If you’re looking for a way to work from home to save money, be near your family, or enjoy more control over your time, a freelance career might be just the right fit. If you have a skill that you can offer to clients on a project-to-project basis, you’re already well on your way to building a freelance business.
Avoid the Scams
So, how can you recognize these schemes? A good rule of thumb is to steer clear of any “opportunity” that requires an upfront payment to get started working. You should not have to pay to work! It seems like common sense, but some people don’t realize what does and doesn’t apply in the online workforce.
Here are some examples of work at home “jobs” that you’re better off without:
- Any job that offers quick wealth, “easy money”, or absurd amounts of money overnight. Rule of thumb – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Assembly jobs that require you to purchase a kit to get started – these are not legitimate jobs.
- Stuffing envelopes. This scam is older than the Internet, but somehow it’s made its way online. These scammers claim you can earn up to $10 per envelope by stuffing and mailing them. Of course, you’ll need to pay a fee to get started. Don’t fall for it!
- When in doubt, do your research. You can run an Internet search pretty easily to see what others are saying about a company or job listing. If you’re not sure, stay away – and be sure to keep personal info to yourself.
Assessing Your Skills
There are a variety of skills you can offer on a freelance basis. Companies hire freelancers for a ton of different types of projects. To name a few:
- Graphic Design
- Administrative Tasks
- Customer Service
- Event Planning
Once you’ve determined what type of service you’re going to offer, it’s time to start pitching clients and getting work! Where can you find clients? You can try pitching them directly – shoot an email to the appropriate contact within a company you’d love to work with. Offer your services and request that they keep you in mind for any future needs. You can also get jobs by responding to project listings on freelance websites like Elance or Guru. Some freelancers find success responding to ads on Craigslist, as well, but be wary of scams if you decide to check out what’s posted there.
Whether you’re pitching clients out of the blue or responding to ads, you need to position yourself as a professional in your field – find ways to make yourself stand out from the crowd. Set up a website that outlines your experience and services. Present yourself in a unique way – those who specialize are more likely to get good gigs than those who try to spread themselves to thin. For example, if the gig is writing for a food blog, the freelance writer who specializes in culinary writing is much more likely to be hired than the freelance writer who provides generic web content.
Once you’ve landed some gigs, be sure to provide your best work. Do your best to meet the needs of your client and make them happy. Think of this as “quality control” for your freelance business. When you offer a high quality service, you increase the likelihood of working with that client again and of getting a great recommendation from them. Practice good communication with your clients and don’t hesitate to use new methods like web and video conferencing when needed to make sure you’re all on the same page, especially when it comes to larger, more complex projects.
When you first start out building your freelance business, it’s probably best to keep your regular job as you build up a client base on the side. It’ll be hard work essentially working two jobs, but it’s well worth it. Once you’ve replaced your income with freelance work and built up some savings to insure you against any lean months, you can take the leap into freelancing full time. Good luck!
About the Author
Melissa Cameron works from home full time as a freelance writer. She lives in the Midwest with her family – her husband, Kent, and their two young sons. She and Kent both are both self-employed and work from their home office. They love checking out new equipment at websites like http://officedeskreviews.com.