Freelancing your skills is a quick way to work at home and be independent without needing to start an actual business. As a general rule, so long as you operate under your own name you do not need to register as a business (check your city and county government licensing office for any special requirements). With that said, if you'd like to take advantage of some of the tax perks, such as business use of your home, you will want to set up a separate bank account.
One of the advantages of starting a freelance business is that you can take clients right now, without much hassle or expense. Tap your network or find a project on a freelance board, and you're in business. The key to developing a steady stream of clients is to provide excellent service and marketing. One of the best marketing strategies for freelancers is to cultivate referrals. Many freelancers are able to build their business solely through word-of-mouth.
While the world is becoming more digital and visual, the need for writers continues to flourish. Freelance writing can encompass a variety of work including freelance article writing for online media or blogs, copywriting (PR, ads, sales letters, etc), ghostwriting, resumes and more.
Freelance writing may be the quickest way to get started writing because it doesn't require any special software. If you have a computer, Internet access, word processing software, and the ability to string words together, you can get started freelance writing today.
Further, it's extremely flexible. You can start part-time and build up your income as you grow and learn. You can work from home, in a java joint, while traveling in your RV, or from a remote location, you've always dreamed of living.
The Virtual Assistant (VA) industry, much like freelancing, is thriving in this new, outsourcing and crowdsourcing economy. Also, similar to freelancing in general, the work that can be done as a virtual assistant is varied.
At its essence, virtual assistants provide administrative support to businesses. Tasks can include calendar management, emailing, customer support, research and more. If you have office support skills, a virtual assistant business can be started quickly with little financial investment if you have the tools and equipment already.
In this digital age, the demand for websites that attract visitors is high. While DIY web designing has made it easier for businesses to get online, many don't want the hassle of building and maintaining the website. Further, some want a variety of bells and whistles that require greater technical knowledge to create.
Designing a simple template can net a web designer as much as $1,000, with more complicated projects paying more. Along with building websites for clients, you can also create templates and themes that you can sell to DIYers, adding an additional stream of income.
Marketing is the key to success in any business. But while many business owners know their product and service inside and out, they don't always know how to market effectively. Others just don't want to spend the time and hassle on marketing. That's where expert freelance marketers come in.
Like other forms of freelancing, being a freelance marketer can involve a variety of tasks allowing you to focus on a specific area or niche. Some examples of work freelance marketers might do include:
- Copywriting (i.e. sales letters or catalog ads)
- Social Media Management
- Search Engine Marketing
- Internet marketing
While you can offer a variety of marketing services, many Internet marketers specialize in one type (i.e. social media) or in a specific industry (i.e. marketing for real estate agents).
Similar to marketing, many business owners don't know or want to hassle with bookkeeping. If you have experience in bookkeeping or accounting, freelancing those skills can be lucrative, earning between $25 and $40 an hour, more if the books are complicated.
Today's bookkeeping freelancer should be knowledgeable in bookkeeping and accounting software - especially QuickBooks (both software and online), which is the industry leader for the types of small business freelance clients you'd likely serve.
The job market is fierce with competition. Many qualified candidates need help making their resume stand out from all the other submissions. Providing resume editing and writing services not only helps people find their place in the job market, but it can be started part-time or full-time and requires very little startup.
How to Get Started Working Freelance from Home
Freelancing is one of the fastest, most affordable, and easiest ways to get started working from home, especially if you offer services in a skill you already excel at. In some ways, freelance sits in between entrepreneurship and employment.
In freelancing you're self-employed, but the work is contracted by a business and can be steady and regular like in a job. One of the big benefits of freelancing is that you can usually charge more per hour in your freelance business than employers pay for the same work.
What's in this Freelancing Guide
If freelancing sounds appealing to you, check out the guide below that provides an overview of freelancing, and offers six freelance business ideas.