The gig economy is rapidly growing and increasing numbers of people are looking to get into some sort of freelancing. With the ability to earn money on your terms while establishing valuable industry connections, it’s easy to understand why freelancing is such an appealing option. Freelancing can do more than just offer extra side cash — it can be a lucrative long-term career as a business owner or even give you the skill set to branch into a new field or industry. When it comes to breaking into freelancing, many people make the common mistake of trying to start too big. They want to be “life coaches” and “gurus” and “business consultants” when they’re not actually qualified to do any of the above.
Instead, they should be opting for one of the five easy ways to get into freelancing, no matter what skills they currently have. All you need to do is be ready to work reliably.
1. Dive into proofreading.
If you have a solid grasp of syntax and grammar, proofreading could be perfect for you. This will involve light editing where you fix typos and improve sentence structure for readability. Many small businesses and content marketers hire proofreaders to speed up their process while keeping their quality consistent. Search for proofreading roles on LinkedIn and Upwork. You should also join professional writing and business groups on platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn in order to respond to posts where people mention looking for proofreaders and editors.
2. Offer fact-checking and research services.
Fact checking and researching require an internet connection and a knack for digging deep. You may be hired by anyone from journalists to academic experts looking to verify the facts they’re relying on or to help them speed up the research process by providing links, data or outlines. These are essential skills for many careers. No matter where you go next, you’ll benefit from them. Because accuracy and reliability in this role is so valuable, the pay scale can increase quickly. Your best bet will be to search for these jobs online. Check out freelancing sites, but also search for jobs and posts on LinkedIn and apply there directly.
3. Find transcription work.
As long as you have a good grasp of the language you’re transcribing and are ready to meet deadlines, this is a fantastic way to get into freelancing. It’s often consistent work, and clients will send you audio files or videos that you then transcribe. There’s almost no overhead cost, and as long as you’re meeting deadlines, you can work on your own time. If you’re interested in getting into content writing or other fields, this could be a great way to learn about the industry. Interested in getting started? You might have luck with freelancing sites or by applying directly to transcription agencies.
4. Become a virtual assistant.
Virtual assistant (VA) positions are growing in number and becoming more prominent, and they allow you to work from home for clients all over the world. As a VA, you can handle everything from administrative tasks to more skill-oriented work like writing blog posts or handling customer service jobs. The exact job duties will depend on each individual client and your skill set. Entry level rates for VAs varies, but with experience you can increase your rates significantly over time. When getting into the field, you can check out online platforms, but it also helps to let people in your network know that you’re looking for these jobs. Many people know someone who is looking, and when it comes to hiring an assistant, you want to hire someone you trust.
5. Take on customer service roles.
Increasing numbers of businesses are hiring in customer service freelancers to help them manage their inboxes and social media private messages. If you’re patient, good with people and a creative problem solver, this is the role for you. You’ll likely have set hours you’ll need to be online or on call, but in many cases you can still work from home as long as it’s quiet and you have high-speed internet.
The best way to find these jobs is to search outright. LinkedIn is a good place to look, and be sure to specify “freelance” or “contract” if you want to avoid traditional employment.
The key to each of these roles is staying reliable and being willing to work your way up. You’ll earn referrals along the way, laying the groundwork to charge more and build a business from the ground up. Many reliable freelancers go on to do great things, and they all prioritized client satisfaction, adherence to deadlines and a strong worth ethic.