Knowing what you are passionate about is one thing, but knowing if you can (or should) transform that passion into a freelance business is an entirely different matter.
Hopefully, this post will help you answer that question.
Step 1: What are you good at?
You need to be honest and ask yourself, which of the things you’re passionate about are you especially good at doing? Say you’re passionate about web design, are you better at writing code or designing the page elements?
Recognizing your current skill level and acknowledging your limitations is a crucial part of being successful. If you know what you’re good at doing, you’ll be able to search for jobs that are a good fit for you. And when a client invites you to bid on a job, you can quickly determine if it matches your skillset.
(We’ll talk a lot more about how to find work and how to get invited to bid on projects later on in the series).
If you’re not sure what you’re good at doing, these questions can help:
- What do people often ask you about?
- What do people ask you to help with?
- What would a close friend say you’re good at doing?
Most times, the things you’re asked to help with are the things you’re best at doing, which are the things you're most passionate about.
Step 2: I know what I'm good at, but does it have business potential?
Knowing what you’re good at doing is the easy part. Knowing if that skill has the potential to develop into a business is the hard part.
The first step is to check if business owners need, and would pay, for the skill you have?
Say you’re a developer. Do businesses need developers (or programmers)?
This might sound obvious, but a simple way to answer that question is a quick Google search: “Do businesses need developers?” or “Hire a programmer”.
Try narrowing down the search results to a custom date range (perhaps a year or two), to get more up to date results.
Once you get a general idea about if your skill is in demand, head over to a freelancing platform like Upwork to check if there are any active jobs for that skill.
For example, a quick search for app developers jobs resulted in 6,673 active results, meaning there's high demand for freelance app developers.
Doing fairly simple research will provide a good sense and understanding of whether or not your own skill is in demand. And if it is, don't stop there. Take things to the next level and get more specific. Check which exact fields of expertise are most needed.
For example, developers who'd spend a few more minutes doing research, would find results like The Top Growing and Declining Skills in the World of Programming.
Step 3: How much is your skill worth?
To answer this question you can use a site like glassdoor, which allows you to see anonymous salary details for any job or company in the world, and learn what kind of salary to expect for any job in any location.
When you perform your search be sure to add the word ‘Freelance’ before your skill; freelance designer, freelance writer, freelance developer.
Another thing you could do is head over again to a site like Upwork or Freelancer, and check how much freelancers in your field of expertise charge per hour:
Alright, making progress.
Step 4: Should you go freelance?
Sadly, I can’t answer that question for you. The answer will depend on your personal circumstances, and multiple other factors. But having a certain skill + being really good at it + knowing there is demand for your skill is great starting point.
What I can tell you, is this – going freelance isn’t just about having a skill and knowing there’s a market for it. It takes a lot more than that.
A freelancer is a one-man show, and as a result, freelancers need to be knowledgeable in a wide range of business concepts such as marketing, branding, and finance.
A successful freelancer will not only have those necessary business related skills, but will also have important personal qualities such as great communication skills, strong work ethics, and multitasking abilities.
- Know what you’re passionate about and what you’re good at doing.
- Do research to check if your skills are in demand, and how much it pays.
- Going freelance is not a decision you should take lightly.
- Freelancing takes a lot more than having a skill and knowing there is demand for it.