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Blog Home / Life at Appen   •   May 17, 2019

10 Things Everyone Should Know Before Starting to Freelance

Jay is a guest writer for the Life At Appen blog. Tired of leaving his family for 3 weeks a month, in 2015 he started his first blog unsure of where it would take him. With help from the work-at-home community, he was able to turn his excitement into reality. As a proud father of two amazing daughters, Jay now shares his passion for the work-at-home lifestyle at

Jay from with his daughters
Do you dream of being your own boss and living life on your own schedule? Do you appreciate the security of a job, but crave independence? Is escaping the rat race something you both want and need? Earning an income as a freelancer is an easy way to make these dreams come true. You might not know how or when but sooner or later, to be truly happy, you must step out on your own and earn money doing your own thing.

But before you do, here are 10 things everyone should know before starting to freelance:

1. You Are Not Alone

Freelancing can be lonely, but you are not alone. Just because you don’t have a dedicated office and coworkers doesn’t mean you can’t build your own community. There are countless freelancers going through the same thing as you, and they’re looking for a sense of community, too.

You can search online for groups where freelancers come together to support one another and answer questions. You can also attend conferences and, depending on where you live, you may find local groups of freelancers who are doing what you do. And of course, a little friendly chit-chat with your clients is a good thing too.

2. Freelancing Feels Amazing!

If you’ve depended on an employer for a regular paycheck most of your life, the feeling of earning money on your own feels amazing. It’s empowering and for some people, a rush. It opens new worlds of possibilities.

There are barriers to making more money outside of a traditional office job that don’t exist for freelancers. You don’t have to wait for a raise or a promotion, and you can always find additional clients or upgrade your skills. You are in control. Unlike a traditional 9-to-5 job, the harder you work, the more you are rewarded — whether that means doing more of what you’re doing or diversifying your skillset to earn money in more ways.

3. The Dishes Can Wait

Home is where you throw your feet up, scroll through social media, watch TV, hang out with your kids, and clean your dirty dishes — which is why working at home can be challenging. These are all habits, routines, and distractions you don’t have at a regular office job.

To be effective when working remotely, you should create your own work environment and routine, separate from your home environment and routine. Get dressed in the morning and set a schedule with a proper start and finish time. When you walk by the kitchen, remember: The dishes can wait. You’ve got work to do.

4. Ditching the Alarm Clock May Not Be the Best Idea

You may think that being your own boss is so great that you’ll be enthusiastic about waking up and starting work every morning, but here’s the thing … the toughest part of the day for most people is beginning their workday. And it happens to the best of us. You may have good intentions but really, who’s going to notice if you sleep in one or two days a week, right?

The problem is that it’s too easy to let one or two days become three or four. Of course, the plan is to get back on schedule but sleeping in is a hard habit to break. Look on the bright side though. As a freelancer you can book your own days off and take vacations when you want. Having a regular morning routine is small price to pay in exchange for those perks.

5. You Are The CEO

Woman sitting in a chair
Who doesn’t want to be a CEO? Okay … maybe not everyone wants to be a CEO, but as a freelancer, that’s what you are. Whether you’re working with clients or managing the books, you’re in charge, and it’s a great opportunity.

It requires that you challenge yourself and learn new things. If you’ve ever had a passion for self-improvement but struggled to see the purpose, you now have one. The rewards for upgrading your skills in a traditional job are often limited, but as the CEO of your own freelancing business, it’s not only a requirement, it also opens a lot more doors. Identify your strengths and weaknesses, take courses, feed your brain with positive books, find a mentor. Become your own CEO, and your freelance business will flourish.

6. You Might Become Someone’s Mentor

Let’s face it, the “dream” of going to school and getting a good job isn’t what it used to be. In today’s connected world, the dream for most people is being able to work from home — to live where you want to live, earn a decent income, and be your own boss.

Most of your friends, family and coworkers have that dream, too. They may not talk about it, but given the chance, they’d probably choose to work from home if they could. At the very least, it’s something they think about and there’s a good possibility some of them will reach out to you for advice to see if freelancing is a possibility for them, as well. We all need mentors in this new world.

7. You Are in The Right Place at The Right Time

Speaking of new worlds, this is the first time in history when you can simply sit down at home, open a notebook powered by a battery and become a freelancer. It’s extraordinary — the world is literally at your fingertips.

You are in the right place at the right time. While most people use today’s technology to waste time, freelancers and entrepreneurs understand its power and are using it to achieve the flexible career of their dreams.

8. Slow Starts and Hiccups Are Okay

The advantage of working a regular job is that someone else did the heavy lifting before you arrived. It’s like boarding a train that’s already moving.

As a freelancer though, you’re building your own train, and in the beginning you may find yourself off to a slow start. That’s okay. Slow starts and hiccups are to be expected, and they are your best teachers. They’re also something you should be proud of because those who don’t have them are the ones who are too afraid to even try.

9. The Most Important Thing Is Patience

For new freelancers, the benefits of working from home include more time and freedom. In most cases though, it’s not a bigger income. In fact, freelancers usually start out making less money than they would at a regular job. The good news is that it’s usually temporary. Patience is crucial.

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Don’t give up. As you do more jobs and acquire new clients, word of mouth will open more doors. Upgrade your skills, ask for references and build a strong portfolio. In time, your income potential will grow and it may even surpass what you would earn at your previous job. And you will still have the added benefits of more time and freedom. Whether it takes months or even years, the end result is usually worth it.

10. Your Health Matters

There are lot of advantages to working from home, but being close to your kitchen is not always one of them. If you keep chips, cookies, and other goodies in your house, they’ll be calling your name. Focusing on healthy eating and exercise routines, balanced with work, is a good idea.

You may also think you’re saving money by using your old laptop on the coffee table. Don’t do it — take care of your health! Create a proper work environment with a supportive chair and a large screen set at eye level. Join a gym, schedule physical activity and either eliminate the junk food or lock it up, and give up your spouse or partner the key.

So, What Are You Waiting For?

Imagine how it feels to not need a job. To get up every day and say, “I’ve got this, I earn my own living.” Freelancing is not only a great way to make money, it also feels amazing and has the potential to make your dream life a reality. Whether you start small or go all in, earning those first few dollars without a boss is powerful. You are no longer dependent on someone for a paycheck and that changes you.

Some people are comfortable in their jobs and even though they complain, they’ll also hang on to it for years — even decades if they can. But that’s not you. You want something more.

If you’ve read this far, then you know the independence of freelancing is what you crave, and you can start today.

You don’t have to quit your job tomorrow and special skills are not necessary. The web provides countless ways to get started in your spare time and you can begin right here by exploring work-from-home jobs at Appen.


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