The idea of being a freelancer is attractive to a lot of people. According to last year’s report from the Freelancers Union, 80% of Americans workers polled said they’d consider freelancing on the side to make a little extra money. That doesn’t include the people who are already freelancing.
Think of that for a second. If you’re in a room with 4 of your friends, and you’re not thinking of freelancing, you’re probably the only one.
Why is freelancing so attractive? It’s probably not a huge surprise to hear that most respondents listed flexibility and choice as the reason they would look to get into freelancing, and that once people started, 79% said that it’s better than working a regular corporate gig. Half of freelancers said that they would never go back. Freelancing can be especially attractive for people who don’t have the ability to work a regular 9-5, 40-hours-a-week job. People like stay-at-home parents, the physically handicapped, and those with criminal records might have a fantastic experience as freelancers.
Sounds pretty rosy, right? So how do you start?
There are a couple ways to go about it.
If you want to start freelancing independently, you’ll have to go into it understanding that you’re going to be doing a lot more than just doing the work that is your core competency. Independent freelancing means that you’re basically running a business, but the business is you. You’re going to have to brush up on your accounting, project management, and marketing skills, because you’ll be putting together a lot of advertising and estimates before you’re able to land some jobs. And once you’re doing the work, time management is going to become very important for you. Pricing is also a difficult challenge for most freelancers. What to charge customers so you earn enough to make up for your unbillable time, but still charge little enough to be competitive, is a hurdle many freelancers need to overcome.
If the independent route sounds like too much work, you can always sign up with an online service to find jobs. Most services (which I won’t list here – they’re our competitors, after all), let businesses post jobs on their platform, and the freelancers put together bids to compete for those jobs. This can be a great option for cutting down on marketing. You’ll still spend time bidding for jobs, but hopefully you’ll get some of them, and be off to the races. The downside of these platforms is that you’ll often be competing with foreign freelancers who can often work for much less than you can, and you’ll still spend a fair amount of time creating estimates in order to land jobs, and you’ll be responsible for collecting on the jobs once they’re finished.
The last option is to take part in MYSA’s platform, which eliminates bidding, billing, and prospecting entirely. As an automated system, once you sign up, jobs will start coming to you. You still have the option to reject the jobs you don’t want, but you won’t be competing with other freelancers. Instead you’ll be matched based on your skills, location, and the amount of time you choose to schedule per week. The drawback, if there is one, is that MYSA dictates the pay scale for the jobs, based on US government wage data, so as a freelancer, you might make less-per-billable-hour than you might if you were doing your own bidding, but the trade-off is that you’ll get more billable hours, and far less unbillable hours, ultimately (hopefully) resulting in a net-gain in pay for you.
Freelancing is a very attractive work option for many people in the US, and it might be a great fit for you. If you want more information on how you can find work through MYSA, check us out online at www.MYSA.io, and sign up to be a part of our beta launch – coming in October 2017.