Those of us who have built a little piggy bank online through offering our services as freelancers, selling products or services as entrepreneurs or monetizing ourselves while traveling all encounter obstacles of our own, be they problems with clients, payment processors or simply time and productivity. After all, there’s nothing protecting a Wanderer (freelancer, online entrepreneur or digital nomad) from the challenges of real life, and even the free wandering life can become a nightmare if things don’t go your way.
For these aforementioned reasons, we have prepared an amazing article for you that will ensure your freelancer problems, digital nomad headaches and online entrepreneurship obstacles can be pushed aside with ease, and life can go on with as much satisfaction as you’ve always wanted.
So, here we have them - 15 Tips for Freelancers, Online Entrepreneurs and Digital Nomads. Don’t even bother with skipping any, you’re going to want to read each one, and we won’t specify who we’ve written each tip for, either. As for the method we’ll use, we are going to present a problem and provide each tip as a solution to said problem. Pay attention; this is going to kickstart your online financial career.
There is a craze currently taking place online with paid ads (Facebook, Instagram and Google, especially), in which entrepreneurs are being convinced by gurus and salesmen to pay immense amounts of money to buy ads on these social media platforms and search engines in exchange for a few hundred or few thousand visits per month, with nothing really guaranteeing that these visits will truly show interest in the products being sold or content posted on the websites.
I actually feel sorry for the entrepreneurs out there who, like anyone just starting to get familiarized with something, are convinced on the “amazing idea” of spending more than they can afford each month on ads, just because of recommendations from so-called “experts” who confuse them with big words and pretty screenshots of results that don’t tell the whole story. This study on Moz.com explains it best – you simply can’t walk into advertising without your audience knowing you and you knowing them.
But there’s a better solution than learning your way around paid ads – ignoring them altogether. Sure, there are definitely some incredible experts out there who have reverse-engineered the perfect Facebook ad strategy and are making millions (that cannot be ignored), but the best bet for you if you want your site to continue growing on a low marketing budget is to find the free sources of traffic and ignore paid ads altogether.
• Find Facebook groups in your niche and post regularly in them (this has proven to be even -better- than ads in some cases)
• Talk more about what you do on your personal profile, where all your friends and family members are. Ask them to share your links.
• Get involved in engagement groups on Instagram, finding similar accounts to yours in your niche and befriending them.
• Put up valuable comments on important blogs in your niche or reply with links to your site on viral tweets.
• Get on Quora and start answering questions on subjects where you’re an authority. Make sure to add a subtle link to your site on each answer.
• Write on Medium, even if you’re not eligible for monetization via Stripe. Write all you can and talk about your site.
These are just six of hundreds of different ways to get free traffic. Never pay for ads if you don’t truly need them. You will make more of an effort, sure, but this can even be done with Virtual Assistants at $5 per hour, so you have no excuses. SPREAD THE WORD!
I've been sitting here for two whole days... and I don't understand what I'm doing wrong.
We talked about this in another post, which covered everything you need to know about attracting clients and building a portfolio, but it’s about time I touched upon it once more, since it keeps coming up whenever I discuss freelance issues with my students.
There is something greatly important that you must take into account when you’re offering your services for specific jobs: once you’ve found the project that you’re interested in, you have to begin learning from the very first second in. The biggest mistake that freelancers make (and traditional workers in real life, too) is that they go into interviews almost completely blind.
I mean, sure, they can also make silly, amateurish errors like arriving late, being long-winded or not paying attention, but most job candidates fail in preparing themselves. Not learning about the company they’re trying to work for, knowing nothing about the interviewer or generally not having a single idea on how they’re going to answer each question posed to them… all of these mistakes are the most common and costly to job candidates, especially candidates who would otherwise have landed the job due to a healthy amount of experience in the related tasks.
You must present yourself at your interview (whether in person or on Skype) with full knowledge on what you’re offering, how you’re going to answer most of the questions and what the employer’s business is about. Furthermore, you must always take evidence of previous related work in the form of a portfolio, using it at least once during the interview to demonstrate that you know what you’re doing, and that a previous client believed in you before, so why shouldn’t this guy/girl do the same?
Show them you know your stuff and that you’re willing to accomplish big things, and they’ll be hiring you in no time, no questions asked.
I’m at risk of sound like a boring, grumpy old man, but yeah… modern society worries me.
Maybe it’s the fact that everybody has labeled themselves now, seeking to be different and special, and it has caused a problem of identity, in the fact that everybody seeks to look, think and speak the same, with too many people seeking to emulate their favorite figures down to the last detail.
This should have been a brave generation that wasn’t afraid of having an opinion without having to say sorry; of speaking up against injustice – but without censoring the people they disagreed with! Unfortunately, something went wrong along the way, and we’ve all been left squabbling about what is “socially acceptable” and what isn’t (more about millennial culture here). A sad twist of events.
It is, for this reason, that many people fail to make an impression when producing content at a targeted audience around the web, with people seeing them as “yet another digital nomad or business coach” and not really finding anything original in them. This leads to an ugly sensation of not being good enough, and many times this can lead to depression and a loss of interest in continuing their blog or channel.
However, it is important to note that this type of thing is completely avoidable, and it only requires one important thing: personality. You see, having a personality of your own can be a true savior. Not being afraid to say what you think, not keeping all of your thoughts in line with a specific ideology, allowing yourself to find the best in each political philosophy and decide on your own what you support and what you completely disagree with. That’s the kind of thing people love, and you’re going to create a much more loyal fanbase than someone who says the same thing everybody is agreeing with.
Just follow three rules and you’ll realize how much success you can achieve:
• Don’t be afraid to cause some trouble
• Don’t sell yourself out because it’s popular
• Don’t censor yourself if it doesn’t feel right
Maybe I should invest some of my income on a proper sense of fashion...
Some people claim to dislike the online moneymaking life because ‘income is unpredictable’, and that is perfectly understandable. Others enjoy factoring in the benefits you obtain at a company, claiming that you’re always going to need retirement funds and health insurance, as well as maternity leave in other cases (although that particular philosophy ignores the fact that 9-5 work typically leads you to get sick or old quicker than a free life does).
Either way, whenever you see a list of reasons against freelancing and online entrepreneurship, the uncertainty of income is among the top of them. Like I said, it’s understandable.
I have encountered my own fair share of scares during the 4 years I’ve been freelancing – my only clients suddenly disappearing for a few weeks to a month, getting a notification that my best paying client had his credit card frozen on Upwork or receiving an unexpected message out of the blue that my contract was going to be paused… it’s all happened to me, and I have been forced to get out of quite a few pickles. Yet I’m still happy to be a freelancer, and love it despite the risk of my income drying up from one day to the next because my clients die (what? It can happen) or decide to stop working with me out of nowhere.
But for those of you that are too afraid to assume these risks or who have too much pending on their monthly wages to be able to spend a few weeks without work, there are certainly ways to ensure that your income remains stable, and that is what we are going to suggest to you now. This freelance tip is invaluable, because I have proven it to work again and again.
If you want to ensure you’re receiving a stable income and can guarantee that you’re going to continue getting paid as a freelancer, make sure to apply these strategies:
• Don’t hit one milestone without knowing what comes next: If your work with your client is milestone-based - that is, both you and your client are building one big, progressive project that doesn’t have an exact goal in sight for a while, then you need to make sure you’ll still have a role in the client’s company every time you’re approaching the end of the current milestone. Always ask your client what will come next after this current step and try to extend both contracts and agreements past the current milestone to avoid surprises. Formally request a period of notice for when they eventually decide to cut ties with you – this will ensure you don’t get told out of the blue.
• Don’t work exclusively to finish projects: This one may initially sound like morally dubious behavior but hear me out. When working on a long project with potential for scaling, always prolong your usefulness and try not to become dispensable to the client. If you’re enjoying yourself working with them, always continue offering value – freelancers in pretty much every niche can start diversifying themselves within a company and continue sticking around long enough to gain even more trust with the client. This leads to better relationships and better wages!
• Don’t accept wage reductions or idle periods: You may need to remind your client that just like they do, you also need to put food on your plate. When working for entrepreneurs or companies who like to go missing for long periods during an open contract, feel free to mail, text or call them and remind them you need work. This has worked extensively for me over the years, which, combined with my insane proactivity within companies, has earned me thousands of dollars. Also, don’t negotiate your wages if you’ve already agreed a rate with your client. This is the first step onto the road to a sour end to your relationship. Insist in a friendly but firm tone that your rates are what you require based on skills, experience and value. Keep your power within a business relationship (without coming off as an inflexible tyrant), and you’ll never have to worry about bad periods again!
This is a tip that is short and sweet – you have trouble keeping your employees and assistants in check, and your online business is suffering as a result. Your designers take too long creating images and making changes on the website; your team of writers isn’t following your guidelines or uploading their files where you tell them to; your video producers don’t understand your style and can’t seem to do what you were asking… sure, it’s nice to have a team you’re familiar with and with who you have a sort of friendly relationship, but that doesn’t mean you’re doomed to bad employees and accepting mistakes for all time.
Make sure to be as strict as you are flexible, as in allowing mistakes but also not lying down for anyone who can’t do their job properly. As quoted on BusinessInsider, two of the most important things to accomplish as a CEO are earning the respect of your employees and setting the right work culture. You can’t accomplish either of these by having no backbone. Get in the right mindset. You’re a leader, and your employees need leading – act like one!
I need to make this money last to the end of the month. This month is just beginning.
Contrary to popular belief, the digital nomads out there having the most fun aren’t the ones spending the most money. Many times, the unpredictability of a low-budget trip around the world - and all of pretty, ugly, thrilling and downright crazy chaos that this can bring with it - is more attractive than the comfort of luxury travel (more about this in an upcoming August article here on BeginWandering.com). For this reason, you need to choose where the balancing point is and decide how much of your savings you’re going to assign as the budget for your upcoming trips.
Do you want to use Airbnb or would you rather use Hotels.com / Booking.com? Do you have an opportunity to housesit? Are you going to prefer to reach your destination before staying at a cheap hostel? What about food – are you going to cook at home or eat out three times a day? FoodNetwork, for example, has an amazing article on cooking hacks you can perform with a coffee machine, iron, hair drier and other easily accessible hotel room items, and many hostels have their own shared kitchen that you can use.
Use your imagination, don’t be lazy and make sure to stretch your budget if you don’t have much to go around to begin with. Traveling is at one of its most accessible eras in history, EVER. Use low-budget alternatives whenever you can, and don’t be afraid to take (non-deadly) risks if it means saving considerably.
I’m not sure how this craze began, to be honest. Maybe it was the expansion of sales funnels, landing pages and YouTube. Maybe it was always around and I was oblivious to it, who knows?
The issue is that there is currently an awkward fad of everyone pretending to be experts in a niche they’re only ‘kind of’ familiar with, often making a living by selling courses and mentorships in subjects they’ve barely been in contact with, using the famous “fake it ‘till you make it” philosophy that has grown so popular.
This can lead entrepreneurs to seek them out in an innocent attempt to fix something in their funnels, marketing strategy or content, and to realize a few thousand dollars later that they’ve made a mistake – they’ve actually gone and gotten scammed by a charlatan.
When seeking an expert, make sure you actually get an expert. Someone with a portfolio, work experience, case studies if necessary… Don’t allow yourself to get carried away by their videos with flashy cars and pictures with celebrities. Look them up on LinkedIn, ask other experts about them, Google them. Do everything you can to find out about this person -before- handing thousands to them. You won’t regret it!
This is almost exactly how it looks.
Health – mental, physical and otherwise – is just as important as your finances and travel, and I mean in all three of the audiences we’re targeting with this post. Plus, if you get sick, you’re going to lose money due to not being able to work as much, and also have to spend on medical attention/treatments.
Do not stop exercising or at least walking a few times a week, as well as eating healthily, as you will soon find yourself having digestive problems, blood sugar issues and generally feel sick. I know what I’m talking about – when I spend all week long at home and barely go out for a walk one or two days of said week, I will feel like garbage. On the other hand, on the weeks when I’m active four or five days, I’ll be doing great by the time the weekend arrives.
As for the rest of your non-health-related life, get a hobby. Be part of a community, practice sports, join yoga classes, start your own photography Instagram account, cook for fun, bake… the world is yours, just don’t work all day, every day!
There are few things worse than working at a job you hate. Sure, you can be slightly uncomfortable with your salary or co-workers, feel like you don’t get along with your boss or desperately wish for a promotion to a more interesting role, but that’s very different from actually hating your job, and that’s what many people out there feel for what they do for a living.
Even online entrepreneurs, mostly those who only got into a niche because there was money behind it, can suffer from boredom and discontent when working on their business, and everything can soon turn sour. Fortunately, however, there are ways to make the least desirable activity fun, and even more entertaining if it’s making you money and keeping you financially stable.
For example, two of the best ways to deal with the boredom and frustrations that surround a business is by
a) Delegating tasks
b) Hiring assistants
Both of these are crucial moves that can put you back on track in terms of feeling comfortable with your entrepreneurship venture.
And when it comes to delegating tasks, you must learn to have managers in each of the departments you have created. For example, if you have a social media department (and you should), you must have a manager involved that can assign tasks, provide reminders to your employees under him/her and pay them once they are done with their work. You can do the same for every other department you’re not required for and focus your time and attention on the financial side of things, as well as producing new ideas that will make the company grow.
As for hiring assistants, this is for the smaller companies that don’t really need a manager. Virtual assistants can be hired online (Upwork, Fiverr and PeoplePerHour all have the option to get a VA) for as little as $5 per hour (though some clients still believe in slavery and will offer as little as $2 hourly in wages), and can perform tasks for you that would take too much time from your schedule. These can include uploading images, researching subjects, calling, emailing, hiring, small-scale proofreading and other simple things that keep you busy otherwise.
Consider these two options and start improving your productivity!
If you see yourself in this image, you really need to take a break. I mean it.
As freelancers, remote workers and entrepreneurs, we know that it’s sometimes impossible to have actual vacations. We have clients to deal with, customers to service and content to post, and it can be more stressful to step away from our laptop than to stick around.
However, stress is a real killer – according to HealthLine, stress can cause heart disease, digestive issues, anxiety and depression, weight gain, fertility problems and more, leading to a more miserable and less longer life. Furthermore, several types of cancer have been linked to stress, and nobody wants to deal with that horrible disease because they were always too busy to relax.
I don’t want to focus on the bad part, however – let’s talk about prevention.
Having a week off work, after scheduling it for months to avoid interrupting your business, can be one of the best decisions you make… especially if you take advantage of that new destination to find a nice conference in your niche and get to meet some experts in what you do. Personally, I love to take a look at the events taking place across the world in freelancing and the digital nomad lifestyle, since it means I can find a list of potential places to vacation in when the time comes.
Follow this example and you will lead a happier life!
There are many people out there who are moderately successful in their own way but have no idea how to grow further once they hit their first big plateau. This can happen to anybody, really, since we can only get so far on our own.
It can be a massive discovery for some, Facebook Groups are immense in terms of the value they can provide, with both of them allowing you to find information in niches as unique as expat groups for very specific countries and cities, profession-based discussions in determined areas, advertising and marketing on specific platforms and so on. I can’t really go into detail here because of the infinitely vast range of groups that exist, but you get the idea.
As for reddit, you’ll encounter an endless line of subreddits (of between a handful of users to over a hundred thousand) in this list. Notice that you can come across interesting subreddits such as /r/digitalnomad, /r/entrepreneur, /r/beermoney (freelancing and mini-tasks for vouchers, mostly), which can become an answer for your online moneymaking questions.
Don’t waste the opportunity to learn more, use these resources!
We’ve all been there at least once – a client receives our work and either decides to disappear without paying or they make up some bullshit about the work not being up to standards and having to pay you less. In my case it was the latter ($25 for a $100 job), thankfully, but I’ve heard of people working over 100 hours for free and it kills me to read about those cases.
When working for somebody new, you naturally have to be cautious in what you deliver before they’ve paid, always making sure that money is in escrow or that you can guarantee somehow that you’ll be paid before actually submitting the final work and cutting ties.
The freelance workplaces I always recommend (Upwork, Freelancer, PpH and Fiverr) have escrow protection systems, but you can always offer your clients a contract based on monthly (or weekly) retainer fees that they must pay before you continue working for them. Also try working with people in your local area, so that you can make the most of a trustworthy relationship.
I asked for a double bed and I ended up with a black eye when I tried to kiss my partner.
It’s common knowledge that good reviews don’t necessarily mean the best quality – many times, reviews can either be faked or bought, and many Airbnb hosts earn top reviews by providing extra services (gifts) in exchange for their guests ignoring other shortcomings at their accommodations. Similarly, hotel critics can be paid or invited to spend a night in exchange for good reviews, meaning that you won’t have a reliable source to read from when researching the lodging for your next trip.
For this reason, it may sometimes be much better to hear directly from the travelers who visit these places before booking a place on Airbnb or Booking.com; you can find many potential guides in the form of members within digital nomad, tourism and expat groups on Facebook, who you can ask (via a post) where they would recommend staying when you’re passing through X city or town during your travels.
I have found more value in my time on Digital Nomad groups on Facebook than I have following TripAdvisor or Airbnb reviews to the letter. There are still nasty surprises to be found in these two that you won’t realize until you’ve already booked, don’t have time to refund and change accommodations and it’s all too little, too late.
This one doesn’t have much to it, to be honest, and we more or less mentioned staying healthy in a previous tip. Still, this one is more focused on those people who feel that they can’t keep up with their normal lives once they become entrepreneurs, digital nomads or freelancers. You can’t sacrifice your health in exchange for a bit of money and success, especially when it makes you unhappy to do so.
Some people follow really unhealthy strategies just to get some additional productivity boosts every day, such as working for 12 hours straight, sleeping for 4, not eating or not working out at all (I’ve been guilty of this when the week gets tough). It’s pointless in the end, if you think about it – if you die, the income will stop anyhow, which is why you need to be wise about how much of your life is going to be dedicated entirely to working, and how much is going to be dedicated to living.
Feel free to walk more, eat healthily, sleep at least 7 hours daily, find the correct schedule that doesn’t stop you from doing anything else and to use a comfortable, ergonomic chair and mouse while you’re working to ensure problems (such as carpal tunnel syndrome) don’t begin developing and ruin your wellbeing. Stay safe, stay healthy and stay alive by applying the “prevention first” method.
"Free" doesn't mean "good". Lesson learned.
These days, life without the internet would be impossible. Whether we’re doing it for leisure, work or a bit of both (entrepreneurship), 56.8% of humanity (that’s over 4.38 BILLION people) is making use of the World Wide Web to get their stuff done.
Again, I have to stress that it really wouldn’t be possible for most of us to live with the internet at this point. Think about how you handle bank transfers and university assignments; how you schedule meetings and how you chat with friends. How about when you’re trying to buy a new cell phone or something similar? Or when you want to find information on something that interests you. A world without the internet would be insane.
And it happens. Many people are out there, suffering without being able to connect to a decent WiFi, having trouble even opening their email inbox. Digital nomads, especially, can go insane when they go to a developing country with connection issues, and they decide to manage as they can before leaving this now unattractive country behind them.
One of the best things you can do before setting off to a new destination is to ask about the internet connection when booking a hotel room or Airbnb, especially when it isn’t outright stated anywhere.
Furthermore, there are important resources online for you to find both the location of free Wi-Fi connections at airports and the passwords of those connections for your internet needs. Don’t be afraid to look them up and use them, after all you’ll only be there temporarily and can take advantage of them for your most urgent needs.
I recommend you save the info found on these sites somewhere instead of depending on opening the website’s map when you’ve arrived at an airport – that way you can guarantee having the password in a text or document file only a few clicks away from your approval.
Honestly, I can’t stop insisting on how sick to death I am of seeing those ridiculous “gurus” and “experts” all over social media, targeting me with endless ads and videos (which I ignore) in a desperate attempt to get me to pay them money in exchange for info which is typically just controversial, unproven and overall useless drivel that won’t get me anywhere.
Mentorships that cost you $997 (why are you selling me this if you’re allegedly making tens of thousands per month, dude?), gurus which offer you “once-in-a-lifetime” courses that are always only hours away from not being available ever again, and conferences which are more similar to cults than actual valuable information gatherings – it pisses me off, and I’m sure you have felt the same way. Especially if you’ve already wasted your money on these things.
Which is why there is only one thing I can recommend – finding the right business mentor.
There is something important you must realize before hiring a mentor – many mentors simply lie. They’re not knowledgeable in their niches, have little idea of how to provide value other than showing screenshots of their earnings, and can’t take you to the next level by simply teaching you.
Others are a different case: people making six or seven figures who didn’t work very hard to get where they are, and who don’t really know how bad the learning curve is today. What I mean is that many people started successful online businesses in certain niches before they were saturated, got into dropshipping while it was still highly viable, learned a marketable and monetizable skill before everyone else did, and it has lead them to success… but their methods just don’t work anymore!
Here on Begin Wandering, we enjoy providing value for free and have for almost a year now, posting incredibly helpful content on our Instagram, @beginwandering, but we also want to offer you an incredibly affordable alternative to paying gurus for $997, $497 or even $97 – our private classes, Facebook group and Inner Circle of Wanderers.
We’re on a mission to end business gurus for good, and it’s only a matter of time before we actually accomplish it in our quest for affordable learning and both happy freelancers and successful entrepreneurs across the world!
Contact us today and find out more!
Phew, that sure was a lot to process, but we’ve definitely just produced yet another immense amount of value for you to enjoy and bookmark for future reference as your online career advances.
We keep our promises when we tell you that Begin Wandering will continue to create free, useful and incredibly valuable content for you to continue closing in on your dream of a freelance, online entrepreneur or digital nomad life.
So, stick around with us and enjoy what’s coming up – we’ve got plenty for you in the upcoming months!
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Founder, Head Content Creator. Chemical Engineer. Entrepreneur. Instructor. Writer. Traveler. Once a cog in the traditional workforce machine, I decided to stake my claim in the freelancing business and haven’t looked back since. Working remotely is the first step to freedom, bringing you the ability to call your own shots and organize your own time. Now, however... I'm going to teach you how.