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Freelancing has been around for some time now, and with the advancement of the internet and the technologies, it can be fairly easy to start with it.
Now, amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, more and more people are reconsidering their job choices and looking into freelancing.
But even before that, the trend of people switching from 9 to 5 work schedules and the traditional models of a working week has been on the rise.
If done right, freelancing can be the freedom ticket you need to travel and explore the world while at the same time getting a steady income to support yourself. How cool does it sound?
I personally have some experience from both sides of freelancing, and I think it’s the future of working.
In this article, I will briefly mention the history of freelancing, explain what is freelancing, discuss the pros and cons, and give you tips on how you can become a freelancer from home.
Beginnings of Freelancing
The word “freelance” dates back to the early 1800s when it was first used referring to medieval mercenaries who fought for whoever paid them the most.
The first written evidence of the word is in Sir Walter Scott’s novel, Ivanhoe. In the novel, a feudal lord refers to the paid army as “Free Lances”.
The word and practice took root fast, and broader meanings were applied to it as time passed by.
It was for example used for politicians that didn’t have a political affiliation nowadays known as independent.
Additionally, the word was used for people that did any type of work on their own terms with no permanent employer.
This meaning sticks perfectly around in current times as well.
What is freelancing?
Freelancing refers to working for different clients without committing to a single employer.
It is basically a contract-based profession where a person uses their education, skills, and experience to offer services to different clients.
Usually, freelancing is done remotely from home. This is of course not always the case and depends on the type of freelancing services that you’re offering and essentially the preferences of the client.
Many people think that freelance by default means working from home. That is not true. You can work a regular job remotely too. The fact that you’re freelancing doesn’t automatically mean that it’s working from home.
The reason why a huge portion of freelancing jobs are also done from home is that usually, the services can be delivered through the internet.
For example, content writing, graphic design, social media management, any type of digital ads or content creation, etc can be done remotely very easily.
Whereas if you’re a photographer freelancer, you would be mainly working outside home, logically.
Pros and Cons of Freelancing
Like everything else, freelancing has its own pros and cons. If you are considering starting a freelancing career, it might be good to first learn the advantages and disadvantages of this type of work.
- You call the shots
- You have flexible working hours
- You can select the clients you want to work with
- You can work on any preferred location for remote working
- You are not limited in your earnings
- You don’t have to commute to work
- You can choose different projects that make you happy
- You don’t have office policies and evaluations
- You don’t have a dress code
- You are in charge of all the aspects of your working
- You can take breaks whenever you want to
- You can try something different, something you’re passionate about
- You can work while traveling
- You can feel isolated
- Sometimes it’s not easy to find new gigs
- You don’t have a regular, steady paycheck
- Working with multiple clients can be overwhelming
- You answer to multiple clients
- The time you take off is not paid (vacations, maternity leave, etc)
- You have no company health benefits
- If you are sick, you don’t have income
- It can be hard to motivate yourself and push yourself
- You need to make your own deadlines and schedules
- You can feel like you lack structure or social contact
- You have to be in charge of all the aspects of your business
There is no right or wrong decision when it comes to freelancing. It can even be your side gig, if you are looking to make some extra money.
The best thing you can do when making your decision is to point out the most important benefits that you want from your job and see in which category they fit.
How to Become a Freelancer?
If you took into consideration all the pros and cons of freelancing and you want to pursue a freelancing career, here is a step-by-step guide on how to achieve that.
1. Find the right platform
Even though there are a lot of legit companies that offer freelancing gigs nowadays, if you are just starting out with freelancing you’d want to choose a platform that will be the “middle man”.
These platforms are making it much easier to get connected with potential clients and build up a rating that can help you out with experience and good reviews.
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In the end, that will raise your prices, and clients will be willing to pay more to have work done by you.
There are a few platforms out there where you can start your freelancing career:
- Fiverr- is the largest marketplace with a lot of active freelancing jobs that you can fairly easily get. All you have to do is create an account, choose what you want/can do, and that’s basically it. If you are interested in a full Fiverr review, click here.
- Freelancer.com– This platform is one of the first sites of this kind on the internet. The first thing you have to do is create an account, and point out your skill sets so they can match you with the right types of gigs.
- UpWork- if you want a more professional marketplace, UpWork is for you. You can find different types of gigs, and plenty of business clients that are sometimes looking for long-term relationships with freelancers. Not all the people that apply for creating an account are getting one due to the high number of freelancers applying.
- Freeup– is the hardest platform to get into. It is made to only accept the most professional and experienced freelancers. In fact, they claim that they only accept the top 1% of all applicants. This makes the platform very high-quality, with extremely fair prices. You should first build up your ratings and experience on other platforms before trying to get into Freeeup. For a full review on the site, click here.
- 99Designs- if you are into design, then this platform is specifically for you. There, people are designing everything from logos and product packaging, to t-shirts and app designs.
2. Pick the right category/categories
On any of the before mentioned platforms or any other that you might find out there, the possibilities for work are divided into categories.
In general, there is work for many different careers and fields of work.
However, some categories are more present than others.
Some of the most developed freelance categories are:
- Computer and IT
- Digital Marketing and Social Media Marketing
- Project Management
- Content writing, editing, proofreading
- Software Development
- Tech support
- Accounting and Finance
- Data Entry
- Virtual Assistance
- HR and Recruiting
- Graphic Design
When you are choosing what categories you want to get gigs in, be honest.
You can’t lie because when you get new clients and they see you can’t perform the tasks, your overall reputation will suffer.
If you want to start in a new category, make sure that you always point out that you are a beginner and charge the smallest rates until you build up experience.
3. Find the right rates
We all want to be paid fairly according to our efforts and experience.
However, sometimes on freelancing platforms, you literally have to start from the bottom until you build up a good rating and become a trusted freelancer.
This also applies to trying out new types of tasks that are outside of your area of expertise.
As I previously mentioned, freelancing doesn’t have to be the only type of work you do. In the beginning, you can start doing a few projects on the side and see how it goes.
If you see that it works for you and you make enough money to live off freelancing, then you can decide to do it full-time.
Whatever you decide it’s okay, but I strongly advise against adding extremely high rates to overcompensate for quitting your job.
4. Pay Taxes
When you’re working freelance, you have to make sure that you are doing it legally.
You’re not working in a company where they take care of the taxes instead of you.
Here, you have to do it yourself.
It doesn’t matter from which country you’re freelancing, paying taxes is a must everywhere.
The best thing you can do is get informed with the correct institutions in your country to learn how exactly you can pay taxes since the regulations vary all over the world.
The same thing applies to insurance, and retirement plans especially if you are doing freelance full-time.
5. Build long-term relationships
Once you get started with freelance, most of the platforms offer lowered fees and other amenities when you are creating long-term relationships with clients.
That means that you will pay less for fees and your earnings will be higher with those clients.
Also, it is quite nice when you already know that you get along with a certain client and that both of you are satisfied with your relationship.
It gives a better sense of stability and comfort, making you motivated to be the best version of yourself over and over again.
6. Aim higher
Once you get comfortable with the whole freelancing dynamic, don’t be afraid to aim higher.
You think you deserve a higher rate? Ask for it.
You don’t like a certain client? Look for another one.
That’s one of the best advantages of freelancing in my opinion- the freedom to work and coexist with people that you find comfortable.
Another one is that through freelancing, you make interesting and important collaborations with people from all around the world.
Those contacts can help you out in the future, and many times, that’s how cool startups get born.
Freelancing has both positive and negative sides to it exactly like any other regular job.
The only thing that is on you to decide is which things you prefer over which.
Do you want more freedom in your projects more than you need stability?
Do you prefer to have paid health insurance and paid leave more than you want to travel?
The answers to these questions will vary a lot depending on each person.
That is why I encourage you to think it through and the best solution is to always try a few freelance projects or even freelance part-time to see how it goes.
Maybe once you start doing it you will realize that it’s the right thing for you or vice versa.
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Leave a comment and let me know what else you want to know about freelancing.