Freelancing: Everything You Need To Know
Image Credit: Kenteegardin
What is Freelancing?
Freelancing is one of the many ways to make money from home when you’re not ready to start a home business – it can be full time or part time. Freelancer is a self-employed person who works from home for a number of clients/businesses for a fee. Freelancers are usually skilled professionals who are neither employees nor employers – usually work as a contractor. They can be amateurs as well who have just started freelancing or can be professionals who work for big bucks.
They offer their services (writing, designing, coding etc.) to clients without any long term commitment and they charge by hour or on a contract basis (i.e. fixed rate).
Got Nothing To Do? Start Freelancing!
Wait, Freelancing does not mean that you are your own boss and it’s not going to make you rich overnight. It means that you are going to become a contractor and hence you do have some responsibility and commitment to your clients and have deadlines to meet.
If you have great expertise in some fields (programming, designing, writing, marketing, consulting etc.) then you should start Freelancing as a part time to begin with before going full swing.
According to PayScale.com (which is the world’s largest database of individual employee compensation profiles) the average hourly rate for a Software Engineer in India is around $15 per hour while the average hourly rate for a programmer at Freelancer.com is $20 to $35. So you can imagine the potential of Freelancing.
5 Reasons Why You Should Freelance
- You work from home, do what you love to do and still make big bucks.
- You decide what to do and what not to.
- You decide when and how to work – day or night, weekdays or weekends.
- You don’t have a boss who controls you.
- Freelancing offers unlimited opportunities as it never gets saturated and so there is surely a job out there for you.
5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Freelance
- Uncertainty of work and hence no steady income is the biggest problem when it comes to Freelancing.
- You don’t have a boss to motivate you so you need to motivate yourself to achieve your goal. And, most importantly you won’t have colleagues to interact with.
- If you are working for a company then you get paid in full irrespective of the working hours (i.e. you’re making money even when you’re having your lunch or break). But it’s not the case with Freelancing where you will be paid only for billable hours unless it’s a fixed price contract.
- Unless you are a disciplined Freelancer you won’t have free time because of procrastination.
- Your family won’t respect you unless they are tech-savvy and know what you are doing which is very unlikely.
So, How To Make Money As A Freelancer (or Outsourcer)
If you check any of the freelancer websites then you will see that Development (Web & Software) and Writing (Article Writing, Copywriting, Ghostwriting, Technical Writing etc.) are the most popular skills in demand. So, I’m going to focus on Freelance Writing as an example since Freelancers Writers are always in great demand as “Content is King”. I’m assuming that you’re a newbie writer and you don’t have a good portfolio to show your potential clients.
The first step in Freelancing is to create a professional profile on Freelancer.com which is very essential to effectively showcase your skills and portfolio (if you have some).
Turbocharge your Freelancer profile with technical exams and get certified. There is a test for each skill you claim to have and if you pass the exam a special badge will be added to your profile and that will increase your reputation as a Freelancer. I hire freelancers with tested skills only and not based on self-assessed skills. So, Go Get Certified!
Now, the #1 challenge of a Freelancer is “Finding Clients & Dealing with Competition“. It’s never easy as you probably know there are hundreds of thousands of freelancers. So, why should one hire you? What makes you stand out from the crowd? Think out of the box! Instead of finding clients initially from Freelancer websites you can establish an online presence. How? Start your own professional blog (highly recommended especially if you’re onto Freelance Writing) showcasing your talent, publishing industry news, rich content etc. Brand yourself as an expert on Social Media – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ is your friend. You can even guest blog on other established blogs as it further increases your exposure. Initially you may have to offer your services for free as part of branding but in the long run it will surely help you.
Okay. Now, What is Outsourcing?
Outsourcing is the process of contracting with another company or an individual (who is usually a Freelancer) to do a particular function.
Why Do Companies Outsource/Hire Freelancers?
There are several reasons why companies outsource jobs abroad by hiring freelancers but the primary reason is to reduce cost. As you probably know everything ‘IT’ is outsourced to India and everything ‘Manufacturing’ is outsourced to China. Why? The average annual salary of a Software Engineer in India is USD 6,000 while the average annual salary of a Software Engineer in United States is USD 60,000. So it means if a U.S IT Company outsource their jobs to India then they can save up to 90% of the cost.
In other terms, if it costs $100,000 to develop a software in United States then it won’t cost more than say $30,000 if you hire freelancers from India or Philippines.
Outsource Yourself: A Personal Outsourcing Case Study
Says a programmer who Outsourced his job to India:
“About a year ago I hired a developer in India to do my job. I pay him $12,000 out of the $67,000 I get. He’s happy to have the work. I’m happy that I have to work only 90 minutes a day just supervising the code. My employer thinks I’m telecommuting. Now I’m considering getting a second job and doing the same thing.”
How To Build A Business Using Freelancers: An Outsourcing Case Study
Now, I’m going to tell you how to build a profitable business online using Freelancers only. Let’s say you want to start a blog and you’re an alien when it comes to the art of blogging and online marketing. All you need to do is follow the six steps below.
But Wait, Why Freelancers?
- No Infrastructure (Property, Office Space, Equipment etc.) needed so it means huge savings.
- Since freelancers come from different geographic locations you will have access to talents across the world.
- Get the project done at a fraction of your real budget. If you choose to hire an agency/company then they will charge you at least thrice (if not more) the amount charged by freelancers.
- Freelancers are professionals who know what they’re doing so you don’t have to train them and you pay only for results
- Freelancers are flexible, innovative and tends to deliver the project earlier than agencies who rely on their own employees.
A Step-by-Step Guide On How To Start A Blog [Outsourcing Case Study]
Image Credit: Sean MacEntee
Step 1: Setup Blog (Register Domain Name, Web Hosting & Install WordPress)
The first step to blogging is obviously to register a Domain Name (a brandable .com I would say) and sign up for a Web Hosting Plan. If you’re bad at picking domain names then you can consult someone for an idea or run a contest elsewhere to get the best domain name possible.
Step 2: Designing & Coding
Your blog needs a logo and template design. Hire a logo designer or post a contest on Freelancer.com (recommended since you will get hundreds of designs and you pay only for one that too if you’re 100% satisfied). And, Hire a WordPress Developer who will be managing the blog (publishing content, updating, troubleshooting etc.).
Step 3: Content Creation
Content is King. But it doesn’t means that you have to write it by yourself. There are hundreds of thousands of freelance writers available on Freelancer. So the next step is to hire few freelance writers who will write quality content for you.
Step 4: Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
A blog without any traffic is a sign of no blog. You have to increase the visibility of your blog in Search Engines so hire a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) expert who does that job for you.
Step 5: Social Media Marketing (SMM)
Today, Social Media plays an important role in driving traffic to your website/blog. And most importantly Search Engines are using social media signals for determining the rank of a page. So hire a social media strategist to engage your visitors.
Step 6: Virtual Assistant
Your blog is online and you have traffic. Now, you may hire a Virtual Assistant. But what can they do for you? Well, you can hire a Virtual Assistant for managing your content & advertising, pay-per-click advertising campaigns, e-mails, guest posting (collaborating with other bloggers in your niche) etc.
How To Effectively Hire Freelancers For Outsourcing
Image Credit: Cisshadab
- Check the freelancer’s profile/résumé – his/her feedback, ratings, portfolio, experience.
- Communicate with him/her preferably over Skype (if it’s a big project) and use some jargons in your conversation so that you can know whether the person is really experienced.
- Make sure that the person has really understood your project and it’s requirements.
- Don’t depend on only one person. Instead, split your project into modules and outsource them separately to different freelancers.
- Never rely on a person if he says that he is good in designing, coding, writing etc. It’s always the best to select the right person. It’s true especially when you’re hiring content writers. I never trust a writer if he says that he can write content in any niche.
Pre-Sell And Make Money As A Freelancer/Outsourcer When You’re Not
If you want to make money as a Freelancer then you must have certain skills (programming, designing, writing, consulting etc.). Now what if you don’t have any of the mentioned skills but have a marketing skill? Now, you can still make money even if you don’t have any of the mentioned skills provided you know how to market. How? Pre-Selling. Now, what is Pre-Selling? Basically, Pre-Selling is a marketing tactic in which you’re offering something which you don’t have. It can be applied to service industry as well.
Pre-Selling is the key to Internet Marketing. One of the reason why most newbie freelancers fail is that they don’t pre-sell their services. It doesn’t means that you should go ahead and bid all the projects you come across. Just bid if it’s something which you can really do and make sure that you clearly understand all the project requirements.
Now, let’s say I came across a big Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Project. I wouldn’t call myself an SEO Guru but I can still go ahead and bid for the project as I know the jargons of SEO. So what I’ll be doing is Pre-Sell my service to the client and give them the confidence to hire me. Once I bag the project I will be Outsourcing (or Crowdsourcing) the project to Freelancers I know personally by splitting the project into modules. I know it’s not that easy, especially if you’re a newbie, but it’s something which I have tried several years back and it worked for me.
So, What exactly are you waiting for? Sign Up today on Freelancer.com and establish yourself as a Freelancer.