My Newest Adventure with Freelancing


I have started my website to promote what I do as a freelancer.  I am very excited about this.  If you want to check it out you may visit it at www.stayathomefreelancingmom.com.  I am using it as a way to try to draw in new clients.  I will be working on it more, but at least I have a start.  All I need now is to get some quotes/testimonials from some of my clients.  If you have any suggestions feel free to let me know.

Right now I am limited with 3 pages because of the option I have chosen.  But that can change once I really get things going.

Freelancing looks like it will be the best way for me to help my family out financially and this website is one of the means to help me get it going.  If you know anyone who needs a writer or editor/proofread, please send them to my website.

Again, this is one of many steps I will be taking to get my business up and going.

Advertisements

Tips To Starting Freelancing…


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.

Being a Stay at Home Wife and Mom While Freelancing


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.

Friendly Reminders When Freelancing…


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 of My Clients…Make Sure They Have Work For Me.


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.

 

How I Started Freelancing…


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.

Is Freelancing for Everyone?


Many people like the idea of being their own boss, whether it is owning their own business or being a freelancer.  But not everyone is able to do this kind of job.  Knowing if freelancing is for you is important to consider.

There are many things to consider:

  • Are you able to work on your own?
  • Do you need the regular office to help you get work done?
  • Does working at home scare you or excite you?
  • How well do you deal with distractions?
  • Do you know your limits?  Can you set limits so your family knows to leave you alone and get work done?
  • If you work from home, can you step away when necessary to do other things?  Can you step away from home things to take care of work?

I work as a freelancer so I can work around our schedule and what we have going on.  I can work when the kids are napping, when they go to bed at night or when they are playing outside.  If my husband is home and not working, he can help me with the kids so I can get work done.  I decide if I want to work on that expects me to work set hours or if I want to work as long as I meet the deadlines.

I also have to know when to when to let go of clients and when I can take on more clients.  I have the flexibility of knowing when I can rearrange my schedule and when I can’t.  I have found different ways to help me stay focused and organized on what I need to get done.  I also have to know what I am not willing to do or what I am not willing to use.  Technology can be helpful, but also knowing when you pay for services and when you don’t pay for services.

Understanding if you are ready or able to do freelancing can make all the difference in making it happen.