Online Freelancing as a Complement to Traditional Freelancing
If you’re already well-established as a conventional (non-Internet-based) freelancer, you have tremendous advantages over full-time employees when it comes to adding online freelancing to your existing business. The reason is simple: regular and online freelancing are much more similar to each other than to non-freelance work. As an experienced freelancer, you’ve already set up your business; you know how deal with the issues associated with getting your work done at home; you can manage projects and handle clients and find solutions to the many problems that freelancers routinely face. Most of what you need to deal with in going online is learning about how to use freelance marketplace sites. And while that is indeed a bit work, it’s only a small fraction of what someone who has never freelanced before has to learn about.
Online freelancing is such a natural complement to traditional freelancing that I’m not sure I really even have much to say in this topic! Most conventional freelancers are always on the lookout for new clients and more work, and that’s exactly what online freelancing facilitates. Given the flexibility afforded by combining offline and online freelancing, doing both at the same time is such an obvious choice as to almost be a “no-brainer”.
In fact, many freelancers add online work to their routines without even making a conscious choice or even considering it a substantive change in how they do business. Typically they will hear about freelance marketplace sites from a friend or colleague and decide to join and learn about the site and how it works. Then, when they experience a lull in work from their existing clients, they can use online freelancing to look for additional projects. When requests from their offline businesses pick up again, they can scale back their Internet project searching and bidding.
Of course, doing both conventional and online freelancing doesn’t come without its own costs. There are distinct disadvantages to online freelancing, which I covered in my comparison of the two freelancing styles. Combining the two methods, though, is in many ways the best of both worlds. Whether you prefer conventional freelancing or online freelancing, having both options is better than only one.
If you prefer conventional freelancing, then you should continue to emphasize your offline business. Assuming that this is enough to keep you busy, it allows you to be very selective in your online efforts: you can literally cherry-pick just the online projects that are attractive to you for whatever reason (interesting work, high pay rate, etc.) Even you really hate online freelancing, you can fall back on it if you decide that you’d rather deal with the downsides rather than be idle during a dry spell.
Some freelancers actually prefer being online, and spend increasing amounts of time developing their online clientele. This is fine too, of course; you can keep looking for new clients online, and still service the customers you already have from your established business. The only caveat I’d make here is to be sure of what you’re doing before switching over your marketing efforts entirely. It’s much easier to go online if you are a “regular” freelancer than the other way around; if work starts to dry up online you may regret allowing your offline client-acquisition skills to atrophy.
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The Online Freelancing Guide (http://www.FreelancingGuide.net)
Last Site Update: October 21, 2011
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