Stop Wasting Time, Be The One of The Highly-Paid Freelancer

Some jobs work better for freelance positions than others, but all of the above jobs are sure to see continued demand and have proven success in the gig economy. Start by freelancing after hours. As your business grows, you may end up calling yourself CEO just a few years down the road. This is part of my stories earning extra money since high school and still, continues till now.

Traditionally, most people took a job with a single company at age 20, worked there their entire lives and eventually retired from that same company 40 years later, often with a nice gold watch. I am so sorry to say this but that “baby-boomers culture” is impossible to happen nowadays.

Now, the gold watches are gone and multiple career changes are almost expected over a working lifetime. This has given rise to the professional freelancer, someone who works without long-term commitments to a single employer. They hop from job to job, selling their swords to the highest bidder.

Being your own boss is great, working from home is a big bonus, and enjoying the variety and freedom of the freelancer's life sounds great, but before you take the plunge its imperative to carefully weigh the downside. Varying workloads and a lack of employer-funded healthcare, insurance, and retirement planning can quickly destroy the benefits of "PJs 'til noon".

Making a Living as a Freelancer: Is It Possible?

It is absolutely possible to make a living as a freelancer. In fact, some freelancers earn extremely large salaries, considering they get to work from home. However, freelancing as a real, full-time career is not all about sitting around in sweatpants and sleeping until noon. To be successful, you have to know what you want to do and what you have to offer that other people will pay for. 

You need to learn to manage your time and resources the same way a regular business does, because, as a freelancer, you are a business. Freelancing can be an amazingly rewarding career, but it takes a lot of hard work. Before you embark on the journey, understand what is required for you to succeed.

Know Your Skills, Find Your Calling

When you first start out freelancing, the sheer number of jobs, websites and how-to resources can be overwhelming. As with most things, the best way to create a freelancing career is one step at a time.

First, think about what you want to do. Make a list of the skills you have and how these skills can translate into a marketable product. If you are a great writer with a knack for research and a keen attention to detail, freelance writing can be a very lucrative career path. 

If you are great at building websites that are both attractive and user-friendly, you will have no problem finding clients who will pay good money for the services of a quality Web designer.

Other common freelancing careers include graphic design; Web and mobile development; any kind of writing, such as ghost, copy, content, travel and blog writing; research and data collection and entry; video production; brand creation; tutoring; and photography. 

You can even be someone else's virtual assistant. The number of different services provided by freelancers and requested by clients is virtually endless, so if you have a skill and a desire to start on a new path, you can find freelancing opportunities for nearly anything.

Learn to Run Your Business

While the idea of freelancing can be easily romanticized, it is actually a lot of work. One of the most overlooked aspects of working for yourself is that, since you are your own boss, there is no one but you to keep the business profitable. 

You need to learn to market yourself, approach clients, create a website or social media site to advertise your services, and manage your own schedule. It also means you have to decide how much to charge for your services and follow up with clients who are slow to pay. You need to be aware of how much time you want to invest in work and how much you expect to earn each year. In short, while there are many benefits to being a freelancer, it is not for the faint of heart.

Hold Yourself Accountable

When you work for someone else, especially if you are particularly unlucky, you never need to manage your own schedule. There is always someone checking in, making sure projects are completed on time and to quality standards.

While this type of micromanaging can be one of the chief reasons people choose to go the freelance route, without a big boss breathing down your neck, the only person holding you accountable for your work is you. 

You have to learn what you can and cannot accomplish in a given period of time and ensure you do not promise more than you can deliver. You have to keep a detailed calendar of all your active projects and plan ahead so you can meet specific, concrete goals in a timely manner. If you get bogged down with too many projects at once and the quality of your work suffers, it can seriously endanger your ability to land future jobs.

Know Your Worth

For those who have spent years working for other people, it can be overwhelming to suddenly be expected to set your own salary. Most people have been told what they are worth by employers. As a freelancer, the price you set for your services tells your clients how much you value your own time, and if you do not value your time, no one else will. It is important, therefore, to set an hourly or per-project price that reflects the quality of your work but does not price you out of the market.

Depending on your chosen field, freelancing can be extremely competitive so it may be tempting to under-price yourself. Especially for those working in first-world countries, competing with the absurdly low prices charged by freelancers from much poorer countries can prove impossible. The one thing most successful freelancers have in common is they have learned not to even enter these types of lowest-bidder free-for-alls. 

Instead of trying to win jobs by accepting a fraction of your worth, price your services according to your skill level and seek out clients who can afford to pay for quality. As of 2015, the average annual salary for freelance writers is over $37,000, while some earn well over $85,000. For freelance photographers, the average annual salary is slightly lower, at $30,000, with some earning over $70,000.

Ask Yourself Why

Your motivations for choosing to freelance are an important factor to consider before embarking on your new career path. For many people, the idea of freelancing is appealing because it means they no longer have to work for someone else or have a set schedule. 

Freelancers, technically, can take as much vacation as they like, whenever they like. However, as illustrated above, freelancing can be just as much work as any traditional job. You need to have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish and the type of life you want to live before you can establish a freelancing career that gets you where you want to go.

If your chief goal is freedom, freelancing can certainly get you there. However, you need to decide how much time you want to spend working. Many people choose to freelance because they love to travel, but travel is not very enjoyable if you are working the whole time.

Often, having more free time also means earning a little less than you did at a traditional job, especially in the beginning. You can certainly earn an impressive salary as a freelancer, but it usually takes time and can require very long hours. If time is more important to you than money, you may choose to downsize your lifestyle rather than working 12-hour days.

Be realistic with yourself about how you want to live, how much money it will require and how much time you reasonably need to devote to working to earn that amount. If it seems unlikely that your desired lifestyle can be achieved by working the number of hours per week that you want to, you may need to reassess whether freelancing is for you.

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