Freelancing is a term that simply means to perform jobs for customers, rather than for an employer. There is a misconception that this only applies to those who know how to make money freelance writing; In fact, once you know how, “Make Money Freelancing” can be applied to almost any set of online skills.
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Freelancing is a very traditional way to start your own business with little to no capital. Essentially, you hire out your skill set and labour, accepting jobs from people with no time or ability in your chosen field. The internet has dramatically increased the call for freelancers, as well as the number of freelancers offering their services. It can be hard work and it can be stressful, but the rewards are there if you are prepared to put in the effort. This freelancing guide is intended to help you identify your online skill set and find work that will become your stable income while freeing up your time for other projects.
WHAT IS A FREELANCE JOB?
To this day, I spend about three hours per day on piece work I have acquired through freelance websites. This has become my staple “bread and butter,” so to speak: The work I do has guaranteed dollars per job, plus some residual income, and because I only commit to three hours per day I am free to work on other passive income. But what is a freelance job? Online, it means you offer your skills for hire, you bid on projects, negotiate with the customer, and then you complete the job and get paid:
Develop skills → Find clients → Provide a service → Get paid per hour, per task or on commission
WHY SEEK ONLINE FREELANCE JOBS?
The hardest aspects of freelancing are finding out what your marketable skills are, and then finding customers to pay you what your skills are worth. However, once you have those two down, freelancing actually removes much of the uncertainty from your online income.
As a freelancer, you enjoy the following advantages:
- Easily generate income in the short term
- Get paid for all the work you complete
- Decide your own hours and workload
- Build a personal relationship with customers
- No need to rely on sales or web traffic
Of course, as an income stream freelancing is the closest to having a traditional job. You will feel like you are constantly having job interviews and being measured on your performance. However, you are freed from having to turn up to your workplace at a certain time and you become your own boss. Plus, taking on just enough of a workload to pay your basic expenses enables you to spend the rest of your work day focussing on building your own passive online income.
HOW TO START FREELANCING
Freelancing is hard work, but it does pay the bills. The real trick in freelancing is to figure out your time vs income ratio. You want to make enough money to quit your day job, but you also want enough time for yourself, so you can enjoy life, work on other projects, build an online business, or reach whatever goals have motivated you to leave traditional employment.
To be successful as a freelancer, you need to address three key issues:
- What are your marketable online skills?
- Where will you find customers?
- What is your time and effort worth?
If you are still wondering what your marketable skills are, don’t worry: It is surprisingly fast and easy to learn and develop skills that people are willing to pay for.
FINDING FREELANCE JOBS ONLINE
Once you have decided to start applying your skills and getting paid, you have the task of finding paying clients. This is actually easier than it may seem, as there are plenty of resources and methods available to you.
The easiest way to get started is to browse work being offered on freelancing websites, such as:
You can also try other methods, such as contacting the owners of new websites and offering your services, contacting media agencies, posting advertisements on social media, and so on.
YOUR BEST FREELANCE SKILLS
Consider your existing online activity. Do you use social media? Do you browse many websites? Are you active on any forums? If the answer to any of these is yes, you already have skills that you can employ to gain customers. If not, then you may need a crash course in internet skills – click here to read a tutorial I wrote on the subject.
For more inspiration, here are a few easy ways to get paid:
- Freelance online writing jobs
- Search engine optimisation (SEO)
- Proof reading and error-checking websites
- Social media promotions
- Graphic design
- IT skills
- Content creation / journalism
- Videography and photography
- Content curation
- Online skills / web design
- Acting, modeling and performing
- Sales and lead generation
- Data entry
- Website and content reviews
- Labour hire
- Social media posting
There are many more skills that get you paid if you want to make money freelancing. Remember to search for jobs in a field you enjoy – after all, that’s the whole reason you are seeking an online income.
DEVELOPING YOUR FREELANCE PORTFOLIO
You will quickly notice that there is a lot of competition for freelance work online. To have the best chance of landing freelance gigs, you need to build your profile and reputation. This part is all about building trust and credibility – why would a client choose you over your competitors?
The first step is to be sure of your skill set. If you feel the need to increase your skills before you start, or even on the fly as you seek and complete gigs, try visiting Wealthy Affiliate. They have a very good series of training courses which you can learn from very quickly.
You can also look at other online courses or on the job training from your daily life.
BUILD YOUR PROFILE
First off, take a look at your resume and consider re-writing it to match the freelance work you hope to gain. This will then give you more of an angle on how to promote yourself. You may also have potential clients ask to see your resume, and you want it to match their expectations.
On freelancing websites, you will see the high paying gigs all going to freelancers who have already gained a strong reputation and many previous customers. Don’t worry, you can get there too! However, you may need to consider starting out accepting very low paying gigs. Not for long, just enough to build a solid reputation and good customer reviews.
After your first few paid gigs, start increasing your rate by just a little bit after each job you complete, until you are earning what you deserve and what customers are happy to pay.
Each time you have completed a freelance job, make sure your customer is happy with your work. That way, you can ask for a positive review or a reference. Great – you just raised your profile a little! You might also ask your client for permission to share your work with others – but be careful not to cross any intellectual property rules.
GROWING YOUR FREELANCE BUSINESS
Now that you have started winning jobs and making money, it’s time to think about the longevity of your business and increasing your income. There are several methods you can use to achieve this:
- Accept several ongoing casual gigs
- Outsource time consuming tasks to cheaper freelancers
- Promote yourself via a brand, start advertising
- Build your own freelance website
- Diversify your time – work on other businesses too
WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR
- No startup costs
- Short term income
- Labour intensive
- Scams and / or shoddy offers
- Highly competitive market
Be especially careful of your time and your online safety. Scams are reasonably common, and so are employers who don’t want to pay a fair price for your work. Here are some of the more common headaches:
JOBS THAT AREN’T WORTH YOUR TIME: After you have gained a positive reputation, make sure you don’t spend all day working on a job that pays less than your day job would have.
PAY PER COMPLETION JOBS: Sometimes you’ll just have to accept these offers, but be careful not to underestimate the time each component will take to complete.
OUTSOURCED JOBS: It is quite common for successful freelancers to land the high paying jobs, then offer them to cheaper freelancers at a fraction of the cost. Try to deal with employers directly
FEES: These can be quite high. Pick your sites carefully and make sure that your hard work is not just paying someone else. You also need to avoid employers offering the job at higher rates than will actually be paid, as you can get stuck with higher fees.
DISREPUTABLE FREELANCE SITES: I have not had an issue with this myself, but there are reports of freelancers not being able to access their funds after clients have paid via the freelance sites. Use caution.
NON PAYMENT: It’s sad, but some clients just won’t pay. Whether it’s due to unfortunate circumstances, disputes or even outright dishonesty, you need to be aware that this can happen. Protect yourself!
SCAMS: There are quite a few out there. Some key tips: Never accept an offer of using your amazon or eBay account to sell something, never get sucked into an MLM, pyramid or Ponzi scheme, never get tricked into doing something illegal.
LINKS AND RESOURCES
Freelancing is an excellent way to get paid while you work on other projects. Although the risk and competition are fairly high, I now spend about 30% of my day on jobs that resulted from freelancing, which pays my basic salary.
Read more freelancing topics here: All freelancing topics
Once you have both time and income on your hands, you can really get into other activities: Build affiliate websites, start an online store or even become a drop-shipper on eBay!
You can join Wealthy affiliate to learn some new, marketable skills very fast: Wealthy Affiliate University