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tamashita
Member

Is Freelance Your Main Source Of Income

Hello everyone,

 

It is a great pleasure being here, in this room! I have seen many topics here and they are awesome. However, would love to ask something myself, with a big desire to receive your opinions.

 

People in my country, especially people above 40-50, still cannot accept or understand how it is possible to work money online and have it as your primary job when the majority of people is working traditionally and earning so much less than you. 

 

Has this ever happened to you? When people around you are unable to understand or accept it. 

 

Really would love to hear some opinions. Thanks. 

 

 

24 REPLIES 24
booksist
Member

I'm sure some folks around me believe I'm just a humble housewife who made up some ridiculous story (work from home? yeah, sure...).

 

I find this amusing.

 

And to answer your question: yes, this is the only thing that I do for money; and no, this is not my main source of income, simply because my DH makes significantly more than me.

Yes, I am in that age group in the US.  Some of my friends, in my age group, started out a long time ago with computer programming.  Other friends are intimidated by computers; they never tried to learn them on their own so computers are intimidating, and now it is just overwhelming to them.  So, these people are amazed by what people like us can do but they also just do not think about it much.  It's too late for some of them because they never developed an interest.  I love working online, though.  I tutor TEFL and test prep on line and I meet some wonderful people who become students of mine. 

I am 71.  I have freelanced off and on for many years, including when I had a full time job.  Freelancing is my only source of income other than retirement.  It definitely works if you have developed skills in the "real world" that can transfer to freelancing.  Freelancing is NOT where you learn new skills.


@Mary W wrote:

I am 71.  I have freelanced off and on for many years, including when I had a full time job.  Freelancing is my only source of income other than retirement.  It definitely works if you have developed skills in the "real world" that can transfer to freelancing.  Freelancing is NOT where you learn new skills.



I politely disagree. Writing and translating has indeed been a part of my work duties, and I have always had a talent for writing. However I am learning new things all the time. I have taken online courses on writing to improve my craft, SEO courses to offer concrete expertise and my vocabulatry is increasing by the hour. :

 

Offcourse you can learn new things by freelancing, just as you learn new things from in-house corporate training. You just have to do it yourself! 🙂 

Nothing wrong with disagreeing - but who are you disagreeing with?

 


@Erik S wrote:

@Mary W wrote:

I am 71.  I have freelanced off and on for many years, including when I had a full time job.  Freelancing is my only source of income other than retirement.  It definitely works if you have developed skills in the "real world" that can transfer to freelancing.  Freelancing is NOT where you learn new skills.



I politely disagree. Writing and translating has indeed been a part of my work duties, and I have always had a talent for writing. However I am learning new things all the time. I have taken online courses on writing to improve my craft, SEO courses to offer concrete expertise and my vocabulatry is increasing by the hour. :

 

Offcourse you can learn new things by freelancing, just as you learn new things from in-house corporate training. You just have to do it yourself! 🙂 


Erik, I assume (permit me the liberty, Mary, bless my heart) that Mary means you can't/shouldn't intend to use freelancing as an opportunity to change career/specialty paths without any training. if you are a trained bookkeeper and you decide with no experience that you want to be an online freelance video editor it's probably going to be a disaster. Having an experiential basis on which to build additional skills is smart. Starting out fresh with no experience in a new field as a freelancer is not so smart. I learn new things all the time in my freelance projects, but I had experience to start with, as you did with writing and translating. 


@Erik S wrote:

@Mary W wrote:

I am 71.  I have freelanced off and on for many years, including when I had a full time job.  Freelancing is my only source of income other than retirement.  It definitely works if you have developed skills in the "real world" that can transfer to freelancing.  Freelancing is NOT where you learn new skills.



I politely disagree. Writing and translating has indeed been a part of my work duties, and I have always had a talent for writing. However I am learning new things all the time. I have taken online courses on writing to improve my craft, SEO courses to offer concrete expertise and my vocabulatry is increasing by the hour. :

 

Offcourse you can learn new things by freelancing, just as you learn new things from in-house corporate training. You just have to do it yourself! 🙂 


 ___________________________________________________

 

Ah OK. Well, I think what Mary is saying and I agree, is that you cannot (should not) apply for a job without any prior knowledge of the skill the client requires. 

 

Just because someone knows how to turn on a computer and check one's emails, does not make them a social media expert. Just because someone can speak another language other than their own, does not automatically qualify them as a translator, and just because someone enjoys reading does not necessarily qualify them as editors or proofreaders etc.  

 

ETA: Melissa - our posts crossed Smiley Wink

Great minds, Nichola, great minds... 

 

Glad you are enjoying Upwork Angela. Your insights are very helpful to me, as I am brand new to Upwork. Currently it's not my main source of income but my vision is to grow my freelance business so that it equals my "day job" salary, within the next 6 months. So if you know someone who needs Marketing, Salesforce Cloud or Marketing Automation support please refer me! And if I may be of assistance to you let me know. 🙂

colleenezzell
Member

Freelancing is my only source of income from working, but I have a fairly generous annuity from Uncle Sam and my Social Security, along with spouse's annuity and SS. Otherwise, I'd starve to death! We use my meager Upwork earnings for "play money" - we like to go to the casino and we're taking a cruise in November. The earnings also pay for our Walt Disney World Annual Passes. My friends and family understand how it works, either feast or famine, and they humor me with my little hobby.

What I am always amused by - but also a bit annoyed by - are the posts in the Forum from freelancers who are struggling to get work, or who have been working and end up getting banned or something, who proclaim that they will starve to death if they don't get work on Upwork.

 

Really?

 

Sometimes I'm curious and look at where their from... Some of these cities have been around for hundreds of years. Upwork has only been around in all its various incarnations since 1999.

 

So until about 19 years ago, there was no source of income, and no way to get food, in those places? And now Upwork is the only way to make money?


@Preston H wrote:

What I am always amused by - but also a bit annoyed by - are the posts in the Forum from freelancers who are struggling to get work, or who have been working and end up getting banned or something, who proclaim that they will starve to death if they don't get work on Upwork.

 

Really?

 

Sometimes I'm curious and look at where their from... Some of these cities have been around for hundreds of years. Upwork has only been around in all its various incarnations since 1999.

 

So until about 19 years ago, there was no source of income, and no way to get food, in those places? And now Upwork is the only way to make money?


 In some countries working on Upwork, or freelancing in general may well be the only way to survive. I could explain why this applies to my country, but that would be against "Community Guidelines".


@Reinier B wrote:

@Preston H wrote:

What I am always amused by - but also a bit annoyed by - are the posts in the Forum from freelancers who are struggling to get work, or who have been working and end up getting banned or something, who proclaim that they will starve to death if they don't get work on Upwork.

 

Really?

 

Sometimes I'm curious and look at where their from... Some of these cities have been around for hundreds of years. Upwork has only been around in all its various incarnations since 1999.

 

So until about 19 years ago, there was no source of income, and no way to get food, in those places? And now Upwork is the only way to make money?


 In some countries working on Upwork, or freelancing in general may well be the only way to survive. I could explain why this applies to my country, but that would be against "Community Guidelines".


But therein lies the rub, because many people turn to sites like this in the mistaken belief that this is an easy way to make a living. In doing so, they're not looking to other ways to earn a living in the "real world". And yes, I understand that this can be difficult in certain parts of the world. But this model should not and cannot be the answer for everyone.

 

I believe most of the people who do well here are folks who have already paid their dues in the brick and mortar world, and because of this, they're not going to starve if they don't get work (I could be wrong, though). I know there are newcomers who take to it and do well, but they have the skills to succeed. As Mary says, this is not the place to learn this stuff.

 

In the US at least, I see a future for this current generation that might be a little bleak, because if they're only freelancing, they most likely are not contributing to social security or some other form of retirement fund (again, just a guess on my part). They could be in for a rude awakening come retirement time.


 

In the US at least, I see a future for this current generation that might be a little bleak, because if they're only freelancing, they most likely are not contributing to social security or some other form of retirement fund (again, just a guess on my part). They could be in for a rude awakening come retirement time.

 I've not been freelancing for long, but my income is doing well and growing, so my plan is to start a private pension plan soon - is that not the norm in the US? I know if I were working for a brick and mortar company I'd have a workplace pension scheme, but it's not a difficult thing to do myself, and I certainly don't trust my country's government to give the type of pensions they used to, so private was always the plan for me. 

"So until about 19 years ago, there was no source of income, and no way to get food, in those places? And now Upwork is the only way to make money?"

 

Technology has changed everything and this is a fact. I miss the world without technology. I miss the real connections. I miss the good time with friends without them looking at their phones constantly. I miss when we'd go out to have fun without someone taking selfies. I miss reading a real written letter from a friend abroad. I miss waiting hours with my friends for the most beautiful girl in our neighboorhood to go down the street so we can see her because we couldn't see her online like today. I miss approaching a girl and say something funny and wait for her to laugh as a sign that I can speak to her, instead of people poking each other on Facebook. My friends and I literally had a spyglass and we'd sit all day long spying on our female neighbours at their balconies (giggles), nowadays they'd just capture photos of their legs on the beach and post to Instagram, not the same at all, I never enjoyed any of these pictures, even though we didn't see that much with our spyglass.

As fun as this may sound, this is all coming from a technology guy. I did like technology when it served the human, but nowadays humans are serving technology. Now I only do it for a living, and barely use it unless very necessary.

I think you're right, Preston. There's millions of opportunities everywhere. If working online didn't work for me, I'd switch career and do something else for a living. I feel sorry for those who are desperate to have Upwork work for them.

Wassim, beautiful sentiments indeed---as always.  Ahhhhhhhh, to the good 'ole days!  Smiley Very Happy

 

Wassim I have kept your post. You should publish it - actually it ought to go up on the right side of this page. 

 

That said - I do not know what I would do without modern technology, it has saved my life financially.  

 

In answer to the OP's question. I am well retired but still working as a freelancer (have been for many, many years). I tend to annoy my better-off friends when I tell them I cannot meet them for social events during the week, and eyebrows shoot up from official people like doctors (aged about 12) when I tell them I freelance. 

 

 

Thank you so much, Nichola, for the great words :tulip:

allenwatson23
Member

Hey Tamara,

 

I cameto freelancing because I had to move home to care for two ailing parents. I left a good job with a decent paycheck and benefits. Man, did I not realize how hard it would be. I struggled for a year building my resume on Upwork and enventually got some decent paying gigs. Luckily, I've gotten a few contracts other than the ones here on UW that pay much better and have gotten me back near my old salary. 

 

Many people I knew wonder if what I'm doing is legit. It's like they think this is some sort of voodoo. I've had one person say that they're certain I'm doing illegal activity because I've never met my clients. 

 

I'm just glad to have found my niche.

Now that I'm retired, freelancing is helping me have a better financial situation.

 

Also, as I'm sort of mildly hyperactive, I'm not the kind to just relax, so freelancing keeps me busy and happy. It keeps my brain active and I really enjoy having "clients", "feedback" and all that kind of stuff. Somehow, it can be compared to a video game.

 

However, if I had to rely on freelancing on Upwork as my only income, I'd be in deep trouble. I have the feeling that freelancers that have been on the platform for a long time, have many regular clients ... can make it. Or freelancers who offer talents that are well paid.  

Freelance is my main source of income, but I don't consider it my main job, if that makes sense. Freelance enables me to pay my bills, but working for a non-profit is what I consider my "real" job. I'm also a full-time student, in addition to freelancing full time and working a traditional job, so I have a lot of different work going on at any given time.

Bulk of my income is from five pensions/annuities. They keep the roof over our heads, food on the table, pay a disabled daughter’s living expenses and uncovered medical expenses, repay half a million USD in debt we incurred saving our daughter’s life, and restore ravaged savings. Got my first online board job around 2008, UW and its competitors are perhaps 10% of my freelancing, which lets us eat out and take a cruise every 18 months.

 

Mary W. “I am 71.  I have freelanced off and on for many years, including when I had a full time job.  Freelancing is my only source of income other than retirement.  It definitely works if you have developed skills in the "real world" that can transfer to freelancing.  Freelancing is NOT where you learn new skills.”

 

I turn 70 next week. I started freelancing as a session musician and singing small opera roles in the early 1970s while employed. In the 1980s I did freelance translation, also employed. In the 1990s I did freelance “Independent Expert” for Blue Ribbon Commissions. Self-employed and freelancing only since 2003. Freelancing is where you absorb volumes of knowledge, but few new skills.

 

Reiner: “I could explain why this applies to my country …” I’ve been mentoring an entrepreneur in your country for ten years. People who look like him have little access to capital. He’s successful, always striving higher.

Bill, I want to hear you sing (not for your supper)! Heart


@Bill H wrote:

Bulk of my income is from five pensions/annuities. They keep the roof over our heads, food on the table, pay a disabled daughter’s living expenses and uncovered medical expenses, repay half a million USD in debt we incurred saving our daughter’s life, and restore ravaged savings. Got my first online board job around 2008, UW and its competitors are perhaps 10% of my freelancing, which lets us eat out and take a cruise every 18 months.

 

Mary W. “I am 71.  I have freelanced off and on for many years, including when I had a full time job.  Freelancing is my only source of income other than retirement.  It definitely works if you have developed skills in the "real world" that can transfer to freelancing.  Freelancing is NOT where you learn new skills.”

 

I turn 70 next week. I started freelancing as a session musician and singing small opera roles in the early 1970s while employed. In the 1980s I did freelance translation, also employed. In the 1990s I did freelance “Independent Expert” for Blue Ribbon Commissions. Self-employed and freelancing only since 2003. Freelancing is where you absorb volumes of knowledge, but few new skills.

 

Reiner: “I could explain why this applies to my country …” I’ve been mentoring an entrepreneur in your country for ten years. People who look like him have little access to capital. He’s successful, always striving higher.


 There are many successful entrepreneurs who look like the person you have been mentoring. However, these people are a minute drop in an immense ocean, and since most of their capital ends up in off-shore tax havens, their brethrens' access to capital is reduced even more.