How To Go From $18/hr to $1,000/hr Freelancing

by / ⠀Entrepreneurship / August 25, 2014



Being an entrepreneur is “trendy” nowadays.

Everyone wants to start a new business, or come up with a million dollar idea to justify the fact that they’d rather wear a hoodie than a business suit.

I blame Zuckerberg.

But you know what, that’s great. Starting a business can extremely rewarding.

But there’s a SIGNIFICANT gap between quitting your day job and starting the next Facebook. It just doesn’t happen overnight.

So what should you do in the meantime to make money?

Have you ever considered freelancing?

What is freelancing?

What do you mean “freelancing”? Are we talking about Peter Parker doing freelance photography for the Daily Planet here?

No. Not quite.

Many people are nervous just considering the idea of freelancing. It seems so risky. It seems so uncertain.

But the concept is pretty simple — do something that you’re good at, and charge other people for it.

But I don’t have any valuable skills…

There are literally HUNDREDS of things you can do that are enjoyable and that other people will PAY you for.

Start thinking about where you could mine your talent for freelance skill:

  • What do people consistently ask you for help or advice in?
  • Do you have any unique skills, talents, hobbies or abilities?
  • What areas of life have you excelled to an “advanced” or even “intermediate” level?
  • What skills ideas interest you enough to learn, and then teach to others?
  • Could you work independently doing what you do now at your current job?
  • Do you have any friends with talents that compliment yours? Maybe you could team up.

Think about all the doors this opens up: writing, designing, programming, administrative tasks, accounting, legal work, nutritional planning, personal training, relationship coaching…the list goes on and on. The possibilities are endless.

But here’s the BIG benefit of freelancing: Since you don’t have a “boss” you get to keep all the money for yourself. Your profit could be 3-10x higher, even if you work MUCH less hours. Let me show you what I mean…

How to go from $18/hr to $1,000/hr

When I first started freelancing, I was working at Longhorn Steakhouse (I’m basically a steak aficionado now). I was also working for Kaplan Test Prep teach SAT classes for high school students.

My steak skills weren’t worth much. But my Kaplan skills were.

I realized that people were paying $100+ per hour for me to tutor their student one-on-one — but I was only making $18/hour.


And the worst part was…


Our perceptions are skewed because minimum wage is $7.25. So we think that anything significantly higher than that is good money. The reality is, $7.25 isn’t even livable. You probably need a minimum of $20/hour to make it out here.

But when I really sat down to think about it…I just got INFURIATED.

Here I was, doing all the teaching, grading, talking, communicating with parents, driving from school to school while Kaplan just sat back remotely and took 82% of my money.


Since I as the one with the skill, I needed to be the one making the money. I knew I could make this work on my own and cut out the middle man.

So I bided my time. I looked around, I made some calls.

I found a partner who was also interested in getting a freelance education business going. He was the consulting side, I was the teaching side. Together we knocked down doors, created classes and started making money.  A lot more of it.

First, I quit Kaplan.  Didn’t want any conflict of interest.  Then, as soon as the restaurant started to get in the way of my new endeavor, I quit that as well.

When I quit both jobs, I wasn’t making quite as much with the new business…but the projections were giving me a solid indication that things would pick up quickly.  So I just took the leap.


So mine your skills, do your homework and take the leap. Don’t look back.

Worst case scenario, you can always go back. Best case scenario, you’ll never have to.

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About The Author

Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.