Special thanks to one of my best blogging buddies Chris Fields for all the help he has given me and the time he took to talk with me about all the hard work he puts in.
I was talking with a friend recently about work and blogging when she suggested I should “go it alone.” In other words try the freelance route of blogging and consulting work. I admit that I’ve thought of this many a time (especially when I got laid off) but I decided against it for a variety of reasons.
To get some background on being a freelance blogger, HR guru, and social media maven I spoke with Chris Fields from Cost of Work Consulting. I’ve watched him as he has slowly built up a following and expanded his consulting business. He hasn’t quite reached the stratosphere of success like Laurie Ruettimann or Jessica Miller-Merrell but I am confident he will. Some lessons I’ve learned in my many discussions with him?
First, you must be passionate about what you do…why? Because you are your boss. In the corporate world you have a boss who sets the strategy and keeps you in line (hopefully they don’t have to do this too often but you know what I mean). As a freelancer you are your boss. You are your chief motivator. If you aren’t passionate, you won’t be motivated to work. To focus and get this motivation Chris suggests you ask yourself “what are you doing and why?”, this helps keep your focus and stave off the distractions.
Second, your job will no longer be Monday through Friday 8-5. That’s great… right? You can get all that flexibility you always wanted! That just simply isn’t true. If you don’t already follow Chris on Twitter and Facebook you should start. Because you will see a machine. Not a robo-tweeter but someone who is on from 7-7, providing interesting comments and promoting his own blog and others. Check out Chris’s Twitter or Facebook stream one day during the week and you will see exactly what I mean.
Why is Chris always on Twitter and Facebook? Because you are only going to get exposure if you promote yourself which brings me to my third and final point: you must be very comfortable promoting yourself and your services. This route is not for the timid. Realize that there are a lot of people selling what you are selling. Just getting people to read your blog is tough, then trying to monetize that? Even tougher ! Chris estimates that out of the 1200 people that follow him, only about 150-200 read his blog. That’s about 12-15%. When you try to move to the next step of monetizing your freelance work? It gets even smaller!
Keep in mind after reading the above that I haven’t tackled the practical stuff like making money….
I’m not trying to rain on anyone’s dreams, there are a lot of people who are wasting their potential “working for the man.” I just want you to realize it is not an easy path and it’s a long journey to financial success. Get out there and escape cubicle nation but make sure you are doing what you love and accept the challenges that come with it.
As for me? I’m sitting tight right now, learning a lot of cool stuff and getting more experience, but who knows what I will be up to in 5-10 years 😉
- How to Start Freelancing Full-Time (mint.com)
- The Pitfalls of Freelancing [INFOGRAPHIC] (mashable.com)
- Things You Should Expect If You Start Freelancing and How to Prepare Yourself (lifehacker.com)