The pandemic has made the economy weak; as a consequence, many people have lost their jobs or have to change their careers. If you are looking for career advice, you might want to take some notes today.
How to build a nest egg as a freelancer:
In my parents’ generation, an individual only had 1 job in their life. Someone like my 48-year-old cousin would have four jobs in her lifetime. It is believed that somebody from Gen Z will probably have four jobs at the same time – this is the gig economy. I would argue that the gig economy was definitely a myth in 2001; however, in 2021 this is so real: a lot of individuals have already become freelancers and officially joined the gig economy now. It is said that within 6 years, more than 50% of the total workforce in the US will be freelancers. It means 86.5 million people in the US will be freelancing soon. Yet are you sure you can build a nest egg as a freelancer?
From my experience, I can confirm that it’s totally possible to build up a nest egg as a freelancer because I have been a freelancer for many years. As a freelancer, I have the flexibility to travel the world and I’ve done that already.
Here are some tips for you to consider:
1. At the beginning of your freelance career, say yes to everything.
When I started my freelance career, I actually built 3 websites – I was teaching English, selling eBooks and writing content for online magazines. I used three websites to promote my products and services. Frankly, I already knew that what I really wanted to do is to write content for online magazines because I always wanted to have Carrie Bradshaw’s job. But at that time, I was an English teacher and did that for a very long time, so I had a lot to offer in the education industry. I think due to Fear of Missing Out (FOMO), I started too many things, but there is no regret. Now let me explain.
Because I had a website teaching English and another website selling eBooks about English education, I tried my best – those eBooks are still selling well right now as the demand in the market is real and solid.
If I never tried teaching English and selling eBooks about English education, I may wonder what would happen if did that. Since I’ve done it, I know it was an okay idea, but it was not a great idea. Also, it doesn’t speak to my heart.
What really sparks joy is writing content for online magazines, so my authentic passion has made my 3rd website very successful. Now at least 95% of my freelance work comes from this niche. Clearly, authenticity always sells.
In other words, what I love doing is also what I’m good at; the genuine interest in writing content for online magazines has made my freelance career unstoppable in spite of the pandemic, because of the pandemic.
Basically, if you’ve said yes to everything at the beginning, you will feel more certain when you become more discerning later on. You will be confident enough to choose whatever works best as your primary project in your freelance business.
2. Manage your personal finances properly so you can travel internationally.
If you want to be a freelancer, you have to be good at managing finances because: A) you won’t have a boss who pays your tax on your behalf before paying you a salary; B) you can’t really predict how much work you can have in one financial year.
Therefore, here is my suggestion: it is your responsibility to minimize your expense. Yes, some expenses are necessary. For example, in order to actually build a viable freelance business, I invested in my education and spent a lot of money at that time. Most people wouldn’t invest that much and they might think I was insane. But only I knew how much I wanted to have a freelance business that actually works. Therefore, I invested in my own education and it worked – I have a successful freelance business today.
But after a while, I started to minimize my expense in this regard by not spending money on my education. Please don’t get me wrong. I am not saying now I’m not learning anything. I am just saying my current approach is different: Previously, I had to invest a lot in my education because I knew nothing about this industry – I didn’t have the content knowledge; I didn’t have the business skills. As a result, I hired two mentors (one mentor taught me the content knowledge so that I knew what to write about & the other mentor taught me sales and marketing skills so that I could sell what I want to write about). That is the foundation of my freelance business. Nevertheless, nowadays since I have the solid foundation already, it’s time to minimize my expense when it comes to professional development. Thus, currently I only learn for free by borrowing eBooks from the library.
“Freelancers have the time to travel internationally and most freelancers only need a laptop in order to get their work done.”