How to Work as a Freelancer Online
Find Freelance Work from Home
Many people dream of working for themselves, waking up everyday and sitting down at the computer to work a job on their own terms. The desire to be your own boss is so strong, it has allowed scams to flourish on the internet. Bogus companies claiming you can earn thousands a month doing very little work blah blah blah.
Well, obviously that isn't true. Success requires hard work and there are no magic get rich quick schemes, just like there are no magic fat loss pills – yet people still continue to buy into the schemes.
Does this mean there are no real ways to earn as a freelancer on the internet? Absolutely not! There are plenty of skilled jobs you can find on the internet that pay well. The key here is “skilled”. You can't find a job on the internet with no skills any more than you can find a good paying job in the real world.
That being said there are freelancers in many fields: personal assistants, transcriptionists, writers, web designers, graphic artists, and programmers to name a few.
If you can get the training and skills you need to perform a freelance job, you can work from home. As time goes on, this is actually becoming easier. Many companies are recognizing the value in hiring freelancers. On their end it means no money being spent on overhead, health benefits, sick leave, equipment etc.
Should I Freelance?
This is a question you should consider seriously. Freelance work is not guaranteed work. It requires a great deal of self-discipline and has to be treated just like a “regular job” or business in order to be successful. Many people glamorize freelancing without considering all that goes along with it.
Freelancers must be motivated and able to manage multiple tasks.
As a freelancer you are a business owner. You are responsible for filing your own taxes, buying your own equipment, purchasing your own health insurance, marketing your services, keeping your clients happy, and managing your time and resources effectively.
Top 10 Freelance Internet Jobs
Virtual Assistants work as independent contractors for a variety of businesses providing technical and administrative services. This is basically the same as being an administrative assistant, except the work is all done virtually. You may book meeting, write correspondence, gather reports, research, or any number of tasks administrative assistants perform.
Sales and Marketing There are a variety of freelance jobs and temporary assignments in these genres that involve things like market research, link building, running Adwords campaigns, finding leads etc. This field is extensive and there are many ways to use your skills as a freelancer in sales and marketing fields.
Transcriptionists convert audio files into written format. Some specialize in medical or legal fields and others do “general transcription” which consists of business meetings, recordings to be converted to eBooks, all sorts of things. Pay varies based on the field, your experience, etc. You are usually paid by line or by digital audio minute. This job requires some extra equipment and software. You have to be an extremely fast typist and have great attention to detail to be successful at it.
Writers are all over the internet, magazines, newspapers, restaurant menus, brochures etc. Everywhere you see words each day – a writer did that. Writers seem to be under the common misconception that work is hard to come by and so they undervalue themselves. There are some writing niches – particularly copywriting where you can make incredibly good money with the proper training and experience. There are so many writing fields, they can't all be covered here. Check out www.IncomeFromWriting.com for detailed descriptions and information on all the various writing fields.
Web Designers This is a highly in demand job, however it requires a great deal of skill and an excellent portfolio as it is a highly competitive field as well. Web designers can make great money, particularly if they specialize in particular areas. Web design requires a lot more than knowing how to manipulate a WordPress template. It incorporates the elements of design and art, focuses on drawing customers in etc. There is a lot more than meets the eye. Most successful web designers have studied extensively, in the classroom and out. Technology is always changing and it's a field that demands you grow with it. If you love a challenge, are creative, and love a lot of variety, this can be a lucrative field to get into.
Programmers are always in demand in our new era of technology. Many programmers freelance developing projects, moving on to the next one when they are finished. Other programmers work in support roles, fixing things that go wrong, helping customers with technical issues, etc. This is another broad field with a wide range of possibilities. Programmers can make excellent money, but it is also a demanding job that requires continuous learning to stay up to date on all the latest technologies.
Graphic Artists design everything from digital art to all the packaging designs you see in the store each day. From billboards, to magazine covers, advertisements, brochures etc. graphic artists are everywhere. This is a competitive field, but also one with endless opportunities. There are many places that hire out graphic artists because it tends to be a short job, perhaps developing a label for a new product etc. Graphic artists need to have excellent portfolios to attract new clients. They really have to know how to market themselves. There is often a lot of high priced software (think Adobe products) and other equipment that has to be purchased. It requires constant learning and observation to stay ahead of trends, new techniques, etc. It can be lucrative, but is a lot more demanding than most realize. The up-front costs are higher than other freelance careers.
Customer Service Representatives often work remotely. These jobs tend to not have the freedom of scheduling as other jobs. Most companies require a quiet work environment and the ability to take calls during set hours. There is the convenience of not having to drive in to an office or call center for work, but not much of the freedom that comes with other freelance jobs. If you thrive on more structure however and are very customer service oriented, this can be an ideal freelancing job. The pay is generally not very high, but it can make a decent second income.
Social Media Managers are a growing trend right now. A social media manager posts to Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Google+, etc. on behalf of their clients. Their job is to post interesting things that attract followers and customers to visit their website and purchase their products or services. If you love social media, are very clever and able to create potentially “viral” posts etc. this may be a great freelancing gig for you. It is very versatile and allows a lot of personal freedom. Many people work these type of jobs into other freelance gigs.
Photography/Video is another freelance career area with several possibilities both online and off. Freelance photographers can find work taking pictures for insurance companies, shooting stock photography to sell, photographing events, or creating custom videos to promote companies on websites and YouTube. This career tends to take you out of the home more than the others, but it can be a great way to get a change of scenery and do something you enjoy. If you have creative photography/videography skills there are many opportunities to earn money. The fields are extremely competitive so a lot of patience, practice, and an extremely well done portfolio are essential. Many people use photography as a side business.
If you're ready to pursue a career as a freelancer on the internet you should work on establishing a portfolio(s) to market your skills. Here is a list of 7 places you can build a free portfolio online. Free portfolio sites are great to start, but you should also have a personal, professional portfolio.
There are many high quality free tools out there for freelancers that will make your life easier. Be sure to check out these 101 Free Tools Every Freelance Writer, Web Designer, and Graphic Artist Needs
Sites to Find Freelance Work
The Freelancers Bible is a one-stop resource for any freelancer. Learn all you need to know about filing taxes, getting healthy insurance, gaining and keeping clients and the list goes on. This comprehensive reference was written by Sara Horowitz, founder of the nationwide Freelancer's Union. I highly recommend it.
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© 2013 Christin Sander
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