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  • Writer's pictureJeanne and James Bellew

Part 3: Retirement Reimagined — Freelancing: What Do I Do Now?

In the previous segment of our series, "Retirement Reimagined — Finding Purpose and Income Through Freelancing," we explored the concept of redefining retirement.

Today, retirees and those planning to transition from their current work schedule can embark on a worthwhile journey that provides financial support and newfound purpose by embracing freelancing.

As we delve into Part 3, we focus on the practical aspects of freelancing when planning for retirement, anywhere from 2-5 years out. This final installment aims to equip you with essential insights and guidance, empowering you to embrace freelancing as a new form of work, purpose, income, fulfillment, maintaining identity, and fun!

What is Freelancing?

Freelancing is a flexible approach to employment. It allows people to provide services to clients on a job, task, or project basis using their existing skills and talents.

Freelancers can offer various skills and services, from creative work like writing, proofreading, editing, design, and photography to technical expertise in programming, web design, and consulting.

The wonderful part of freelancing is that a freelancer can choose the projects, clients, and work schedules they want.

Navigating the World of Freelancing

Imagine the freelancing landscape as a vast, uncharted territory rich with opportunities. Within this world, you'll encounter a wide range of freelance work, from creative endeavors to consulting and everything in between.

Understanding the lay of the land is the first step toward navigating it effectively.

There are three ways to freelance:

  1. Contract work — putting out "a shingle." This takes time and money to build your list of prospects.

  2. Work remotely for one company. This is a real opportunity unless you want to live outside the U.S. If so, many companies won't allow you to freelance abroad.

  3. Using a talent marketplace platform to make offers to prospective clients looking for help. This takes the least startup money and time.

Any of these three options use your existing skills, talents, and passions to make offers to complete jobs, tasks, and projects. And while there may be a learning curve to understanding and learning to work as a freelancer, you can do so using what you already know.

*NOTE — Full disclosure: I coach people to get up on a market talent platform.

Getting Started as a Freelancer

One of the most critical aspects of a freelancing journey is identifying your skills, talents, and expertise. These facets of your work life and personality are your greatest assets. Discerning skills and talents is always a new freelancer's most demanding task.

Next, crafting an impressive freelancer profile is essential. Your Profile is how you're known to potential clients, your chance to shine in the world of freelancing.

Your Profile can make or break your success as a freelancer on a talent marketplace platform. Your Profile must do the following four things:

  • Make a connection with potential clients

  • Focus on the client and what they need and want

  • Give proof of your abilities

  • Sell yourself the best option to complete the job, task, or project.

Once your skills, talents, and passions are determined and your Profile is written to expose you as the best option, you are set up with a solid foundation.

Freelancing Toolbox

Being a successful freelancer means having the right tools at your disposal, including a solid beginning by understanding the following:

  • Understanding the skills you bring to freelancing that potential clients want and need

  • Having a solid Profile, the foundation of your success, that is client-centric

  • Collecting and showcasing Portfolio items showing your skills

  • Being able to find and evaluate jobs and clients that are the best for you

  • Writing winning proposals that make you stand out

  • Successfully bidding on jobs

Other tools to support a successful freelancing journey include:

  • Commitment management (I use this distinction and not "time management" because we can't manage our time (time isn't manageable), but we can manage our commitments and promises because they're declarations that are in our control. The more competent we are to manage our commitments, the better we deliver our services and products on time and satisfy our clients.

  • Harmonizing, not balancing, the time you have. Balance is an even distribution, and life isn't evenly distributed. Is your work and family time equally distributed?

Instead, consider your time a harmony, like notes being heard simultaneously. While your life isn't equally distributed, you can live harmoniously when everything works simultaneously.

  • Understanding how to engage with clients as a freelancer. Knowing what they want, expectations, timelines, fees, bidding, etc

The Challenges of Freelancing

There are a couple of challenges when choosing to freelance. One is getting yourself going with the most significant opportunity to succeed; the other is the resilience required when you get going, and you're not getting all the jobs you want.

Getting yourself going: Freelancing on talent market platforms can present challenges, especially for those venturing into this arena independently. Learning the ins and outs of these platforms, from profile optimization to proposal writing and effective project bidding, can be a self-guided journey. If done alone, it takes commitment and self-determination.

Resilience: No one knows who you are when starting on a talent market platform. Your 20-30+ years of work and expertise aren't known, and it's up to you to build your identity. Some people are put off by this and stop the journey, while others understand this concept and continue to develop their identity through jobs, star ratings, and positive testimonials. No matter what, it takes resilience.

The Freelancing Lifestyle

Looking forward to retirement or the opportunity to work in a different way that allows more freedom is something to savor. Freelancing can give you the flexibility to do this.

Learning to freelance, specifically on a talent marketplace platform, will give you a new lifestyle. It will enable you to use your skills, talents, and passions to continue to be of service but to do so the way you want, when you want, for the people you wish to serve.

The opportunity to work how you want allows you to spend your days how you want — traveling, living abroad, doing things you've always wanted and gives you more flexibility with your money — not pulling from retirement accounts sooner than you want, holding off on social security so you can receive more later, etc. And freelancing is the vehicle to continue to be of service, have a purpose, maintain your skills, and feel confident as you age.

A Final Thought

We've looked into the practical aspects, opportunities, and insights that empower retirees and those planning their next chapter to embrace freelancing fully.

As we conclude this series, thank you for joining us on this learning journey. Your willingness to explore new horizons is a testament to the spirit of lifelong learning, adaptability, and the courage to redefine retirement.

Remember, transitioning to "what's next," or retirement isn't an endpoint; it's a new beginning. The world of possibilities awaits, and you'll redefine your next phase, embracing it as a fulfilling and purpose-driven chapter in the story of your life.

Your next act is a blank canvas to paint any way you choose. We're here to support you. Cheers to the exciting future that retirement, reimagined through freelancing, holds for you!

Pura Vida! 🌺


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