There was never a question of whether I was happy with my career move away from NBC and the sports journalism field to start a new journey as a social media freelancer. But had I known this six pack of truths about social media freelancing before I made the move, I would’ve done it much sooner.
1. You can work from anywhere in the world
As long as you have Internet access and a laptop. With that said, I’m not the kind of guy who’s going to explore every corner of the world. Sure, I like to travel from time to time, but this isn’t even about traveling; it’s about controlling more of your life. Today you can work from a coffee shop, tomorrow from the park, next week from your bed, next month in another country. The world is your office, literally. For me, working in different places keeps me focused and motivated. Does anyone really enjoy going to the same office every day?
2. There’s a lot of money to be made
A lot of people think that freelancing is a part-time side job, only good for picking up a few gigs here and there. For me and thousands of other freelancers, that’s certainly not the case. I make a very comfortable full-time income (more on that below), and I know several others who do the same.
3. You can grow your income super fast
The first year of my freelancing career, I made $41,000. The second year – $57,000. The third year – more than $100,000. In most cases, you’re not going to experience that kind of exponential growth working for someone else. I don’t make that amount of money because I work 80 hours a week, or because I’m the sharpest tool in the shed. I’ve been able to consistently and significantly grow my income because I’ve diversified my services (social media management, consulting, speaking, coaching, teaching, etc) and my geographic reach, working with businesses in the United States, Europe and the Middle East. Using a laptop as your pop-up office means you can expand your services to different locations without needing an office in each one, giving you the opportunity to provide a variety of services to a broader client pool.
4. You don’t need to be an expert for people to think you’re an expert
I once read that being an expert doesn’t mean that you need to know everything about a particular subject. Perception is reality, which means people perceive an expert as someone who knows more about a subject than the general public. And let me tell you, the general public knows nothing about social media marketing. If you talk like a social media expert and act like a social media expert, people will think you’re a social media expert.
5. Even some of the biggest companies in the world hire freelancers
I originally thought that I would hit a ceiling in terms of the size of businesses that would hire me. Boy was I wrong. I’ve worked with government organizations (the U.S. Embassy), international brands (W Hotels), publicly traded companies (SodaStream) and national chains (LYFE Kitchen Restaurants). What I realized is that, regardless of the size of a company or organization, people hire someone who they can trust, so developing relationships with people who trust you will lead to other relationships with people who trust them. As such, my opportunity to work with each of these companies and organizations was created through a mutual relationship, entirely based on trust.
6. It’s all about word-of-mouth
As I said, developing relationships with people who trust you will lead to other relationships with people who trust them. When someone hires you, they’re hiring you with the confidence that you won’t screw them over (intentionally or unintentionally). That confidence is all based on trust.
Don’t worry about promoting or advertising yourself to people who don’t know you; focus on strengthening relationships with people in your existing networks, and those people will create new relationships for you.