Earning income as a freelancer

Updated: Oct 22

Tips for minimizing stress while maximizing the bag 💰


Whether you’re an aspiring writer, content-creator, or technologist you’ve probably considered getting into freelancing for extra income at some point. As someone who ventured into freelancing early and grew my skillsets to eventually launch a successful small business around the same services, I aim to use this article to share some resources to help other BIPOC folks navigate some of the particular challenges that come with freelancing in order to maximize all of the rewards.


I first started freelancing seriously after graduating from college in 2016. I was in my early

twenties, away from home and struggling with the foreign pressure of figuring out my life as a young adult. The only thing I can say that’s worse than being depressed is being depressed and broke 😭


While I felt at the time that many of the challenges I faced after college were personal, in retrospect I can say that most of it really stemmed from not fully knowing what I was going to do with my life after school. I felt in many ways that school didn’t adequately prepare me for the changing job market, and I didn’t realize how much a role nepotism played in the process of finding leads for work. As a young person of color I wasn’t having the same conversations that many of my white peers were having with friends and family that let them know how to find internships, graduate with full-time roles and launch longterm careers at major companies. I knew I had to take action quickly to find a way to secure the bag. I decided going to find a full-time job made the most sense but soon realized that the return on investment of my time applying wasn’t paying off (no pun intended 😂). Applying to jobs really was a job in itself. With every resume sent to companies that ghosted me and with every rejection email, I was losing motivation and confidence.


It was around this time that I started thinking more about freelancing. I knew school wasn’t a complete waste and began wondering how I could use the skills and interests I developed to make some money on my own. I knew from my time in class that I enjoyed writing/editing, web design and teaching others, specifically other folks of color. I asked myself, “What if I use these skills to help folks in my own community?” I decided I would need to market my skills to my network and see if I could land some work.


My first experience freelancing came haphazardly after that big revelation. A friend of mine had posted a notice on Facebook that she was looking for developers for a project. At that time I had definitely taken a few computer science classes but couldn’t say that I considered myself a “developer”. Impostor syndrome aside however, I hit her up excited about working with her and began a new chapter of my life as a freelance web designer building sites on Wix and Squarespace for clients.


After a few years that work became second-nature to me and I continued to find more clients, added services in mobile development, consulting, project management, and teaching to my offerings which put me to the path that eventually led me here as a small business owner working on things I love everyday and finally able to breathe a bit more about my financial situation.

The road to success in working for yourself isn’t easy nor is it linear. The reason I’m starting this blog off with my journey is because it underlies many similar stories BIPOC folks have that underlie their decision to join the workforce as a freelancer. To date, I’ve coached hundreds of folks who were in similar positions aggressively looking for work and unsure of the skillsets they could readily offer to the market. The purpose of this article is to help anyone that is considering earning income as a freelancer. In the following section I will share some of my reflections on the various pros and cons of freelancing and share some tips and resources to help anyone that is starting their freelancing journey. I appreciate you reading this far!


Pros and Cons of Freelancing

Freelancing is a unique type of work style with a lot of great perks but with equally as many challenges that one must understand in order to navigate successfully. Depending on the type of person you are and your feelings around handling responsibility, managing yourself, and dealing with people freelancing can either be a walk through the park or else a walk through hell’s gates.


Pros

  • Work on your own schedule

  • Work from anywhere

  • Choose exactly what you do / with whom you do i (working based on interests/passions)

  • Unlimited earning potential

Cons:

  • Having to find/deal with clients

  • Working without benefits (Health/Tax)

  • Constantly looking for new leads/opportunities

  • Inconsistent work/cash flow

Grey Area: 🤷🏿‍♂️

  • (+/-) Having to wear all of the hats

  • (+/- ) Everyday looks different

Tips on Navigating as a Freelancer


With every challenge that arises in the experience of freelancing is both a teachable moment and an opportunity to grow as a professional. Here are some of the strategies I employ to protect myself and secure the bag with my freelance work.


Dealing with clients (multiple)

  • Set professional boundaries (contracts and negotiations are a MUST)

  • Up your project management game with tools like Trello (which offers a lot for free)

  • Always ask/require to be paid something up front

Working without benefits (Health/Tax)

  • Apply for your own benefits (Freelancers Union / Obamacare)

  • Turn your freelancing into your own company to receive tax benefits for self-employment AND get business credit

Constantly looking for new leads/opportunities

  • Use digital resources like Facebook to connect to your network and advertise your services through referrals

Inconsistent work/cash flow

  • Turn your client bags into stable monthly income byway of service offerings / structuring your contracts as subscriptions

Resources for freelancers getting started


I couldn’t let you go without offering you some helpful resources to use on your freelancing journey. Attached below are several documents that you can use when getting started including a sample freelancing contract and scope of work. Feel free to use/modify them as you wish!

Click here to access some helpful resources to get you started!




If you’re getting started as a freelancer or looking for more ways to turn your creative skillsets into sustainable income, consider signing up as a THC member to gain access to:

  • A supportive community network of freelancers/consultants working collaboratively

  • Exclusive classes and workshops teaching new skills to add to your freelance offerings

  • Work opportunities that will help you develop your portfolio and confidence

  • Constant personal/professional development programming and services

  • IG
  • THC TV
  • THC Playlist