How To Start Online Freelancing
Wake up, make a coffee, turn on the computer, and start working right away. This was my lifestyle in the last couple of years, working as an online freelancer. It’s a nice lifestyle to have, where I’m able to work anytime and anywhere I like, and at the same time, be more productive and earn more money than the typical office job.
Online freelancing industry had an impressive growth in the last couple of years and more and more are getting away from the traditional office setup.
No traffic, no uniforms, no awkward moments with coworkers, and not seeing your boss personally. These are just some of the perks of working as an online freelancer.
Sounds interesting? Let me share some tips and experiences with freelancing. I’ll also make a simple guide on how to start online freelancing and what are the basic requirements needed.
What is an Online Freelancer?
Freelancers are self-employed. They offer services to clients and often times, to multiple clients. Freelancers are usually not committed to a particular employer long term. In simple terms, freelancers exchange their skills and expertise for some money.
Having too many clients seems fun, but don’t kill yourself. Just get enough clients and keep your sanity in place.
What Are The Basic Requirements To Start?
It can be really hard not knowing where to start, the good news is, it’s not that complicated.
You don’t need a particular education, courses taken, or a state of the art equipment to start. I’ll enumerate the basic requirements needed for anyone to start working online as a freelancer.
1. Internet Connection – This is very basic. A stable and reliable internet connection is important. I recommend a DSL or a Fiber internet connection with at least 3 Mbps speed to start with.
Depending on the work, there are tasks that don’t rely on a fast internet. Tasks like writing and graphic design might not need a lot of connection.
I do have a 200mb PLDT Fibr connection which we share for the whole family. It’s pretty reliable and I seldom have serious problems with it.
2. A Computer/Laptop – You need a workstation of course. The basic tasks don’t require a very powerful unit. You can get away with data entry and research tasks easily with an old computer with 4 Gb of ram.
Desktops are much cheaper and have more power to offer than laptops. Laptops are portable and can be really expensive depending on the specs.
I currently use a desktop computer and planning to buy a decent laptop and work sometimes in coffee shops, shared workplaces, and in the place of my friends.
3. Skills – This is really important. You need to have something that people will pay for it. The more you get better at a skill, the higher you get compensated and the more high-paying clients you’ll get.
Here are some of the entry-level skills you can offer:
- VA skills – You basically work as a Virtual Assistant doing tasks assigned to you. VA’s can fall into many different categories depending on what the job description is.
- Data Entry – You enter data, update data or gather data. Sounds technical, but it’s really not. You can find data entry jobs without prior experience.
- Research – You do research tasks, some example might be researching for flights, looking for hotels, finding out companies.
- Writing – If you are good at writing, there are a lot of jobs available for writers. Writers are paid very well depending on the expertise, and the type of writing they do.
- Customer Service – You take the role of providing customer support for your client’s customers. This can be through phone, chat or through email. This can be similar to working with BPO companies.
And here are some more advanced skills to offer:
- Social Media Management – You manage the Social Media properties of your client’s business. You create posts, create and execute plans on how to increase engagements, traffic, and achieve goals.
- Web Development – Create, develop, maintain websites. There are a lot of sub-categories under Web Development depending on what system a website uses.
- IT & Networking – Have a lot of knowledge in IT & Networking? Yes, there are a lot of jobs available online for this category. Some may involve working on security, ERP/CRM software and database administration.
- Design & Creative – If you are good at design, there is a lot to offer in this category, some examples are logo design, infographics, t-shirt design, photo & video editing, banners & poster design and a lot more.
- Search Engine Optimization – SEO is making sites rank higher on the search engines. Driving more traffic to websites and optimizing sites to be search friendly. It’s a good skill set to learn.
There are so much more categories which I haven’t mentioned. For me, I basically do a lot of WordPress Web Development work, SEO tasks, and some VA Tasks.
Where to Find Online Work?
I have the skills, right, now where to find clients? The good thing is that today, there are a lot of freelancing sites out there. I will list some freelancing sites where you can start searching for jobs.
- Hubstaff Talent
There are more out there, you just need to find the one that works for you and stick with it. I get a lot of clients on Upwork and I do get direct clients from time to time. Some are from Linkedin and Facebook, and some are coming from my personal website. Check out my Upwork profile.
Pros & Cons Of Working As An Online Freelancer
There are a lot of benefits online freelancing can offer, but there is also a downside to it. Bellow, I’ll list the advantages and disadvantages of online freelancing based on my personal experience.
Pros of working as an online freelancer
1. No Commute
I really do not need to wake up early, get jammed with traffic and sticking my self to jeepney rides going for work. All I need is to get into my computer and I can start working.
2. No Dresscode
I can wear anything I want. I usually work in boxers and undershirt which makes me really comfortable.
3. Flexible Time
I have control of my time and most of my work are flexible and can be done any time of the day.
4. Earn More
Working as a freelancer enables me to earn more vs the traditional office work. I can have more clients, choose high paying clients and learn a more specific skill set.
5. More Time
The time spent on commuting, preparing for work, is a lot of time saved when you work from home. I enjoy spending my extra time learning new stuff, doing more work, and with my family and friends.
Those are just some of the perks I enjoy working at home as an online freelancer. Here are some of the
Cons of working as an online freelancer:
1. Less Socialization
Because I work at home, I don’t tend to see co-workers physically. I also don’t see new faces of people every day. What I do is come out from time to time, ride a bike, join groups and meet new people.
There can be a lot of distractions. It can be your family, your dog, your friend or anything. I tend to procrastinate a lot before and can lose focus easily. I have learned how to manage it and I’m now more disciplined towards work.
Being at home, sitting countless hours per day can take a toll with health. I try to eat healthy food, play sports and do exercise from time to time to stay fit and healthy.
4. Taxes & Social Security
Since I’m working as a self-employed entity, I need to take care of Taxes and all other stuff like SSS, Philhealth, Pagibig, and HMO myself. I haven’t dealt with all of these yet but I’ll do in time
Tips & Tricks with Online Freelancing
- Learn English – Learning English is necessary since it is the usual language used for communication. You don’t need to have masters or a doctorate degree in English, being able to communicate properly is enough, unless your work requires it.
- Be an expert – Being an expert on a specific skill pays well. Doctors are paid well because they have studied long enough to be where they are. Choose a skill that you like to master and know everything about it.
- Build an online presence – It’s a good thing that when you search your name on Google search, it shows you, and the sites you are in. You can do have this by building social media profiles and probably a website in the future.
- Create Good Proposals & Cover Letters – You can land a job without having a prior experience and by just having a good cover letter. Learning how to create good cover letters is necessary to get clients.
- Market Yourself – There is no limit on how to promote yourself. You try different platforms, send unlimited applications and find out which works the best.
It can be really hard to get started working online, but once you get used to it. You’ll be open to a lot of opportunities. It’s a continues learning journey and it can be really fun.
Are you an online freelancer? Do you have questions or suggestions? Let me know what you think on the comments below.