Be your own boss and earn a full time income by freelancing.

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I never really intended to freelance.

When I quit my job in early 2017, I just knew I wanted to be my own boss. I hated the feeling of being required to be at a certain place at a certain time to do work that I was assigned.

One afternoon it became clear that the time had come: it was time for me to quit my job.

My life to that point had been all about building software products. I helped build and sell a digital ticket marketplace in 2015, and the role I left was a product management role.

So how was I going to make money?

I started talking to people. I wrote a blog post about quitting my job. I had some ideas, but they were far from fleshed out.

In the process, some of my friends started asking if I could help them with their own projects. I helped to launch a podcast, I came up with some names for a friend’s company, I built a couple of WordPress sites, and I built email sequences.

I was making money! It was my introduction to freelancing.

It’s an amazing feeling to have people paying you real money for your skills.

Being paid to write? Amazing.

Work from anywhere? Don’t mind if I do!

But I learned quickly that this wasn’t as easy as I thought it was.

There are a lot of questions that come up quickly when you’re freelancing.

  • How much should I charge?
  • How much do I need to earn to actually pay the bills?
  • How much do I pay in taxes?
  • What about health insurance?

Soon, the clients who were basically coming to ME for help seemed to evaporate. I ran out of warm leads and was left wondering, “OK so how do I actually FIND clients?”

It was easy to go broke

I learned very quickly that it wasn’t hard to make money freelancing, but to make a living freelancing was a totally different story.

It looks so easy...

Just put up a website and work from anywhere on your laptop! Paradise, here I come.

Well, most of those digital nomads aren’t showing you the real struggles of being a freelancer — let alone a location independent freelancer.

There are three key challenges that you will come up against. I experienced them myself, and I hear them from other freelancers constantly.

1. Finding new clients

In the beginning, you may have a few clients come directly to you. Friends, family, and family friends often become your first clients.

This is low-hanging fruit, and it quickly dries up. You need a strategy for sustainably finding new clients to keep the lights on.

2. Managing your time

Not only do you need to constantly be creating new clients for yourself, but you need to communicate with existing clients while also doing great work for them.

Not to mention handling your budget, cash flow, accounting, savings, and more. You’ll want to find time to eat and sleep too.

3. Staying on top of the boring business stuff

Speaking of budget, cash flow, accounting, and so on, you’ll need to be on top of all the administrative and operational parts of your business to make sure you stay in business.

This is often a totally new skill to artists of creatives, and isn’t difficult to learn — you just have to be willing to put the work in.

The skills you need

At the end of the day, I built a lucrative freelance business working with over 100 clients like those you see above by mastering three core skills:

  1. Marketing myself
  2. Selling my work
  3. Running a business
Let’s talk about each of these…

1. Marketing yourself

If you are unable (or unwilling) to talk about yourself and the work that you do, you’ve already lost. And unfortunately, a lot of freelancers (or would-be freelancers) are afraid of talking about what they do.

It takes confidence. You may need to build up that confidence in order to market yourself, and that’s OK.

You’ll also need to really understand who you want to work with and what type of service(s) you want to provide. Being able to succinctly talk about yourself and your work in terms that resonate with your target clients takes a lot of thought and discovery.

At the end of the day, you need to position yourself as the best choice for the potential client.

2. Selling your work

Marketing yourself is the first step. But once you’ve gotten yourself in front of a potential client, you need to consistently be able to close the sale.

I get it, and I’ve been there. It’s scary to put yourself out there and ask someone to choose you. By giving them the ability to say “yes” you also give them the ability to say ”no.”

Rejection sucks, and no one enjoys it.

But rejection is a natural part of being a freelancer, and it gets much easier to deal with. At this point, it barely even fazes me.

If you’re not being rejected, you aren’t being proactive enough in selling your services. You need a system and a process for generating new clients so you can control your own destiny.

3. Running a business

At the end of the day, freelancers are business owners. You need to run your freelance business like a business. That means creating a budget, being on top of your cash flow, managing your time, and communicating with your clients.

It sounds scary and intimidating, but it’s not impossible. You just need to set up systems up front that work for you. If you do it right, most of these systems require little attention once they’re set up, and allow you to focus on doing the work.

If these sound like skills you need help learning, I can help.

Introducing Freelancing School

Freelancing School provides the training and community to help you make a living freelancing. With three courses, coaching, and community support, Freelancing School has the tools to help creatives thrive as business owners.

I'm Jay Clouse, and I've worked with over 100 creatives and freelancers through my business, Unreal Collective. My clients have had multi-million dollar exits, six-figure crowdfunding campaigns, left their jobs to go full-time freelance, and bootstrapped technology companies.
After my first year freelancing, I doubled my income in 2018.

In 2019, I nearly tripled my 2017 income (while surpassing my former salary)!

...because I learned how to manage my finances.

...because I learned that that finding new clients never stops and that I better get good at lining up new clients.

...because I learned that I need to understand where I’m spending my time, not just my money.

And because I learned how to sell myself.

I’ve taken everything I’ve learned and poured it into these three courses:

  1. Selling for Freelancers – Proven tactics for selling more work
  2. Marketing for Freelancers – Strategies to create client demand for you
  3. Business for Freelancers – Systems and processes to protect your time and effectively manage your money
If you’re serious about freelancing, these courses will help you build a better business.
If you put the time in, these courses will pay for themselves. They’re based on the same strategies that I’ve seen work for my clients in Unreal Collective.

My advice? Take the leap, believe in yourself, and invest in full access to all three courses.
Get the bundle

What students are saying...

"I sold my biggest project ever using the proposal template inside of Freelancing School!"
Jenni K.
"I binged through the Marketing for Freelancers course. I was skeptical at first because I've been in Marketing for the past 10 years, but a lot of those lessons scratched my itch that I never deal with at work. Overall A+ — I definitely got my $200 out of it!"
Andy P.
"I doubled my client base and I also launched a website...what used to be a hobby became a legitimate side gig."
Matt R.
"Great information for people thinking about becoming a freelancer or just starting as a freelancer. The content is very relevant, easy to follow, and offers a ton of tools to help the person succeed."
"I needed to binge through this course because I wanted to be more comfortable on a selling call I was on - and it helped! I love all the CRM help - I never knew this was even a thing."

Marketing for Freelancers

Learn to confidently talk about your work, position yourself as the best choice for your target client, and get clients coming to you
View course $195

Selling for Freelancers

Learn the strategies and processes to make selling client work feel easy.
View course $195

Business for Freelancers

Implement systems  and processes to effectively manage your money and time, which will free you up to focus on doing your best work.
View course $195

Freelancing School Course Bundle

Get all three courses and learn all the ins and outs of becoming an in-demand freelancer (and save $90)!
View bundle $495

Freelancing School Coaching Bundle

Get immediate access to all three courses and have direct support from Jay as a coach for a full year.
View bundle $995

Inside each course, you will find...

Comprehensive video lessons

Specific steps for taking action

Templates and other resources

About Me

Hey, my name is Jay Clouse. I'm the founder of Unreal Collective and freelancing instructor for Linkedin Learning /

I've been both a founder and a freelancer. Previously, I was the Chief Operating Officer of Tixers, which was acquired in 2015. Then I spent time as a product manager at a venture-backed startup, and left that to freelance.

I've seen what works for freelancers. And after seeing strategies work over and over again, I've put them into these courses.


Will this work for other client-based businesses?

While the courses are geared towards freelancers, the tools and systems will work for any client-based businesses, including agencies, coaching practices, real estate, and more.

What if I’m only taking on clients part time?

Even if you just want to freelance part time, these courses will help you earn more in the time you do commit to taking on clients.

What if I can't dedicate the time right now?

Purchasing the courses gives you lifetime access. So if you need a few weeks to get started, no problem.

And if you don't feel like you have time to commit to the courses, that is likely an indication that you could benefit from better time management tips inside!

How will this help me feel more confident talking about myself?

We all get scared when someone asks, "What do you do?" but being able to talk about yourself is an essential skill for a freelancer.

The Marketing course will give you a guide for how to talk about yourself in a way that serves you over the long term.

Is this worth the price?

The bundle is priced at $495 and I am confident that working through these courses will lead to both time saved as well as new clients gained.

If you're saving time and finding new clients, it doesn't take long to pay back $495.

OK, but will this actually work for ME?

If you put the time in, this will work for you. I've seen the results in my students as well as in my Unreal Collective clients.