It used to be that if you wanted to get a job, you had to ask for it. To get hired, you had to need it, and to get the money that you needed, you needed a bank account. Now, it turns out that that’s no longer necessary.
You can apply, you can apply often, and you can get on with doing what you love doing, whether that’s freelance writing, designing a website, or teaching yoga. With the rise of the gig economy and the availability of alternative employment, everything we once thought about getting a job has, in some sense, been flipped upside down.
With this in mind, the importance of social networks, whether it’s social networks such as LinkedIn or social networks such as Facebook, is more important than ever, not because you need a job, but because you need friends. When you meet someone who can be a colleague, you’ve met the ultimate relationship maker, and when you meet someone who can be a friend, you’ve met someone who can also be your networking magic sponge. If your contacts will walk through the door and talk to you in the rain, you know that they can do anything.
From a business perspective, freelancing and peer contracting is one of the smartest ways to get the skills you need without having to wait for someone to hire you. When you freelance, you need to think as an entrepreneur.
For example, I recently moved into a new house, and with a new couch to learn about, and towels to figure out, a journalist with me was my only link to the local smart-home accessories market. If I wanted smart-home sensors that are extra-durable, we just needed to push a button. After that, it was just a matter of spending a few days looking around for the best deals.
If you spend a little time learning about the world of smart-home gadgets, you’ll find there are a lot of dollars to be made. While traditional reporters and journalists are the ones that typically have access to companies that make great products, if you’re a freelance writer looking to profit from the emerging “home” market, there’s nowhere else to turn.
When you freelance, you need to think as an entrepreneur. And you need to set yourself apart from the competition by being multi-faceted. There are many different kinds of business models, and you need to become the smartest one at each one.
On the one hand, you could be a paid freelancer working only for a large company, and while that can be great, it’s not nearly as profitable as independent, specialized, creative freelance projects.
On the other hand, the DIY market is growing quickly. If you’re a DIY guru, you need to develop your own business rather than depend on an existing company.
This means that freelancers need to offer a lifetime of services rather than a single-year contract. As a result, when working with someone who is a big company, you need to think about when you’re moving on from that person.
Of course, to build this kind of business, you need skills, tools, and time. Time to learn the skills you need to succeed. Skills to market your expertise, and tools to learn how to use them.
One way freelancers make money when they work for other people is to work for free, but at the same time, you need to keep your skills up to date. The days of lazy freelancers are long gone.