Possibly the most common question I answer as an Uber driver is some variation of:
"Is this all you do for work?"
I'll often reply by saying it's one of a handful of things I do. I normally say that along with Uber I do a lot of freelancing in the writing/editing and marketing areas.
About half the time my passenger is extremely surprised by the fact I am able to combine those two tasks to make my living. Generally speaking, the younger the passenger the less surprised they are. Books like The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris have definitely popularized the idea of working outside of the corporate 9-5.
It turns out that over a third of the national workforce in the United States is doing some sort of freelancing. Over two-thirds of people think it's becoming more respected and think it's going to get better.
Thanks to Ben Matthews who put together a great summation of other freelancing stats that I highly recommend you check out. The infographic below displays many interesting numbers when it comes to freelancing.
What this means for You
Considering this blog is dedicated to strategies to escape the 9-5 this means a lot.
Most freelancers feel like the best days are yet to come.
A third of people who are not freelancing have thought about it.
The biggest obstacle to people not freelancing?
Those who aren't freelancing are worried about stable income and where they can find work. Here are some tips to make the transition easier.
3 Things to Remember when Starting as a Freelancer
1. Start Small
You don't have to quit your job today. Or tomorrow. Take on simple, small projects at first to find your comfort zone.
2. Go where your customers already are
This strategy works just as well online as it does in real life.
In real life, a real estate appraiser may go to a luncheon with a group of real estate agents or title companies to make connections and look for work. The same concept can and should be used online.
Browse through their listings and find a service that you can do better, or differently than what is already posted. Find a way to differentiate yourself and then provide excellent service.
Also, hunt down specific forums and job boards for your skill set. Use a Google search string like "skill + Job Board" or "skill + work forums".
This will allow you to quickly find multiple places you may find work rather than limiting yourself to one platform.
3. Listen to what your customers are asking for
I have a "gig" on Fiverr for editing. I consistently get questions asking if I can provide a particular service. Many of them, like translations or re-writes, are outside the scope of my expertise or something that would cost more than the average customer on that site is willing to pay.
However, early on I was asked several times if my editing included giving feedback.
After seeing this request several times I added an upsell for $20 for "Feedback". I am reading through the work anyway to edit it, so by adding a handful of comments, critiques, and clarification requests I can greatly increase my hourly rate for the task.
If customers want a service you're not providing consider adding it. It could be the difference between a little freelance work and being able to leave the 9-5.
You may not be able to do Freelance work from some beach in the Pacific. It probably won't make you rich.
It could, however, be the extra source of income you need to pay off debt. I could replace enough of your regular income that you could escape a job you hate.
The workforce is moving away from the traditional, rigid, corporate structure and opportunities for freelancing should continue to grow in years to come. Will you carve our your space in this market?