How to Start Working from Home … Today
By Holly Reisem Hanna
On any given day, I’ll receive an email asking, “How can I work from home… now!?” While I can offer up some general suggestions on different work at home paths, without knowing your background, expertise, passions, and skills, it is tough to offer up a concrete recommendation. With this said, there is an easy way to start working from home immediately, and it and that’s by freelancing.
You may say, “I’m not a writer” or “I don’t know how to code websites”… well, that’s okay. Being a freelancer is more than just writing, coding, or designing. Freelancing is a way to sell services, whether it be writing, voice acting, editing, bookkeeping, translating, consulting, etc. without having a formal employer or boss. Freelancers work as independent contractors, filling in gaps where companies and small business owners need help, but the not service of a full-time employee.
The best thing about freelancing (besides working from home, and naming your own price) is that everyone has some freelance-able skill, from software development and recruiting, to project management, sales, translation, virtual assistance … the list goes on and on.
So how can you start working from home as a freelancer when you don’t have any experience?
Get Some Cash Flow:
If you’re already working, don’t quit your day job, at least not yet. Having a ready source of income will help to alleviate a lot of stress when you’re launching your new freelance business. It will also allow you to gain the experience that you need while allowing you to grow your business at a nice steady pace. If you’re not working, and you need money like yesterday, consider taking on odd jobs like babysitting, yard work, or selling unwanted items just to get you over the hump, and then immediately jump into the next step.
Gain Some Experience:
While I’m not an advocate of selling yourself short or devaluing your worth, there is a time and a place for freelance job sites. These sites are job boards for freelancers and businesses, it is a place to connect, shop around, and most importantly get some money into your pocket. While many of these sites offer smaller payouts, they are a great place to gain experience and build your portfolio.
Don’t think this path works? A couple years ago, Danny Margulies decided to quit his full-time job to pursue a copywriting career using the freelance platform, Elance (now Upwork). Without any special education or training he was able to hone his skills and pull in six-figures during his second year working as a copywriter.
And no, it doesn’t take years to be successful. Gina Horkey was able to build up her freelance business from $0 to $4k a month in six months, which allowed her to quit her job as a financial planner to become a full-time freelancer.
Pull it Together:
After you’ve been freelancing for a month, you should have some samples, testimonials, and experience that will give you the leverage to start going after bigger and better-paying freelance opportunities. Along with these new credentials, you should also establish your web presence by creating a website and getting involved with social media. Not only are these excellent ways for you to advertise your new freelance business, but they are inexpensive, easy to set up, and manage.
Market Your Business:
Now that you’ve got some momentum going, you’ll want to dedicate some time each and every day to marketing your new business. Try incorporating email marketing, social media, blogging, public speaking, and networking events into your weekly routine. This may sound overwhelming, but once you get into a groove, you’ll hardly even notice that you’re marketing your business.
Invest in Your Freelance Business:
As your cash flow builds, you’ll want to reinvest some of it into professional development. Luckily, they are events, conferences, webinars, teleconferences, online courses, books, membership sites, mastermind groups, and coaching sessions – there is something to fit every budget and every niche. By investing in yourself and your business, you gain the knowledge, information, and skills to make your freelance business a success.
Celebrate Your Success:
Congratulations, you are now a home-based freelancer! Of course with any new home-based business, you’ll have your fair share of ups and downs, so remember to take time to celebrate your successes and learn from your failures. By recognizing your hard work and accomplishments, you can help boost your motivation, as well as improve your goals by focusing on your strengths.
Working from home may seem like a far distant dream – but if you dare to take the first step, you can make it a reality.
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