The Ultimate Guide To Being A Freelancer

Post by
Krishna Thakkar
Last updated :
March 24, 2023
 | 20 min read
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So, you're reading this because you want to become a freelancer. 😋

You're probably bored with your day job and seeking new challenges in your life if you're considering becoming a freelancer. For many people, becoming a freelancer appears to be an unachievable ambition. While it may appear that way at first, take a look around at all of the outstanding freelancers who are crushing it and remember that they, too, started from zero.

The essential thing to become a freelancer is to figure out what will work best for you and develop your strategy for doing so. After all, that's the whole point of freelancing: making your own path. If you're just getting started in your freelancing business, all of the many alternatives can be intimidating. But don't worry, We will walk you through everything you need to know before becoming a freelancer in this guide so that you can start on the right foot.

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A freelancer is a self-employed individual who provides services, frequently working on many projects for multiple clients at the same time. Freelancers commonly charge hourly or daily rates for their work and earn money on a per-job basis. The majority of freelance employment is done temporarily. While a freelancer is not an employee of another company, they can be hired as subcontractors. While it's normal for freelancers to work on multiple jobs or projects simultaneously, a few freelancing contracts may limit whom the freelancer can work for until the project is completed.  

So now that you know, What freelancing is! Let’s Dive In 🤿

freelancing opportunities

If you're reading this, you're probably considering becoming a freelancer but aren't sure where to begin. Before you do anything else, it's a good idea to familiarise yourself with the types of freelancing employment and the skills you might want to brush up on or learn.

Let’s look at a few freelancing opportunities:

Content Writer

As the digital world continues to grow, there is a growing demand for skilled writers worldwide. Content writing is ideal for those who enjoy writing. There are numerous types of content writing opportunities available. Here are some of them:

  • Writing articles
  • Copywriting for ads
  • Web & Email copies
  • Blogging
  • Research work and informational products
  • Ghost-writing for books

These are just a few examples, but they are among the most frequently requested by online businesses and clients. Any of these can serve as a good starting point for your freelance writing career.

One of the best aspects of working as a freelance writer is having complete control over your time. You can work from almost anywhere, at any time. It's also simple to get started as a freelance writer because there's usually no need to buy or acquire special software. To begin, all you need is access to a computer or laptop, a reasonably reliable internet connection, and any word-processing software you may already have. If you have these fundamentals, you can get started as soon as possible.

Virtual Assistant

The job of a virtual assistant varies greatly. For some, it may entail providing administrative assistance, responding to emails, providing customer service, scheduling meetings for your employer, or managing a specific type of project.

Web Developer Or Programmer

This is a more specialized skill that requires prior experience, but it is still a viable freelancing choice. Everything has gone digital, including businesses, as the internet has rapidly taken over the world. Businesses and even individuals are using the internet to promote themselves significantly more than they would offline.

As the globe evolves toward having a stronger online presence, the demand for websites, whether cooperative or personal, continues to rise. It's fantastic if you're already a web developer or coder. You already possess all of the required skills and experience to get started right now.

However, you should consider narrowing your niche – what are your areas of expertise? What kind of service do you intend to offer? What kind of image do you want to project? It's critical to define your 'niche' if you want to succeed as a freelance web developer or programmer.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the act of optimizing a website so that it ranks on the top in search engines for terms related to its content. Because Google is the most popular and influential search engine, it is the primary focus of SEO efforts.

The issue about SEO is that you can learn all the theory (and believe me, there is a lot), but you can only truly master it by practice. Unlike all other forms of freelancing tasks, this one truly requires both expertise and results. However, one mistake people make with SEO is believing they need to know everything about it.

There's much information out there on the finest SEO approaches and strategies, and it's all over the place. If you want to work as an SEO freelancer, you'll need to keep up with Google's current changes.

Bonus: The Complete SEO Checklist Guide.

Graphic Designing

Are you new to the world of graphic design? After deciding on the type of graphic design work you want to do and your niche, you should research how other graphic designers are pitching themselves in that market. Do they make use of online job boards like freelancer or Elance? What kinds of rates do they charge? What steps can you take to improve your portfolio?

It's less about your degree and more about your portfolio of work for this type of freelance employment. Offer to assist in the creation of a logo for a local company or a friend's band. Show off your creative side by submitting some more personal projects, or simply provide model samples of the type of work you could perform. It's all about demonstrating what you can give, not necessarily previous employable experience.

Mobile App Development

App development has become a thriving industry, particularly for platforms such as Windows and Apple. With the recent shakeup between Huawei and Google, Huawei has also begun developing its operating system and app market. As a mobile app user, this makes it extremely simple to find work.

Because each app must be unique, you must be passionate about app development. It should also cater to the app's core idea and be simple to use & to download the app. You must be well-versed in the types of app development required for platforms such as Apple iOS or Microsoft Windows. Everyone wants to hire the best app developers, making it a point to constantly improve your skills.

Now, the first thing that will come to your mind is whether freelancing is the right option for you. Let’s look more into it!


Freelancing isn't always smooth or appropriate for everyone, and moving into the swing of factors can take at least a year. First, determine whether or not freelancing will assist you to discover a process or whether or not you need to create a profession out of it. Your method must be guided through your objectives.

Short-time freelancers must be aware of getting good projects while simultaneously finding time to search for jobs. Freelancers with long-time period goals, on the alternative hand, must continue with caution.

However, for a better understanding, let's look at a few pros and cons of freelancing.

Pros Of Freelancing


Freelancers have the flexibility that most individuals dream of, with such control over clients and workload. You have the freedom and control to work full-time for the majority of the year and only part-time during the summer.

It is now easier to find work.

Companies that hire freelancers make less of a commitment than companies that hire employees, so they may be willing to hire someone for a one-time job with a less impressive resume. As a result, freelancing can be a good way to break into a new field. However, if you want to advance in your career, you will need to demonstrate your abilities through your work.


Working from home or remotely has become the new normal and is likely to remain so for the coming years. This shift has created a significant opportunity for freelancers. Because freelancers are mostly always working remotely and hiring freelancers would be more cost-effective for companies in the future, there will be a noticeable increase in people wanting to make the transition to becoming solopreneurs.

Tax-deductible business expenses

Self-employed people can deduct a variety of business expenses from their income taxes. The home office deduction is one of the self-employment tax breaks available to work-from-home contractors.

There are no taxes deducted from payments.

Because no taxes are deducted, the checks that independent contractors receive from clients are typically larger than those they would receive as employees. That doesn't mean they don't have to pay taxes, but it does mean they get more upfront.

Cons Of Freelancing

Cash Flow Issues

In contrast to having a "normal" job, freelancers must sometimes be a little savvier regarding financial matters. When accepting a freelance job or gig, you must exercise extreme caution. Find out how much you're supposed to be paid and how you're supposed to be paid. Too often, people are caught doing the work but never receiving their pay or receiving their payments late.


Working from home can be extremely distracting because you are dealing with so many things altogether at home (Personal or Professional). What was the result? You're not as productive as you could be, and the quality of your work suffers as a result. When you work as a freelancer, you must be extremely disciplined.


Along with keeping track of your work, you'll need to keep track of, manage, and save money for all of your taxes. Taxes are automatically deducted from your paycheck in most traditional jobs; but as freelancers, you are on your own. To ensure you're saving enough to pay for them, you'll need to keep track of all of your income, expenses, and other financial records.

Difficulty finding the clients

One of the major cons of freelancing is finding clients. To find consistent work as a freelancer, you must be motivated and outgoing. When looking for clients, it's also important to make sure they're trustworthy. Clients may pay you later than expected, or in some extreme cases, they may not pay you at all.

Workload is inconsistent

While there are many advantages to working for yourself, there are also some disadvantages. There may be times when your workload is unpredictable. You might go through a feast-or-famine cycle, where you have many jobs and projects one month but not so much the next. The unpredictability of freelance work may put some people off.

Some freelancers enjoy the lifestyle that comes with the work, whereas others have discovered that it is simply not for them. It differs from one person to the next. We hope that these benefits and drawbacks will help you decide whether freelancing is right for you.

Now that you know a few pros & cons of freelancing and you can decide whether it is the right fit for you, here are the next steps you should take to become a freelancer.

Bonus Read: The Do’s & Don’t of Freelancing

For a freelancer searching for a job or for one who is still working on building up skill sets in a chosen industry, having an outstanding portfolio is crucial. Word of mouth is good, but it doesn't compare to having a great portfolio website of your own. It gives you a better standing with clients and would-be employers. As a new freelancer in the field, you may find it a little daunting to achieve the portfolio you know you need.

What should you do now that you have a good portfolio and want to bid on the task you want to accomplish? If you fall into this category, don't be concerned. Even if you only have a few projects under your belt, you may still build an impressive portfolio.

Check out a few tips to build your portfolio:

Organize your work samples

Work samples are a good thing for your portfolio, but organizing them takes a little more thought. Consider the companies and clients you want to attract when presenting your work and create a sample page that showcases your skills relating to their requirements.

Separating your samples into groups is also beneficial. For example, you primarily design for advertising clients but also make infographics and other design projects for online media sources. In that case, it's a good idea to separate the two types of work into separate categories so that potential clients can quickly locate the most relevant samples.

Collect Testimonials

Word-of-mouth referrals are still a tremendous sales tool in the digital era, especially for freelancers, and including testimonials in your portfolio is a terrific way to keep the work coming in. Request feedback from clients, or send them a pre-made form if they prefer a formal inquiry. This method helps you acquire new clients and keeps you in touch with previous employers (and be present on their radar).

Include Your Social Links

Whether you like it or not, social media is a part of the employment process. Some companies use social media profiles, LinkedIn in particular, to screen candidates. Thus, you should take advantage of your social presence. Use social media to promote your services, show off your work by curating your accounts for professional advantage, creating a business Facebook page, or using Instagram to promote your services. Don't forget to include a brief bio that explains who you are and your expertise. A well-maintained social media presence can assist you in attracting clients and boosting your portfolio.

Write Your Availability

Freelancer gigs have a fluid nature. Freelancers address specific needs that alter every week for many businesses. With this in mind, it's a good idea to include your availability so that clients may book your time when they need it. To coordinate with the employers, use a calendar plugin for your business or, if you like low-tech, free software like Google Calendar.

So now that you know how to create an awesome portfolio, you can shift to finding your first gig.

first gig

The word "hustle" appears to be dropped in almost every conversation about freelancing. However, being your boss does not imply a constant struggle to find work.

Initially, be willing to take less appealing jobs for lower pay to demonstrate the quality of your work and make potential employers aware of you. This will eventually help you get better jobs for more money.

This way, you'll also make connections along the way with some clients who will want to come to you for future jobs because they know they can rely on you to do quality work.

Speaking of today's world, freelancers wishing to increase their income have more options than ever before. And this is especially true in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in job cuts all over the world and pushed the workforce to look for new job opportunities online, providing freelance websites with a great opportunity to expand their business and freelancers with a great opportunity to crack remote working projects.

To assist you, we've compiled a list of the best freelancing websites for freelancers, where you may find a variety of exciting and unique options to help you grow your freelance business.

Upwork is the largest freelance marketplace in the world. Some of the world's most prestigious firms, like Microsoft, Airbnb, and GE, rely on the site to find the best talent. Upwork freelancing is ideal for people who want to work on complex and specialized tasks. It includes web, mobile, and software development, as well as design and creative writing opportunities.

Fiverr is freelancing is a popular freelancer platform that brings freelancers and businesses together digitally. With over 250 categories, Fiverr provides a remarkable and incredibly extensive selection of professional service options.

Freelancer is another well-known freelancing marketplace with a prestigious customer list that includes high-profile corporations such as Microsoft, Boeing, and Intel. The platform is a godsend for small businesses in need of skill and assistance with various activities, including logo design, website building, writing, and marketing. The website is simple to use and has a user-friendly interface.

Guru is a freelancing network that helps businesses identify and hire professional freelancers from all over the world. It is a versatile and cost-effective platform that allows users to hire freelancers in a variety of fields.

People Per Hour covers a wide range of categories, and its well-designed project writing tool supports businesses by asking what kind of help they require and then using artificial intelligence to identify and contact the best freelancers.

The freelance marketplace is stealing the show because it provides a convenient, dependable, and simple way to connect with worldwide freelance talent, and as a result, it is growing in popularity and demand. The benefits of creating a freelancing marketplace extend to freelancers, businesses, and the marketplace's creator.

A freelance platform is beneficial for freelancers for a variety of reasons. It can include a diversity of work available, the frequency with which new possibilities become available, the site's user-friendliness, prompt payment, and, of course, the legitimacy of organizations and freelancers.

Of course, there are numerous ways to find new work. Which freelancing websites do you think are the best, and how do you find new work? Please share your thoughts with us.

However, we believe that simply applying will not get you your first gig. You must personalize each project proposal to the specific job description. So, let's take a look at how you can write the project proposal.

project proposal

Freelancers are frequently required to come with proposals to be considered for assignments. Writing proposals can be difficult at times, but keeping a few things in mind will help you approach the work more effectively and, more importantly, help employers evaluate your proposal.

What is a project proposal?

Project proposals are documents that outline the details of your project, including start and finish dates, objectives, and goals.

A good proposal defines the services that will be provided in a professional and comprehensive manner, and it should provide the client with the impression that you will provide high-quality work. Because of this, you will be able to charge higher rates for the work that needs to be done.

Here are a few things that your project proposals should include which may increase your chances of landing contracts.

  • Name, business/freelance name, address, and logo
  • Name and address of a potential client  
  • Number of the client, proposal number, and date
  • Subject line with specifics
  • Description of services  
  • Estimate based on the net price
  • Discounts / Taxes (if applicable)
  • Estimated price of your service in total

So, now that you are creating astounding project proposals, some might get approved and you will have to meet potential clients to close the deal. One thing you should be aware of is that, as a freelancer, you will have multiple clients and projects at the same time. That is why you need to understand how you will manage everything. Let’s look more into that!

Having a solid project management process in place is the best way to avoid problems (and impress your clients at the same time). This will not only help you approach each project with confidence and organization, but it will also convey professionalism to your clients.

The first step in effectively managing your projects is to create a system for keeping track of deadlines, meetings, activities, and critical dates. This might be a Google Calendar, an iCal calendar, or even a paper planner. There is no correct or incorrect solution here; you should do what works best for you. To remain on track and meet deadlines, utilize project management or to-do list applications (or a combination of both) in addition to your calendar.

multiple projects

Remember that as a freelancer, you must provide excellent work and please your clients, as satisfied clients lead to referrals and more business.

Here are a few tips to manage multiple clients and projects:

  • Clients should be assigned to specific days and times. It's critical to schedule adequate time each week/month and finish work for each of your clients. Some of your clients are likely to require more work from you than others and hence pay you more, but you may divide your time and energy by assigning them specific days and times to work on their projects.
  • Clear communication is essential when dealing with clients, don't skip on clear communication. Make sure you understand the project's details, expectations, and turnaround time.
  • Understand your bandwidth. One disadvantage of juggling several freelance clients is that you may find yourself with too much on your plate. You want to know your bandwidth before you get to the stage where your responsibilities overwhelm you. Be honest about how many workable hours you have each day/week and calculate how much time you'll need to devote to each client based on their requirements.

While there are numerous advantages to freelancing, one of the most significant disadvantages is taking on too many clients when you only have so much time in the day to devote to work. Make sure you're sticking to your daily to-do list so you can handle your various clients and projects and keep your business going smoothly.

We hope you have a basic understanding of how you will manage multiple clients and projects at the same time. One other important thing you should know as a freelancer is how to manage your finances.

manage finances

While freelancing has many advantages, finances can be a difficulty for both new and experienced freelancers. Unlike those who work a typical 9-5 job, freelancers do not receive a consistent paycheck or employer-provided benefits. Because of the unpredictability of freelancing, you must carefully manage your finances.

Here is some advice we give on managing your finances as a freelancer:

Personal and Business Finances Should Be Kept Seperate

It's critical to keep your freelance and personal funds separate. You can keep track of your revenue and costs more simply with separate accounts, and you'll have better records to indicate what business expenses you can deduct on your tax return.

Because freelancers do not have a steady income and do not pay taxes in the traditional sense, it is critical to keep meticulous financial records.

Set up an account for an emergency fund

Because your income as a freelancer fluctuates regularly, having an emergency fund is even more important.

Insurance Shouldn't Be Ignored

Freelancers often do not have individual access to employer-sponsored insurance policies, so they must ensure they are covered. You and your family may be at risk medically and financially if you do not obtain insurance. As a result, it's critical to make sure you're properly covered.

Set aside funds for taxes

Taxes can be difficult for everyone, but freelancing taxes are significantly more complicated. However, every country has a different tax-paying system’

Have faith in your financial situation. Your money will never be predictable or steady as a freelancer. Regardless of the irregularities, you can take control of your finances and develop wealth. As a freelancer, you can master your money by making good financial decisions, prioritizing savings, and following acceptable business procedures. It is only then that you will be able to fully appreciate all of the advantages of freelancing.

freelancing skills

Now that you've learned a few steps you need to take to be a freelancer, let’s look at which freelancing skills are in demand right now. First things first, to work as a freelancer, you don't need a bachelor's or even a high school diploma.

However, to provide a service to your clients, you will require a set of talents.

You must learn how to do the job before selling your services, whether it's coding, writing, or simply data entry.

Let's get started! Here are the most profitable and high-paying skills to master if you want to make money as a freelancer.


One of the most popular freelance skills to master is writing. Even the most gifted writers may have difficulty finding employment, and the pay for freelance writing isn't always the best. A recommended technique for attracting clients in this area is to build a personal brand and blog about your area of expertise.


Like writing, there are many distinct paths you can take with design, each of which has the potential to be highly profitable:

  • Illustration
  • Merchandise design
  • UI / UX design
  • Marketing materials design (website banners, graphics, pamphlets,  posters, etc.)
  • Product packaging
  • Photo editing/enhancement

And there are plenty more!


Programming is one of the most challenging freelancing skills to learn and one of the most lucrative.

The internet runs on code, which will only become more as computers and technology grow more integrated into our daily lives. It's no surprise that firms are prepared to pay top dollar for those who can use the correct tools to automate so much and hold so much control.

Marketing Techniques

You would be surprised how many businesses there are who:

  • Don't have any sort of digital marketing strategy in place at all.
  • Have no idea how search engines work.
  • Don't understand how having a social media presence can benefit them, let alone execute one.
  • Know all of this, but simply aren't bothered to invest the time in marketing their company online.

This is where you can become a huge asset and make great money while building your skills in the process.

Freelancing is one of the most straightforward methods to start earning money online, which is why I always advocate giving it a shot — no matter where you are in life. You set your fees and are only required to complete work that you agree to. The risks are few, but the upside is enormous.

Finding work would be quite easier if you determine a niche and expertise in that field. You should constantly upgrade yourself and keep learning new skills to stay on top.

However, many people wouldn’t like to take a risk and leave their safe jobs. If you are one of those people who is not sure whether freelancing is right for you then you can start freelancing as a side hustle. Gradually, as you take up more gigs and are confident about freelancing, you can leave your job. Or continue freelancing as a side hustle.

freelancing side hustle

Here’s more on freelancing as a side hustle.

Many Millennials and Gen Zers are interested in finding a side hustle. It's a terrific way to turn a pastime or passion into a source of income, and it opens up many networking opportunities and resumes. Although it's a terrific method to make extra money, it takes a long time to create your brand and connect with firms that will hire you - especially if you don't have much expertise.

Furthermore, beginning a side hustle not only boosts your income but also opens doors to career-changing chances that you wouldn't have otherwise encountered at your full-time employment. Many side hustles have resulted in new jobs, unexpectedly beneficial relationships, and enduring friendships.

Here are a few tips to get on your feet.

Prepare for the long haul

Remember that your side hustle will start taking up much time each week that you could be spending with friends, family, or elsewhere. Given that your full-time job consumes most of your time each day, a side business also necessitates enormous effort to succeed. Make a serious assessment of whether or not this is something for which you are willing to make compromises.

Make a list of your skills and interests

"Never go into a war unprepared" for the challenges that await you. You must back up your side hustle with relevant skills, experience, or industry knowledge to see immediate results.

One paying customer can help you validate your side hustle

The main reason you should test your side hustle idea with a paying customer before investing too much time and money in it is to ensure you're not solving an issue that doesn't exist. Be warned: there's a significant risk you're incubating a concept that won't appeal to enough people. And if no one wants your product or service, all of the resources (time, work, and effort) you put into developing it will be wasted.

Request genuine customer feedback

You'll put your side hustle at risk of failure if you don't get feedback from your first consumers. You may be preparing to create a product that fails to solve your customer's needs to the best of your ability. Without objective, external feedback, you're more likely to carry out the plan, devote a significant amount of time, money, and effort, only to lose all of those valuable resources in the end. Make it a practice to internalize occasionally unpleasant feedback, and you'll find that you'll be forced to refine your solution as you go along.

You Shouldn't Get Fired From Your Day Job

Certainly, you shouldn't work on your side hustle during work hours, and you shouldn't utilize corporate resources to further your own goals. It's not only unethical, but it's also probably against the terms of the employment contract you signed when you started your position. Even if your side hustle gains traction, make it a point to honour every term in your contracts and constantly produce an exceptional performance at your day job.

When you have full-time work supporting all of your living expenses, it is the greatest moment to start a business. Consider your day job as insurance against the risks you're taking while evaluating the sustainability of your side hustle.

whale hello

You now understand how to manage your time between your day job and freelancing. It is now time to put yourself out there because this is the most important aspect of freelancing. 

Research First

If you believe that sending a bunch of emails to employers will net you an unlimited amount of freelance work.

Research about the companies with which you want to collaborate. What do they require assistance with that they may be unaware of? For example, are you an excellent blog writer? If that's the case, check out local business websites and see how active their blogs are.

Think How You Might Be Useful For Them

Determine your game plan after you've discovered certain firms with which you'd like to collaborate. How are you going to assist them? What do you have to offer them that another freelancer doesn't? How might collaborating with you help them increase their profits?

Before you approach them, you should have these questions answered for yourself.


Pitching is when you contact a manager (mostly via email these days, but it can also happen in-person, over the phone, or on Twitter) to tell them about your services.

If you're still having trouble deciding whom to pitch to, you can always call! (It's amazing how many people are surprised that this is an option.) Simply tell the person who answers the phone that you'd like to send a pitch to the manager, and hopefully, you'll get the contact information for an editor that way.


Pitching a piece is better because it indicates that an editor is willing to accept your work, pay for it (if it's a paying publication) and that you're on the same page with the concept. For example, you know the newspaper doesn't have something similar in the works, you know the concept appeals to them, and you know the editor can give you input on the concept if they want you to refocus your post. There are, however, a few reasons why you would not wish to pitch a piece.

Dealing With Rejection

We are sure there will be some rejections along the way. If you don't face Rejection, it's a sign that you're not pushing yourself hard enough. How to cope with Rejection.

It has nothing to do with you. It may have nothing to do with your concept. Here are some possible reasons for your pitch/submission being turned down:

  • Your Article Maybe too Similar to Someone Else’s
  • Too many grammatical errors
  • The content is not up to the expectation

And so on; there are a bunch of reasons out there that you may not be aware of. But one thing is certain: keep going.

So far, everything is going well. Congratulations on making it this far. However, don't forget to put yourself out there. Because without it, you will not be able to get any gigs. You must put yourself out there so that people become aware of the services you offer.

Wrapping Up

One thing to keep in mind is that freelancing does not imply independence from your job. Clients are the bosses in the world of freelancing. As a result, you must select your clients carefully. Nonetheless, freelancing will appear to be the finest employment option once you have earned trust and respect for your work.

So, if you want to be a freelancer, now is the time to get started!

About Author

Krishna Thakkar
Content Writer
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Krishna did her BBA & found her passion for Blogging quite early on in her career. She is actively pursuing her P.G in Digital Marketing from Seneca University, Toronto. Her research on the areas of Marketing & Advertisement has helped thousands of Freelancers & Agency Owners, She currently heads the content division in Clientjoy - a platform that helps 13K+ Agencies & Freelancers in 90+ countries acquire & retain happier clients.

About the Editor & Reviewer

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What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

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