Tips for Veterans Who Freelance
When you’re a military veteran, it can often feel like you’re limited to certain jobs and careers. In reality, you shouldn’t let your past work define you as there are now many options available if you want to try something new. Many of today’s freelance and remote work platforms such as Upwork, FlexJobs, and Support highly value veterans because of their experience.
According to Mika Cross, Flex Jobs’ vice president of employer engagement, veterans have a unique edge compared to other jobseekers. “These are folks who know what it means to be part of a team,” she said in an interview with CNBC. She also cites how companies these days are always looking for applicants with the right soft skills, such as flexibility, adaptability, and loyalty—traits that many veterans already have.
Among all the job options available on the market, why try freelancing? In a survey from FreshBooks, it was revealed that most freelancers enjoy the following benefits:
• More control over income
• Promotes better work/life balance
• No limit to the number of clients and projects you can get
Freelancing is a convenient and affordable way to start dipping your toes into the industry. And as soon as you find a client, you can start getting paid to freelance. Plus, it allows you the flexibility to work from home around your personal and professional life.
Whether you want more control over your workload or simply want to spend more time with your family, freelancing will give you the opportunity to do this and more.
What Jobs Can I Do?
Freelancing is just like any job. Some positions require skills, field experience, and the right educational background to qualify for them. But for a military veteran, you may be surprised to know the sheer number of options there are for someone of your stature.
Here are a few jobs you can explore.
1. Interpreter or Translator
If you were ever deployed outside the country then, chances are, you’ve picked up a language or two. This is something you can develop into a career, as translating can be a lucrative job, and the work is almost always remote –translating documents, polishing written works, etc. The average salary is around $20 per hour, but it could definitely go higher as the demand gets more complex.
2. Software Developer
Among all industries, IT is one that’s always hiring, especially when it comes to software development. USA Today even reports that this field has one of the lowest unemployment rates (1.6%). On top of this, the demand is predicted to grow even more, with an additional 241,500 jobs by 2028.
Though a degree in computer science is always an advantage, it’s never a requirement. There are a ton of courses available or even online resources for those who want to be self-taught. Freelance developers usually charge around $22 to $25 per hour (or $200 a day).
Much like software development, writing is something that can be self-taught. And since it’s more on the creative side, companies aren’t usually strict about your background or degree as long as you can get work published or complete a grammar test. The average salary is around $0.30 per word, which is roughly $150 for 500 words.
Other jobs you can do include:
• Graphic designer
• Sales personnel
• Events planner
• Virtual assistant
• Social media manager
Then again, there are no true restrictions when it comes to choosing a freelance job. Pursue an industry that you want, learn its processes, and look for an opening and apply. Chances are, there’s always an opportunity for it.
1. Set Up a Home Office
There are plenty of reasons why a home office is a crucial part of freelancing. For instance, it’s what allows you to separate work from personal time. You can choose to leave all work there, so you don’t end up bringing your tasks to bed, or personal distractions into work. But the biggest benefit of having a home office is the potential to pay less tax.
In our previous post on ‘Tips for Setting up Your Home Office’, we discussed how having home office facilities allows you to deduct the percentage of costs associated with any home improvements. From internet to electricity bills, most of your work expenses are income tax-deductible.
2. Network at Co-working Spaces
One of the most important parts of freelancing is networking. After all, freelancers often must book jobs and gigs on their own, so meeting potential collaborators and clients are crucial. For this reason, co-working spaces have been cropping up all over the world—and they’re not just reserved for young entrepreneurs and artists.
According to co-working company Industrious, these hubs attract professionals from all industries, whether you’re new to business or are just eager to meet some other creatives. Plus, it will allow you to feel less isolated, given that freelancers don’t often have the privilege of engaging with office colleagues on a regular basis.
3. Get Certified
With thousands of freelancers vying for the same jobs, how do you go about bagging certain roles? The answer is to build credibility. This is usually done by creating professional websites and sending in customer testimonials along with your samples.
But the simplest and most effective way to appear credible is to get yourself certified. For instance, aspiring marketers can get a certificate from the American Marketing Association. Or, if you’ve taken tech courses on Udemy, you can claim completion certificates afterwards. The more certifications you have under your belt, the more likely you’re going to get hired.
After the years you’ve spent in the military, freelancing is a good way to try jobs you’ve always wished to do. Whether it’s to try your hand at writing, graphic design, web development, or marketing, it’s important to understand that there are now numerous ways for you to achieve these career goals.
Article contributed by Reese Jones