If you were to ask me “how did you get into a freelancing?”, I would probably say something along the lines of “I dunno……I started freelancing since I was in college…..found a job opportunity and never stopped working”.
I see this question asked by a lot of people curious to know what it is like to be a freelancer.
I’m not very good at sharing deep thoughts while recording myself on video…..maybe I’ll get better at that as I make more vlogs.
My story begin in 2007. (The featured image of this post shows a picture of me back in 2009, still living with my parents back in California…..my computer was in the garage)
I, along with a few friends, joined an online game called Fiesta Online (www.onrpg.com/news/articles/fiesta-online-closed-beta-begins/) which many North American online gamers will know about. At this time, I had just started learning how to make websites and it made me so excited and curious to learn how websites can be built to display and organize information in such a unique way that helps so many people and forms a community. Some people find joy in cooking food. The ingredients blending together to form something edible. Some people like building computers from scratch. I like building websites and watching people interact with it.
I decided to start a brand new website to help people who needed help playing the game. It had no association with the company. It was just a fansite made by a fan of the game. I really wanted to commit to this project so I promoted the website on the forums, collaborated with community leaders and got some attention. For the record…..at this time, I had no idea what SEO was. I wasn’t doing any of this for marketing purposes. I was just doing this for fun and I wanted people to know about my website and I genuinely wanted people to take interest in it.
Eventually, I got a message from one of the executives at the company managing the game who introduced me to their VP of Marketing and Business Development (I forgot what the actual title was but it was something like that). After several back-and-forth emails, we arranged a phone call.
Do you remember Steve Jobs’s story about how he randomly called the CEO of Hewlett-Packard to ask about some missing parts he needed and that led to a job opportunity? This phone call was just a formal call between me, the company’s VP, and a couple of people on their marketing team. Me, a simple nerd sitting at home, on the phone with people sitting in an office making money off of a game in San Francisco. Yes, it happened.
This was the first home-based job I ever had and I still have the email I received offering me the job opportunity to work with them as a work-from-home marketing intern. It changed not only my life but my perspective on things. I worked with them for a few months and then again as a consultant a few years later with the same guy but different team members and different game.
What lessons did I learn and what lessons can you learn?
As a freelancer, you HAVE to be confident in yourself. You’re basically an entrepreneur without a team to manage, a business office to work in, and legal paperwork to deal with (well maybe a few).
Work for free. Yes, I said it. If all you care about is money, you will miss out on the big picture of success in life. I also say this in the video I made on my youtube channel (see above). Money is very important. Chase after any opportunity that leads to money, BUT not all opportunities are good. Be ethical and moral about it. If there is a project that will not pay you until after 3 months, take it. You never know if a project will lead to a million dollar opportunity. The project I made was completely free (except the cost for hosting) until I got paid to do it by the company who thought my passion and commitment to their products and services was pretty impressive.
Reach out to people even if they are not hiring. You would be surprised to see how many people are hiring or need help in some areas but have not told anyone about it or posted about the job yet.
Take the leap. A random simple guy from a simple laid back town calling an executive out in the big city? Yea, it’s possible. Get out of your comfort zone and take on big opportunities.
Fast forward to this present day. I’m still freelancing. I no longer work in the gaming industry. I worked for a few small gaming companies, both online and in their actual office. After I realized what SEO was, I learned SEO and reached out to businesses who needed SEO work done. But that first opportunity that I had opened my eyes to what is possible. I was able to reach out to lots of people and get more opportunities. I learned SEO without even knowing what SEO was.
I never intended to be a freelancer. Working in an office was always my dream. Now, I like to control my time and I enjoy working from home every single day.