So you’re starting out as a freelancer…and I know it’s quite a struggle.
Sometimes you would just envy those digital nomads that are “vacationing while working.”
Well, who doesn’t, right?
If you ask me, I would also love to be in their shoes. They seem to be having the time of their lives. No sweat at all.
But…did you know that before getting to where they are right now, these successful digital nomads actually started out somewhere? I mean, like you and me – at the bottom.
Everything that they are enjoying right now is the result of pure hard work.
If you’re a freelancer who’s just starting out, chances are, you’re thinking about going back to the comforts of your office job. But don’t worry. Everybody goes through that stage. In fact, I’m currently at that stage – and it is not good.
Well, honestly, making the life-changing decision of becoming a full-time freelancer is not that easy. There are a lot of things to think about. Freelancing is not just about traveling while working…or taking control of your time. There is much more to it.
So before you ride the bandwagon, better ask yourself: Are you really up for the challenge?
Not all people are cut out to be a freelancer. As I’ve mentioned in my recent posts, I have tried freelancing 5 years ago, and I did it for 3 years. It didn’t quite work for me at the time. But now, becoming a mom has led me to that place again. This time, I’m sure of it. And it took me several months to contemplate on it.
I know that once I decide to become a full-time freelancer, I will be missing out on a lot of things:
First of all, I will lose company benefits. I know that once I quit my office job and become a freelancer, I’m on my own. The company I’m going to work for will no longer pay for my gym membership or my health care provider. I will no longer receive quarterly bonuses (except if it’s a part of the program of my new company). There will be no paid sick leaves, paid vacations, and paid maternity leaves. I can always apply for HMO or gym memberships if I want to, but then, everything has to come out from my own pocket.
Another thing that I would be missing would be the physical presence of my colleagues. Although I will be connecting with my clients virtually, it is never the same as talking face-to-face with your colleague or boss. The usual chatter and laughter during break times will no longer be there. Since I will only have a baby to talk to most of the time, I will have to learn to talk to myself (just kidding).
However, after considering all of these, becoming a full-time freelancer is still my choice. And ninety percent of my decision stems from the fact that I value my time with my baby more.
So, now, my mind is set on becoming a full-time freelancer. Are you all set as well?
Considering that you answered “yes”, what are the next steps to take?
1. Start looking for jobs
Of course! How would you start freelancing?
Well, the first thing I did was update my LinkedIn page. I made sure that I will be attracting the right prospects.
I made sure the job title field shows the type of job I’m looking for. Since I wanted to find opportunities as a freelance writer, I updated the job title field to Freelance B2B/B2C Content Writer. The more specific it is, the better. I also made sure that my LinkedIn work history backs it up.
So far, I have received a number of job invitations specific to my job title. I have gained a few clients from there.
The next thing I did was to scour different job platforms such as Upwork and Fiverr for other opportunities. Though I have already received a lot of interview invitations from Upwork, the stiff competition makes it hard to get good opportunities. Besides, I’m also hesitant to continue using their platform because of the 20% fee. But I won’t discourage you. If you think Upwork is the place for you, so be it.
One particular writing platform that I tried was iWriter.com. I just signed up this week and have so far submitted 5 articles and got 3 of them approved. Hopefully, I will get past being a newbie soon and get promoted so I can take on more projects that offer higher rates.
Right now, I’m still continuously looking for other opportunities – and being freelancers, we shouldn’t stop looking for opportunities. We’ll never know when the perfect work comes along.
2. Prepare to get paid
This is the exciting part of being a freelancer – when you finally see the fruits of your labor.
Every freelancer needs a platform to get paid. And that’s one of the main things I tried to accomplish first.
First, I got an EON card from Unionbank (Philippines). I love this card because this was what I used to accept payments from PayPal the last time I did freelancing. The good thing about this debit card is it functions both as a debit card and a savings account. You just have to pay an annual fee of 350 Php. I’m not into credit cards so debit cards work for me. I link this card to PayPal so I can withdraw money from there. It usually only takes 1-2 days to transfer funds from PayPal to EON while other banks take 3-9 business days.
I also created new PayPal and Payoneer accounts. I opened accounts on both sites since some clients would prefer one over the other. According to some reviews that I read, Payoneer offers lower fees than PayPal. It also has an ATM card that you can use to withdraw money, unlike PayPal.
So there you have it – just a few pointers before you get started with your freelancing career. I know it’s hard at first, but in the next few months, you will definitely enjoy the perks of being your own boss. I know I will.