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Table Of Contents  The Online Freelancing Guide
 >  Introduction - Online Freelancing Overview, Options, Opportunities and Challenges
      >  Introduction and Overview of Online Freelancing

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What is Online Freelancing?
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Overview of the Online Freelancing Project Process and Freelancing Marketplaces
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What Do Online Freelancers Do?
(Page 1 of 2)

In the preceding introduction I defined online freelancing: it’s a way for people who work for themselves to find and complete projects for clients using the Internet. But how does this process work? What do online freelancers actually do?

It’s impossible to provide one answer to this question that will be applicable to all online freelancers—we’re a very independent bunch, and by definition, we don’t pigeonhole very well. Some of us are full-time freelancers, while others do this work part-time while retaining conventional jobs. Some of us work exclusively online, while others also maintain a more traditional approach to finding and working with clients. And of course, the types of work we do, and our levels of experience and expertise, all vary greatly.

That said, pretty much all online freelancers engage in similar types of activities. If you plan to pursue this career path, you will need to expend effort in three primary areas: setting up a freelancing business; getting and completing projects; and building your career. You won’t spend equal amounts of time in each category, but all three are essential: neglecting any area is almost certain to lead to either short-term or long-term problems with your freelancing endeavor.

Setting Up and Managing Your Freelancing Business

If you work as a writer, designer or programmer for a big company, you can be “just” a writer, designer or programmer. But if you’re a freelance writer, designer or programmer, you are also a businessperson. Before you can begin your real work, you’ll have to set up your freelancing business, which typically includes all of the following:

  • Creating a freelancer identity for yourself; that is, figuring out exactly what your work area or areas will be, and if possible, identifying a specific niche where you’re likely to be successful.

  • Setting up a home office or work environment.

  • Planning out a work schedule so you have enough time to concentrate on your work.

  • Obtaining computer hardware and software, and any other materials or items you need to ply your trade.

  • Researching online freelance marketplaces, joining them, and creating effective user profiles.

  • Consulting with professionals on legal, accounting and tax issues, as needed.

  • Getting “buy in” from your family and ensuring that they understand both how freelancing will affect their lives, and what you’ll need from them going forward.

Many of these setup tasks will transform into ongoing maintenance requirements as your freelancing business matures. They won’t take as much effort as they did at the start, but you’ll still have to devote time to issues like managing your freelance marketplace profiles, dealing with accounting and tax issues, and dealing with issues related to your home office. Plus, of course, balancing your work and family life is always important!

The chapter Planning and Managing Your Online Freelancing Business will contain a thorough discussion of these and related issues.


Previous Topic/Section
What is Online Freelancing?
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Pages in Current Topic/Section
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2
Next Page
Overview of the Online Freelancing Project Process and Freelancing Marketplaces
Next Topic/Section

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Last Site Update: October 21, 2011

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