My work from home path started very similarly to most who are just starting out.
I got my feet wet by signing up with online survey companies, applied to data entry jobs, tried a bunch of different and very diverse ideas, and then finally bit the bullet and got serious about freelancing.
When I first started freelancing it was pretty scary. At the time I was totally freaked out by rejection and every “no” I got stung…bad.
However, at this time I was also a single mom working two jobs to get by and oh-so desperately wanted a job that paid better and required fewer hours. (I was earning around $11/hour at the time and working 50-60 hours per week.)
So I pushed through the rejections and kept on going. I landed one job, then another, and then another. By this time I started viewing every “no” I got as proof I was trying.
Now, you may be wondering why I chose freelancing instead of a traditional work from home job so today I wanted to share. These reasons may be helpful for you if you’re currently debating which path to take.
# 1 – The Pay!
Most of the more traditional type of work from home jobs that I was qualified for (no college degree, no previous experience) paid anywhere from $7-$12 per hour. Since I was on my own I needed to earn more money than that on an hourly basis.
When I started freelancing I earned around $17-$30 per hour depending on what I did. (This doesn’t account for taxes though which we’ll discuss later.) Over a three year period I grew this rate to over $50+ per hour.
# 2 – You Get Paid Per Project
Do you know what the most frustrating thing about a traditional job is? Even though you get better and faster at what you do you still get paid the same and often get handed more responsibility!
Freelancing is not like that.
When it comes to freelancing you typically get paid per project. (I’ve only ever had one freelance project that paid hourly but it also offered profit sharing based on performance.)
This typically means the faster you become the more you’ll earn.
For instance if you’re writing blog posts at $30/post and it takes you two hours to write one you’ll earn $15 per hour. Overtime your skills will grow and it may only take you one hour to write that same post. You’re now earning $30 per hour!
# 3 – Control Over Who You Work With
When I first started freelancing I pretty much took any job I could. At that point I NEEDED to. But overtime I became really good at finding clients and then had multiple people reaching out to me.
This allowed me to have control over who I worked with. I started working with the clients who paid me more or who I just preferred and slowly let go of the others.
# 4 – The Flexibility
As a freelancer you typically set your own hours, depending on what services you offer. This has been instrumental for me as I like to work around my kids’ schedules.
# 5 – So Many Skills
Aside from the skills of the actual work you perform you’ll learn so much more! Freelancing helped me develop a thicker skin, I am now confident in my ability to quickly find clients if I ever need to (job security!), and I also had to learn to do proper bookkeeping, plan for taxes, etc.
But Is It All Rainbows and Butterflies?
Of course not! Just like anything else there are some cons to freelancing too. In my opinion there are three:
As a freelancer you’re responsible for paying your own taxes. In the case of FICA taxes you’re going to be paying double what you would as an employee – you’ll pay your “normal” share PLUS what an employer would typically pay on your behalf.
Taxes come to around 30% of what you make.
You’ll need to save that money and send it in quarterly. (Here’s more on what I pay in self-employment taxes.)
No employer provided health insurance or retirement plan. That’s all up to you. (Here’s what I do for retirement savings.)
You Have to Find Your Own Clients
One of the biggest turn-offs to would be freelancers is finding your own clients. It’s scary at first but I promise you, it becomes easier as you go.
Initially you’ll get told no a lot but you’ll eventually figure out a system for landing more clients and rejection slowly stops sucking so much.
If you’re clueless on how to get clients here’s my guide for finding freelance writing clients but you can use the same steps for ANY service!
Where to Start
If you think that freelancing is the path you won’t to go down it’s important that you know that you can offer almost any service on a freelance basis! To freelance simply means you’re working with multiple people on a contract basis rather than as an employee.
If you’re looking for ideas you can do virtually here are some my favorite: (Click the link you’re interested in for more info)
- Bookkeeping (Free three part video series from Ben Robinson, CPA)
- Writing (How to start from zero experience)
- Virtual Assisting (30+ services you can offer)
- Proofreading (Free webinar from Caitlyn Pyle)
If you’re looking for freelance services you can offer locally you’ll find quite a few on this list.
At the end of the day freelancing can be a great gig for some but it’s not for everyone. If you decide to freelance it’s important to weight the pros and cons and save up a cash buffer before quitting your day job.