How much can you make freelancing from home and eight tools you need to be successful
This is my third month of reporting my freelancing income though I’ve been freelancing from home for years. The posts give me the chance to look back and track where the money is coming from and share some tips to help you set up your own freelancing success story.
Since starting my own blogs in 2014, the goal has always been to gradually limit the time I spend freelancing as I build out my own internet assets. It’s been tough turning down some of the freelancing opportunities that have come my way this year though and it now looks like I might be taking on even more freelancing work.
The great thing about working from home though is that you have that control over your own business. It’s not somebody dumping a bunch of work on your desk and expecting it to be done yesterday, you directly control the work you do and the money you make.
How I made over $2,000 Freelancing from Home in May
The post on April freelancing income shared some facts on the average freelancer income and how to build your reputation as a quality work from home freelancer. April’s income of $3,725 was lower than the month before but still pretty good when added with the $3,000 I made in blogging and self-publishing…yeah, working from home rocks!
I didn’t look for any additional freelancing jobs last month and actually turned down a couple of requests for larger reports. I still did 12 articles for StreetAuthority and two of its other investing websites as well as four posts for CFA-test prep provider Finquiz. These are both long-term clients that I’ve had since 2012 and steady monthly work.
I ended up making $2,100 freelancing from home in May, a huge drop from most months this year but I pulled back on freelancing for a reason. I’ll start writing a monthly premium newsletter for a client soon that will mean an additional ten hours or more a week. This will probably take some time away from blogging so I wanted to get a few projects done ahead of time. Despite wanting to shift the focus from freelancing to blogging, the newsletter contract will pay $2,500 monthly plus commissions and was just too good to pass up.
It's really one of the defining points of freelancing from home, having to juggle your time between different jobs and your other work from home strategies. You’ll have a few long-term clients on which you can count on for regular work but you really have to take advantage of the big paydays when they come around. It’s different from just getting a steady paycheck from a traditional job but the upside is that you can make a LOT more money.
8 Tools You Need for Freelancing from Home
That upside to freelancing from home only comes if you’ve got the right tools to succeed. I’ve seen freelancers try to get started with just a laptop and turning the dining room table into a part-time desk. Making freelancing a profitable business is only going to happen if you treat it like a business and get the tools you need to work effectively.
That said, I thought I would talk about how I set up my home office and some of the tools I use for freelancing.
Most importantly, you need an office. Using the kitchen table as a part-time freelancing desk is only going to get you a part-time payday. You’re going to be spending a lot of time in your work from home office so you might as well make it somewhere you can be productive.
- A computer or laptop is an obvious necessity but I love having another monitor to work on. You can connect another monitor to your computer, right-click on your desktop screen or go to your display settings and then click on ‘extended desktop’. Being able to display different windows at the same time on two screens saves a lot of time compared to toggling back and forth on your laptop screen. Get a relatively large screen like the HP Pavilion 21.5” Monitor for an even larger desktop workspace.
- I also have a TV monitor on my desk which is helpful for following stock market news throughout the day. It can be a little distracting at times so you’ll want to limit the time it’s on to only when you need it for working.
- Office chairs are like mattresses, nobody wants to spend money on them even though they spend so much time on them. Do yourself a favor and splurge a little for a comfortable chair.
- I love to listen to music while I work, weather as background noise or to really rock out while I’m writing. I just got my Amazon Tap speaker a couple of weeks ago and am now a firm believer in Amazon’s AI genius. The speaker streams from Prime Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio or any of your own devices. It also features the Alexa Voice Service which is kind of like what Suri was for Apple except it actually works.
- You’ll also need some bookshelves and other furniture for your home office, something that makes for a professional-looking backdrop when you are video-conferencing with clients.
You might be able to get away with just using your cellphone as your business phone but Skype makes for a great alternative, especially when calling foreign numbers. I pay $7 a month to have my own phone number that routes through to my computer and another $7 monthly for unlimited calling throughout North America.
Talking through the computer makes a wireless headset essential. Most computer microphones and speakers are pretty good but you never know when the neighbor is going to decide to mow his lawn…right when you’ve got an important business call planned. Having a good headset with microphone (like the Logitech Wireless Headset that I use) not only helps with those important calls but gives you the freedom to wander around the room a little. The Logitech headset was designed for gamers so it’s got extremely clear audio and the noise-cancelling mic clears out ambient sounds.
Most of my work is completely digital but there’s still the occasional document that needs printed and signed. All-in-One printer/scanners are becoming extremely inexpensive so you might want to consider picking one up for those rare occasions you need to print or scan something.
I spend enough time freelancing from home and writing for my blogs, I don’t want to spend any more time than is necessary managing the accounting for my work from home business. By using Intuit Quickbooks, I can enter a contract in on one screen and it will flow through to all my other screens like sales and billing. Besides making it easier to track my business finances, it makes taxes so much easier by calculating my quarterly tax payment and my annual income taxes.
You will eventually need to share a document or work on it with a remote assistant. For doc sharing, Google Drive is the best price around…free. The cloud storage service converts all your documents and spreadsheets so others can work on them at the same time and it saves changes every few seconds. You get up to 15 GB of free storage which is more than most will need or you can get up to 100 GB for $1.99 per month.
There are other payment processing sites but PayPal is the most widely used and you’ll need an account to pay many of your bills and to collect payments. The site charges a payment processing fee of 3% to receive money but no charge to pay an invoice. You can transfer money to your bank account for free or can use the PayPal debit card which pulls from your account.
Freelancing from home might make you a solopreneur but a good team of assistants is indispensable. Hiring for small projects on Fiverr or Upwork means you don’t need to keep someone on the payroll but can still have access to quality staff when you need them. Being able to use other freelancers for their services and spend more time on the things you're good at will help make you more productive.
These aren’t the only tools you’ll need while freelancing from home but are some of the best for making your time as productive as possible. Learn how to juggle your different work from home income sources and put together your at-home office space to make your freelance dream a success.