A Freelancer’s Guide to Making Money

A Freelancer’s Guide to Making Money

I would say that one of the best ways to make money is to start freelancing.  I have been a freelancer for a number of years.  I learned how to write code when I ran my online e-commerce business and then grew from there.  Many people always ask me about freelancing and most of them feel that it is unreachable for them.  They feel that they have no marketable skills or have no idea what they would sell.  I am going to say here and now that anyone can freelance. Yes, anyone!  In the spirit of making money, I wanted to share my version of a freelancer’s guide to making money.  There are many ideas on how you can make money, and I am not going to cover that.  Right now, I am going to cover what you need to do in order to start freelancing and how to be successful.

Identify Your Skill Set

The most important part of freelancing is understanding what you can sell.  Most freelancers sell their services.  Whether those be writing content, providing businesses with ideas, product design, online marketing, blog management, website design, website testing, coding, and many more.  There is a wide range of service that people can do.  Though most of what I have done has been online, there is a wide range of opportunities offline.  They might be harder to find, but they are still there.

Everyone typically has some type of marketable skill. Whether it be enough for full-time employment or not is another story.  People tend to be good at least one thing.  It could be a variety of things, but they still are good at one thing.  Many people don’t think about selling that skill to others.  This is usually because some people just don’t think outside of the box.  If you want to succeed being a freelancer, then you need to understand your skill set and see if it is marketable.

What’s Your Value Proposition

Wait?  My value what?  Before I start digging into the VP as I like to call it, I am going to throw down a little definition for you.  This is how Investopedia defines a value proposition.

A business or marketing statement that summarizes why a consumer should buy a product or use a service. This statement should convince a potential consumer that one particular product or service will add more value or better solve a problem than other similar offerings. Get more information on W88Asia.

In the freelancing world, you are most likely not going to be alone in the services you offer.  I can almost guarantee that one.  If you do have a unique service, then you might want to consider creating a full time business off of it.  That is only if you have a great value proposition.  This statement is to define why your service should be picked above all others.  Why would your service be any better?  What makes your service special?  These are  a few things that you need to answer when you come up with your value proposition.  Do you charge less, yet deliver more?  Do you just kick ass in general and you should be paid for it?  Before you become a freelancer, you need to understand your value proposition.

How Will You Market Your Services?

Alright, you have now figured out your skill set and what sets you apart from the pack. Congratulations!  Here comes the hardest part in a freelancer’s job.  Now you have to market yourself in order to get clients.  Anyone that has freelanced before knows that marketing can be a hard thing to do.  You have to appeal to people looking for your skills in a sea of freelancers.  This is especially true online.  When you jump online hoping to make money, you better know how to market yourself.  There are a few ways that can set you apart from others.

Start a blog – Running a blog can be a great way to meet people in the niche you are targeting. Obviously, you will want to cover topics that relate to your skills.  If you start a blog and network with other bloggers, then you can find jobs that way. This is how I get a lot of my freelance jobs.  There is some power in adding a little “hire me” link to your site.  If you want to know how to start a blog, then check out my little guide.

Be Active on Social Media – Connect and network with other people on social media.  When you are active on social media and converse with those in your niche, then you can make friends.  Networking is powerful and social media just enables that networking to be much easier.

Join a Freelance Jobs Board – There are too many jobs boards out there to name, but when it comes to freelancing, Odesk and Elance are great options.  You can easily setup an account there and start selling your services.  Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get a job right away. There are many other freelancers on these boards to compete with, but just stick with your value proposition.

Contact Companies Directly – This method might not always be successful, but you can and will get jobs from it if you are good.  If you know of a company that could use your services, then reach out to them.  Contact them and see if they need help. You never know where it will lead.  I have been flat out rejected, not responded to, and asked not to contact them again.  There have been other times when I have received steady work.  You never know.

Pricing and Delivery

Welcome to the next step in freelancing.  If you are going to sell services, then you better know what you want to charge. This is a very hard thing to do for most freelancers.  The reason is that the knowledge to set correct rates and delivery times comes from experience. You don’t get experience until you have a few completed jobs under your belt.  This is where you need to be flexible.  Your first few jobs might pay you less, but they will get you experience.  If you jump into conversations about pricing with a high price, then it will be an immediate turn off.  This is especially true if you  have no credentials to back up your pricing or any testimonials.  Pricing is truly an art when you freelance, so don’t be afraid to change it up.

Once you start working and selling your skills, then you will need to deliver.  This step also comes from experience.  If you are writing, then you need to know how long it will take.  If the people that hired you ask if you can finish said task in a certain time, then you better know if you can finish it.  There are too many other freelancers out there that will take your job in a heartbeat.  Don’t miss your deadlines.  If you think you are going to miss your deadline, then reach out to your contact and tell them why.  Be honest and transparent.

That will keep you on the job.

So there you go.  These are my keys to making money as a freelancer.  You need to know your skill set, understand your value proposition, market said value proposition, then price it right and deliver.  This guide might make it sound easy, but there are not too many freelancers that make a ton of money.  Just don’t get discouraged. This is not a get rich quick kind of thing.  You will not become a millionaire overnight.  You may never become one.  The point of freelancing is to earn extra money on the side and do something that you enjoy.  It might even turn into a full time job like our friends at Club Thrifty and Making Sense of Cents.

Are you a freelancer?  What tips do you have for someone just getting started?

How to Earn Money As a Freelancer – Understanding Freelance Work

How to Earn Money As a Freelancer - Understanding Freelance Work

Method 2: Understanding Freelance Work

  1. Have a vision. Know what you want and go for it! The biggest obstacle to freelancing is overcoming that mental blockage that says „You can’t do it and you shouldn’t.” To overcome that feeling, show yourself that it freelancing isn’t just something you want to do because you want to work from home, but a business plan. This isn’t just a fantastical idea, but a business reality.

One useful way to start seeing freelancing as a viable option is to being the process of legitimizing it. Come up with a name for your business and a logo or font-type. Once you start creating the vision, it becomes easier to realize that this a real business you’re launching. Start the process by establishing a business name and creating a vision for your company brand.

  1. Take time to enter into freelancing. Don’t jump right in and hedge all your bets on freelancing right away. Freelancing can be a great way to earn money, but it can also take a considerable amount of time to build up. Make sure that you are 100% committed to investing your time and effort into freelancing before you decide to quite your other job(s).

Keep in mind that a lot of the steps in Part 1 can be undertaken while you are still working at your day job. Focus on setting the ground plan for freelancing while still earning a stable income and you’ll feel more confident and comfortable taking the leap.

  1. Be ready for slow periods. In every business, there are slow periods. This will happen for your freelancing operation as well. You’ll probably get stressed and think the whole thing is a flop but know that all industries always go through ebbs and flows. Also know that eventually, business will pick back up.

Make sure to plan for slow periods, whether that meanings changing prices or having a savings plan.

The more you freelance, you’ll be able to identify trends and peak and slow periods. Ultimately, you’ll be able to anticipate when things slow for you and you’ll stop getting worried because this will be routine. and you can start to expect the drought and prepare. But it takes a while to get there.

  1. Be prepared to hold yourself accountable. Since as a freelancer, you are your own boss, you need to make sure that you’re doing what you need to do. While most people get excited at the prospect of not having a boss looking over their shoulders, it’s also important to remember that bosses keep you motivated and give you feedback on your progress. Without a boss, you’ll need to do this yourself most of the time.

Engage in daily and weekly reflection about the work you’ve done to make sur you’re hitting your targets. If you’re not, then you need to have a serious look at your work habits and system.

Other people – such as editors or mentors if you’re a freelance writer, for example – can also help provide accountability. At the end of the day, however you’re the boss so be the boss.

  1. Be ready to talk about yourself a lot. As a freelancer, especially a newly minted one, you’ll have to talk about yourself, what you do and what you’ve done A LOT. You are your own marketer. Opportunities can come from surprising and unexpected places, so it’s important that you have a ready pitch of a few sentences about yourself and your freelancing services or products that you can use whether you’re at a holiday party or business fair. If you’re a private person by nature, try writing down and practicing the pitch until it becomes natural. Over time, you’ll get better at talking about yourself and doing self promotion. A little bit of hustling is essential to success in the freelancing world.

Make sure to get business cards made so you can hand them out whenever you bump into someone and start chatting. These are an old – but still relevant – way to get your name out there.

  1. Cope effectively with being alone. The lack of social interaction and communication of the office environment can make freelancers feel lonely and isolated. While you’ll need to learn how to stay goal-directed and on task without the motivation of others, you should also take care to prevent loneliness from taking root. Try working in different spaces a day or two a week; take your computer to a local coffee shop and work there. Even just hearing the buzz of social interaction can make you feel less alone.

You could also meet up with other freelancers for lunch or coffee to discuss problems, concerns, and other topics. There are a number of local business networking groups that can help connect people who work for themselves and usually remotely.

There are also little things you can do to relieve feelings of isolation. Call someone, instead of sending an email, for example.