Freelancing was a life-changer for me. It gave me freedom, confidence, and a chance to build up my online income while traveling the world instead of sitting in a cubicle.
While I realize self-employment and freelancing is not for everyone, I think there six great reasons why at least trying it out in 2019 IS a good idea for everyone.
In this article, I’m going to share those reasons, along with some of the best tips I picked up over the past couple years as a freelance digital marketer.
1. Boost your income
The most obvious reason to try freelancing in 2019 is the possibility to immediately boost your income.
I mean, we all work for money, right?
Some of us are lucky enough to have other things that motivated us and give us enjoyment, but we all go to work for the paycheck.
And freelancing is a way to boost that paycheck each month – almost immediately. (I’d say within the first two months of freelancing you should be able to start making money if you follow a few key steps):
- Pick one specific niche. Don’t try to be a generalist.
- Charge flat rates, not hourly prices. It’s simpler, you’ll attract better clients, and you can often earn more money by disconnecting your time from the cost you charge. In essence, you’re charging for a result, not for your time.
- Hop on Upwork and start sending out proposals every day for 20-30 minutes
2. Build one of the world’s most valuable skills
Whatever your skill set is, you’ll build that out by freelancing. But I’m talking about something else here…
To get clients, you’ll need to sell what you offer – likely over the phone.
Sales is an incredibly valuable skill in practically every aspect of life.
By hopping on a few phone calls, you’ll crush any fear you have about selling or talking on the phone, you’ll learn how to be more persuasive, and you’ll build confidence as you go.
Here are a couple of tips if you do hop on the phone with a potential client to start selling:
1. Ask a lot of questions to understand their situation and really try to help them. Don’t just blindly try to sell everyone on what you offer. Think of yourself like a doctor who needs to diagnose the situation before prescribing something.
2. Be specific in what you offer. Know who it’s for, and who it’s not for. Who are you a good fit to help? If you think the answer is “everyone”, then the answer is really “no one”. Stop and think about this before continuing.
3. Build confidence in your abilities
If you’ve been working for one single employer for a while, on a salary, there’s a chance you don’t realize how valuable your skill set is on the open market.
By freelancing, you’ll see how in-demand your skills are and why companies are interested in speaking with you (when they get on the sales call with you, you’ll hear about their needs and why they thought you’re a good fit to help).
Then whether you decide to freelance full-time, keep going at your job, or any combination, you’ll have a lot more confidence in the value of your skills and how important you are to your employer.
This can help you negotiate for more money in the future, give you the confidence to change to a new job that pays better, etc.
4. Bring new ideas/strategies back to your current job
By going out and talking to other companies, hearing about their problems, and potentially solving their problems, you’ll bring a lot of great ideas back to your current employer as well.
Now, I’m not saying to steal ideas or “spy” on companies.
I’m just talking about general ideas and tactics. Never steal and always respect an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) if you’re asked to sign one. If not, you could find yourself in serious legal trouble.
The main idea here is: By exposing yourself to how other companies operate and solve problems, you might find yourself in position to be more valuable to your full-time employer, too.
5. Possibly launch a new career with more freedom and flexibility
If everything goes well, you may decide to leave your desk job and freelance full-time.
I know freelancers who make six figures per year from home or while traveling.
It’s not easy, and plenty of people don’t reach this point, but if you charge a flat rate for what you offer (never an hourly rate), become good at selling on the phone, and develop good systems/templates to save you time and streamline the process each time you get a new client, it’s very possible to make more than you earned in your office job, even after paying for health insurance, etc.
6. Expand your network
Some of the best contacts I’ve met in the past few years have been people I did freelance work for, and people who did freelance work for me (I sub-contracted out some of my work once I get myself established, and I’ve also hired writers in the past for my blog, CareerSidekick).
So even if you try this for a few months and decide you prefer a more traditional career, you could end up with contacts that you can share ideas with, or could work for in the future in a full-time role.
You could also meet a mentor, a future business partner, or anything else.
By testing the waters as a Freelancer in 2019, you’ll build out your skills, build more confidence in those skills, learn how to sell yourself and communicate your value to employers, and put more cash in your pocket while doing it.
Originally published on LinkedIn