Monetising my freelance journey

Monetising my freelance journey

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Stuart

Published on Aug 17, 2021

6 min read

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Let's try something: monetising a '(sort of) noob to success' freelance journey.

  • (Monetising: totally not a typo... I'm using UK English 😉) *

Sound interesting?

Mr Burns, from The Simpsons, with clasped hands, saying "Excellent"

Anyone who has been following me on Twitter will know that I'm HARD at work getting myself established as a busy and (one day) successful freelancer.

Building WordPress websites

I've written a couple of posts here on Hashnode about getting started as a freelancer building WordPress websites. If you've read them (and quite a number of you have - thank you!), you may be wondering where the next update is.

Well, it's coming. A few 'work in progress' sites are coming along nicely, but I'm waiting until there's something new that's finalised and/or launched, i.e. more concrete, before posting the next instalment.

Writing ALL the things...

I'm also having a good go at getting back into freelancing writing. This is something that I did back in 2009 and 2010, and it actually went really well at the time. I was busy!

But, I packed it all in for a decade. Why? Well, life happened (as it tends to do). I'll be sure to post more on that at a later stage.

Now, I'm back as a writer. Yesterday, my first-of-many (hopefully) written articles was accepted, invoiced, and will be published soon. Whilst this is by no means the first time I've done this, it somehow feels like quite a major milestone this time around. The reason? It's the first time that I've done so in eleven years.

I claimed that "I'm back". Now, having sent a formal invoice for actual dollars, it's verifiably confirmed. Someone, in this case a client, reaching for their wallet, has a nice "you are indeed back" feel to it.

Additionally, between starting this post's draft and finishing it today, it seems I may have secured a second freelancing writing gig. Exciting times!

Documenting my freelance journey

I've been keen on the whole #buildinpublic and #learninpublic thing since I started on tech Twitter, and here on Hashnode, back in March.

I've been open about where I am coding-wise and what I'm doing freelance-wise since the start.

There are so many others out there trying to learn to code, start freelancing, etc. that I feel obligated to continue sharing my progress publicly. At the same time, I continue doing so because I enjoy it and want to help out in any way that I can.

Many folks on Twitter, and here, have posted about how no matter where one is on their (insert appropriate learning/subject) journey there is always someone at an earlier stage who could use your knowledge to help them.

The implication is: start blogging about it now! You don't need to be an expert before you start sharing what you know and what you've learned, even if you only learned it ten minutes ago.

In fact, blogging about something that you learned barely ten minutes ago will assuredly help reinforce your learning. Win-win for everyone!

Monetising my freelance journey

Here's something I was wondering: is it possible to monetise this path I'm on from (sort of) freelance noob to successful freelancer?

What's in it for me?

Building a community from the get-go. There are so many of us giving freelancing a go, yet the majority of us are doing so in isolation.

Sure, the process will initially start off as more of a one-way conversation, but I plan to make it way more interactive and embrace comments and opinions beginning to flow and the community developing.

By making this a paid community, albeit still at a low cost ($5 per month at launch), the community will hopefully be populated by those with a true interest in learning and developing freelancing skills.

There's obviously also an interest in having this generate some income, I must be honest. If I can somewhat subsidise my early earnings via another method, that will hopefully allow me to chase after preferred, more appropriate, freelance roles. This is as opposed to jumping at whatever freelance gigs I can find just to get going.

It's one thing to start freelancing by taking on anything and everything, and quite another to establish yourself as one of the better ones in any specific niche right from the outset.

Granted, very few have the luxury of choosing. Therefore, I'm trying to create that luxury for myself. "We make our own luck," I believe the saying goes.

A potential solution:

I whipped up a Gumroad membership page to address this.

The goal: those interested can sign up for weekly detailed updates on the current progress of my freelancing journey.

And, importantly, it's not going to focus on just freelance writing or just freelance website building (using WordPress, at least at the start), but rather: both.

This won't be a mere newsletter either, but rather a detailed unpacking of what I did, what worked, what did not, and the reasons why.

A front-row seat to the daily life of a freelancer.

Given that I'm not exactly starting at zero, there will obviously be a fair bit of detailed backstory on how I got to where I am right now over the last few months. Additionally, I'll include detailed information on what I did back in 2009 and 2010 that allowed me to earn a fair bit as a freelance writer then too.

By committing to posting in full detail every week for my subscribers, I imagine that the content generated over the next six months to a year is going to prove invaluable to prospective freelancers!

Naturally, once we've all learned enough to compile the learnings into a good eBook, subscribers will get that for free too. It'd be rude of me not to!

What's in it for subscribers?

All of the above, plus:

Knowledge.

Watching someone else try to get up and running as a freelancer from the starting blocks.

Fine, I may have already have left the starting blocks, but, I assure you, not by that much. It's still very early days for my freelancing career. The weekly updates will include way more detail than I'd tend to share in blog posts usually.

Learning from my learnings.

Seeing the results of outreach and discovering what it's actually like out there.

Learning the process from contact to brief to delivery... and on to invoicing.

Sound interesting? If so, be sure to check out the Gumroad page for more details.

Will it work?

I have no idea. But, I'm happy to find out.

I'm going to be doing the work whether or not folks sign up and join me. I may as well unpack the lessons learned along the way with the wider world instead of stacking them all up and only releasing my magnum opus 😉 in a year.

Personally, I love grasping opportunities to find out as much as I can about freelancing from wherever I can, i.e. really getting into the finer details.

Hopefully, this helps someone else on their path to freelancing and financial success.

Time will tell.

Got any thoughts on this? I'd love to hear them. Drop a comment below and let's chat.

Watch this space for feedback on how it all goes.


UPDATE: 2 months later:

If you're following this to see how it panned out, the answer is... not too well.

Here are some stats:

Views on Gumroad: 38

Referrers:

  • Direct: 2
  • DEV Community: 12
  • Direct, email, IM: 19
  • Twitter: 5

Sales: 0

Fair enough. Other than this post and listing it as my pinned tweet for a couple of weeks, I really did next to no marketing. Lesson learned!

Marketing, marketing, marketing!

On to the next project then!


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