When you think of freelancing, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? You probably think of a writer, novelist or journalist right off hand. That is primarily because for centuries, the only real job you could have as a freelancer had to do with your mastery of the written word. But we are not still stuck back in the early nineteen hundreds – no we are in the twenty first century, a time that appreciates freelancers in hundreds of different jobs.
Sure, you have probably heard of freelance photographers too, you may have even met one or two in your life, but what about freelance software designers, freelance medical billing specialists, or even freelance scientific researchers? There are all jobs that have recently begun to see massive growth in their respective fields because more and more people are realizing that they can make far more money working for themselves as freelancers than they ever could solely from working under the wing of their previous employer.
So it sounds pretty good doesn’t it? You work in some field for quite a few years, get a lot of practical experience in your chosen area of employment and then gradually make the switch from working the nine to five to becoming your own boss as a freelancer.
But is it really as easy as it sounds to become a freelancer and actually make a living doing work on a freelance basis? We have to keep in mind that there are quite a few freelancers out there who are only doing work part time. Not because they make a ton of money and only have to work a couple of days per week but because they actually have had some trouble finding work in the past and need a much more solid career option in order to make sure that they do not find themselves facing bankruptcy.
However, such a scenario does not have to happen to you if you are willing to do whatever it takes to become a freelancer. Your career switch may not happen overnight – but eventually you will become highly successful at what you do. It’s a guarantee. The first step in making that jump from office work to freelance is to decide whether or not you have what it takes to become a freelancer.
We all want to be our own boss, but do we all have the drive and dedication that it takes to be successful without the watchful eye of our supervisors? Sadly, we don’t. Therefore, you have to really sit down and think about what makes you so special in the world of freelancers. Do you have a large enough skill set to make you stand out amongst the hoards of different people all seeking the same work as you?
Do you have the time management skills necessary to run your own freelancing operation and meet all of the deadlines set upon you by your clients? If you have even the slightest doubt in your mind about freelancing, then maybe there are other career paths that are better for you in the long run. Now, provided that you are willing to jump in to your freelancing business with both feet, you need to start off on the freelance path slowly before you can really start raking in the cash.
Don’t quit your job just yet! Instead, you need to begin your hunt for freelance work in your area of expertise on the internet and see what you can come up with. Some skills, such as the ability to write coherently or do software design for clients of all types, are highly marketable and you should really have no difficulty whatsoever finding a goldmine of work.
On the other hand, if you are only able to do tasks that are not as easily marketable on a freelance basis, you will have much more difficulty finding work for your freelance operation. Currently some of the most popular fields for freelancing include writing, editing, photography, web and graphic design, software design, and architecture or drafting.
Once you have settled on a field that you want to freelance in, you will need to start finding your first clients. Whatever you do, do not start your hunt with any of the clients that you may have dealt with in your current job. There are all kinds of laws against this practice and it may get you into serious trouble if you are caught. Instead, turn to your favorite search engine and search for some forums and databases specifically designed for freelancers seeking work in a particular field.
There are tons of different places for you to visit, so within an hour or so you will probably have at least ten or fifteen bookmarks of places online where you can find employment as a freelancer. When you find you have some free time, all you have to do is search around on each one of these bookmarked websites to find the freelance positions that sound good to you.
When you start out as a freelancer, you will probably have to take a few jobs that do not pay very well at all. That’s fine because these jobs help you build your skill set. They will help you learn how to more effectively manage your time, speed up your workflow, and even help you get more used to using a computer and the internet to search for answers to any questions that may pop up while you are doing work for your client.
The low paying jobs will probably last for a while, as until you have assembled a massive list of satisfied clients you will have to primarily compete with all of the other freelancers in your field entirely on how low your rates and fees are. Eventually though you will graduate into higher and higher paying jobs until you will find that you have practically doubled your current income with income from freelancing.
At this point you should feel confident enough to possibly start thinking about reducing the number of hours you work at your current job to part time status or even quit your job all together and make your fortunes solely through freelancing in your selected field.