Becoming a Freelancer: How to Price Your Jobs and Make More Money

As the economy lingers in a recession with little hope for a short term recovery, people who either have jobs but need more income, or are making a last ditch effort to find some income before moving back with mom and dad, should consider freelancing.


The next question obviously is, “freelance what?” It’s amazing what skills you already have that can be translated into cash whether you want full time, part time or even occasional work.

Many online sites exist that specialize in nothing other than freelance jobs. Most do require a nominal monthly fee to join. There is no long term commitment, no contracts, and it’s easy to “come and go” on these sites. For instance, if you are lucky enough to snag a three month assignment you can easily cancel or deactivate your membership (leaving all your profile information intact) until you need it again.

A simple Google search on “find freelance jobs” will give you plenty of options. The ones you choose should be ones that offer the type of jobs you want apply for. Freelance jobs range from writing blogs to full time engineering positions for Fortune 500 companies – and everything in between. Some are telecommute positions (work at home) and others actually require you to head to an office.

Again, figure out what you want to do and then these are the assignments you should target.

The trick now is to understand how and when to bid. Sure, you know what you’re worth and you know what you need to make to pay your bills. However, keep in mind that you are competing with hundreds of others, especially for work at home opportunities. If you are bidding too high, you won’t even be considered.

Many companies who post jobs online are looking for people to work for amounts that seem insulting. It’s a new game out there. And it does a bit to get used to. This isn’t to say that every company looking for workers wants to undercut you, but your chances of making what you think you are worth are pretty negligible.

Researching some sites over the past month showed me that some fairly large “real” companies are looking for workers to perform customer support services for under $4.00 an hour! Is this legal? Minimum wage in every US state dictates amounts closer to $7.00 an hour BUT there’s nothing you can do about this. Until you are hired, you don’t even know the company. You can’t complain! And if you get the job, you certainly aren’t going to file a complaint with the Dept. of Labor.

Bidding on and accepting one of these freelance assignments might even mean you don’t pay taxes on your wages. I’m not saying you don’t have to! I’m saying many of these online freelance jobs are short, meaning you don’t even reach the $600 limit that requires a company report your earnings to the IRS. By law you are supposed to report each penny you earn. Whether you do or not is a decision you need to make yourself.

For the above reference customer service job, making $4.00 an hour is even better than making minimum wage with taxes taken out. Think about it! You’re already ahead of the game!

Some sites will even show you what the average bid is for each job open. This gives you a good idea of what YOU should bid. Forget your pride! This is an ideal opportunity to make money. Take it or leave it.

Remember – you’re only bidding. You are then usually asked to interview, typically online, occasionally by phone. You are under no obligation to take the job.

Freelancing is a great opportunity to make enough on a part time basis to help with groceries, or even enable you to keep your pet. (Pet owners frequently give up their pets when they can’t afford to feed them anymore.) You can make $30 a week or $3,000 a month depending on your skills and your bidding prowess.

Freelancing info and ideas:

A neighbor of mine recently stopped going out for lunch every day and now writes a blog for a local sports team at lunch time. She makes $25 a week and found this job online.

Her sister found a job on the same site doing email and live chat customer service from 9 pm to 2 am Mondays through Thursday. She makes $3.90 an hour BUT she isn’t sitting at her computer every second. She takes her laptop with her if she goes out, and if she’s home she can watch TV or read a book while “working”. Some nights there is nothing to do! And she gets paid.

I helped one of my financial services clients get a civil engineering position for weekends only. Again, he found the job at an online freelance site. Because taxes were not taken out of his weekly check, he brought home as much on the weekends as he was during the week! His two month assignment helped him catch up on his mortgage payments.

Still one more acquaintance had her hours and pay scaled back where she worked, and she landed a six month assignment where she did accounts receivable billings for a carpet store on the west coast! She works at her own pace and makes $2.00 for every bill she sends out. She averages $70 a week from this job, which comes in handy!

You probably won’t get rich from this kind of work, but it’s a phenomenal way to make a few bucks you have no other way of getting.

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