How To Make Money Online Through Freelancing

Employment provides many benefits like a consistent monthly income, a health cover, etc.

how to make money online through freelancing

However, what is evident in recent times is that these can go up in smoke with little to no warning. That’s why freelancing has been on the rise as an option to make money.

The economy goes through cycles now and then. Tough economic times force companies to reduce their costs. And what better way (or worst, if an employee) than to lay off staff!

Finding yourself in such a situation can be scary, given that your financial obligations do not cease. Had you started a freelance gig on the side, you can sit comfortably knowing you cannot sleep hungry.

But where does one start? And how do you start earning with freelancing? Read on. That’s what I tackle in this blog post.

What is Freelancing?

Freelancing is an online job that freelancers do remotely. You can work from anywhere you want as long as you have an internet connection.

The freelancer is the one who provides their services to different companies and organizations on a contractual basis. Employers hire them for short-term projects or on-demand basis.

Unlike employees, companies do not usually pay freelancers monthly. They instead are paid per project or number of hours of work.

Freelancing has become one of the most popular ways to make money online in recent years. Many people make their living by freelancing for various companies and organizations. And in most cases, halfway around the world.

Some factors like increased internet penetration and innovation have contributed to the growth of online freelancing.

How To Make $1,000 a Month Online From Home

What are the Benefits of Freelancing?

I can categorize the benefits of freelancing into two, for the hirer and the freelancer. But since this post is targeted at the freelancer, I’ll keep it from their perspective.

The hirer benefits from reduced expenses associated with having a full-time staff, especially if it’s a new and small enterprise still establishing a foothold on a market. Besides this, the company also benefits from high-quality work since the market to choose from is global.

In the case of the freelancer, the benefits are numerous. But that’s not to say there are no downsides.

Flexible Work

  • Freelancers have great control over what work they want to take up. When, where, and how to work on accepted tasks is also up to the freelancer. As long as they are completed within the set time frame and meet quality standards.
  • In the employment office set up, these are hardly perks you can enjoy as work hours are fixed. And besides this, your job description is cast in stone. You cannot choose not to do it!

Reduced Expenses

  • There are costs associated with workplaces. One is commuting to and fro every weekday, fuel and fare costs can get quite substantial depending on the distance. Most of the time these are out of pocket expenses. Another cost is meals.
  • Another cost is meals. You’ll have to consume food while away from home. And if you are unlucky to work in an expensive part of town, food outlets are sure to charge above average. You can carry packed food, but I’m sure not everyone savors that idea.
  • Freelancers do not have to worry about these expenses.

More Time for Family and Hobbies

  • If spending time with your loved ones is important to you, then freelancing might be your best bet. Since it is flexible, you can structure your work to coincide with when the young ones are away to school.
  • Unlike the set office hours, with freelancing you can work after meals when the rest of your household is retiring to bed. Or even wake up early before everyone else. It’s totally up to you.

Where to Start Your Freelancing Career

There are many options to explore when starting freelance work.

But before we even look at those, my first recommendation is always to do an introspection. One needs to be very clear about the services they will provide online. Having an unclear picture will lead to jumping from one opportunity to the next without making much headway in any direction.

And this comes at the expense of time and building a firm foundation and reputation in a particular field.

If you are inexperienced and just want to get your feet wet, this is still okay. Don’t quit your job yet until you establish a solid idea of the direction you will take.

Note that freelancing income is pegged on how skillful you are. For example, jobs like data entry do not require special skills hence pay less. Others like coding or copywriting require specific skills, therefore, can pay handsomely.

Your Network or Social Contacts

Whether through family or social media, your contacts provide a readily available source of freelance work.

Your uncle or family friend could be running an accounting firm. Nothing is barring you from approaching them and asking for a chance to gain some experience as a freelancer. It’s usually much easier than trying to convince a total stranger.

Don’t expect a yes by them knowing you. You’ll have to show what benefit you are bringing to the business. Hence you have to do your homework before the pitch.

Freelance Communities

There are several online communities dedicated to specific knowledge areas or pursuits. Examples are web development, SEO, content writing, YouTubing, gaming, etc.

They can occur as forums like Reddit or social media like Facebook Groups. Members interact in discussions centered around these common interests. There will always be members needing various services depending on how large and diverse the community is.

And what better solution than working with someone who shares the same interests? As long as you are an active and trusted member, others will vouch for you if the hirer decides to ask questions around.

Freelance Marketplaces

Not everyone is lucky to have a strong network of contacts. Or the space to participate often enough in virtual communities to be recognized.

The third option, and probably the most popular among the freelancing populace, is freelance marketplaces. You’ve probably come across Upwork and Fiverr.

These website platforms act as exchanges where hirers and freelancers can collaborate on jobs. Businesses list jobs on them. And in return, freelancers apply for these one-off tasks.

Marketplaces are a great place to start freelancing, but they have unique advantages and drawbacks. For example, there’s a large talent pool to select. And the competition increases the quality of work performed.

But sadly, without a rating, it’s unlikely a client will select you to work on their project. Another complaint I’ve heard with several freelancers is that these platforms tend to side with the clients whenever disputes arise.

It’s a case of he who pays the piper calls the tune!

How Much Can You Actually Make as a Freelancer?

Freelancing is a popular trend nowadays. There are various reasons for this. One of the most common is that the economy has been struggling for some time now, and people are looking for new ways to make money.

The answer to the question “How much can you make as a freelancer?” is not straightforward.

Past research by Upwork reveals freelancers make an average of $20 per hour. It increases with the level of skill required for particular jobs. For example, mobile development, legal, accounting services pay $28 per hour.

With freelancing, however, several factors impact how much you can earn. Some are within your control, while others are market-driven.

  • Reviews from prior hirers
  • Education level and certifications
  • Experience
  • Market supply and demand

Generally, the first few weeks, months, and even years will be challenging. There are several skills one needs to learn. These lead to the development of smooth workflows for future freelance jobs. I believe chief among these is interpersonal skills to deal with clients from all walks of life.

As time goes by, with some commitment, you build clout to the extent that it’s now clients who seek you out. You get more room to be choosy on work to take up and negotiate for higher pay.

You don’t have to believe me. Read Jacob McMillen’s copywriting success story. He made $80,000 in his first year as a full-time freelance writer, $130,000 the second year, and $220,000 the year after!

How to Find the Best Freelance Jobs in Any Field

In addition to the strategies I’ve mentioned above, there are more tips one needs to keep in mind. To find the best freelance jobs, one needs to go above and beyond what the average freelancer does.

That’s how some freelancers stand out of the crowd in the respective niches. It ensures they grow their client base and earnings over time to unbelievable numbers!

Create a Portfolio

  • The adage that first impressions matter also applies when presenting yourself. Only a small percentage of freelancers have a website portfolio. Therefore getting one gives you a head start. Besides displaying an impression of taking your profession seriously, it previews what you can do for a client.
  • I’ve seen some graphic designers’ online portfolios that can blow your head off! As a client, would you prefer to get in touch with them or hire some nondescript freelancer on Fiverr without a reputation?
  • To go ahead, you have to put yourself in the clients’ shoes to see things from their perspective.

Understand What Clients Want

  • To provide the best results for clients with the least effort, you have to think like a business. And to understand these, you have to engage them at all levels. Understand your niche deeply. That’s why I prefer specialization to a jack of all trades.
  • Before starting a job, ensure you have a mental picture of what the client wants. If not clear, get more feedback. I’ve seen instances where a client says this but means something different!
  • In the long run, understanding your clients leads to fruitful working relationships that open doors for more opportunities in the future. They would not mind referring you to others.

Ask Clients for Reviews

  • Just like a portfolio, client feedback for work done is an indication of what you can deliver. It gives potential clients a chance to see whether your skills match their objectives. If they do, you stand a good chance of them selecting you for their freelance work.
  • After every piece of work you complete, ask the client to write feedback on your profile. I’d call ratings the bread and butter of online freelance work.
  • But be careful as dissatisfied clients can also leave negative reviews! That’s why understanding what they want and delivering beyond their expectations is the surest way of landing the best feedback. These ensure a healthy flow of good freelance jobs going forward.

Continual Upskilling

  • Freelancing can quickly hit a plateau in income. And it can get frustrating. Some freelancers are happy with the average flow, but others are ambitious and do not want to settle. To break this barrier, one has to possess the willingness for self-improvement.
  • Learning and practicing new skills will always give you an edge over your competitors. Clients are bound to notice this with time. It can easily lead to breaking out of over-reliance on freelance marketplaces.
  • If you are willing, you can even start an agency and recruit other freelancers to your practice.

Freelance Pricing Strategies

At my former employer, I mainly worked in a customer-facing role. And a question we’d get most of the time was, why are your prices higher than company X or Y?

If you are a freelance writer, you know that pricing is one of the most demanding aspects of your job. There are so many options, and it can be tough to know what to charge for your work.

One of the most vital things is researching what others in your industry are charging for their services. If you want to charge less than others in your industry, make sure that you explain why when you present your offer.

With platforms like Fiverr and Upwork, it’s easy to check what other freelancers are charging for specific tasks. Ensure your pricing lies within the average range, especially when you are new. Once you gain some experience and good clients’ ratings, you can adjust prices upwards.

But these should be based on the value you give and not on hours worked alone.

How to Find Your Niche

Should I offer video editing services? Or stick to the accounting side of things that I know? Or do I just dabble in all of them? These could all be questions you ask yourself as you figure out what niche to start as a freelancer.

These are all gainful freelance work, but not for everyone. The thing with humans is that we all have quirks that make us unique. To be the best at being you, you’ll have to discover yourself.

What is it you enjoy doing in your free time? What profession are you trained and competent in?

The more interest, passion, or enthusiasm you have for a specific field of work, the easier it will be. Therefore, do not choose to freelance, in say, copywriting, when writing is not an interest you possess.

Freelancing is a great way to find your niche and capitalize on it. It takes time to learn the skills needed. But with the internet and the right tools, there is no limit to what you can do.

As a freelancer, you need to research and learn about your chosen niche. It might take some time before you find your place. But be open to change because it will help you in the long run.

Conclusion

If you were feeling constrained in terms of income sources, now you know the potential of online freelancing. You do not have to be employed to make a sustainable living.

Though it might be tough starting on your own with several uncertainties, applying yourself leads to a full-time income sooner or later. A bit of advice is not to focus too much on the money-making bit. Learn as much as possible at the earlier stages.

How To Make $1,000 a Month Online From Home

One universal denominator I take solace in is that everyone starts from scratch. Even freelancers making six figures a year started from zero! But they took their time and worked hard consistently following the tips I outlined above.

Why not you?

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