We are in the midst of a cultural revolution. The internet has brought the ability to globally communicate to such an extent that people can fully interact without ever meeting in person. It is becoming more and more common for the average person’s work day to involve getting out of bed and logging on to their computer than to commute in to a 9-5 job.
This has given the online freelancing community an incredible platform for grown. Becoming an online freelancer is now a viable way to make a living. And this sector is growing.
Recently, the Team from Donanza began a series of interviews of online freelancers to learn different tips for how they found success as an online freelancer.
Life of a Freelancer
The first interview is of Marina and her husband, who are both full time online freelancers living in the Netherlands. Marina is a top rated contractor specializing in project management, with a secondary expertise in user experience design. Marina explains that one of the main advantages of online freelancing is the ability to apply the skills from her two different professions, “if I was employed at an on site job, I would probably not be able to take 2 very different roles at one company, so I would be forced to sacrifice one talent over another.”
Online freelancing has allowed Marina and her husband to travel the globe. As online freelancers, they are not limited by work to any particular geographic locations. They are free to chose where to live. Currently, Marina chooses to live in the Netherlands, but has also spent time in Portugal.
For Marina, the advantages of freelancing has included freedom and opportunities, allowing her to encounter new places, cultures, and work with people from diverse backgrounds. While freelancing tends to suit people who value independence and new experiences, Marina believes that personality and attitude is something that anyone can learn. Anyone can become a successful freelancer and the boss in their life.
Tricks of the Trade
Marina shares her experiences and personal thoughts on freelancing with the founders of Donanza:
- It’s not necessary to be geographically close to one’s clients as communications technology allows full client interaction.
Online freelancing business is like mothering a baby, “If you wake up and your baby is crying, you cannot just, you know, not pay attention to it.” In other words, you can’t ignore your online freelancing business.
Online freelancers should establish a regular working routine at home.
It’s important for an online freelancer to make clear to their clients that their working hours are the normal business hours in his time zone.
The internet offers a wide range of helpful resources for online freelancers. Freelance Apple and Freelance Switch are two sites which provide daily blog posts with freelancing suggestions.
As far as how an online freelancer might market themselves. Marina says that “it’s better to be a generalist than a specialist.” However the best online freelancers are those that have a specialty but can also see the bigger picture. The so called generalizing specialist.
The online freelancer should build up a network of other professionals who they can cooperate with. If you recommend other people when you are not available, or your skills may not match the requirements, they will likely remember the gesture and recommend you in the future.
Online freelancers should also build up long term relationships with their clients. A returning client is far better than a one time client.
Resources for the Online Freelancer
Marina mentioned Freelance Apple and Freelance Switch as good resources to pick up tips on freelancing. However, there are a variety of resources available for freelancers to find work. In the past, a freelancer would have to go through a variety of platforms to find work opportunities. Now, the internet has allowed for online marketplaces for freelancers and their clients to meet.
One of the best places to for a freelancer to find projects matching their skills is through the Donanza Job board, a specially designed job board that allows freelancers to search for project opportunities throughout the net.