Most start-ups start out not making any money for their founders, but we all have bills to pay and need to put food on the table for our family while also covering the running costs of the start-up. There are a number of ways to raise money to cover your living expenses and your start-up’s expenses; seeking investment, freelancing, bank loans, loans from family, pawn brokers, affiliate marketing, survey sites, and countless others! The one I am going to cover today is freelancing.
Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t so you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.Warren G. Tracy’s Student
What is Freelancing?
Freelancing to me simply is seeking out one-off jobs that people need done, which you specialize in (or can at least do to a passable standard). Even though you set out for the job to be one off, often enough that doesn’t turn out to be the case and you’ll find yourself being asked to complete more work for your client.
The great thing about freelancing is that freelancers are needed and used in a variety of industries so you’re bound to find something that you can do! Some of the most common industries in which you’ll find freelancing opportunities are; admin, website development, graphic design, SEO, music, photography, writing, and editing.
Where Do I Find These Opportunities?
Online! There are many websites setup that make it easy for you to find and apply for freelance jobs from wherever you live in the world. This does mean you’ll be competing with people in countries that have a lower cost of living and that can possibly do the job for a lower rate than you can, but with that said, a lot of people don’t like to hire people whose native language isn’t English or in the same country as they are.
Here are five freelancing websites to get you started:
oDesk is probably my favorite website for freelance work. It’s free to get started and has hundreds of thousands of jobs waiting for you to apply to. The amount of jobs you can apply for increases as you complete your profile, tests, and get hired. When you get hired for a job oDesk takes 10% + a $1 or $2 withdrawal fee depending on the payment methods you select.
Elance have a few membership options ranging from Basic (Free), Individual ($10 / month), Small Company ($20/month), and Large Company ($60/month) with the paid accounts giving you more features and allowing you to apply for more jobs. Elance gives you 1 free Wire Transfer per month + a service fee of 8.75%. Withdrawal fees vary per withdrawal methods.
Fiverr is one of the newer ones to enter the scene but has grown at an extraordinary rate. Although it isn’t technically a freelancing website you can offer freelancing services from $5 and wait for people to buy them, they also have a Buyers Requests feature where you can view what people are specifically looking for and send your offer. Fiverr takes $1 for every $5 you earn and doesn’t charge a withdrawal fee.
You probably weren’t expecting to see Craigslist on this list! They have a services section in which you can post your services for sale, there’s also a jobs section in which you can hunt through to find quick freelance jobs. Use caution when dealing with Craigslist and classified websites. UK visitors should use Gumtree.
You normally wouldn’t think of forums for finding freelance work either, but forums have been one of my most successful places to find freelance jobs. The types of jobs you’ll find will vary on the niche of the forums you visit.
While the freelance jobs you do aren’t a permanent thing for you, remember it is someone’s business that you are working for so be respectful and do the best job you can, you never know when you may need their services. On most freelancing websites your employer can leave feedback on the work you have done; you want to keep up a five-star rating as this will increase your chances of being employed for any other jobs you may apply to.
It is also important to be able to balance the number of hours you free up for freelancing and the number of hours that you dedicate to working on your start-up. Growing your start-up should always be your main focus.