5 Questions to Help You Get Started Freelancing

by Vincent King · 8 comments

The statistics are in. Freelancing is topping the charts as the country’s go-to source for work. In recent years, sites like Elance, oDesk, and Guru cornered the market with freelancers looking for and accepting the lowest paid work out there.

Now things are finally changing.

During the course of the last year, the average rate on Elance was $28 an hour — almost four times the nationally accepted minimum wage. That makes freelancing a fantastic way to make money in your spare time, if you have expertise that someone is looking for.

Why Should You Freelance?

Freelancing is a contract-based business you can run on your own and in your own time. Have to work a full-time job? No worries. Need something where you can call the shots? This is it. Freelancing will be as lucrative as you make it. If you have time to bury yourself neck-deep, you’ll make more money. If you don’t, you’ll pick up a little side cash to help pay the bills.

Plus, if you freelance, you’ll typically choose something you love and are good at because, well, that’s how you’ll make the most money in the least amount of time. And if you love it, it won’t be too much like work.

Can You Freelance?

So many people assume they have nothing to offer as a freelancer. Yet, the reality is that everyone is unique, with a talent of some kind that could surely help others. Once you know what that talent is and the unique angle you can offer, it should be relatively easy to find a niche and snuggle comfortably into it.

Once you know where you fit in, you can start earning that extra side income you’ve always wanted. A handsome one, at that — especially if you get good enough at what you do to bring in that $28 per hour.

If you have one or two extra hours a day, you can squeeze in some freelance time. You’ll have to give up a few TV shows or get up a little earlier each morning, but you’ll be bringing in money on your own terms and in your own way. You can’t beat that.

What’s Your Specialty?

Are you a good storyteller? Maybe you can help others tell their stories. Are you a master at art? Web design is exploding. Love to write magazine articles? Learn how to pitch to magazines. If you’d rather work in person than online, what about photography?

There are loads of freelance categories out there. Find one that suits you and get on it.

Where Do You Start?

Start with a website: a good design, some great copy, and a LOT of patience. Those high pullers on Elance didn’t sit on their couches wondering what to do; they got up and figured it out. They researched and studied and perfected their talents. They don’t rely on people to come to them; they get out on those sites and bid.

Which brings me to another point.

How Can You Manage Your Time?

You’re going to be working in your spare time, so you’ll need to make sure you know exactly what you need to do and when you need to do it. If you have a plan, all you have to do is execute when it’s time to get to work. That’s how things get done and bank rolls are built.

Bidding takes time. Set yourself a schedule and stick to it. Use an hour a day to perfect your craft, and an hour to bid. Learn from your mistakes. Each bid is a chance for you to grow yourself and your freelancing business. You won’t do it right the first time, and maybe not the 21st. But, you will do it right eventually. As long as you’re aware of your mistakes, you’ll be able to fix them the next time.

Freelancing is an art — and in today’s day and age, is taking on a whole new meaning. It’s the perfect way to shift from wasting time to making money.

What can you turn into a freelance gig this weekend?

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Patience is key in freelancing. You can’t expect to get things right the first time nor earn your first $100 in your firsts hour. It’s essential to balance expectations and also put in time and energy just like you would when a boss is sitting across your table watching your every move.

  • Freelancing as a writer can be really profitable. But try to find companies, websites and blogs directly to get better pay without paying a middleman.

  • Just started putting feelers out for freelance gigs this week (after over a year of blogging). Of course now I spend more time applying for positions and marketing myself than I actually do creating content. It’s a tough balance.

  • Robert Black says:

    I’ve been freelancing since 2008 and I can say your advice is right on the money. The biggest issue I had to overcome was the whole working from home thing. You have to be ruthless in managing your time otherwise you’ll find yourself getting distracted – “I’ll just make a coffee”, “After I check my Facebook I’ll get started”, “Honey can you go to the shops for some milk”. Here are my rules that have worked well for me

    1) I assume I have a boss sitting next to me watching my every move
    2) Set start times, break times and end times – keep to them
    3) Have a separate room in the house for work
    4) Tell your partner not to interrupt you unless the house is burning down

    There’s also a 5) that I implemented for the first 6 months. Before I started freelancing I used to put on a suit to go to work. When I started working from home I found myself often not getting much work done. So I put on the same suit to “go to work” in my house, and psychologically I just felt more in tune with working. That may be a bit extreme though!

  • dojo says:

    I have started freelancing in 2009, when I lost my main job and was in debt. I’m currently debt free and making 3-4 times more money than I did with my previous job (which wasn’t badly paid either). I can spend a lot more time with my family (working from home) and am pretty optimistic about the future. Freelancing is not easy, but it can surely be done 😉

  • I think that freelancing can be a great way to bring in some side income or more. We turned my wife’s freelancing into our business and now both do it. I think the having a schedule tip is spot on. Your day is generally much less structured and can get away from you very easily.

  • Michelle says:

    I’m about to turn to 100% freelancing for my income. I can’t wait!

  • I tend to imagine almost anyone can freelance, maybe it’d just take some time before they are pulling in decent income…I mean, just take a look at some of the crazy gigs on sites like fiverr!!
    Can agree with you though, freelancing seems like its here to say…call it the age of the sideprenuer! Everyone seems to be all about the side hustle this days and with the freedom and fun that comes with it, no suprises there.

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