What it takes to Become a Freelancer

So you want to become a Freelancer and earn your living independently?

Of course you do. It must be better than the misery of the regular grind you currently call a job?

Does working for your self sound like a dream come through to you? I’m guessing it does, and it can become a reality for you too.

Do you want to know how I made a ton of money freelancing? I’ll tell you this, it wasn’t easy. I had no idea how to manage this type of business.

In this article I will answer a few questions about this type of career.

Hopefully this gives you a better idea of what freelancing is all about and you can decide if it’s the right career for you.

Can anyone become a Freelancer?

Is freelancing for anybody? Freelancing is certainly not for everyone.

And I’ll explain why.

Freelancing is like running an entire business on your own.

Do you have the capacity to do that? Few people do.

What are the responsibilities of a Freelancer?

You are directly responsible for the marketing, sales, presentation materials, billing, bookkeeping, supplies and equipment, rental space, and the actual production work involved.

As a freelancer who has little previous work experience, especially no corporate experience, it will be very difficult at first.

This is not for the faint of heart.

Can you do all these things? If you can’t, then I would suggest you take your skills to a full time job.

I’m not attempting to discourage you, but to warn you. Much like any career worth more than it’s market value, it will be a hard fight to move forward and upward at first.

If you have this type of background, then it will be much easier for you to start.

If it starts out difficult for you, don’t worry, overtime it will get easier. And if you do most things correctly you can get to a more than comfortable income relatively fast.

If you do not grow and learn while in this type of business it will cause stagnation of your potential income for years.

Just like any other job, you must work hard, work smart, and learn fast if you want to be successful.

What does it cost to start Freelancing?

Freelancing remotely, which is usually from home, requires a computer under most circumstances.

Some freelancing jobs may not require a computer. Most jobs require some kind of tool, equipment, or device.

You have to make this your top priority or the ship doesn’t sail.

This may require that you get or keep your current job and save up the needed money to purchase the required equipment for the type of work you are planning on doing.

And there is more.

While you may not need money to prospect new clients, eventually you will want to have a budget for marketing.

Over time you will want to expand and bring on more help. By then you should be generating enough in income to pay your new staff.

One more thing here is communications and internet.

While many jobs do not require a steady or high speed internet connection, it will be very crucial that you can get access to the internet when you need it.

How many hours do Freelancers work?

Freelancers can work as many hours as they want. I would not suggest more than 80 hours per week simply because that kind of work schedule could start affecting your health.

I also would not suggest working more than 10 hours in a day.

Freelancing offer flexibility in your work schedule. Disciplined individuals can get 6 to 8 hours in daily very comfortably.

Setting proper expectations with the client on when you are available for communication is a key part of controlling your hours.

Based on my own experience, I think a typical Freelancer with a few years of experience probably works about 50 to 60 hours per week including doing the actual client work plus managing other business needs.

As you gain more experience and more clients, your payment fee should go up as demand for your services goes up, and this will allow you to work less while earning more.

How many clients does a Freelancer need?

The number of clients you need to service perhaps in a month or week will depend on a few things. It certainly will depend on how much money you are charging per project.

But this number can also depend on how extensive and time consuming a project is, and how many projects a typical client provides.

If you have experience in your craft it will be very easy for you to handle multiple clients and projects throughout the month.

As a new freelancer, it will be difficult at first to move through a large amount of projects in a week or month because you will lack the experience both as a business manager and an expert in your field.

Here is an example of how many clients you need if you’re going to become a freelancer

Let’s just say the average client pays you $500 a month, you will need to service 10 clients to make $5000/m. This may or may not be practical based on your type of job.

If you can get the value of each client to at least $1000 monthly, you will need between 5 and 10 clients to make a really good full time income. These numbers are based on US pricing. It may be different for countries other than the US.

Should you stay at your current job while freelancing?

Staying at your current job can be beneficial when you start to freelance in a new field you have never worked much in before.

It’s also important to stay at your job because your client base will be small and may not start providing a full time income in the beginning.

Eventually you will have to make a choice. If the income and demand for your time is high enough, you will need to leave in order to continue growing your new business.

Leaving your full time job may seem scary, but it’s only that way for reason.

We’ve all been programmed to think an employer is the most secure form of employment, when in fact it’s not.

What is required to survive as a Freelancer?

Learning to trust yourself, learning to rely on yourself, having the confidence to know you can get what you need when you need it, and having the hunger to go get it.

That will provide the most security to you and your family in the long term.

What should you do about losses?

Another aspect of freelancing you must get use to is the losses. As a new business owner you will see and bare the losses directly. This can be devastating emotionally.

My best advice is to not let any of the losses get to you personally. Losses are inevitable when you elevate to a higher risk income source.

As time goes on, the losses will have less impact and often become irrelevant to your day to day life. This business will become far less risky and in fact more secure than the typical company.

What is the most important thing a Freelancer needs when starting out?

Successful Freelancers and other small businesses use portfolios, case studies, examples, and demos to present their skills and get the job.

You absolutely need examples of your work, preferably online where you can easily direct prospective clients where to go to get more background on you and your services.

Without a portfolio, other previous work examples, or results, you will find it almost impossible to win clients and get projects.

It’s not just what you need but how you present it if you are to become a freelancer

Your online work examples and demos must be presented one hundred percent professionally. When I say professionally, I mean what’s considered professional for your industry.

If you are a professional tattoo artist I would not expect you to present your work in a corporate looking portfolio.

Similarly, if you are an SEO professional, I would expect you to present charts and reports rather than designs or block of business text.

Most importantly the presentation it self must be neat, clean, well written or put together and present your most important skills.

Why is freelancing better than a traditional job?

I’ve had well established professionals tell me they would much rather have a job where they can work from anywhere – in the world, and have complete control over their schedule and income, instead of their present situation.

Wouldn’t that be a great way to earn a living? How many of us wouldn’t jump at that opportunity?

Well this is what I’ve been doing for years. I’ve made a ton of money as a Freelancer. I’ve worked with countless companies across the U.S., and even some overseas clients as well.

Freelancing is very liberating.

Why do people like the freelancing lifestyle?

People like this lifestyle, not because they do not like to work, rather they often love work! We know how important it is. A person may likely get bored without work.

What are some of the problems with a traditional job?

The problem I see most people having is with the great commitment required to earn a decent wage the traditional way.

Here is a small list of considerations for a traditional job:

  • Many hours & high cost of travel
  • Multiple fast food meals daily
  • Exposure to weather and germs
  • Exposure to criminals and danger
  • Not available for chores, children or/and the Spouse
  • Inconvenient or inflexible schedule
  • Overbearing and abusive managers
  • Dead end job. None or little chance for advancement
  • Dead end pay. No chance of pay increase
  • The draining of your life force among many others

In a paper published by Sarah A. Burgard and Katherine Y. Lin in the US National Library of Medicine, they make the case that work definitely affects the health of individuals across generations.

That kind of sacrifice was way too much for me. It was just not worth it in my view. And what the internet has done is provide a way to avoid all that hassle involved in maintaining the status quo.

How freelancing websites have changed work?

With sites like Upwork, Guru, and Freelancer.com to name a few, you can now manage work virtually. You can make your living working for one or several clients, and get your earnings deposited directly into your bank account.

Now that is something awesome right? And especially when you can do it in your home office, living room, the beach, or where ever you want to get your work done.

What is Upwork?

Upwork is a web based platform for finding short term and long term projects to work on.

For this article I will primarily focus on the Freelancers perspective. But I will touch briefly on the hiring process, because I have done both.

How does Upwork work?

On Upwork you create a profile and list details of your skills, examples of your work, and take skills assessment tests.

Your profile can also be rated and reviewed by your past clients.

You know what’s also great about Upwork? It’s free to sign up and apply to jobs. You only have to pay this site a 5-20 percent fee of the money that clients pay you.

Now I know this fee might seem high, but I would consider it like a marketing cost paid to Upwork for sourcing the client in the first place.

As you gain more experience, you can start using other marketing tactics to lower your cost for acquiring a customer.

How do I get paid on Upwork?

On Upwork, hourly pay is guaranteed to be paid out automatically barring any disputes from the client. Flat rate project funds are held in escrow and are released manually by the client upon your request.

Upwork is a BBB accredited business and care greatly for the quality of it’s marketplace.

Conclusion

Why are you interested in freelancing? Do you see this as a path to owning your own business or a path to personal freedom?

Why would you want to put your time into things, people, and companies that produce no new value for you and your family?

Ask yourself this question, how many times have you thought something was difficult to do, tried it, learnt it, and realized it’s actually not that hard after all?

Become a freelancer, it’s your destiny.

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