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Freelancing: How to Sell a Service Online

January 30, 2014
| Articles

The “make money online” craze has swept up a lot of people, and with good reason. The promise of golden riches in the online wild west is hard to resist – but caution is necessary.

 

Some online opportunities are legitimate. Others are simply scams. Still others are real, but not realistic: as appealing as The 4-Hour Workweek sounds, most of us won’t be able to achieve the near-mythic levels of blog monetization required by such schemes. Passive income schemes demand huge time investment up front in return for a big question mark hanging over your future.

With this in mind, I can only recommend one path: freelancing. If you leverage your talents to sell a service, you can find clients and build a substantial income. I’ve done so over the past two and a half years. Read on to learn the basics.

 

Think Outside the Box

Facing an online job landscape riddled with snake-oil scams and unrealistic goals, things may seem disheartening. That’s where freelancing comes in to save the day. It’s not a stale desk job, nor is it as radical an approach as passive income projects. It’s often overlooked, as shown by this chart on Google search trends:

Google search trends stats

Click here to see the live version of this data in Google Trends.

Compared to searches for ways to make money online, freelancing received little interest. While these statistics have their limitations, they do help show that freelancing is at a happy medium that many have failed to consider – in its own way, it stands outside of the box.

 

Is The Time Right?

I hear you: the basic idea of freelancing might sound appealing, but are conditions really favorable to it right now? Maybe. I think that the biggest determinant of your success is the work that you pour into it – you can make conditions favorable.

 

Freelancers don’t face prospects that are as dire as you might think – people like me have found ways to make a comfortable living online.

 

The biggest question to ask yourself is this: do you want it? Many people are disillusioned with passive income attempts or want to leave their day jobs. But it will take commitment to succeed as a freelancer.

 

Cons of Freelancing

I’ll be honest and upfront: freelancing is not a walk in the park. While it offers tangible rewards, it can be difficult and there are definite downsides.

 

Competition is a constant consideration. It’s not crippling, but it’s there. While freelancing is ignored more often than it should be, you should be aware that a lot of people do see the benefits of selling a service online. Freelance competition isn’t crippling, but you will need to work hard to stand out.

 

Another potential issue for freelancers is that working from home is not ideal for everyone. Some people want co-workers to chat with and need a structured environment to get things done. If you can’t hold yourself accountable, then freelancing may not be for you.

 

Pros of Freelancing

For those that can motivate themselves, however, freelancing can be liberating. If you are a self-starter, then you’re already halfway to success.

 

Flexibility is a benefit cited by many freelancers – myself included. Cutting out the commute to work gives you extra time right off the bat. More importantly, you gain control over your own day. If you decide to spend an entire day with loved ones and compensate for it by working extra the following day, it’s easy to do so – you’re not beholden to the 8-hour workday.

 

That flexibility ties in with the immense freedom imparted by freelancing. You don’t have to take orders from a single boss stationed overhead – you can pick and choose which projects interest you and which clients are willing to pay the best rates. You’re free to make choices about who you do business with, which leads to a refreshing feeling of autonomy.

 

Conclusion

Freelancing is more than a career choice – it is unique lifestyle that can help you live the life you desire. While there are certainly downsides, they are definitely outweighed by the positive aspects. For more than two years, I’ve worked as a freelance writer, but you can freelance with any talent or skill: illustrating, design, coding, and more. The possibilities are nearly endless, and so is the opportunity.

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