Learn to freelance and change your life

Learn to freelance and change your life. That’s something I tell to people all the time. Learn to freelance – it brings the potential to change your financial situation, your career, your network and the joy you feel. And I really, truly believe it.

You see, when you learn to freelance, you’re doing more than just picking up work here and there. You’re learning to bring in an income from more than just an employer. Having the ability to generate extra money means you’ll have a skill you can use for life. When you’re working for an employer, you’re at their mercy to pick up extra shifts, overtime, commissions and bonuses. And, in most cases, you’re going to get taxed on any extra income at your full tax rate or even maybe move up into the next bracket. But if you start freelancing and consulting, you likely have several tax write-offs, potentially including your business use of home.  And, in most cases, the rate you’ll be charging, will be higher than you’d be making at your day job.

What’s more, even just learning to bring in a freelance or consulting income of $200 a month or $10,000 a year can have a huge effect on your financial profile. Think about any debt payments or savings goals you have. Throwing even a small amount at a credit card bill or car payment can help you get your head above water or even out of debt. Making an extra few thousand on projects a couple of times a year might be enough to set up your kids’ college fund, save for a dream vacation or renovate your home. Maybe it’s the difference between driving an old clunker and having that car you know would change things for you and your family. Perhaps it means living in a better school district, getting better medical benefits or cutting back hours (or years!) at your regular job. Or maybe it means you can pursue an expensive hobby or sport for yourself or your kids. Earning extra money from consulting and freelancing gives you options.

It’s not just about the money, either. When you learn to freelance and consult, you quickly start learning skills that can help you get ahead in your career, whether you want to keep on freelancing or change directions with your work. For example, perhaps picking up some projects would allow you to deepen your knowledge in an area of interest that you barely get to touch at your day job. You can build up a portfolio, references and contacts while getting paid to practice working on that interest. Moreover, as a freelancer and consultant, you’ll get real-world experience in sales, client management, communication, marketing, business management, networking, accounting and more. And that’s experience you can apply to ANY job in the future. You can use consulting and freelancing to deepen your knowledge of a career area or you can use it to get a broad knowledge of other business areas – or both. And you still have the option to pick and choose the work you do and the way you run your business.

When you learn to freelance, learn to consult or otherwise pick up projects, you have a chance at pursuing dreams, too. Maybe you want to have more flexibile work. Maybe you want to go after clients and projects that excite you. Maybe you’d love to turn a favourite activity or hobby into work you can get paid for. Perhaps that work wouldn’t normally pay you enough to do as a full-time career or maybe it’s seasonal. But if you turn it into a side project and learn to consult and freelance, you can get paid to do something fun, without doing it as your sole focus. Maybe starting it as a side project will allow you to build up the business over time and eventually leave your day job or semi-retire to pursue your passion. The possibilities are as wide open as your mind.

As for me, I became a consultant a little bit at a time. At first, it was a fun way to get paid to pursue writing. Then, when I picked up some marketing projects, I realized I could change my career from writing and communications to strategic marketing – while still doing fun writing projects. That allowed me to get ahead at work. One of my managers noticed I’d built up excellent career and business experience and recruited me to a more senior position that paid more than double what I’d been making for her before.  My experience, portfolio and references kept growing and I eventually decided to focus on consulting as my full-time career. That’s all because I started with getting paid 10 cents a word to write an article for a newspaper when I was in college – before I even started thinking of myself as a freelancer.

If you want to learn to freelance and consult, have a look at my workbooks, guides and course. I provide inside tips, so that you can learn from my mistakes and my successes. I’ve taken everything I tell my own business and coaching clients and shared it in those materials.