If you haven’t noticed, the economy and the job market has changed drastically in recent years. In fact, I see it over and over – we’re now living in the “You Economy.” Instead of waiting around for an employer to hire you, you get the pleasure of going out and creating your own opportunities.
And in my experience this is a good thing.
Instead of being chained to desk all day long you can create your own schedule and map out your own career. In the beginning it’s hard work. But everything worth doing is hard.
Are you ready to leave the day job? Here’s how freelancing can help you work less and earn more.
Believe that You are Worth More
This was the hardest for me to conquer.
All my life I had worked crappy day jobs, usually making in the $10-$12 per hour range. I knew I was smart, I knew I provided my employer’s value, but I live in a small town and I don’t have a college degree. My salary was capped at a pretty low rate.
When I decided to start freelancing this was the mental barrier I had to get over. I had a general idea of what others in my niche were charging and I knew I was just as capable as they were. The problem was that I was so used to earning such a low wage that it didn’t feel right charging more.
As I entered my freelance career I made a big mistake: I didn’t charge enough.
As time went on I started slowly increasing my rates with new clients. Over the past year and a half I have more than double my initial rate. While I’m working the same amount of time, or even less than I did when I first started, I’m earning more money.
And let’s compare that to one of my old jobs.
For 40 hours a week at eleven dollars an hour I was grossing $440 per week. Now I work somewhere in the ballpark of 25 hours a week with a rough hourly rate of $30 per hour or $750 per week.
Niche Down and Charge More
Usually when freelancing everyone wants to be generalists. I see the appeal, I really do. You’re afraid that if you box yourself into one category you’ll be passing up on opportunities. But that’s not how it really goes.
Companies want to hire specialists not generalists. For example when I first started freelancing I had just left a job as insurance agent. I had specialized knowledge and I knew that’d work in my favor. I started emailing insurance related companies asking for jobs.
I had an extremely high success rate with this approach. That’s because not everyone knows the ins and outs of insurance. One of my clients expressed to me how hard it was for her to find contractors who actually understood the work she needed done.
But I did understand. And since I didn’t have much competition in this area I was able to secure a higher rate.
Niche down what you do. Find the area in which people will respect your expertise. If you do this you can charge more for your work.
Work More Earn More
I don’t know about you but the last several day jobs I had, had plenty of down time in them. In fact the insurance agency was so slow from August through December that it was hard for me to even stay awake.
Freelancing is not like that. You get paid for the time you put in. As long as you maintain a good hourly rate by being a specialist you should be able to earn the same amount in twenty five hours as you did at your old job in forty hours.
And the best part is that you can work when it suits you best!
Is Freelancing for You?
I’ll be the first to admit freelancing isn’t for everyone. You have to be willing to put in that initial unpaid time to find clients. After that you’ve got to be self-motivated to get your work done and you have to be able to keep up with multiple clients. Not to mention there’s no benefits and you’re responsible for paying your own taxes.
So if you’ve got a good job and prefer working in a traditional setting, that’s great. But if you feel like you’re stuck in a dead end job, with no benefits, and no future then freelancing might be right for you.
Don’t think that you have to have a fancy college degree or some specialized education, because you don’t.
Now that we’ve entered the You Economy you can create your own opportunities. Think about your particular life experiences, your skills, and what you enjoy to find your own freelance niche.