What if you could find freedom defined as control of your time and income whereby you make a "great living" for your standard of living by working as a freelancer? This article is for Baby Boomers or anyone who wants to have control of their time and money.
Full Disclosure: You can make zero, zippo, or nothing being a freelancer. There is no guarantee you can make anything because I don't know you or your capabilities. My goal in using $50,000 or any other number is to offer a real example based on real-world experience hiring hundreds of freelancers while owning a digital marketing agency, and by being one for many years.
What Do Freelancers Do?
Freelancers perform a wide variety of functions. Common freelancing “gigs” include projects to program code, design and program websites, write and edit copy, manage email marketing, generate sales or customer service calls, or coach and train employees and small business owners as several examples.
Considering the global shortage of skilled workers is upon us it’s pretty easy to find all the freelance work you want. I freelance as much as I like depending on what else I have going on in my life. You get to choose how much you want to work based on your lifestyle goals and need for income.
Freedom. Imagine that!
Freelancers charge an hourly rate or fee for a project. Most freelancer workers complete the project, then get paid. But higher-end business coaches and consultants often capture retainers and ongoing fees. You can win your own clients and invoice directly, or work through some of the online freelancer companies who charge you or the client a fee for each transaction.
Freelancers work “virtually” from wherever you want. Not only will you have complete control of your time, but you’ll have unlimited creative freedom and income potential.
How Much Are You Worth As A Freelancer?
How much are your time and talents worth? The more specialized your talent, the more you can earn. I’m familiar with the market for freelance labor because I've hired hundreds over the years. The best thing for you to do is conduct your own research for your skill set. Check out what other professionals are charging. Start with several of the biggest online communities for freelancers like Upwork, Freelancer.com, and Thumbtack.
If you’re a writer and you want to be a ghostwriter or copywriter for a blog, check out the many listings of freelancers in the major freelance communities online. Research the profiles, jobs and see what the marketplace can teach you. Study the competition and customers by signing up and being consistent with your follow up and research.
Starting Up A Freelancer Business
Startup costs for launching a freelance business are relatively low. Here’s a partial list of things you need beyond a deep desire to make money working as a freelancer.
- A valued, marketable skill like writing, design, or programming.
- Exposure online via the freelancer sites, your website, social media.
- Sufficient access to money for startup costs like memberships, training, and software.
- Access to the internet.
- Dedicated workspace, computer, desk, chair.
- Networking, sales, basic financial and business skills.
- A DBA or business entity like a sole proprietorship, maybe an LLC.
- Advice from your accountant or lawyer.
Upwork reports that the majority of workers in America will be part of the “gig economy.” Age is meaningless in the freelance world. More than half of the existing freelancers are millennials. I’m a Baby Boomer and there's massive room for more of us.
Meet Sally, A Top-Notch Freelancer
The best way for me to help is you is to give you a real-life example. In this case, Sally, as we’ll call her, makes almost double the $50,000 I suggest in my title. If you have a marketable skill, discipline, the ability to get customer, you can be like Sally.
Sally is a virtual marketing assistant with a reputation for being an experienced professional. She’s the perfect assistant who charges small business owners to manage social media, blog, email marketing and more.
Sally has been a freelancer for about five years and charges $75 an hour. If that seems like a lot of money, it's not for someone with Sally's skills, especially if you only need her part-time. I hired her full-time for my last project.
One of the things most important to Sally is not her hourly rate or income. It’s the freedom to do what she loves most - travel around the world. Sally was in Costa Rica for two weeks while working on a project for me. The only limit on what you can make is time. You can't make time, but you can set your pricing and manage it with discipline.
How much are freedom of time, less stress, and high quality of life worth beyond cold, hard cash? Being rich isn’t only about money.
Work As Much As You Want
Sally makes far more than $50,000 because she is talented and works hard, no B.S. She wins customers by networking in her hometown and online as well as referrals. Let’s say Sally works 30 hours a week at $75 per hour. This means she “grosses” or earns $2,250, before fees or taxes. On the most intense work weeks, she might work 50 hours. That’ means Sally makes $3,750 in one week. That’s a $15,000 month.
Freelance work isn’t for everyone. It’s also possible to make much less than $50,000. The key to this is you must develop and maintain a marketable skill. The top-earning freelancers I know are creative and disciplined. They know to network, sell and find customers and take great care of them. Simple, not easy, but it’s like everything else; the cream rises to the top.
Living the freelance life is for anyone who seeks more income, control of time and the ability to exercise your creative gifts. The income is a true bonus for doing what we love from the comfort of home or maybe a beach.
If freelance work looks good to you and you’d like to learn more, register now for my online program, The Freelancer’s Guide to Early Retirement - How to Make $50,000 A Year or More Being A Freelancer.