Have you ever thought, “I hate this job, but it pays the bills?”
I know I have.
But what other choice is there? We all need to make money.
In late October, I decided to test the waters as a freelance writer and editor. It had been nearly three months since I left my cushy, low six-figure corporate job and I was ready for a new challenge.
I had no idea where to start. On a Facebook forum, somebody mentioned Flex Jobs as a good place to look for flexible, non-traditional work. From there, I began exploring other freelance job platforms like Upwork and Freelance Writing Jobs.
Immediately, one thing stood out. There is no shortage of people seeking freelancers to perform contract work.
With this preliminary research out of the way, I decided to jump in head first and go for it.
What did I have to lose? After all, my wife’s job already covered our expenses and anything extra I made would be padding our savings and investment portfolio, paving the way toward financial freedom.
As I began getting clients and completing projects, it seemed selfish to keep these newfound insights to myself. I needed to share this information to help others ditch the daily grind and build a career on their own terms.
So here I am, just a regular guy with no special skills, aside from an opportunistic nature and a penchant for taking calculated risks, going off on my own. Do I have what it takes to grow a freelancing business from scratch and earn a decent living through flexible, yet unpredictable, work?
Let’s find out.
Over the next year, I will document this entire process right here. Specifically, I will:
- Try out various freelance job platforms
- Track my monthly income
- Report lessons learned and other helpful tips
My goal for 2017 is to earn an average of $3,500/month through freelance and other part-time work. This will include income earned from my Air Force Reserve job, which, in my mind, perfectly complements this freelancing lifestyle.
To give you a baseline, in the last six weeks since I began freelancing I have earned $454. Through November, I have made $15,626 as a reservist. This makes my combined monthly average $1,462.
As you can see, I’ve got my work cut out for me! While my reserve pay has been fairly regular and predictable over the last two years, I’ve only just begun freelancing and have no idea where it’ll take me. After spending my entire career working for someone else, I’m entering uncharted territory.
For anyone looking to build a non-traditional career or simply make a little extra money on the side, I hope you will find this to be an interesting and useful experiment.
I want to leave you today with three tips I’ve already learned in my short time as a freelancer.
1. However long you think it’ll take to complete a project, double it. In the beginning you’ll suck at estimating the time needed to finish a task. Hint, you’re slower than you think.
2. Quickly identify clients you do not want to work with and avoid them. After just a couple interactions, you can usually tell if someone will be a pain to work with. They aren’t worth the hassle, other work is available.
3. If you’re not willing to work hard, don’t become a freelancer. I’m working harder than I ever have before, but it has been much more satisfying. Over time, I’m hoping the financial rewards will catch up to this sense of accomplishment.
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