On Diamonds N’ Denim, I strive to help you create the life you’ve always wanted, via better personal finance and mindful living. Today and Wednesday (and for the next few Wednesdays) I wanted to talk to you about freelance work, which is a healthy combination of a money maker, and life simplifier.
If you’re my facebook friend, you’ll see that my listed job title is “Web Content Writing and Editing Specialist / Social Media Marketing Specialist”. Most of my friends (especially those 30 and older) look at that and think “the heck is that?”. In short, this is a side hustle that I’ve been doing for about two years now, but has recently become MORE than a full time job. If you’re interested in making your life simpler and making money in a way that’s more fulfilling, read on for my long answer.
In a word, I’m a freelancer. I’m hired to work remotely, as a contractor. I can work anywhere that’s there’s WiFi– in a coffee shop, on the beach, from the mountains, and even from home. Now I do most of the work from my home office with a few cats on my lap and a dog on my feet, but in the past I did it as a full-time traveler. I never ever have commute for work, I don’t have a specific frame of business hours that I need to be available, and I don’t even have to work a certain number of hours because I’m usually paid based on results rather than time, and occasionally, paid as salary or even commission. Freelance work is how I plan to achieve my big dream, because of the insane amounts of flexibility and benefits that it offers.
Jobs I take can be very short term and stupid easy- they’re over within 15-20 minutes. Or, they can be long term and tedious- lasting months or even years.
Some short freelance gigs I get are FUNNY. Like, I get free cookbooks, and then get paid to review them. Or I get to call phone or cable companies pretending to be a customer, only to secretly be recording and reviewing the operator’s customer service skills. Sometimes bloggers pay me to come up with a list of post topics to end their dreaded writer’s block.
Some dedicated freelance gigs are more monotonous, where I listen to 70 hours worth of raw interviews, and create closed captioning for the resulting videos, documentaries, podcasts, or blogs. Or I do about 7 hours worth of research on the best backpacks for women who travel, and I do research via YouTube videos, Amazon reviews, Manufacturer Websites, and personal review based blogs/websites that cater to and are based on the traveling woman’s backpack.
Web Content Writing and Editing, and Social Media Marketing
And then of course, there’s my specialty: web content writing and editing, and social media marketing.
Web Content Writing and Editing
I write research and review products, I copywrite (copywrite, not copyright) to better sell those products, and I improve or even build websites for those products or services to be sold from. Ya know how you type in a search on google and get a list of results? I know how to write your website page to get your product up higher in the search results, sometimes even as Google’s first page, using careful SEO and LSI keywords. If you have an ugly website, I fix it up and brand it, making it more appealing to your customers. If you don’t know who your ideal customer is, I help you establish that. I can write, or I can manage a team of writers and then polish up their work before I publish it on your website.
Social Media Marketing
Social Media Marketing goes beyond just promoting products and services online, by a lot. I can manage corporation social media profiles, by creating posts and graphics, replying to comments and messages, and getting users to click over to your website or sales page.
And though emails aren’t technically social media, I also run mailing lists and newsletters. I know how to get subscribers (who actually care about what you have to say or sell) in the door, and I send them newsletters or emails that pertain to your niche. When you get replies, I answer back in such a way that makes your customer feel connected and valued by your company. If you’d like to grow your email list with dedicated and engaging subscribers, check out this comprehensive guide I put together in this post.
Beyond that though, I can also take jobs that cater to individuals who simply want to up their audience reach and follower count, which is a fun and strange job that I absolutely love getting to do.
What’s Freelance Money Like?
How much you make is totally and completely up to you. If you have a couple hours a week, you can probably make $10-50 pretty easily. If you have more time than that, you can make considerably more, especially as you build authority and experience (and outstanding reviews). Though I’m not yet comfortable publishing my numbers, I know people who make 5 figures a month, and 6 figures a year just freelancing.
I have done a lot of writing for blogs and articles in the past, though I have moved on from that for the most part to work more on managing, and short and fun gigs (like getting free products for reviews and pestering phone operators). Writing can start as low as you’re willing to go, but typically pay is 1.5 cents to 8 cents a word as a freelance beginner, 10 cents to 15 cents as a freelance intermediate, and 20 cents to 30 cents for the freelance experienced. It is rare, but there are freelance experts out there who charge up to a dollar per word.
If you’re wondering about what that looks like as an hourly rate for a freelance writer, that’s $7.50/hr to $40/hr as a beginner, $50 to $75 as an intermediate, $100 to $150 an hour as an experienced, and $500 an hour for the expert. Those numbers of course are based on 500 words an hour, and doesn’t factor in any research or formatting that you may or may not need to do for the piece.
Do I Need a Degree to Freelance?
Nope, not at all
That depends on what you want to do. My initial reaction to this is “Nope! Not even a little!”. I’m a college dropout, I barely made it though my first semester before quitting, and I have more job offers than I can accept right now. If there’s anything you take from this today, let it be that you don’t need a degree to have a good source of income or to be successful in freelance. It’s okay to be different, and really, I think it works out better anyhow.
If you do have a degree though, you may have an edge over those of us who don’t! Just keep in mind that ultimately to clients, freelance experience trumps a degree almost every time. When you first start out on your freelance work, don’t be afraid to charge hilariously low rates. That’s just a short period of your fr and work your way up so you get that background, that experience, and those high reviews quicker.
Oh, Most Definitely
Below I’ve got a list of gigs that you can do as a freelancer- the majority you don’t need any education beyond high school for, but some absolutely require it. And though some don’t require a degree, they still may require testing or certification beforehand. That includes engineering jobs, medical or legal transcribing, certain types of financial consulting, and various kinds of contract writers.
What can I do?
So far I’ve only mentioned what I do, but that’s only a teeny, tiny part of what you can do. Here’s a list of a few more gigs, though this is in no way complete- there’s simply too many opportunities.
- Build websites
- Video or Audio Creator, can be making content for podcasts or youtube channels
- Design logos, emblems, or product designs/engravings/artwork
- Coding (yes, that’s still a thing that we need people for!)
- Call center work (either as an operator, or as the person who reviews the operator)
- Virtual Merchandizer
- Facebook Ads Designer
- Manager work
- Ghostwriting, you do the work, the other person ‘takes the credit’, can be short blog posts or entire books
- Virtual Assistance (turn meeting notes into spreadsheets, answer emails, reach out to potential clients, or contractors, etc)
- Mobile App Developing
- Data Entry
- Professional Note Taker (yeah, that’s a real thing!)
- IT Consultant
- Resumes and Cover Letters (you literally chat with people and build these items for them)
- Project Management
- Market and Customer Research
- Financial Planning
- Bookkeeping / Tax Consultant
- Contract Law
- Criminal Law
- Intellectual Property Law
- Corporate Law
- Family Law
- Paralegal Services
- A/B Tester
- Presentations (as in, making powerpoints or putting together speeches)
- Academic Research
- Product Reseach
- Human Resources
- Q&A Testing
- Ecommerce Development
- Dropshipper / Dropshipper Manager
- Database Administration
- Data Visualization
- Data Mining and Management
- Machine Learning
- php developer
- Telemarketing / Telesales
- SEO (search engine optimization) consultant
- SEM (search engine marketing) consultant
- SMM (social media marketing) consultant
- Branding for websites, email automations, social media, and businesses
- Influencers / Models
- Translators, both for languages, and also for knowledge levels (like taking lawyer or doctor talk and making it easy to understand for ‘normal’ people)
- Photography (a bit harder to break into, but can pay very well)
- Short term assistant, for example if a blogger’s webpage went down, you can trouble shoot and get it up and going again
- Book/Vinyl/Album/CD/DVD/Magazine Cover designer
- Game Development
- Photo captioner
- Script Writer
- Chemical Engineering
- Electrical Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering
- Interior Design
- Product Design
- Grant Writing
- Comic/Sketch/Doodle/Animation Creator
- Technical Support
- Information Security
- Comedy Writer
- Social Media Bio Writers
How do I get started?
Now before I say this, just know that the options I’m suggesting are ones that I have tried, tested, AND made money on. That means that I’m leaving out a lot of websites and methods, so feel free to do a google or pinterest search later on if you don’t like my suggestions.
- If you want short, quirky jobs, use Fiverr. It’s been my least profitable platform, but it does work well for what it is, and it’s a great confidence boost when you first start out.
- If you want a mix of short, quirky jobs, long term gigs, or even careers, use UpWork. I meet almost all of my clients through here (though I rarely continue to work with them through this platform, which I’ll explain why in the next suggestion). UpWork by far has the greatest selection of work, and I like it a lot because clients typically reach out to you and offer you jobs, rather than you having to apply for jobs left and right. Now of course when you first get started, you need to be applying quite a bit, but once you’re established, you can operate almost on autopilot just accepting the jobs you want.
- Start your own blog/website, and scout potential clients there. Obviously, this is the most difficult route, but by far the most rewarding. I don’t remember what Fiverr charges, but Upwork takes a 20% cut of all your income, AND you have to pay taxes on your income on top of that anyways. That’s a huge chunk of profit that’s lost. When you get your clients on your own (which is easiest done with a blog/website) you get to keep that 20%, and you need to only worry about paying your taxes. Keep in mind though that UpWork has its own mediation process.
- Use UpWork and your blog together. This works best of all for me. It’s difficult for me to get the right type of people to my blog who are interested in working together. Because of that, I let clients find me on UpWork. If it’s a short gig, we let UpWork take the 20% cut. If it’s long term, my first few paychecks will go through UpWork (because UpWork is the reason why we connected after all!), and after that, the money goes directly to me so that I don’t continue to lose that 20%.
- So what are your thoughts on freelancing? Would you ever consider that line of work?
- Have you ever worked remotely, and did you like it?
- Would getting new information on freelancing interest you? I’m thinking about dedicating the next few Wednesday posts to that. Speak now or forever hold your peace!
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As always, thank you for stopping by!