Freelancing for beginners: My Freelancer Story

freelancing for beginners

I had reached my limit. 

When you’re mother to a toddler, working five days a week at a job based two hours from home (three when the traffic is bad) and feeling completely undervalued in your role, something has to give. 

How could I have a fulfilling career, raise my child and keep my sanity? It was a question I had been turning over and over in my mind for months. 

One night, I said to my husband, “We will just have to be poor.”

I knew I wanted to start freelancing but the hunch I had was that I would only be about to earn around $60k (Australian) per year, far less than my corporate salary. Still, I had done the sums and I figured we would be able to get by. 

Good fortune knocked, literally the next day, in the form of a redundancy offer and a few months’ pay. I took it and proudly declared I was now entering the world of freelancing for beginners. 

My first job as a freelancer was writing website copy for a friend of a friend. I set my rates at $45 per hour and in my spare time (I had a LOT), I built my first website. I also started to hustle so I could find more clients. I attended BNI networking events, posted content on LinkedIn and of course, took the freelancer rite of passage route; pitching for jobs on gig sites like Airtasker, Freelancer, Upwork and People Per Hour. (Note, I had by far the most success on Airtasker, where there is less competition). 

The goal for me back then was to earn $1000 per week as a beginner freelancer. I knew this was achievable and would cover our bills.

To keep the work coming in, I emailed people I wanted to write for, responded to job ads and gave contra deals (which I wouldn’t recommend). I built my connections on social media and always made sure to deliver a quality product. I let clients know I was looking for more work. Some started referring clients my way. 

One huge win was scoring a regular gig with a website development company that specialised in small business websites. They were based locally so I reached out and told them I was available. It felt a bit odd as they had actually rejected me for a different role a year earlier but within two weeks, they were sending me three or four jobs at a time. 

I ticked off the $1000 per week goal, then doubled it. I no longer felt like I was doing freelancing for beginners. 

At $2,000 per week, you could say I was a Six Figure Freelancer. But I did have overheads, including the expense of running my business. Home internet, phone bills, subscriptions, it all added up and ate into my earnings. I also found I couldn’t work 52 weeks per year, or even five days a week. 

Still, I was pretty happy with how things were going. We had enough money. We had a nice lifestyle. We were getting by. 

Then my husband got sick.

For five months, he was off work. We had income protection but it fell through. 

The fear was real and immediate that we would lose our home.

At the time, we had income, but not savings. I set myself a new goal; to earn enough so that we could live comfortably on one salary and put aside some money. 

Unbeknownst to me, I had followed the first rule of success: set a goal but be very clear on why you want to achieve it. 

From there, I became obsessed with growing my income without working more hours. I attended courses, read books and tuned in to webinars. I tried things, failed and tried other things. I had big wins and plenty of small losses. 

Slowly, my weekly income began to grow. There were windfalls and setbacks but everything was a learning experience. 

In 2020, despite the crazy times, I had my most successful year ever. This came down to:

  • Knowing how to get good marketing results with little effort
  • Having an amazing network
  • Treating many of my clients like friends
  • Upping my prices
  • Chasing overdue bills
  • Delivering quality written work, on time
  • Saying no to the jobs that weren’t worth it
  • Having HELP

Money-wise, we are finally comfortable, to the point where my accountant wanted to know what I had been up to. Yes, we still have a mortgage to pay and bills that make us wince but the future looks a lot less scary than it did a couple of years ago. 

In 2021, I launched Six Figure Freelancer. I want to help other beginner freelancers to get the ball rolling on their new career. 

This is just the beginning of my new venture! I’ll be offering books, courses, private mentoring and support through my Facebook Group, Six Figure Freelancer Australia. Check it out and join for free if you haven’t already! 

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