There has been a lot going on with my freelancing lately. This is a good thing for us.
Here is what I have been up to lately:
- I have finished up a couple of jobs on Saturday and today and have gotten them turned. One of the jobs even wanted to know if I wanted to keep working if he had work for me. This is always what you want to hear when you are freelancing. They were very understanding and great to work with.
- I am continuing to write for another client. My goal is to write 2 – 3 articles a day (during the week) and then as I am able during the weekend.
- I have another client I have a couple of small jobs for, but am sure the opportunity for more. She has even asked if she could say I was available for another job. I am just waiting on that one.
- I also just heard back yesterday about another job that has work as needed for me.
- I have been actively applying for jobs with oDesk.
- I have a test to potentially help do some work for another agency I work for as well.
By doing all of this, I will hit my goal for the month of July, which is to make a minimum of $200. I would like to be closer to $400, but I also have to be realistic as well.
So as you can tell, I am quite busy, which is good.
There are many ways to make money from home. It is a matter of looking around and finding what works for you. There are ways to make money or get gift certificates you can use. This can be helpful at birthday and Christmas time as well. This means if you can earn gift cards you can use for birthday and Christmas gifts, whether you use the cards to buy the gifts yourself or if you give the gift cards to people as gifts. Maybe you will use the cards yourself to get things you need.
Here are a few of the places you can go and a brief description of them:
- http://www.mypoints.com – Here you can earn gift cards or money to be put into your PayPal account. You earn points by reading messages, doing different tasks, taking survey’s, buying things online. It has many ways to earn points and the amounts vary based on the company or what you are doing. There are restaurant gift cards, gift cards to Wal-Mart and other stores, etc. They also have a referral program where you can earn points for those you refer to My Points.
- http://www.inboxdollars.com – Here you earn money for reading emails, taking surveys, etc. It is like My points, except you actually earn money and they send you a check. The first check is paid out on a monthly basis, but once you get to their gold level, once you request it they send it out within about 1 – 1 1/2 weeks. They also have a referral program.
I am not going to include my referral links as I am not doing this as a way to get points or money, I am sharing with you so you know options out there. How quickly you get enough points or money will vary based on what you do. I don’t shop online, so earning for me takes a little longer. But you can also do searches online and earn points, it is like using Google, but you use their particular search engines.
If you use them regularly, you can get a bit of extra money or points which can be helpful. I make enough to help out every once in a while, but not regularly. But every bit helps, it usually comes at just the right time. You could even put the money or gift cards back for times when you really need it if you wanted.
Feel free to comment if you have questions about either of these programs and I will be happy to help you out.
There are many tips when it comes to starting freelancing.
Here are a few:
- Have a designated place where you work.
- Know what skills you have and what you are willing to do.
- Make sure you have the work. This means you either use something like oDesk or other companies to help you get started or you know the service(s) you provide are needed in your community. For example, do you clean houses, churches, businesses – is there a need for that? What about making gift baskets – what can you do to promote that in the community? Child care out of your home?
- Also make sure you know what you need to do to get started. Do you need a special license? Making sure you have the supplies to get started and even advertise if necessary. Depending on what type of freelancing you are doing, will you be traveling? If so, you can write off your mileage, so keep track of it. If you get resources to have handy, then you can write those off as well.
- Have a way to track your income and expenses. I have something I use if you want to see it and then tweak it for your needs. There are also many out there if you do some searching on the internet.
- Make sure your rate is not only competitive, but making sure you are paid what you are worth. You don’t want to go too low or too high.
- Set goals for yourself. These goals need to include professional development, how much you want to make a month (which can change as your business grows), etc.
- Set up a bank account just for your business. Don’t mix the business and personal account.
- Know if you want to travel with your job or if you want to work completely from home. This can make all the difference in the kind of freelancing you will do. You may be working from home because you don’t have an extra vehicle, or maybe it is to save gas, even though you have the vehicle. Maybe you are staying home because of the kids.
These are just a few tips and suggestions to help get you started. If you have other ideas and/or suggestions, feel free to leave them as a comment. Also, if you have questions, leave it as a comment as well.
There are benefits of working from home while being a stay at home wife and mom. I love getting to have this as an option. It keeps me busy, but I have more control of the schedule and what goes on than working outside the home. I have worked outside the home with one child and will do it if I have to, but I would rather not, if I don’t have to.
Here is how Freelancing and being a stay at home wife and mom works for me and my family:
- I get to make my schedule. I only take on jobs that will work around what is going on with the family. I don’t take jobs where I have to work during certain hours. I work around what the children are doing, when my husband needs my help, what is going on with church and any other activities on the calendar.
- I can pick my workload and my pay rate. I take on what I can handle. I make sure I am getting paid what I am worth and the time I spend working on the project. I may have many contracts going on at one time, but I know when things are due and make sure I meet those deadlines.
- I look for jobs interesting to me and what I want to work on. I decide what I do and what I don’t do.
- It saves my family money. We don’t pay for child care, gas to get to and from work. I just pay for taxes on what I make. The rest is what I can use for the family needs. This allows me the ability to put more money towards the family.
If you are in need of work, whether it is more work to help the finances or just getting back into the workforce, this is a great way to do this. I work with oDesk and another agency. If you need help getting started with either one, just leave a comment and I will be happy to help you with this. Also feel free to ask questions about what I do, what I use to track my work, track my income and expenses and a sample of my goals. You don’t always need to reinvent the wheel, sometimes you just need a way to get started and with some tweaking you are able to make it work for you.
I wanted to share a few friendly reminders for those of you who are either new to freelancing or considering freelancing. I am also reminding myself, not just you.
Here are the reminders:
- Back up your computer often. Find a schedule that works for you to back up or having software that does it for you. This will save you in the long run if you ever have problems with your computer.
- Make sure you are getting paid what you are worth. If you are just starting out, you may need to start a little lower, but don’t go to low and as you can, raise your rate. Don’t be afraid to ask for a raise and be able to share why you deserve this. Whether you are freelancing to save money for a trip, because you are the only provider for the family or are helping supplement the family income, you don’t want to be walked over.
- Keep your to do list current. Know when you have deadlines and what you need to do to meet these deadlines. Having open communication with the clients will help keep you on track and make sure both you and the client are happy.
- Know your limits on what you can handle. Don’t take on more than you can handle.
Also, check other blogs I have written to see what other things you need to do to make sure you are keeping your business going.
One thing every freelancer likes to have is knowing a client will give you work. One of the jobs I have is putting basic information into a newsletter shell and he puts in the rest of the information. I finished up the work he needs. He then said he will more than likely have 16 more shells he needs me to work on at some point this month, once he knows the topic I need to focus on. Then he came back and said if he doesn’t have that he will find something for me to do. That is what we all want our clients to do.
This made my day when I heard/read this in an email. This means I have shown him what I can do and he feels good about what I do to help them. That is why making sure you do your best on every job you do. You never know where it will lead you. You may be given more work or the person they go to for anything and everything.
I had another client today, who I haven’t worked for in a while, contact me and say they had some other work for me. This is also something else you want from your clients. This means I will have plenty of work and help my family out financially.
You want a client who hasn’t contacted you in a while to want to come back to you if they left, for whatever reason. You also want clients to slowly give you more work or even responsibility. You also want other clients to recommend you to people who need the services you offer. Since you are the freelancer, you are in charge of your workload.
Many of you may be wondering how I got started with freelancing and I thought it might be helpful if you knew how that all got started for me. The reason people start freelancing will vary based on the person, but no matter why you start, you have a reason why you started and remembering that is important, even if the reasons change on why you started freelancing.
I started freelancing because my family was in need of the extra income, but I didn’t want to have to work outside the home if I didn’t have to. We had a little girl who was just over 1 years old and I didn’t want to have to put her in child care if I didn’t have to. My husband had a job that was o.k. and paying the bills, but making the budget tight as we never knew how much he was getting paid each week as the amount of miles he drove varied week to week. I was trying to think of a way I could help with the family income while being home with our daughter, being pregnant for our 2nd child and being home when my husband was.
I started looking into home businesses and soon found many of them wanted you to send in money to get started. I wasn’t about to start with this kind of program. So looking for a way I could work from home, with the least amount of up front cost was necessary. I learned all kinds of new terminology like VA means Virtual Assistant.
Then I had to look at how I where I would start getting my business and what really interested me. I really enjoy writing, editing and proofread. Then I found oDesk and decided to give it a try. It was discouraging at first because I was applying for jobs and not getting hired. I started out at $10/hr., figuring I was worth that amount, but I didn’t have any feedback. So I decided to move my rate to $8/hr. and was careful about what jobs I did take on, as I didn’t want to just take on any job. I slowly started getting hired for jobs I was applying for, which encouraged me. Then after a while I was getting invites to interview for jobs I hadn’t applied for.
As I was getting feedback, reading the oDesk blog and thinking about what I was being paid, I finally decided to raise my hourly rate for new clients. But that didn’t change when it came to the jobs I now have. I asked for a raise from one of my clients and was denied the raise, so I said it was time for me to move on. I had been with him a year before I asked for the raise.
There are a few things to consider when freelancing, whether you use places like oDesk or not. They include:
- Being willing to start a little low, but once you start getting good feedback, start to raise your rate.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for a raise if you have been with someone for a while, especially if you are paid hourly. But make sure you can make your case for the raise and be realistic with the amount you are asking for. This means, it may take a while to get to the point you have changed your rate to.
- Don’t underestimate what you can do. I have gained new skills I never had before. An example would be I am now blogging, which is a skill I can add to my list of what I can offer. This is a way to keep up the skills you do have along with learning new skills.
- Know what you can do realistically, both when it comes to your workload and what you can and cannot do. Even if you have the time to do it, is it something you really can do? Or just because it is one of your skills, do you really have the time to do it?
- I don’t have set hours I work, but get the work done in a timely manner, by the due date. I have 3 young children, so I do this around what is going on with them and what help I need to give my husband.
- Find a system that works for you. This means, know how you track your work, when and how you work and what your limits are.
Freelancing has been an answer to prayer for my family. I will continue to do it as long as I can and it is needed. It allows me to stay competitive in the workforce while controlling my workforce and workload.