An important part of getting ahead as a freelancer is doing research, whether it’s determining what niche you’d like to specialize in, or learning how to accrue more profit from an established niche. With so many resources out there, it can become overwhelming to figure out what is/isn’t useful, and is/isn’t worth paying for. You can make the researching process easier, and subsequently get the most out of finding valuable freelancing resources, if you look out for several key things.
Finding Free Options
I think most people would agree with me that unless it’s an actual certification or credited course, it’s preferable to find freelancing resources that are, in fact, free. These are generally easy enough to find as a bonus for opting-in to a blog or website’s email list, but even then, they might just be mostly filler content with affiliate links sprinkled in. Yet, there are still some nuggets of wisdom to be found among even the most basic of free resources.
- Create an email address just for newsletters/freelance research purposes.
- Segue into an Internet search for anything to do with your niche. You’ll probably find a couple of websites that look promising.
- Bookmark these websites as you go, perhaps even arranging them in folders by topics such as “Job Postings” or “Social Media Tools.”
- Once you’ve accrued around 10 websites, revisit each website, one by one, combing through all of the information on each page and taking notes – just be sure that the information you’re taking notes about is either very current, or evergreen content (applicable for a long period of time).
- Subscribe to any email lists from these websites that are advertised specifically as being newsletters.
Pursuing Paid Possibilities
Don’t splurge for something in the hopes that your money will be recouped quickly, because that’s just not how this all works. It takes time to learn, and earn! I only recommend paying for freelancing resources if it’s something you can reasonably accommodate in your budget right now. There are, however, two possible exceptions:
- Courses from reputable institutions. Whatever your freelancing niche is, you’re going to want to keep up with the latest trends and polish your portfolio. In-person courses, though generally more expensive, can be so important because of the more immediate networking opportunities they provide (the same can also be said of online courses, though since they’re more impersonal, the networking component might be a little lacking).
- Tools that launch and promote your freelancing business. For example, registering/selecting a plan for your .com website (don’t forget to include domain registrant privacy).
I’ve found that a lot of the freelancing resources, be they “how to become a _____”, “make money_____”, or even the job boards that promise great leads through a paid subscription, actually contain a bunch of compiled information that’s freely available, albeit time-consuming to find. If you’d prefer to skip the research and save time by paying, that’s your choice, just make sure you feel confident that you’re choosing wisely.
Please note that all Fabulous Freelancer posts might contain affiliate links.