Getting Started with a Side Gig

How to Freelance Your Way to Financial Freedom

If you haven’t heard of the
gig economy yet, you soon will. The so-called “gig economy” refers to the current rise of popularity and success in short-term, contract, or freelance work. This is in stark contrast to the traditional economy, which primarily depends upon salaried workers and employees with steady jobs. With the job market so uncertain lately, many Americans are finding creative ways to make money and pay the bills. Many people are seeing success with freelancing, taking short-term jobs and contract work, or even starting their own businesses.

Whether you’re working from your bed or the beach, these jobs provide freedom from the corporate world while also paying well and allowing people to make ends meet. Best of all, it is possible to work multiple freelance contracts or “gigs” while also continuing to search for a full-time job, if desired.

If you’re looking to break into freelancing, take the leap away from corporate America, or simply pick up a side job for additional income, keep reading for some tips on how to get started in the gig economy.


Start With Your Talents

When it comes to picking up freelance work, there are limitless possibilities. You may consider starting with what you’re already naturally good at. Do you enjoy art and design? You might consider picking up some freelance design work, which is always in demand. If you enjoy photography, see if you know anyone who would be willing to pay you for headshots or family photographs.


Know What’s in Demand

In addition to considering what you’re good at, you should also consider the demand for the services you’re trying to offer. What services would benefit people in your local area? Is there a shortage of Uber or Lyft drivers, for instance? Do you have a room in your home that you could put up for rent on Airbnb? Ideas for stepping into the gig economy are all around you, if you’re willing to look for them.


Set up a Workspace

Working from home has its advantages and disadvantages. While it’s great to work from a place where you feel the most comfortable, it can easily disrupt productivity if you don’t get organized — and stay that way. With this in mind, it’s important to set up a workspace somewhere in your home that’s dedicated to your job. Consider it your personal office, even if it’s just a corner of an existing room. Invest in some quality equipment, get your supplies in order, and treat it with respect. Keep distractions to a bare minimum and make sure you remain on top of clutter. After all, this is where you’ll be earning your money.


Learn a New Skill

When it comes to finding new work, why limit yourself to skills that you already possess? Whether you’re looking to leave the corporate world and start your own business or test the waters for an entirely new career direction, treat this as an opportunity to learn something new. There are many high-paying freelance or contract jobs that do not require degrees. Why not use this as an opportunity to learn a new skill? You never know; this might open up the doors for you to embark upon an entirely new career path.


Ask Your Friends

When you’re just starting out, it can be difficult to find clients. One way to start making some money is to ask your friends and family if they’d be interested in any of the services you are offering. We live in a world where we’re always connected thanks to social media, mobile devices, and the internet, and social channels are a great way to get the word out about the products or services you offer. Facebook is a great place to start, since it’s free to use and you can connect right away with people you know; check out this ultimate Facebook advertising guide to get started. However you decide to do it, go ahead and put the message out there that you’re offering a service and/or looking for new clients. Perhaps even offer an introductory discount just to get the ball rolling.


Get Advice from Experts

One final note about the gig economy: it’s not for everyone. Running your own business can be hard, and you’ll want to talk to a business lawyer about setting up your business and an accountant to learn about any tax implications. An accountant may also be able to help you decide if you need a small business loan to get the ball rolling, and explain the difference between the options, including startup, short-term, and SBA loans. You’ll also want a mentor and maybe even a consultant to help you streamline your processes. More importantly, the real experts are your customers. Once you get established, reach out to your client base for advice to steer you in the right direction.

That being said, working when you want, where you want, and for whom you want can be deeply rewarding. By following the tips listed above, you can start building your own successful gig-based business.

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