Freelancing from home gives your more freedom and flexibility than a traditional job can.
Freelancing from home has become more popular over the past few years as more companies start adding remote positions. Social distancing is now the “new normal,” and we’re all trying to adjust to it.
There’s never been a better time to start an online business or start working from home as a freelancer. While many businesses have laid off millions of people from their jobs in America, many home-based jobs are thriving. So, let’s look at some of the reasons why freelancing from home is the right thing to do now and freelancing basics.
What Exactly is a Freelancer?
A freelancer is a person who offers service for a fee without the expectation of permanent employment with one client. Freelancing is essentially a form of self-employment, like owning a home-based business. Many freelancers actually create online businesses, or you can work as a freelance contractor without starting a business.
You may hear the term “telecommuting” thrown around, but it’s not the same as freelancing. Telecommuting usually refers to an employee of a company who works from home or telecommutes.
5 Terms Used to Describe Freelancers
As freelancing gains popularity, there are several terms used to refer to freelancers. Here are five names and descriptions used.
You may have heard of moonlighting before. The term moonlighter describes people that have a full-time job as well as a side hustle. A moonlighter may be a teacher by day and tutor on the weekends for Chegg Tutors.
2. Independent Contractor
Independent contractors are probably the most popular forms of freelancing from home. They do contract or supplemental work often on a per-project basis. For example, you may work as a Project Manager for an online company, but you’re not an actual employee receiving benefits.
3. Freelance Business Owner
A freelance business owner hires other freelancers to help complete client work. A successful freelance writer may hire another freelancer to meet the rising demands of clients or offer new complimenting services.
So, the writer may contract with another writer to help write articles, or they may hire a graphic designer to help design marketing materials.
4. Temporary Worker
Temporary workers have either a contract or one traditional job position for a limited, predetermined time frame. So, an online business may hire a web designer to help launch a start-up.
5. Diversified Worker
This term refers to someone who is part freelancer and part traditional employee. They split their work time between freelancing jobs and other typical part-time work.
The number of diversified workers is increasing as on-demand service apps such as Instacart or Uber become more popular. A diversified work may work 25 hours a week as an Administrative Assistant and deliver food for Instacart on the side.
What Are Some Popular Freelancing Services?
Thankfully, the internet allows us to connect with more people and offer more services than ever before. When I started looking for online jobs so I could work from home, I was amazed at the number of opportunities that I never knew existed. Here are some common freelancing services.
- Architecture Services
- Web Development and Design
- Human Resource Management
- Audio and Video Production
- Tutoring and Teaching
- Legal Services
- Data Entry
- Freelance Writing
- Web Research
- Social Media Management
- Virtual Assistant
- Customer Service
- Graphic Design
- Branding Services
- Consulting Services
- Public Relations and Marketing
- Proofreading and Editing
- Computer and IT
- Software Development
- Project Management
- Turn Your Traditional Job into a Service
There’s a way to turn many traditional jobs into freelancing opportunities. You’re only limited by your imagination on the services you can offer.
Why You Should Try Freelancing from Home-The Benefits
There are so many benefits to working from home, and that’s why many people want to work remotely. Here are some of the reasons you should try freelancing from home.
Work from Anywhere You Want To
There’s nothing better than being able to work no matter where you are. I still find myself trying to make plans to go out of town around my work schedule, and then I remember, if I have internet, I can work from anywhere!
Many freelancers like to travel, so they become digital nomads traveling from place to place. It’s the ultimate freedom when you can base your work around your lifestyle and not the other way around. Whether you want to work from home, at the coffee shop, or on a tropical beach, freelancing allows you to work when and where you want to.
Control Your Own Destiny
You can find your purpose through your job, too, but as a freelancer, you’re 100% (EMOJI) in control of how your work, who your work with, and when you work. There’s no need to ask a supervisor for vacation time or worry about taking a day off when you’re sick.
You don’t have to ask permission to attend training that teaches you new skills that can help you make more money. Freelancing lets you control your destiny and gives you endless choices.
Fewer Working Hours
Many freelancers work less than 40 hours a week. That’s because you determine your workload. If you get things done in less than 40 hours that you’re finished. Now, this can also backfire on you if you take on more than you can handle leading you to work more than your traditional job.
All Your Efforts Reward You and Not a Company
When you work for a corporation, your work helps them achieve their goals and make more money for the company. It sucks. If you developed some new efficient way to do things and saved them $50,000, you never see any of that money you saved them.
As a freelancer, your decisions and successes pay-off for you immediately and not some big company. You’re working to make your life better so you can have a better work-life balance.
A Flexible Schedule
Another great perk to freelancing from home is that freelance jobs have flexible schedules. I worked shift work most of my career in law enforcement, and I’m a night owl. A strict 9-5 or 8-4 does not work well for me.
If you’re a night owl like me, you can just start your day later and work a little later. If you set things up right, then maybe you can get up late and only work six hours a day.
You set your own pace, set your own schedule, and work on tasks when you’re ready to. Now there will be deadlines with clients, but over time you can accurately estimate how much time you need to finish a project. You’ll get quicker the longer you freelance.
A flexible schedule is one of the main reasons people choose the freelancing lifestyle. It gives you more time with family and friends and allows you to do more of the things you love.
I’ve heard many people say that leaving a “stable job” to freelance is crazy. The truth is that even the most profitable company can lay off good people for no reason. The COVID-19 pandemic caused thousands of businesses to close, leaving many people jobless. They aren’t sure if they’ll be temporarily out of a job or if it’s a permanent problem.
Even businesses during more stable times hire and fire at will to save money. I’ve seen friends and family that dedicated YEARS to a business only to have the rug pulled out from them.
There’s a pattern in some companies that want to save money. They’ll get rid of someone with a lot of experience making a good salary and replace them with someone younger who will work for less money.
When you work for yourself, you have the flexibility to change directions in your business and follow the money trail. A job isn’t what provides security; it’s the money. As long as you can continue making money, your freelancing job is more secure. Plus, you can diversify your earnings by creating different income streams.
Increase Your Income
As a freelancer, you control your salary. There’s no need to wait for a raise; you choose what you make. You’re no longer stuck with an hourly wage with only two weeks’ vacation. There are plenty of ways to make money as a freelancer, and you choose the product or services and dictate the price.
Even if you charge what seems a considerable amount to you, it’s still likely less than a bigger business would charge because it’s just you, and your expenses are lower.
A Better Work-Life Balance
Working too much isn’t healthy. You need a better work-life balance if you want to be happy and fulfilled. When you make a schedule, make sure to include plenty of time with your family and friends.
Since you control when you work, you can have a better life by balancing all aspects of it. While you have a job to do, it’s equally important to have time for yourself and the things you love to do.
Increase Your Confidence
Freelancing can seem a little scary at first because you’re putting yourself out there. Plus, you need to get clients, and it can make you a nervous wreck. But it helps you increase your confidence in a way no traditional job can do.
The more you do it, the better you get at it, and your confidence grows. You become an authority in your niche or industry, so you appear more confident to others. It will help you serve more people and make more money. Over time you learn the processes and create templates and systems to make your job easier.
As someone self-employed, you will have to purchase your own supplies, and while that can get expensive, you can deduct most of your expenses from your taxes. Some things you can deduct include:
- Equipment such as computers
- Marketing and promotional items like business cards and advertising
- Business travel expenses
- The cost of paying other freelancers who work for you
These are just a few items. I am not a tax professional or accountant and am not giving you advice on filing your taxes or managing your business. So, always talk to a tax professional before you do your taxes.
It’s just one of those perks to running your own business. You just need to make sure you keep careful records of all your expenses.
The Negatives of Freelancing from Home
While freelancing offers fantastic opportunities, there are some drawbacks as well. Here are a few.
- Not every hour you work is billable: Unfortunately, a home-based business requires more time from you that’s not billable. You’ll have to deal with your bookkeeping and upkeep spreadsheets or files on your clients. There’s also the time you spend finding and managing clients. However, as you become more established and make money, you can outsource the things you’re not good at or so you can spend your time in the areas of your business that bring in the money.
- The nature of freelancing: The very nature of freelancing can leave people that crave stability in their life and career feeling a little uncertain. But it’s up to you to bring in consistent income. Most freelancers continually look for other clients to boost their income. It’s best if you work with multiple clients, so if one decides not to use your services anymore, you have other income coming in.
- No Employer Benefits- One of the good things about working for an employer is the benefits. Usually, the company pays your health insurance, contributes to your 401 K, and other benefits. Freelancers must find their own health insurance, which is a significant concern for many people self-employed. Also, if you miss a workday as a freelancer than you may not make money that day.
What Do You Need to Get Started as a Freelancer?
The first thing you need is a skill that you can use to create products or services for clients. For instance, as a freelance writer, I can offer a variety of services to my clients, such as blog posts, magazine articles, case studies, white papers, website copywriting, and much more.
Think of what you’re really good at. Are there skills from your full-time job that you can turn into a service for clients? If you worked as an accountant, you could offer bookkeeping services. Were you an administrative assistant? If so, you could be a virtual assistant for corporate executives.
Once you decide on a skill you can offer, you need to choose a niche or specialty to focus on. So, what is a niche exactly? The urban dictionary defines a niche as “an area of the market specializing in one type of product or service.” Picking a niche may be one of the most challenging things you do.
So, how do you niche down? There are several ways. First, think of something related to your previous work experience or hobbies that you like to do. You can choose an industry or type of service.
For example, I was a police officer for over 20 years, and I love writing, so I decided on freelance writing. I specialize in writing blog posts for businesses in the security and law enforcement industries. So, I niched down to a specific industry and writing service.
Here are some other examples of niches:
- Social Media Manager for women who blog about crafting
- Freelance Writer that writes case studies and white papers for businesses that sell medical equipment
- A photographer that offers stock photos for bloggers specializing in business and marketing
The sky is the limit as far as the products and services you can offer clients. If you need help niching down, join my FREE challenge on how to choose the best profitable niche for your blog or business.
Niching down is also critical to position yourself as an expert and establish your authority as a freelancer.
Create a Business Plan
Many new freelancers don’t create a business plan. A business plan helps you define your services, pricing, goals, and much more. Treating your freelancing position as a business is critical for success.
Many solopreneurs, myself included, start off winging it. You’ll see much more success when you create a plan and focused timeline so you can stay on track with your goals and scale your business as you grow.
Website and Social Media Profiles
You need a website to send possible clients to that shows the services and products you offer as well as testimonials and a portfolio of your work. You’ll want to create a list of your services and pricing to add to your website as well as a contact form for them to schedule calls with you to learn more.
Creating social media profiles is also critical for freelancers. You’ll find most of your clients on social media, and the goal is to drive them back to your website.
You may only need to focus on a few platforms. It’s important to go where your potential clients hang out. LinkedIn is where I find my freelance writing clients because managers of companies in the security industry don’t hang out on Facebook or Pinterest.
A social media manager may want to create a social media profile on all channels or at least the ones they want to manage for other people. A photographer may choose multiple platforms but really focus on Instagram and Pinterest since Instagram showcases photos, and Pinterest is a visual search engine.
A Freelance Contract
One thing many new freelancers don’t like to do is use a freelance contract. You may fit in this category and I know it can be scary once you land your first client to send them a contract to sign.
But here’s the thing. What happens if a client doesn’t pay you? Without a legal contract, you have no way to recoup the money owed to you.
However, with a freelance contract, you have a legal recourse to get your money.
When approaching a client about a contract, let them know that the contract protects them too and that usually helps eliminate any fear. Now, you may be saying, “Well Heather, how do I get a freelance contract to use?”
Well, you could hire a lawyer, which is really expensive, or you could just use the independent contractor legal template my friend and lawyer Amira Irfan created. It’s simple to customize. You just fill in the information Amira tells you in the highlighted spots, and BAM!
You have your own freelance legal contract. Get Amira’s affordable legal template here.
When Do You Ditch Your Boring Day Job?
Once you set these things up, you’re ready to get started freelancing.
So, the question comes up-when should you ditch your day job? It depends. Are you someone who wants to jump ship with no clients yet, or do you want to wait until you have a steady income from freelancing?
Generally, you should start freelancing as a side hustle and work on getting consistent income before you leave your other job. I know it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement, but if you quit too soon, you’ll find yourself stressed out and you may have to go back to a traditional job.
It’s a good idea to save up enough money so that you can survive for several months as it takes some time to establish yourself as a freelancer. I worked my other job a full year before I felt comfortable enough to quit my day job.
In some circumstances, you may not have a choice. Either you’ve been fired or laid off like many people now during the COVID-19 pandemic. That means you need to jump in with both feet and start setting up your business as soon as possible.
For some people, not having an income becomes a motivator to start looking for potential clients immediately.
Either way, create a goal for leaving your soul-sucking job and create a plan to achieve it. Make a measurable goal like, I want to leave my job to freelance from home within six months or a year. You can also define a set amount of income you want to reach before you quit.
And that is how you ditch your day job to become a full-time freelancer.
Final Thoughts on Freelancing from Home
You can create the life you’ve always dreamed of as a freelancer. Earn the money you need to live life to the fullest and create a schedule that includes work and play. You no longer need to live by the rules of an employer or wait on them to give you a raise.
You can truly design the life you’ve always dreamed of. Being a freelancer gives you more control over your life. It provides more security and options so you can stop trading dollars for hours and work with the people you want to.
Really, the opportunities are limitless, and freelancing from home gives you the flexibility in your life so you can have a better work-life balance.