Becoming a freelancer doesn’t always mean having control over your income. Especially for beginners, it might take a while to build credibility and establish a client base that will regularly hire your services.
A lot of people find freelancing a risky path to take on, but with the pandemic increasing the unemployment rate from 3.85% in 2019 to 4.12% in 2020 in the United Kingdom, perhaps many are realizing the lucrative yet attainable opportunities in the freelance market.
In 2020, there were almost 2.2 million freelancers in the UK. 89% of which are freelancing full-time, while 11% are doing it part-time alongside a full-time job. You see? You don’t have to let go of your tenured job to become a freelancer but doing so is definitely an option that can sustain your livelihood, as well.
This growth in the freelance job market is not just evident in the UK but also for the rest of the world. So wherever you are in the globe, there’s probably an opening that fits your needs and qualifications. Writing, project management, virtual assistance, online tutoring jobs—name it and it’s probably available (until it’s not).
How can you make the best out of your freelancing career? Be aware that familiarizing yourself with how freelancing works might get you the big money that you’re looking for.
What Can I Do as a Freelancer?
There’s a freelancing opportunity in almost any field imaginable so there is nothing to worry about when it comes to finding your place based on your educational attainment, past experiences, or current expertise. If you’re fresh out of school or planning to change your field, freelancing can also give you the right set of circumstances to build technical skills and collect experiences.
The most common freelance job in the market is content writing but, since it’s common, the supply of freelancers can sometimes be higher than the demand. This affects the number of assignments that you can be assigned to, and the rate for your output.
Other freelance jobs that you can find online are for virtual assistants, social media managers, SEO specialists, email list generators, graphic designers, and many more. You can find jobs as menial as cropping photos and saving funny videos on TikTok, to licensed work such as accounting and architecture.
With COVID-19, remote learning has become a norm, which in consequence created a demand for more online tutoring jobs.
There are so many things that you can do as a freelancer!
Small companies and start-up entrepreneurs usually hire freelancers or contractual workers to decrease operational costs. They do this to either increase their profit or to be able to reallocate the money for other expenses. However, private individuals also hire freelancers to make their life more convenient. Regardless of what you do, you as a freelancer must be careful with the clients that you associate with to avoid any issues and disruptions in your line of work.
Challenges in Freelancing
Freelance is not without any difficulties. Depending on your location, freelance work is barely regulated by the law. Because of this, the freelance job market is susceptible to labor abuse and other issues. It’s crucial for freelancers to be cautious of the challenges to secure their income.
Different countries have different laws about freelance work. In the UK, freelancers or sole traders pay personal income tax of up to 45%. This could be lower or even higher in other places.
Whether you like it or not, you can work for the wrong people resulting in some of your output not getting paid in the time that’s promised to you. In the worst case scenario: you’re not paid at all.
Freelancers usually work on a per-project-basis or for a short period of time only. For some, the lack of tenure is an advantage as this means they can work on multiple projects at the same time, without conflict, and earn more.
Just like in any other environment, some people will be hard to work with. Due to the nature of the set-up, miscommunication and misalignment of expectations happen from time to time.
No Standard Rates
You’re out on your own and it’s up to you how you will advocate your work and your worth. You have to be able to prove the value that you can provide to the client or project or else you will be shorthanded.
How Can You Maximize Your Income from Freelancing?
Pick Your Clients
Even as a starting freelancer, it’s okay to be picky with clients. Watch out for verification marks, ratings, and reviews to know if the client is great to work with and pays on time.
Take Advantage of the Time Flexibility
You have the opportunity to do freelancing full time or part time. Make sure that you strategically schedule all your work to maximize your income.
Know Your Work’s Worth
For you to be able to get a fair fee for your work, you have to do your research on the usual charges and adjust it according to your skills and experiences. This will also help you when negotiating your rate.
Find a Trustworthy Freelancing Platform
There are on-site companies that hire freelancers, but to fully maximize your earnings it’s best to apply for remote opportunities on freelancing platforms. This will make searching for opportunities easier. Job boards for freelancers are different from one another and each has its own way of benefiting their users.
How Can You Start Freelancing?
As mentioned, there are platforms wherein you can look for freelance opportunities. There’s Upwork, Fiverr, Toptal, and many others. But if your problem is which field to go to due to lack of experience or technical competencies, you can start with online tutoring jobs for language learning. These jobs usually require no teaching experience as long as you are a fluent speaker of the language you want to teach.
You can also find various online teaching platforms on the internet such as Udemy, Skillshare, and Preply. Preply is a platform for online tutoring jobs but more than that, it’s a platform that allows you to set your own rate, to make payments and withdrawals fast and convenient, and to decide on how many hours you want to teach. Besides allowing you to be your own boss, Preply provides training to help freelance tutors upskill, get more assignments, and increase their worth. In fact, online tutors get to earn as much as $1,600 per week.
I told you: There’s big money in becoming a freelancer!