Making the Switch to Freelancing – Ross Hudgens Profile
There are many freelancer stories that start with the wonderful day you stomped out of your full-time job and became self-employed. Or maybe the boss beat you to the punch and said “You’re fired!”
Then there’s Ross Hudgens. You won’t talk to him for very long before you realize that Ross is a Man with a Plan.
In a recent post on his blog, Ross announced that he’d be leaving the best job he’d ever had to become an entrepreneur. And this job had it all – fat paycheck, interesting work, even a comfortable desk chair!
It was a wonderful environment for Ross to use his digital marketing expertise. Visit the Ross Hudgens Digital Marketing blog and you’ll see that he really knows his stuff. Plenty of long, chewy posts on achieving high search engine rankings by adding the right keywords to your site, improving your site’s link popularity, and developing quality content.
In short, Ross is the kind of guy a company would really want to keep on the payroll.So, why was he leaving his great job? Especially in this crummy economy?
Well, to Ross, the great job was “not my long-term thing.” Furthermore, he wanted to see if he could start his own business.
Takeaway Lesson #1
View the act of going into business for yourself as an experiment. If it doesn’t work out, you can do something else.
Who knows, the people at that great job may welcome you back, which happened to a local lady I know. She left her wonderful employer two years ago, and guess what, they had the very same job open earlier this year. Both she and the employer are very happy to be together again.
Since Ross’ job paid well and he had the entrepreneurial spirit, he got serious about saving money. That’s a wise thing to do if you’re not going into business with a long line of clients who are just waiting to buy your expertise.
Takeaway Lesson #2
Unless your name is Bill Clinton and you’re becoming a consultant right after you leave the White House, you’re going to need to hustle up the business.
Unless your name is Bill Clinton and you’re becoming a consultant right after you leave the White House, you’re going to need to hustle up the business. Because business isn’t going to come to you. Until you get some business, you’re going to need a cash stash to tide you over. So, start saving. Just do it.
While Ross still had the full-time job, he did have some clients on the side. And, since this a story about a search engine optimization guy, let’s note the keywords in the previous sentence: On. The. Side.
Takeaway Lesson #3
Don’t take your freelancing gigs to work. Not if you want to remain on good terms with your employer. Who knows, that employer may become one of your freelancing clients.
Okay, so I mentioned that Ross had this great job, and your current job may be anything but. Be that as it may, you can still be like Ross and build an online reputation. In Ross’s case, he blogged on the side (there are those three words again!) and developed quite the fan base on Twitter. At this writing, he’d sent out 11,097 tweets to 6,402 followers. Oh, did I mention that he has a huge email list?
Takeaway Lesson #4
What Ross is doing with the blogging, tweeting, and emailing is building his personal brand. You can do that too. Even if you have a job, a spouse, or a child or two. And who knows what else. You can do it. Hey, you could make your busy life part of your personal brand with personality.
During the nearly two decades that I’ve been plying my trade on the Internet, I’ve noticed that digital marketing people have always been in demand. Especially the search engine optimization experts like Ross. I’ve never known one who’s had problems finding work.
So, this brings us to the final takeaway from Ross’s making-the-FreelanceSwitch adventure…
Takeaway Lesson #5
Figure out what fields are in demand today. And tomorrow. Yes, I know. Tough homework assignment. But if you’re going to succeed in freelancing, you’ll need to do it. Here’s an example of why this is important:
If you were in web design and were good at it, you probably had a pretty good business going throughout the 1990s and much of the first decade of this century. Then things started changing.
Figure out what fields are in demand today. And tomorrow.
Big sites like Facebook and Google started gobbling up the lion’s share of the World Wide Web’s traffic. Mobile devices started selling in a big way – and many of them aren’t as adept at rendering websites as they are at running apps. And low-cost website templates became quite popular. So much for your business of designing custom websites.
One of my Tucson friends was in the custom website business, but he realized that he was just one of many. So, he made the pivot to search engine optimization. Voila, business success. A field with perennial demand.
While I’m on the topic of pivoting, it’s happening right now in the search engine world. In a recent post, Ross said, “Many a business have been doing the aggressive link building thing since the beginning of time, ignoring content, and funneling strategy towards the aim of producing the most amount of anchor text links at a quick pace – and in a scalable fashion.”
Well, guess what. Google’s nasty Penguin update hit a lot of sites very hard, and look what’s fashionable now. If you guessed content, you’re right. And nimble freelancers like Ross Hudgens are there to help companies make the transition.