Many people like the idea of making money from home, but not sure if it’s the right move for them. I felt the same way when I was in between jobs, hoping to get the call for an interview (which never came). So, I thought through the reasons why freelancing might make sense for me and my family and these were 5 things that helped me move forward.
If you’ve ever considered starting (or growing) your freelance business, this blog post is for you. This covers the key things to consider as you think about a freelance business and how to apply your special skills for a sure fire way to level up.
Reason One - You want extra income
Let’s be real… who doesn’t want extra money!?
This is usually the first reason, (and the most practical reason!) for getting started as a freelancer.
Most people are not ready to quit their job and jump into full time work, so freelancing is a great way to dip their toes into the water and get a feel for working for themselves.
Freelancing gives you an opportunity to build your brand, clarify your services, and test out the waters to see if what you have to offer matches up with what people need help with.
And of course, get paid along the way!
My advice as you get started is to not approach this as a get rich quick money grab.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way (in most cases).
But, if you have skills that people need and have the ability to deliver on a project or hourly basis, then many more people can benefit from your services without the hassle of quitting your job or going through the hiring process.
Many times freelancing on the side leads to freelancing full time.
I started almost 3 years ago while I was waiting to get hired by a ‘real company’ (which never happened). I kept hustling while I waited for the phone to ring, and in the end, I enjoyed the autonomy and variety of work...and the quick turnaround of payment that I chose to pursue it full time.
3 years later I’ve built a multiple 6 figure business working with clients almost exclusively on Upwork. (Yes, you can make money on Upwork!)
Freelancing is a great way to bring in extra income. Setting realistic expectations and managing a simple process for clients to work with you is key.
And...you don’t need a fancy website or huge social media following to get started. Stick with me this week and I’ll share more about the world of freelancing and how it might just be the right time to dive in.
Reason Two - You have skills others need.
Did you know that you can make money from what you know right now?
You have skills that other people need, and they will pay you for them!
What are you good at that others may need help with?
Think small to start with. It could be simple admin tasks, or writing skills business owners desperately need.
Maybe you are an incredible proofreader, or great with numbers...
Are you great with systems and untangling messy processes?
Business owners and entrepreneurs are always looking for additional support with even the smallest tasks. Many (like myself) are even willing to train in areas they need help with.
Think about web research, blogging, graphic design or posting on social media.
What skills from your current job, or previous work experience did you enjoy doing, or find you are better than most?
For many years I helped the organizations I worked with simplify their messaging. Whether on a brochure, website or a simple email. They always asked me to review or rewrite what they wrote and make it sound better...or more persuasive.
I had no idea that it was called copywriting.
I was a copywriter for many years before I even knew that was a job that actually existed. Your skills may not have a title either, or you have enough to get started and are willing to learn more to hone your skills over time.
Perhaps your local business needs additional help, or they need some extra support finding leads during this economic downturn. You may be able to freelance and leverage your network to help a business reach more people.
Here’s a quick way to discover which freelance superpowers you might have:
Remember, smart business owners are looking for a return on their investment. Mostly they are looking to buy back time. So, position your freelance service as a way to save them time or increase revenue and you’ll be speaking their language.
Reason Three - You have extra time.
What if I told you that you could make money with the same time that you use to watch Netflix?
Now I am not saying that watching Netflix is a bad thing, but I will choose making money any day.
Let me be the first one to tell you the bad news: Even with extra time, freelancing rarely fits neatly into your schedule. It’s not a gig you do when you have 20 minutes here or there.
When I first started I had to get up a hour early and stay up 2 hours later to get things done in addition to my normal everyday work. For some people with kids, it may be near impossible to work while the kids are home, which means getting up early or staying up late when it’s quiet.
It means working weekends. And nights. And holidays.
At first it may not feel like you have extra time, but if the opportunity is big enough, or the desire is deep enough, we can all make extra time to get started on something that in the long run will lead us to creating the ideal schedule.
As you get started, see where you can block off an hour at a time to focus and get into flow with your work, whether it’s applying for jobs, connecting with prospective clients or scheduling time to actually ‘do the work’. Once you start to block off these chunks of time you’ll find you’ll be more productive and less distracted.
Freelancing is a great option for those who have the extra time...but I believe that anyone who truly wants to find a way to build a business of their own can make the time to get started and dig in.
Reason Four - You take a long term approach.
Let me tell you the best and worst thing about freelancing.
This is not a get rich quick strategy.
Neither the rich, or the quick is what you’re looking for when you consider starting a freelance gig. I wish it was, and if anyone tells you it is, I would walk the other direction.
Can you make good money freelancing? Absolutely. IF you are committed to putting in the time.
My first year as a full time freelancer working on Upwork I earned over 6 figures. One client at a time. No project was over $3000 so you can do the math to realize I had to work with a lot of clients to reach $100,000 in revenue.
So, while each project isn’t earning much, they add up over time.
Patience, consistency and experience will get you where you want to be as a freelancer.
I teach a course on how to make $1000 a week on Upwork, and the first thing I say is that you won’t make that your first week, or your second. But if you’re patient and consistent, and willing to hustle for small jobs in the beginning you’ll get there.
And then you’ll far surpass that.
Freelancing is not for everyone. If you need a quick paycheck or instant success...I suggest getting a job or advance from your boss.
But, if you are ready to build something of your own, on your own, please take a long term approach. Perhaps don’t quit your day job just yet. Build in a safety net. Make a 2 year plan for your goals.
For most of us, we have 40 more years ahead of us. If it takes us 1 year or even 2 in order to build a freelance business we love, it will be worth it!
Reason Five - You enjoy a variety of work.
How do you feel about making money doing what you love to do?
Sales rep, secretary, accountant and social media guru…
Freelancing is basically running your own business, which means you have plenty of hats to wear and a variety of work to keep you busy.
Most people start out thinking they will spend most of their time doing what they love, such as writing, research, designing, copywriting, website building etc. only to find out that they will also be applying for jobs, writing proposals, and sending invoices.
A variety of work.
Then, there is also the actual variety of work within their expertise.
When I first started as a freelancer I was writing blog posts and social media captions. I was asked to do website research and keyword analysis. I’ve been asked to edit videos, do voice overs, create wireframes and edit resumes.
A huge variety of tasks…
And each one helped me move closer to what I really enjoyed doing and where I was most happy.
It’s okay to get started doing things that you may not be super interested in, or even highly skilled at. Most freelancers get started somewhere at a fairly low rate (to get started) as they build their portfolio and narrow in on the type of work they most love.
If you’re just starting out, I wouldn’t be too picky. As you grow, you’ll be able to niche down and develop a deeper expertise in fewer areas, which will allow you to create better processes and marketing messages.
In the meantime, embrace the variety. You never know what you might get to do, and what skills you may discover!
Ready to get started but afraid of making mistakes along the way?? (Hint: you will make a ton) Download my free Full-Time Freelancers Guide: 5 Mistakes That Cost You Clients here, and I’ll share with you some tips to help you avoid making costly mistakes in the beginning.