I like to look at freelancing as a form of outsourcing, where a business or an individual looks for outside talent for certain tasks. It may be a long term commitment where the freelancer becomes an integral part of the business or it may be a one time thing. You can find quite a few freelancing platforms covering vast fields, from software development to customer service. I first started out on Elance, which turned into Upwork. There are other as well, like people per hour, or Freelancer. If you want to give it a try you have options. But it’s not easy, not at all.
Freelancing is a market in itself with a constant demand and a generous supply, there are companies on Upwork who spent over $50k on freelancers in various fields. Getting started is hard, especially when you have experienced and reputable freelancer that swipe proposals aways easily and very, very, very cheap freelancers from Asia. But in the end I believe that as long you are good, as long as you give it your best and respect your business dealings, even if they are just for freelancing, you can stand out. You can get a few jobs, small ones, get some good reviews. And you just build up on that.
A big part of freelancing is trust, the clients have to trust you, they have to see that you can do the job at hand and you won’t waste their time and money.
But trust goes both ways and if you run into people that treat freelancers like replaceable tools, you’re going to have a bad time. Don’t let one bad client stand in your way. Freelancers marketplaces are usually safe havens that act as a third party’s between freelancers and clients, but that doesn’t mean they’ll take your side if you get screwed over so always keep a skeptical eye, even when you’re just starting out.
I’ve mostly had good experiences as a freelancer, I’ve hit a few bumps, made a few mistakes, but I tried my best to learn from them and to always come out a better person. I’ve also came to a few conclusions if you will.
Freelancing is a great way to grow professionally. In this position you get to meet and interact will all sorts of people, you get to go through some things that, trust me, add up in the end. You learn to deal with people, to understand them, to see things differently, you learn to cover deadlines and respect yourself professionally. There is a ton of work up for sale at any moment, for marketers, for writers, for SEO’s so there is room for you too. Why? Because if you’re good enough you can squeeze out one of the bad apples, those who work cheap and deliver crap.
The freelancing market is self regulatory and bad freelancers don’t last long. Good ones might kick the bucket too in the end, but life’s not fair.
I digress. I’ve said a lot about freelancing, a lot of positive and let’s say, motivational things. Let’s get down to earth for a minute. You know why I started out to freelancer? For money. Yes, that was my reason, I didn’t think about any of the things that I mentioned above. I just needed some extra cash so i decided to put my skills to work. Everything else came after, in time. So if you want to make extra cash and you think freelancing is a good idea, great, that’s true. But if you expect to match your salary or to earn the big bucks in a couple of weeks, settle down there. Most people have abysmal budgets and as a beginner the only way you’ll be able to get people attention is with a low bid. But don’t go to low or you’ll look like you don’t value yourself. I’m getting into preaching again. Sorry about that.
I value freelancing a lot, but it’s hard work, and if you do it as an extra job you need to think long and hard about your shape of mind after work. You’re basically adding work hours and that can be tough after a while. But there is a really good feeling, that you won’t get with overtime, it’s a feeling of being your own master of having control, of being independent. I love that feeling, but after a few months I always need a break, to just chill and breakaways as much as I can. You might lose clients, but your peace of mind is more valuable.
One of the most important things about freelancing is independence. It is, in so many ways, you can make your own hours and choose your clients. You can have control over your workflow and be your own boss. As a side project it’s awesome, you learn some new things, get some extra cash, meet some new people, but as a full time job is independence and responsibility.
Nevertheless, it’s worth a try, even just to mix things up a bit. I’m really grateful for all of my freelancing experiences, and not just financially, I’m grateful for all the projects that i got to work on, projects that helped me grow as a writer and as a marketer, projects that got me to write this.