If you’re looking to earn extra money alongside your regular job, freelancing online is an increasingly popular choice. However, before you take the leap, there are several things to consider.
What are the benefits of freelancing, how do you know it’s right for you, and what steps should you take?
Let’s take a closer look …
Benefits of Freelancing:
1) Financial Security
One reason to begin freelancing on the side is that it diversifies your income. What would you do if you were made redundant or otherwise lost your job? Freelancing gives you something to fall back on while you find other permanent employment. It also helps you to network and may provide opportunities you wouldn’t have normally had.
2) You Can Do It Anywhere
While your regular job might confine you to an office, freelancing is something you can quite literally do anywhere (as long as you have your laptop and access to the internet). On holiday on the beach, while commuting, if you wake up early in the morning. You can make money during times when you’d probably be doing nothing.
Of course, despite the obvious benefits, deciding whether to freelance is not a simple decision. There are several things you should consider first:
1) What Skills Do You Have?
First off, you need to decide what type of freelancing you’d like to do. People often do similar work to their main job because it comes naturally to them, but there are many skills and services that you can sell online and you don’t necessarily have to be qualified. Writing, graphic design, coding, web design, video editing—the list is endless.
You just need to be able to demonstrate your talent.
However, you will need to be proficient in something. Simply deciding to freelance because it sounds good when you don’t have any obvious skills or experience, is going to lead to a lot of stress and wasted effort.
You don’t want to impact your regular job because you’re spending too much time teaching yourself something new. You need those existing skills, so starting out as a freelancer isn’t an uphill battle.
2) Do You Have the Time?
The great thing about freelancing is that you generally set your own hours and choose the projects that best suit your circumstances and skill level. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t a commitment. You should only start a freelancing side gig if you realistically have the time.
If you take on too much work it could lead to poor performance at your regular job, and if you lose that you’re in a whole different situation.
Likewise, more money is one thing, but if it’s at the expense of spending time with your family in the evenings or at weekends, is it worth it?
These are all things to consider:
3) Setup Costs
While a lot of freelancing fields don’t require much more than a laptop, some do require expensive software and equipment. If you want to immediately make an impact, you might also decide to run a marketing campaign to get your name out there. This all costs money that you might not have upfront.
One option might be to take out a loan online to cover those early expenses.
For some, however, setup costs will be a barrier to freelancing in the first place. Especially if you are not confident in your skills.
4) Could You Get a Raise or Promotion?
If you’re wondering about freelancing because you need extra cash, make sure you have exhausted all the regular channels for getting a raise or a promotion at your workplace. What about overtime? Or is there even a position with another company you could apply for that pays better?
Freelancing is definitely a good way to make a side income, but the pay is usually low for those starting out.
5) Does Your Contract Allow it?
Even if freelancing would be an ideal option for you, not all employers allow you to do other work. You should check the small print of your contract to see if you have a non-compete clause. This is especially relevant if your freelancing would involve the same kind of work as your job.
If you’re caught breaching the terms of your contract you could be fired and sued by the company.
So, if you’ve been considering freelancing alongside your job, the above points should help you make an informed decision.
Have you already made the leap? Let us know how it went in the comments below!