By Angie Nelson
One of the benefits of being social online is the opportunity to talk to other online business owners about the similarities and differences in what our businesses entail and how we run them.
Even though I have a Virtual Assistant business, there are certain areas that are much the same as any other online business. One such freelance business that mirrors a VA business often in how we market, obtain clients and handle contracts is freelance writing.
In a recent conversation with one of those writers, the topic of clients, gigs and gambles came up. If you are new to working online, or perhaps have only set foot in one of those arenas, here are my definitions, advantages and drawbacks.
I will start at the bottom and work my up. Gambles are at the bottom of my list. For a writer, gambles can include revenue sharing sites like HubPages or Examiner. If you are writing the right content with the right keywords and have a good knowledge of SEO, you might earn a nice income somewhere down the line. Or, you may never earn anything worth writing home about.
For VAs, like me, this may include commission-only projects. There are certain tasks like lead generation, or product launches and promotion that many VAs offer. Again, things may turn out very well. Or, it may be a complete bust.
The businesses that offer these “paid only if” opportunities do so because they know there are many variables involved in turning a profit. Some of those variables are plain and simple out of your control. My personal rule for my VA business is not to work on commission only. I have experimented with a few revenue sharing sites and I do so only on a very limited basis when time allows, and when it has some other type of benefit tied in, like traffic to one of my sites.
If you have bills to pay, gambling isn’t the safest route. It can take a very long time to get there, or you may never get there at all.
Gigs are a step up from the gambles. These opportunities do offer some type of pay, though it is usually much lower than a client. These can be great fillers for when business is on the slow side. There are not many gig opportunities for a VA, though we can hop over to some of the freelance writing-related gigs without much trouble. There are numerous freelance writing gigs available. Some better paying than others. Some also combine a gig with a gamble.
One such gig is writing for blogs that pay guest contributors. The pay will vary in nature, but this can be a great filler and it can introduce your writing to a larger audience. And if the blogger likes your writing style, if could turn into a recurring gig, or a new client. If you're interested in going this route — here's a huge list of sites that pay for blog posts.
Another type of gig is the freelance bidding arena. Sites like Upwork, Guru, and Freelancer allow you to search for paid writing assignments then bid on the job at hand. Competition can be fierce, and bidding wars (not in your favor) can ensue. However, with the right strategy and mindset you can turn this into a lucrative opportunity, even regular clients. In fact, Danny Margulies shares how he went from zero to six figures using the freelance bidding site, elance.
Personal clients are the bread and butter for the work at home entrepreneur. You set your rates. You control your boundaries. Your income potential is in your court. But, that’s too hard and too much work. Not really. It is more than likely only out of your current comfort zone. But, it is worth it.
When you are doubling or tripling (or maybe more) what you are currently earning, you can work less hours. This opens up more time for marketing and networking. If you are currently working online, you are likely already doing these things. It is simply a matter of redirecting your energy to the right places. Not that hard.
But isn’t the work harder? I don’t find that to be the case. When you are working one-on-one with a client, you have a lot more control. Many times you are not going to be jumping through those hoops required by gigs that you know are unnecessary. Most clients welcome your expert opinion and are willing to make changes for efficiency. You can focus your time, energy and effort more effectively.
Don’t let self-doubt limit your earning potential. Brush up on your skills if necessary, but keeping moving upward. Position yourself among the big earners.
Angie Nelson is a Virtual Assistant and blogger. She shares her success strategies on her blog, The Work at Home Wife. You are invited to download her free report, Starting an Online Service Business. No opt-in required!