As a freelancer should you invest 1st your money to have good tools and then reach out to your clients OR start small with what’s available online and with some clients and only then invest your money to have access to better tools?
Why does this have to be an OR situation? If you have a need for better tools to be more confident in your delivery of services then making that a priority is always encouraged. However, there is no point in having a tool if you dont have a job to use it on and start earning back your investment. Unless you are talking about the choice between investing money in tools or investing money in marketing, I dont know why these two things would be exclusive. That line of thinking aside, and in a more general sense, a bit of this will depend on the type of freelancing you are doing and whether a certain level of tool quality is required to even attempt the job/tasks in question. All things being equal though, I think you start with priming up some customer sales to validate you can get business coming in (almost always harder than anticipated in service based companies) and then making new investments into tools from there. You may also discover there are higher priority tools or investments you need to be made based on what your first clients tell you.