How I Became an Online Freelancer (and How You Can Too)

Approximate Reading Time: 5 minutes

Working nine to five can be boring and frustrating for many people. Fortunately, getting out of this regime is not as difficult or complicated as it may seem.

Because this is the very first post on this blog, it is a little introductory, but it still contains a lot of information that may help you in practice!

Who I Am

First, let me introduce myself.

My name is Martin, I live in Prague, the Czech Republic and besides being the creator of this blog, I have also been a successful online freelancer for the last few years, consistently making 3 to 4 times more than I used to in my dayjob, working from home.

I work as a computer programmer but the advice that myself and others are going to give on this website will be applicable to a wide range of professions.

Bear in mind though that the profession you choose will have a major impact on the income level you will be able to reach.

The Office as a Prison

I am now very happy with my professional life, but it hasn’t always been like that.

I spent several years of my career trying to make a fortune launching a few online start-ups, but always ended up barely making a living, not to mention a few cases when I lost quite a lot of money.

It got to a point that I have always tried to avoid – I had to get a nine-to-five role in computer programming since that was the skill that I had learned during those years of trial and error.

It will sound exaggerated to many, but the following two years were a nightmare.

It was not that people at the company treated me badly; on the contrary, I held a respected, well-paid position. However, what is probably normal for most people felt more like a prison to me.

I just couldn’t bear wasting most of my daylight hours inside an office.

I couldn’t stand having completed my job by 2 pm but being obliged to stay and pretend to work for a further three hours, simply because I worked more efficiently than others.

I couldn’t stand the constant wait for Friday afternoon since I was no longer allowed to decide when to do my job.

I was simply unable to understand, to any extent, how most people could spend a large proportion of their lives following such a routine.

A Life-Changing Job Offer

It was time for a change. One day, another job offer landed in my inbox and since my current employer had begun experiencing financial problems, I decided to attend the interview.

The job was based in Prague where I live, yet the position permitted working 100% remotely. It was still just a job, but at least it gave me back some flexibility.

That was a huge ‘Aha!’ moment, as I realized that there are companies who really don’t care when you do your job, some don’t even care how long the job takes, they simply care about the results you deliver.

Because I was based in Prague, where the salaries are quite low compared to the rest of the world, I quickly realized that I would probably do much better financially, if I found an employer in a location where higher salaries are paid.

I did all I could to find such a position and during the process, not only did I find a job with a New York based employer, but more importantly I started gaining clients alongside that would become my own clients, as well as finding some great employers permitting remote work.

Things Are Great Now

Fast forward, a few years and I have now traveled to the countries I had always wanted to visit. I enjoy the freedom of working whenever and wherever I want and doing how much (or how little) I want.

Equally, because I now have actual clients rather than just a remote job, I also have the option to outsource some (or all) of my work when I feel like it or when I am fully booked, creating extra income or almost growing the business to the point of making it an actual company.

I am not sure whether I will ultimately put in the effort to grow my freelancing business to this point as I currently invest a lot of time into showing others how to reach the level I am at.

This desire to help is at present, my overriding passion. Even if I never expand in this way and remain therefore unable to comment on this topic, I am certain there will be guest posts on this blog from people who have surpassed my levels of success and will be able to show us all how they did it.

Steps I Recommend Taking to Become a Freelancer

A lot of people who have yet to become a full-time freelancer ask what they need to do to achieve this. Regardless of what field you work in (or are even going to work in), it all comes down to a few fundamental steps:

Step 1: Choose a Field You Would Like to Work In

The first step is obvious; you need to choose a field you would like to work in as an online freelancer. Clearly, not all professions are suited to this style of work, yet, there are a considerable number that are.

These most common ones include programming, website design, product management, marketing, accounting, translation and proofreading, content writing, language teaching, online support, data entry and many more – simply anything that you can do using just your computer.

Step 2: Get Enough Skills and Experience in the Given Field

If you already have a job or relevant work experience in the field you have chosen, you have an advantage in becoming a successful online freelancer and for this reason it’s advisable to choose a field you are familiar with in the first place.

If your previous work experience isn’t something that you would be able to do online and/or as a freelancer, I recommend obtaining a nine-to-five job for a year or two in a field where it is possible, in order to gain useful experience in that field.

Despite the disadvantages of having a day job, I don’t think there’s a better or faster way to learn the skills you need than to have one temporarily.

Step 3: Get a Remote Job in the Field as a Transition from 9-to-5 Job to Freelancing

In most (if not all) fields that you can freelance in, you can find a remote job first, which is a great way to get the flexible schedule you need in order to be able to squeeze client work in during the day.

Because of the versatility of location though, you will be competing with a lot more candidates and therefore it’s notably harder to gain this type of role in comparison with getting an on-site job.

Step 4: Get Your First Lucrative Client

Getting your first client is a ticket to the world of freelancing, where you can work whenever you want, outsource some of your work and enjoy the (almost) unlimited freedom of this lifestyle – provided your first client is a good, lucrative and preferably long-term prospect (not someone just looking for quick, cheap work).

Step 5: Find a Way to Get Great Clients Consistently and Grow Your Business

If you manage to attract your first good client, not only will you be able to repeat this process time and time again, but if you do things right and keep your current clients happy, you will find that all of a sudden, more and more people will reach out to you, based on the good references they have received.

Will It Work for Me?

Following these steps is, of course, easier said than done, but this process has worked for many. The bigger question is now if it will work for you.

Well, if I could guarantee that it would, I could probably charge thousands of dollars to access this blog without receiving a single complaint!

Guarantees, however, can unfortunately not be given. The good news is though, that if you have the commitment and determination to succeed, you will discover that it’s not that hard to do so.

All I can do is to show you how I did it, yet there are many ways to achieve such success; I could probably theorize about these varied ways and present them as advice.

I believe, however, that advice is only of value from a person who has direct experience of achieving the things he/she discusses.

For this reason, although I do have quite some experience with freelancing, I will not be the sole author of this blog.

In fact, I actively encourage any experienced freelancer who may be reading and believes he/she may have something valuable to contribute to contact me and we can work something out together!

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