Starting with a Service as a Way to Learn to Freelance

I have worked for Textbroker, an online writing service, for more than 6 years. This makes me a 1099 MISC contractor, not an employee. It allowed me to figure out how to do things that are worth money while getting paid to develop those skills.

Starting in January of last year, I began doing some client work through other channels. I did about the same amount of paid work through the service last year as the year before, but other channels of income added about a third more to my earned income.

I recently had my first paid client on the ground in meat space (doing website work, not writing per se). If I am able to successfully develop that channel of revenue, I believe it has potential to be better income for me than the things I have been doing.

Working for a service can help you figure out how to produce a product that people will pay for first, without having to also figure out the business details. Once you have figured out how to create work as a freelancer that is worth money, it is much easier to take that skill and go try to figure out the other business pieces, like finding clients and how to price your work.

It's easier psychologically because you are confident that what you are doing is worth money. It is easier emotionally because if you fail to get clients as an independent worker, you can still eat by just continuing to do work through the service. It is easier logistically because you need to think about, research and experiment with fewer pieces of the puzzle at one time.

If you need help finding a service, here is a list of services.

Originally published elsewhere on May 08, 2018.