The bills are piling up. Your stress levels are sky high. And your kids are screaming because they don’t WANT beans for dinner… AGAIN. Sound familiar? You need a cash infusion, and you need it QUICK. I have good news for you: starting a WAHM freelancing business can quickly provide that fast income boost you need, while still allowing you to be home with your family.
If you’re thinking about starting an at-home business, be sure to take my free QUIZ to help you think through all the main decision points and discover if being a Work-at-Home Mom really IS the best option for you!
Read the rest of the WAHM series here:
What IS WAHM Freelancing?
In the WAHM world, freelancing could involve just about any skill you currently possess that an individual or company would be willing to pay for. There are freelance writers, photographers, graphic designers, web developers, editors/proofreaders, and on and on.
There are LOTS of options in this WAHM field! Basically, if you can think of a service or product to offer, you can probably find a client willing to pay you to do it for them.
Pros of WAHM Freelancing
When it comes to WAHM freelancing, there are several key benefits to consider:
Because you get to choose which projects you accept, the clients you want to work with, and the hours you decide to work, freelancing is the ultimate at-home job for flexibility. Your clients really only care about the end result, so how and when you choose to complete the projects you take on is entirely up to you.
Quick to Start
Entry-level, freelance job sites like Fiverr or UpWork can get you started TODAY. You set up a profile, set your rates, and maybe take a competency test, and then you’re ready to start bidding on jobs.
If you are already well connected within your industry, you can also touch base with your contacts and offer your services directly to potential clients. No middle man means more money goes into YOUR bank account!
(Should you decide to strike out on your own, be sure you have a plan for invoicing and getting paid. The nice part about a middle man is they are generally the ones ensuring you are paid for your work. When you’re going directly to clients yourself, it’s all on you to make sure the client — and your money! — doesn’t go MIA after you’ve finished their project!)
Generally, when you decide to start a freelancing business, you’re providing a product or service for which you already have the requisite equipment. You don’t have to spend money on office rent, special equipment, or even a website in the beginning. (Though it is definitely in your best interest to set up a professional website eventually!)
Cons of WAHM Freelancing
Just like with anything, if there is an upside to WAHM freelancing, there is an equal and opposite list of downsides:
Finding Steady Clients Takes Time
While you can get started on random freelance jobs that will help pay the bills quite quickly, you will eventually want or need to find long-term, freelance work. Part of your “job” as a freelancer is to spend time drumming up business for yourself. Whether you’re contacting former colleagues to network, applying for jobs on a freelancing site, or asking former clients for referrals, finding clients takes a significant chunk of time in the beginning.
Income Is Limited by Time
How much you make as a WAHM freelancer is entirely dependent on how many hours you can dedicate to your freelance projects.
If you still have babies or toddlers at home, the amount of time you have to give is likely limited. Therefore, your income will be equally limited, unless you are lucky enough to find a really great, well-paying, and steady freelance gig. Which is totally possible! It just may take some digging and some time.
However, if your kids are in school most of the time, you could have an entire “work day” to focus and churn out projects while the house is quiet. If that’s the case, you could make a tidy sum during the day, but still be available and present for your kiddos in the evenings.
Low Paying to Start
From my experience, finding quick-start freelance jobs may be easy, but not necessarily the most profitable in the beginning. Freelance gigs come in a whole range of sizes and rates. However, most freelance jobs available to newbies are going to be on the lower end of the pay spectrum.
The other piece to consider is if you are freelancing for a larger company or going through a freelance management site, that company will take a large chunk of the money you earn. They’re the ones who helped you find the job, after all. But, the fees they take can be ridiculous. Always look into the fees and your actual take-home pay before agreeing to work with a middle man!
For example, when I first started freelancing as a resume writer, I did so through a large, international, online company. They provided the software interface, training, templates, etc., and I did the writing and client interactions. They charged clients $125+ for a basic resume, but I earned $18-23 per resume.
It was NOT super helpful on the financial end… That’s when I decided entrepreneurship would be a MUCH better route for me and my family!
Differences between Freelancing & Entrepreneurship
In some ways, freelancing is a lot like being an entrepreneur. Both of these WAHM options involve running your own business, but there are distinct differences to keep in mind.
Freelancing is basically doing work for someone else on a contract basis. You own a business in which you help someone else grow THEIR business. That company will pay you a flat, per-project fee or an hourly rate, depending on your contract. You get to choose who you work for and which projects you take on, but the client still has final approval over the end product.
Entrepreneurship is more all-encompassing. Many entrepreneurs will HIRE freelancers to handle one or more aspects of their business, such as bookkeeping, social media management, content or copywriting, website development & management, etc.
As Seth Godin explains it,
“Freelancers get paid for their work. If you’re a freelance copywriter, you get paid when you work. Entrepreneurs use other people’s money to build a business bigger than themselves so that they can get paid when they sleep.”
The bottom line is the relationship between time and money. Are you trading hours for dollars? Or are you creating products and systems that will earn you money on auto-pilot long after your initial time investment?
Best Personalities for Freelancing
Just like with network marketing, to succeed at freelancing, WAHMs need to be extremely driven and dedicated to pursuing this type of work. If you would prefer for work to fall into your lap, freelancing is not going to be for you. (And if you’ve found a way to make work fall into your lap, I would LOVE to hear how you’re doing it!)
Cholerics — whether mixed with Sanguine or Melancholy — once again tend to be the most successful in the freelancing world. Their work ethic and determination to charge forward serve them well in this arena.
Introverts, both Phlegmatics and Melancholies, also do well with freelancing, since they tend to thrive in environments where they can work independently and without distraction. (Provided they can find that distraction-free time and space to work in their homes!)
Sanguines, the natural networkers, will do exceptionally well at finding freelance work for themselves, especially if their secondary Personality is Choleric, which would provide the follow-through necessary to complete projects in a timely fashion.
As always, ANY Personality type can do ANY type of work. It just depends on how out of their comfort zones they’re willing to be in order to do work that allows them to be home with their babies.
Not sure what all these funny “Personality” words actually mean? Be sure to check out the Personalities Overview!
My Biggest Tip
Make a plan or an automated system to get testimonials, recommendations, & referrals AS SOON AS THE JOB IS DONE. Clients like to see that other people have been impressed with your work, and it lends credibility to you as a professional. Then, add those testimonials to your LinkedIn profile, Facebook business page, and website. Other potential clients will be looking for them — make sure they are easy to find!
I missed out on a HUGE resume contract because I didn’t have recommendations on my LinkedIn page. I figured people could find them on my Facebook page, if they really wanted them. Guess not!
Apparently, testimonials are WAY more important than I realized. Don’t make the same mistake!
This point is also something to consider if you’re working with a middle man: many companies who manage freelancing relationships limit the amount of feedback you can get directly from clients. My former resume clients were asked to submit feedback on my services for the company, but I was never privy to that information in full, nor am I allowed to use it to further my own ventures now.
You may have to get creative in how you garner testimonials!
Start out as a freelancer! Find a service or product you can offer, gain contacts and learn about building a business while someone else is still paying you directly for your work.
Entrepreneurship can take a good while to get off the ground. So, if your family is dependent on your making money ASAP, be sure to look into freelancing opportunities as you explore the entrepreneurial realm.
Take time to learn the ropes of the business world — especially the online business world: legalities, marketing techniques and strategies, best practices, etc. There is a LOT to learn about growing a business from home, and it’s not going to all fall into place overnight.
Let your freelancing gigs pay the bills while you’re learning, so that once you launch your business, you’ll be able to easily taper off your freelancing gigs as your business begins to make money itself.
Is Freelancing Right for You?
There are a lot of moving parts to consider with WAHM freelancing, but if you’re willing to put in the hard work while your kiddos are otherwise occupied, it CAN be profitable for you. Regardless of your particular skill set, there is bound to be a freelance gig that will suit you perfectly.
Best Places to Find Freelancing Jobs
If you’re ready to dive into the WAHM freelancing world and do not have ready-made clients from a previous business, I suggest starting with one of the main freelancing job boards: UpWork, Freelancer, or even Fiverr. You can even do a google search for “freelance jobs” in your particular niche.
Once you have an idea of which freelance boards and forums are out there, pick one that seems best suited to your skill sets and how you prefer to work. Set up your profile, include any work samples you already have on hand — or work up a few samples quickly to show what you can do — and start applying for jobs that interest you.
Another, less traveled option would be to make contact with anyone and everyone you know. Let them know you’re interested in freelance work doing XYZ. Ask if they could refer you to someone who may be looking for that type of assistance. Networking is powerful stuff!
A Note about Networking:
Don’t be afraid to branch out and go beyond just your immediate family and friends, too. If you see someone online doing work you appreciate, reach out with a quick, polite email and ask if they need help with your type of freelance work. You can also ask if they can refer you to another business owner who could use help.
It can definitely be intimidating to reach out to the “big names” in your corner of the internet, but they’re still just people. But, as my mother is fond of telling me, “put your big girl panties on and deal with it!” Take a deep breath, type up that email, proofread for errors, and hit send.
The worst that can happen is you never hear back.
The BEST case scenario could lead to an AWESOME, long-term freelance gig and an inspiring, insightful mentoring relationship!
More WAHM Freelancing Tips:
- How to build a steady WAHM freelancing income
- Ideas for WAHM freelancing jobs
- One (now incredibly successful) WAHM’s road to freelancing + free download on how to boost income as a new freelance writer
Awesome Sites for Support & Ideas:
- elnacain.com (for freelance writing, specifically)
- twinsmommy.com (for blogging)
- youaremorethanmom.com (for entrepreneurship & network marketing)
- wahm.com (for short, quick-read articles on all WAHM ventures)
- womenwinningonline.com (for blogging)
- horkeyhandbook.com (virtual assisting)
As a former University Resident Director, Career Counselor, Certified Personality Trainer, and high school Spanish teacher, Laura has quite the “scattered” background — with one underlying theme: education! She writes to teach and inspire women on topics related to faith, family, and lifework. She is also a resume writer, specializing in resumes for moms, career changers, and new graduates.