When trying to pay off debt or increase savings, there’s always one simple fact you can’t overcome easily: You can only save or spend in proportion to your income. And your credit, of course, but increasing your debt is the direct opposite of what you want to do with your finances, so most people seeking to take control of their finances concentrate on reducing debt, increasing savings, and increasing their income. Sometimes a great way to increase income is to take some of the down time you have at home and starting a freelancing business.
Freelancing can be an incredible way to make a lot of extra money. Instead of spending all of your time away from your day job relaxing, you can devote some of that time to work that earns you some extra income. The beauty of freelancing is that you can work more when you have time or need money, and less when you have other things or have paid down debts. This flexibility is the key feature of the freelance lifestyle.
What To Do
The first question is what you can do to earn money. This depends entirely on your skill set and experience, and factors such as your Internet connection and home computer equipment. There are many industries that hire freelance workers on a regular basis: Data Entry, Writing, computer scripting, and many others. Ask yourself what skills you have, even if they aren’t what you’re currently doing at your day job.
Where to Get Work
Finding freelance work is easier today than ever before due to the Internet. Web sites such as oDesk.com or eLance.com bring workers and companies together. You can set up a profile detailing your experience, set your rate, and field offers or apply for jobs that appeal for you. Each site takes a commission from what you’re paid; oDesk, for example, takes 10%, so if you earn $25 from a job they will only pay you $22.50. Both ongoing and fixed-price, one-shot jobs are posted on a regular basis.
Taskrabbit.com is a similar idea, but focussed on real-world labour instead of the computer-centric freelance work of oDesk and eLance. For example, the workers of Taskrabbit might be hired to walk dogs or clean houses on a freelance basis.
Keep it Simple
When you decide to work freelance, keep in mind you want to maximize your profits. This means don’t go overboard with unnecessary flourishes. Ask yourself: Do you need business cards or letterhead or the other trappings of a business? Probably not why spend the money on things you’ll never use just so you can feel “official”. Nothing will make you feel more official than getting that first paycheque and putting it all into the bank! While a web site might be useful for a freelancer career, it may not be necessary as the sites listed above all give you profile space which advertises your services.
When setting up for freelance office at home, take stock of what you already have a computer, a phone, perhaps free web space from your ISP. The less you spend getting your freelance career off the ground, the more you’ll get out of it, literally.
Mark Darcey is the owner and director of Darcey Quigley, an independently owned debt recoverycompany based in the UK.