Dear Fellow Survivalist;
In last week’s newsletter, I started talking to you about some ideas to pick up a little more cash, either to help pay for your prepping or to give you more financial security and independence. I’m a firm believer that all of us need multiple streams of income. The economy is just too shaky to depend on just one means of financial support.
So in this week’s letter I want to continue with that theme; sharing some more ideas of how you can add to your income, working from your home. Specifically, I want to share with you how I make a living and how you could do something similar.
To start with, I’m a real person. The signature at the bottom of this letter is me. My name is Rich and I hold a doctorate. It’s not a doctorate in survival, but it might as well be. I’ve been studying survival for over 40 years, so I’ve learned a thing or two in that time. Most of what I write about are things that I actually do or have done myself. This isn’t just something I do for my work, it’s part of who I am.
That’s important, because it’s also what I do to make a living. You see, I’m what’s known as a freelancer or freelance writer. In other words, I do contract work, writing for other people. I’m not a full-time staff member of the Self-Reliance Association. We have a partnership relationship, where I provide my knowledge and expertise, in the form of these newsletters, as well as in other ways. I also have similar partnerships with other companies; enough of them to make me a descent living.
While my writing in general far predates my writing about survival, I’ve specialized in writing about survival because that’s one of the areas I have expertise. When interest in survival started increasing again, I decided that I had knowledge that people needed. So, I started specializing in providing that information to them, through companies and organizations like the Self-Reliance Association.
Okay, so how does this apply to you? Today’s business market is highly competitive. Companies, especially small companies, have to find ways of getting things done cheaper. At the same time, those companies have to offer high quality products, services, and customer service, because people’s expectations have increased in those areas. The only way that companies can do both at the same time is to hire contractors to do the work they need; people who are not full-time employees of the company.
These companies and the freelancers who contract to do work for them, connect on a variety of online platforms, the best and biggest of which is www.Upwork.com. There are a total of 12 million freelancers registered on Upwork, not all of whom work full-time freelancing. Three million jobs per year are posted on the platform, totaling over one billion dollars in total revenue.
I have no idea of how many total categories of jobs are contracted through Upwork, but it has to be somewhere in the thousands. You can literally find people contracting for every sort of specialty you want, from complex engineering projects to transcribing audio file. Pretty much any skill that you can do, which does not require your physical presence at an employer’s facility, can be done through Upwork and the other online freelancer platforms.
Personally, I started freelancing out of necessity. But it has become the best job I’ve ever had. I get to work on projects that interest me, and I can refuse those that I don’t want to do (because of my reputation, I refuse much more work than I accept). I am able to set my own hours, and I ultimately am the one who decides how much I make, by a combination of how much I charge and how much work I accept.
Now, let me say this; the only way to make this work is to price yourself competitively. That can be a bit difficult if you don’t have unusual skills, because some of your competition is from India, Pakistan and the Philippians; places where they can afford to work for much less than you can. Don’t let that discourage you though. While there are lots of employers who are looking for the cheapest freelancer they can find, there are also lots who are willing to pay top dollar for someone who is truly an expert in their field. Those are the customers you have to play to.
One other precaution; don’t expect to make a killing the first day of freelancing. You need to build a reputation for quality work. When I started this, I was working for peanuts. But I kept working and gradually built up both my reputation and the amount of money I was able to charge for my work. Now I’m making 40% more per year than what the Department of Labor says the average writer earns.
The other nice thing is that I have lots of job security. Even if the economy dips again, I will have work. Oh, I might lose some of my customer base, but there will always be other customer out there, who I can do work for. I’ll just have to bid on more jobs and find them.
In fact, my biggest customer, who accounted for about half of my income, just recently had to stop contracting me for work, due to some bad business decisions they made, which led them into financial trouble. So what did I do? I started bidding on new work, something I haven’t had to do in two years. Within a month, I’ve been able to fill the void in my work schedule.
So what skills do you have? Are they skills that you can do remotely? If so, you might want to take a look at Upwork and see what kinds of jobs there are around, for people with those skills. This could end up being a very profitable sideline for you.
In the mean time, like always, keep your powder dry and your survival gear close at hand.