How to become a freelancer and your own boss
I get this question A LOT. Like.. a lot. I finally decided to write a brief piece on it.
The thing about being a freelancer is that you need a few things to line up:
1. Sellable skills
2. Solid money management skills
What skills do you have that people or companies would pay for?
What is your value to a company that would be able to be a freelance opportunity?
Anyone in any industry can be a freelancer, the problem is the demand for said job.
I know plenty of young people who are really in tune with society, and they became Millennial consultants to big corporations who are interested in learning how to reach this elusive group of consumers. How they got that job? No idea. But they saw that they had a sellable skill – social media, Millennial mindset, access to raw data of folks in their age groups – and they knew how to sell it.
Other sellable skills are – are you a skilled carpenter? Can you teach this?
How about an instrument? Can you teach how to play one?
How about… anything ELSE that seems to be a niche and in an area or a skill / piece of knowledge that you have, that people are willing to fork over money for.
You can sell any skill, it just depends on the market.
SOLID MONEY MANAGEMENT SKILLS
Do you have it?
I am talking about basic b*tch 101 money management, here.
Make sure you have your financial house in order first before freelancing.
Do you know what income versus expenses mean?
Do you know what net and gross income means?
Do you know what fixed and variable expenses mean?
If you do, then great; now can you actually create and manage a budget without taking into account said income?
I am the perfect example of this. I have very variable (but high) income. If I spent my rockstar income like a rockstar, I’d be a pauper very quickly if I didn’t have any work coming in.
Sure I spend money and shop A LOT, but I don’t shop outside of my means. In fact, buying secondhand lately has really done it for me.
Like-new items that are designer and amazing for a fraction of the retail price? SIGN ME UP.
Look at what I scored in this month of secondhand shopping.
Instead of going with most traditional money management methods by looking top down, that is to say at my INCOME first to determine how much money I have from my paycheque to be able to spend in each month, I am looking at it from the bottom up.
I am listing expenses that I need to cover every month in my Budgeting Tool to “live” like my condo fees (I gots no mortgage because I paid my house in cash!), preschool fees because I won’t be at home watching Little Bun (or if my partner is off he would watch him but, potato, potata).. and then food, transportation, etc.
If you can’t (as a person now), look at your budget from the bottom up, by looking at expenses and then cutting it to a reasonable amount so that your variable income has ZERO impact on your life, you will be royally screwed as a freelancer.
I know plenty of people in my area who can’t do this. They scramble to find contracts, they take anything, lowball themselves, etc. *shrug* I’d rather not work than to take a rate that is not worth working for, y’know?
But don’t be that person and stress out about not having a job.
Lastly, no one is going to pay for someone who is a newbie unless it is in very exceptional cases.
You need on average, at least 10 years of experience (ballpark) before you freelance.
No one takes you seriously without at least 10 years, for the most part. How can you, someone who has only done something for 2 years, work and be an “expert” in your field?
I am a terrible example of this because I quit after 2 years and never looked back, but I would never ever suggest to anyone to quit their jobs and do what I did without having serious #%(*#% guts and nerves of steel, and ridiculous confidence in yourself.
I really just got lucky at the time that I quit, and I took a very dangerous, scary, leap of faith. I saw an opportunity, I took it, and landed on my feet.
Just because I did it, doesn’t mean you’ll be able to.
Other exceptional situations would be that Millennial consulting gig I talked about above – obviously they don’t have 10 years studying their own tribe to immediately jump into such a job, but what they DID have was not only some serious chutzpah to do so, but they definitely had a network, connections, and/or experience in SELLING. Basic selling, marketing, and presentation to get big corporations to buy in.
Assess your own situation. Or pay me to help you. I offer consulting services, my rates are here.
As for the most lucrative fields to pursue – it is the ones where no one are, and the demand is high.
Generally speaking, those are STEM careers – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.
But hold up — it also depends on your skills.
You can’t just go into an industry just because there is money there because if you aren’t cut out for the job, you’re going to suck at it, and not achieve your goal of freelancing.
Go with your actual skills.
If you’re in the restaurant business for instance, and you know how they work, and see a pain point with how equipment is being fixed, or how deliveries are made, then figure out how to capitalize on your experience to help those pain points in companies.
Obviously if you are in the restaurant business, you aren’t going to immediately dive into Physics and get into that industry into some niche of some freelancer you know. You have to go with your strengths, and interests.
Don’t chase the money, chase the fulfilling dream or work of it, and hustle, hustle HUSTLE.
The money will follow.