How I Made My First Buck Through Freelancing

by Martin

“What are you doing?”

My parents couldn’t fathom what I was up to.

“Do you really need money that bad?”

Yes. Well, I didn’t need it. I wanted it. This was my first freelancing gig, all the way back in the 8th grade. I didn’t wait to start going after the money.

How did I make my first dollar freelancing?

It’s time for you to make your first dollar from freelancing. No more waiting around. Time for my story.

I was selling chocolates door-to-door for a company. It was pretty damn shady. My parents put an end to it rather fast once I came home after 10pm one night. That wasn’t going to fly.

My friend and I would travel down to a pizza shop after school where we met a van full of characters. These guys would drop us off in an area with tons of boxes of chocolates. We would go knocking on doors in hopes of getting a sale. We were marketing chocolates to complete strangers. Sometimes we got to sell flowers. It was super messed up!

It was $3 a box with a $1 profit per box. It was one hell of a marketing lesson. It was intimidating as hell. For one, I got lost often. This was in 2000, before smart phones. I didn’t have any communication device on me. I would just get dropped off to sell chocolates for four hours. I would have to return at the spot four hours later for my pick up. Let’s just say that they weren’t always tardy.

After a while I got fed up with this system and began buying my own chocolates. I found that I could buy the same boxes at the dollar store for $1 a piece. That was a $2 profit compare to the measly $1 I was originally getting. Boom! I was in business.

There were days where I raked in the money. We’re talking $40 day. I thought I was on top of the world.

Naturally, my parents put a stop to this as winter came because they didn’t want their 13-year old son wandering around random streets that late at night. Fair enough.

That’s how I made my first dollar freelancing from what I can remember.

How did others make their first buck freelancing?

I reached out to others. Their responses are included below.

Valerie Rind:

Savingadvice.com was the first website I wrote for, starting back in 2007 (when blogs were still novel and Twitter and YouTube were infants). I wrote short, punchy posts that sometimes had only a tenuous connection with personal finance. I wrote 5 per week and started at the princely sum of $5 each. I was happy just to get the writing experience and exposure. My next gig paid $50. I thought I had really made it.

That’s also how I first started freelancing online. I wrote articles for other blogs in the personal finance niche. This is actually the easiest and fastest way to get started.

You create a portfolio of your work and then reach out to bloggers with an audience to see if they would like to pay you for content. High quality content will always be in demand. You just have to find those clients.

Adam Piplica of Magical Penny:

I made my first ‘buck’ from freelancing from singing at a wedding when I was 8 years old.

How it came about is pretty similar to the framework that I’ve used to earn money from other freelancing gigs too like blogging and writing.

1) start doing something for the fun of it, 2) develop a domain knowledge of what people like hearing and reading; develop a network of like-minded individuals and reach out to people who might enjoy what you do or find useful.

For singing I joined choirs, made friends and participated in communities that valued singing for example being an active member of a church. Then opportunities come your way! Even now I’m no longer a cute 8 year old wedding singer I would say a good 10% of my income comes from singing (weddings and funerals as well as concerts and even Christmas carolling in hotels!).

I totally didn’t see that coming! I don’t even know how to comment on this.

Doug Nordman of The Military Guide:

I’ve never had a “real job” (I did 20 years in the U.S. military) but my first self-employed dollar was book royalties. 
If I had to do it all over again then I’d begin blogging first (with AdSense & affiliate income) and I’d write the book a year or two later.

Yup. Doug knows what he’s talking about. You might have to work for free for an extended period of time, but you can hopefully see some profits from affiliates/adsense/your book within a year or so.

How are you going to make your first dollar through freelancing?

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Crystal January 13, 2014 at 6:03 pm

That’s a pretty cool first-time freelancing story! I tried to sell hand made bracelets when I was 6-7, but I think the few dollars that I made was pity sales. My first real freelancing buck came with dog walking when I was 9-10. I made less than $50 in a month or two. And I made my first $100 when I was 18 and started winning cheap online auctions for jewelry and resold it to pawn shops in my area.

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Martin January 13, 2014 at 7:26 pm

That’s really cool. I could never walk dogs because I was never a fan of pets for some odd reason (a dog bit me as a kid). Welcome back!

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Kylie Ofiu January 14, 2014 at 8:36 am

This is really cool. I started with things like washing cars. My dad used to car pool and a friend and I would wash the cars left at our house. We did it on the first day for fun, then they all wanted to pay us to do it. After that is was babysitting.

My first freelancing online would be my website then freelance writing. My very first article I was paid $125 for a 250word article, so was pretty happy with that. It was a long term contract too.

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Martin January 14, 2014 at 4:07 pm

Wait what? Where are you finding contracts? That’s a hell of a deal.

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