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If you've got a skill you think you can market through freelancing, but you're not sure where to start, How to Adult has you covered.

1. Know the ropes
- educate yourself about the market you're entering.
2. Crunch some numbers
- make a business plan for yourself
3. Put yourself out there!
- find clients, and keep them
4. "Punch in"
- keep a routine, and hit your deadlines
5. Get paid
- set a price, be specific about what you're being paid for, be persistent
6. Taxes
- educate yourself about taxes for freelancing.

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References and Links:
This episode is brought to you by Skillshare, an online learning community with more than 16,000 classes in design, photo, and more. [♪♩INTRO].

Oh, hello there. It is I, the Freelancer.

I work from home and wear whatever I want and pay my bills. If you want to start working for yourself, whether full time or just a side hustle on top of your day job, you can join the magical world of freelancing. But beware!

It's not for everyone, and it's not always easy. Uh, actually, it's almost never easy, because that's how work just is. But if you have a skill or product that you want to make money off of on a freelancing basis,.

Pretty and I will take you by the hand and walk you through the basics. Step

One: Know the ropes. We're guessing you have a skill or product that you think you could make a little bit of money by selling. Before you take it out there and try to sell it, though, try to learn as much as you can about what you do and what it will take to market it. Other people in your industry will be good to ask for advice, assuming you're not direct competitors.

And if you have a Lifelong Learning Center or similar adult education resource in your area, check out what classes they might offer. There are also a ton of resources online for improving your marketable skills, including. Skillshare, the sponsor for this episode.


Two: Crunch some numbers. Whether you're freelancing to pay rent or just for movie night money, you should still have an idea of how much time and money you will put into freelancing to get something out of it. So it's a great idea to write an informal business plan for yourself. A business plan is an analysis on how your business will operate, what it will cost to get started and how much profit you need for this to be financially viable.

It's also worth it to reach out to someone with a business background to talk through your plans with. Some communities offer programs where you can meet with someone and get business coaching; try contacting your local chamber of commerce or economic development nonprofit to see what might be available. This stuff might seem boring, but it's mega important to have realistic expectations for your business or your side hustle in order to make a living.


Three: Put yourself out there and get customers! How you reach out to customers depends on what your product is, and hopefully you can reach out to connections you've already made through your professional experiences. But if you're building a freelance career from scratch, sites like Upwork, and TaskRabbit are all good places to start. No matter what, try to market your product through as many ways as possible, from Facebook pages to a website to Twitter to LinkedIn to Craigslist to, to heck, old-fashioned flyers around the neighborhood.

Make sure that it's easy for clients to contact you and that you are always responsive and polite, no matter what. Repeat after me: Responsive and polite, no matter what. Step

Four: “Punch in” even if you don't have a time clock. You might have taken on freelancing because you wanted a more flexible schedule, but that doesn't mean that freelancing isn't still a job that you need to be on time for. It's important to set a routine for yourself and follow deadlines, especially if you're the kind of person who procrastinates a little bit. And, like, who doesn't procrastinate?

Just make sure to do your best to hit your deadline or self-impose a deadline to hit. It's the best way to show clients and potential clients that you're reliable and worth hiring again. Step

Five: Get paid. [laughs maniacally]. So, this is big. Ask how much you're getting paid or set your prices before you start working on the project you get hired to do. Invoice for your work in a prompt manner.

Do not work for free. If anybody ever says you can do this thing for “exposure,” run away! This does not mean, however, that sometimes you might do work that does not pay super well but benefits you in other ways.

Maybe you take a gig that's low-paying but builds your relationship with a client who will hire you for a bigger job in the future. Ask other freelancers in your industry what they're getting paid for their work so you can have an idea of what's fair compensation in your particular market. Some professions will have places online where you can look this stuff up.

Freelance writers, for example, should check out, an anonymous crowdsourced database. Sadly, it's also not uncommon in some industries for clients to be slow or hesitant to pay back an invoice. Do not be afraid to politely ask for your paycheck, even if it takes a really long time and a lot of calls and emails.

If, hopefully, you contract with a client who pays promptly and well, make sure to thank them! Step

Six: Yay, you made money! Now do your taxes. Taxes are really important for a freelancer, especially if it is your only source of income. Freelance checks might seem big, but remember that usually, the client isn't taking out federal or state taxes from that check the way your traditional employer does.

When you file your taxes at the end of the year and report your freelance income, that's when the IRS will take out those taxes. It can add up to a big chunk of change unless you've made prior arrangements and also registered as an independent contractor. It's pretty complicated for us to get into here, but we suggest checking out sites like. and reading up on your rights. Podcasts like “Side Hustle School” and “Bad with Money with Gaby Dunn” also frequently talk about the business of freelancing and are worth checking out. And check out Skillshare for helpful classes, like this one about designing and structuring your website.

This class is great for learning on the go, since most of the tips are communicated orally. You can watch or listen on the Skillshare app for Android or iPhone. To support How to Adult and learn more out Skillshare, go to the link in the description.

Be one of the first 500 to sign up and get the first two months of your subscription free. Good luck out there! [off screen] Can I actually hear you speak a little bit? Yes.

This is my bear. I really like her, she has a little sweater that we put on for Christmas-time. [off screen] You have one piece of hair that's sticking straight up. This—this is what I look like at home.

Your marketable scares—. Skils. Blehhhh! [laughter].

It's her debut. No matter what, try to market your product— [laughter]. Shhh!

But that doesn't mean that freelancin'— [southern accent?] Freelancin'! Yaaaaa! Make it rain!

We only have so much money! And also registered as an independent crun—. Cruncher.

But we suggest checking out sites like Freelexfesation... Shoot.