Supplemental and Alternative Disciplines
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Your primary and secondary disciplines serve you in three major ways: earning money, providing you with job satisfaction, and advancing your freelancing career. In contrast, supplemental and alternative disciplines are ones whose projects generally only fulfill one or two of these roles. Some help you earn money but aren’t particularly enjoyable; some are fun but don’t earn as much money; and none of them generally advance your career in the areas you really care about. Still, they can be important in their own ways, especially for those who are just starting out.
Many of these disciplines involve work that is easy to do, and for which little past experience is necessary. In fact, some involve “rote work” that involves no expertise whatsoever. Because of the lesser requirements involved in these tasks, competition for them is often fierce, with sometimes hundreds of contractors applying for these projects. Despite this, if you are conscientious and hard-working, you can win some of these projects and gain the benefits of additional income and experience that come with them.
Beware that many “freelancing gurus” advise against spending time on projects like these—in fact, they’d consider it sacrilege that I even wrote this part of the Guide. In their view, freelancers should stick strictly to their areas of expertise, aiming for high-quality, high-paying projects only; and anything else in their minds is “unprofessional” and hurts your image. I strongly disagree (obviously). I believe that expanding your horizons can help you in numerous ways, including earning more money, getting more of a feedback history, and gaining experience with the machinations of the online freelancing world. While the ideas presented here may not be for everyone, if they make sense to you then I urge you to take advantage of them.
These are work areas in which you have no particular interest or excitement, but where you look for work solely to make money and/or get your freelancing career on its feet. Again, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this. The work may not be very interesting, but if you need the money then you need the money. Consider that there are many freelancers who have to sideline doing another job such as waiting tables or working in retail, and certainly doing less-interesting freelance work is no worse than that. In fact, it’s better, because it helps you get experience, as discussed above.
To find work in these areas you’ll need to “think outside the box”. For a start, I recommend just scanning for projects in the main index of listings for the sites you use for your primary work.
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