I’ve been freelancing since 2013 and despite my very modest effort in building my freelance business, I’ve done pretty well. It’s gotten to the point where I receive emails daily with questions related to starting a freelance business on the side and I truly want to help all the people writing me, but the truth is, that my business took off in a very unusual way.
For me, it started out of desperation. I hated my job, lived abroad and needed to do something else and be closer to my family. So I quit my job (with no savings) and moved into my granddad’s basement where I could live rent free for 4 months. In the first 3 months, I only managed to land one ongoing client which wasn’t enough to make ends meet.
With 1 month left before we needed to live on our own, I came to the conclusion that maybe freelancing wasn’t for me. It had been so stressful and tough getting to just one ongoing client that I decided to apply for a full-time marketing/customer-service job in a child-clothing company. It wasn’t what I wanted, but I needed to earn a living ASAP.
To no surprise, they choose to hire another person as I had no children of my own nor any experience with child-related products.
However, a few days after getting my rejection, I was contacted by the husband of the owner of the child-clothing company that had just rejected me. He ran a one-man online marketing agency and could use someone with my skill set to free up some of his time and do the work needed for his clients.
To make an already long story shorter: I went to meet him. He liked me and we started working together on a min. 30 hours/month schedule which was enough for me to make a decent living.
Still today, I’m working with my first two clients and except for one occasion, I’ve never worked on getting new clients. It’s never been necessary for me and I’ve been able to travel the world only working an average of 50-60 hours/month.
So when I get questions like “How do you get your first clients?” I don’t know what to reply. “Just apply for a full-time job you’re not qualified for and they’ll refer you to someone who needs your help” isn’t really the best advice to give…
The thing is, I love freelancing and I love helping people. That why I started this blog. I wanted to help other freelancers or aspiring freelancers, start and grow a freelance business.
So, in order for me to really get an understanding of starting a freelance business, I’ve challenged myself to start a new freelance business on the side.
The simple rules of this challenge:
I want my challenge to appeal to everyone, even the full-time employed parent with lots of responsibilities and very limited free-time. This means:
- I can’t spend more than 10 hours/month on “growing the business”. (Client work not included).
- I have to be frugal about my spendings. I don’t expect to spend more than $200 in this challenge.
- I’ll have to start in a new niché. No leveraging of existing clients/contacts.
- I’ll have to openly share my thoughts, experiments, results and failures.
Let the challenge begin!
The status updates will initially be once-a-month but it’s subject to change depending on the progress I make with only 10 hours every month.