Freelancer Tips

How to Get Paid for Your Passion in Your Twenties

Katherine Penta
July 13, 2016
young entrepreneurs

Caroline Beaton is an award-winning writer, millennial expert and brand consultant tackling the psychology of millennials at work. Millennials have no shortage of passions. We have is shortage of cash. We’re making less than our parents did at the same age and, by some reports, less than any other generation in recent history. Some say we’re making less by our own choosing; we’re prioritizing purpose and enjoyment over pay. We’re traveling more and putting off “real” job searches until our mid-to-late twenties. There’s a second contingency of Millennials that has resigned themselves to acquiring the "necessary experience" (read: salary) and credentials in their twenties to pursue creative passions later in life. Unfortunately, this strategy shortchanges the most prolific, creative and independent time of our lives. It’s also a sneaky, subconscious way of procrastinating on what really matters. But, in my experience, we can find fulfilling work and get paid a living wage for it. This is largely possible thanks to freelancing platforms like Fiverr. By making work across the world available to people solely based on merit—not background, elite education, location or schmooze ability—these sites have single handedly transformed modern work and leveled the playing field. (P.S., I’m not paid to endorse Fiverr or any other freelancing site.) Below are four tips to use Fiverr and others to align your passion with your paychecks:

1) Create Gigs you enjoy

Because these sites are necessarily framed around the exchange of work for money, it’s easy to forget what you’re actually exchanging: your time for money. As you’re perusing different offerings before deciding what to offer yourself (which I highly recommend), don’t say “I could do that”. Ask yourself, “Would I like spending three, four or ten hours a day on that?” If not, your interest in the work—and your subsequent ability on it—will quickly dissolve.

2) Choose a specialty

I feel like a broken record on this point, but there’s no way around it. Your career can be multi-faceted and multi-passionate, as Marie Forleo points out. But your freelancing specialty, at least to start, needs to be somewhat singular. In other words, don’t think that just because you love to illustrate, write, review tax documents, life coach and design websites that you should offer all those things. People seek out freelancers who can do one thing amazingly well. Eventually, if you decide to build up your personal brand outside of Fiverr et al., you can become a face for the intersection of these passions. But, on freelancing platforms, you simply aren’t a face: you’re a project. And if you pretend to be multiple projects, you’ll be forgotten.

3) Be so good they can’t ignore you

There’s no “hack” for getting great reviews and more work besides being a good person (a kind, transparent communicator, an honest freelancer) and doing excellent work. If your passions aren’t yet skills, make them skills: read and do far more than is required, and you’ll advance more rapidly.

4) Charge your value

I didn’t believe this until I tried it: employers respect workers who respect their own time. I’m now outsourcing on these platforms more than I’m freelancing on them, so I can speak from experience: I don’t care about plus or minus ten percent on any task. If that extra 10 percent guarantees work that I know will get done on time, exceed my expectations and not need a million revisions, I’ll always pay it.Use Fiverr and the above suggestions to cut the cord of your fear and live the life you actually want. The solution is literally right in front of you. Have any other tips that have helped you succeed as a freelancer? Share below.

Katherine Penta
Brand and copy expert with over six years of experience developing brand personas, managing content, and writing copy for brands like Neutrogena, Visa, and Adobe.
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