As an employee, you’ve probably experienced this: a breaking point, where you suddenly realize that working 9 AM – 5 PM, staying late consistently, working overtime, and getting more work piled on with no raise is EXHAUSTING.
I was there about a month ago. It got to the point that my mental health was suffering. Plus, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, I didn’t enjoy going into the office.
I ended up quitting my full-time job, like many others have recently. We’re currently experiencing the Great Resignation, where millions of workers in the U.S. have quit their jobs. Suddenly, employees and workers have the power.
During COVID-19, the cooperations had the power. Now, they’re kind of lucky to find anyone willing to work a full-time traditional role (especially in-office).
After freelance writing for a few weeks, I understand why so many others have quit their jobs. The freelance and contract work life offers more money, more flexibility, and more happiness.
What is Freelancing?
When I tell people I’m doing freelance work, sometimes they’re confused. What I mean is that I’m not anyone’s employee.
Basically, the companies and people I work for are my clients. I am my own business (and maybe one day, I’ll outsource my work). I send an invoice, I’ll have a different tax form (in contrast to the employee W-4).
This type of work could be anything (but here are some great ideas if you need them). For me, it started with writing blogs, and quickly evolved into content marketing.
But I also realized: I don’t have to just do freelance content marketing. I can also use other skills. I have a lot of experience babysitting and nannying, so I can use those skills to land an easier babysitting role. By easier, I mean less scholarly thinking. More work that uses a different part of my brain.
That will give me time to make some money while I look for more quality content marketing clients. I can focus on lead generation of meaningful and valuable work, rather than accepting lower-paying writing jobs (which I’m currently doing).
If I have the income to be pickier about the clients I accept (by charging more), I will be able to work less hours and make more money. Which is what we all want to do, right?
With freelance work, you can continually increase your income.
Since you are making enough to survive, you can start saying no to people. You can start asking for more money. For example, I recently upped my babysitting fees to an absurd amount. Why?
For two reasons:
- I don’t really need the work. I have other babysitting offers that I’m going to turn down. I’m not desperate to accept lower-paying work, and honestly, there are plenty of babysitters in the area who are.
- I would rather take lower-paying work that has to do with my career to build my portfolio. While I probably will continue to accept lower-paying jobs in marketing, it’s to expand and sharpen my professional skills and build references/connections.
When you work a 9 AM – 5 PM, you cannot continually raise your own hourly rate. You also can’t really deny work. You need 40+ hours per week.
Whereas if you work as a freelancer, you can increase your hourly wages and work fewer hours per week. If you have one week where you don’t want to do much work, you can turn down projects.
Plus, you have multiple sources of income. So if one of your clients is giving you a super challenging time, you can cut the professional relationship off and know you’ll be okay because you have other sources of income.
What skills can you do freelance work with?
Honestly, you can do anything. I mentioned writing, content marketing, and babysitting, because those are my skills and those are what I like to do. But if you love pets, you could do pet sitting. If you’re an amazing plumber or technician, sell those skills. My sister sells cookies.
Whatever your skills are, take a moment to think, how can I use these to make money? And it doesn’t all have to be the same thing. Maybe you sell homemade candles and soaps, but you also transcribe audio for people.
It just takes time. Ask yourself: What am I good at? What would I not mind spending my time doing? Start jotting down your ideas.
How to Find Freelance Clients
Honestly, I’ve found a lot of freelance writing and babysitting clients on Facebook. I just joined Facebook Groups and posted or interacted with people looking for the services I am providing.
These groups have landed me some long-term clients for written blogs as well as a long-term babysitting gig. I got many other offers as well.
There are also multiple Facebook Groups for each “category” of services you’re providing. For example, I joined one group for babysitters needed in one town, and then a second group for babysitters in the town next to it. Both are in driving distance to me.
For one group, I had a lower hourly rate. When I got multiple inquiries from that one, I posted in the other increasing my rate. I just posted a resume geared towards babysitting and said I’m looking for some gigs. I got a comment, “Your rate seems high.”
I responded, “Yeah, I don’t need this work. I believe parents are willing to pay for quality. If you want to pay lower rates, there are plenty of babysitters in the area that would love to have the work.”
Because while I did take a lower-paying long-term babysitting job, it provides stability. Along with my content marketing role, any extra hours besides both of these gigs would just be overtime. So since I don’t need the work, and I have to make it worth it, I raise my rate. Simple, right?
Plus, it really only takes one person to say yes. And then you’ll be doing more work, but it’ll pay off.
Also, a lot of these groups are just valuable to be a part of. People share valuable information, and you can post within the groups. One of my posts got 230+ likes in that group. I could screenshot high-performing posts in those groups and use them to show my content creation abilities and engagement potential.
It’s easy to find these groups. Just search “Freelance Writing” or “Babysitting + your town name.”
Especially when you’re looking for work that’s more “scholarly,” such as content writing or graphic designing, LinkedIn can be an amazing tool. I’ve found long-term writing clients on there, and it’s also how I found the content marketing position.
There are a lot of freelance job opportunities on LinkedIn. Just set your search to “remote” and type “freelance” along with whatever position you’re looking for. For example: freelance graphic designer. Plus with LinkedIn Easy Apply, you can apply on your phone while you pet your cats (or dogs, whatever).
Don’t ignore LinkedIn! It’s actually amazing. I will never stop using LinkedIn for jobs. I’ve had so much success already that I don’t even think about going on Indeed.
Other ways to generate clients
First of all, build your personal brand. Create beautiful, engaging resumes targeted for the role you want, work samples, and more. I haven’t really started social media marketing enough yet, but I probably should. Work on getting a website or improving the one that you already have.
Another way to generate clients is through word of mouth. Do you know anyone that needs the services you’re offering? Or does anyone you know have a friend who needs your services?
Tell others what you’re doing. You never know what might come your way.
Think of one of your “jobs” as marketing yourself.
As an entrepreneur, you need to “sell” or market yourself. You don’t have a 9 AM – 5 PM job, so you need to find work for yourself.
As you build your own brand, start asking yourself how you can improve your personal marketing tactics. Maybe if your website has built up subscribers, you can start to send them engaging newsletters to continue growing your business.
It’s easy for me to think about marketing yourself, because I work in content marketing. But basically, all you need to do is provide content that is personable, entertaining, and informative. This content could be writing blogs, email marketing, social media, a podcast, whatever.
Wherever your ideal clients are, market yourself there.
While I said it’s easy for me to think about marketing yourself, it’s hard for me to imagine consistently doing so. On top of all your other work, content marketing for your own business is A LOT of work.
But maybe one day, when you’re generating enough income to do so, you can hire another freelancer who specializes in the marketing work you don’t want to do.
But until you get there, try to get your name out there and stick to a consistent brand and style while creating your graphics. For example, pick 2-3 fonts to stick to, a few colors, and maybe a certain type of aesthetic. Create business graphics on Canva!
You’re not stuck in your 9 – 5.
I know it seems like you are. I know it’s scary to leave the stability. But once you grow confident in your skills, freelancing can lead to a higher hourly income and less need to cling on to one employer when you have a variety of income sources.
All it takes is a little thinking outside the box.
Maybe you love your 9 – 5. That’s totally fine! But it’s not the only way.