By Ashley Stahl, Originally Published in Forbes

As the job market continues to expand, so does both the need and desire for freelancers in the gig economy. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 53 million Americans earn income freelancing, which is about one in every three employees.

Whether you need to pay off your student debt, or the rent is getting too damn high, here are some crucial starting blocks to keep in mind before you start gigging.

  • Start off on the right foot. Make sure you have taken the time to build your social media presence. Start by taking out some ads or doing a few paid social media campaigns to bring traffic to your website. Having both a strong social identity and clean and well-maintained website can provide a much better first impression than a crafted cover letter.
  • Keep learning new skills. This is especially true if you’re getting involved in the field of graphic design or any tech related field. The tech world is changing at a rapid pace, so it is important to adapt and refresh your skills. Keep a vigilant eye on the cutting edge and find the best tools suitable for your career.
  • Stop searching, start promoting. Another huge benefit to gigging in the digital age is having platforms that do the heavy lifting for you. Websites like and link freelancers with companies that need their services. Tools like these take away one of the biggest drawbacks and hurdles to young freelancers trying to get work: spending all your time searching instead of working.

Making the move over to freelancing can be stressful, especially if you don’t know where to start. Keep up your confidence and remember that freelancing is hard work, but it certainly has its benefits. While it may be difficult to get off the ground, once you have a sturdy foundation, you’ll find the freedom and flexibility you were seeking when you went freelance in the first place.

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  • I'm a career coach, keynote speaker, podcast host (You Turn Podcast) and author, here to help you step into a career you're excited about and aligned with. This may look like coaching you 1:1, hosting you in one of my courses, or meeting you at one of workshops or keynote speaking engagements! I also own CAKE Media, a house of ghostwriters, copywriters, publicists and SEO whizzes that help companies and influencers expand their voice online. Before being an entrepreneur, I was an award-winning counterterrorism professional who helped the Pentagon in Washington, DC with preparing civilians to prepare for the frontlines of the war on terror.