Start freelancing full time to give yourself freedom and flexibility.

You don’t have to “start a business” in the traditional sense to become your own boss. In fact, the easiest way to become your own boss is to freelance full time.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Freelancing

Some of the benefits of freelancing include:

  • Flexible work schedule
  • Unlimited earning potential
  • Flexible location
  • More control over how to negotiate your own wages and rates

Some of the disadvantages of freelancing include:

  • “Feast or famine” -- people tend to either be very successful or not successful at all
  • Paying your own payroll taxes
  • No benefits
  • Irregular work schedules
  • Not receiving “guaranteed” pay for your time

What Can You Do?

To get started, you have to have skills that will satisfy the needs of potential employers, without being on site. Consider your work experience, and then consider what you can do that doesn’t need to be performed at a job site. Some common jobs for freelancers include::

  • Writing and editing
  • Photography
  • Computer programming
  • Graphic design
  • Web design and development
  • Search engine optimization
  • Consulting

Basically, anything that can be done off site can be done on a freelance basis. Consider your work experience, then consider what you can do that doesn’t need to be performed at a job site.

A Word About Consulting

In the case of “consulting,” having vast knowledge, expertise and experience in a specific area gives you the ability to start freelancing. Many jobs you would ordinarily have to perform on site -- for example, construction -- provide valuable experience for consulting. In our construction example, many construction firms and contractors are looking for people with experience to help in areas such as building materials, estimating and contract negotiation. Chances are, no matter where you have a specialized area of knowledge, you can find someone to pay you for this knowledge.

Dipping Your Toe in the Water

To begin freelancing, you’ll likely start on a part-time basis, so don’t quit your day job (yet). Instead, start looking for part-time freelancing opportunities. Try the “jobs” and “gigs” sections on Craigslist. The “gigs” section exists for everything from writing and editing to day labor jobs, so nearly anything you do can be done on a freelance basis. In short order, your experience working part-time will provide opportunities for full-time freelancing employment.