Updated: May 22
Want to learn how to design a freelance portfolio for your new freelance business?
This guide shows you how to start your freelance website in 10 minutes or less (WITHOUT Joining Fiverr, Freelancer.com, or Upwork...).
Welcome to this training; my name is Simon Zaku and I've been able to start a freelance writing business and scale it to $2,000 monthly with no client from Fiverr, Upwork, or any Freelance Job board.
You see, to attract clients, you must build a website that showcases your niche expertise in a way that helps you land clients.
You see, I’ve built and rebuilt my website several times throughout my freelance writing career.
I started with a “portfolio” site – just like almost everyone does.
But eventually, I came across a webinar training and realized I needed to present myself as a business owner and niche expert to get freelance clients to take me seriously (and pay me more).
And since I wanted to be able to attract big freelance gigs, I took the time to improve my site, built a personal brand, and acted more like a business owner and less like a “freelancer” After about 2 months, I scored a $500 client.
In today’s training lesson, I’ll show you how to set up a high-converting website for your Freelance business, step by step. But you may be wondering:
“Why can’t one just join freelance job boards like Upwork, Fiverr, Peopleperhour, or Freelancer.com and just start getting clients without having to design websites at all”
You see when I began looking for freelance clients online, I prefer to stay up all night on Fiverr (Peopleperhour was my second favorite) and hope for the next possible $60 client to come rolling in my inbox.
I was always editing my profile details hoping it would magically send one magic freelance writing client but nothing ever worked!
After about a year, I only got 2 clients that paid me $60 and $90 (that is 2 clients after 100s of email reach-outs with joining about 10 Freelance writing job boards.
Feels like you?
Was it because I didn’t know how these platforms operated?
Well, that could be it but think about it…
Fiverr has over 14 million freelancers...
Upwork also has 12 million freelancers just like YOU
How about Freelancer.com?
It’s got over 25 million freelancers JUST LIKE YOU.
Don’t you think that is way too competitive, especially as a beginner freelancer?
Why not save yourself the stress of joining all other freelance websites and simply, set up a freelance portfolio website for yourself?
Getting started with a website is quite easy, and the very first step is to select a web hosting company and install your website.
Depending on the website type or project, I use and recommend Wix, Hostgator, and Bluehost for my web hosting services.
For those who are completely new online, Web hosting is a service that allows organizations, individuals, or businesses to post a website or web page onto the Internet.
For this blog, I use Wix at the moment but Bluehost is one powerful option you can use too.
What this means is your website needs a web hosting service to go live and there are a bunch of hosting service providers online.
However, this is where many people get stuck.
They assume that the process of setting up a hosting service and installing a website is complicated and time-consuming.
But I am here to tell you, it’s not - in fact, it’s as easy as setting up a Twitter account and I’m going to show you exactly how and for the benefit of this training, I’ll be using Hostgator, which is the hosting service provider that I use for my website.
But don’t worry. It’s so easy to use and I moved from Godaddy (my previous web host) to Hostgator (my current web host) because I simply wanted better customer support where I would not have to wait hours before getting my tech problems resolved.
I particularly love how easy it is to use, install and design websites (I mean, after moving from Godaddy, I have created all of my websites since 2017 through Bluehost and HostGator with no problems whatsoever).
So here’s how to get started with Hostgator:
To register your hosting plan, head over to HostGator.com and click on the Get Started button.
Next, select your plan.
The “Hatching Plan” at 1 year is the recommended choice for beginners, but if you have the budget and you want to get your hosting once and forget, then selecting 3 years will reduce your price per month.
You could also try things out every month, keeping in mind you can use the 45-day money-back guarantee.
Most people stay with HostGator long-term as they grow their business, so a longer option if you can afford it up-front, is what I recommend.
Still, confused, what hosting plan to pick? Feel free to shoot me an email and I’ll personally help you out.
Next, type in your domain name of choice.
What is a domain name?
A domain name is the address of your website that people type in the browser URL bar to visit your website.
In simple terms, if your website was a house, then your domain name will be its address.
simonzaku.com is my domain.
I also use simonzaku.com
Get an idea?
You can either register a new domain name right there on Hostgator, or input a domain name you’ve registered elsewhere but, I highly recommend you register a new domain since it’s free and you’re not paying for it.
Create your Username and Security Pin (these don’t have to be fancy because you can always change them later on)
Next, I want you to pay attention to the “Add Additional Services” section.
Now, since you’re a beginner, I will recommend that you uncheck all the boxes as you will not be needing any of these extra services.
Congrats, you’re already well ahead of other newbies.
Next, we’ll install a fresh copy of WordPress.org – known as the most easy-to-use and elegant software for blogging and simple websites powering all of my websites including my main website, simonzaku.com.
Now after making your order, it is time to check your inbox for an email with the subject line: “HostGator.com Your Account Info” which contains three vital pieces of information:
Password (can change this later on if you want)
Control Panel Link
Once you’ve read this over briefly, just click on the Control Panel link right in the email, and you’ll be taken to the HostGator control panel, which is commonly called cPanel but before we move on, I want to take a few seconds to CONGRATULATE YOU ON YOUR BIG MOVES!
You’re making great, great, progress!
You’ve not only gotten a niche market that’s perfect for you and is lucrative, but you’re also halfwayHostGatorto done with having your website live.
Now, the next thing you want to do is install Wordpress.
Installing WordPress to Your Host
Remember the email you got from HostGator?
You’ll want to keep that email open because you’ll need to enter your username and password to install wordpress.
Hostgator offers various ways by which you can install WordPress on their server. But here’s the simplest way I’ve found:
On your control panel, scroll down and choose “Quick Install”.
Next, click on the cPanel login link (or use https://portal.hostgator.com) to log in and access your Hostgator portal. On your portal dashboard, click on “Install WordPress”. And you should see a page like this:
Select your domain (the address you initially picked during setup) and click NEXT.
On the next page, fill in your website details and finally click the INSTALL button.
Next, you want to pick a theme for your new freelance website.
Your theme is the design of your website - it is what determines how a website looks.
From the Hostgator structure, page design, navigation, etc.
After a few minutes, you should receive an email with your login details (just like Hostgator) and your website should be live at thedomainyoupicked/wp-admin/].
Now, you want to bookmark this link because it is your main administrator login link and that’s exactly what you’ll use whenever you want to log in to your website dashboard to create & upload content, make edits, and change design.
For example, mine is simonzaku.com/wp-admin/
So to visit your dashboard, go to your unique dashboard link and log in.
The sidebar displays a list of features, plugins, and customizations that you can do with your newly created website.
On the menu, you’ll see an option called “Appearance” - Hover over it and select “Themes”.
You’ll be taken to your unique Themes page where you can search, find, activate, and customize all of your themes.
And since we’re here to change your theme so that it is fully ready to convert visitors into people who pay you, simply click on the “Add New” button.
You can either upload themes (zip file) or search for templates right in your wordpress dashboard.
Scroll down to find the template that best suits your brand and then you can customize it to suit your specific needs.
Your wordpress website should be live when you go to yourdomain.com. And now you are almost ready to start taking in clients for your business.
Are you excited to start getting people to email you to work with you?
That’s cool but before you get too excited about attracting clients and demanding your rightful cash, let me ask you a question:
How do you drive traffic to your newly created website?
After building a solid portfolio website, the next (and most interesting) step to take is to get the first person or business to pay you at least 4 figures for your services (I mean content writing, videography, consultation, coaching, etc), through the very website you’ve just created.
But here’s the bitter truth:
“Except you have a proven system on the ground, you WILL NEVER GET ANY CLIENTS”
And you might probably end up giving up!
You see when I began as a new freelancer, my idea was that I had to design my website and keep tweaking it until it luckily charms a potential client.
I tried tweaking my design…
Asked for referrals from literally everyone I could get in contact with (on my Gmail, Twitter, and Facebook pages)…
AND even sent paid traffic to my website!!!
Yet no one EVER contacted me! I NEVER got any clients until I figured I needed to have a system that would bring in clients on autopilot.
Sounds like a better plan to execute, right?
Well, in the next (and final) training lesson, I’ll be discussing the 2 unique systems that 5,6, and 7-figure freelancers make use of to get high-end clients in 2020.
With these, you will not have to learn difficult sales skills like having to do cold calls, cold emails, and send random messages or DMs that get ignored or even deleted.
And I’m not even kidding when I say:
“You can’t survive as a service business online without a proven system or blueprint!”
Your website can only work when there’s a laid-down system that works.
And I mean every word I’ve said!
For now, remember to stay safe. And NEVER forget; YOU are just 1 client away from turning your life around!