Finding reliable work is increasingly difficult with so many businesses cutting back on their workforces. Everyone and their uncle are plastering their resumes, inquiry letters, and job profiles on every job site ever created. Where does that leave you? What can you possibly do to make money that doesn’t involve fighting billions of people for the same job?
The answer is simple – go freelance.
Freelance is a term that means: working for multiple clients, creating your own portfolio, charging what you want (within reason, of course), working when you want, and working with who you want. It is one of the money making ideas that offers you the freedom to create your own professional career outside of the confines of a strict business world.
So what does it take to be a freelancer? What kinds of freelance jobs are there? How much can a freelancer make? Does it take money to start as a freelancer? What are the advantages and disadvantages of working freelance? These are all good questions that will be answered in…3…2…1
Skills to Pay the Bills
Freelancing is similar to a regular job in that you are required to have basic knowledge of the job in which you plan to work. You can’t show up to work at an accounting firm if you haven’t passed a college mathematics course. Similarly, you can’t be a freelance writer if you can’t string words together to make a sentence people will comprehend.
Before you take the plunge into the world of freelance, you need to have a marketable skill that people will want to pay for. It doesn’t mean you need a fancy college degree or professional certification (though, that will certainly be a good added bonus, no matter which of the money making ideas you choose). But you need have mastered some skill that people would want to hire you for. If you only have a high school education, but can draw with incredible skill, why not market yourself as a freelance illustrator? If you have a college degree in counseling, but don’t want to deal with people’s problems, you can write magazine articles using your knowledge and still put your years of school to use.
Being a freelancer doesn’t just take skills, it also takes opportunity and persistence. If you want to work freelance, but don’t have the time in your day, chances are that you won’t retain many clients. You need patience, professionalism and marketing genius. Being a freelancer makes you a small business owner – a business of one, where you are the owner, the boss and the employee.
A Freelance What?
It’s amazing how many people consider freelance writing as the only form of freelancing in the freelance market! Obviously, that isn’t the case. In all honesty, if you can do it from your home computer, it can be done freelance. Yes, there are freelance writers, but there are also freelance…
- web designers
- graphic designers
- data entry specialists
- video game testers
- content managers
- virtual assistants
- medical coders and billers
- public relations specialists
- customer service reps
- interior designers
- wedding planners
The list could go on, but you get the idea. More and more jobs are starting to make their way online, and once they do, you’ll be able to take them on as a freelancer.
How Much Can I Make and How Much Will it Take?
Because freelance is, well, freelance, there isn’t a minimum amount of money that you can make. On the flip side, for those successful in this field, there isn’t a maximum either. Working freelance, just like many other money making ideas, doesn’t have a preset income profile. Some weeks you may make $400, and the next week you might not even make $4. It all depends on what you do, who you do it for, how much you charge, and whether or not you have a client.
You can choose to charge by the hour using time tracking software offered by sites like:
- www.oDesk.com (time tracking software available only to employees hired through the website)
or, you can charge a flat fee for specific services. A very helpful tip to take away from this is that working freelance means that you don’t have to work according to a predetermined structure, but it doesn’t mean that you work for FREE either. Charge what you believe you are worth, but be smart about it.
One of the upsides to working freelance is that you can make money with little to no initial investment. There are tons of free freelance sites online, and there are some that charge a fee per contract, or a monthly subscription fee for their services. Also, if you want to market your freelance services, you may need some cash to place ads online or in local classifieds.
The Advantages of Working Freelance
The advantages of working freelance are quite obvious! You get to work when you want, choose your clients, charge what you want, work where you want, and continue attending college or have a day job while bringing in extra income. Working freelance is one of those money making ideas that allows people true career freedom.
The Disadvantages of Working Freelance
This too should be obvious, but here is an explanation anyway…working freelance means that you don’t have the backing of any business but stand on your own. That means that you won’t have employer benefits like health insurance, paid vacations, disability, social security, unemployment, life insurance, or paid sick leave. Working freelance means that you are left adrift in a world of uncertainty, and you may get bit on the butt by a ravenous shark.
Also, as mentioned before, working freelance doesn’t guarantee a reliable income. Unless you’re under contract with a company, you might not have work from week to week.
And lastly, if things don’t quite work out with a client the way you expect, you don’t have the backing of a “legal department” or an “HR department” to help resolve the issue (at least not unless you spend big bucks and hire them yourself). That said, follow a few simple rules and you should be able to avoid getting into such a situation in the first place.
Freelance work can be a blessing or a curse, but it is one of the many legitimate money making ideas that is taking off and bringing millions of people along for the ride.