The most straightforward method to earn supplemental income is through doing some extra work. I don’t advocate it as being the best, but it’s one of the least risky and most predictable things you can do.
I know most people in personal finance say “don’t work for money, make your money work for you” and I fully support this position. But that’s easier said than done. If your income barely covers your expense, you have a little chance to succeed by passive investing.
Photo by arimoore at Flickr
So let’s get down to Earth and explore how you can really make some money.
Are your skills good for freelancing?
Almost every job out there can be done part time and outside of a company. But you’ll have much easier time if your profession is within the following areas:
- Creative – all kind of designers, copywriters, musicians, fashion folks, illustrators, photographers etc
- IT – programmers, software engineers, web developers, support services, SEO experts etc. This is the hugest field in freelancing. If you have a job in IT and you have never freelanced, you are missing a lot of opportunities
- Marketing – all kind of sales staff, marketing specials, statistical experts etc
- Finance and accounting – everyone who knows their stuff goes here
- Business consulting – managers, consultants, HR etc
- Legal – lawyers and everyone who is qualified to give legal advice
- Engineering – architects, CAD/CAM specialists, automation engineers etc
- Medical – in most countries doctors can do freelance
- Educations – teachers, instructors etc
- Transportation – drivers, mechanics etc
- Physical work – gardeners, baby sitters, construction workers and so on
It covers pretty much everything. Maybe only the government servants will have harder time finding freelance opportunities. Is your profession not included? Let me know to think together.
Finding freelance work
There are many different strategies for finding freelance work. If there is enough interest in this topic, I will elaborate them in further posts. For now, let me just outline:
1. Finding work locally Networking with friends and relatives you can find clients for your services in your local area. In the business world the word of mouth is one of the most powerful tools for generating sales. So kindly ask your friends to tell their friends and relatives that you are providing some service (giving legal advice, fixing washing machines, making websites, creating logos or whatever). Using the network effect you can find really a lot of customers. If needed, offer your service for free the first few times and give your best to do it good. Then the world will spread better.
2. Finding work worldwide If you are doing a mental work and especially if you are in the IT sphere, you have one huge advantage against everyone else. You can freelance remotely through Internet all over the world. There are forums, freelance bidding sites, auction sites, job boards and many options for finding jobs.
If you want to explore this option have a look at FreelanceSwitch’s monster list of freelance sites.
One disadvantage when freelancing online is that you’ll have to deal with competition from countries with low standards. Instead of trying to beat them in price, try to brand yourself and offer quality. That’s another huge topic which can be explored further.
3. Getting the work find you When you are bidding on a freelance auction or contacting a potential buyer though another channel, you are in the position of the interested party. The buyer is the one who defines the rules. He or she may have tens of others potential candidates to choose from.
When the buyers approach you, the things are entirely different. They already have decided that they would like to use your services for one or another reason. You have the chance to set a higher rate and your rules.
Getting to this position is the harder part. You’ll need to work first for your name before letting the name work for you. One thing that’s going to help you is of course word of mouth from past customers. But online you would want to attract a wider market. So you’ll have to make yourself noticeable. How? By establishing name – writing a popular blog, offering freebies, writing a book, getting interviewed, getting your site found by the search engine, having a popular product… Again we have a lot of things to explore further.
If you have been an employee most of your life you have probably get used to be paid on time and without troubles. When you enter the world of business, even just through freelancing you may experience some issues with delayed payments, discontent clients who don’t want to pay or simply cheaters.
That’s why you need to be extra careful about getting your payment when freelancing. You may need a written contract, sometimes partial payments as the work progress or using an escrow service like Escrow.com.
Growing Further And Using The Money
A mistake many people do is to start freelancing for extra money that are then spend on shopping. There is nothing wrong with spending some money, but if you are freelancing this way you are doing nothing to grow or improve your financial situation. Do you really want to sacrifice your free time just to buy some things?
From investor’s viewpoint, you would freelance to earn money for meeting your financial goals. Eventually, you would do it just few months in the years or occasionally with the idea that the money earned will be invested in some assets. Don’t fall into the trap of losing your free time and all the meaningful things in life just to work more and make more money. Know why you are taking each freelance work and what you are going to use the money for (preferably for investing).
One great thing about freelancing is that along with earning money you are getting better in what you do and building a brand of yourself. With the time this will allow you to do this better, faster and charge more. Eventually you may even reach the point to leave your job and start freelancing or grow the freelancing into a side (or full time) business.
Have you ever done a freelance project so far? What is your profession and do you think you could freelance?