Becoming a freelancer is a lucrative financial opportunity that can drastically change your life. My overall income has gone up significantly every year since I started freelancing. Why? Because as a freelancer you are in control of what you make. You set your own rates. You don’t have to rely on an employer to give you raises, to get pay increases. You are in control. If you produce high quality work, get great reviews and feedback from your clients, then you can charge for that level of quality. And trust me, there are tons and tons of clients that want to pay for the top talent.
They’re willing to pay the higher rates because they want high quality work. For example, back when I first started freelancing, my rate was between 30 and 50 dollars an hour. Now my rate on Upwork is $100 an hour, and I’m consistently getting projects and clients for that rate. Let me give you some math behind making over six figures as a freelancer versus at a salaried company. If you eventually work your way up at a salaried company to making over $100,000 a year, then you are likely working at least 40 hours a week for that pay, probably more than 40 hours a week. For me, right now, as a freelancer, I just have to work 19 to 20 hours a week to make over $100,000 a year. So, you can imagine how lucrative that it can be when you’re working, let’s say, 30 to 40 hours a week as a freelancer at those rates.
And, trust me, it’s definitely not all about the money. But I can promise you that it’s a great feeling having extra money to cover the things that life throws at you. And it allows you to experience amazing things with the people that you love. Unlike a traditional job, when you’re a freelancer, you are exposed to numerous different types of businesses and jobs, as well. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve worked on over a hundred different jobs on Upwork, and that doesn’t include my personal clients and ones that I also had on freelancer.com. As a freelancer, you are not limited to working with local clients. You can work with anyone that you want, all around the world. Personally, for me as a freelancer, working on SQL Server DBA, SQL Server development and data engineer jobs, my skill-set has grown so insanely faster than it ever would have just working at my salaried position.
After freelancing for three years, my skill-set is so far beyond what I ever expected it to be at this point in my career. Becoming a freelancer allows you to build an impressive online resume and portfolio, which leads to other opportunities. Freelancing has allowed me to create my business, Josh Burns Tech, and also pursue content creation through YouTube and my blog, as well. Now, we’ve all heard the saying, “Scared money don’t make no money.” Freelancing can give you the financial means to take risks which are needed to grow and reach new levels. I’ve also personally been featured in tons of Upwork marketing campaigns. I’ve been on the main page of their website. I’ve been on their social media accounts. I’ve been in their blog posts. That has given me tons of exposure to so many clients. Just one year ago, I had been freelancing for about two-and-a-half years. I was working one day, and I get an email from someone at Upwork.
The email asked me if I would be available the following week to fly out to San Francisco for a photo-shoot, to be featured in Upwork’s marketing campaign as a top freelancer in the IT and Networking category. Of course, at first I was like, “There’s no way this can be real. “This is someone spamming me.” However, the email was from someone at Upworks Marketing Department. I ended up flying out to San Francisco. And those photos from that photo-shoot have been featured all over the place for Upwork. And what did I do to earn that opportunity? I started freelancing and I worked insanely hard. I sacrificed so much. And I can promise you that all those sacrifices that I made to work extremely hard and become one of the top freelancers, they were all 100% worth it. Putting in consistently really high levels of work, and doing things that most don’t. So, again, it allows you to build a really impressive online resume and portfolio. Consider your own personal resume. You have a resume, probably on a PDF, saved somewhere on a computer, maybe printed out somewhere.
You have a resume, and it’s that one sheet of paper. So, now, let’s go ahead and take a quick look at my Upwork profile and portfolio. So, here we are on Upwork. And let’s take a quick look at my profile. When clients first come to my profile, they can see some really high-profile clients that I’ve worked with in the past. Fortune 500 company, Stanford University, those are some really high-profile clients. I’ve worked tremendously on my overview and profile in general, so that when clients come to my profile, they can see tons of reasons why they should work with me. Compared to a traditional resume, when a client comes to my profile, not only can they see my work overview, they can also see the rate I charge, how much I’ve earned on the platform, how many jobs I’ve worked on, and hours as well. Now, that’s what a client sees when they first come to our profile.
If they scroll down, this is the most important part to me. Work history and feedback. So, traditionally, applying for a job, you’re probably going to be asked to give references, right? The employer will typically choose to call those references and ask about you. Now, on Upwork and other freelance sites, you have your work history and feedback, so clients and employers can easily see reviews and feedback that you’ve received on jobs similar to theirs. And if we scroll down and look at a few, you can see how they stand out. You can see these five-star reviews that I’ve received.
I put so much work and time in over-delivering on projects, to make sure that I got these reviews. But when clients come to your profile and they see all these reviews and great feedback, you are going to stand out over other freelancers. And, like I said before, I’m consistently getting jobs at a hundred dollars an hour now. If we take a look at some of the jobs I have in progress in open contracts, you will see tons of them at a hundred dollars an hour. And then, also very important, we have the Portfolio section. In this section, it’s your portfolio. You get to go in-depth and create portfolio objects related to work you’ve done. You can add whatever you want in here that would look great for potential clients. For example, you can see that I have a portfolio item from when I was featured in the Upworks marketing campaign.
And this is a screen-shot from when I was on the front page of Upwork.com. And then I also had portfolio items from my YouTube channel, my website, SQL Server projects I’ve completed. You can add anything in here that looks great to clients. And then, at the bottom of my profile, you can see the employment history. So, this is what typically see on a resume.
On a traditional resume, you have all your jobs listed out, and a brief description of those, as well. On a freelance site like Upwork.com, Freelancer, Fiverr, any of those, you have so much more than just what a standard resume offers. Freelancing gives you the freedom to work from anywhere. You can work from your home, traveling around the world, or even on a beach with an internet connection. It’s amazing the different types of places that you can work using a hotspot. So, if you are already a freelancer, down in the comments section of this video let me know your favorite place to do freelance work from. Mine, personally, is definitely from my home. I can get the work done that I need to, and then I can spend time with my fiance and all of our animals.
We have way too many! More and more companies are adopting freelancers and remote workers. This year, in 2019, 57 million Americans freelanced, which is 35% of the entire US workforce. And since 2014, that number has grown by four million freelancers. Companies are using freelancers more than ever, realizing the benefits of being able to easily and quickly find top talent. Advancements in technology have made it so easy to work remote. For example, this past summer, I went on vacation to San Diego, and on the flights back home I did freelance work. Now, otherwise, this would have just been a time where I watched a movie or attempted to sleep, key word being attempted! But instead I choose to freelance and recuperate some of the money that I spent on the trip. So, how do you get started on a path to be successful long-term as a freelancer? Be patient and play the long game.
Listen, the main reason why I see freelancers give up too early, complain about Upwork or other freelance platforms and throw in the towel before they even get started, is a lack of patience. We live in a world today where everything is right at our fingertips and expect it to come immediately and easily to you. Being a successful freelancer is something that takes immense patience. You have to have a skill that has somewhat of a demand. And that means right now. If you don’t have a skill that’s in demand, then you have to put the work in. You have to put the grind in.
And you have to put the hours into developing that skill. Personally, I went to college. Not that everyone needs to. That’s just my personal route that I took. I went to college, and then I worked insanely hard. I grinned insanely hard to develop my skills in SQL Server and databases. I spent countless hours watching SQL content, going through training courses, practicing on my local computer and studying the top people in my industry. I put in so much of my time to work on my goals and dreams consistently, and make progress on them. I could have been relaxing and hanging out with my friends all the time, but I chose not to. Now, I still did those things when I wanted. However, I consistently chose to work on my goals and my dreams, which is why I am in the position that I am today. Now I’m in a position today where I have the life that I always dreamed of having, growing up. I have the financial means that I always wanted.
I have my dream car. I have a great work-life balance that works for me, and I get to enjoy life and spend a lot of time with my amazing fiance. But the work and the grind have to come first to allow you to live like most never get to. Ask yourself, what do you want out of life? What ambitions do you have? Whatever those are, pursue them relentlessly, because there is so much satisfaction in achieving your goals and dreams. Let me promise you one thing. If you surround yourself with people who have similar mind-sets as you, they have similar goals and ambitions, they reflect positively, and, most importantly, they support your goals and dreams, rather than trying to tear them down. If you do that, you’ll be more motivated than you’ve ever been.
You’ll be more successful than you’ve ever been, and you will reach your goals and dreams insanely faster. So, ask yourself, “Am I putting in the time and effort “that it takes to reach my goals and ambitions?” And, listen, be honest with yourself. Look inward and think about how you are choosing to spend your time. Do you really want to be a successful freelancer, make an impact and make life-changing money? If you do, then now is the time to start making changes in your life, and start pursuing your career as a freelancer. There’s people similar to you all around the world, with similar goals and ambitions, who are choosing to put in the time and grind insanely hard to work towards their goals and dreams. Are you going to sit back and watch them have all the success that you want, or are you going to make changes? Start giving this everything that you have, and outwork everyone. Freelancing is a long game. Everyone starts out on the bottom. And those with immense patience and work ethic to make it to the top.
Personally, I keep this mind-set: Life does not owe me anything. It’s up to me to go after what I want and put the work in. Only you can change your life. Being a successful freelancer just doesn’t fall into your hands. You have to go out and get it. So let’s get to work.