Getting Started Freelancing

Hi it’s Matt here, still at kurb – I’ve been travelling in europe and asia for 3 months and it’s really opened my eyes to the kinds of lifestyles now available to those who are involved in digital industries and the potential of working remotely, and freelancing as a digital nomad.

Obviously it begins with some of the countries where it’s possible to live a great lifestyle outside of the bigger commercial cities of the western world where most of the work and contacts are available – as these tend to be the same cities that are the most expensive to live in, or you maybe participating in an extremely competitive market where it’s harder to get work that pays well.

When you’re no longer “location dependent” it opens up huge opportunities, you may no longer need to work nearly as long or hard, or do things you’re not passionate about, when you relocate to where costs are much cheaper.

But this isn’t new information, it’s a lifestyle that’s been promoted to aspiring entrepreneurs for many years now. However, if it was easy everyone would do it.

It sounds like a good idea, but it’s not easy to put the right plan for you into action so that you can afford to live a jetset lifestyle, based in locations where a good lifestyle is cheap, and rules around immigration are relaxed.

When I write my blog, I use it as a tool to thrash out ideas I’m having, because this means I can present working applications of ideas that others can use to pursue this kind of lifestyle and make it work, because a concept isn’t enough without structuring a model that can actually be applied and demonstrated.

Obviously it starts with what your skills are. There’s so much you can do to earn money online, but you need to be able to sell yourself as a product with a clear brand, potential clients need to be able to assess how suitable you are for what their needs are. It’s not going to connect with clients if you say you are a “freelancer” rather than defining exactly what you are able to offer them.

You need to do a pretty broad assessment of what your skills are and how likely this specific skill is going to be in demand, or whether you can connect this particular skill to a market – maybe your local area or language or perhaps the areas you are looking to relocate to and are researching. It’s not just about how good you are at what you do, especially online, you need to be cognizant of how you’re going to access the market – either you are targeting a niche as I described, or you are aiming to enter into a competitive and crowded market such as a big freelance website and establish a unique offering of skills that are in demand.

What it keeps coming back to is passion. What do you want to be doing, and what do you hate doing?

I don’t want anything to do with the technical side of video or websites, and this is the key medium for making an impact online.

But I’m limiting myself here because clients do tend prefer to deal with someone who can do it all, yet, here is where I can make clear what I would rather do, and create a niche service around those parameters, as a concept for something viable that you are passionate about.

You have to be passionate because clients can be very demanding, and you may be forced to price yourself very competitively in order to get work. In freelancing it’s better to be working for less on what you enjoy, because that gives you the chance to relocate to somewhere that doesn’t cost nearly as much, and the time you do need to spend working isn’t sapping you of energy you need for other goals.

It just comes back to why freelancing is so appealing, many people are stuck doing jobs they hate because they feel they have to remain in an expensive, busy commercial centre that offers well paid work.

In modern times people are paying a higher price than they realise simply for the security of what they feel is a normal job.

They are doing work that makes them feel unhappy because they feel they have to reach a standard that comes with the pressure of maintaining an urban lifestyle.

So what do I want to do for work? – well, you want to do what you do anyway, you’ve got to keep dressing for the job you want.

That’s the key conflict for me, how can I be a forex trader if I am actually needing to freelance so that I can afford to pursue a nomadic lifestyle, spending time in Bangkok, Belgrade, Kiev, Tallinn – cities that offer a cheap lifestyle to those who can earn a few hundred dollars american online each week.

Well I focus on work around forex trading, especially offering writing services, because I’m leveraging a skill I have – writing – that I enjoy so I can keep doing what I would rather be doing.

The other idea is to do something that helps you develop and practice skills you would need when your doing the work you want to be doing.

I want to be doing work pushing connections between new zealand and ukraine/belarus so any work I can get associating myself with ukraine or connecting me with people who would be interested in engaging with what ukraine has to offer, that work is worthwhile to me.

I’m not strong in networking, so developing techniques specifically to engage with valuable contacts is a good tactic to make your temporary freelance gig into something more worthwhile for developing opportunities for doing work you really would prefer to do.

There are lots of opportunities to create a new, adventurous and exciting lifestyle if you decide to become a freelancer, which is a pay off from moving to a country temporarily where the lifestyle is good and very cheap. It is usually quite necessary because as a freelancer, you won’t be earning as much or as reliably as you were, but you can meet your costs because you can charge so competitively.

I think a lot of people are quite anchored to where they are and they connections they have, otherwise more people would be doing it, but I believe like a lot of things – online dating, and much of online culture – slowly the cultural misgivings will fade and many will look to other parts of the world where the cost of living is cheap and the climate more suitable at the right time of year to spend time supporting themselves with work that is structured a lot differently.

This is just part my introduction to the concept and I’ll be posting more hopefully about freelancing and digital nomadism as I continue to use the kurb blog to explore new concepts I’m working on.

Follow me on twitter @MattNZ



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