The Freelance Switch

freelance-switchI’ve been noticing over the last few months that there seems to be a misconception amongst our virtual communities that the only way to work from home and make money “online” is by niche blogging, affiliate marketing and/or pay per click.

What really bothers me though is that I am seeing more and more people speak of their struggles rather than their successes – and why is this?  Truthfully, I’m not going to point at one reason and say that this is why the success rate is so dismal, but I am going to dig a bit deeper into a word that many “work at home” gurus seem to leave out.


In the most basic form, freelancing is simply the process of soliciting a specialized service to a market which has a need for it.

A freelancer is not usually on contract and can work openly with whom ever he/she pleases, and if there is a contract involved, it’s usually non-exclusive and for a temporary period of time – meaning while you are in contract with that particular individual/company you still have the ability to accept outside work, as long as it doesn’t effect your contractual obligations.

The Freelance Myth.

Veronica and I were in bed the other night watching Seinfeld and I brought up the misconception of freelancing and how a great majority of the public, on and off line, seem to view freelancing as some sort of cop-out to having a 9 to 5 job.  In the 1970’s if you brought home a new boyfriend and told your parents that he was a rockstar freelance writer, they would have told you to get your head out of the clouds and find a real man with a real job.

Is the perception of freelancing really any different today?  Not really.  Putting the word “freelance” before your professional title still seems to take away from its legitimacy, for example, when people ask me what I do I simply tell them that I own a small web development company on the Internet.  On the other hand, if I was to tell people that I am a freelance web developer, which technically I am, how many of those people do you think would downgrade me?

The Freelance Reality.

The reality is this:  for the people who look at freelancing as a fancy way of saying you’re unemployed, it’s time to think again.  With the advancement of technology and the Internet, now is the time to start thinking about what skills you have and identify the need for those skills within a specific marketplace.  Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What skills do I have (technical or practical)?
  • What do I really love doing?
  • What did I go to college/university for?
  • What have you learned from past jobs?
  • What type of people live in my neighborhood?
  • What services could they use to make their life easier?

As you start asking yourself these questions, you’ll slowly begin to compile a list of potential idea generators.  The magic really happens when you start to realize that you have a whole set of skills that fulfill a certain need – and that there are hundreds of thousands of people on and offline who are willing to pay you for those services… immediately!

What I Did Was No Different.

Once I sold my first website flip on Sitepoint, I sat back a took a look at the marketplace.  I asked myself questions like who are these people and why do they need my websites?  How could I leverage the fact that I love building niche WordPress blogs and turn it into a unique service?

I began to bounce ideas off everyone I know (online) and started to realize that there is a huge market of webmasters, old and new, who have the skills to market niche blogs but aren’t technically/physically able to throw them together in a fashion that is professional and functional.  Maybe these marketers don’t have the design skills (I’m not even a designer) or maybe it’s as simple as they don’t have the time because their portfolio is so huge.  Who cares.

I put together a website to display the details of my service (skill), incorporated an email list to capture prospective repeat buyers from my Sitepoint auctions and started to put url in my auction copy and forum signatures.  That is all it really took.  I know get 3 times more business through my website and spend less time putting up sites “hoping” that they sell on the marketplace.

That’s My Story – What’s Yours?

If you haven’t thought about freelancing and how you could begin soliciting your services online – now is the time to do so.  Stop thinking about affiliate marketing and CPA networks as the be all and end all of working from home and making money online – because if it’s been more than a year and you haven’t found your groove yet.. you’re not going to.

Get back to the practical thinking of supply and demand.  Become that Rockstar Freelancer you know you can be!  Get back to what you’re good at and discover as many ways as possible to have people pay you money for it!  It’s fucking genius and you need to get moving! is a great place to start.

Right Now.



10 thoughts on “The Freelance Switch”

  1. Excellent book choice. Freelance Switch is considered THE freelancing site by most freelancers, and I’ve heard only good things about that book.

    One thing though. As a freelancer, you don’t get to be a 4 month vacation girl like someone we both know…. 😀
    .-= WordVixen´s last blog ..How To Get Paid To Blog =-.

  2. Great post Eli…

    Truth be told, I too have been a Freelance Developer for several years, more than 10. The skills and understanding of the web is actually what enabled me to dip over into the Aff marketing side of the business, with a much shorter learning curve.
    .-= Mark´s last blog ..Does Google Think Your Site Sucks? =-.

  3. @WordVixen – The book rocks, I’ve read it a few times. The website is a must. 4 months vacation eh? Well if your freelance work is online than you can just take your laptop with a satellite receiver to the beach and work there.

    @Mark – Yeah I can recall you either telling me about it, or writing about it way back when I first hopped onto the blog train. I absolutely love doing WordPress development for people.. and they pay me – so that’s a huge plus!

    @Carla – There is always something you can do, and EVERYONE has something they are good at – or at least good enough that people will pay them for it.
    .-= Elijah´s last blog ..The Freelance Switch =-.

  4. What up Daaaaaawg? Good to see ya postin’. 🙂

    I think people get hyped about CPA and aff marketing part of because of what Lori said. If you just freelance, then you’re really just “changing jobs”. It may be better than the cubicle at the telemarketing office above 7-11, but it still usually means working job-to-job, contract-to-contract, and often times working feverishly to make ends meet (depending on what you do and how much $$ you need)

    If you can find a hot spot you can dominate in niche sites, CPA, affiliate campaigns, or whatever, you can create a passive income that requires low maintenance or in some cases none at all.

    I’ve had both – passive income that was enough to live on and I I was also a freelance designer for years. Now, in a way, I have an unfortunate mixture of the two as I have some recurring $$, but flipping new sites is a bit like one time freelance jobs. I can tell you first hand that the passive income WILL make you happier. lol

    Nothing wrong with freelancing if you enjoy it though – which seems like one of the points you were trying to make – especially if you’re freelancing work is a true passion.

    Also, I have to disagree with you for the first time ever. lol

    You said: “if it’s been more than a year and you haven’t found your groove yet.. you’re not going to”.

    That’s soooo not true man. Often, people are simply missing a very small tweak in their system or approach (I’ve experienced this first hand several times as well). One smack in the face can change a $10 day into a $100 day. 🙂
    Sometimes a little tough love might not come along until a year or more. lol 😉

    Anyway, that’s the HEAD’s opinion based on my experience and my $0.02 Canadian which ain’t worth much these days. 😉

    Cheers man

  5. @Jay – Yeah, if you’re freelancing doing something you love or a combination of different things you have a passion for, then that’s awesome! My main thing was point out that aff marketing and ppc is not the only way to “work from home”. People are always getting caught up with that – and really, if you have some skills, anyone can “work from home” if that’s what they ultimately desire.

    Passive is where it’s at though. and I think I should have elaborated on my statement “if you’ve been spending hours and hours of time and money and you’ve yet to make a penny online – it’s probably not meant for you.”

    That’s what I meant to say – because really, if you haven’t made a dollar online in 12 months and you’ve put in countless hours learning and reading and building and buying.. it’s not happening.. time to reevaluate your goals.
    .-= Elijah´s last blog ..The Freelance Switch =-.

  6. “affiliate marketing and CPA networks” can and will suck the life out of you. I had to pause, take a break and rethink my approach. My income did dwindle, but so too did my spending, stress and chasing the buck mentality.

    TIP! Once things get hectic, either take a break or hire a VA. My mentor always told me.. it’s much easier to pay someone to do the thing you hate or you’re not good at and spend that time focusing on what you’re strong at.

    It’s pappy day and I don’t smell anything coming out of the kitchen, nor did I get a restaurant invite.. these frggin kids I tell you 🙂 happy father’s day day to all the pops!
    .-= Chris De La Rosa´s last blog ..The 2009 Hamilton Wingfest. =-.

  7. @Chris – Man, I’ve never really gotten into affiliate marketing – other than some beer money hear and there. I truthfully feel that unless you’re using PPC to drive traffic, and you know what you’re doing, it really is a tough game.

    Your advice is great man – getting people to do the things you hate will definitely open up room to focus on what you enjoy, in turn making you more successful.

    Kids have no appreciation/respect these days.. Happy fathers day man!

  8. Good points on freelancing compared to blogging and CPA (affiliate mareting). What a lot of people do not realise is that a lot of traffic is needed first before a successful income can be created..
    Traffic first, earnings later in a way.. I find a lot of people are too keen to earn before traffic..

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