Why freelance? Freelancing allows you to be your own boss. This means you make your own hours. Wear what you want. Does your current job have a dress code? How does sitting in your pajamas all day sound; what about just spending the day wearing your favorite pair of worn out jeans and that T-shirt from that unforgettable 1980's rock concert. If you are an independent agent, like a freelancer, then you decide the dress code. Making your own hours does not mean loafing around all day. It means having the self discipline to set aside a certain amount of hours that you work each day. But, as the boss, you get to decide what those hours are. That way you can pick up the kids from school, have lunch with the spouse, go to the gym during the day when it's not so crowded, and never have to make that horrible rush-hour commute. Being a freelancer means that you get to set your own prices for what your time is worth. No more waiting years for a raise that may never come. As you become more proficient and widen your client base you can double and triple your earnings as you see fit. Have you ever considered living somewhere else but your job and family obligations keep you stuck in the same place. Freelancing gives you the freedom to take your family, if that applies to you, or just yourself and live wherever you want. As long as you have a phone, a computer and a way to receive mail, you can live at the South Pole or Hawaii and still have a lucrative freelancing career. Your home is your office. You can be sitting in a coffee shop and enjoying a scone with a mocha latte at the same time you are making millions of dollars. When I was a child my father always told me that "nothing in life is free," and "if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is." In the case of freelancing the price is minimal. As you will see in future chapters you will need some general items such as a computer, a printer and maybe a fax and scanner. After you have the materials needed to be a freelancer your greatest cost will be your time and effort. How much are you worth? The best part is that you get to decide what your time and effort are worth. As far as the rule "if it sounds too good to be true it probably is," here is something to consider. You should not quit your day job immediately and hope to make $10,000 next month. Instead, start slow and work your way to making the money you want. If you are making the equivalent of your full time job and you have too much freelance work to do, then decide to freelance full time and quit your day job. If you work hard this process can happen rather quickly, so don't be discouraged. The jobs are real. The money is real. The only investment is the amount of time you are willing to invest. The market for freelancers is growing in leaps and bounds. The future markets are projected to continue to grow at the same rapid rate. This means more fantastic freelance opportunities and greater potential income. Meeting your freelancing deadlines When it comes to meeting deadlines, one way to manage your timetable effectively is to divide the large jobs and farm them out to several coders. Let's say you've been awarded a writing job to write an e-book on childcare with 10 chapters for $2,000 over a 45 day period of time. Bid out each chapter separately among 10 coders and allocate, say, $100 for each chapter over a 25 day period. This way you don't have to worry about the deadline because you've given yourself a 20-day buffer and you stand to earn $1,000 for your efforts. If you are going to handle a project in this manner you must be able to rewrite the articles you receive in order to make sure the entire book "flows" seamlessly and that the same style and tone of voice is consistent throughout. 3. Cultivate a strong talent pool In many cases, this is the most important asset needed when subcontracting work to others. Here are a few additional tips to help you out in this regard: a) Know how to hire a good coder There are four things you should look at when hiring a coder -- their resume, their samples, their rating, and their client testimonials. The last two are critical because it is easy to prepare a bogus resume and samples, especially on the internet. If you look at those four things and feel you have found the person you are looking for, hire them. b) Know how to keep them happy A happy coder always delivers better work than an unhappy one, given the same skill level. You keep your coders happy by dealing in a polite and professional manner, paying them on time and understanding them when they fall or falter (and believe me, they will miss a deadline now and then). Give them respect and they will give you their best. 4. Nurture your current roster of clients Here is the main reason why quality counts -- it is quality, more than anything else, that will make your customers come running back to you again and again. Always put a premium on quality. First-class work is sometimes hard to find, especially given a limited budget. If you consistently deliver first-class work, you assure yourself and your coders of a prosperous business well into the future. There is a popular saying in sales which says that "It is eight times easier to get new business from your current clients than it is from cold calls." In other words, make sure you ask your clients for referrals from people they know or work with who may need the service you provide. Some coders hesitate when it comes to asking for referrals because they feel it is unprofessional. They feel asking for referrals is like asking for a favor. That is not really the case. If you have faith in your ability to deliver good work you are actually helping your client because of your willingness to provide quality work to their friends or business associates. That will reflect well on them too. It is a two-way street. Now that we have looked at three on line venues we are ready to look at developing eye catching resumes that will help you land some of those great paying opportunities. Blogging Tips for Freelancer Blogging is one of the best ways to start a Freelancer business because it is so easy to get going. However, that does not mean that it is easy to make money from your blog. Don't start a blog and expect to see money rolling in immediately. Blogging is an activity that will take time to build up to a profit level. It's a good thing to start while you are working on other Freelancer opportunities to let it build to a profitability level. With time and attention, your blog (or blogs) will grow into a business. When you are blogging for profit, you'll want to pay close attention to how you present yourself in your blog. There are literally hundreds of thousands of blogs out there, and there may be several hundred blogs that are related to your topic. If your readers can't understand your blog and have trouble reading it, they'll just move on to the next one. The following tips can make your blog more user-friendly and help you gain consistent readers. First, pay close attention to the format of your blog. Readers want to understand how your blog works right from the start. Most blogging platforms have similar formats, with links and tags on the left or right margin, and the most recent post on top. Make sure to use the links wisely. Only put links up for blogs or content that is truly related to your blog's topic. The point is to give your readers additional information on your topic. Keep the list short and sweet. There is no reason to overwhelm them with links to other sites. Also, take careful consideration when choosing your blog's background and font color. Although there are a lot of color choices that blogging programs offer, its best to stick with a light background and dark text. Studies have shown that the human brain can process this type of format better than light text on a dark background. Think about this before you commit to a black background and white text. It might look striking, but readers might not want to stay there for long. Also, use a solid background color instead of trying to use a pattern or design. Proofread your entries before you post them to your blog. There is nothing that reduces your authority in the eyes of your readers' more than bad spelling and grammar. The online world is a world of text, so take some time to learn commonly misspelled words and grammatical errors. Keep your blog fresh and interesting by posting at least once per day. With so much information available on the Internet, your readers may go elsewhere if you aren't supplying daily content. If you aren't sure what to write about, try posting a poll, a link to another blog, comment on a news story or post of list of helpful tips. Not every post has to be long and complicated, but you do need to post something everyday. These tips will help keep your blog readable and interesting to your visitors. The more visitors you get, the more your blog will grow in profitability and importance. Just make sure to present yourself in a professional way and keep your readers coming back for more new content each day. In no time, you'll have a profitable blog and then you can move on to create two or three. Writing as a freelancer Working at home as a writer is one of the largest work at home categories. Being a freelance writer has traditionally been a work at home job, and now that working at home is becoming more popular, there have been more writers in the industry. If you like to write and have a good grasp of the English language, you will never be at a loss for the work at home writing jobs. Starting your career as a work at home writer is as easy as doing some Internet research and applying for a job. There are many ways to break into the writing field, even if you have no previous experience. Online opportunities abound, and there are still many writers who stay exclusively in the print market. While many writers dream of one day writing the great American novel, most writers are realistic in knowing that they are going to have to do some other types of writing to get paid on a consistent basis. Writing for pay is mostly, if not exclusively, done in the non-fiction genre. While occasionally you will find contests for fiction writing or for poetry, these opportunities are few and far between when compared to the non-fiction opportunities. Writing from home as a freelancer requires that you have a reliable Internet connection, good written communication skills and the ability to be a self-starter. As a writer, you will be in charge of your time and your projects. There will always be deadlines to meet and new writing opportunities to try. You will be responsible for balancing your writing with the rest of your life. You must also have the ability to research a wide variety of topics. As you accept assignments, you'll be challenged to learn about and write about topics that you may have little experience in. Freelance writing from home can break down into three specific areas: writing for print, writing for the web and blogging. Although blogging is technically writing for the web, there are many distinctions that make it different from other web writing opportunities. Writing for print is what people generally think of when they hear the term "freelance writer." freelancer writers who write for the print markets need to first build a reputation as reliable and eloquent writer. If you've never written for the print markets before, start with smaller, local publications and then work from there. You'll need to find a list of publications that are accepting "queries." Queries are a combination of a letter of introduction and a pitch for a story idea. Most writers rely on the Writer's Market reference guide for lists of publications. The Writer's Market has comprehensive information on a variety of newsletters, magazines and other publications that are taking queries. Start with topics that you know the most about and try writing a few queries to get yourself going in the print market. The only drawback to writing for print is that the period between when you write and when you get paid can be months long. For many freelancers, this is just not feasible. Writing for the web, however, can meet their income needs and still allow them to write from home. There are many categories of writing for the web. You can be a ghostwriter for e-books or other Internet media. Many people need copywriters to provide content for their sales letters and websites. You can also offer your services to webmasters who need fresh content for their blog or newsletter. The opportunities are endless. Blogging is yet another way to make money as a writing freelancer. Blogs are an ever-growing form of Internet media. Blog writers generally provide their own content. You can make money as a freelancer by starting your own blog and posting to it daily. If you love to write, you can start several blogs at once and multiply your earnings. Once you become an experienced blogger, you can apply for blogging jobs and post for other people.
Virtual Assistant freelance jobs Starting a virtual assistant business is just one of many ways to be a Work at home mom. If you have experience in an administrative field, or can offer virtual services to business clients, then you are a prime candidate for having a successful virtual assistant business. Getting started as a virtual assistant requires a few simple steps. There is no formal credential process to become a virtual assistant, but there are several companies who offer training and their own credentialing. This is not absolutely necessary to be a successful virtual assistant, but it can be helpful in obtaining jobs as a newcomer. Before you sign up for any program or course, do your due diligence and investigate the company. Get recommendations from other successful virtual assistants and consider finding a mentor who can help you get started. Legally, you'll need a business license in order to become an independent contractor. By obtaining a business license you'll be able to open up a business bank account and keep your business and personal finances separately. Being legal also means you can declare many of your business expenses as tax write offs. Once you've set up your home office, you'll need to establish your virtual office. On the Internet, you'll use a website to advertise yourself as a virtual assistant. Having a website is essential to establishing your presence. If web design is not in your skill set, find someone who can make a website for you. Try to contact other virtual assistants and see if you can barter for the design if it's something that you cannot afford to begin with. On your website you should, at minimum, list your services and who you are. You can also include an hourly rate, although many virtual assistants like to charge by the project instead of by the hour. As far as services go, don't offer services that you don't like to do. If you can make spreadsheets but don't like to do it, then don't offer that service. If you have background in a specific field, for example law, then list this as a specialty. You can also specialize in the type of work that you offer. Many virtual assistants limit their business to writing and editing, web design, data management or planning, but some offer a mixture of all types of services. Remember, this is your business and you can choose what tasks that you want to perform. The best way to get virtual assistant jobs to begin with is to start networking. Your best leads will come through people that you already know, whether they are online or in your hometown. Let people know what you are offering and promote your website address so people can see who you are and what you are doing. Make sure to include up to date contact information on your web page, including a phone number. When you get your first client, its important to have a contract set in place before you start working on a project. You can get many sample contracts online that you can adapt for your needs. Make sure you and the client are both on the same page about the type of work that you will be doing. That way there are no surprises when you deliver the project and your bill. After you have a few projects under your belt, you'll begin to build a reputation. Then your virtual assistant business will grow naturally to include repeat clients and new projects. When you consistently do good work, your reputation will precede you and you may have more projects that you know what to do with in a short period of time. Make sure not to overbook yourself, and collect a network of other virtual assistants who are willing to take overflows for you if the need arises. Getting your virtual assistant business off on the right foot is simple when you follow the basic steps mentioned above. Get Paid To Programs for Freelancers "Get paid to" programs (or GPTs as they are often called) are one of the many ways that freelancers can make money from home. If you've been looking for a work at home job, you've no doubt run across ads that claim that you can make money by reading e-mails, answering surveys and trying free samples. The good news is many freelancers make money doing those exact things. The bad news is that this particular industry is rife with scammers. If you are interested in getting involved with GPT programs, you'll have to do your homework and take special precautions to protect yourself and your computer. It should be noted that very few people make full time income from GPT programs. Like mystery shopping, GPT should be used as a supplemental income source at best. For many freelancers, the GPT programs are a fun and easy way to earn some extra money when they need it. People who have experience with the programs recommend that you never rely on GPT to pay your monthly bills. But they can be a perfect solution to earn money for a special occasion or holiday shopping. Just what are GPT programs? They fall into three basic categories: get paid to read e-mail, get paid to fill out surveys and get paid to try products. Each type has its own pros and cons. Before you start any GPT program, you should take some steps to protect your personal information. You will be required to give your personal information for many of these programs and the less you actually say about yourself the better. To start you should register a separate e-mail address for your GPT purposes. Many programs can result in a lot of spam mail, so you'll want to keep your main e-mail address separate. You can also register with NetZero to get a free voicemail inbox and private phone number. This is helpful in keeping your home phone free of telemarketing calls. Get paid to read e-mail programs will pay you a few cents for receiving e-mail and clicking on links. Normally these e-mails offer special deals on products or encourage you to sign up for programs. Sometimes, depending on the e-mail program, you will get more money or "points" if you try the offer. You are not obligated to try the offers, and will get paid a small amount just for clicking on the link inside of the e-mail. There are many popular paid e-mail companies. Do some research before you sign up for a program to make sure that people are actually getting paid. Try not to sign up for too many programs at once or your GPT e-mail address will be swamped. Getting paid to fill out surveys works in a similar way. You will sign up for a survey program and then fill out some personal information. You will be matched to surveys that are looking for the opinions of people in your income bracket, of your age or one of several different qualification factors. Depending on the company, you will get paid per survey, or completing surveys will earn you points that can later be redeemed. Just as with get paid to read e-mail programs, do research on survey companies before you sign up. There are hundreds out there but only a handful are worth the time and effort. Finally there are get paid to try products programs. These programs pay significantly more than the other GPT programs. However, you will be required to pay anywhere from $1 to $10 to try the products. When you use these kinds of programs, you have to be careful to take complete records of what you will be receiving and when you need to cancel service or return the item. Most of the time you will be registered for recurring billing for a monthly service, which can be cancelled within the initial 7 to 14 days. You can call the companies and cancel the service, yet still be paid for signing up for the GPT program. Remember that GPT programs are a great way to supplement income but are not something to be relied on for monthly bills. Choosing the Right Freelance Business When you are considering working from home, there is a set of decisions that must be made. First, you must decide whether or not working at home is right for you. Next, you need to consider what type of work at home job you will be doing. There are many opportunities for freelances out there, both offline and off. Having a successful freelance career starts with evaluating your own skills and requirements in a job and then finding the right match. Sometimes the best place to start with your freelance career is where your out of the home career ended. Many women find that they can become independent contractors in the field that they previously worked in. You can use your previous work experience as a launching pad for your freelance career. Some of the ways to use your experience to your advantage are: finding a company that hires people in your field to work from home, using your previous experience to become an "expert" writer in your field or starting a business related to your previous field. However, some people look at their freelance careers as a way to break out of their old job. If you'd like to try something completely different, there are plenty of opportunities for entry-level work as an independent contractor. Many of these jobs deal with telephone or online customer service. When you work as a customer service agent from your home, you just need a reliable Internet connection and a working phone. Companies also hire medical transcriptionists, data entry professionals and virtual personal assistants to telecommute. If you want to start your own business, the opportunities are very vast. You can start with a direct sales company and sell products from an established brand to friends and neighbors. You'll make commissions through your sales and also off of recruiting other people to sell the products. There are hundreds of direct sales companies that offer everything from aromatherapy products to candles to cooking supplies. Another option for starting your own business is offering a service in your community. Day care center operators, florists, professional organizers and hairdressers all have the option of working at home, among many other professions. Of course, starting a business in your community normally means that you've had some experience in that field. However, there are some small business ideas that can be started without much experience at all. Many women turn to the Internet for a source of at home income. The World Wide Web offers a plethora of job opportunities. You can offer your services online as a freelance web designer, writer or virtual assistant. You can also start an online store that sells products that you make yourself or have the rights to resell. Many freelances establish their businesses online by using one of the popular auction sites, like eBay. Still others find a home in internet marketing, by directing web traffic to a website and then recommending certain products and services. Decide first what type of job you'd like to do and then work from there. If you are truly a people person and need to get out each day, direct sales or a local service business might be right for you. If you are the type of mom who lives online and is comfortable with the Internet, try finding a job or starting your own business on the web. If you like the comfort of having a weekly paycheck, look into telecommuting positions. Once you've decided what category of job you'd like, do some research on what it takes to be successful at that type of business. If you feel like you are drawn to one particular business or company, then sit on your decision for a week and see how it feels. Imagine what your life will be like as you take on the duties of that job. Most importantly, be realistic with yourself about how much time you can devote to your business. Finding the right match isn't hard when you thoroughly consider your options.
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