The wonderful wide interwebs provides ample opportunities, platforms, and tools for becoming a freelancer, which is awesome because freelance work is one of the great ways that you can fund your adventure travel goals.
Not only will freelance work allow you to largely shape your own schedule and determine your own rates, but also you can do the job from anywhere with an internet connection.
Here are four tips to get you rolling on your freelance career, allowing you to make money and travel.
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Determine Your Specialty
Writing, photography, accounting, graphic design, web development, marketing, virtual assistant… these are just a few of the jobs that can be done online by freelancers.
If you can work independently and do the work with a computer (or at least be able to submit the finished product to your client via the internet), you are likely able to freelance.
Those who freelance to make money and travel often convert their knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) from their day job into their freelance job.
For example, if you are a comptroller for a small business, showing up each day to work in a corporate office, you can position those skills into a contract comptroller position that works remotely and provides services to one or more clients on a temporary contract or ongoing basis.
Note that the freelance job doesn’t have to be exactly your current job, but it might be in a related area.
In our example of the comptroller, perhaps that person could score some freelance work writing articles for a financial industry website or perhaps putting Excel wizardry skills to use to create killer financial spreadsheets with macros and such.
It may be that you have to take a step back in your “career path” to access a set of skills suitable to freelance work.
If our comptroller has achieved some level in which they are managing a large accounting team, they may need to utilize their financial accounting skills, not management skills, to find sufficient freelance work.
If your current profession or industry isn’t freelance-friendly, you’ll need to look at how you can repurpose or augment your KSAs to access a mark that supports a solid freelance market.
Bring in the Business
No matter what type of freelancer you are, you aren’t going to be able to make money and travel (at least not for long) if you don’t sell your freelance services to existing or new clients.
There are a number of websites that help freelancers find clients.
Sites like Upwork are great for freelancers in a number of general and specific fields, anything from programming to paralegal
While other sites may focus on a specific industry or skills set. Textbroker is a freelance marketplace for writers, and DesignCrowd is a freelance marketplace for designers.
These sites can be a great start for freelancers, though you will have to sell. You will need to work hard to submit proposals, many of which will be ignored, and you will have to be aggressive on pricing to grab some of your first gigs.
Good freelance money can be made on freelance sites, but you will have to contend with high levels of competition and suppressed hourly rates as a result of newbie and international competition. In addition, these site generally make their money by taking a cut of your pay.
In our judgment, the best route for freelancers to make money and travel is to find and secure clients before you head out on your adventure.
While you are in the planning stages of your adventure, even while you are perhaps working your full time job, start finding some freelance clients.
Build you business in your home town (or wherever you currently are). Provide top notch service. Build a quality portfolio and client base. And then take that business with you on the road.
In such a situation, you will be able to solicit new business from existing clients and also have an emerging network of satisfied clients who can provide referrals to new business.
By directly selling clients, you control the relationship, communication, and can manage higher rates and margins, meaning you can make more money in a shorter time, freeing you up to explore and travel.
Start Saving Money Now
The one downside of freelancing is that you don’t get the steady paycheck or insurance benefits that many traditional jobs provide.
You’re going to need to set up a financial safety net for times when clients are scarce, you have an unexpected, costly emergency, or you simply want to freeze the freelance activities and travel.
Also, if you’re a US citizen, just because you’re on the road or perhaps traveling internationally, you’re going to have to pay your own taxes when Uncle Sam comes knocking for his share in April.
Set aside money to prepare for emergencies, opportunities and taxes.
Relentlessly Market Yourself on your Travels
When you’re freelancing to make money and travel, you’re going to come into contact with a lot of people, including other travelers, locals, businesses, and tourists.
You never know where you might meet a new client, so strive to make business contacts in the real world and online.
Have business cards made and have them at the ready.
Hand them out to the prospects you meet.
Post them in hostels, cafes, or bulletin boards.
If you have a blog that gets regular visitors, create a page advertising your services. At AdventurePossible.com, we have great success getting web design and development inquiries from followers through the page on our website.
Keep contact with friends back home, through phone or social media, and be sure they know you are still offering your freelance services. They may think that because you bounced, you’re not working.
Be creative. Be aggressive. Market your services. And be ready to sell.
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