How To Be A Freelancer (And Be Successful In Your Field!)
At 9:15 pm in front of my standing table, listening to Rupert Holmes’ Pina Colada Song (maybe a few hip swings here and foot taps there while typing), in my typical tropical ensemble, I’m trying to squeeze my creative brain to make a post about how to be a freelancer.
I never dreamed I would be writing a post like this, but after I spoke at two seminars a couple of weeks ago about how to be a freelancer, I realized I could actually write about it and share my thoughts based on my personal experiences. (Hoping it will come in handy to those people who wish to join the world of freelancing in the future).
I get different reactions whenever I tell people about what I do (FYI: People you meet tend to always ask this question, especially people you know!). Some raised their brows, rolled their eyes, some are fascinated and some are just too negative to understand what the word “freelance” means. The only ones who actually think it’s awesome are those who are looking for a job or my fellow freelancers as well.
In my previous article, 7 Things I Love About Being A Digital Nomad, I mentioned the things I love about what I do. So now I’ll try to make more sense and write about how to be a freelancer.
Like all things, it’s not for everyone. But with the technology today, it should become one of your options. Not because it’s easier, because it’s not, but because you deserve more than being trapped in a four-walled cubicle (Let’s just say you work in an office cubicle hehe) and make the most of your life (make memories with your loved ones and yourself). More and more employers, even big companies, are outsourcing freelancers around the world.
When I worked with a company who specializes in Brand Marketing, I have learned so much on how to market yourself. Which brings me to my first point on how to be a freelancer, make sure there’s a market for your expertise. I love giving examples so here’s a really easy one. Writing an article in a computer for your Employer? Yes. Fixing somebody’s car from the other side of the world? Maybe not (Or I don’t know maybe technology is so powerful this actually exists outside my knowledge hehe).
When I spoke at the seminar, sharing my knowledge on freelancing, I like to interact with the audience and asked them questions. It turns out, some of them don’t know how to use the internet. No offense, but having knowledge about the internet plays a big role in freelancing, online that is, and even traditional freelancing. I know this should be my first point but I was so caught up with Frank Sinatra’s Strangers In The Night and I missed this point When I started, I didn’t know what WordPress was, Blogger had be dumbfounded, Google was just a search engine and I was just a freshly graduated nurse who’s trying to earn money to help my family. I made use of the internet and did a lot (when I say a lot, I mean A LOT) of research. Fast forward 4 years, here I am tonight, writing a blog post hoping to help more people widen their knowledge about freelancing So if you don’t know what this or that means, search for it in the internet and read and read and read!
My childhood was full of english cartoons, english storybooks, english audio tapes and english activity books. I would love to thank my parents for showering me those things and gave me access to it because it helped me so much. English is like the language of the internet, in freelancing, it comes really handy to be good at english. While my accent is not as striking as british english or as fluent as americans, I can communicate in english really well and it is more than enough for me and my employers to understand each other. Up until today, I still practice and read english books and watch english movies and videos. Learning shouldn’t stop when you graduate from school, make it a habit to make learning a part of your daily activities. Learn something new everyday. Even if it’s learning how to perfectly eat a bowl of cookie butter ice with crushed sugar cone on top!
Freelancing has a lot of good benefits, but with those good benefits come hard times too. It’s not always rainbows and butterflies. Difficult boss, difficult co-workers, difficult tasks and even getting sick in the middle of an important project. You can encounter all of these while working and you have to handle it Professionally. Don’t think that freelancing is easy because you are your own boss. But don’t be too hard on yourself too.
In freelancing, there are short term and long term projects. You could be earning money today and be laid off tomorrow. While we know nothing in life is constant except change, you should be ready and plan ahead. Some (could be most) of the people I know who are freelancing have different “rakets” (other jobs) or businesses so when one contract/job ends, they still have a back-up income. That’s why before you quit your 9-5 job, make sure your freelance job can sustain your lifestyle and you can still save apart from it paying your bills.
I was never the best in time management. People who know me knows this well! While I still achieve my goals for the day, there are times when I’m still awake at 2am finishing up an article that I was supposed to finish earlier the pervious day. Manage your time well and you will never have a problem with meeting deadlines. Most of my jobs have flexible time because I know myself that I am not good with a fixed schedule. Tip: I always write my goals or things to do for the day in a post-it note and put it on my wall. In that way, I will never forget my tasks and I get motivated to do everything written on it. Right now, I still have three things left on my list!
As a freelancer, it is relatively easy to work all day. This is one tip I could tell myself, don’t forget to live your life. I always get caught up with lots of work and because I am a proud homebody, I could survive a week without going out of the house. I know, you can call it boring, I call it my lifestyle. Ha! There’s just so many things you can do at home and I was never the one to enjoy going out all the time. Today, I see to it that I spend time with my family and meet with my friends even just once a month. Go volunteer, travel to the next city, visit museums, go eat at the new restaurant! Reward yourself for working hard and you’ll be more motivated to work the next day.
I could still write more but it’s 10:28pm and I still need to cross out three things on my to-do list! Plus Beyonce’s Haunted FSOG Version is making me dance! Now if you’re still interested to try freelancing after reading this post, here are a few websites I recommend for you to try:
www.odesk.com: World’s largest online workplace
www.elance.com: Online Staffing Platform
www.LinkedIn.com: Social networking service to build your Professional Network
www.wordpress.com: Web software where you can start your own blog
www.blogger.com: Blog-publishing service where you can star your own blog