We’ve all seen those adverts online, the one promising that we can somehow make thousands of dollars working from home. Of course, most people are all too familiar with the phrase, ‘if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is’. But making a living working from home is possible.
If you have a marketable skill, freelancing is a great way of earning a living. It is by no means easy, but if you are able to market yourself and find work, freelancing can be an amazing lifestyle.
Before you commit to freelancing, you need to know exactly what you are getting yourself into. Being responsible for finding and managing your own work is a lot of responsibility to take on. You need to be confident in your finances, as it might be some time before you start pulling a proper salary.
If you are considering switching from your current job to freelancing, this guide is for you. Here’s everything you need to know to prepare you for the freelancer lifestyle.
What’s Your Skill?
If you’re going to make it as a freelancer, you are going to need a skill or service you can sell. For many people, freelancing represents an effort to turn their hobby or passion into a career. For example, if you love to draw or write and have been doing so for many years, you will no doubt have improved greatly.
Once you have developed your skills enough, you can begin to think about freelancing. You need to have confidence in the value of your work before you can expect other people to pay for it.
Some people decide to freelance and then learn a skill specifically for that purpose. There’s nothing wrong with doing things this way round and there are plenty of skills you can choose. If you are in search of a skill, check out this list for some inspiration.
Can You Afford It?
Very few people will be earning a full-time wage when they first start freelancing. You will more likely have to struggle by without much work while you establish a client base. It depends on the circumstances in which you start freelancing.
If you are determined to make it as a freelancer, you might need to consider making some other lifestyle changes in order to make it financially viable. It might be necessary to relocate, either for budget reasons or for better market access. In either case, work out your current cost of living (the cost of all your current essentials), then compare it with the place you are considering moving to.
For example, the cost of living in Boston is significantly different from that of New York, as reported in this article. Not only is the cost of housing in Boston ($615,000 mean) lower than that of New York ($1.3 million), but the cost of food in Boston and cost of entertainment in Boston are also lower. If you are living in New York and just about getting by with a salaried job, moving to Boston would significantly reduce your living costs while also keeping you near to the East Coast. The previously linked article gives you a fantastic overview of all the many factors that will affect your living costs. If you are considering moving to another city, use that article as a guide for what costs to consider.
How Will You Market Yourself?
It’s hard to overstate how much responsibility you will be placing on your own shoulders as a freelancer. A salaried job will always pay you, regardless of how busy you are or exactly what you do. In fact, most jobs will allow you to take time off for a vacation or an illness and still get paid.
It’s a very different story when you are freelancing though. Freelancers are responsible for finding their own work, maintaining their own client relationships, and ensuring that they deliver the work on time and on point.
Before you can seriously embark on a freelancing career, you will want to have at least some idea as to how you will sell your services and who you will sell to. If at all possible, you should aim to have a client or two lined up before you begin your freelancing. If you can keep drawing a salary from another job while you get up and running as a freelancer, you should do so.
If you think you have what it takes to become a freelancer, you can start making preparations today. This isn’t something that you want to rush into, but there’s no harm in planning it out. If freelancing is for you, put together a proposal and see if you can make it a reality. Whatever your skill or passion, if you can sell it then you can make a living from it.
- Top 5 Tips to Become a Successful Freelancer
- How to Succeed on Elance
- Lifestyle Entrepreneurship: Making a Profit Out of Passion
- Are You an Entrepreneur or Freelancer?
- Growing Your Business by Outsourcing to Freelance Marketplaces