How to Start Freelancing Online, Even if You Are Not Web Savvy
Few years ago, one of my readers asked me a pretty good question:
A very good question, that forced me to think a bit outside the box.
I have been a web designer for more than 15 years so for me freelancing and running a small web business mean doing web design work most of the time. As soon as I start my laptop each morning, I already have plenty ideas of how to earn some more bucks that day.
But for someone who’s not yet into this game, earning money online is quite a challenge.
Avoid crappy jobs
Click on ads, do surveys online, go to Amazon Mechanical Turk or any other micro-jobs site and do small jobs that pay horribly small fees.
Don’t go there.
You shouldn’t waste hours a day for 2 bucks, that’s not how you’ll make a good living online, it’s just a great way to get overworked for pennies.
If you’re willing to accept a crappy job, then accept any low-paying job in your city, at least they’ll pay for your benefits.
I wanted to get this out of our way before we move onto something better. I’m not here to teach you how to earn few bucks, I’d like to help you all create a thriving business online and become financially independent.
So, the goal is to earn a decent living, not pennies.
Our main problem remains: not all people who would like to work online are web savvy. Not all of them are capable of learning programming, web or graphic design. Sure, there are specialties that don’t require a huge deal of talent or analytical thinking (such as SEO, or internet marketing), this is why I do believe that ANYONE could start a business online.
But what could you do?
Go to Upwork.com, Guru.com or Freelancer.com.
These are all freelance job sites that allow potential clients to present projects they need help with and freelancers can bid for these jobs.
We’re not bidding yet, but this allows you to see WHAT JOBS are needed.
It’s useless to prepare for god knows what fancy services only to realize there’s no market for it.
So, look there.
On Upwork, for instance, you can find jobs from data entry, content creation to web design and development. So, if you are not a good friend with good ‘ole Photoshop and responsive seems like a disease name to you, there’s a truckload of work to do anyway.
See what are these clients problems and needs. They need someone to translate articles, write content, optimize their websites for the search engines, enter data (mostly copy-paste), promote their websites on Facebook, Twitter etc., manage their website and so on.
Is there anything you could do?
I’m sure you’ll find at least ONE specialty that you could work in. If you are clueless with most of these jobs, data-entry could work well. All you need is to copy-paste some information. Or become a virtual assistant, some sort of an online secretary. There’s a huge need for reliable assistants, so this means you can make money from it.
So don’t get discouraged if you’re not a programmer or a web designer. We’re not the only ones to make money online and some other specialists actually even make more money than we do. What matters is your hourly rate and how many jobs you get.
What do you need?
You’ll need a computer, an internet connection and, if you’ll work on these sites, a good grasp of English. Don’t go splashing on the most expensive computers possible, you’ll probably not need any of this. You’ll need a text editor (if you don’t use MS Office, then Open Office will do a great job). And an agenda (pen/paper or as a computer software) to keep track of your deadlines. Or just use a text document, you’ll know best.
In order to start freelancing you won’t need a lot of investment.
Sure, if you decide to go into graphic/web design, you’ll need to pay for the software, but, if you are not already using it and know how to deliver the work, I presume you won’t start providing services that you have no experience with in the first place.
Are there any limitations?
As long as you can use your computer to communicate and deliver the work, know some English to talk to your clients and find the jobs that are easy for you to deliver, there’s absolutely no limitation.
Earning money from doing online jobs is not hard, what’s hard is to get a good price range, handle your small business, handle the clients, get more jobs etc.
And it all works better as you deliver more work, get more experience under your belt and start getting some 5 star ratings in such sites.
Don’t discard any work, at first anything would be OK, as long as it pays you something. You can start playing ‘the price game’ and offer some smaller fees to your clients to develop your portfolio and also get more experienced. In 3 years I have increased my rates at least 5 times, compared to what I used to charge as a new freelancer.
So, find a job you love to do and would see yourself doing for a while now. It doesn’t matter that it’s data entry, forum posting or web development.
Anything can work nicely, as long as you can provide a good service and enjoy doing it. I do consider it’s important that you LIKE what you do.
I know some SEO myself and could actually deliver SEO work. Or do translations. But I really dislike such jobs, so I stick to my web design. Just like this, you’ll find you can actually deliver more than 1 job. See which you like to do and stick to it(them).
In time you can specialize into new areas that pay better or even become so sought after in your own specialty that you’ll command higher fees.