From Getting Fired to Making Over $300k Freelancing

After I got fired, I tried many different things to get my agency moving. Some ideas worked and some…didn’t.

Getting my first few customers was a grind. Maintaining the momentum that would occasionally build up was an entire other battle.

I intended on publishing this as an ebook and selling it. However, the more I got into it, the more I knew I wanted to release it for free. If this can help anyone that’s on a similar path, that’s more than enough for me! This is the blueprint I wish I had when I was first getting started.

As you can see, my first year in business was a rollercoaster.

I started WebLime with no connections or crazy funding. My approach was to hit the ground running, see what works, and capitalize on it.

Sounds simple, right? I wish.

If I had to point my finger at the biggest issue I faced, it would probably be a lack of focus. I kept trying different things. I was so eager to launch digital products that I did it prematurely. The agency wasn’t sustaining itself and adding financial pressure to the instability wasn’t helpful.

My blueprint for this freelancing journey is by no means perfect, but if you take some nuggets out of it and execute accordingly, I can almost guarantee you some results.

Ready to dive in? Let’s do this.

Cold calls

We all know the old-school approach of cold calling. It’s awkward, uncomfortable, and it can feel invasive when you’re the one doing it.

But guess what? It works!

Some people will hang up on you, while others will be patient and hear you out.

If you reach out to someone who has the problem you’re trying to solve, they’ll most likely want to hear you out.

I try to analyze and track all my conversations.

What went well? What didn’t? Was I too pushy? Was there chemistry? I tracked much of what I did with reports from Dialpad and documented every move in HubSpot.

Cold emails

The idea here is very similar to cold calls, but with the added benefit of allowing you to be more organized and utilize a script (at least in the initial stages).

I tried a lot of subject lines and email templates.

Here’s a sample of one of the many emails I tried 👇

I got some bites from this, but nothing major. However, now that I know some of the best practices for sending out cold emails, I’m a lot more comfortable trying this again in the future.

Get Local

Networking is one of the most beneficial things that you can do for your business. Interact with other business owners, ask them questions, and learn how they obtain leads for their businesses.

My first Shopify build came from a cold message that I had sent on LinkedIn. I found a woman that was running an eCommerce business, and I felt like I could help. So I reached out.

My first WordPress gig was through a post I had asked my little sister to share in a nonprofit Facebook group she was part of. The client lived across the country and became the first person I worked with outside of my local community.

There are plenty of ways to go about getting your business noticed locally or even outside of your geographic bubble.

A common method is to join local business networking groups. I’ve tried doing this but it felt unnatural to me. Because I didn’t enjoy it very much, I changed my approach.

Nonetheless, I can’t emphasize enough the importance of getting noticed locally. You can win over deals solely because another business wants to support someone local. I didn’t realize this until I put myself out there at a few local shows.

Edan standing at WebLime’s booth at a local show.

Some ideas to consider if you are looking to network and get noticed:

  • Local Facebook groups
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Local Shows
  • Community events
  • Local Telegram or Slack groups
  • Nextdoor

Road signs and stickers

Once I realized how much opportunity being part of the local community provided, I wanted to make sure to capitalize on it as much as possible. One way I achieved this was by printing branded road signs, shirts, and even stickers for my car. Some might see this as overly showy, but I assure you that it worked. Everyone who saw me knew exactly what I was about.

One success story involves a former CEO of a public company. He was recently retired and was looking to do something different and more personal. He wanted to build something small and independent from the network he spent 30 years working in. He was struggling with figuring out how to do this since he was so used to relying on his network. One day, he drove past one of my road signs and decided to reach out. We hit the ground running within the week.

One of Edan’s road signs.
Edan and his wife’s cars with stickers advertising WebLime.


Nonprofits are dear to my heart for many reasons. The people behind these organizations are typically warm and have a genuine intention to leave the world better than they found it. I can’t think of a better group of people to work with, and they need our help the most.

My first big transaction came from a referral from a nonprofit owner that I had a very special connection with. They were starting their nonprofit at the same time I was beginning to develop WebLime and we worked together to build each other up. Because of this, we were able to develop a long-lasting reciprocal relationship that I’m still very proud of. Since then, I’ve continued to cover the majority of their development needs and expenses. In return, they’ve referred me to several other companies.

This approach of reaching out to collaborate with nonprofits was absolutely game-changing. It helped me build up my portfolio while also creating a group of people who I knew would go above and beyond to vouch for me. They truly appreciated what I was willing to do to help them and would go out of their way to show their gratitude.

Like every approach, this tactic takes time to build. It’s fair to assume that a nonprofit you helped launch won’t be able to focus on referring you right away. Their initial focus is to stand strong, find donors, and get out of the instability that lingers whenever you launch something new. But if you stick with this long enough, you’ll find yourself with some really strong relationships that will provide long-term value.

Open Source

If you’re a programmer that’s strictly looking for programming opportunities, then look no further than open-source. Content writers may also find success through open-source contributions.

It doesn’t cost you anything to get involved, and your work is public in the organization’s repository and communication hubs. The beauty here is that you can pick and choose to work exactly where you feel most comfortable. You can help fix a repository’s readme file, documentation, or even contribute new or improved code to a codebase.

Allowing your work to transcend through the vines of GitHub repositories, documentations, blogs, and all the other various locations where the open-source project is discussed can be massive.

I’ve been contributing blog posts to Freecodecamp. I did this without asking for anything in return. I simply wanted to get myself out there and gain exposure. My posts were read by thousands of people and Freecodecamp even tweeted some of my articles to nearly a million followers.

I would have never reached this level of exposure with the limited online presence I had at the time. I’ve also been able to link to a few places on my site which helps flow traffic our way. It’s a win for everyone.


Joining a hackathon didn’t cross my mind initially. It seemed like something only meant for super coding experts. I envisioned matrix screens with code running corner to corner and didn’t feel like my coding knowledge was ready for it yet.

Fortunately, I stumbled on a tweet by Danny Thompson that piqued my interest and opened another vertical for my exposure.

Danny was supporting a nonprofit organization that hosted hackathons to support other nonprofits. After my previous experience with nonprofits, this seemed like the perfect opportunity. I asked how much experience I needed to participate and he immediately assured me that anyone with technical experience can help.

The hackathon lasted for 48 hours with breaks, and due to the pandemic, it was the first time it would be remote. This meant I could join from Maryland, even though they typically hosted this only for locals in Memphis. The success of the event was unprecedented. People joined from all over the world to apply their skills and put themselves out there.

I ended up working with four different nonprofits and helped them fix a lot of the technical issues they were facing. One of the nonprofits I was assigned had a Shopify store. I wasn’t too experienced with Shopify at the time, but it was something that I had my eyes on for a while. This turned out to be the perfect exchange, and once again, I gained exposure and new connections.

Final Thoughts

As I mentioned, at times, my attention shifted from growing the agency to creating and growing some our digital products, like our landing page builder and Puzzlez. If I focused only on the agency’s growth, it’s safe to assume our revenue would have been higher.

If there’s one thing that I hope you get out of this write-up, it’s inspiration. There are plenty of ways to get your business noticed and the only way to know what works for you is to experiment. What worked for me may not work for you.

Choose an approach or two and hone in. Refine your process as time goes by and let the data speak for itself. A customer relationship management of some sort can help build strong relationships and make informative decisions.

Remember that it’s a numbers game and be sure to pivot when data justifies you doing so.