I always thought freelancing was cool until I started doing it and realized the amount of work it takes. It’s definitely not for everyone because it’s highly uncertain. Your income varies from project to project and it can fluctuate for a long time at the beginning. You also have to put yourself out there and actively network because your salary depends on landing clients.
Freelancing is hard. It provides more flexibility than a regular job because you usually set your own hours, but you will miss the stability of a fixed paycheck. If you do it well and remain consistent however, it can become a secure income stream.
I randomly fell into it after being laid off from a startup I had been working at for a year. My layoff happened a few weeks before graduation and I was already being questioned about my post-grad plans. The pressure to get another full-time job had never been greater. Then began my job search and it turned out to be a longer process than I thought. I was actively networking and applying to positions online, but hiring managers would take a while to get back to me. I needed to find a way to sharpen my skills and make money while I was waiting.
The answer came to me when I consulted one of my mentors. He suggested that I make a list of things that I’m good at. Writing, career coaching, social media branding, video editing, fashion styling. Following his advice, I started reaching out directly to people in my network (old classmates, colleagues or managers) to ask if they had a need for any of these services or knew people who did. Although I didn’t immediately acquire any client from this strategy, I would recommend that as a first step to anyone looking for freelance gigs because it works in the long run.
I then started researching websites for freelancers. My first gig came from Craigslist after I posted a few ads there. Someone needed my help with resume and cover letter writing. This turned into a regular gig because the person was satisfied with my work. I then secured another freelance gig as a Stylist, helping someone make shopping decisions and dress for special occasions. This client turned into a long-term relationship and she recommended me to other people. Word of mouth is the best type of marketing when you’re a freelancer. It’s free and it only asks that you do your job well.
If you’d like to get started on freelancing, I wrote a detailed post about the process so you can check it out here. Below are some additional resources for you!
Are you currently looking for freelance work? Or have you freelanced in the past? What tips do you have or websites would you recommend for aspiring freelancers? Let me know in the comments!