Hi there! I am so glad that you decided to read this blog. I sat today on my couch thinking if I had to start all over again, would I be too old to become a freelancer? Well, to be honest, nothing is impossible to achieve when you have a laptop, phone, good Wi-Fi connection and lots of hope. Whether you are a spoken word artist, painter, photographer, writer, or even a good cook. There’s scope for everything and everyone. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned professional, you are never too old to become a freelancer.
But the big question is… where do you start? What do you do first? Whom to approach and how to make your presence felt in this world of cutthroat competition?
You are not too old to freelance. We share 7 reasons why you are not too old to freelance, we also share 10 tips on how to get started. If you are looking to freelance but have no idea, here’s a little help. Let’s start with the basics first.
What Is Freelancing?
Freelancing is a great way to earn some extra bucks and be your own boss. You can freelance while sitting at the comfort of your home or while traveling the world. All you have to do is deliver quality work and keep your client happy. You may not earn Billions with freelancing, but it definitely satisfies your needs, making you financially independent.
But is there a certain age limit or anybody can freelance it? If you think you’re too old to freelance and have no experience to get started, you need to read this article. It will give you some motivation to get a kick start your freelance career and some useful tips as well.
7 Reasons Why You Are Not Too Old To Freelance:
1.) You never stop dreaming
“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work” says Colin Powell.
Whoever said dreams can only be fulfilled when you are young, probably didn’t know about freelancing. Sometimes, you get caught up in responsibilities in your younger days and forget about your dreams as you start to age. But it’s never too late to start working on them again. Here’s the story of a famous author who never let the norms of society or rules of life get in the way of his dreams.
Harry Bernstein, a very famous author started writing ‘The Invisible Wall: A Love Story That Broke Barriers’ at the age of 93. He was very disturbed by his wife’s death and started writing as a freelancer in his late 50’s. His loneliness and melancholy drove him to the power of words and then there was no looking back. He published his first book at the age of 96! So, ladies and gentlemen here are your first inspiration to help you get that much-needed start in your freelancing career.
So, if you think you have it in you, you should follow your passion and break the shackles of society. Even if the income is less, the satisfaction of following your passion and dream… is everything.
2.) You can change your mind-set
You don’t need to be 16 or 26 to start freelancing. You only need to encourage yourself that you can do it. If you want to be a freelance writer, then start researching. Read about the ongoing trends on the internet. You are not too old, just too lazy to adapt to the new technology and but end up blaming the age and other external factors. If you want to start your freelance career, it’s necessary to change the mindset. If your mind is restricted to only doing a particular kind of job, you will probably never make it. Here’s an inspirational story of a woman who defied her age and made it happen only by changing her mindset.
Meet Gladys Burrill, who did her first marathon at the age of 86! Yes, that’s right folks! She put every youngster to shame, who often complain about not having enough motivation in their life. Her health and other factors never stopped her from crossing that finishing line and she kept going. Despite the warnings from Doctors, she never stopped and finally completed the Marathon. If she can… so can you. So dear readers, if you think you’re too old to start a freelance career, you are not! You are just too lazy!
3.) Age is just a number
This may sound cliché and old school but is a gem of a phrase. Your age has many perks if you want to become a freelancer. Unlike corporates or other full-time jobs, freelancing is not affected by ageism. A company may not be keen to hire a 40-year-old woman who is just starting her career because any younger person can do the job quickly at a much lower salary. But freelancing is a different ballgame altogether. It is not a long-term commitment and clients only look for expertise in certain areas.
If you have worked in the stock market all your life, there are high chances that the client will hire you to write a 500- word article about stock markets. It’s easier to hire a freelancer than a full-time employee because there’s no medical expense, rent allowance or other such expenses. So, stop making excuses for being too old to start freelancing.
Utilize your time to polish your skills (writing, acting, photography, poetry) and use your experience as a tool to freelance. If you are not comfortable working for millennial brands, give it a pass! There are many clients out there looking for experts in more serious topics. Why not reach out to them?
4.) All that’s needed is a positive attitude
Once a student, always a student! Never give up the learning attitude and do not close your boundaries to learn about new trends and technology. Set a goal and don’t shy away from the hard work.
Have you ever got spam emails about earning a six-figure incoming by sipping margaritas at the beach? Well, turns out, freelancing is a lot harder than that. It will not earn you that amount but a decent income will flow in your bank account regularly. Read about other freelancers who started with nothing and are very famous now. They may have not known the direction when they started out but they never gave up their positive attitude.
5.) Map your target audience
Plan your target audience and stick to it! If you are planning to write for new mothers, look for brands under these categories: diapers, healthcare, baby clothes etc. Pick your genre, set up a target audience and then approach the client. If you show the client that you understand your audience and can sell them the product, you’ve won half the battle.
You have the knowledge, they have the budget… why won’t they hire you? You can also aim to write about retirement plans and pensions if you have been through the grind already. These are just hints to help you choose your audience. You know your strengths better than anyone. So plan accordingly.
6.) Do away with the outdated skills
Gone are the days when you had a permanent job, a permanent desk and a permanent boss! You can now work from any remote location unless you have got a laptop and solid wi-fi! A Wi-fi is a must! Freelancing starts with marketing yourself. So, say goodbye to your desk job skills and learn the new ones.
You can now meet thousands of people with similar interests online, without actually meeting them in person. You can get on social media, find people, start a conversation, follow hashtags and cook up new ideas. You can post your experiences in the form of words or pictures and build your own network.
Tracking down a person, following him and pestering them to give you a job is passé! The new generation believes in attracting jobs by only showing their Instagram photos. Build up your online skills and approach the right person, even if you are miles and miles away from them.
7.) All You Need To Do Is Market Yourself
Learn the writing tone of the young writers, find out the best ways to click a younger picture of you, use gifs and other emoticons that are currently trending. It’s all about how you present yourself. Don’t let the client or audience take you for a boring, old school artist. Be cool! Be impatient! Be like any other youngster who is excited to make it big out there.
If you are planning to be a freelance writer, forget about lengthy paragraphs and keep it short and crisp. Go for the listicles and drop the heavy jargons. Throw in the pop colours, get quirky with your ideas and lose the serious image. You are more likely to get gigs and engage with your audience only by changing the way you present yourself.
On the website, you need not have a 20-year experience even if you are a complete beginner. You can call yourself a seasoned or an expert, spin the words and get noticed. Never use ‘unemployed’ in any of your profiles. That card won’t get you any work and will only lower your confidence. Present yourself as ‘self-employed’ and a professional with a positive attitude and language so empowering, that the client is convinced to give you the job.
Promote yourself through effective resumes, engaging websites and well-crafted words. If you want to stand out from the crowd, you need to get noticed. Adapt to the freelancing culture without changing your original personality.
Here Are 10 Tips To Guide You Through The World Of Freelancing If You Are A Beginner
1.) There’s Nothing Like Good Old Research
Without research, you are going nowhere! It’s not easy to start freelancing without doing your homework. Especially if you are not from the millennial age group, you have to get your research in place. After looking for ‘freelance jobs’ online, million searches will pop up on the screen. You will feel lost and confused but it’s very common.
Start with a blog of yours, know how WordPress works and learn how other bloggers have developed their blogs over a period of time. If you want to earn that extra income and want to get noticed while sitting on your couch, you have to do your research. There are no other shortcuts!
Read about how other freelancers made it big despite their age. Let go of the age factor and focus on your work and research. Wake up every morning with a goal and cross out the things you have achieved over the day. You are your own boss! Enjoy the freedom and make the most of it.
2.) Find The Right Client
If you want to take up freelance writing, a blog is a must. How else will you approach clients and show off your talent? Build your portfolio and make it impressive.
There are thousands of groups on Facebook, LinkedIn and other social networking sites. You can also post your resume and work on other freelancing sites. Once you find an interesting project, simply send them your profile. If you are the best candidate, the project is yours. But keep looking and don’t get disheartened if you are rejected. Keep up the good work and never let your spirit, die.
3.) Prioritize Your Work
If you need a calm and peaceful environment to write or pen down that story, switch off your phones and lock yourself in a room. And if you need some inspiration and you don’t get distracted that easily, go to a café.
Dedicate a certain amount of time to your work, then spend time with your family and friends. Sometimes, while working on an assignment, you tend to get distracted by other job offers. But stick to your priorities because you have committed to the deadline. Never take up anything new before you finish off the given assignment.
4.) Confidence Is The Key
If you are not confident enough, it will show in your work. Your client will not trust you if you don’t trust yourself. Give him the confidence that the job will be done with no hassles and submitted on time. The client has outsourced the job because he can’t do it himself. Trust your skills and expertise and deliver the best.
Don’t use words like ‘maybe’ while pitching your strategy. Be clear, precise and concrete while discussing your ideas. Even the tiniest of details is very important while starting out as a freelancer. You must convince your client that he has picked the right person without any room for doubts.
5.) Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining
The first assignment you will take up as a freelancer will be tough. You might have to rework a few times if required. It’s frustrating and also makes you a little under confident. But, don’t worry! This will only make you stronger and gain you more experience in the world of freelancing.
There will also be gloomy days where your work is rejected and you are not paid. But remember to keep it together and stay focused. There will also be some days when no new assignments can’t be found. But use this spare time to spend quality time to upgrade your resume, write for your blogs or look for prospective clients. Don’t let the negativity eat you up from inside. Stay positive!
6.) Mind Your Health
If you are under the weather and not in a condition to deliver your work, you should prioritize your health. If you don’t take care of your mental and physical health, your work will suffer. Support your freelance career by taking care of yourself. Hit the gym, eat healthy meals and maintain a balanced state of mind. If you can’t afford to go to the gym regularly, practice yoga at home.
If you are spending too much time alone in front of your laptop, it’s time to go out and breathe some fresh air. Meet your friends, spend some time at the spa and refresh before you resume the pending work. Never take your health for granted because remember, you want to stay young, fit and full of energy. You can always tell your client to extend the deadline if you are sick! It’s better to have a clear communication than losing the client, totally.
7.) Stay Positive
If you are the kind of person who looks at a glass half empty, then freelancing is not for you. No matter how old you are, having a positive attitude is the key to successful freelancing. There will be days when you are flooded with work and on other days, you just have to keep up the high spirit. Just having ‘I can do it’ attitude is not enough. A good freelancer is well versed with the pros and cons of freelancing. You should not let the gloomy days steal your optimistic approach to work and life.
8.) Learn To Say No
If you are not keen on doing a project, learn to gracefully say ‘no’. Make sure it is done in a healthy and friendly way. You are allowed to say no if you think you are not fit for the job, or can’t deliver on time. Do it in a friendly way without turning the relationship, bitter. It may sound difficult but you can’t say ‘yes’ all the time. Relationships are the key to success and having a good one with your client is important. It will ensure you are covered with new assignments for years to come.
9.) Under Promise And Over Deliver
Follow the mantra of ‘under promise and over deliver’ when it comes to deadlines, quality or any other requirement. When you consistently follow the deadlines and deliver quality work, the client will think of you for the important projects. This will ensure a regular income flow in your bank account and no matter how old you are, you can become a successful freelancer.
10.) Befriend A Millennial
You can learn a lot about the internet, social media, blogging and apps, from a millennial more than the internet. Whether it’s your own child, a niece/nephew or your young neighbour who just moved in. Have an open discussion with them over a cup of coffee or a pint of beer and grasp all the information. Learn how they perceive the world of internet and stay updated! Follow their social media profiles (yes, it’s legit to stalk) and apply them in your freelance assignments, wherever possible. Follow them on Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and learn how they communicate with emoticons, gifs and the slangs.
We hope this helped you pump up your spirit and gave you the much-needed inspiration. So, when are you starting your freelance career?