How to become financially independent as a freelancer in Romania?

How to become financially independent as a freelancer in Romania?

Reading time: 8 minute

Romania is listed 4th in Europe for the number of freelancers, according to Eurostat. Over 1,200,000 Romanians work as freelancers, freelancing. Most of them work in IT (36%), while 29% work in marketing and 19% in finance.

Want to see how you too can become a freelancer and make a living from your passion?

My name is Claudiu Ciudor, I am a freelancer in digital marketing, and in the last 2 years I have earned over $5000 per month from this activity. I completely quit my job and managed to transform my lifestyle, living the way I always dreamed.

I believe freelancing is an incredible opportunity for Romanians. And in the current context, many people are choosing to quit their jobs and go freelancing.

Freelancing means working independently, according to your own schedule and values. In many fields, such as marketing, as a freelancer you can work from anywhere in the world with access to a laptop and a good internet connection.

A lot of people want to become freelancers to increase their income. According to research by BestJobs (one of the largest online job platforms), more than 60% of employees surveyed responded that they would like to supplement their income by taking on various freelance side-job projects.

Also, BestJobs predicts about 40% growth in freelancers in the coming period. This growth is benefiting from the current context for 2 main reasons:

  1. the pandemic has represented for many people the transition from office to remote work
  2. the prerequisites for an economic crisis caused by the armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine

How much can you earn as a freelancer?

A simple search on platforms such as Upwork or reveals a lot of freelancing projects with different price ranges. We can calculate the amounts that are offered on such projects and the time we can spend on the work, to estimate the potential earnings.

For example, when I started freelancing, my first job was writing blog articles and social media posts. I was paid by the hundredth word for this work. At the time, on that project, an article could be around 500 words, and the pay for such text would have been the equivalent of $5.

My advantage was that I had some experience in copywriting, having already studied the subject and done various projects in college. I could produce a fairly well-researched article, written on the client’s terms, within 60 to 70 minutes.

So, I had the potential to produce even 7 – 8 articles a day, which would have resulted in an income of about $35 – $40/day. If I had volume of work for every working day of the week, I could earn around $800 per month from this activity alone.

Of course, earnings can be different from project to project, field to field, and depending on the freelancer’s experience level. If back then I was getting paid $5 for an article, by now I’ve had projects where I was easily earning $50 for the same amount of work.

To estimate your freelancing earnings yourself, you need to perform this simple calculation:

  • How many hours a day can I work as a freelancer?
  • How many projects could I complete in a day’s work?
  • how much could I charge per project? (and here you can relate to the amounts you see on freelancing platforms)

According to research by Upwork in 2022, a freelancer in the United States earns an average of $20 an hour, the very experienced can average $30.

Here’s what the average also looks like depending on the fields freelancers work in:

  • a programmer can earn between $60 – $70 an hour
  • a content writer can earn between $30 – $40 per hour
  • a graphic designer can earn between $40 – $45 per hour
  • a photographer can earn between $35 – $45 per hour
  • an online marketer can earn about $50 per hour

When making the transition from employee to freelancer, this decision often has a clear reason behind it: you want more time off and more money. Most freelancers aim to reach a financial threshold that allows them to lead a balanced and rewarding life without the worries and stress of a traditional job.

Therefore, a freelancer’s long-term plan can be defined quite easily as Financial Independence.

What does financial independence entail and how can you get there?

In theory, to be financially independent means to generate enough passive income to fully cover your monthly expenses with your lifestyle. In other words, you should make enough money, without actively working for it, that you can live the way you want to live.

This trend took shape in America in the form of an international movement called FIRE – Financial Independence, Retire Early. FIRE is a movement of people committed to an extreme savings and investment program that allows them to retire much earlier than traditional retirement budgets and plans would allow.

To get here you should follow a simple 3-step plan:

  1. GROW YOUR INCOME: earn as much money as you can each month
  2. ACCUMULATION: save as much of them as possible
  3. MULTIPLICATION: invest wisely that money to generate enough passive income so that you can retire from your business in no time.

In the first stage, that of increasing active income, your focus should be on increasing the value you offer. You can do this by focusing more closely on the needs of those who interact with you. Paying attention to what they want and being able to offer them solutions that they will pay you for. And another way you can exponentially increase value is to increase the number of people you help.

In the saving stage, your primary focus should be on accumulation. I didn’t see saving as something like: tighten your belt. But as a healthy habit of accumulating assets, growing my wealth month by month.

And the moment I was able to accumulate resources that allowed me to invest, I started educating myself and putting the money to work. Already, at this stage the focus is on research, education and finding those assets that fit your plan and your risk profile. Once you identify the assets, you start investing to increase your wealth, to multiply your net assets.

How can freelancing help you accelerate your path to financial independence?

From a freelance position, you’re in full control of your income. You are the one who decides how much you earn and how much you work for that money. Therefore, you are in full control of your life and finances.

For me personally, this has motivated me to accelerate my active income growth. To earn as much as I could from the work I was doing, and then allow myself to save and invest that money to reach FIRE.

What is the FIRE figure? Depends who’s asking!

The FIRE figure assumes the total amount accumulated in your investment portfolio to allow you to retire without affecting your lifestyle.

For someone it may be $1 million, for someone else it may be $500,000, for someone else it may be $10 million. It depends from person to person.

The FIRE figure is bounded in theory by the following calculation: 25x your annual expenditure.

Let’s take the example of a family spending $2,000 a month. FIRE in this case would be 25X $24,000 (12 months x $2000 monthly). Therefore, this family would need to have an investment portfolio of $600,000 to become financially independent.

If we compare this to the earnings a senior freelancer can earn, this figure is one that can be reached in less than 10 years. Imagine what your life would look like in 10 years, being completely retired and doing only what you love.

For me, this dream has inspired me to set lofty goals. From the very first FIRE figure calculation, I wanted to be able to increase my income level quickly. This was in order to save and invest larger amounts of money each month, so that I could reduce the time needed to reach FIRE.

The key investment that propelled me to FIRE

That’s how I came to invest in myself, in my educationto develop and I am constantly increasing the skills and knowledge for which I am paid. This is how I came to be a member of Upriserz, learning from the courses here to make my work even more efficient. To earn even more.

At present, with the massive increase in income, invest over 10,000 euros annually in courses personal development courses, training and mentoring programmes in my field. All this to manage to earn even more, year after year.

I started freelancing, as I said, writing articles, for which I was paid about $5/article. At present my work is much more complex. I manage online advertising campaigns and provide marketing consultancy for top companies in Romania, being paid thousands of euros per month for each project.

This helped me to finalize my FIRE plan and reach the level I wanted in an accelerated way. In the last 2 years I’ve managed to double my income year on yearthus accelerating even more towards FIRE.

I used this massive increase to also increase my savings rate and invest even more. At the moment, according to my FIRE figure, at the end of this year I officially reach the threshold of financial independence.

My investment portfolio consists of 3 main assets that generate income even when I’m not working: Real estate, stocks (stock market) and a small amount of cryptocurrencies.

Of course, this route is my personal journey. Everyone can have a completely different journey. The results, like the journey itself, differ from man to man. What suits me, as an active, may not suit you. In the same way, one man may earn more or less than another.

The main point is to educate ourselves, make an actionable plan that is right for us, and stick to it.

Finally I want to leave you with a conclusion, which I have come to over the last few years, after a lot of work and a lot of experience gathered over the years. If I were to go back in time and start this journey again, I would do it in a different way. I would tell myself the following:

Don’t be discouraged by the failure you had today. Learn from your mistakes and try again. You have many more years to live, and somewhere in between you will find the success that will make it all worthwhile!

I have often been afraid to accelerate, to develop, to grow, to invest in myself. Back in the day, I used to make money the way work hard and I felt like I was always on the edge, there was no way I could invest any of that money in my development.

Well, once I took the first step and invested, right from the very beginning, after the first courses I took, it had already completely transformed the hard work mode into work smart. That’s what I do courses and development programs. They help you grow faster. Of course, if you apply what you learn there.

And once you hit the education button, things change a lot. As I like to say: It’s no more a matter of IF… it’s just a matter of WHEN.

About Claudiu:

A young freelancer, marketing specialist, passionate about personal finance and investing, helping entrepreneurs and freelancers to promote themselves smarter and grow personally and professionally according to their own values.

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