In my post, 18 Ways You Can Have One of The Most Popular Blogs, I revealed that one of the ways I make money blogging is by being a freelancer.
Working from home as a freelancer gives me great joy. I get to spend time with my family and pets while doing an activity I love, writing, and the pay is lucrative.
Did you know there’s an acronym for people who work at home? Predictably, the acronym is WAHM, which stands for “Work at Home.”
Guest author Saumil Shah offers 10 ways you can quit your job and become a work-at-home freelancer.
Do you want to be a WAHM? Then, these 10 tips are for you.
10 Tips for Quitting Your Job and Working from Home as a Freelancer
by Saumil Shah
If you are considering giving up your full-time job for freelance home-based jobs, be prepared to face the reality of being your own boss. Working from home as a freelancer means the hours don’t matter. Clients will call at any time and deadlines can be extremely tight. Finding the right clients can take up all your time. There’s nothing stable about a freelancing job until you make it stable. Here’s how to transition from being in a 9-to-5 gig to becoming an ‘I-am-my-own-boss’ freelancer.
- Evaluate Your Financial Position
A full-time corporate job may feel like a drag at times, but there are stability and the steady monthly paycheck that you can depend on. There’s no such security for a freelancer and you must come to terms with this in advance. Save enough to manage expenses for a year or two before you take the plunge.
- Decide What You Want to Do
Evaluate your skills and expertise and find out what they’re worth in the freelance market. For example, if you are a Technical Writer, you can become a successful freelance Technical and Creative Content Writer. If you are a Business Analyst, search for companies who will pay well for a dedicated BA freelancer.
- Do Your Due Diligence
How much are your skills worth in the freelance market? How much can you charge? Where will you find clients? How to evaluate good clients from the ones that’ll cheat you? Remember contracts and NDAs are all well, but you cannot afford to pay lawyers when you’re out of cash. So how tough is it to close a deal and at what point do you say, ‘No, I’ve done enough for the amount you’ve paid?’ Research the answers to each of these questions. The best way to do this is by talking to other online freelancers in your area of work. Join a freelancer’s forum. You’ll learn a great deal this way.
- Write out a Business Plan
Define all your goals. For example, you want to earn X amount of money a month and need X hours of free time to manage your kids and life. So how much work and what sort of rates do you need to charge in order to achieve your business plan? Write this information down. Make a note of how many hours you can safely put into your work without burning out. Draft and redraft your plan until it is as honest as you can make it. Freelancing is sometimes like living on a financial edge. So we expect you to be a tad scared. If you’re not, then freelancing may not be for you.
- Learn about Your Competition
All right, so you’re going to be a freelance Business Analyst! Do you know how many BAs are out there already providing freelance services? What’s the extent of your competition? Remember, freelancing is global; you can have clients from Dubai or Alaska. It’s a remote work from home job.
- Create a Datasheet
Create a table with several columns and list all contacts you’ve built throughout your life and career in the first column. Everyone matters – school teachers, college professors, friends from various workplaces, ex-bosses, current colleagues. Put their contact details in the next column, and fill in the other columns with where you know them from, what they do now and how they can help you. This datasheet can be especially valuable to you when you’re looking for job referrals.
- Build Your Network
Once the decision is made, write an email to all the people in your datasheet, letting them know of your proposed switch, the date of the switch, and your decision to take up your choice of work as a freelancer. Let them know that you’ll be open to thoughts, ideas, job referrals, and contacts – in short, anything that they can offer you in terms of encouragement. Mention the reason you’re doing this; for example, you’re a mom and feel the need to be there for your kid. People will respond. The more references and contacts you build, the better able you’ll be to take the final break from your 9-to-5 job.
- Create Your Personal Brand
When you’re a freelancer, you have to sell yourself. How do you do that? By putting your personal brand out there on platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Quora, Google+, MeetUp and just about every networking site you know of. List your corporate achievements and personal information. Come across as willing, likable and positive. Set up email and phone alerts for when someone sees your profile. The few dollars it takes to upgrade your memberships on networking accounts are well worth paying if you want to enjoy better privileges.
- Make up Your Mind
Sometimes you may have to work for free, especially since you won’t have any referrals from a client for whom you’ve worked as a freelancer. It’s all right. You’ll benefit from the experience and from the new client’s contact and referral, so go for it. Just be clear that since you have to put bread on the table, you cannot take up large projects for free.
- Go and Meet People
Don’t depend entirely on social media to bring you results. Go out and meet people locally. Get a new phone number for your business and create a new business email ID for correspondence. Attend local networking events and build contacts. Print business cards and hand them out generously. Participate in community events and shake hands with the movers and the shakers. You never know where your next opportunity may be waiting.
Finally, be available, be approachable. Do a sterling job and take review comments in your stride. Never refuse an invitation to meet your client in person. Some people prefer personal dialogue over online chat. If you’re unable to complete a task, communicate and sort matters out. Don’t let your client sit in the dark. And, the final rule to be kept in mind is always meet deadlines.
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