.

Meanwhile, your online presence will become the face of your professional persona, highlighting not only what you do but also who you are. And with social media managers earning an average salary of $54,874 per year, this field certainly has potential for growth.

A handy tool that can help get you started on creating a website without any coding knowledge required is the Divi builder through WordPress. While some basic technical skill is needed, it’s easy to learn and with . This guide will give all the steps needed to start crafting perfect WordPress website, and a portfolio page that will capture the attention of prospective customers.

How To Start a Freelance Marketing Business With Competitive Rates

An integral part of starting a successful freelance digital marketer career involves setting competitive rates based on value delivered. It’s much like pricing items at auction – understanding market trends helps establish prices which buyers find reasonable yet profitable for sellers.

The incomes of freelance digital marketers vary widely depending on their services’ value because different clients have diverse needs and budgets. Just remember: don’t undersell yourself. Your skills are valuable assets worthy of appropriate compensation.


Finding Balance between Value & Affordability

In order to determine fair pricing for both parties involved, research industry standards alongside considering factors such as project complexity or urgency. While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, there’s a middle ground to be found between affordability for clients and fair compensation for your expertise. To better understand what the market can bear, visit Upwork and see what other freelancers are charging for the same services. This will help you understand how to price your services competitively. And of course, utilizing services like Upwork and Fiver can be a great place to begin your effort to acquire new customers.

As you lay the groundwork for your freelance marketing business, remember that building strong foundations takes time. So let patience guide you as this exciting journey unfolds.

Key Takeaway: 


Launching a freelance marketing business is like building a sturdy structure; you need a strong foundation, which starts with creating your personal brand. A robust online presence serves as proof of your skills and experience. Setting competitive rates based on value delivered helps ensure profitability without underselling yourself. And remember: finding the balance between client affordability and fair compensation takes time and research, but it’s an essential part of the process that sets up long-term success in your venture.

Acquiring Essential Marketing Skills

To make a successful foray into the freelance marketing arena, one must be well-versed in content marketing, social media management, and search engine optimization (SEO). Not only are these three solutions that are in increasingly high demand, they also represent high-margin opportunities to drive revenue and profitability. In each instance, the hard costs for executing these strategies is minimal. It’s really just a matter of having the knowledge and time to deliver results for your clients.

Content Marketing: This involves creating valuable material that resonates with your audience. Whether it’s blog posts or video production, compelling content can attract potential clients. With more than half of freelance writers earning less than $30k per year from this discipline alone according to this guide, mastering it could be a game-changer for your earnings.

Harnessing Power of SEO

No matter how great your work is, it’s nearly worthless if no one sees it. That’s where SEO comes into play. By understanding how search engines rank websites and optimizing accordingly, you increase visibility for yourself and any businesses you help out as well. Free tools, like SaaSQL’s Free Website Grader and SEO Analyzer provide freelance marketers with the ability to get a comprehensive view of a website’s deficiencies, along with clear steps that can be taken to deliver improvement.

The field is ever-evolving but don’t fret; resources such as this guide on the future of SEO from SEMRush will keep you updated about the latest strategies.

SEMRush the Future of SEO in 2024 Blog

Social Media Management Mastery

Social platforms are essential tools for marketers today – not just because they’re popular hangouts but also due to their massive reach & targeting capabilities.

Becoming proficient at managing these channels can give an incredible boost to your career; let’s not forget social media managers earn an average salary of nearly $55k. Engage with users regularly by sharing interesting updates and responding promptly – digital marketing isn’t only about broadcasting messages but fostering conversations too.

In conclusion: acquiring essential skills across different facets of digital marketing can not only make you a more rounded professional but also help in delivering comprehensive solutions to clients, thereby making your freelance business flourish. Happy learning.

Key Takeaway: 


Boost Your Freelance Marketing Skills: Master content marketing to create value and draw in potential clients. Harness SEO’s power for visibility, keeping up with its ever-evolving nature. Become a social media management pro – engage, share, respond. This trio of skills can make you a more rounded marketer and help your freelance business thrive.

Finding Clients and Marketing Your Services

Understanding how to start a freelance marketing business begins with knowing how to find clients. Once you’ve established a strong online presence, it’s time to begin searching for customers. You might ask, “How do I get started?” Well, one effective strategy is using online platforms to identify businesses who need your services. As previously covered, online resources like Upwork are valuable conduits to new clients. From there, Social Media becomes a powerful resource.

Leveraging Social Media Platforms for Business Promotion

Social media doesn’t just have to be about cute pet videos; it can also be a great way of finding prospective customers. But how exactly?

You see, these platforms are teeming with businesses looking for marketing help. Start by actively participating in relevant groups on LinkedIn or Facebook where your ideal client may hang out.

Another convenient way to identify businesses who may benefit from your services as a freelance marketer is Meta’s Ad Library. This comprehensive resource provides valuable insights into businesses’ marketing strategies, which ultimately enables freelance marketers to develop a tailored outreach strategy, while demonstrating their value proposition.

Key Steps for Identifying Potential Clients

Industry and Location Targeting: Begin by narrowing down your search based on industries and locations that align with your expertise and experience. Utilize the Ad Library’s filters to identify businesses actively running ads in your target areas and industries.

Ad Analysis and Insights: Analyze the ads displayed by these businesses to gain a deeper understanding of their marketing strategies, target audience, and messaging. Identify any gaps or areas where a freelance marketer can provide additional support.

Competitor Benchmarking: Compare the ad strategies of different businesses within your target industry to identify trends, common challenges, and areas where your services can make a significant impact.

Identify Businesses with Limited Marketing Resources: Look for businesses that may not have dedicated in-house marketing teams or are struggling to manage their marketing efforts effectively. These businesses could benefit from the flexibility and expertise of a freelance marketer.

Prioritize Businesses with Growth Potential: Focus on businesses that are actively expanding their online presence and investing in digital marketing. These businesses are more likely to be receptive to the services of a freelance marketer.


Approaching Potential Clients with Confidence

Personalized Outreach: Tailor your outreach messages to each potential client, highlighting your understanding of their specific needs and challenges. Demonstrate how your expertise aligns with their business objectives.

Case Studies and Testimonials: Showcase your previous successes and the positive impact you have had on other businesses. Provide case studies and testimonials to reinforce your credibility and expertise.

Free Consultations or Assessments: Offer potential clients a complimentary consultation or marketing assessment to demonstrate your value upfront. This personalized approach can effectively capture their interest.

Flexible Engagement Models: Propose a variety of engagement models, such as project-based, retainer-based, or hourly-based, to cater to different client needs and budgets.

Continuous Communication and Reporting: Maintain clear and regular communication with clients, providing regular updates on progress and performance metrics. Demonstrate your commitment to their success.

By effectively utilizing Meta’s Ad Library and adopting a strategic approach to outreach, freelance marketers can identify promising opportunities and establish themselves as valuable partners for businesses seeking to enhance their digital marketing efforts. All of which lays the foundation for creating a pipeline of referrals. According to recent stats, 42% of freelancers find high-paying gigs from word-of-mouth referrals. By dedicating time to prospecting new clients at the beginning, you reduce the amount of time needed to scale your business in the future.

Client Acquisition through Content Creation

Beyond social networks lies another untapped goldmine – content creation. Writing blog posts related to digital marketing showcases your expertise while driving organic traffic towards your site via search engines. To get the most out of your effort, use Google Trends to see which search terms and concepts are in demand, then create content that aligns with that demand.

Google Trends Screenshot

Crafting Strategic Proposals

To win over those potential clients, craft proposals that clearly outline what value you bring as a freelance marketer. Be sure they understand not only what services you offer but how these will benefit their business specifically. Upwork has created a great resource to teach freelancers how to create winning proposals.



How to Create a Freelance Marketing Business Structure

A key aspect of your freelance marketing journey is setting up an efficient business structure. This means creating a clear system for managing finances, handling contracts, and dealing with legal considerations.

Setting Up Efficient Business Structure

The backbone of any successful freelance digital marketer’s operations lies in their business structure. It may seem daunting at first but fret not. You can start by using tools like Harlow’s invoicing guide. It offers practical tips on how to get paid timely and smoothly from clients.

Mastering the Art of Managing Finances

Your financial management abilities need to be top-notch. Keeping track of all earnings and expenses helps you budget effectively for future projects or investments into new digital marketing domains. Whether it’s calculating hourly rates based on project scope or ensuring invoices are sent out promptly, every detail matters when it comes down to the bottom line.

Invoicing Clients Like a Pro

An invoice isn’t just about getting paid; it serves as a formal agreement between you and your client too. Be professional – include detailed breakdowns of services rendered, set payment terms that protect both parties, and always remember: late payments aren’t personal.

Tackling Contracts & Legal Considerations

Navigating through legalities might feel like wandering in a labyrinth without Ariadne’s thread – confusing. But there’s no need to worry if you arm yourself with knowledge about essential elements such as contract clauses, copyright laws related to content creation etc., then tackling these challenges will become second nature over time.

Scaling Your Freelance Business

The key to scaling your freelance marketing business lies in diversifying services, expanding your client base, and exploring new opportunities. It’s about making calculated moves that will drive increased revenue. QL Group, a subsidiary of full service marketing agency SaaSQL, is one of the country’s largest network of marketing agencies. QL Group was built to help freelance marketers scale into full-fledged marketing agencies, with all of the support and resources needed to thrive. Here, you can learn more about QL Group, and how to start a marketing agency.

Diversifying Services

Beyond partnering with an organization like QL Group, to broaden the scope of your offerings, consider branching out into various digital marketing domains. This could involve mastering paid media solutions, like social media ads or diving deeper into search Search Engine Marketing through Google Ads. As a freelancer, you can also tap into email and video marketing – both proven strategies for capturing audience attention. There are a wealth of resources online that can help you become increasingly knowledgeable about each of these solutions.

Beyond these conventional areas, there are emerging trends like voice search optimization and AI-driven content creation which are worth investigating. By equipping yourself with an array of skills, you not only add value to clients but also increase avenues for income generation.

Expanding Client Base & Increasing Revenue

A broader service offering allows you to cater to more potential clients with varying needs. But it isn’t just about getting more work; it’s equally important how much that work pays.

Rates based on the value provided is a good practice adopted by many successful freelancers. You needn’t shy away from asking what you’re worth because remember: as long as businesses get results they won’t mind paying premium prices.

Exploring New Opportunities

In this digital age, there are always new possibilities emerging. Keep an eye on industry developments so when opportunities arise – be it influencer partnerships or fresh advertising platforms – you’re ready to seize them.

This approach ensures continuous growth and opens up additional streams of income for your freelance business.

Remember: success doesn’t happen overnight. Patience coupled with persistent effort will set you on the path to a thriving freelance marketing business. Happy scaling.

Understanding Industry Trends & Earnings in Freelance Marketing

Knowing how to start a freelance marketing business that aligns with the financial landscape is essential. But it can feel like trying to hit a moving target with trends constantly shifting.

The average annual salary for freelance digital marketing managers stands at $68,970. However, there’s quite some variation depending on the specific niche you choose within this field and your level of expertise.

Let’s delve into how these figures play out across different industries. Certain sectors such as finance and electronic manufacturing have been known to offer higher paychecks than others. This suggests that marketers specializing in these areas might enjoy more lucrative opportunities. Dig deeper into the data here.

If you’re considering joining the ranks of successful freelance digital marketers or already making strides in this path, understanding earnings variations could influence your strategic decisions.

For instance, focusing on niches where companies are willing to invest heavily in their online presence may increase earning potential compared to those who prioritize other aspects over marketing efforts. This is another place where Google Trends can be of value. Look into the different industries in which you may be interested in working. When you’re thinking about how to start a freelance marketing business, leaning into the places where there is inherent demand is a good place to start.

Leveraging Your Skills for Higher Earnings

Your personal brand as a freelancer plays an integral role too. Building strong relationships with clients and showcasing your abilities effectively can help command better rates based on the value delivered rather than just time spent.

A good practice guide on content marketing, SEO knowledge, or social media management skills could significantly boost both demand for services and revenue generation capabilities – offering tangible results makes all the difference.

Staying Informed for Future Success

In this dynamic field, staying informed about industry trends is crucial. It’s not just about how much you’re making today, but also planning for tomorrow.

A successful freelance digital marketer needs to keep an eye on emerging opportunities and changes in client preferences. Staying abreast of the latest trends and client demands can help guarantee the future success of your freelance digital marketing business. Learn more here.

Key Takeaway: 


Grasp the financial landscape of your industry to ace freelance marketing. Keep in mind, niches like finance and electronic manufacturing often pay more. So, picking a high-paying niche and showing off your skills can bump up earnings. But don’t stop there – stay on top of trends for continued success.

FAQs in Relation to How to Start a Freelance Marketing Business

How can I start freelancer marketing?

To kick off freelance marketing, first hone your skills in key areas like SEO, content creation, and social media. Then build a solid online portfolio to showcase your abilities.

How do I start a freelance content marketing business?

Starting a freelance content marketing biz means becoming proficient in creating engaging copy. You’ll also need an attractive website where potential clients can see samples of your work.

How much do freelance marketers make?

Earnings for freelancers vary wildly based on experience and specialty. On average though, freelance digital marketers pull down about $68k per year.

How profitable is freelance marketing?

How to start a freelance marketing business that is profitable hinges on many factors including the quality of services you provide, the rates you charge, and how well you market yourself.


From the moment you begin thinking about how to start a freelance marketing business, to the point where you really begin embarking on the journey, it isn’t always smooth sailing. But, we hope this guide’s practical steps and insights, help provide a blueprint to get you started.

As you begin, your online presence is the critical element that will guide potential clients towards you. Essential digital marketing skills provide your framework for growth – from content marketing and SEO mastery to effective social media management.

Finding clients? That’s where strategic use of social media platforms come into play. They’re instrumental channels for promoting your services and broadening client reach.

Above all, remember: Your success as a freelance marketer hinges not just on acquiring clients but also managing finances wisely, understanding industry trends and continuously diversifying services based on market demands. And of course, if you’re ready to get things started, but you would like a partner to help get you there, QL Group may be a powerful resource.


J.W. Martin

About the Author

J.W. Martin is a marketing expert with 25 years experience developing marketing strategy for local businesses. He can be reached at

NOTE: While all articles are written by our team, to provide the most robust and useful reader experience,  SaaSQL uses A.I. / large language models to assist with various aspects of content development. This includes research, sourcing and other content improvements.  

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