When it comes to saving for retirement, we always recommend that you stay at your job as long as possible to extend your financial runway and grow your nest egg.
However, not every entrepreneurial endeavor fits neatly around a 9-to-5 employment situation. That’s why we recorded this episode, which gives you everything you need to know to get started with one of the most flexible side income models – freelancing.
For people who are looking to earn additional retirement income on the side of their day job or establish an income stream that they can transition to in a full-time capacity, freelancing can be a lucrative, natural choice to make.
So, in this episode we cover how you can identify what type of services you are qualified and capable of offering, where you can find your first clients, what tools and resources you need to get started.
You’ll learn about:
- Why freelancing is an attractive retirement rehab option and what kind of professionals are a good fit for trying it out
- How to figure out what kind of freelancing services you can offer and compare that to what services are in high demand in your target market
- Where you should go to find your first freelancing clients and how you can make sure that you knock your first projects out of the park
- What level of capital, experience, and technical resources you will need to start acquiring and serving clients
- What you can expect to earn as a part-time or full-time freelancer and what you’ll need to sacrifice in exchange for those earnings
References and Resources:
Transcription of This Episode
Welcome to the Red Pill Retirement podcast where we give you the raw, unfiltered truth about retirement planning in the modern age. Pensions and 401K’s are quickly becoming a thing of the past so we’re here to share resources and recommendations that will help you create the retirement lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of. If you’re ready to take control of your financial future we’re here to help. Let’s get started.
In this episode of the Red Pill Retirement podcast Ian and I discuss how to experiment with freelancing as a means to rehab your retirement plan. For people who are looking to earn additional retirement income on the side of their day job or establish an income stream that they can transition to in a full-time capacity, freelancing can be a lucrative natural choice to make. Today we’re talking about how you can identify what types of services you are qualified and capable of offering the clients, where you can find your first clients, what tools and resources you need to get started and what you can expect in terms of time commitment and earning potential. This episode is full of actionable advice so I recommend that you get something to write with because you’re going to want to take notes. As always, I’ll be back on the other side of the conversation to tie up any loose ends. Without further ado let’s dive into my conversation with Ian.
Hey folks, welcome back to the show. My name is James Sowers and I am joined, as always, by Mr.Ian Bond. Ian, I see you’re burning the midnight oil there. How are things on your side of the word?
James, it’s actually not the midnight oil, it just happens to be November now and things are getting dark earlier. It’s actually not even dinner time yet. It is what it is. The days are getting shorter although the weather is just spectacular so we’ll trade one for the other.
Yeah, it’s funny how that happens. I can’t believe it, I dropped my daughter off at daycare this morning and I was looking at the schedule in her classroom and I looked at the date and I went oh my goodness, it’s November already. The year is almost gone, it feels like new years was yesterday. It’s insane how time passes and things just keep moving right along when you get busy with your day to day. We have a great topic today and we’re continuing our series on rehabbing your retirement and we’re focusing on three core models, one that we already covered being consulting and then today we’re going to talk about freelancing and then in our next episode we’re going to talk about E-commerce and running a E-commerce store.
Let’s focus on the story for today which is how you can get your retirement planning back on track or accelerate the growth of your nest egg through freelancing. I think specifically what we want to talk about to kick things off is why might freelancing be a more attractive option compared to those other two depending on what an individual’s personal background is. What attracts you to freelancing, why would you recommend that and what types of people are predisposed to try this versus consulting or E-commerce?
I think it’s a real, I think it’s a real opportunity for people that have a very, very specific skillset to be able to cash in on it at out sized money and be able to have a very well defined workable time commitment that fits their schedule well. I’ll contrast that with what I think the two big retirement publications talk about which I think is just wrong, okay, which is kind of competing in the commodity world of utilizing your English language skills to teach English as a second language and/or do travel writing or something like that which I think are horrible uses of your time if you have other skills. We’ll get into that in just a sec.
Yeah, I’m sure we will. I think maybe where we can start here is one of the green flags that I’ve seen and I’ve done some freelance work on the side while working a full-time job, the nights and weekends thing. One of the green flags that I have seen is that if in your day job you have people elsewhere in your social network asking you to do the same type of work for them, like say the run a T-shirt printing company and you’re a graphic designer and they want you to design T-shirts for them so that they can print them for an event or something like that, that might be your first indicator that you have a marketable skill that could be utilized outside of your employment.
Of course, we don’t want to violate any kind of employments contracts or agreements that might be in place if you work for an agency or something like that but to the degree that you have the flexibility to go out and pursue that on your own, that’s the first indicator, when you have friends, family and connections of those folks coming to you and saying, “Hey, Suzie told me that you do graphic design, I’ve got a couple of things in mind that I’d like to get done, could you help me out with that?” And then that’s like, hey, maybe I should try this on the side, maybe I could earn some additional income that way.
I couldn’t agree more. One of the first people I hired four and a half years ago when I arrived in my new job was a fellow that did strategy for me. The guy was incredibly gifted at writing strategy presentations and one of the things he did was write a strategy presentation for a business that his father was launching. Well, most nascent business people have a need for a strategy document, whether that’s for lenders, whether that’s for investors, whether that’s for internal purposes to educate people that are going to work for the company. He has an ability to have a conversation like you and I are having and come back with an incredibly insightful presentation that leads from the beginning all the core reasons why, what the strategy of the organization would be, why that strategy will be successful, how someone would fit in and what the unique selling proposition would be. That’s one of those skills that’s incredibly useful to have, very, very specific and for the person that’s looking for it, it’s almost invaluable. I’ll chip another one in later but it’s almost invaluable. What’s that skill worth?
For him, writing a strategy presentation is almost like rolling out of bed in the morning, it’s that easy for him because he’s that well schooled in it.
I think if you’re looking at yourself in the mirror and you’re saying hey, I do this in my day job, I’ll just do that freelance, that can work out but it doesn’t always, especially if you think you’re going to be a freelance writer or something like that, there are so many writers out there, just generic I’ll write anything that you need for your website blog articles and things like that because the entry is so low, it really is. We’re going to talk about here in a minute, doesn’t take that much to get started with freelancing. I would encourage you to find a more specialized like, what do I do that only I can do or that I am very good at compared to the general population and is something that every business needs.
If you are, we talked about this before we hopped on the show here, if you are a grant proposal writer for your organization, pretty much every company at some point is applying for a grant or something like that and they may or may not have the budget to hire somebody to do that full-time like you. You can step in and help them in a freelance capacity for a short term in a very structured scoped out project and you can deliver your expertise in the moment that they need it when that pain is most urgent and they’re going to be willing to pay top dollar because they need to get that grant money to keep whatever it is that they’re going in action. That’s just one example of somebody-
Two incredibly important things in what you said. First of all, the distance between you and the money, the shorter the distance the more you’re going to get paid. Secondly, that’s just one of those jobs where you don’t need someone full-time so by nature you can have an enormous impact. You could literally pick and choose the opportunities if you have that skill and you’re literally for the person that’s looking for you, you’re literally a document away from them scoring some money. It’s an incredibly helpful capability to be able to offer to someone.
Totally agree. Maybe that’s a good point to say all right, so somebody is looking in the mirror, they found out what they want to do and they’re saying okay, you’re telling me that if friends and family are asking for my help that’s one thing but let’s say I want to try out freelancing, where do you recommend folks go to find the first client or first two clients just to dip their toe in the water, do a couple of projects and see if this is a good fit?
Everywhere. No, the answer is kind of everywhere. Now, we’ve talked about Clarity.FM is a good place to hang your shingle and I know people that are making good money off Clairty.FM. It has people that are perusing it. I think that’s a wonderful place to go. Up Work is a place that we use for certain types of skills, some incredibly commodity like and others that are incredibly specialized. The other things that you’re going to find, and by the way, I found someone to help me when I was trying to write smart goals for a population of people that I was hiring.
Not being up on the latest kind of thinking of how smart goals are put together for performance appraisal purposes, this is for my corporate job, I went to Up Work and I found someone. With a, literally, a 20 minute conversation he had back a draft to me overnight and the price was no option, it was incredibly helpful to me, I was paying with corporate funds to do it. Had the approval to use the capabilities and much cheaper than we could have accessed it if we were to have called one of our in house, one of our third party contacts from our own shop. This goes back aways, time period. I think depending on what your skillset is you might know where you could hangout and find things but if you can build a website that’s an absolutely wonderful way that you might be able to rank organically in search results. I would go to the big ones like Clairty.FM and Up Work. Fiver tends to be more gig orientated. Those are the places I would go. I don’t know, what do you-
I think that’s a good call. Up Work gets, and places like it, I just call them freelance market places because you’ve got freelancers and you’ve got clients looking for them and they kind of facilitate the connection there. Those market places get a bad rap a lot of times and it’s justified in many cases. Up Work will take a sizeable portion of your fee for making that introduction and connection to the client, facilitating that engagement but at the same time, if you’re not sure if this is a good fit for you it’s a great place to test the waters because you have that existing market. You have all of those client project descriptions in there and you just go and submit your proposal so you don’t have to spend hours and hours trying to chase down a client, they’re in there, they’re waiting to hear from you and you just have to reach out to them. It’s a good place to test the waters.
What I would say though is you want to pretty quickly get off of that platform just because you don’t own that relationship and I say that gently because there is a terms of service for Up Work where you can’t directly ask your client to leave the platform. Obviously they want you to stay on there. Just be careful about that. I guess what I’m saying is that’s a great way to test the waters but pretty quickly you want to mature and evolve beyond that and you want to make direct connections with clients somewhere else inside of your network and start delivering higher value services to them. There is a glass ceiling on Up Work where you have some folks that apparently are killing it but for the most part folks are just taking on a few projects here and there and they supplement a more direct freelance channel that they run on their own.
I think it depends on what you’re aiming for. If you’re going to be somebody that is going to be very specialized …
… going to be somebody that is going to be very specialized and probably not have a recurring relationship. They’re going to be a little bit hostage to an Upwork or there’s a vetted marketplace called freelancers.com. I don’t know if you’ve used that? We have. You’re going to be a little bit hostage to that and kind of it is what it is. If you’re going to have an ongoing relationship, so for example, we hire developers, product uploaders, customer service people, you’re right. I mean, the tariff that Upwork charges can be fairly substantial.
Having said that, I will tell you that we have people that they’ve continued to build their profile, they continued to be able, with their profile on the feedback from us. They’re able to raise their hourly or their project rates, and they don’t want to leave Upwork. So there is a whole other side of the story where if you build a multi tens of thousands of dollar kind of profile on Upwork, that makes you gold. It all depends kind of what it is you’re going to do for your clients and what works best for you.
Yeah. I totally agree, that’s a valid point, and a valid point of criticism on my original position because I do know some folks who, like you said, have a very consistent influx of client leads coming through Upwork. Just because they’ve done good work in the past, they have a bunch of positive reviews, they’re showing up high in the search results if somebody types in website developer or WordPress developer, whatever, they’re in the top 10 results, so they always have client opportunities coming in.
I think you may be hard pressed to push into that six-figure range on Upwork. There are some folks that do it, but I think you’re mostly talking tens of thousands, which is fine if you’re still working a day job, like we recommend, and you’re extending that runway. And it might be all you have time for.
And so your point about what do you want out of freelancing is totally on the mark, and I would say anybody listening to the episode should consider what they want to get out of it in what time they have available. And then if you only have five hours a week, you can’t spend all five hunting down clients. I would say go to Upwork, tap into that existing market. Have the clients come to you, and focus on just doing great work and earning money, and maximizing that five hours you have every week.
So, that’s a great point, and you’ve got a different view of this than I do, because I have been a user, and you have actually been employed there more frequently. What’s your sense for what someone can earn? How would you bracket what the earnings potential is for someone who wants to be a freelancer?
Specifically on that platform, or in general?
I would say in general, but we can certainly make it platform specific.
Well, I would say it’s been a while since I’ve worked on a platform, but back when I was doing some work on there, you were hard pressed to find anybody … I think they used to have earned in the last 12 months or something like that. You were hard pressed to find anybody above $50,000. Which is fine, for a lot of people that is a workable salary that can sustain their lifestyle, especially if you’re living abroad and you’re leveraging currency conversion rates and everything like that.
If that’s what you ant out of it, or if that’s exciting to you, more power to you, that’s awesome. If you’re looking for a six-figure income, I think you’re very hard pressed to do that, because you have to think, with Upwork taking up to 20% of a commission on every project, will you can’t just do $100,000 worth of work, right? You have to do $120,000, or $150,000 to take home that. And that’s before taxes and everything else.
On the outside, I really think that your income is only capped by the time that you have available and what the market determines is the rates for the services you provide. So, this kind of blends into the coaching and consulting world, but I know somebody that specialized in career coaching for developers. So he would come in, and if you were a software developer or a website developer, and you were looking to make a job transition, he would come in and basically coach you on how to maximize the offer that you get from your new organization. And he would coach you through the interview process and everything like that. A very specialized service, but because of that, these developers, they earned $150,000 up to a quarter million or more, depending on where they’re working for. And they were going to return a commission to him, or a cut of the final salary that was settled on, based on the work that he did.
So, he is doing very well for himself right now. But like I said, he has tied himself directly to the money. Like the work that he does for those folks directly impacts how much they’re going to be earning for the rest of their lives. And if you’re going to earn a quarter of a million dollars for the next five years, well it’s probably not out of the realm to cut him a $10,000 check for a months worth of work to help you through that negotiation process.
Yeah. So the interesting thing, and I mentioned this a couple of times, we’re not ready yet to release the results, but we’ve done an enormous amount of testing through quizzes as to how much people think that they will be short of income when they are ready to retire. So, whether that is next year, or whether that’s in five years. Have you done the math? And if so, what is the amount that you’re short? And the fat part of the Bell Curve is between $1,000 and $3,000 a month, just to give you a preview of what the numbers look like.
Now, if you’re short $1-3,000 a month, how does that change your perspective, James?
Well, I mean that’s not all that much to get. I don’t have a calculator in front of me, and I’m not a mathematician.
Here, here. I think when you do have a calculator, $1,000 to $3,000, if you’re doing something that is like, as you said, falling out of bed in the morning, or something you enjoy, something you’re really good at. I don’t think it’s a lot of money at all. Do you?
No, I don’t think so. And what I was getting at is like you could probably reverse engineer an hourly rate that’ll get you there. And then how many hours do you have available in the month, and pretty quickly figure out what you need.
Just off the top of my head, if you make $6,000 a month and you carve out 30% for all your taxes, then you’re taking home $4,000 a month. And right there you’ve made it up. So you just have to find a way to make $6,000 every month through freelancing, and maybe that is you charge $60 an hour and you have 100 hours throughout the whole month. That’s not all that much. Or something like that. Or you charge $100 and now only work 60 hours a month. So, you’re working 15 hours a week or something like that, and that’s not ridiculous.
I mean most people can find 15 hours a week in the margins, especially if they don’t have a family, or a spouse, or anything. If they’re just single, then you can find 15 hours that you’re spending on Netflix, or Game of Thrones, or whatever it is that you’re doing in your free time. And you can freelance instead, you can earn that extra $4,000 take home that you need to make up the difference for retirement, and you’re right back on track.
Yeah, so coming back to my original rock throwing at the two big retirement publications that are out there, I saw ads for people that teach English to Chinese kids. And depending on your skillset, you are going to earn $8-$20 an hour. I don’t think that’s very good, and I don’t think that’s going to get you in any reasonable time to $2-3,000 a month on the one hand. On the other hand, I think that what we talked about, which is finding a unique skillset where you can get out-sized amount of money. Your lifestyle versus money balance is amazingly good if you can write strategy, or if you can consult on smart goals. Or other things.
And one of the things that I’m sure we both have seen is that there’s a great trade off that people make for finding continuity of income stream. They’ll trade off continuity and a time chunk every month, and they’ll take less money per hour. So, I have a very, very close friend that deals with people who write to a very specific type of tactical writing. And they have zero interest in doing the marketing. And guess what? He and his wife are whizzes, she’s a known expert, but she needs help in fulfillment. And the people that they come in contact with have no interest in doing the marketing, or arranging the jobs, or negotiating the contracts. But man, they’ll sit down and knockout the work, and if they know that they’re going to get 20 hours a week, or something like that, they’re happy to take a discount. And if they’re only going to do a job that might take two or three hours, it’s going to be much more expensive. So you’ve got that dynamic too.
Yeah, and I think that’s a really interesting point that you bring up, especially when somebody is planning on possibly getting into freelancing, and maybe they’re in that position where they only have five to ten hours a week, or something, that they can dedicate. We talked about how you don’t want to spend all five or ten hours going out to find the clients, you want to have the clients coming to you.
One great way to do that is to focus on providing freelance services that can be repeated every single month, that are on retainer. So, if you work for an agency and you manage Facebook ads, or other paid advertising, and you’re an expert at that, there are some small business owners out there that will pay you every single month to manage their campaigns and make sure that they’re getting a positive ROI on their investment there. And you don’t have to go out hunting for clients every week, you just have five clients, and every month they pay you a set amount. And you just keep going to work, and you do great work. And that’s it.
So, you go to your job during the day, at night you come in and tweak the campaigns. You put a new ad up, or whatever. And that’s it. And you have a predictable flow of client work and income that’s just taking care of you indefinitely, unless something changes on their end, or you want to grow up, and scale up or down wherever you’re at.
I’m chuckling as you mention that, because I’ve been working with a young guy that does some stuff for us in our ecommerce business. And he has over the last eight months or nine months continued to be able to evolve what his skillset is, and get a greater share of my wallet every month. And I just sent him a lot of money via PayPal yesterday. And I think back about what we started paying him, it was probably 25% of yesterday’s number six months ago. And now he’s doing things that are incredibly valuable to us, which I have helped him … I’ve helped him actually frame the offering. And to be honest, he’s offering so much value now, I’m starting to become jealous that he might take on other clients.
So, you know, the tables have almost turned. It’s amazing.
You said that took place in about six months?
A six month period of time. So I was going to mention the other thing that I think that the platforms … while we have poo pooed Upwork and freelancer.com, and places like that, the one great thing they allow you to do is build a profile. And if you can get positive reviews any place, that’s gold. And whether it’s your brother-in-law that’s hiring you and writing the view, or whether or not you have actually secured the clients yourself and done the work. And I would suggest the second, because when you actually talk to people and find out what they need, you’re going to be able to niche down and become much more efficient in what you do.
You mentioned grammar writing, and I think that’s a great example. That might not be something that’s obvious to people, but when you take your broader skillset and actually throw yourself out there, you’re probably after five or six jobs going to be able to find out real quickly what people find to be the most valuable contribution you could make to their life.
And so having the ability to point to a number of happy customers on one of these platforms, hey, it’s worth the money that you’re paying.
Yeah, and I love that you brought it back around to that platform conversation, because to put a bow on all this, I think that if someone’s listening today and they want to test the waters, that is the best way to get started. And really, to get started freelancing, you need almost nothing. You sign up for Upwork, or one of those platforms. You fill out your profile. You may have to take a couple of skills tests, just because they want to make sure that you are qualified to provide the service that you’re offering. And that’s really it, and you’d be able to get your first few clients that way. And then if you want to keep doing this, you can have your own website down the road, and things like that. But really, you just need an Upwork profile and a way to accept money from clients.
And while we’re talking about Upwork, one other thing I wanted to share is if you’re looking for, “Hey, I do writing, or graphic design, but I don’t know that really specialized skill that I have that’s worth a high value to clients,” …
That really specialized skill that I have that’s worth a high value to clients, we’ll go to Upwork and they have categories for freelancers and they have it broken down by writing and translation, graphic design, development or whatever. Don’t settle on that first bucket because they’re going to ask you how to tag yourself, like what do you do. Click down two or three levels and those very specific landing page copywriter, grant proposal writer, things like that. That’s where you want to play it, that’s where you want to start because that is the stuff that translates into the real world and has me contacting Ian directly, charging $20 an hour today and 6 months from now, charging $80 an hour because I continue to level up my skill in that one very specific path.
That’d be my recommendation is to start on Upwork today, figure out the best path for you, validate your idea and then take it from there and scale up to fit your lifestyle and what you want to get out of freelance.
I couldn’t agree more. You’re not going to be able to go to any platform and find a bucket for smart goals or something that is so niched down, yet so valuable. Go in and try and figure out. Then, just load up your profile with all of the capabilities. When we’re actually looking for people, we have to start with these very broad searches, and then we look at what their skills are that they tag themselves with and a lot of those are custom tags. When we find the person, we reach out to them immediately when we’re looking for something that’s really specialized.
Yeah, and I think that’s a valid point because a lot clients, if they’re looking for a very specialized person, then, when they see somebody who just has writing that’s applied to their profile, they’ll say, “Okay. Well, I’m going to have to hop on a call with this guy. I’m going to have to figure out what kind of writing he does, what kind of industries he specializes in,” and that’s a lot of time invested. But if they’re looking for something very specific like you mentioned, smart goals, and they find a writer that specifically has smart goals on their profile, that’s an instant conversation at least. Right?
They’re going to contact you and try to book a call because you are saying that you solve this specific problem that they have. Yeah, I couldn’t agree more with making sure that you list those kind of things out and a great way to do that is do those first few projects and somewhere along the way, when you’re about to wrap things up say, “Hey Ian, I think this went pretty well. I hope that you agree. How else can I help your company?” Right? “Where else can I add value?” They would tell you the problems they have that seem tangentially related to what you do.
Thing to explore.
Look, I’ll just give you one other, just I think over the wall home run success story that we had. We were looking to hire a virtual assistant and this was going to be someone for customer service. The guy that we ended up hiring and mostly, our customer service team is in the Philippines. The guy we ended up hiring is a guy in India, in Chennai, India and he is now, sort of the Chief Operating Officer, of all of our e-commerce activities.
He oversees the customer service team, he overseas our supplier relationship, he is in charge of assembling the daily financials, he follows up with suppliers with regards to any kind of back and forth in the monies, so he’s tracking the monies. He started at one level and now, he’s role has expanded and now, we’re begging him for more of his time and fortunately, we’ve been able to get it.
Again, if you can develop that relationship, you will find that entrepreneurs will find a way to put you to work. Absolutely, the case.
Yeah, especially because that administrative and logistical overhead of finding someone else, another person on the team, that’s just another vetting process you have to go through, another payment channel they have to set up, another test project they have to go through to see if this person delivers good work. If they know like and trust you and they think that you can deliver on additional services, then you have the foot in the door already. You’re ready to go.
Trust, trust, trust. I mean, the guys always delivers. I smile every morning because he’s a couple of hours ahead of us. When I wake up and I check and I see my Dropbox folder being updated because I know that he’s hard at work and when I get around to grabbing a cup of coffee and taking a look at what happened overnight, I know he’s already going to be two hours ahead of me and he’s literally thinking what are the things that are important to me that he can do to fit into my busy schedule and add value to my life. We’re not at all hesitant to ask him to leave what we think might be his comfort zone. We haven’t been able to find out where his comfort zone is. He just keeps surprising us to the upside. It’s wonderful.
Look, I think that just to wrap it all up, I think that there’s some wonderful opportunities in freelancing. I would try to niche down as much as I can to try and capture as much as the wallet, develop the relationships if at all possible. It all depends on what you want. You may want to just do very specific high ticket projects and have a limited number or you may want to develop relationships where you maybe take less but you have a bigger time commitment. Then, when you get a chance, try to build the profile, try to extend and add value to yourself through your profile, through an external website, even through something as easy as an online scheduling tool, so people can book a call with you. Just little stuff like that imbues you with an air of professionalism that busy entrepreneurs and employers are going to be find to be sexy, to be honest.
Yeah. I couldn’t have said it better. I think that’s a great way to wrap things up. Ian, thank you so much for all your insights today. As always, much appreciated. We look forward to the next episode. We’re going to talk about running an eCommerce store. You’re having your retirement that way and I know you’re excited about that one because that’s kind of your wheelhouse. We’ll be looking forward to hearing from you again soon.
Very different proposition. I actually know people that do both and have gone from one to the other. The gentleman that I just mentioned is an eCommerce store owner that is literally leaving eCommerce to create an agency. Yeah, I look forward to that conversation.
Yeah. Can’t wait. Thank you so much for your time Ian. We’ll let you go for today but we’ll be back soon to talk about eCommerce.
Yeah, take care.
All right, folks. There you have it. That wraps up my conversation with Ian Bond, who is always good for reliable guidance as well as a good story or two to really hammer a point home.
Before I let you go, let’s quickly recap what we talked about today. First, we talked about why freelancing is an attractive retirement rehab option. First of all, it’s flexible, it’s scalable, and it has little startup costs or overhead to get started. It also involves doing more of what you already love in many cases and so, you’re taking what you do in your day job, and you’re just doing more of that, and increasing your income potential that way.
Finally, it’s the perfect safety net or replacement income if you are worried about getting laid off, you’ll have this side income ready to go that you can just scale up to a full-time commitment or it can be a replacement income if you want to quit your job and move somewhere else in the world or even just retire and start working part-time. Freelancing is a great option in both of those scenarios.
We also talked about how you can figure out what kind of freelancing services that you are qualified and capable of offering. We talked about starting off with what you already do and just doing more of it. We talked about finding things that appear to have strong demand in the market, so looking at some of these marketplaces like Upwork and clicking through four levels deep into the service offerings and looking at how many client projects are listed and that might be an indicator of a service that is in demand that if you have the right skillset, you could deliver at a high level and charge premium rates for.
Finally, we talked about how you should start of with service offerings that are broad and narrow your focus over time to focus on just the most lucrative channels that seem to show the most promise.
The next topic we covered was where you should go to find your first freelancing clients. We talked about pinging your friends and family and seeing if they have any projects that they could use help with. We talked about getting in touch with previous employers. We talked about going to freelance marketplaces like Upwork, Toptal or Freelancer.com and getting your start there, getting a feel for freelancing, seeing if it’s right for you and then, if you decide to continue to do that, moving off of those platforms and taking ownership over those client relationships, increasing your rates, not paying the commission to the platforms and things like that.
The next topic we covered was what it takes to get started and frankly, it’s not much at all. Really, all you need is a website or a profile, some kind of book of work, a portfolio and a payment platform to accept client payments. None of those things really cost you a whole lot of money, especially if you join a platform like Upwork, all you have to do is fill out your profile and start reaching out to clients, submitting proposals and accepting payment all through the platforms, so there’s almost zero startup cost associated.
Finally, we talked about what you can expect to earn and what you have to sacrifice in exchange for those earnings. What we talked about there was that the earnings are essentially unlimited. You can raise your rates as high as you want theoretically and you could earn six figures a year. The only limitation there is going to be your time because with freelancing, you often only get paid when you are dedicating your personal time to delivering on client work. That is the only scaling that will be put on your income or your earnings potential and the time commitment that you exchange for the money is as much or as little as you want. This scales up and down very easily and you can make it fit the lifestyle that you’re looking to achieve.
That sums up why freelancing is an excellent option for someone looking to establish an additional income stream as a way to catch up or even to accelerate their retirement savings. As always, we’ll link up any tools or resources we discussed in the show notes and those will be available at redpillretirement.com. I hope you enjoyed my conversation with Ian and that you’ll consider subscribing, sharing with a friend or leaving us with a review in your favorite podcast directory if you haven’t already.
Until next time, best of luck in all that you do and we look forward to seeing you on the next episode of the Red Pill Retirement podcast.