How to Convert Your Freelance Hobby Into a Profitable Career

Freelancing is your favorite hobby today, but have you considered turning this part-time activity into a viable career? Well, to me, it sounds like a great idea. Can anything be better than converting your freelancing hobby into a full-time career?

As a freelancer, you are living in your own paradise — away from the daily grind of the 9 to 5 job, where you have to deal with a fiery boss all the time. On top of it, you have to deal with the stress of commuting every day to your workplace! If your office is far off from your abode, you are only wasting time and energy on something that doesn’t make you feel happy or fulfilling. Agree?

I quit my full-time job six years ago to kick-start my freelancing career with a hope for a better tomorrow. Yes, there was frustration and every day stress that would keep me from feeling happy and satisfied at my permanent job in a big corporate house. It was more like having to pass through the grinding mill every day, without any significant benefits. If you include stress and frustration to my perseverance, I was only hurting myself more and more with every passing day.

That was the time I decided to hang up my boots to convert freelance hobby into career!

I have never looked back ever since I made the decision to say it quits, because I have made my dream career.

Though every day was full of challenges initially, I am glad all my efforts have paid off, and I am enjoying every moment living my dream.

Don’t Let Early Hiccups Affect You

No doubt, starting your freelancing business comes with its own share of bells and whistles, but you cannot ignore the efforts and time required for a successful transition. Add to it the risks and pitfalls along with the lack of financial security when you kick-start your freelancing career, and your transition really gets harder.

It involves plenty of early morning wakeups, no off-days, heavy load of drudgery, emotional meltdown, physical exhaustion, and you name it! But that should not drag your feet toward gloom.

Yes, making a shift to a full-time freelancing career involves a steep learning curve. So when you finally decide to switch your after-hours passion into a viable business, ask yourself a few questions to see if you are ready for the transition.

  • Will I enjoy doing my hobby under time pressure?
  • Will I keep finding pleasure in my hobby even when there is intense financial pressure to perform?
  • Will I derive the same kind of relaxation from my passion then?
  • Am I willing to sell myself?
  • Can I leverage my creative skills to feed me out?

Your Field of Dreams

Freelancing is one hobby that comes with immense benefits, with a huge potential of converting into a viable business. Of course, it’s a big decision, given the share of risks that come with relying on your passion as your only source of income. Moreover, when your hobby becomes your career, you are going to have to find something else to unwind yourself! But that’s okay as long as your first passion continues to reap rewards.

Initially, it can be scary if you do not have the stability of a regular income. But you can use the threat of failure to “fuel” your ambition. With the right amount of information, knowledge, preparation, and willpower, you will be all set to quit your full-time job and commit to a freelancing business.

Meet Your Market

Before making the decision to convert your freelance hobby into a full-time career, make sure you have done your market research to see what skills you have that the audience would be willing to pay for. Is there a big market for your niche? Who are you going to sell your services to?

Remember, you need someone to buy what you wish to sell.

So how do you find your market?

Well, you can leverage the power of Internet and mobile apps to find your audience. Peer Hustle is a mobile app you can use to market your services.

Use these platforms to list specific skills that make you different from the crowd. Put your best foot forward while building your virtual resume with an appealing description that shows up in search engines.

Do anything and everything that makes you attractive in the eyes of prospective clients and can win you business.

Draw up a business and action plan and stick to it. When you are confident to turn your skills into services that people are willing to pay for, no stopping you then!

Create Your Portfolio

A portfolio accurately launches your work before the audience. Make sure you have quality work to showcase your target market. If you have none, wait to launch your freelancing business unless you have some quality samples to show off.

Do not hesitate to offer free services initially in order to create your portfolio — the quality and quantity of your portfolio will act like magic to attract clients.

You need to understand your customer’s business and make sure your freelancing business is the perfect fit for them. If your services provide results, they will not hesitate to hire your freelancing services.

People have problems and are looking for solutions. They are least interested in what you are good at doing. They want solutions to their problems. If your portfolio can convince them and offer viable solutions, they will want to work with you.

Know Your Market Value

What is your worth? How much should you charge for your services?

Step into the shoes of the client and ask yourself what you would be willing to pay someone with the same skills as you. Your answer will guide you to setting your work value. Of course, you may want to research online to make sure you get your worth and do not commit to anything less than that.

Once your general market value is established, it may help to undercut the market by at least 20–25 percent, since your freelancing business can survive with long-term engagements.

Deliver value to clients, create a positive perception about your business, maximize returns, and increase your chances of winning more business.

Remember, in freelancing business, initial contracts can help illustrate your value. So make all efforts to map yourself into the long-term success plan of the client and offer solutions to solve client problems.

When clients are happy, they would be more than willing to part with their money and reward you for your successful efforts. When they see you as a problem solver, they would gladly enter into long-lasting commitment.

Freelancing success is just a few clients away. When you convert your freelance hobby into business, your focus should be on winning and keeping a handful of clients. If you are able to keep them happy, you will never look back — winning repeat business and referrals!

What could be better than that?

Networking

Marketing your freelancing business may seem like a big challenge initially. One simple way to promote your creative skills is to carry your pocket-size business cards all the time. You never know when you would meet a prospective client head on!

Additionally, innovative mobile applications like Peer Hustle give you a platform to promote your services to a wider audience and widen your network.

Social networking sites pack a powerful array of features to help you spread the word about your freelancing business. Leverage the power of social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google Plus, and Pinterest, to announce your entry into the freelancing industry. There isn’t a simpler way to declare your availability to prospective clients than social networks.

Start a blog and establish yourself as an expert in the industry. Your blog should be an ultimate recourse of information on your niche, offering valuable knowledge and solutions to the audience. Once your audience starts to see you as an expert in your industry, they will start to distinguish you from the competition and come back for more!

Initially, you may not feel comfortable with self-promotion, but that is the way to go in freelancing business, and all successful “solopreneurs” do it.

Draw a Line Between Your Personal & Professional Space

Making your passion your career is a way to share your dreams with the world. You may be motivated to use your personal space for your freelancing business. But it’s important to remember that you’re a business. A lackadaisical approach will not help. There must be a dividing line between personal and professional engagements.

It’s important that you do things that drive that point home. It will help to transform your home workspace into an office-like ambience. Announce clearly to your loved ones that your “virtual door” is closed for personal engagements from 9am to 5pm or whatever schedule fits you. Discipline is critical to the success of your business.

If done correctly, freelancing offers tons of freedom, plenty of enjoyment & liberty, and thousands of opportunities to live your dream the way you want. Freelancing is a multi-billion dollar industry. Do it correctly with proper planning and execution, and you could go for a big slice of this multi-billion dollar pie!

So are you up for grabs and ready to go solo?

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Originally published at peerhustle.com on August 22, 2015.