How to Make Money as a Freelance Engineer

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Make Money as a Freelance Engineer

This is a contributed post.

Nowadays, freelancing is on the rise across various industries — from freelance writers and graphic designers, to marketing and accounting consultants. Engineering is no different, as professionals in this field now have the option to become freelancers, too. It’s a great option if you want more control over the projects you handle and the clients you work with. Not to mention, you’ll also be free from the 9-5 cycle.

If you’re wondering how you can make a living out of being a freelance engineer, check out our tips below.

Use Freelance Job Websites

Making a profile on freelance websites is the first thing people think of when looking for projects. Upwork is one of the most popular platforms and is used by companies such as Microsoft and GE. Toptal is another great platform and is known to attract the top 3% of freelance hires. Due to the competition, you’ll need to go through a rigorous screening process — including language and personality tests. While it may be difficult to get your name out there, they offer lucrative rewards in return. It may also take time to gain traction in these sites, but consistently getting good ratings and comments from your clients will eventually pay off.

Teach Online Classes

Freelance engineers have become one of the highest-paid professionals. As such, there are thousands of students who want to learn the ropes of various tools — and they need teachers to mentor them. As a freelance engineer, you can consider teaching online classes about how to utilize PCB designer software to create PCB models, assemble powerful electronics, and manage data. These are highly technical platforms and skills that not everyone will be able to learn without someone to guide them, and you can help fill that gap. Meanwhile, if you’re more into software engineering, you can teach students about various programming languages and provide one-on-one sessions.

Become a Consultant

There’s actually a difference between being a freelancer and consultant. A freelancer is someone who is in a short-term arrangement with the client, such as finishing a blueprint for a mechanical project. Meanwhile, a consultant is hired for expert advice in a certain specialty, like helping a company create a new product design. However, you can be a freelance consultant. Aside from having the right degree, you’ll also need to have significant expertise in a particular field of engineering — whether it be mechanical engineering or web development. Be sure to put together a list of your skills, certifications, and educational background as proof that you’re established in your niche.

Set Up An Online Store

If you’d like to provide tangible resources as a freelance engineer, you can consider creating an online store. For instance, if you work with CAD, you can make an account on Cults3D where you upload your CAD models and 3D printer files as paid downloads. If you’re into 3D printing, you can offer a service where you 3D print files for people. You can also choose to make your own site via WordPress or set up a Facebook page. Don’t forget to advertise your shop across social media so people find your work.

Publish an E-book

An e-book is a tried-and-tested way to publish your expertise and knowledge as an engineer. When it comes to writing books, getting started is often the most daunting part. As such, you’ll need to ask yourself a few questions. What specific topics will you write about, and how can you make it unique? If you’re a successful software engineer who has worked on notable projects, you might want to talk about your experiences in the industry and how others can find success too. Who will your audience be? If you choose to write for high school students who are taking up programming for the first time, you’ll have to explain all the jargon and write as simply as you can. Once you’ve figured out your topic and started writing, it’s best to find a skilled editor who can help you refine your e-book and provide insights as well. Then, you can use sites like Amazon and Gumroad to sell it. When you’re done with your e-book, don’t forget to promote it all over social media!

Start a Blog

There are several ways to make money from blogging — such as creating promotional content, collaborating with companies, and selling ad space. Having a blog also means you get to build your personal brand as an engineer, but you’ll need a lot of time and patience. Like writing a book, starting a blog can also be overwhelming if you’re starting from scratch. First, decide on your niche and approach. Will your tone be serious or will it be conversational? If you’re a mechanical engineer, you can make a blog on sustainable development. Then from there, you can write content that ranges from discussing sustainable building materials to explaining how natural resources are being used in the industry. Or if you want a more specific category, you can showcase different green buildings around the world and explain what makes them green and how the engineers made it work. It’s your blog, so run with it, and don’t be afraid to get creative!

Start Your Blog With Bluehost Today!

Put up Your Own YouTube Channel

Want to put a face to your content and make it feel more personal to your audience? Having a YouTube channel is ideal for this. Again, it’s essential that you think of a one-of-a-kind approach that proves you’re worth the clicks. Only then can you monetize it through ads or sponsorships. However, it’s well worth the effort considering that YouTubers who have at least 100,000 followers can earn an average of $12,500 through sponsored content. If you’re a computer engineer, for example, you can discuss signal processing and communications, and include clips that show how these are done. Another niche is embedded systems and robotics, where you can choose to have tutorials on how to build objects like a metal detector. The possibilities are endless.

Check out my Youtube channel here.

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