How To Become a Freelancer (A Successful One)

In order to become a successful freelancer, you can follow the steps I did to become a successful freelancer. Learn how to become a freelancer.

In order to become a successful freelancer, you can follow the steps I did to become a successful freelancer. Learn how to become a freelancer.

These days, it’s not uncommon for many people to pick up some freelance work to make money on the side. So if you’re reading this it’s probably because you want to become a successful freelancer. You’ve thought about what you want to freelance in, you’re ready to quit your day job, and you’ve even dreamed about how luxurious it will be to work from home in your sweatpants.

There are some financial secrets to becoming a successful freelancer which I am going to share with you in this blog post. In fact, using these steps – and a bit of determination – you can get out of your desk job and become a successful freelancer.

So how did I do that?

Let’s Start From the Beginning

I’ve always been a saver. My mom laughingly recounts taking two year old me to the store and asking if I wanted some chocolate. My response to her was that she needed to save her money.

This is probably the reason I pursued a career in accounting before starting my journey writing about personal finance. This transition was eye-opening for me.

I realized, even though I did have a talent for saving money, I strayed off course, as well. It turned out that my spending and saving habits weren’t completely aligned with my financial goals—like paying off debt and pursuing my dream of freelancing.

My husband was completely supportive of my desire to start freelancing. Being the bookkeeper that I am, we sat down one day and took a look at our finances.

To my surprise, our expenses were way more than I previously thought. I knew I had to cut back on things if I wanted to pursue my goal of becoming a successful freelancer.

Here’s how we did it:

1. Eliminate Bills and Subscriptions

This is the first obvious step for most people. What I realized when I did this was, even if you’re confident about the state of your expenses, take another look.

Sometimes we pay for subscriptions just because we’ve always done so, and not because we actually use them. I don’t want to go into detail about which bills we eliminated, because what’s not necessary to me could be a luxury that you can’t live without.

It’s just important to be honest with yourself. By doing this, we were able to save around $60 per month.  That doesn’t sound like much, but that comes to $720 per year. This money will help with bills while working as a freelancer.

2. Negotiate Your Bills

If you absolutely can’t do without some subscriptions, consider alternatives or even calling your existing providers and seeing if you can pay less. Yes, people do this.

I think that what people don’t realize is that you don’t have to be an irate customer to get discounts. You can be nice about it.

I know that eliminating cable is a step that many people take when they want to cut their bills. My husband, however, could not be without his sports channels and I needed my Walking Dead fix each week.

I called our provider and asked them if they could give me the discount that they were promoting on television for new customers. When they told me that they could not, I asked if they had any promotions for loyal customers.  Just like that, I was given 17% off my bill per month. No arguing or threats necessary.

This doesn’t always work, however. I called my auto and home insurance company and told them that I received a quote for lower insurance (which I actually did) from someone else. I told her that I didn’t want to change insurance providers if I didn’t have to since I had been with her for such a long time. She came back to me with $9 off per month if I drastically reduced my coverage.

Needless to say, I went with the insurance company that quoted me less and saved over $150 per month on both my home and auto policies ($1800 per year in savings).

3. Schedule Your Splurges

When we sat down and looked at our finances, I realized that our credit card statement was unusually high.

When we looked at each item on our bill, we realized that the majority of our credit card expenditures were related to eating out. We went out at least several times per week. Sometimes it was because we really wanted to go out, but other times it was just because we were too lazy to cook.

Both my husband and I agreed that we didn’t want to give up the fun we had on our dates. Instead of eliminating our outings completely, we just scheduled our dinners out for Saturday night.

When we knew in advance that we were going to spend $40 or $50 in a couple of days at our favorite restaurant, we were less likely to be impulsive on a random Tuesday night. This change in habit saved us several hundred dollars per month.

So Finally…

Money is meant to be spent. However, saving is equally important in order to be able to pursue your dreams of becoming a freelancer. I learned that even when you think that you’re great with money, it was worth giving your finances another look. Also, you don’t have to make drastic changes. As in our case, all the little changes ended up saving us thousands over the course of the year, enabling me to make my career change. It’s just about being consistent and staying informed.

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Beer Money
Beer Money
Brian is the chief editor of beer money and is a personal finance expert who has spent the last few years writing about how anyone can make oney online. He has been fortunate enough to have appeared in several online publications, including Yahoo! Finance, NASDAQ, MSN Money, AOL, Discover Bank, GOBankingRates, and more. He is also diversifying his portfolio by adding a little bit of real estate. But not rental homes, because he doesn't want a second job, it's diversified small investments in hands off real estate investing via an app called Fundrise.