There has been a major boom in Internet freelancing in recent years. This is particularly the case amongst those who have lost their day jobs due to economic downturn and those who enjoy the independence of freelancing. Internet freelancing provides a very real opportunity compared to the numerous get-rich-quick schemes and risky startup ventures. By the end of 2011, the number of people in the world with Internet access reached close to two-billion. A global market with a potentially vast audience, it is not surprising that it is laden with opportunities. Finding these opportunities can be challenging, but Internet freelancing provides some of the best opportunities of all.
The Advantages of Internet Freelancing
Internet freelancing allows you to become location-independent. For many, this is the biggest incentive of all. Without any necessity to commute to work, you also have minimal overheads. If you plan to live abroad, especially in a country where you cannot easily find work due to language or wage issues, Internet freelancing is often the only opportunity. If you live in a country which has a lower cost of living than your own, you will also have more disposable income.
Your qualifications tend to be less important when it comes to freelancing. If you are looking for freelancing opportunities, prospective clients are not likely to be looking for university degrees or years of experience. Your résumé is largely irrelevant. Prospective clients are interested in whether or not you can provide the high quality work that they need and expect from you. Whether you can provide high quality demonstrations of your abilities is what people are most interested in. For many of the lower paid writing jobs, just being a native English speaker with an ability to write coherently is often enough.
If you hate going to job interviews, Internet freelancing is the solution for you. If you are not confident in face-to-face interaction with your colleagues and superiors but can still provide high quality work, Internet freelancing is ideal.
The Disadvantages of Internet Freelancing
No opportunity is perfect and making a living is rarely easy. If something seems too good to be true, then it probably is. Internet freelancing is no exception to this.
It takes time and patience to build up a respectable and consistent income from Internet freelancing. There are few guarantees. With a regular job, you will typically have a contract. Most day jobs offer additional bonuses such as paid holiday and sick pay. With freelancing of any kind, you get none of this. If you want to take a week off work, you will lose a week’s income unless you have a passive income.
If you work for a client who suddenly decides not to take you on for any further work, you lose your income from that client immediately. There is no one-month notice. This is why it is best to have multiple jobs and clients. This way, you can minimize the risk of your monthly income vanishing or becoming too low.
You also have to discipline yourself to succeed in Internet freelancing. If you do not treat it as a proper job, it is unlikely that you will ever get very far. You should set yourself targets to work towards. Set yourself a realistic target for how much you want to earn in a week and strive to meet that target. You should also aim to get into some form of a routine. This can be flexible, but you need to work more rigorously to reach the stage where you have a consistently reliable income. At this point, you can start taking some liberties as you see fit.
The best way to start out with Internet freelancing is to start part-time in addition to a regular job. This way, you can make a supplementary income and establish yourself as a respected and experienced freelancer. With enough time and perseverance, you should eventually have enough confidence to quit your day job and start making a full time income from freelancing. By contrast, quitting your day job on a whim is an extremely bad idea. If you lose your job due to factors beyond your control, freelancing can give you something to focus on while you are looking for a new one.