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You have a daytime job that is sucking the life out of you. The pay is negligible. The hours are long and it is not even something that you like doing.
Fortunately, you have heard about working online. You desire to quit your job and freelance full-time.
In fact, you can’t wait long enough to tell your boss to go stick it somewhere.But are you sure that freelancing will be sustainable?
I’ve been there. I know how it feels: the doubts, the second thoughts, the nervous fear…
It took me a year of juggling my daytime job with freelance writing before I decided to do freelance writing full-time.
If you are considering quitting your daytime job for a career in freelancing, these tips will help you get fired up.
1 Be sure that you are in the right category
Nothing will make you give up freelancing as fast as being in the wrong category. Your work will be highly critiqued.
It will be rejected. You will feel heartbroken on those first days when clients give you a 2-star rating for work that wracked your brains out.
And you might even end up throwing in the towel.
Let me give you an example.
I see people who are struggling with proper sentence construction, verb agreement, and what-have-you trying to fix themselves to be writers. The end result is usually catastrophic.
While you might manage to make a few dollars in some content mills, you will never be good enough to commandeer a decent pay that will help you quit your job and freelance full-time.
But how do you know that you are in the right category?
i. You do not struggle to fit in
ii. You are passionate about it
iii. You are talented in it
iv. It is what you would still do if the money factor was not in it
Freelancing is supposed to be fun. Not another job that you dread waking up to.
The only way to make it fun is to be double sure you are doing something that you are passionate about.
Something that you can do so expertly that positive reviews will keep streaming in, raising your morale and self-esteem even higher.
2 Become a Thought Leader
How many freelancers do you know who are working online and seemingly doing well in it? I can easily mention one: Danny Margulies, the Upwork guru and founder of freelancetowin.com
Now, if you go back and do a quick comparison of the popular freelancers that you know, you will realize that they have one thing in common. They are all thought leaders in their specific freelance categories.
- A thought leader is someone who influences opinion.
- A thought leader gives more than he receives.
- A thought leader is the one answering questions on online forums related to their industry.
Thought leaders not only influence opinion, but also thrive in their industry too.
Thought leaders come in every shape and form. They can be of any age. Any educational background and any gender.
I know you might be thinking that you are still so young in the industry to commandeer the kind of advice the gurus give but remember you have to start somewhere.
Unfortunately, it is hard to become a thought leader if you are in the wrong category. You will always be the one asking for advice, even from newbies!
3 Keep learning
I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious- Albert Einstein
As a freelancer, there are some skills that come quite naturally to you. The passion sucks you in.
You quickly master the skill and start milking money from it. However, to be truly competent, you have to keep learning new skills.
The problem is that you sometimes feel that your brain is too full to learn any new skill, or you have probably settled in a comfort zone.
As long as you are putting meat on the table nothing else matters, right?
One of my most recent contracts was for a copywriting task that was outside my ballpark.
I was supposed to write a few emails for a cancer program. Needless to say, I learned quite a lot during the 30 days that the contract started.
I revisited my lessons from Copyblogger and a few other learning resources that I use. I signed up for impromptu email lists. I read every spam email in my spam folder.
And I did an excellent job that left the client totally impressed.
Here is the moral of the story.
If you want to learn anything, sometimes the secret is to take a job that demands you use the skill.
I landed a gig on how to write press releases as soon as I started freelancing, despite the fact that I didn’t know how to write one. I had to learn on the job.
Similarly, my first encounter with WordPress web design was on a job with a client who needed me to post articles in the back-end of his website.
If you want to learn a new skill, find someone who will hire you to do a job that demands that particular skill. Commit to a deadline.
Nothing pushes you to learn quite like the fear of missed deadlines and failure. Just like our counterparts in the 8-5 industry, freelancers must always be gearing towards something new.
New skills equal better rates and new clients. And better rates is just what you need when you have to quit your job to freelance full-time.
4 Work for free
You are probably thinking, “Work for free? You must be crazy! How will working for free put bread on my dinner table?”
There are actually many valid reasons why you might want to work for free. And you are probably already doing it if you tweet, write status updates on Facebook, or blog.
When you work for free, you make your work and name visible to other people. You are marketing and branding yourself.
When work with your name is out in the public, it increases the chances that someone will notice it, become impressed with your writing style and decide to hire you!
Again, if the only time you find that you really want to work is when there is money on the table, you might want to reread point No. 1.
5 Work Even Harder
If you want to succeed as a freelancer, working hard is not optional. It is a must.
In employment, you could swing the whole day on your swivel chair, play Candy Crush with friends on Facebook the whole day and still get a weighty paycheck with medical insurance and other perks at the end of the month.
Welcome to the other world where wasted time equals an empty stomach.
To make it here, you will work all day and deep into the night day after day and still have work that is left to be done the following week.
But if you love what you do and if you are passionate enough, you really won’t be bothered by the long working hours.
The internet is your workplace and you must report here on a daily basis.
Wherever you source your jobs from (Upwork, Problogger, PeoplePerHour) is your office cubicle and you must be there on time, doing what you are supposed to be doing.
Have the proper discipline to work when you should be working. Make a schedule and stick to it.
6 Start a Blog or a Website (treat freelancing like a business)
If you’re asking yourself, “Should I quit my job and go freelance?” here’s another tip for you. Create your own website.
Without a blog or website, you will never turn freelancing into a business.
You will work for other startup businesses that have websites, get paid for it and that will be it.
Starting a blog or website is a step in the right direction.
Every word you put on your website and every new post that you publish on your blog, is an incredible investment.
Blogging is by far the quickest way to remove the newbie tag and become a thought leader in your freelance category.
A blog also serves as your online shop – an exhibit for your best work.
It is a perfect and ready sample for your prospective clients. This is especially true if you are sourcing your clients from platforms such as Upwork.
Sending a client a link to your blog as a sample, immediately enhances your credibility and increases your chances of winning a contract by up to 70%.
Your blog can also serve as a passive source of income by displaying advertising and recommending affiliate products.
A freelancer who does not have a website is like a business that does not have a premise. And people do not take businesses without an office very seriously.
7 Get Off Social Media
If you are not working as a social media manager for a client, you need to hit the Facebook log out button. Allow me to take a few guesses.
You have been on WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook or Twitter in the past 15 minutes.
You probably have a Facebook tab open on your browser right now. You have gained nothing significant for the time you have been logged in.
Social media has quickly evolved into one of the most successful online marketing tools, but it also tends to be one of the greatest time wasters of all.
It is even more dangerous to your self-esteem. Comparing yourself to your successful peers on Facebook and Twitter is killing your self-esteem.
Make a deliberate resolution about what you want to do with your time. Have a written down schedule.
- Check out these tips from a freelancer who earns $1,000 and more from freelance writing.
- How can you market your freelance writing services? Find out.
- These sites are hiring cryptocurrency writers.
- These three sites are hiring freelance writers. Problogger is one of them.
- Thou shall not… Freelancing commandments that you need to check out.
Account for every single minute and strike out things that are not helping you from your schedule.
As a resolution, I will rarely turn on internet on my phone until 8 P.M. despite it being the most commonly used means of communication for clients who need training, blogs and websites.
If a client is serious enough, they will find other means to get in touch with me apart from WhatsApp.
I hope you find the above freelancing tips helpful. It takes courage to quit your job and freelance full-time.
Making the transition wasn’t easy for me either. But the time came when I had to take a leap of faith. James Cameron said it best,
“There are many talented people who haven’t fulfilled their dreams because they over thought it, or they were too cautious, and were unwilling to make the leap of faith.”
I hope that you will make that leap soon.
Recommended read: Stop Thinking Like a Freelancer: The Evolution of a $1M Web Designer