We live in glorious times – one where we can actually make a living doing work online. As a blogger, though I travel sometimes for work, a good majority of it is done at my computer, in the comfort of home. And I’ve been a blogger for over nine years now. For the first four years, I was in college full time, after which I studied a bit part time & finally now I’m a full time blogger.
For a long time, I wasn’t just a blogger / vlogger though. I did a lot of work online on a freelance basis to supplement my income as well as make some purchases for myself without asking my parents for it (it was definitely a proud feeling!)
There are numerous reasons to choose freelance work. You don’t have to live in a big city, you can do it from anywhere in the country or the world as long as you have a computer & decent internet access. There are a new breed of freelancers who identify themselves as digital nomads – they travel the world continuously, while spending half of every week working, they are able to fund their travels & do things on their own terms. Living in Mumbai, commuting is tough & time consuming, particularly in monsoon. It was empowering for me to not have to struggle through that everyday.
Also, freelance work is relatively flexible, so you’re free to work at a time that’s convenient for you. Many people choose to work evenings, after college, I’ve even known moms to take up a little freelance work at night after their kids are in bed. Flexibility also means I could take entire days off, even during the week without having to inform anyone or get leave, as long as I’m up to date on my assignments.
A recent study showed that a majority of freelancers are under the age of 40! Most have been in the profession for less than 5 years,, which goes to show how much of growth there is in the industry. You can also take up work according to your own skills, with web design & data entry being the most common ones.
How To Get Started
The first step to starting freelance work would be to identify what you’re good at. It can be anything from web design (something simple like migrating / maintaining blogs to something harder like designing websites from scratch according to client needs). There’s data entry which is relatively simple if you have good typing skills. Two jobs I did were content writing (short pieces based on what was asked of me) & social media management (before the advent of digital media agencies, I helped smaller businesses maintain their social media presence). If you’re good at art, graphic design is also has a good income potential.
Next step would be to see where you can get jobs. Platforms live fiverr & freelancer.com are great for smaller & larger assignments respectively. They do a decent job of facilitating communication with clients & protecting both parties from any chance of getting cheated. You can also find work through direct communication, on forums or through word of mouth. Services offered by PayPal make it easy to invoice & receive payments from anywhere on the globe.
Things to Be Wary Of
Like any profession, freelancing can have it’s pitfalls too. There may be a learning curve at first, when you’re figuring out the nature of the work of client needs. Sometimes, clients may not be very clear or communicative. There might be disagreements. When you take up direct work, sometimes clients are late with payments (it helps to ask for an advance especially for larger assignments). There is also the chance that you’ll have an unpleasant client, although freelance means you’re empowered enough to say NO to some work & take what suits you. With PayPal’s seller protection policy, you get peace of mind since PayPal will protect you from online frauds and fraudulent chargebacks
You’re all Set!
At the end of the day, if you are skilled & have a good work ethic, freelancing is a great way to earn money on your own terms. It helped me get started with my life & career; if you have a computer, internet & some time on your hands, it’s a great way to earn some income. All the best! x