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How To Get Started As A Freelancer

Updated on January 2, 2016
How to work as a freelancer.
How to work as a freelancer. | Source

The sound of working for yourself and being your own boss is music to your ears. The fact that you won’t need to commute for long hours in the crowded, uncomfortable, and noisy subway to get to your 9-5 job is just dandy. You won’t get into small talks with co-workers that you don’t like when you guys have that water cooler moment at the office.

These all sound great. But, is it the right time to transition from your safe but boring 9-5 job to the world of independent freelancing?

This article will talk about what it takes to get started as a freelancer, what you need, the perks and disadvantage.

What does it take to get started?

Ask yourself first if this is what you really want. Though, the benefits are great, but freelancing isn’t for everyone. You have to become the employee and an entrepreneur at the same time. So, one of the biggest disadvantage is the work continuity, it is unstable. By that I mean, this month, you may have only a few projects done, and the next a lot more so you may be even forced to hire help. ( not that it is a bad thing. ) One time, I asked my sister and my best friend to give me a hand to work on some projects that needed done. Fortunately, they agreed and we split the income 10-90 ( coz I’m generous lol. )

Now that you’ve come to want it, let’s proceed. If not, then you can stop reading the rest of the article to avoid wasting your time. Another question worth noting is, are you mentally and financially ready to leave your current job? To be a freelancer, you must make sure that you have enough survival money in your pocket to be able to survive for 6 months or so, just enough time to get in gear and drive off the freelancing highway. Let’s face it. Once you go out of your comfort zone and onto the freelancing work world, you need some time to find clients for your business. You pass, you fail, there is no guarantee that you’ll succeed. I’ve seen numerous people become triumphant after bravely leaving their stable 9-5 jobs and into the unstable and uncertain career like freelancing. However, not all are meant for this path. Hard work, being able to motivate yourself, being optimistic and patient are what you need to get by.

What do you need to start freelancing?

To start working as a freelancer, you need to consider having sufficient amount of funds to support yourself or if you’re married, have enough money to support your entire family for 6 months or so. During this time, you will be busy stabilizing your freelancing career in terms of looking for a client, and building your freelancing profile.

Secondly, you need to have a stable internet connection, and a good working computer or laptop. These are basically the two basic essentials to be a freelancer because your job mostly depend on using the internet. Depending on the kind of freelancer you are, you need additional softwares or electronics for your work. For example, if you’re an online English tutor, aside from stable internet and a laptop, you also need a good headset, webcam, and Skype. If you’re a graphic designer, you’ll need an additional graphic tablet, photoshop, etc.

Quick Question

What do you think about freelancing?

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What are the types of freelancing careers?

There are plenty to choose from. What’s good about it is that you can make a living doing what you love. If your hobby is handmade crafts, you can start an online business about it, or you can build a course teaching others how do make things. The possibilities are endless.

Some common types of freelancing careers are:

Web and Mobile Developer

  • Computer programmer
  • Web and mobile designer
  • Software engineer
  • Game development
  • Ecommerce development
  • QA & testing
  • Wordpress expert

Design & Creative

  • Animation
  • Logo design
  • Graphic design
  • Illustration
  • Photography
  • Presentation
  • Video presentation

Writing and Translation

  • Creative writing
  • Blog writing
  • Technical writing
  • SEO writing
  • Medical translation
  • Article writing

Customer Service and Admin Support

  • Virtual Assistant
  • Customer service representative
  • Data entry
  • Technical support
  • Sales representative
  • Customer care

And there are numerous others…

What are the perks of being a freelancer?

  1. Being your own boss. You don’t have to work under the supervision of a boss anymore, and get yelled at for your mishaps. However, you do work for a client, who is, of course, your customer.

  2. Money. Yes, you earn more as a freelancer, based on my three years of experience as a freelancer. I worked for a company doing the exact same thing I am doing now, and I earned peanuts. Now, I earn 5 times more than what I earned working for that company.

  3. Flexibility. Another thing I love is the flexibility. You choose when you want to work, what time you want to work, your day off, and holidays. Before, I couldn’t, I had to work even if it was Christmas.

  4. Location. You won’t need to commute via crowded subways to your work anymore. You can work at the comfort of your own home, or you can work anywhere in the world. My cousin who is also a freelancer travels and work at the same time, as long as there is stable internet around.

  5. More time with your family. Of course, you work at home so you’ll be able to spend more time with your family.

Now that we talked about the perks, let’s talk about the downside.

  1. Work inconsistency. As mentioned above, freelancing isn’t stable. You have to do the marketing yourself to find clients or you can sign up for websites to help you find clients, like upwork or freelancer dot com. For me, I have my own website and it took me well over a year to get traffic and lure in clients.

  2. You aren’t earning a stable income. Unlike the 9-5 job, this job isn’t stable. There are times when the business is good and you earn like hell, and there are times where you don’t. So you have to do a lot of work to attract clients.

  3. The competition. According to an article I read some time ago, it is predicted that in 2030 40% of the office employees will transition from office to home as freelancers. This means an increase in competition. Therefore, it is going to be hard to find clients.


In conclusion, you need to consider factors such as money, time, and security before you transition from office to home as well as the skills you have and need to have what it takes to be a freelancer. Though you may have skills in creative writing, you may fail in marketing so it is hard for you to look for clients. Assess your strengths and weaknesses before diving in unfamiliar waters to minimize failure.

Over to you. What do you think of freelancing? Comment below.

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