Sometimes this blog prods my subconscious for attention the way my mom’s “we saw you more when you lived in Charlotte then we do now that you’re 45 minutes away” comment eats me up on the inside. It’s been a while since I posted something and I want to assure you that I haven’t forgotten about thisblog and my interest in forming this community of Marble City moms isn’t any less fervent. I’ve just been busy…momming.
I’ve also been trying my hand at something new which I wanted to share with you all.
For the past few months, I’ve been experimenting with freelance work. I thought about posting a quick definition of freelance worker in this post but my initial search found “medieval mercenary” as a result and I’m sticking with that. Freelancers can be talented in any number of areas: writing, web design, graphic design, editing, proofreading, etc. The critical component of freelance work is that the freelancer is hired by many different companies for different projects at different times. A freelancer is not a full-time, benefited employee of the clients they work for.
For example, I am a full-time, benefited employee of an association as an instructional designer. I do freelance work for two different clients who pay be a fixed rate for online blog posts and articles. My clients and I agree to specific terms for each project, I submit work for review and feedback, the client provides insight, then I submit for final feedback and payment.
Sometimes the work is really rewarding! I’m going to see some work appear on HomeSchoolBase.com soon and that’s a special interest of mine as a home-schooled kid. Other times, it drains the life right out of you. Ghostwriting, for example, may be one of the hardest types of projects that I take on primarily because I don’t get credit for the work.
Here are a few things I’ve learned through freelancing that might be helpful for you if you’re thinking about it:
Work through a freelance group to provide opportunity and security.
Freelance work can be tricky and early on you’ll likely get your fair share of shady offers. The key to feeling confident and well represented in your freelance transactions is to lean heavily on trusted third-party negotiators. These sites allow you to set up accounts, create a profile, add work to an online portfolio, bid for jobs, and get paid all in one place. The you work, the more work you get. Many of these sites offer payment verification to ensure you that a payment method has been set up and offer arbitration if your client refuses to pay (or seemingly drops off the face of the planet).
Be conservative about the time you will reserve for freelance work.
It’s easy to think you can squeeze in freelance work after your kiddo goes to bed or on your lunch break. What’s not easy is actually squeezing in freelance work after your kiddo goes to bed or on your lunch break. There are other things that divide your time. Map out your schedule and pinpoint exact hours that you can reasonable devote to the work. There are 168 hours in a week, I spend about 48 of those hours on my “day job” and 42 for sleep (conservatively). With meal prep, church, fun activities, playing with my son, giving my husband much-needed face time and of course, a little TV to unravel, I really only have about 10 hours to devote to freelance work each week.
Work for (almost) anyone at first so you can be more selective later.
In the beginning when you are building your freelance career, you will want to take as many jobs as you can. Doing so will build your portfolio, give you great hands-on experience, and gain feedback and reviews to boost your viability.
So why the caveat of “almost?” Well, simply put, I believe in working smart. Most sites, like Upwork, have verified payment options and milestones to ensure you get paid for the work you do. Don’t enter into a contract with someone or something like appears shady. The internet is full of deception. Also, you may have strong interests in one particular area of your freelance work. To step too far outside of that area gains experience but not relevant experience. So if your interest is creative writing, don’t take jobs in social media marketing. If you’re interest is in developing websites, don’t take jobs as a resume composer.
So who can get work as a freelancer?
Writers (including bloggers, ghostwriters, and copy writers)
Editors and proofreaders
Marketing and communications experts
Recruiting experts (resume writers)
Data entry experts
Medical billing/coding experts
and so many more!
So whether you’re a mom who wants to dip her toe back into the workforce or a working mom who is just looking for more creative
revenue avenues, give freelance a little consideration. It’s working for me! I’ll keep you all updated!
Have any of you experimented with freelance or done a little work on the side perhaps in direct sales? Share about it in the comments.