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How to Make a Living as a Tech Freelancer

Are you using your technical skills to make a living, or at least extra money? Thanks to the internet and technology, it is easier today than it ever has been before. And it doesn't hurt that attitudes toward letting people work from home and live anywhere as long as they get their work done have evolved.


How to Get Started Freelancing

Whether you're just getting started as a freelancer, have experience, or don't know where to start, check out the new Freelancer Guide. This is what you can learn from it:

Did you know 80% of employees surveyed said they would like to make additional income freelancing? The sooner you get started, the faster you'll be making money.

Kinds of Tech Freelance Work

Make a list of all of your skills from installing hardware or software, to coding apps, to teaching how to use devices. The longer your list, the better. Do this first so you don't forget anything. Then use your list to search for job ideas on sites like these:

  • LinkedIn Job Search
  • Job aggregator sites
  • Freelancing sites

New freelancers often start on a freelancing site. Two of the most popular freelancing sites oDesk and eLance merged and rebranded as UpWork. This video explains how to use the new UpWork site:

Be sure to optimize your profile on any sites you use and also on LinkedIn as many people will search for you there. If you have many connections or recommendations on LinkedIn, you may even be able to skip using freelancer sites altogether and get work by referral. Established freelancers will often subcontract work to newer freelancers. As they charge on the higher end of opportunities, they also refer clients who can't afford them to others. Find out more in my previous post How to Make a Living as a Gadget Freelancer.

How To Make Sure You Get Paid

This is my favorite topic and I have some advice based on years of being a freelancer. If you have the reputation and examples of your work, charge 100% cash in advance via PayPal. Freelancers who don't want to become collection agents should charge in advance - provided they know without a doubt that they will deliver on what they promise. If a new client isn't comfortable paying up front, suggest that they pay a percentage down and as each portion of a project is completed and delivered. Another way to ensure you will be paid and they get their money's worth is to use the escrow feature on a freelancing site. We do have some clients who pay 50% down and 50% upon completion. Be consistent with each client and have a process for keeping track of your work.

Create a Workflow Process

The most successful freelancers are those who are the most organized. Some use a CRM or an online tool like RememberTheMilk, notepads, and spreadsheets. Unfortunately, cobbling so many different solutions together often resulted in missing deadlines or tasks falling through the cracks. The good news is there is now an all-in-one solutions to keep track of your client's contact information, your projects, to-do tasks for each project, time tracking, and invoicing. It even includes a dashboard showing totals and any overdue invoices. Murray Newlands and John Rampton created the online project management and invoicing solution for their own use and have now made it available to freelancers and small businesses. They offer a totally free tier so everyone can use it. When you grow your business, simply upgrade to the paid version to increase capacity.

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