How I quit my day job and became a full time freelancer

posted in: Articles, Tom's Blog | 0

When I started this website and podcast over two years ago, I wasn't sure where it would go. All I had was an idea and I decided to run with it. I didn't plan on becoming a full time freelancer at the time.

I didn't know if anyone would want to listen to me.

I didn't know if anyone would be interested in the topic of game store entrepreneurship.

I didn't know much about producing a podcast or building websites back then either.

What I knew for sure was that I wanted to be a part of the exciting opportunity that the internet represented and that I had things to say. I didn't know at the time what impact that choice would ultimately have on my life. I've met a ton of awesome people through the interviews I've done on the Manaverse Podcast. A select few of which I consider friends.

Shout out to John Coviello, Wayne Mittlesteadt, and Gary Sproul. You guys are excellent co-hosts!

In fact, my experience with the podcast has lead to a few unexpected opportunities as well. As I announced in MVP056, I've recently been able to quit my day job as an Operations Supervisor and earn a living online as a full time freelancer. This means working from a computer in my home office and being able to spend way more time with my wife and nearly two-year-old son. 

So how did I do it?

Enter Upwork.com

Upwork.com is a job site where employers go to find freelancers to work for them. The kinds of jobs posted can range from copywriting to video and audio production to web design and development. The kinds of opportunities on Upwork can run the gamut, but the thing in common they all share is that they can be done remotely.

As a freelancer you look at postings that seem interesting and then submit a proposal. You may score an interview off the proposal, or you may just get offered a test job like I was. 

Over the last two years, I've produced over 50 podcasts, redesigned this website multiple times, and gained a huge amount of experience when it comes to marketing a brand, building an audience, and driving traffic organically and via PPC.

Not everything has worked along the way but that's just part of the learning experience.

The point is I learned many of the internet marketing skills that employers are looking for online.

About six months ago, I was contacted by my current client and asked to do a trial gig writing the show notes for her podcast. Spoiler alert: I crushed it and she hired me on to do all of her podcast notes for her clients as well. 

freelancer
My former team, shout out to you guys too

The key thing to remember here is that I was still working my day job up until a few days ago. Freelancing is something that you can build up as a side hustle over time if you want. You don't have to try to be a full time freelancer right off the bat.

As time went on, my workload and responsibilities increased to the point where I was comfortable making the transition to full-time freelancer. I now work for myself and have more time in my life for the important things.

Handing in your resignation to a job you have come to despise is, as I'm sure many of you know, very sweet. 

I believe that virtually anyone (see what I did there) has the skills and can learn the skills to earn a living online. You just have to want it enough to stick to it and keep trying.

Tips for finding work on Upwork.com

Fill out your profile completely. The more accurate and fleshed out your profile is the more attractive it is to potential clients.

Don't be afraid of rejection. You're probably going to send out a ton of proposals before finding someone who's interested enough to get back to you. There are a lot of people on Upwork and not every employer will look through all 50 proposals they get. You have to be ok with the fact that the majority of people will just ignore you.

Be consistent. Setting aside a little time each day to fill out one or two proposals is the best way to get work. 

Don't be afraid of setting your rates higher than the average. There are a lot of people on Upwork willing to work for next to nothing. Let them. It's not sustainable and those kinds of jobs aren't the kind you should be going for anyways. There are plenty of clients looking to pay top dollar for quality work.

Be specific with what your value is. Niche your services down, that way you will stand out from the sea of low priced freelancers racing to the bottom and can command higher rates.

What's coming up

So where does the Manaverse Podcast and Manaverse Saga fit into all of this?

I now have more time than ever to research and create content for readers like you so that's the plan. Expect more articles and podcasts talking about systems and strategies you can use to build a successful game store.

Stay Strong,

Tom