Both expats and freelancers have traditionally had one thing in common: they have been fringe groups. To a degree, that is still true, but not only are our numbers increasing, the benefits of the lifestyles are beginning to be more widely recognised. Oddly enough, though, combining freelancing with expat living is still rarely considered, even though they are a perfect match.
- 57% of freelancers increased their earnings by working with businesses online.
- 19% of freelancers reported doubling their income in the past year.
- 57% experienced an increased income in the past year.
- Only 19% earned less this past year than in previous years.
I can attest to being one of the 19% who has doubled their income in the past year, but it’s not because I’m working harder. It’s because my apprenticeship on Elance is over and I’ve landed jobs that pay considerably better than the ones available on Elance and similar freelance job bidding sites. I don’t regret that “apprenticeship”, though, because it was a necessary part of learning the ropes of online freelancing. However, if I had been living in Australia or another developed country, I couldn’t have afforded to devote myself to freelancing during that period. I know that for a fact because when I freelanced in Australia, I could only do it sporadically. The jobs just didn’t come to me as fast as the bills and other expenses did.
Do I like freelancing? I love it, and apparently I’m not alone. 69% of Elance poll respondents said they were happier freelancing than holding down regular jobs. What’s not to like? Along with the majority of freelancers polled by Elance, I enjoy being my own boss, being able to follow my own schedule and, most importantly, having the opportunity to “follow my passion.” In my case, it’s writing, but Elance is for all kinds of freelancers, including:
- IT & Programming
- Design & Multimedia
- Sales & Marketing
- Admin Support
- Engineering & Manufacturing
- Finance & Management
What struck me as most remarkable about the poll is that the majority of Elance job seekers live and work in developed countries. Those of us who are lucky enough to be living in developing countries can afford to live for much less and therefore can enjoy the freelance lifestyle even more.
Aside from freelancing directly, you can use Elance to help build your own freelancing business. For example, I helped someone start an affiliate website a couple of years ago. I wrote the content, edited his ebook, and helped him find a website designer and graphic artist on Elance to put his site together. After that, it was up to him to promote his site, but he got a professional package put together at a very reasonable price to get him started.
This didn’t start out as a plug for Elance and I highly recommend finding clients directly rather than using job platforms where you’re bidding against hundreds of others. However, if you’re scratching your head wondering how to get started or where to find the help you need, it may be a good place to start.
And remember, as a freelancer, you make your own schedule. If you just want to make some extra money to pay for something you can’t quite afford, work for a week or a month until you’ve saved up. If you’ve got a business or pension that doesn’t quite give you enough to live as comfortably as you’d like, work as few or as many hours per week as you like. You’re your own boss and can make your own decisions. That’s why freelancing expats have the perfect lifestyle — they are free to live as they please.
If you want to know more about freelance writing, check out my other site, Writing Resources.