Five Practical Ways to Kickstart Your Freelance Career
These days, having the ability and opportunity to work from home has never been more effortless. Plenty of companies are welcoming remote workers, and even more apps and websites are available to usher freelancers on the path to success.
It seems as if the only thing keeping you from working remotely and succeeding at it is deciding if it’s the right thing for you. Then once you’ve made that decision, it’s all about weighing your skills, strengths, experiences, schedules, and other pertinent details against the significant factors of a freelance career.
But how could you determine which home-based career is the best fit for you? Your work portfolio and resumé can help you choose – it will help your future employers or clients make up their minds about hiring you, as well. However, considering your preferred lifestyle will also play a significant role in it. Below are five ways to ensure that you can be an accomplished freelancer on your terms.
Decide if you want to stay put at home (or step out)
Do you see yourself working on a laptop all day, or going out to deliver stuff to people? It might seem like a trite point, but freelancers often have to confront the issue of getting cabin fever, or else being too introverted to be able to deal with others on a daily basis. This list of legit work from home online jobs breaks down both the kind of work you can do in your pajamas, as well as the ones that will allow you to step out and mingle with other people once in a while.
Something as basic as considering if you prefer staying at home for work – or interacting with clients – can set the tone for the rest of your career. After all, it’s a practical and logical first step that is based on your personality and lifestyle choices. So before taking on a remote job, do a little soul-searching first about how you want to work from home. It will be good for your physical, mental, and emotional well-being in the long run.
Recognize your strengths (and weaknesses)
After considering your personal home-based work preferences, it’s time to make a list of what you can specifically offer to other people and get paid for them. While you’re at it, take stock of what you own that could be of use to others. The sharing economy has broadened the scope of freelancing and home-based jobs, and it might be something you want to try.
So ask yourself some realistic questions: do you like animals and prefer caring for them more than looking after kids?
Do you really need the spare room that’s become a catch-all for your junk, or could you rent it out for transients and make money off it instead?
Is your car just sitting in the garage, and could you use it to make deliveries?
Recognizing your strengths (and possessions) means playing to them, and coming up with a great product or service that will satisfy clients and have them coming back for more. In the same vein, if you can’t imagine yourself doing something that is against your personality and skills, then it doesn’t make sense to keep at it just to earn a few bucks (unless you want to fast-track your home-based life into definite burn-out).
Equip yourself with the proper tools
Once you’ve decided which job you would like to focus on, it’s time to arm yourself with the proper tools for it. There are careers like medical and legal audio transcription which could require further training and certification. But there are also existing ones that will only ask you to procure some handy materials to help you and your clients. Apps and software are some of the most common ones you might encounter (time-keeping, digital road maps and directions, etc.), but there are other useful tools you might need.
For instance, if you want to be a dog-walker or pet-sitter, you will have to practice patience, learn a bit of pet psychology, get the proper immunization treatments, be physically fit (there will likely be lots of walking and running involved), and stock up on cleaning and grooming tools. Or if audio transcribing is more your pace, you might have to invest in some transcription equipment or at least upgrade your audio software and headset.
Keep learning new skills
Whether it’s for a sharing economy gig or something that is purely deskbound, a home-based job will still likely require you to learn some new skills. These days, it’s a must to consistently upgrade tools and expertise if you want to keep updating your work experiences and resumé.
You could enroll in online classes for basic programming, learn a new language, SEO, content writing, and other courses that could broaden your horizons as far as home-based endeavors go. Consider these classes an investment into stepping up your freelance experience and knowledge while improving your talent fee in the process.
Be prepared for income dry spells
Side hustles exist because freelance work is not as reliable and consistent as regular, office-based employment. Don’t expect to get paid leaves or profit-sharing, either. The same goes for other adulting requirements such as filing your own taxation paperwork and paying for your own life and health insurance. Dry spells will likely happen as soon as a contract or timeframe for an existing project or client expires, and you haven’t transitioned into a new one yet.
Setting aside a financial safety net is a must should you go unemployed for a specified period. Aside from that, seek out other quick sources of supplemental income. Paid survey and GPT (get-paid-to) sites are some of the most practical examples of this – they won’t make you rich, but you won’t need special skills to earn some fast cash from them, either.
It’s a good idea to go for tried-and-tested rewards sites that process payouts quickly so you can meet your deadlines for bills and other payments. GrabPoints is a good example because you can opt to get paid in cash via PayPal or choose from an array of gift cards as your reward. The site is also known to process payouts in as little as 48 business hours, in exchange for such doable tasks as answering surveys, completing offers, watching videos, downloading apps, and even referring others to the platform!
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